Video Game Retrospective – Super Mario RPG

There are countless games in the Mario Universe, but in my mind, there is one game that sticks with me the most; Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. One of the last games on the Super Nintendo, Super Mario RPG was a one of a kind collaboration between Nintendo and Square Soft (now Square Enix) that took Mario in a direction never though possible. From today’s point of view, it seems logical that Mario can fit into any genre in the realm of video games; Mario’s venture into the role-playing realm inspired a new franchise all of its own and has continued to contribute to the beautiful library Nintendo boasts.

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The Mushroom Kingdom’s new look.

Dismantle and Reassemble

The game takes great inspiration from the Final Fantasy series (which, at the time, had been Nintendo’s exclusive franchise with six game releases in Japan) and mixes Super Mario elements. The game shakes things up right off the bat: Mario sets off to Bowser’s castle rescue Princess Peach. As you approach Bowser, the stakes pick up as they would whenever Mario and Bowser face off. Right when Mario is about to defeat Bowser, a castle quakes, sending Mario, Peach, and Bowser in drastically separate directions. Mario leaves the castle to a giant sword (with a face) descended into the castle. The following two images are a testament to the game’s humor. Using Mario’s role as a silent protagonist, he acts out what happened at the castle to the chancellor of the Mushroom Kingdom.

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Afterward, Mario sets off to find Peach, gathering new teammates along the way. He finds a boy named Mallow, who is a citizen of Cloud City who believes he is a tadpole. The two later meet a doll named Geno who comes to life to join Mario and defend the star spirits. Along Mario’s quest to find Peach, he discovers the sword is from King Smithy, who comes from an alternate universe wishing to seize control of Mario’s world. The story ventures into so many different directions, but it all plays out in one beautiful epic. Further into the quest, you discover Bowser in isolation, who is saddened because his troops left him for Smithy. Wishing for revenge, Bowser and Mario join forces to take down Smithy. We find Peach being betrothed to a madman named Booster, and as we rescue her, she decides to take a more direct approach to change in her kingdom and joins your party as well. These dynamic changes to the Mario formula are a refreshing turn of events; having such pivotal main characters be playable together, alongside enigmatic and original characters such as Geno and Mallow, make every part of your team have both an emotional investment and a diverse party.

Action: Play Mario RPG. Reaction: Hilarity Ensues

If you ask any person who has played Mario RPGs, ranging from this game to the Paper Mario series and Mario and Luigi series, they will all note one thing in common: the games are hilarious. Mario RPG coupled great inspiration and comedic timing to make the game enjoyable for all ages. Whether you find easter eggs, pop culture references, slapstick humor, or just silly animations, the game keeps a genuine smile on your face to distract you from how difficult this game can be.

Pop culture reference: The Power Rangers as a boss battle.
Pop culture reference: The Power Rangers as a boss battle.
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Nintendo heroes hang out in each other’s cribs and have sleepovers.
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Bowser crying. This happens a lot.
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Bruce Lee is somewhere in the Mario universe. Hallelujah.

New Tricks for an Old Plumber

Super Mario platforming requires precision, focus, and the right amount of bravery, while Final Fantasy battles are known for having a player assemble a balanced party and work together to prepare for battle. Super Mario RPG blends these two world in a large melting pot of video game greatness. Overworld interaction is heavy in platforming, with diverse environments and menacing hazards impeding your travel. In towns and around people, you need to talk to the townsfolk as you would in an RPG, because even Mario doesn’t know everything. Battles can be initiated by jumping on enemies, giving you an advantage. Once you’re in battle, you take turns like in normal RPGs. When you attack, or are attacked, you can time key moments before you take/deal damage to increase the effectiveness of your move.The game shows steady progress of the whole party and each member is equally useful and powerful. Lastly, items, enemies, environments, and weapons homage to both universes.

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Hitting a red shell into a Donkey Kong looking baddie.
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Geno using one of his most powerful special attacks.
Bowser summoning a large Mechakoopa.
Bowser summoning a large Mechakoopa.

The game is rich with surprises and brings joy to those both familiar with these franchises and ones who are just learning what treasures the Super Nintendo had to offer.

The game is now available through the eShop, so make sure to pick up this title whenever you’re looking to redefine what that mustachioed plumber is all about. If you’ve loved every moment of this epic action-rpg, let us know your experiences with Super Mario RPG in the comments below, or via our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Interested in writing for Nerd Swole? Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com for more information!

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