Super Mario RPG - Review

Super Mario RPG Review

By: Stewart Bishop

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 10
   Music/Sound 8
   Originality 6
   Plot 5
   Localization 10
   Replay Value 8
   Visuals 10
   Difficulty Very Easy
   Time to Complete

5-15 hours


Title Screen

   Squaresoft's last title to the Super NES took Mario lovers by storm. Everyone just had to get their grubby hands on the one RPG starring everyone's favorite plumber, Mario. For some, this was the game that bridged the gap between those platformer gamers and the hardcore RPGamers that exist to this day. Out of the blue it came, drawing the attention of nearly every RPG player out there. So how did it fare? Incredibly well.

   The battle system was simplistic and the basic Attack - Magic - Defend - Item setup, but the real kicker was that every time you cast a spell, attacked, or were attacked yourself, you could time button presses to either dish out little bonuses or to defend an attack better than you normally would. For example, as Mario swings a fist at the opponent, pressing the A button just as he connects will result in extra attack animation frames as well as extra damage. The same goes for defending; just as the the opponent attacks you, tap A or B to make your character go into a defensive position to take less damage. Spells and their 'bonus effects' are a bit different, but are quite evident as you proceed. All in all, it made the gamer pay more attention to the game if they wanted the extra effects, but didn't hinder the basic attack like in Legend of Dragoon. This made battles much more fun and interesting, and discovering the timing for a new attack or spell always seemed to thrill me.

Not your normal fortress
Not your normal fortress  

   Level-ups are interesting. Not only do you get the standard 'beefing up of the character,' you also get a bonus. You choose which attribute to add a small bonus to, which can affect your character slightly later on in the game.

   The music is very well done, with several catchy tunes and a few that some Mario fans may find familiar. The general beeps and chimes are also present in this RPG, but who cannot say that the 'bonus' sound is cool? Simple but effective.

   The plot is nothing out of the ordinary, but if you take a look at the small picture rather than the big picture for once, the story is not so bad. On the plus side, there's nothing confusing about the story and you won't find yourself boggling at the ending or plot after the game's completion...Xenogears anyone?

Mario and Bowser... allies?!
Mario and Bowser... allies?!  

   This RPG is superbly translated; I didn't detect a single error in grammar, punctuation and the lot. The most interesting fact, however, is that the translation is so well done that this RPG can actually be funny! Picture this: A mute Mario on full of Jolt Cola, flailing his arms around to explain his entire situation to a child that, after the whole explaination is complete, can only respond with, "I don't get it." Such is the life of Mario RPG, with plenty of kicks to keep the fun hot.

   Moving on to replay value, I've actually beaten this game more than 10 times, all new games, never getting sick of it. Why? I'm telling you, it's just the sheer playability of it. The game is just FUN...and funny. It's one of those RPGs that's actually interesting to watch, and there ain't a whole lot o' them in the RPG world. Several added extras keep the fun alive even after the game's completion, my only gripe is that there is a very low cap on the amount of levels you can get (30).

In this Mario, falling isn't instant death
In this Mario, falling isn't instant death  

Visually, Super Mario RPG is absolutely stunning for an SNES game. An excellent 3/4 overhead view in a 3D world is the setting of Mario RPG. Spell effects are marvelous; and believe me, there are a lot of them. Another plus is that the spells are actually fast, so nothing gets boring...The longest spells are the ones you have to concentrate on to add extra damage, so you don't even notice how long it's been. Thankfully, all of them aren't just "mash the button till the cows come home," like in Final Fantasy VIII, so you can kiss your fingers or thumbs and bless Square for 'timed button pressing.'

Overall, Mario RPG was a great way for Square to cease activity on the SNES and move on to better things. I had always known that this RPG would come, ever since I was a young child. I actually had been jealous of Nintendo, seeing as I always wanted a Sonic the Hedgehog RPG for SEGA, which of course, is probably still not going to come, ever. Time will tell, but as of now, Super Mario RPG still stands strong as one of the best RPGs for the SNES.

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