Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (often abbreviated to Super Mario RPG) is a 1996 collaboration between Squaresoft (before their merge with Enix) and Nintendo. At the time that Super Mario RPG was developed, Square and Nintendo had an excellent relationship, with Square making several critically-acclaimed games on the Super Nintendo and NES. Super Mario RPG was a more story-centered version of the Mario titles on the NES and Super Nintendo that came beforehand.
Super Mario RPG was added to Nintendo's digital download service on the Wii, the Virtual Console, on Labor Day, September 1, 2008, in the United States. It was added to the Virtual Console in Europe on August 22, 2008, making Super Mario RPG available for the first time in that region. This happened during the Hanabi week, a release week Nintendo dedicates to games previously unreleased in Europe. The original Super Nintendo cartridge wouldn't work with import adapters available back then, so the game couldn't be played without an American Super Nintendo. Super Mario RPG costs the standard Super Nintendo price of 800 Nintendo Points to purchase the game (900 Nintendo Points in Europe). The game takes up 59 blocks of Wii Memory in the United States and 64 blocks of memory in Europe. The game is compatible with the Wii Classic Controller and the Nintendo GameCube controller.
The changes made to the Wii version of the game from its original SNES release are few and fairly insignificant, but here is a short list of some of the changes or differences:
- There is more slowdown in the game, which is pretty significant in some portions, such as the boss fight with JJJ.
- There are a few spots where one will see weird visual glitches, such as in battles where it will cover the main characters for a bit.
- The Fire Wall attack from enemies has changed color. Instead of being red/orange and white it is now red and black/translucent.
- The Mokuka enemy in Land's End can appear as a blue cloud instead of just white.
- Timed Hits can be made harder to perform when playing with a Classic Controller due to the face buttons on the controller being raised higher. Thus it takes a longer amount of time for one to press the button down all the way. This can make timing harder to do if one is playing with the Classic Controller or Nintendo GameCube Controller.
Super Mario RPG is one of the most unique RPGs for its time, and is still unconventional today. This is due to the fact that Super Mario RPG incorporates jumping elements into all aspects of its gameplay; from traversing the overworld, to fighting battles, the developers worked hard to make the game feel like a Mario game, and that meant a significant portion of the game needed to utilize the typical Mario gameplay of jumping. The gameplay is similar to that of later game Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga on the Game Boy Advance.
The game is seen from an isometric perspective and the game gives the player the freedom to jump on objects. Not only does this allow the player to reach places which can only be hit by jumping, but the game also has many hidden treasure chests strewn throughout the game. These chests can only be found by jumping into them from below, at which point they will appear and reward players with their contents. This is very typical of previous Mario titles, as invisible blocks would give the players rewards like stars.
Unlike most RPGs of its time, Super Mario RPG does not contain random battles. Instead, one can see enemies walking around on the overworld. If the player touches them, a battle will take place on a separate battle screen. Naturally, this means they can avoid fights if desired. Battles are menu based, which makes the game feel like a typical RPG, but setting it apart are what the game dubs "Timed Hits". Timed Hits come into play when both attacking and defending in battle. When the player attacks, whether it's with a normal attack or a "Special Attack", they can do more damage if they press a button at just the right time. This also goes for defending against attacks from an enemy. This requires the player to press the "A button" at the right time to reduce the effect of damage, or even take no damage at all.
Outside of those aspects, Super Mario RPG is a very conventional role-playing game (RPG). The player traverses the world, both towns and "dungeons", chatting with townsfolk, taking part in a very large number of mini-games, fighting enemies and bosses to level up, purchase or find items and equipment to increase stats or help in a battle and keying story sequences to move the game's plot forward (although there are no cutscenes, most of the dialogue and story takes place within the game's text windows as various characters speak). It's also significant to note that Mario is mute in this game, although he will "act out" what he wants to say at certain points, often to hilarious effect; he will even morph into other characters, an unexplained phenomenon that is treated with indifference by in-game characters.
Mini-games of all kinds can be found throughout Mario's adventure for the Seven Stars. Some of the mini-games are part of the story and the player will experience them in one form or another before they can play them at a time of their choosing, while other mini-games are completely optional. In addition to the many mini-games, there are numerous side-quests that will reward the player with items and equipment that can significantly help in Mario's adventure.
- Price: Free
- Prizes: Alto Card, Tenor Card and Soprano Card
Melody Bay can be found at Tadpole Pond and allows the player to compose "songs" by jumping on tadpoles that represent different notes (stand on the rock in front of the music lines to summon them) and each make a different sound (Mi, Do, So, Do, Re, La, Ti, Do). There are three songs one will be able to compose in order to win an item from Toadofsky (a composer with composer's block). They are relatively easy to find except for the last one. The player will gain clues to the songs they need to compose from various characters in the game.
- Price: 10 Coins
- Prizes - 20: Flower Tab, 23: Flower Jar, 25: Frog Coin, 28: Frog Coin
Like the name suggests, the goal of this game is to stomp on Goombas to rack up the most points. The Goombas pop out of four pipes. Mario stands in the middle with a green pipe in each corner, and he is tasked with jumping onto the pipe to smash a Goomba when they pop out. A small handful of Spineys will also pop out of the pipes. If Mario smashes a Goomba, a point if given. If he smashes a Spiney, three points shall be taken.
Mushroom Derby Racing
- Price: 3 Cookies
- Prizes: 3 Yoshi Cookie Items, the ability to race other Yoshis.
Mario will find the Mushroom Derby in Yo'ster Isle. First he will need to talk to Yoshi and ride him, in order to speak to the Yoshi residents, as Mario can't understand their language. One then will need to talk to the pink Yoshi near the GOAL letters, who will give out three cookies. These are what are needed to race the crowning champ of the Mushroom Derby, Boshi. Mario then needs to talk to Boshi, the racing champion of the whole island, to challenge him to race.
To race against Boshi, the player needs to alternate pressing the A and B Buttons to the beat of the music. Press the Y Button to eat a cookie, which will give one a boost of speed. Beating Boshi will net "Yoshi Cookie" items that one can use to summon Yoshi in battle (he will then eat the enemy) and allow Mario to race against other Yoshis on the island.
Moleville Mountain Mine Cart Ride
- Cost: Initially free. 10 Coins later
- Controls: A and Y to brake, B to jump, X to use a Mushroom speed boost.
- Prize: Coins
This mini-game, found on Moleville Mountain has Mario riding a mine-cart through a twisting 3D track (which uses Mode 7 effects for the 3D look). A timer in the upper right keeps track of how long it takes one to reach the end of the track. The track has a general path although the player will encounter side rides they can enter by holding right or left when they pass by them as well as turns in which they will need to break to avoid going off the track.
If the player goes off the track it takes a bit for Mario to return to the track, thus increasing the time to finish. There are also side-scrolling sections which play much differently than the 3D parts as there are platforming elements. As Mario goes through the track he can collect coins as well as Mushrooms, which he can use to boost. Initially the player will play this mini-game as part of the story, and whatever time is gotten is the time they will need to beat in order to earn more coins when the mini-game is opened later on as a game the player can play anytime at a cost of 10 Coins. Beat the previous time to earn coins. If the player wagers 30 coins and beats the old time, the player earns 50 coins.
Beetle Mania (Listed as "Game" on the Menu when it is obtained)
- Cost: 500 Coins to purchase the Game Boy, free to play afterward
- Prizes: Coins for Male and Female Beetles, a Frog Coin per Golden Beetle
Beetle Mania is a shoot 'em up in which the player controls a Beetle who can move left and right along the bottom of a static screen as Koopa Shells fall in from all angles from above. The player can shoot Stars out of the Beetle as fast as the buttons are pressed in order to break the Koopa shells. Doing so will cause them to shatter and release stars, which will break any shells they hit. But be careful! If the stars from a shattered shell hit the player, then they will die as well. To revive, the player must rapidly press the buttons, using either A or B to fire. As stars from shattered shells hit other shells they will cause them to explode. If a large enough combo is obtained, hearts will start falling from the sky. Collecting them increases the score. This game can be played at any time once it has been purchased from the Game Boy playing child in the Mushroom Kingdom Inn.
- Cost: 5 Coins
- Prizes: Coins or Frog Coins
The sky bridge is a bridge made of floating blocks that must be jumped across. Standing on one too long causes it to fall. As the player jumps across the bridge, bullet bills will shoot from the other side. There are three courses: Normal, Special and Expert. The first two courses give regular coins, while the Expert course gives Frog Coins.
Lands End Cliff Scaling
- Cost: None
- Prizes: Troopa Pin, beat previous time to earn Frog Coins
Koopa Paratroopas line a tall stone cliff with Sergeant Flutter at the top. The player must use the Koopas as platforms to make it to the top. When standing on a Koopa, it will move along a line to the next Koopa. However, the player can move freely around the Koopas to attempt to attain a faster time.
This Mario game starts out like any other. Princess Toadstool has been kidnapped by Bowser and Mario must fight his way through his castle to bring her back. During this familiar sequence, Mario fights and defeats Bowser. Right as Mario is about to claim victory and return home with the princess, a huge magical sword named Exor crashes through the castle, sending all parties flying off into the horizon. The crash flings Mario into the Warp Pipe on the roof of his house. Toad, distraught that Mario did not return with the Princess, urges Mario to return to Bowser's Keep. When he returns, he finds Exor has claimed the castle as Smithy Gang headquarters and their plan is take over the world. Smashing the bridge to Bowser's castle, Mario has to find another way around.
Mario returns home and he and Toad go to inform the Chancellor of what has happened. After talking to him, Mario runs into Mallow, who introduces himself as a frog from Tadpole Pond. He asks for Mario's help in getting his Frog Coin back from a thief called Croco. The two defeat him and return to the Mushroom Kingdom, where they find the Mushroom Kingdom taken over by Smithy's Gang. They save the townspeople and enter the castle, running into Mack, one of Smithy's lackeys, in the throne room. Defeating him, Mario receives a Star Piece, not sure what it is. With his resolve to save Princess Toadstool restored, Mario sets off with Mallow to uncover what the Star Piece means by talking to Mallow's Grandfather, Frogfucious.
The duo travels through the Kero Sewers, defeating Belome, and barrels down the Midas River. When Mario and Mallow reach Frogfucious at Tadpole Pond, he reveals that he is not really Mallow's grandfather and his real parents are out there somewhere. With another new mission, the two set off to Rose Town. Meanwhile, Bowser and what remains of his minions meet up and proclaim they will take back Bowser's Castle.
When Mario gets to Rose Town, they find the town under attack by paralyzing arrows. Looking for clues to what's happening, the party finds shelter in an inn and run into a little boy who plays with dolls. During playtime, one of the dolls, Geno, knocks out Mario and the party has to stay the night. In the middle of the night, a star gives Geno life and he walks into the Forest Maze to find and stop the source of the arrows.
After being flung from Bowser's keep, Mario tries to return, only to find that a large sword now sticking out of the keep will have none of it. While Mario is trying to open the doors, the large sword rocks the keep so hard that the bridge Mario is standing on begins to fall apart. At this point it is no longer possible to enter Bower's Castle until much later in the game.
Mallow joins the party very early in the game. After speaking to the Chancellor about the issue at Bowser's Castle, Mario meets Mallow chasing a biped crocodile thief named Croco. Croco has stolen Mallow's shopping money that was given to him by his grandfather Frogfucius. Once Mario defeats Croco and gets Mallow his money back, Mallow opts to join the party back to his home. Once they arrive and meet Frogfucius he tells Mallow that he is not a tadpole (he resembles a cloud wearing pants). Mario agrees to help Mallow find out about his true self, and Mallow joins the party for the rest of the game.
Mario first encounters Geno as a doll. In Rosetown, Mario will enter a pub and find a child named Gaz playing "Super Mario" with a Mario, Toadstool, Bowser, and Geno doll. It is during this time that the otherworldly traveler decides to utilize the body of the doll to quest against Smithy. He/She/It then runs off into the Forest Maze while everyone is asleep. Mario eventually finds Geno in the Forest Maze, where they team up to defeat Bowyer, a lunatic bow-like creature that is raining hell upon Rosetown by firing arrows that freeze people in place.
Note: Geno is merely a name of convenience, the actual name of this character is ♥♪!?; it's much easier to say Geno in conversation.
After the incident at Bowser's Castle, Princess Toadstool lands on the lap (literally) of the man-child Booster in Booster's Tower. Booster is the 7th male in the family as indicated by the six other portraits in his palace. He believes that Toadstool is a gift from above and immediately sets about trying to marry her, before Mario and party intervene.
With his keep destroyed, Bowser seeks to dominate other venues after landing near Booster's tower. He shows up a few times in passing while Mario is questing in Moleville, but they don't make contact until the arrival at Booster Tower. Bowser consistently fails at getting inside of the Tower and ultimately decides to team up with Mario.
Super Mario RPG is well-known for its comedic touches. The game's humor and style are all its own, though future Mario RPGs would replicate it to some extent. Much of the game's charm and comedy come from Mario himself, whom despite his silence, has a wide range of funny and expressive animations. Much of the humor works in a very slapstick manner, such as Mario's often violent expressions, characters' prat-falls when an obvious point is made, and the constant bumbling actions by the game's many NPCs.
The game also pokes fun at its protagonist and video game semblances to humorous effect.
One example of this is when Geno is first encountered; he is just one "action figure" in a line-up of action figures that includes Mario, Bowser and Princess Peach. A young child, Gaz, is playing with them in the Rosetown Inn and when he discovers that Mario is "THE MARIO" (which is proved by an elaborate jump, something that happens throughout the game in order for Mario to "prove" who he really is), he asks that Mario join him. What proceeds is Gaz playing with Mario as Gaz and Mario exchange "blows." In the end, Mario gets "knocked out" from a super attack that Gaz unleashed on him with his "secret weapon", the Geno doll.
There are a number of secret challenges in the game, and once Mario completes them he will get special Items.
In Monstro town an NPC will challenge Mario to complete over 30 jumps. This is a reference to Mario's special 'Super Jump' and 'Ultra Jump' abilities. Once 30 jumps is completed return to the NPC and he/she will reward him with the Attack Scarf accessory.
Perhaps the most difficult item in the game to obtain. Similar to the Attack Scarf, the Super Suit can be obtained if Mario completes 100 successful jumps with the 'Super Jump' or 'Ultra Jump' ability. When he has completed this task he can return to the NPC in Monstro town, and claim his prize. This item vastly increases attack level, and defense level.
During the course of the game, many Easter eggs and hidden characters are available to encounter.
Samus Aran Cameo
Samus Aran is located in two places in Super Mario RPG. First, she is in the top room in Booster's Tower where there is a toy box in the room. Inside, there is a Samus Aran action figure. The second location is at the bottom of the Mushroom Kindom Castle's guest house. She is only there after the party finishes defeating Yaridovich, and before going to Land's End. Upon speaking with her, she will say that she is resting up for Mother Brain.
After getting the third star, Link will be in Rosetown's inn. In the top floor's farthest bed he will be sleeping there. Upon speaking with him, a familiar Legend of Zelda sound effect plays.
Culex is located in Monstro Town. There is a sealed door there that can be opened with the Shiny Stone. In Moleville, there is a person who will sell the party fireworks. After purchasing some, the party must go outside to where there are five crates and a little girl mole sitting down. She is willing to trade her Shiny Stone for the party's fireworks.
Culex is a throw-back to classic Final Fantasy bosses, and is the hardest boss in the game, even more so then the final boss Smithy. Culex is described as a Dark Knight from Vanda, and he has crossed over to Mario's realm in order to defeat the Dark Mage. Culex is not able to stay in Mario's world for long, for if he does it will lead to his destruction. Before Culex departs, he wishes to battle the strongest knight of the world.
While fighting Culex, the boss battle theme from Final Fantasy IV plays, and upon defeating Culex the pre Final Fantasy VII victory theme plays. There are also other references to Final Fantasy in the game, but Culex is the most prominent. Upon defeat, Culex rewards the player with the Quartz Charm and departs.
The soundtrack to Super Mario RPG was a collaboration between Yoko Shimomura and Koji Kondo. Nobuo Uematsu also appears on the soundtrack, composing the Culex songs. It was released in Japan on March 25th, 1996 by NTT Publishing.
Super Mario RPG Original Sound Version
Total length: 53:37
- Happy Adventure, Delightful Adventure
- Let's Try
- In the Flower Garden
- Koopa Castle (First Time)
- Fight Against Koopa
- The Sword Descends and the Stars Scatter
- Super Pipe House
- Where Am I Going?
- The Road Is Full of Dangers
- Fight Against Monsters
- Hello, Happy Kingdom
- A New Partner
- Still, the Road Is Full of Dangers
- Invincible Star
- Fight Against a Somewhat Stronger Monster
- Here's Some Weapons!
- Fight Against an Armed Boss
- Got a Star Piece
- The Dungeon Is Full of Monsters
- Let's Go Down the Wine River
- Grandpa and the Delightful Tadpoles
- Song about Tossing.
- Let's Play "Geno"
- Mount Sploogemore.
- Beware the Forest's Mushrooms
- Rose Town
- From Inside the Earthen Pipe
- Welcome! Yo'ster Island!!
- Let's Race
- Hard-Working Moles Are Good Moles
- Docaty Mountain Railroad
- Welcome to Bukki Tower
- And My Name's Bukki
- Long Long Ago...
- Heart Beating a Little Faster
- The Merry Mary Bell Rings
- The Starlight's Flower
- Sunken Ship
- Going Shopping in Ripple Town
- My Paradise -Monstro Town-
- Fight Against Culex
- Victory over Culex
- Conversation with Culex
- You and Toadofski Create Exquisite Music
- Let's Do the Fooka-Fooka! (Fluff Fluff)
- Margarie Margarita
- Dodo's Coming!!
- Barrel Volcano
- The Axem Rangers Drop In
- Koopa Castle (Second Time)
- Weapons Factory
- Fight Against Kajidoh
- Fight Against Kajidoh, Who Likes Transforming
- Goodbye Geno/Seeing Dreams Through the Window of the Stars
- Happy Parade, Delightful Parade/And the Parade Draws to a Close...
- The End!