Paper Mario is like a pop-up book for rpg fans

Overview
I can say that besides the pop-up book reference, Paper Mario is a refreshing change of pace for rpg fans who want something easy, and fun to play. I mean who doesn’t want to save Princess Peach….right?

Ok don’t answer that question. I’m definitely sure there are some Princess Peach haters out there. :)
Of course the same thing could be said about how some people feel about Mario…but that’s another topic for another day. Paper Mario is all about fun, and ease of play with a touch of strategy involved to make you think for half a second while playing.

For those of you who didn’t know, Paper Mario is actually the predecessor to the (imo) better Super Mario RPG on the Snes. It’s not a true sequel, but in all honesty Mario is just doing the same thing he always does: save the princess from Bowser.

This game was originally released on the Nintendo 64 in Japan in August 2000, and then a few months later it was released in the US in Feb 2001. So let’s get some more info on Mario’s thinner, yet bigger adventure.

Story

Story

So as I said before yes Mario is definitely rescuing our helpless Princess Peach. It’s like she lost all that skill and finesse she had in Super Mario Bros. 2 wtfudge…Ahem, putting all of her quirks aside, that definitely is one part of the story. The other part of the story requires Mario to save the 7 Star Spirits who got captured by none other than guess who?

Paper Mario Opening

After the initial opening of the game with Bowser capturing the Star Spirits from Star Haven, and getting his grubby hands on the mysterious Star Rod, we flip to Mario and Luigi receiving a letter from Princess Peach inviting Mario (& Luigi…) to a party at the Castle. And of course after Mario arrives and gets to chat with the Princess a little, all hell breaks loose! :o

Paper Mario Intro Gameplay

In my opinion this is a game you play for being a fan more of the characters and gameplay versus the story. However Paper Mario does have its charm. I specifically like it because I grew up on bedtime stories with pop-up books. I mean that’s what it most resembles in my eyes at least. :)

Gameplay

Gameplay

~Graphics & Sound~
The title name “Paper Mario” basically states a point to be recognized about this title. All of the characters and a good majority of some of the environmental graphics look like something drawn on a piece of paper, with various color, and full on animation. Of course some parts of the world are 3-D like pipes and buildings you enter, but overall it’s well… paper everywhere! Like I stated before that is part of Paper Mario’s charm, and you should also recognize Mario’s jump sound fx, and various tunes like Bowser’s theme. It all makes a nice package for yet another Mario title.

~Let’s do battle!~
So since this is a Mario title, you will be doing all of the regular nefarious things to with our beloved hero. Such as jumping on top of enemies’ faces, warping down pipes, and basically being a better overall plumber then Luigi…you know the regular stuff. :D When you’re not stuck with the fun platforming elements you will be stuck in combat. This is by far one of the easiest rpgs you will ever play. Just warning you ahead of time. It is coincidentally also one of the most fun rpgs as well. That is after you get a certain key item called the Lucky Star. (Kind of fits into the whole star theme going on)

Imo the battles didn’t get get fun and interesting till I got this nice little item. Reason being is because you actually have to start paying attention to battles now. You can’t just press the jump or hammer actions for attacking…actually it’ll probably get you killed if you decide to never use the action commands.

“But Zleven you just said…”

Yeah I know what I said… Easiest game in the universe. Unfortunately, sometimes you’ll be fighting certain enemies and if you haven’t noticed yet the hp in this game doesn’t get to god like levels like other rpgs. Mario starts off with 10 hp. 10 whole hp to die with or live with, if you use the action command effectively. ;)

To explain the action command in brief detail, it allows Mario and friends to charge up their attacks to make an enemy take a little bit more damage. Very effective for getting rid of the various baddies you’ll encounter as you jump, skip, and hop your way to rescuing each Star Spirit. It will also let you halve incoming damage or even reduce it fully, depending on the enemy of course. It’s all about timing, and sometimes even reflexes. Let me tell you… the action command is your friend.

Action Command a-go-go!

Now the other part of combat that definitely needs to be mentioned is your allies.
As you progress in the story and start visiting new locales, you will encounter up to 8 different people who want to help Mario in some way. They all have various skills including, but not limited to: tattling on an enemy to let Mario know and enemies’ weaknesses and strengths, hitting multiple enemies, and even increasing Mario’s attack power or defense.

Goombario tattles on... Bowser?

The thing I like most about allies though is that even though you eventually will have 8 to choose from for battle purposes you only have to worry about 1 at a time. Makes things a little bit smoother instead of micromanaging 4 people in battle. Although it just requires a little bit of strategy, but its nothing overtly difficult. The other thing of note is that allies not only help you with certain skills in battle, but they can also help you in the environment as well!
Quick examples: Bombette can blow up walls, and Kooper can access items or hit switches that Mario has no access to

Now the last part of combat that should be touched upon is the badges.

Think of badges as accessories that you can you can equip or wear to make Mario stronger, better, faster…6 million dollar plumber style. They can be found in treasure chests in a lot of out of the way spots, and some can even be purchased with star pieces.

While at first some badges you get will be pretty pointless, once you start getting further and further into the game badges will become your bread and butter. They can give you new skills to blow your Flower Points (aka FP; FP is like Magic here) on. And certain ones add benefits like the picture above. You can only equip multiple Badges if you have enough Badge Points (aka BP) so make sure that when you level up you choose to raise your BP a couple times so you can use them to your maximum advantage.

Badge Menu screen

Extra Info

  • When you level up you can only increase 3 attributes: HP, FP, or BP. Usually it’s in increments of 5 so choose wisely. Although technically you could go through the whole game with 10 Hp…but only masochists do that.
  • To level up you have to defeat enemies and collect 100 star points per level.
  • Check everywhere for badge treasure chests, star pieces, and sidequests…
  • Speaking of sidequests this game has a lot of fun ones so make sure you talk to people you haven’t met before, and actually sometimes after certain events happen there might even be a sidequest available. I should also mention that if you’ve ever played Super Mario Rpg one particular sidequest will be very familiar and remind you of Jinx.

Here is a copy of the original N64 Paper Mario manual. Courtesy of Replacementdocs.com

So if you’re looking for this game you have a few options. If you have a Wii then you should be able to find it in the Wiiware store. Or if for some more then interesting reason you still have your Nintendo 64 you can check Amazon as they usually have a couple of copies laying around.

Image Gallery
This image gallery contains photos, art & screenshots for Paper Mario. Enjoy :)

Video

Paper Mario ~Random Gameplay~
Koopa Bros. Boss Fight!

Words from Z
So as you can see there are a lot of ideas present in Paper Mario that make it worthy of playing. Especially if you want to just sit back and enjoy a little comedy, and have a nice and easy game. I recommend it, but then again I’m easy to please. :D
So have you played it yet?
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