During my Livejournal days, I remember talking about this game when this segment was still called Retro Gaming Weekends. However, the way it was brought up was very out of place, out of nowhere, and very last minute. While I mentioned Mario’s 25th anniversary in the initial article, it still feels like I didn’t give it proper thought. So I’m bringing it back here to give it the proper attention it deserves. But why am I giving it this much attention? Well, it holds a very special place in my gaming heart, and for nearly a decade has held the #1 spot in my Favorite Games of All Time list. While many games have come and gone — some being better admittedly than Super Mario RPG— they never had the level of impact this game had on my gaming habits and preferences. So sit back and get ready to take turns as on this Holiday Edition of Retro Weekends, we’ll look back at my #1 game of all time, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
Mario Will Jump And Take Turns Doing It
Right from the beginning Mario was seen as the quintessential action man, jumping from platform to platform and stomping countless enemies with fluidity. While not as fast as his rival Sonic, he was an active character that went on many adventures. So it probably surprised many when they found out that Mario would star in his first ever RPG. It certainly surprised Nintendo of America when they got the game to translate it. The game would be developed by then Squaresoft, the makers of Final Fantasy series. Shigeru Miyamoto would work closely with the development team at Square. As such, Square would combine the RPG elements of their Final Fantasy series with the platforming action of the Mario Series. What they made was an RPG that kept you active throughout the adventure, never once letting you just sit back and watch your character do things in battle.
The story of Super Mario RPG initially sees Mario doing a very Mario thing: Rescuing Peach (then still called Toadstool). After a rather epic battle with Bowser atop a couple of chandeliers, a gigantic sword with a face on it crashes into Bowser’s Castle and jettisons the three across the entire world the game takes place in. Peach is launched to Booster’s Tower, Bowser’s location is unknown (but is near Booster Tower), and Mario is sent back to his home in Mushroom Kingdom. It becomes apparent that there is an evil greater than Bowser invading the land, and it seems to have dome something while it was making its entrance before resting on Bowser’s Castle. With the bridge to the castle out, Mario and the rest the crew that joins him must find a different route to the castle.
The battles, as said earlier, plays like an RPG. Taking cues from Chrono Trigger, the battles are initiated by coming into contact with enemies on the field (or being ambushed by them). Once in battle, things play out like your standard RPG, except you’re a constant participant to the action onscreen. Say for instance you send Mario out to attack. He’ll do an uppercut to the enemy. If you press the “A” button at the right time, Mario will followup with another uppercut, increasing his damage output. All characters can do this in battle. Special Attacks are also like this, though not as simple as just pressing a button once. Some make you hold the “Y” button down, press it at the right time, or tap it repeatedly. On top of this, you’re not always helpless to enemy attacks as you can defend yourself. Just like a regular attack, if you press the “A” button at the right time during the enemy’s attack, you can block it to reduce damage received (or take no damage at all if the enemy’s weak enough). This kind of player participation in RPGs would continue into spiritual successors Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi.