Retro Weekends – Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Super Mario RPG (4)

First Contact

I first encountered the game from the commercial that aired on TV. I thought it looked pretty damn cool. However, it didn’t quite click with me that this was and RPG. Um… Well, the acronym “RPG” was in the title, but I had no idea what an RPG was, at least by name anyway. I had played Final Fantasy IV before this (and initially hated it) and didn’t know that what I played was an RPG. So with Super Mario RPG, I thought it was going to be another platforming game, but this time in that isometric pseudo-3D style. When I got the game as a gift in Christmas 1997 (one year after the game’s release), in came my surprise that the gameplay would be just like a Final Fantasy game. Hilariously I was a little scared that my mom would be pissed off at how the gameplay was similar Final Fantasy IV and think that she wasted her money. That didn’t happen, but Super Mario RPG would become the gateway drug to me playing more RPGs in the years to come.

Super Mario RPG (5)

Memorable Moments

This game, to me, is peppered with many little moments that’ll be hard to reduce to just three paragraphs. I guess I start with a the little ones: Trying to get all the frog coins in Midas River (then trying to get all the coins possible afterwards). The mine cart ride at Moleville, the discovery that Mallow wasn’t a tadpole, the Marrymore Marriage incident, Valentina’s plan to take over Nimbus Land, Croco’s douchebaggery, and so on. One event that did stick out to me was Seaside Town and the Sunken Ship. It was always so… suspicious how everyone acted. Then that battle with Yaridovich. I gotta say, it was probably one of the cooler, climactic moments of the game.

Super Mario RPG (6)

But maybe one of the funniest moments had to be The Axem Rangers. I saw them and I was like, “Oh snap, it’s the Power Rangers!” My sisters, being big Power Ranger fans, saw them and just had to laugh. And that poor Axem Yellow. One look and my sisters said, “Damn, Trini got FAT!” Though in all seriousness, this battle was tough as nails. Probably one of the harder parts was not realizing to take out Axem Pink quickly as she would constantly use Petal Dance, causing the mushroom status effect for anyone not ready to defend against that. As a mushroom, you can’t do anything. And you’re already outnumbered 5-3. I spent the better part of month trying to take out these guys.

Super Mario RPG (8)

Though one annoying boss had to be Bowyer. While the Axem Rangers were a pain later in the game, at least all you had to do was figure out which Ranger was better to take out first. Bowyer on the other hand was just an ass that took English lessons from Yoda. Once he brought in the button locking, it all became annoying. Basically Bowyer would lock a button from time to time, disabling its use in battle until he locked another one. Locking “A” disabled attacking, locking “Y” took out your Special Attacks, and locking “X” nixed your item usage. As a kid, I hated when he locked up “Y” since special attacks caused him the most damage. Second was “X” since locking meant not being able to use Pick Me Ups to revive fallen allies, or using Honey Syrup to replenish Mallow’s FP so he could use HP Rain.

Super Mario RPG (7)

I’m probably running this section too long, but it has to be talked about. Culex. Like I said some paragraphs ago, I was scared that my mom would be pissed to see that this game was practically similar to Final Fantasy (FFIV at the time). While I didn’t have to in the end, I tried to convince my mom that this game was much more different than Final Fantasy, pointing out that I still had control over the actions in battle. One night I decide to figure out how to open that door in Monstro Town. I get the Shiny Rock from Moleville and come back here. I open the door and see some weird figure show up. Then when the battle starts, that music. “Oh my god it is like Final Fantasy!” I was so afraid that I put the volume down in hopes that she wouldn’t hear the song (since that intro bassline is recognizable by everyone in the family). The battle itself was no cakewalk though. I was far outnumbered and severely under-leveled. After facing the Axem Rangers, I learned the tactic of putting someone on Healing Duty and the other two on Attacking duty (with one of them on secondary healing just in case).

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