Paper MarioDeveloper(s)Intelligent SystemsPublisher(s)NintendoDirector(s)Ryota Kawade
Paper Mario[a] is a role-playing video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 home video game console. It was first released in Japan in 2000 and in the rest of the world in 2001. Paper Mario was re-released for Nintendo's Wii Virtual Console in July 2007 as well as Wii U Virtual Console in 2015.
Paper Mario is set in the Mushroom Kingdom as the protagonist Mario tries to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, who has imprisoned the seven "Star Spirits", lifted her castle into the sky and has successfully defeated his foe after stealing the Star Rod from Star Haven and making himself invulnerable to any attacks. To save Mushroom Kingdom, rescue Peach, get the castle back, and defeat Bowser, Mario must locate the Star Spirits, who can negate the effects of the stolen Star Rod, by defeating Bowser's minions guarding the star spirits. The player controls Mario and a number of partners to solve puzzles in the game's overworld and defeat enemies in a turn-based battle system. The battles are unique in that the player can influence the effectiveness of attacks by performing required controller inputs known as "action commands".
Paper Mario is the second Mario role-playing game to be released (following Super Mario RPG) and is the first installment for the Paper Mario series. Paper Mario is the predecessor to the GameCube game Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the Wii game Super Paper Mario, the 3DS game Paper Mario: Sticker Star and the Wii U game Paper Mario: Color Splash. The game received critical acclaim upon release, attaining an aggregate score of 88% from GameRankings and 93% from Metacritic. It was rated the 63rd best game made on a Nintendo system in Nintendo Power's "Top 200 Games" list in 2006.Contents
Paper Mario combines traditional role-playing game (RPG) elements with concepts and features from the Mario series. For the majority of the game, the player controls Mario, who can jump and use his hammer to overcome physical obstacles placed in the game's overworld. Many of the game's puzzles and boundaries are based upon the abilities of Mario's partners, who each have a specialized skill required for progression in the game. The player accumulates partners as they advance into different locations; only one partner can accompany Mario in the overworld, although the player can interchange them at any time.
These characters also assist Mario in the game's turn-based battles, where damage inflicted against them results in temporary paralysis as the characters do not have individual HP statistics. Attacks in the game are similar to those in traditional RPGs, although the player can influence the power of a move when attacking or defending by timing a button-press accurately or performing some other action command as required. Mario and his partners have a finite capacity to perform special moves, with each of these consuming a particular number of flower points (FP) when performed. Such statistics can be increased by earning Star Points (experience points) in combat to level up. There is also an on-screen gauge to display Star Energy, which is required to perform another type of move that accumulate in number as the player advances through the game. The player can locate hidden battle upgrades in the game's overworld, which promotes one partner character to a new rank at a time.
Progression through Paper Mario depends upon interaction with the game's non-player characters (NPCs), who will often offer clues or detail the next event in the storyline. As in other RPGs, the player can find or purchase items from NPCs to help in and outside of combat. Badges can also be obtained that yield bonuses ranging from added moves to gradual health restoration during combat; each consumes a set number of Badge Points (BP), meaning Mario can only equip a limited number of badges at a time. Princess Peach is playable at particular points in the game as a recurring sidequest. The objectives and actions of each transition to Peach vary, although most are stealth-based.Plot and setting
The game is set in the Mushroom Kingdom, beginning as Mario and Luigi are relaxing in their house when the mail arrives with a letter, which turns out to be an invitation from Peach to a party. Mario and Luigi then head to the castle, and as Mario is about to have some quiet time with Peach, her castle is suddenly lifted by Bowser's fortress. After his invasion and victory over Mario, the attached fortress serves as the location for playable side quests of the kidnapped Peach. In the main quest, Mario tries to retrieve all of the 7 imprisoned Star Spirits on land, where most of the locations are linked to the central Toad Town, which acts as the game's hub area. The story's main conflict arises when Bowser invades Star Haven, the residence for the Star Spirits, and steals the Star Rod.Story and characters
The game's story centers on Mario as he tries to reclaim the seven Star Spirits, who have been incarcerated in playing cards by Bowser and his assistant, Kammy Koopa. Their combined power is required to negate the effects of the Star Rod, which makes Bowser invincible. Once Mario rescues all of them, he uses their assistance to defeat Bowser and rescue Peach. The story is presented in the context of a novel, with each adventure involving the rescue of a Star Spirit denoted as a single chapter. Peach is playable between chapters, where she allies with a star kid named Twink in the castle to relay vital information to Mario regarding his quest.
Mario allies with eight partners in total, each of whom represents a different type of enemy from the Mario series. These allies are Goombario, a Goomba who has the ability to tell the player about any character, environment, and enemy; Kooper, a Koopa Troopa with the ability to throw his shell at otherwise unreachable objects; Bombette, a Bob-omb with the ability to blow up weak parts of walls; Parakarry, a Paratroopa with the ability to help Mario cross gaps too large to jump across; Lady Bow, a Boo with the ability to make Mario become invisible and transparent; Watt, a Li'l Sparky with the ability to light up rooms and reveal hidden objects; Sushie, a Cheep-Cheep with the ability to allow Mario to swim; and Lakilester, a Lakitu with the ability to allow Mario to traverse dangerous environments, such as spikes and lava.
After Peach's castle is sent back to the ground and Mario defeats Bowser, he recounts his tale to Luigi, who had remained at home while Mario went on the adventure. Peach throws a huge party to honor Mario and his allies for saving the entire kingdom, which is then followed by a parade during the credits. In the end, Mario and Peach exit their parade float and gaze up the sky, seeing fireworks.Development
Paper Mario was developed by Intelligent Systems. Kumiko Takeda and Kaori Aoki wrote the game's script, while Naohiko Aoyama was the art director responsible for the game's distinctive graphical style. The game was initially called Super Mario RPG 2, was slated for release on the 64DD, and was first revealed at Nintendo Space World '97, a former video game trade show hosted by Nintendo. Critics compared the game's 2D character style to PaRappa the Rapper. Shigeru Miyamoto, who consulted on the project, stated that the game was being developed with amateur gamers in mind. He had earlier revealed at E3 that around twenty developers were actively involved with the project. Paper Mario was re-released on the Wii Virtual Console in 2007, and the Wii U Virtual Console in 2015. The game was also released for the iQue Player in 2004.Music Mario Story Original SoundtrackSoundtrack album by Yuka Tsujiyoko and Taishi SendaReleased
The game's soundtrack was first released in Japan on September 21, 2000, with the game's original title by Enterbrain, and distributed by the magazine Famitsu. It was followed in the United States a few months later as a Nintendo Power exclusive with the illustration from the international game cover. It included both the original music to the game, as well as sound effects, in 78 tracks on two discs. All of the game's compositions were written by Yuka Tsujiyoko, with reprise arrangement of previous Super Mario themes by Koji Kondo. The game's other event and sound effects music were composed by Taishi Senda. The game's music mostly received positive reviews, with Lucas M. Thomas of IGN describing it as "vividly appointed with catchy, expressive tunes and comical audio cues."Track listing Disk 1 Disk 2 1. Story of the Stolen Spirits 1. Princess in Distress 2. Main Title 2. Hang in There, Peach! 3. A Party at Peach's Castle 3. Twink's Theme 4. Mario's Theme 4. Jade Jungle Theme 5. March Ahead 5. Welcome to Yoshi's Village 6. Goomba Village Theme 6. Search for the Fearsome 5 7. Battle Fanfare 7. Raphael the Raven 8. Hey You! 8. Hot Times in Mt. Lavalava 9. Gates of Goomba Castle 9. Escape From Mt. Lavalava 10. Goomba King's Decree 10. Lava Piranha Attack 11. Toad Town Theme 11. Go! Mario! Go! 12. Shy Guy Riot 12. Clouds Over Flower Fields 13. Nice To Meet You 13. Flower Field Rondo 14. A Kingdom in Chaos 14. Lakilester the Great! 15. Fuzzys Stole My Shell 15. Huff N. Puff's Theme 16. Koopa Village Theme 16. Huffin' and Puffin' 17. Koopa Bros. Fortress 17. Cold Reception in Shiver City 18. Bill Blaster! Go Faster! 18. Detective Mario 19. Koopa Bros. Keep Cool 19. Snow Road 20. Trojan Bowser 20. Starborn Valley Trail 21. Attack of the Koopa Bros. 21. Over Shiver Mountain 22. Toad Town Variations 22. Crystal Palace Crawl 23. Mt. Rugged Theme 23. Freeze! 24. Dry Dry Desert Trek 24. A City in the Stars 25. Mysterious Dry Dry Outpost 25. Shooting Star Summit 26. Dry Dry Ruins Quest 26. Star Way 27. Chomp Attack 27. Sanctuary! 28. Forever Forest Theme 28. Siege on Bowser's Castle 29. Approach to the Mansion 29. Angry Bowser 30. Boo's Mansion Theme 30. Bowser's Rage 31. Gusty Gulch Adventure 31. Wish of the Princess 32. Tubba Blubba's Castle 32. King of the Koopas 33. The Castle Crumbles 33. Beware! Bowser's Castle! 34. Tubba's Heart 34. Star Spirits' Request 35. Ghost Gulping 35. Goodbye, Twink! 36. Shy Guys Toy Box 36. Princess Peach Saved 37. All Board! 37. Victory Parade 38. General Guy's March 38. The Celebration Continues 39. Keeping Pace 39. Mario and Peach's Theme Reception and legacy ReceptionAggregate scoresAggregatorScoreGameRankings88.81%
Paper Mario received critical acclaim. IGN's Matt Casamassina praised the game's accessibility, commenting that "it serves as the perfect introductory game to any person hoping to explore the genre". Nonetheless, other reviewers complained about the "brain-dead easy" puzzles and bosses requiring "basic strategy at best". The game's nostalgic value was lauded, with reviewers noting the sense of familiarity with the Mario series present in the game's settings and characters. The game has often been compared to the previous Mario RPG title, Super Mario RPG. Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell judged that "Paper Mario is a vastly superior game to SMRPG", while IGN compared the game's simple plot unfavourably with the SNES game and RPGFan claimed that some of Paper Mario's story was copied from it. RPGFan also questioned the name of Paper Mario, as there were, in their opinion, insufficient gameplay features or aspects which used the paper theme to justify the name.
Critics lauded the game's blend of RPG and platforming aspects. GameSpot noted the "exciting and somewhat strategic" battle system, which requires the player exploit the enemies' weak points. The "refreshing" action command features was praised in particular for adding originality to a battle formula that was present in many games of the same genre. IGN claimed the game was "the best RPG for Nintendo 64", calling it "fantastically deep, intuitively designed, and wonderfully rewarding". Despite this, enemy design itself was bemoaned for being "corny and generic", with notable exceptions to some of the Paper Mario's original boss characters. Eurogamer noted how "Of the various characters you meet, none is of less importance than any other", welcoming the partner characters and their relating puzzles. GameSpot praised the game's use of humour and side quests, with references to the control of Peach in particular.
The reaction to the game's visuals was generally positive. IGN noted some paper-based visual effects such as when Mario folds in a bed to sleep, but complained about character zoom-ins, which revealed "a pixelated mass of colors". Although reviewers claimed that the novel graphical style was initially confusing, most welcomed the style eventually, with GameSpot claiming that it was "extremely well done". The audio was also mainly praised, although reviewers criticised the lack of voice acting and character-specific sound effects. RPGFan were particularly critical of the game's "generic filler music", despite enjoying use of multiple songs simultaneously.
The game was also well received upon release for the Virtual Console, with IGN's Lucas M. Thomas stating "it's held up very well even placed into context against its GameCube and Wii era sequels, and it's an RPG for goodness sakes". Paper Mario also proved popular on the Virtual Console, reaching a high of "second most downloaded game" in the US in August 2007.
Paper Mario was the top selling game in Japan on the week of its release, selling more than 276,000 copies, and the top-selling game for two weeks in other regions. It was ranked #141 on Electronic Gaming Monthly's "Greatest 200 Videogames of their Time" in February 2006, the 63rd best game made on a Nintendo system in Nintendo Power's "Top 200 Games" list, and the 13th greatest Nintendo 64 game of all time by the same magazine. It currently ranks as the sixth-highest scoring Nintendo 64 game on Metacritic, the ninth highest rated video game of 2001, and the highest-scoring Nintendo 64 game released that year.See also