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Paper Mario
Platform:  Nintendo 64
# of Players:  1
Developer:  Intelligent Systems
Publisher:  Nintendo
Features:  Rumble Pack
Ratings:  Everyone
Memory Req.:  none
---NEWS FLASH---Mario has gone 2D. In a move that can only be described by witnesses as “undeniably retro” Nintendo has taken Mario out of his 3D lifestyle where he was enjoying himself in every game since Mario 64, and plunked him back into his 2D world. When asked to comment Mario simply said, “It’sa like I’ma back on da old Nintendo, ‘cept betta.” Incoherent as always, Mario fails to see that his new adventure is more of a sequel to Mario RPG on the Super Nintendo than anything else. Possessing all of the RPG elements like a long twisting and turning story line and the ability to build up your characters, Paper Mario is a fun albeit kid-oriented adventure that has much more depth than you would expect from something with characters made form paper.

It seems that once again Mario’s main squeeze Princess Peach Toadstool has been kidnapped. She was enjoying a little get together at her castle outside of Toad Town when from the ground another darker more sinister castle emerged right underneath Peach’s dwelling. It flew off into the sky and took Peach and most of her party-goers with it. A few Toads and Luigi, Mario’s brother escaped. Luigi was quoted as saying, “It’sa that blasted creep Bowser I know it. He’sa always beena jealous ofa my brodder. That’sa cuza Mario always beats him up and getsa the Princess.” Sources close to the incident have also found out that Bowser has taken the famous Star Rod from the Star Spirits. This rod, which is used to grant wishes whenever someone wishes upon an star, is a very powerful tool and is suspected to be the driving force behind Bowser’s successful kidnapping. To keep the Star Spirits under control Bowser has separated them and locked them up in different parts of the kingdom. What’s more is that Bowser has mounted some of his best henchman to guard the imprisoned stars.

THIS JUST IN…Mario has been just been found in a village near the hole that was left after Peach’s castle was stolen. His is recovering and will undoubtedly begin a quest to free the stars and defeat Bowser thereby saving the princess once again. To do this he will have to enlist the help of a number of allies along the way and equip himself with some of the 80 possible badges that are scattered along the way. You see each badge gives Mario a different ability or strength. Some may allow him to do a special move while other will give him strength or power. There are many allies that will join Mario’s party along the way. Each of them has a certain ability that can be useful in his travels as well as in battle. For instance the cute bombette can use her exploding technique to blow up cracked walls and enemies.

Bowser has hidden the 7 Star Spirits in the farthest corners of the kingdom and it is going to take all of Mario’s cunning and strength in order to get them all. He will have to solve various puzzles and figure out the best way to transverse each of the different landscapes. Thankfully many of the levels are reminiscent of Mario’s earlier adventures. There is a desert level as well as a snow level. There are a couple of castles featuring falling block and fire poles. There are also some of the enemies that Mario is used to fighting like the Koopa Troopas and Hammer Bros. as well as some new faces. To defeat these enemies, Mario will use his trusty jump attack as well as a technique he learned in his first adventure against Donkey Kong. That’s right Mario is packing a trusty hammer. It works really well against the spiked-headed guys. Keep in mind that he will also have extra attacks and power-ups provided to him by equipping the badges
that he finds. The battles themselves are turn-based and require a keen knowledge of every party members strengths and weaknesses.

Some may be turned off by the idea that Mario has to has conquer this adventure in 2D but let me assure you, this is no old school lame game. The graphics in this piece of work are clear detailed and very diverse. Though the characters have been reduced to paper thin versions of their former selves that is no reason to think that the game does not live up to N64 expectations graphically. Plus the real excitement in the game comes from the RPG qualities that it features in spades. Throughout the kingdom there are countless numbers of friendly creatures that Mario will have to converse with as well as some of the activities that we have all come to love. For instance, if Mario chooses he can partake in some mini-games in the local arcade as well as collect and raise many different kinds of pigs on the farm. There are coins and gems to collect and use. He can stop at the post office to read mail for himself and members of his party or go shopping at any of our many stores. And when the citizens of the kingdom finds out that the famous Mario is in town they will no doubt ask him to do favors for them in exchange for whatever trinkets they may have to offer. There is so much to do that Mario may get distracted from his mission. He must sway too far for the princess and all us citizens rely on him for success.

Unlike what you may think about the Princess, she is not a helpless kidnapee. Though she has failed to help in any way possible in the many times she has gotten kidnapped that does not mean that she is incapable of doing anything to help herself. In fact on this particular kidnapping the princess has been reported as having found a secret way out of her bedroom where she is being held and has eluded Bowser through skill and cunning. Though she probably will need help in getting out of the prison in the sky that she is trapped in, she is not a helpless captive either.

In closing let’s all wish Mario a fun-filled exciting adventure. It will not be easy, but nothing he gets involved in ever is. Mario will have to perfect his skills of strategy as well as his keen jumping reflexes in order to pass this level. Rest assured anyone who has enjoyed Mario RPG will flip over Paper Mario. Let us hope Mario is successful and does Bowser in for good this time. Thank you and goodnight.

Chris Shade

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