Super Mario RPG was the first Mario RPG and it certainly was not the last. The success of this game influenced the development of other great Mario RPG games from Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga, to the Paper Mario series. This isn't just some shovelware Nintendo put out with Mario's name on it to make a quick buck. It's a fantastic game.
Title: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Console: Super Nintendo
Release Date: 05/13/96
Genre: Role-Playing Game
My Ranking: #31
Squaresoft and Nintendo? What an odd combination. One company focuses on JRPG's and fancy stories while the other features a plumber with a red hat who never actually does any plumbing. This game was destined to fail miserably but I decided to give in a shot anyway. What I ended up playing was one of best RPG's ever made.
Super Mario RPG starts off like any other Mario game. Princess Toadstool got kidnapped by Bowser again and you got to rescue her sexy ass. However, upon reaching the princess, a gigantic sword appears on top the castle and blocks off the entrance, while sending the princess, Bowser and Mario to separate sides of the world.
Since Mario doesn't speak in the game, he has to explain things with his actions. To describe a bridge being destroyed, he stands on top of table, walks off it, notices there is no ground and jumps back to the table and shakes his head. Or, when being questioned as to whether he is the real Mario, he just jumps really high, which tends to impress a lot of people. The cute and humor factor here is priceless.
The battle system was also top notch. Featuring a turn-based system, Mario and his team can attack, use items, and do Mario-style special attacks, like any standard RPG. What sets this game apart though, is the "timed hits" mechanic. For every attack, including every special move, the player must press the attack button at the right time or hold it for the right amount of time in order to deal more damage. The RPG system in Super Mario RPG was more dynamic in this regard and involved more input than just selecting commands.
The music in Super Mario RPG was also superb. Some of the songs referenced older Mario games, but most of them were original tracks that seemed to fit the Mario universe. The game felt like a Mario game from every angle, except for the fact that it was a RPG.
Mario didn't just jump on people too. He used shells and hammers as weapons and one special attack had fireballs. His teammates did feature Mario characters like the Princess and even Bowser, but the new Squaresoft additions of Geno and Mallow were also interesting. Mallow is a cloud who thinks he's a tadpole and Geno is a warrior from the Star World sent to help recover the lost stars in Mario's world.
There's nothing particularly wrong with Super Mario RPG. It really was a solid RPG in its own right, even without being set in a Mario universe. Having the Mario characters was a big plus and it helped push the story and make cute references to the series. The game was fairly long, difficult enough to be entertaining but not frustrating (@#$% that optional Culex battle though), and I never remember there being a dull moment in the action or story. Seriously, if you like RPGs, or even Mario games, you'll find something in Super Mario RPG that will make you love it and keep on playing.
My Top 52:
#52 --- Star Fox 64 (N64)
#51 --- Kirby's Adventure (NES)
#50 --- Roller Coaster Tycoon (PC)
#49 --- Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)
#48 --- Metroid Prime (GC)
#47 --- Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
#46 --- Bomberman 64 (N64)
#45 --- Guitar Hero II (PS2)
#44 --- Super Street Fighter II (GEN)
#43 --- Pokemon Puzzle League (N64)
#42 --- Soul Calibur II (GC)
#41 --- Gears of War (Xbox 360)*
#40 --- Elite Beat Agents (DS)
#39 --- Call of Duty 4 (PS3)
#38 --- Super Metroid (SNES)
#37 --- The Orange Box (PS3)*
#36 --- Metal Gear Solid (PS)
#35 --- Doom (PC)
#34 --- Super Mario Kart (SNES)
#33 --- Mischief Makers (N64)
#32 --- Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
#31 --- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES)