1. Paper Mario

Re: Paper Mario

Paper Mario 2 - review

Much admired by gamers who stuck with the Nintendo 64, the visually creative Paper Mario has finally spawned a polished sequel on the GameCube. As Paper Mario RPG begins Mario receives a letter from Princess Peach, and dutifully sets sail to Hoodlum Town, only to discover Lord Batsugaruf of the Megabaten has kidnapped her. From here the player embarks upon a quest to collect seven Star Stones, stop some diabolical evil, and rescue the Princess. Along the way Mario visits an unusual forest and a village with a terrible curse, reaches outer space, helps a sleuthing detective, and becomes a star wrestler.

Hoodlum Town acts as the game's central hub, which Mario explores further as the game progresses, using abilities earned along the way. This traditional RPG setting gives us item shops, inns, loiterers offering poor conversation, and tasks of the nature 'get item A from character X, then give item A to character Y to get item B'. These elements are played out as very standard 16-bit RPG fare; functional but unremarkable. Thankfully Paper Mario RPG does add a generous dollop of charm to its cast of characters, including some entertaining back story featuring Peach and Bowser.

During his travels, Mario meets several companions who join him, each with their own special abilities. Party members can fight in battle arenas, and also help negotiate puzzles and platforms. Christunu the Goomba offers advice, Vivian can hide Mario in her shadow, baby Yoshi is able to jump long distances, Nokataro can smash blocks with his shell, and so on. You will often rely on more than one companion's abilities, as well as Mario's own, to overcome a single well-crafted puzzle. The imagination and quality shown by some of these challenges puts the RPG questing to shame; there are the ingredients here for a cracking little platform puzzler.

Getting down to it, the 'Action Battle System' is the real heart of this game: an action-oriented take on turn based battling. Offensive moves are executed by well-timed input commands, which isn't the cute bit of design fluff you might imagine. Later battles depend heavily upon the player mastering each character's attack moves, and even how to block each enemy's attack (by hitting B at the moment of impact). Battles take place in a 2D plane, with some attacks that only affect the nearest enemy, or enemies in a certain position. This straightforward setup rewards good attack strategies that eliminate the most dangerous opponents first, and that allow you to plan moves in advance.

The most striking aspect of Paper Mario RPG is the 'picture book' visual style of the first game, given greater justice here on the GameCube. Every visual element within the game is designed to fit this flattened aesthetic, weaving the idea of paper construction into the gameplay itself. Characters resemble printed images cut from Nintendo game manuals of old, who are literally paper-thin. Mario wanders around 'sets' that look like miniature models, with broad strokes of colour and simple physical design. Battles take place in a single theatre, with layers of painted scenery propped up in the background, cleverly poking fun at the approximation found in battle arenas from other games.

This paper design leaks into the gameplay in two main ways. Mario himself can attain special abilities based on paper folding (without giving too much away), allowing him to reach the hitherto unreachable. These paper abilities are brilliantly realised, and using them to discover a new area or hidden room is a very satisfying experience. Paper is also used as a visual signature throughout - 3D elements become 2D sheets of paper that are folded, flipped-over, torn, turned like pages in a book, and so on. These transformations are always impressive, although rarely depend on the player thinking 'paper' in order to trigger them.

As the story unfurls, it's clear the designers have had a little fun with the prized Nintendo intellectual property, and the unusual picture book game world. Some characters address 'the people behind the TV' (and others ask what that could possibly mean), there’s a running joke of Mario being something of a “ladies’ man” who is kissed by female characters, and Luigi's main role in the game is to bore Mario. The game world is, however, predictably consistent once you've grown accustomed to it; there are no substantial surprises to be had from the game's paper construction. So while it's true Intelligent Systems have dropped-in a few wry jokes and references, Paper Mario RPG is a long way from providing the kind of subversion you might have hoped for (Bowser's wonderful mini game excepted).

By the time you reach the end, Paper Mario RPG will have presented a considerable challenge; most players will find their game time clocking-in at thirty to forty hours. The shortcomings of the RPG exploration is made up for by the endearing characterisation, and splendid battle system. It is curious, then, that Mario himself is the least charismatic character in the game; his black, empty, beady little eyes betray his empty in-game personality. This may have been utterly intentional, as Mario never questions or offers an opinion - that is left to the player - but a strong narrative device is lost. In balance then, despite placing the value of its colourful cast above providing a compelling story, Paper Mario RPG is a visually original, addictive and enjoyable game.

ntsc-uk score 7/10 (Impressive)
  • Paper Mario 2 - review

    Much admired by gamers who stuck with the Nintendo 64, the visually creative Paper Mario has finally spawned a polished sequel on the GameCube. As Paper Mario RPG begins Mario receives a letter from Princess Peach, and dutifully sets sail to Hoodlum Town, only to discover Lord Batsugaruf of the Megabaten has kidnapped her. From here the player embarks upon a quest to collect seven Star Stones, stop some diabolical evil, and rescue the Princess. Along the way Mario visits an unusual forest and a village with a terrible curse, reaches outer space, helps a sleuthing detective, and becomes a star wrestler.

    Hoodlum Town acts as the game's central hub, which Mario explores further as the game progresses, using abilities earned along the way. This traditional RPG setting gives us item shops, inns, loiterers offering poor conversation, and tasks of the nature 'get item A from character X, then give item A to character Y to get item B'. These elements are played out as very standard 16-bit RPG fare; functional but unremarkable. Thankfully Paper Mario RPG does add a generous dollop of charm to its cast of characters, including some entertaining back story featuring Peach and Bowser.

    During his travels, Mario meets several companions who join him, each with their own special abilities. Party members can fight in battle arenas, and also help negotiate puzzles and platforms. Christunu the Goomba offers advice, Vivian can hide Mario in her shadow, baby Yoshi is able to jump long distances, Nokataro can smash blocks with his shell, and so on. You will often rely on more than one companion's abilities, as well as Mario's own, to overcome a single well-crafted puzzle. The imagination and quality shown by some of these challenges puts the RPG questing to shame; there are the ingredients here for a cracking little platform puzzler.

    Getting down to it, the 'Action Battle System' is the real heart of this game: an action-oriented take on turn based battling. Offensive moves are executed by well-timed input commands, which isn't the cute bit of design fluff you might imagine. Later battles depend heavily upon the player mastering each character's attack moves, and even how to block each enemy's attack (by hitting B at the moment of impact). Battles take place in a 2D plane, with some attacks that only affect the nearest enemy, or enemies in a certain position. This straightforward setup rewards good attack strategies that eliminate the most dangerous opponents first, and that allow you to plan moves in advance.

    The most striking aspect of Paper Mario RPG is the 'picture book' visual style of the first game, given greater justice here on the GameCube. Every visual element within the game is designed to fit this flattened aesthetic, weaving the idea of paper construction into the gameplay itself. Characters resemble printed images cut from Nintendo game manuals of old, who are literally paper-thin. Mario wanders around 'sets' that look like miniature models, with broad strokes of colour and simple physical design. Battles take place in a single theatre, with layers of painted scenery propped up in the background, cleverly poking fun at the approximation found in battle arenas from other games.

    This paper design leaks into the gameplay in two main ways. Mario himself can attain special abilities based on paper folding (without giving too much away), allowing him to reach the hitherto unreachable. These paper abilities are brilliantly realised, and using them to discover a new area or hidden room is a very satisfying experience. Paper is also used as a visual signature throughout - 3D elements become 2D sheets of paper that are folded, flipped-over, torn, turned like pages in a book, and so on. These transformations are always impressive, although rarely depend on the player thinking 'paper' in order to trigger them.

    As the story unfurls, it's clear the designers have had a little fun with the prized Nintendo intellectual property, and the unusual picture book game world. Some characters address 'the people behind the TV' (and others ask what that could possibly mean), there’s a running joke of Mario being something of a “ladies’ man” who is kissed by female characters, and Luigi's main role in the game is to bore Mario. The game world is, however, predictably consistent once you've grown accustomed to it; there are no substantial surprises to be had from the game's paper construction. So while it's true Intelligent Systems have dropped-in a few wry jokes and references, Paper Mario RPG is a long way from providing the kind of subversion you might have hoped for (Bowser's wonderful mini game excepted).

    By the time you reach the end, Paper Mario RPG will have presented a considerable challenge; most players will find their game time clocking-in at thirty to forty hours. The shortcomings of the RPG exploration is made up for by the endearing characterisation, and splendid battle system. It is curious, then, that Mario himself is the least charismatic character in the game; his black, empty, beady little eyes betray his empty in-game personality. This may have been utterly intentional, as Mario never questions or offers an opinion - that is left to the player - but a strong narrative device is lost. In balance then, despite placing the value of its colourful cast above providing a compelling story, Paper Mario RPG is a visually original, addictive and enjoyable game.

    ntsc-uk score 7/10 (Impressive)
  • nintendo ds of paper mario… toch maar de ds nemen…
  • Ohw, ik wou Paper Mario juist gaan halen :S
    Op welke punten is het slechter dan Mario&Luigi dan?

    Paper Mario schijnt wel wat langer te zijn..
  • weet iemand een goede site om paper mario te kopen voor een goedkoper bedrag dan 60 EURI?
  • Ik moet die lens nú hebben, ik moet een vliegticket hebbe naar een wolkenstad
    Waar kan je in Paper mario nou een lens vinden?
  • Wat is het bowser stukje?
  • Ik hield de point eens beetje in balans =)
  • ok, inmiddels wat uurtjes kunnen spelen. Erg leuke game en doet erg veel denken aan mario & luigi (zie zelfs bekende karakters!)

    Geweldig spel he <img alt=":)" src="/plugins/sceditor/emoticons/smile.png" />

    Vooral chapter 3 (geloof ik) vond ik erg lachen.

    En er zitten ook piraten in piraten zijn cool :7

    Chapter 3 is in de Glitz Pit. Maar iig, dat vind ik het leukste chapter, ben er nu ook mee bezig. Vechten in die arena terwijl je mysteries oplost is erg tof :).
  • ik ga nu zo die draak mollen (ben inderdaad nog niet zo ver) :)

    ik wil namelijk elk hoekje zien in dit spel. Genieten!
  • Ik ben een tijdje geleden dan eindelijk begonnen aan het spel (ik had hem al een tijdje liggen) en heb me tot nu toe heel erg vermaakt. Ik moet nu de laatste christal star halen dus moet dat kanon vinden :P
    Voor de rest is het een heel leuk spel alleen vind ik de ene wereld wel veel leuker dan de ander :P
  • Zeker een van de toppers van 2004. Of kwam het in 2005 uit?
    Anyway, voor de mensen die het nog niet hebben: kopen. Maar niet nu.
    Ik denk dat rond de feestdagen…dat duurt nog heeeeeel lang ik weet het, dat o.a. Paper Mario 2 Players Choice zal worden.

    En ook ToS en Mario Tennis en Golf….*droomt vooral over ToS*
  • ok, inmiddels wat uurtjes kunnen spelen. Erg leuke game en doet erg veel denken aan mario & luigi (zie zelfs bekende karakters!)

    Geweldig spel he :)

    Vooral chapter 3 (geloof ik) vond ik erg lachen.

    En er zitten ook piraten in piraten zijn cool :7
  • ok, inmiddels wat uurtjes kunnen spelen. Erg leuke game en doet erg veel denken aan mario & luigi (zie zelfs bekende karakters!)
  • woei, heb hem nu ook!
  • er….<img alt=":P" src="/plugins/sceditor/emoticons/tongue.png" /> gene idee.. ik zal eens gaan kijken.

    Was dat het probleem?
  • … Het helpt om te lezen wat er op het scherm staat… :P
  • er….:P gene idee.. ik zal eens gaan kijken.
  • Jep, ik weet het, las het op elke GameFaq. Maar ik heb nu al 3 keer een match gereserveerd, maar ze laten me alleen tegen die koopa gast vechten. Die op nr.2 staat van de ranglijst. Terwijl ik nr.1 ben…

    Heb je in je gevecht met die Koopa wel aan de opdracht gehouden die ze je gegeven hebben?
  • Jep, ik weet het, las het op elke GameFaq. Maar ik heb nu al 3 keer een match gereserveerd, maar ze laten me alleen tegen die koopa gast vechten. Die op nr.2 staat van de ranglijst. Terwijl ik nr.1 ben…
  • Volgens mij moet je dan gewoon 'n match reserveren zoals je de andere 20x ook hebt gedaan. Kweet 't niet zeker though, het is al 'n tijd terug.

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