(SNES / Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Mario + RPG = WIN!

What do you get when one of the best RPG creators in the world decides to build an RPG around one of the most recognizable video game characters in history? What you get is a video game that is considered one of the greatest ever made and an RPG that's not only unique, but extremely playable as well. Many were skeptical when the news first broke that Squaresoft was creating an rpg based on the Super Mario universe, but once the game was released, that skepticism was quickly put to rest and many were quick to call the game an "instant classic," even so soon after its release.

Here were are, over 13 years later and the game is once again getting ready to make yet another appearance, this time on Nintendo's Wii Virtual Console service. A lot of things have changed over the years and what was once a cutting edge production both musically and visually, has been surpassed by the advanced technology of current generation consoles. So how does the game that was labeled an "instant classic" stack up all these years later? It stacks up quite well, actually.

In Super Mario RPG, you take control of our lovable mustached hero and you're once again handed the task of rescuing the princess. Only this time, Bowser's not to blame, in fact he too has had to sit back and watch as his castle is taken over of by the evil Smithy, a foe even more powerful than himself. Mario must somehow take down the evil Smithy and his minions in an effort to restore peace to the mushroom kingdom by collecting the Seven Stars foretold by the legend. Only this time he'll have to do it in turn-based RPG style instead of his usual platforming performance.

While there is plenty of platforming to be found throughout the game, you'll spend the majority of your time trying to figure out the puzzles laid out before you, not to mention taking part in one turn-based battle after another in your ongoing search for Smithy. As you win battles, you'll level up your characters and earn new special moves. Much like other RPGs, you'll have access to better equipment and healing items to help you out along the way. You'll also gain access to new playable characters throughout your journey, each with their own unique talents.

The combat system is probably what makes Super Mario RPG so unique. As in traditional rpg design, battles take place in turns. Mario can use various attacks and the game also employs something called the "timed attack" function. What this means is if at a specific time during your attack you press the attack button, it makes your attack much stronger when timed correctly. The same goes for defending against enemy attacks. If you press the button at the exact moment your attacked, you can cause the enemy's attack to do very little damage or even miss altogether. This might seem like a minor game play addition, but it can play a key role in surviving some of the tougher enemy battles and boss fights found throughout the game.

The control in Super Mario RPG is as smooth and responsive as gamers have come to expect over the years. Moving around is very easy and even the platforming portions of the game are handled quite well, even in the isometric viewpoint the game makes use of. The combat system and the timed attack technique is also very well executed and the addition of new weapons and magic spells adds more than enough variety to the game play mix. As if all of this weren't enough, there are also a ton of mini-games to break up of the monotony and keep the game play feeling fresh. You won't likely find a more enjoyable rpg game play experience than the one found in Super Mario RPG.

The visuals in Super Mario RPG pushed the Super Nintendo console about as far as humanly possible. So it's no surprise that the visuals still hold up quite well, even all these years later. The glossy look of the rendered visuals gives the game a unique look and feel and really does seem to fit the Super Mario world perfectly. There's a good reason that Super Mario RPG is widely considered to be the best-looking Super Nintendo title ever released and it won't take you long to see exactly why that is.

Many worried that Squaresoft might try to force a more traditional RPG musical score onto the game, but that worry was quickly put to rest once gamers got to hear the wonderful and very Super Mario-esque soundtrack that Square composed for the game. Not only was it upbeat and quirky, just like many of the classic Super Mario Bros. tunes, it also featured some of the actual classic musical pieces from previous Super Mario Bros. titles for added familiarity. The end result is what many fans consider arguably the best Super Mario soundtrack ever created.


Whether you're an RPG fan or not, you really owe it to yourself to give this legendary RPG classic a try. Who would have thought that putting Mario into a traditional rpg setting would end up working quite so well. As good as Super Mario RPG was back when it was first released, the game only seems to have gotten even better over time and is a true testament to what Square and Nintendo were able to accomplish with this absolutely amazing and timeless RPG classic.

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User Comments (35)



Big_A2 said:

This game is fantasic, but I was kinda disapointed with it's length, or maybe that's just because I normally expect RPGs to be around 30+ hours long.



Digiki said:

I was dissappointed with the length too, but that was because I wanted it to end so badly, but it just kept dragging on... I probably spent 6 hours desperately trying to finish it that day, it was a bad one



slangman said:

This review sums it up. It may be short, but this is brilliant fun. Download.It.Now



Digiki said:

Don't download it unless you have some extra strength rose-tints handy.

Edit: Also according to the scoring policy 4 would be a fair score, since it has some broken gameplay, bad control schemes, and repetitiveness, especially repetitiveness.



Cally said:

"repetitiveness, especially repetitiveness."

While I'm not sure what you may be talking about, I had thought that, in addition to all the Square-isms in the game, the "collect Seven Stars" structure reminds me a LOT of Nintendo. Like Zelda always had certain things to collect at the end of dungeons pertaining to the story.

So many RPGs later, I'm astonished how much I still loved this sucker when going through it again; totally made my day.



Bass_X0 said:

This shouldn't be a ten. Final Fantasy VI would be an easy ten. Super Mario RPG doesn't even come close. I was alarmed at how fast I was progressing through this.



Shinnok said:

Man, you must really like Final Fantasy. I mean, you'd have to, why else would you give any entry of that dreadful series an "easy ten".

Seriously though, what is so great about those games? Is it the monotonous gameplay, effeminate male protagonists, or the annoying repetitive music? I'd love to know.



Digiki said:

Seriously though, what is so great about those games? Is it the monotonous gameplay, effeminate male protagonists, or the annoying repetitive music? I'd love to know.

So you like this game because it lacks an effeminate male protagonist?

Final Fantasy games are fun, massively over-rated, especially VI, but still lots of them are great, I wouldn't give any a 10 though. FFVI is half fun and half emo and relitavely colourless except for brown. Tons of sidequests are great, but a depressing setting that stays that way isn't.



Shinnok said:

To answer your question Digiki, no, that's not why I like SMRPG (though, it certainly does help). However, when it comes to effeminate male protagonists, nobody in the Final Fantasy continuum has anything on Link. Wouldn't you agree?



Cally said:

Effeminate-looking males? Welcome to Japan, folks. It's considered attractive, and sometimes men even put on make-up.

@ Bass

It's definitely short, but should a Mario RPG be a 30+ hour epic, like . . . Final Fantasy VI? Chrono Trigger, the mostly uncontested RPG-great, I personally got through on a first playthrough in 14 hours. What's wrong with a shorter RPG if it's paced to last a certain length?

@ Digiki

Maybe you said once before, but I'm curious, what are your favorite RPGs, then?



Digiki said:

Dragon Warrior III (GBA)
Pokemon Gold
Dragon Warrior Monsters
Final Fantasy IV Advance
Pokemon Blue
Final Fantasy II (Dawn of Souls version)

Chrono Trigger is worth a spot on the list but, I stopped playing it 2 months ago and haven't had the urge to pick it back up



Shinnok said:

So basically Cally, what you're telling me is that the reason protagonists of numerous Japanese video games are teenaged males...is because of Japanese culture? You don't really believe that, do you?

And yes, before you accuse me, I did delete my old post. I didn't like the direction I took it.



Pastry said:

I downloaded this the day it came out! I don't know why you guys didn't think it was long enough, it took me forever to finish!



WyvernKnight64 said:

Uncharted Waters has come out and Super Mario RPG is out and Final Fantasy I/II are on the way. I have a feeling were gonna see Chrono Trigger in the future. I never played Chrono Trigger so I hope it comes to VC in the future



SergeOfArniVillage said:

I still have this game for my SNES, got it about a year ago, and I play it all the time Just an amazing game! It's supposedly really short, but I've beaten it about 100 times literally, so I guess the "hours" are in the thousands about now...XD



DreamWatcher said:

^^ I love this game. It was the first game I ever played when I was little and even after defeating it (on the VC) and seeing "The End" I still wanted to play. It just keeps sucking you in...



John3714 said:

I never played this game when it first came out. I don't quite remember why I never did, as I loved Mario games and enjoyed the few RPG games I played (Dragon Warrior, the first Final Fantasy).

I just downloaded it today, and am wondering even more why I didn't buy it back then. Fun game. Nothing real groundbreaking, but it does a great job mixing classic Mario elements (jump attack, coin boxes, flowers, mushrooms, goombas, hammer bros., etc.) with the classic RPG formula.

Since I never played it when it was first released, I don't have any nostalgic feelings to boost my score of it. So, I feel I can look at this game with a completely unbiased opinion (since I'm not defending my childhood memories). I wouldn't say it's a 10/10 anymore, but a solid 8/10 makes this worth a play for any Mario or early RPG fan.



Kadaj said:

You people discussing Final Fantasy as 'not so great' are odd.

Besides the fact that it's the best selling RPG series of all time, or that they all contain deep, involving stories with excellent character relationships.

@ Shinnok

Effeminate male protagonists? Have you seen what Cloud and Squall look like? Seriously? And you actually said something negative about the music? THAT is where it's obvious you have no real viable arguement. Nobuo Uematsu is legendary in the gaming industry, and is a respected composer across the world. No game can match the musical prowess that the Final Fantasy games have.

Anyways. Super Mario RPG is truly an amazing game, and I'm happy that I got it all those years ago. It's great playing through this epic again!




rhythmheavenfan said:

I agree. Amazing game from start to finish. Right up there with the Paper Mario series. One of the best RPGs ever.



Deviant_Mugen said:

I never did get to play this game, and probably won't get to for quite a while. Great review, though...



michaelmax said:

I agree with the score. I'm not an rpg fan usually but i bought this when it first came out and I loved it. It's the only rpg i've ever liked enough to finish. This is up there in my top ten of all time list.



Cia said:

"The end result is what many fans consider arguably the best Super Mario soundtrack ever created."

Well, at least before Super Mario Galaxy



FinalFantisiac said:

It's a great game, and 11-star worthy. It take back what I said before, this game ROCKS!!

The person in my profile pic is a secret optional boss named Culex, and is even harder than Smithy, the final boss! IRONY!!



Bass_X0 said:

Seriously though, what is so great about those games? Is it the effeminate male protagonists

Although the characters are always drawn effeminate in artwork, I think the first game to have an effeminate male actually in the game would be FF9 with Kuja. Then after that... no, Kuja's the only one. Besides, its not as if it effects the gameplay or decreases a person's enjoyment of the game.



zeeroid said:

The hell? Can't believe so many people are hating on this game. It may well be my favourite of all-time. And I do NOT say that lightly.

It's the perfect length. If you run through it, then it's a solid 15-20 hours, and if you try to get all the secrets, easily another 5 or more. I don't know why people think games should be 50 hours long; nobody has that much time except for kids during the summer. I'm not saying 50 hour games are bad, per se, but no game needs to be that long to be a fulfilling experience. And if it doesn't continually have payoffs to keep the action fresh, even the best of titles can start to become a slog. Super Mario RPG is rife with fresh ideas, beautiful environments, ridiculously fun gameplay, and it holds up as well as anything I've ever seen. I could easily jump right back in today and have the time of my life over the weekend. In fact, I just might!

No one is doubting the splendor of FFVI, Chrono Trigger, et al. as they are all wonderful in their own right. However, there is simply no reason why all of these games cannot together be recognized as the classics that they are. 10/10 across the board!



Mr-X9000 said:

its a shame, considering how good this game is, that it sold so poorly back in its day... maybe had they releaesd it in 1992 or 1993 it would have sold better

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