Super Mario RPG

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Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
SuperMarioRPGSNESCoverArtUS.jpg
North American box art depicts (from left to right) Bowser, Princess Toadstool, and Mario
Developer(s) Square
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Yoshihiko Maekawa
Chihiro Fujioka
Producer(s) Shigeru Miyamoto
Writer(s) Kensuke Tanabe
Atsushi Tejima
Composer(s) Yoko Shimomura
Series Mario   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Platform(s) Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Release
  • JP: March 9, 1996
  • NA: May 13, 1996
Genre(s) Role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars [lower-alpha 1] is a role-playing video game (RPG) developed by Square and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1996. It is the first RPG in the Mario franchise, with major elements drawn from Square's RPG franchises and action-based gameplay reminiscent of the Super Mario series.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

Square Co., Ltd. was a Japanese video game company founded in September 1986 by Masafumi Miyamoto. It merged with Enix in 2003 to form Square Enix. The company also used SquareSoft as a brand name to refer to their games, and the term is occasionally used to refer to the company itself. In addition, "Square Soft, Inc" was the name of the company's American arm before the merger, after which it was renamed to "Square Enix, Inc".

Nintendo Japanese video game company

Nintendo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto. Nintendo is one of the world's largest video game companies by market capitalization, creating some of the best-known and top-selling video game franchises, such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon.

Contents

Super Mario RPG was directed by Yoshihiko Maekawa and Chihiro Fujioka and produced by Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto. Yoko Shimomura composed the score, which was released on a soundtrack album in Japan. The story focuses on Mario and his party as they seek to eliminate Smithy, who has stolen the seven star pieces of Star Road. The game features five playable characters. It was not released in PAL regions such as Europe.

Chihiro Fujioka is a video game designer and composer, as well as rock drummer. He has worked at Xtalsoft, Square, and AlphaDream where he is primarily known for directing Super Mario RPG as well as his involvement in several Mario & Luigi games. He is currently a member of Earthbound Papas, a band led by Nobuo Uematsu.

Shigeru Miyamoto Japanese video game designer

Shigeru Miyamoto is a Japanese video game designer and producer for the video game company Nintendo, currently serving as one of its representative directors. He is best known as the creator of some of the most critically acclaimed and best-selling video games and franchises of all time, such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, F-Zero, Donkey Kong and Pikmin.

Yoko Shimomura Japanese video game composer

Yoko Shimomura is a Japanese composer and pianist, primarily known for her work in video games. Shimomura has worked in the video game industry ever since graduating from the Osaka College of Music in 1988. From then until 1993, she worked for Capcom, where she composed wholly or in part the scores for 16 games, including Final Fight and Street Fighter II: The World Warrior.

Super Mario RPG was well-received and particularly praised for its humor and 3D-rendered graphics; it appears on lists of the greatest video games of all time. It was followed by the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series, spiritual sequels which reuse some gameplay elements. Nintendo published Super Mario RPG to the Wii Virtual Console service in 2008 and the Wii U Virtual Console service in 2016. It was also re-released with the Super NES Classic Edition in 2017.

Wii Home video game console produced by Nintendo in 2006

The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii competed with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others. As of the first quarter of 2016, the Wii led its generation over the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in worldwide sales, with more than 101 million units sold; in December 2009, the console broke the sales record for a single month in the United States.

Virtual Console, also abbreviated as VC, is a line of downloadable video games for Nintendo's Wii and Wii U home gaming consoles and the Nintendo 3DS portable gaming console.

Wii U home video game console released by Nintendo in 2012

The Wii U is a home video game console developed by Nintendo as the successor to the Wii. Released in November 2012, it was the first eighth-generation video game console and competed with Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4.

Gameplay

Mario in a battle against enemy Terrapins in the Bowser's Keep level Super Mario RPG battle.png
Mario in a battle against enemy Terrapins in the Bowser's Keep level

Super Mario RPG contains token similarities to other Square-developed video games, such as the Final Fantasy series, along with a story and gameplay based on the Super Mario Bros. series of platform games. [1] Like most traditional JRPGs, there are two main sections to the game: adventuring and turn-based battle sequences. Much of Super Mario RPG's gameplay is outside monster battles and plays like an isometric 3D platformer, in which traditional Mario elements such as punching floating question blocks from below are prominent. There are no random encounters and as such enemies are visible in the field; a battle ensues only if Mario comes in contact with one. This allows the player to evade unnecessary battles. [2]

Final Fantasy is a Japanese science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs/JRPGs). The first game in the series was released in 1987, with 14 other main-numbered entries being released since then. The franchise has since branched into other video game genres such as tactical role-playing, action role-playing, massively multiplayer online role-playing, racing, third-person shooter, fighting, and rhythm, as well as branching into other media, including CGI films, anime, manga, and novels.

Platform game video game genre

Platform games, or platformers, are a video game genre and subgenre of action game. In a platformer the player controlled character must jump and climb between suspended platforms while avoiding obstacles. Environments often feature uneven terrain of varying height that must be traversed. The player often has some control over the height and distance of jumps to avoid letting their character fall to their death or miss necessary jumps. The most common unifying element of games of this genre is the jump button, but now there are other alternatives like swiping a touchscreen. Other acrobatic maneuvers may factor into the gameplay as well, such as swinging from objects such as vines or grappling hooks, as in Ristar or Bionic Commando, or bouncing from springboards or trampolines, as in Alpha Waves. These mechanics, even in the context of other genres, are commonly called platforming, a verbification of platform. Games where jumping is automated completely, such as 3D games in The Legend of Zelda series, fall outside of the genre.

The player controls only Mario at the journey's beginning. Ultimately, the player will gain a party of five characters, though only three members can be used during a battle at any given time. Mario is always in the player's party, but the other two characters can be selected before battles. Each of the five characters has a unique set of attacks and techniques. For example, Princess Toadstool's abilities are primarily healing techniques, whereas Geno and Bowser have offensive attacks that deal high amounts of damage. The combat is based on a traditional turn based battle system with the addition of action commands that amplify a move's effects. The player starts each turn by choosing to attack, defend, run, use an item, or perform magic from the combat menu. [3] The action command consists of timed button presses during an attack, special move, defense, or item usage, which became a mainstay of later Mario RPGs. [2]

Mario fictional character from Nintendos Mario franchise,

Mario is a fictional character in the Mario video game franchise, owned by Nintendo and created by Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. Serving as the company's mascot and the eponymous protagonist of the series, Mario has appeared in over 200 video games since his creation. Depicted as a short, pudgy, Italian plumber who resides in the Mushroom Kingdom, his adventures generally center upon rescuing Princess Peach from the Koopa villain Bowser. His younger brother and sidekick is Luigi.

Plot

Characters and setting

The game world is set in a geographically diverse land, which includes mountains, forests, and bodies of water. Each region has distinct characteristics held by its inhabitants; Mushroom Kingdom is inhabited by Toads, Moleville is inhabited by moles, Monstro Town is populated by reformed monsters, Yo'ster Isle is where Yoshi and his eponymous species reside, and Nimbus Land is an area inhabited by cloud people. Bowser's Castle is another prominent location in the game, as it holds the portal to the main antagonist's home world.

Mushroom Kingdom primary setting of the Mario video game franchise

The Mushroom Kingdom is a fictional setting in Nintendo's Mario series, where most of the games take place.

Toad (Nintendo) fictional character in Nintendos "Mario" franchise

Toad is a fictional mushroom humanoid who primarily appears in Nintendo's Mario franchise. Created by Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, he is portrayed as a citizen of the Mushroom Kingdom and is one of Princess Peach's most loyal attendants; constantly working on her behalf. He is usually seen as a non-player character (NPC) who provides assistance to Mario and his friends in most games, but there are times when Toad(s) takes center stage and appears as a protagonist, as seen in Super Mario Bros. 2, Wario's Woods, Super Mario 3D World, and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.

Yoshi Mario character

Yoshi is a fictional anthropomorphic dinosaur who appears in video games published by Nintendo. Yoshi debuted in Super Mario World (1990) on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as Mario and Luigi's sidekick. Yoshi later starred in platform and puzzle games, including Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Yoshi's Story, Yoshi's Woolly World and Yoshi's Crafted World. Yoshi also appears in many of the Mario spin-off games, including Mario Party and Mario Kart, various Mario sports games, and Nintendo's crossover fighting game series Super Smash Bros. Yoshi belongs to the species of the same name, which is characterized by their variety of colors.

As in most Mario series games, the main protagonist is Mario, whose initial goal is to rescue Princess Peach (Toadstool) from Bowser. However, the story takes on an unusual and very important twist. Soon after the start of his journey, the Smithy Gang invades the world. While attempting to stop the group, Mario is joined by Mallow, a cloud boy who thinks he is a tadpole; Geno, a doll possessed by a celestial spirit from the Star Road; Bowser, whose armies have deserted him out of fear of the Smithy Gang; and Princess Toadstool, who was lost in the turmoil that occurred when the Smithy Gang arrived. The Smithy Gang is led by Smithy, a robotic blacksmith from an alternate dimension with aspirations of world domination. [4]

Story

Mario sets out to rescue Princess Toadstool, infiltrating the castle to which she has been taken and challenging kidnapper King Bowser. [2] During the battle, a giant living sword named Exor falls from the sky, breaks through the Star Road (a pathway that helps grant people's wishes), and crashes into Bowser’s castle, [2] sending Mario, Princess Toadstool, and Bowser flying in different directions, as well as scattering the seven star fragments. Mario lands back at his pad and meets up with Toad, who tells him he has to rescue Toadstool. Mario returns to Bowser's castle, but Exor destroys the bridge, preventing him from entering. [5] Mario makes his way to the Mushroom Kingdom, where Mario encounters a "tadpole" named Mallow who has set out to retrieve a frog coin taken by the local thief Croco. [6] After Mario helps him retrieve the frog coin, they return to the Mushroom Kingdom to find that it is overrun by the Smithy Gang, followers of the evil robotic blacksmith king named Smithy. Mario and Mallow enter the castle to defeat gang boss Mack, [7] and subsequently find a mysterious Star Piece. Mallow accompanies Mario to Tadpole Pond so they can get advice from Frogfucious, Mallow's grandfather. He reveals that Mallow is not really a tadpole, and says Mallow should join Mario on a quest to find the seven Star Pieces as well as Mallow's real parents.

The duo travel to Rose Town where they meet a star spirit who has taken control of a silent doll named Geno. After battling the bow-like creature Bowyer, who is immobilizing residents of Rose Town with his arrows, they retrieve another Star Piece. Geno joins Mario and reveals to him the Star Piece is a part of the shattered Star Road, where he normally resides. Geno has been tasked with repairing Star Road and defeating Smithy, so that the world's wishes may again be heard. [8] The trio eventually head to Booster Tower (the home of the eccentric amusement-venue owner, Booster), where they encounter Bowser, whose minions have all bailed out on him. They join forces to fight a common enemy, as Bowser wishes to reclaim his castle. The new team intercepts Princess Toadstool just before she is forcibly married to Booster, but it turns out that the wedding wasn't real and that Booster only wanted the wedding cake. [9]

After her rescue, the princess returns home to Mushroom Kingdom only to then decide to join the party while her grandmother takes her place in disguise. [10] After gathering five star pieces, they search Nimbus Land. A statue maker informs them that Valentina has the rulers of Nimbus Land being held captive, and her sidekick Dodo is impersonating the prince. Dodo would make Valentina his queen. The statue maker recognizes Mallow as the true prince, then disguises Mario as a statue to infiltrate the castle. There they defeat Valentina and Dodo. The newly liberated king and queen, Mallow's parents, inform the group that they saw a star fall into the nearby volcano.

After traveling to Barrel Volcano to obtain the 6th Star Piece, Mario's party learns that the final piece must be held by Smithy in Bowser's castle. [11] They battle their way through the assembled enemies to enter the castle, where they discover that Exor is actually a gateway to Smithy's factory, the place Smithy mass-produces his army. [12] Mario and company cross over, find the heart of the factory, and defeat Smithy, thereby stopping his army creation and causing Exor to disappear. The collected Star Pieces are used to repair the Star Road, Geno returns to the Star Road, Bowser rebuilds his castle with his newly reformed army, Mallow regains his rightful title as prince of Nimbus Land, and Mario and Princess Toadstool return to the Mushroom Kingdom to celebrate their victory. [13]

Development

Yoshio Hongo of Nintendo explained the game's origins: "Square's RPGs sold well in Japan but not overseas. There have been calls from all ages, and from young girls, for another character to which they could become attached. Mario was the best, but had not been in an RPG. Nintendo's director, Mr. Miyamoto also wanted to do an RPG using Mario. There happened to be a chance for both companies to talk, which went well." [14]

Development began in earnest during the second quarter of 1995. [15] The game was officially unveiled by both Mario creator and producer Shigeru Miyamoto and co-director Chihiro Fujioka at the 1995 V-Jump Festival event in Japan. Miyamoto led teams at Nintendo and Square, who spent over a year developing the graphics. [16] The story takes place in a newly rendered Mushroom Kingdom based on the Super Mario Bros. series. Square reported that the game was about 70% complete in October 1995. The developers created the interior elements such as columns, stairways, and exterior elements with advanced computer modeling techniques. Special lighting effects were used to create shadows and reflections that were meant to improve the 3D elements. [17] [18] With guidance from Miyamoto, Square developed the game, combining role-playing aspects of previous Square games like Final Fantasy VI with the platforming elements of Nintendo's games. Square's Final Fantasy series was the model for the battle sequences, while the tradition of Super Mario Bros. games demanded a lot of action. Mario's ability to jog in eight directions and jump up or down in three–quarter perspective gave him a (comparatively) large range of motion. At 70% completion, the mix of adventure and action game play elements placed it in a category closer to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past . [18]

When Nintendo of America received a 60% complete version in November, the staff were surprised at the inclusion of an RPG battle system. The battle screens, using pre-rendered sprites as in the rest of the game, included attack animations of equipped weapons. [19] In December, further development and improvements to the gameplay delayed the translation of the game. [20] For example, the Chancellor, who was named the Mushroom Retainer in Japan, [18] was called the "Minister" in North America. [20] Plans continued through February for the North American version, [20] changing the release date forecast from winter to spring. [18] [21] [22]

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is one of only seven SNES games released outside Japan to use the Nintendo SA-1 chip. Compared with standard SNES games, the additional microprocessor allows these features: higher clock speeds; faster access to the random-access memory (RAM); greater memory mapping capabilities, data storage, and compression; new direct memory access (DMA) modes, such as bitmap to bit plane transfer; and built-in CIC lockout for piracy protection and regional marketing control. [23] It was not released in PAL regions such as Europe; Nintendo representatives cited the need to optimize the game for PAL televisions and translate it into multiple languages. [14]

Music

Yoko Shimomura, best known for her previous work in Street Fighter II , composed the game's score. As part of it, she incorporated arrangements of music by Koji Kondo from Super Mario Bros. , and three tracks by Nobuo Uematsu from Final Fantasy IV . Shimomura regards the score as one of the turning points in her career as a composer. [24] The music from the game, Super Mario RPG Original Sound Version, was released as a two-disc soundtrack album in Japan by NTT Publishing on March 25, 1996. [25]

Release

Super Mario RPG became the last game released by Square in America, with Treasure of the Rudras , and Treasure Hunter G being the last games released in Japan. [26]

Japanese audiences received Super Mario RPG well with 1.47 million copies sold, making it the third highest-selling game in Japan in 1996. [27] Its sales in the United States surpassed Nintendo's expectations. For the game's release in the middle of May 1996, the company shipped 300,000 units to retailers; Nintendo estimated sell-through of more than 200,000 units within one month on shelves. A company representative said that "the title is on track to easily exceed our 500,000 target, and it may easily become a one million seller by the end of this calendar year". [28] By August 24, it had been the most-rented game in the United States for 14 weeks straight. [29]

Super Mario RPG was released on Virtual Console for Wii in Japan on June 24, 2008. [30] It was released for the first time in Europe and Australia on August 22, 2008 on Virtual Console for Wii, as part of the third Hanabi Festival [31] [32] (a period in which several games not previously available in Europe are released on the Wii's Virtual Console). [33] It was released on Virtual Console for Wii in North America on September 1, 2008, with the distinction of being the 250th Virtual Console game released in that region. [34] Super Mario RPG was released on Virtual Console for Wii U in Japan on August 5, 2015, [35] in Europe and Australia on December 24, 2015, [36] [37] and in North America on June 30, 2016. [38]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankings 89% [39]
Review scores
PublicationScore
1UP.com A [40]
AllGame Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [41]
EGM 8.75/10 [42]
Famitsu 32/40 [43]
IGN 9.5/10 [2]
Next Generation Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [44]
Nintendo Life 10/10 [45]

Super Mario RPG received positive reviews. Though various aspects of Super Mario RPG received mixed reviews, it garnered praise for its graphics and for humor in particular. Nintendo Power 's review commented that the "excellent" 3D graphics helped the game appeal to a much wider audience than most traditional RPGs. In March 1997, Nintendo Power nominated the game for several awards, including "Best Graphics", in a player's choice contest, [46] though Super Mario 64 won "Best Graphics". [47] Electronic Gaming Monthly praised the graphics, stating that they are "the best seen on the Super NES". [42] Scary Larry of GamePro gave the game a perfect 5/5 in all four categories (graphics, sound, control, and fun factor), and praised the rendered enemies, cinematics, and spell animations. [48]

1UP.com stated that the graphic element is "strong enough to resemble a Mario title but still retains the role-playing theme at the same time", [40] and Electronic Gaming Monthly commented that the visuals are "typical of Nintendo, using clean and colorful graphics along with nice animation". [42] RPGamer editor Derek Cavin called the backgrounds "beautiful" and stated that they "perfectly bring the Mushroom Kingdom and surrounding areas into 3D". [49] Skyler Miller from Allgame stated that the graphics are "absolutely outstanding, with colorful, 3D rendered visuals that once seemed impossible on the Super NES. This is definitely the high watermark for 3D graphics on any 16-bit system". The editor also called the music "quite extraordinary" and that the songs "match the mood of the surrounding environment". [41] In the Virtual Console re-release, IGN's Lucas Thomas's review of Super Mario RPG stated that the game's experience "completes itself with a compelling story, a humorous attitude and a variety of interspersed mini-games that break up the adventuring action". The publication also stated that the soundtrack is "spectacular and a joy to listen to" and the graphics "took full advantage of the system's 16-bit technology and looks great". [2]

Cavin said that most of the battle system mechanics "aren't very original" and also criticized the "lack of a unified storyline". [49] In contrast, a reviewer for Next Generation found that the battle system refreshingly differed from tradition, and was pleased that "the elements that stand out from the traditional formula are those that make this a recognizable Mario game." He wrote that the gameplay was complex enough to challenge even veteran RPG gamers, yet simple enough to not alienate newcomers to the genre. [44] Scary Larry similarly said the game "should please diehard RPG fans as well as novice players", as it is genuinely tough and offers considerable replay value in the form of sidequests and bonus features such as Toadofsky's music levels. He also found Squaresoft's signature humor and puzzle-solving to be as exceptional as usual. [48] Miller commented that after engaging in many battles, "the battle music becomes monotonous" and that after the game is beaten, "There aren't any surprises to be discovered the second time around". [41] While 1UP.com stated that "The characters seem too childish for older gamers", [50] Next Generation said the game is "held together by the strength of its characters and well-developed world." [44]

Electronic Gaming Monthly editors named Super Mario RPG a runner-up for both Super NES Game of the Year (behind Tetris Attack ) and Role-Playing Game of the Year (behind Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain ). [51]

Legacy

Super Mario RPG does not have a direct sequel. Nintendo originally announced a game titled Super Mario RPG 2, which was renamed to Paper Mario before release, [52] [53] and is considered to be the thematic and spiritual successor. The RPG-themed Mario series, Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi , follow conventions established in the original. This includes the use of Flower Points as a shared party resource instead of each character having their own pool of Magic Points, timed action commands during battles, and, in the original Paper Mario, the collection of the seven stars. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga features a Geno doll and the end credits state "SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD" reserves the copyright to the character; [54] this cameo was removed from the game's Nintendo 3DS remake. Various locations and characters from the game appear in the children's book Mario and the Incredible Rescue released by Scholastic in 2006. [55]

On December 16, 2015, Geno became a downloadable Mii Fighter costume in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U . [56] Super Mario RPG is among the 21 preinstalled games on the Super NES Classic Edition in all regions, released in September 2017. [57]

Super Mario RPG received positive reviews and appeared on reader-selected "best game of all time" lists, such as 30th at IGN . [58]

Notes

  1. Japanese:スーパーマリオRPG ?

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