finally finished a game i’ve been trying to finish for ages, namely paper mario for N64. i’d played its sequel years ago and it was actually one of the first gamecube games i’d played, and i hadn’t been that excited by it. i had actively disliked the wii sequel (although i had enjoyed the first mario & luigi game), but i was interested in seeing how the mario RPGs progressed from the original SNES title to the paper mario series.
even though it’s been years since i’ve played the thousand-year door it was still somewhat surprising how much that game took wholesale from this game. not only are the mechanics pretty much identical, but even the supporting cast is pretty much functionally the same (and three characters, a goomba, a koopa, and a bob-omb, have pretty much exactly the same abilities in both games). despite the close similarities, it had been long enough since i’d played TTYD that i didn’t feel like it was too much of a chore to play through this game. the pacing of all the paper mario games has been slow due to mario’s slow walking speed, although this game includes a dash ability that makes getting around a bit faster. the game is as wordy as the subsequent two games in the series, which could potentially get annoying, but for the most part you can skip conversations with NPCs and not worry about missing anything and so the optional dialogue serves as a nice way of making the world feel more alive without necessarily slowing things down too much. the game’s pace is steady and for most RPG fans a good length, and the battle mechanics are generally entertaining, although as repetitive as most RPGs. the badge mechanic is a great substitute for the traditional stat-boosting equipment found in other RPGs, and is satisfying without being overly simple.
despite being very similar to TTYD, i would give this game the edge overall. i found the original to be more enjoyable not just because it was a solid first entry in what has become a regular series but also because the situations and locales feel more epic and unique. (TTYD makes much better use of the paper conceit, though, with mario gaining paper-specific powers, such as turning into a paper airplane.) anyway, i was motivated to finish this game so that i could continue on with the M&L series and get into the 3DS paper mario entry. i’ve actually already dipped into sticker star and am up to the second world, and i’m really enjoying the new mechanics and the different pace. i’ll prob. be posting more on that before too long.
wrap up these paper mario links:
– as usual mariowiki.com is a great resource with tons of info on the game
– nice visual walkthrough at shrines.rpgclassics.com
– i haven’t gotten into video game papercraft, but paper mario seems obviously suited for it. here are two (1, 2) paper mario related automata that look like they’d be fun to make.
– EGM apparently published a guide to finding all 160 star pieces back in the day
– review of virtual console release, at nintendolife.com
– entry at wikipedia