Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, first released on the Super Nintendo in 1996, was the first in the Super Mario Brothers series that was designed as a role-playing game. Since the preceding Super Mario Brothers games were all traditionally 2D and side-scrolling, this game was a major breakthrough for Nintendo. Now, 15 years later, this game has been released on the Wii’s Virtual Console, and I still feel that it is a truly a legend.
In this article, I will be reviewing three major categories of this game: the storyline, the gameplay and its audio/visual aspect, all of which I find to be truly incredible.
The game starts out as a traditional Mario game would: Bowser, Mario’s arch-nemesis, kidnaps Princess Toadstool and brings her back to his castle to wait for Mario to rescue her. However, a huge twist is introduced early-on: an evil, talking sword invades the castle, separating the three familiar characters. It is soon learned that the sword and its operator, Smitty are trying to take over the world and ruin everyone’s dreams. They have destructed Star-Road, which is the place everyone’s wishes come true. It is up to Mario to collect the seven missing pieces and reconstruct them, while also taking care of the enemies who stole them in the first place. Throughout the game, Mario runs into all new, never-before-seen characters. There is Mallow, a cloud-puff who is trying to find his real home, Geno, a doll that has come to life and is trying to help repair the star road, and many new bosses including Croco, a thieving dragon, Belome, a big, hungry dog, Booster, a…freak, and of course Smitty, the mastermind behind all of it. Aside from the main quest, Mario and the gang endure many fun and challenging side-quests such as rescuing two baby moles from a collapsed mine, ridding the Mushroom Kingdom of invading Shysters, and crashing a wedding between Princess Toadstool and Booster. The game also has several mini-games such as a hidden casino where one can play slots and cards and ride a cart through a mine while collecting coins and mushrooms. Overall, the story line is incredibly well-thought and entertaining. It will have you playing for hours and hours without even realizing it. This game can be compared to your favorite video game t shirts, you’ll definitely love to play or wear it over and over again. This game has been one of the favorites of players across the globe.
As far as the gameplay goes, I feel that it was also well thought out and easy for gamers of any age to use. Instead of side-scrolling, the player is able to move Mario freely in any direction so that he can go anywhere or inspect almost anything. The enemy and boss battles are fought in a Final Fantasy style: each player lines up, gets to select a physical attack, a specialty attack, to use an item or to pass and they take turns with it. All of the buttons are easily labeled and designed so that the player knows which option is which. The game also borrows from Final Fantasy in the sense that characters can equip themselves with weapons or armor that affects their battle statistics. For anyone who is unfamiliar with this system, there are some non-playable characters that will help teach them how to equip and use different weapons and gear. Players also have the option to rotate members in their battle party, which is a great strategy when dealing with several different bosses because every character has their strengths and weaknesses.
Along the lines of audio and visual affects, I gives this area and A+. The music is entertaining and unforgettable; at times, it is beautiful. Every time there is a different scenario, the music is what triggers the emotions the scene is trying to stimulate the best: slow, somber music in times of sadness, happy, fast music in times of happiness or accomplishment, aggressive music in times of battle or despair. As for the visual side of things, I think that the graphics are amazing, given the time period they were created in. The colors are bright and vivid and attract anyone’s eye. The characters are detailed down to the smallest scar on their faces and appear to be smooth and wholesomely developed.
All in all, I give this game a 10 out 10 stars (or should I say, 7 out of 7?). Though it is an older game, it is without a doubt a classic and should be on the shelf of all avid video game players and Mario Brothers fans.