Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
|Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars|
North American box art depicts (from left to right) Bowser, Princess Toadstool, and Mario
|Release date(s)||Super Famicom/SNES
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing game|
|Distribution||4 MB SA-1 cartridge|
Super Mario RPG (スーパーマリオRPG Sūpā Mario Āru Pī Jī?), subtitled Legend of the Seven Stars in the North American release, is an action role-playing game developed by Square (now Square Enix) and published by Nintendo for the Super Famicom and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). It was originally released on March 9, 1996 in Japan and on May 13, 1996 in North America. Nintendo ported the game, with minor differences, to the Wii's Virtual Console service in 2008 to regions around the world. It is the first role-playing video game in the Mario series. The game contains token similarities to other Square role-playing video games, such as the Final Fantasy series, with a story and action-based gameplay derived from the Super Mario Bros. series.
The story focuses on Mario and his teammates as they seek to eliminate the game's main antagonist, Smithy. Smithy has stolen the seven star pieces of Star Road where all the world's inhabitants' wishes become Wish Stars, and Mario must return the pieces so these wishes may again be granted. The game features five permanent playable characters. Super Mario RPG was directed by Yoshihiko Maekawa and Chihiro Fujioka and produced by Shigeru Miyamoto. Yoko Shimomura composed the game's score, which was released on a soundtrack album in Japan shortly after the game's debut.
Super Mario RPG was the final Mario game released for the system as well as one of the last games Square produced for Nintendo hardware until Chocobo Land: A Game of Dice in 2002. Square did much of the development of Super Mario RPG under direct guidance from producer Shigeru Miyamoto. The game was well-received upon release, and it was praised particularly for its 3D rendered graphics and humor. The game spawned the Mario RPG series, and two successive RPG-themed spiritual sequels followed: the Paper Mario series and the Mario & Luigi series, both of which use certain conventions established in the original.
Super Mario RPG contains token similarities to other Square video games, such as the Final Fantasy series, along with a story and gameplay based on the Super Mario Bros. series of platform games. Like most RPGs, there are two main sections to the game: adventuring and turn-based monster battles. Much of Super Mario RPG's gameplay is outside monster battles and plays like an isometric platformer, in which traditional Mario elements such as punching floating question blocks from below are prominent. 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.
The player controls only Mario at the journey's beginning. Ultimately, the player will gain a party of five characters, though only three characters 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, 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 action command consists of timed button presses during an attack, special move, defense, or item usage. This is one of the more innovative features of gameplay, becoming a mainstay of later Mario RPGs.
Characters and setting
The game world is set in a geographically diverse land, which includes mountains 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.
As in most Mario games, the main protagonist is Mario, whose initial goal is to rescue Princess 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.
The game begins when Mario enters Bowser's Castle to rescue Princess Toadstool. During the battle, a giant sword breaks through the Star Road and crashes into Bowser’s castle, sending Mario, Princess Toadstool, and Bowser flying in different directions, as well as scattering seven star fragments. Mario makes his way to the Mushroom Kingdom, where the mushroom chancellor insists that Mario recover the Princess and discover the purpose of the giant sword. Upon leaving Toadstool's castle, Mario encounters Mallow, a "tadpole" who has lost a frog coin to Croco, a local thief. Mario agrees to help him, but when they return to the castle, he finds that the kingdom is overrun by creatures from the Smithy Gang. He and Mallow enter the castle and are met by the first boss in the game, a giant knife and spring-like creature named Mack. When Mack is defeated, they find a mysterious Star Piece, which Mario takes.
Mallow accompanies Mario as they travel through the Kero Sewers to Rose Town where they meet a star spirit who has taken control of a doll named Geno. After battling the bow-like creature, Bowyer, who is turning residents of Rose Town to stone, Geno joins Mario and tells him that the Star Piece is a part of the shattered Star Road, where he resides. Geno has been tasked with repairing Star Road, so that the world's wishes may again be heard, and he must find the seven pieces held by members of the Smithy gang. The three continue to Booster's Tower where they encounter Bowser, who is trying to reassemble his forces. Though former enemies, they join forces to fight a common enemy as Bowser wishes to reclaim his castle. The new team intercepts the princess, just before she is forcibly married to the eccentric amusement-venue owner, Booster. After her rescue, the princess initially returns to Mushroom Kingdom but later joins the party as its final member. After recovering most of the Star Pieces, Mario's group learns final piece is held by Smithy in Bowser's castle. Upon battling their way through the assembled enemies and returning to the giant sword, they discover that it is actually a gateway to Smithy's factory, where Smithy mass-produces his army. In the end, Smithy is defeated, and the collected Star Pieces are used to repair the Star Road.
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. 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. 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% complete, 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.
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. In December, further development and improvements to the gameplay delayed the translation of the game. For example, the Chancellor, who was named the Mushroom Retainer in Japan, was called the "Minister" in North America. Plans continued through February for the North American version, changing the release date forecast from winter to spring.
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 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.
|Super Mario RPG Original Sound Version|
|Soundtrack album by Yoko Shimomura|
|Released||March 25, 1996|
|Genre||Video Game Soundtrack|
Yoko Shimomura, best known for her previous work on Street Fighter II, composed the game's music. As part of the score she incorporated arrangements of music by Koji Kondo from Super Mario Bros. and three tracks by Nobuo Uematsu from the Final Fantasy series. Although the soundtrack contains both lighter and darker themes, it has been described as containing "a touch of bounciness" throughout. Shimomura regards the Super Mario RPG soundtrack as one of the turning points in her career as a video game composer. The music from the game was released as a soundtrack album, titled Super Mario RPG Original Sound Version. NTT Publishing released it in Japan on March 25, 1996. The two-disc set contains 61 of the game's 73 songs.
|1.||"Happy Adventure, Delightful Adventure"||3:37|
|3.||"In the Flower Garden"||0:31|
|4.||"Bowser's Castle (First Time)"||0:40|
|5.||"Fight Against Bowser"||1:06|
|6.||"The Sword Descends and the Stars Scatter"||0:40|
|7.||"Super Pipe House"||1:37|
|8.||"Where Am I Going?"||0:40|
|9.||"The Road Is Full of Dangers"||1:39|
|10.||"Fight Against Monsters"||1:16|
|12.||"Hello, Happy Kingdom"||2:33|
|14.||"A New Partner"||0:05|
|15.||"Still, the Road Is Full of Dangers"||1:49|
|17.||"Fight Against a Somewhat Stronger Monster"||1:22|
|18.||"Here's Some Weapons!"||1:29|
|19.||"Fight Against an Armed Boss"||2:03|
|20.||"Got a Star Piece"||0:34|
|21.||"The Dungeon Is Full of Monsters"||1:16|
|22.||"Let's Go Down the Wine River"||1:18|
|23.||"Grandpa and the Delightful Tadpoles"||0:49|
|26.||"Let's Play "Geno""||1:23|
|28.||"Beware the Forest's Mushrooms"||2:12|
|30.||"From Inside the Earthen Pipe"||1:10|
|31.||"Welcome! Yo'ster Island!!"||1:45|
|33.||"Hard-Working Moles Are Good Moles"||1:41|
|34.||"Docaty Mountain Railroad"||2:32|
|35.||"Welcome to Bukki Tower"||1:42|
|36.||"And My Name's Bukki"||2:11|
|37.||"Long Long Ago..."||1:39|
|38.||"Heart Beating a Little Faster"||0:46|
|1.||"The Merry Mary Bell Rings"||2:33|
|3.||"The Starlight's Flower"||1:22|
|5.||"Going Shopping in Ripple Town"||1:34|
|6.||"My Paradise -Monstro Town-"||3:40|
|7.||"Fight Against Culex"||2:29|
|8.||"Victory Over Culex"||0:52|
|9.||"Conversation with Culex"||1:25|
|10.||"You and Toadofski Create Exquisite Music"||0:29|
|11.||"Let's do the Fooka-Fooka! (Fluff Fluff)"||3:06|
|15.||"The Axem Rangers Drop In"||1:20|
|16.||"Bowser's Keep (Second Time)"||3:02|
|18.||"Fight Against Smithy"||2:10|
|19.||"Fight Against Smithy, Who Likes Transforming"||2:41|
|20.||"Goodbye Geno/Seeking Dreams Through the Window of the Stars"||4:24|
|21.||"Happy Parade, Delightful Parade/And the Parade Draws to a Close..."||6:10|
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars received very positive reviews and has appeared on reader-selected "best game of all-time" lists, such as 26th on GameFAQs and 30th at IGN. Japanese audiences received Super Mario RPG well with 1.47 million copies sold, making it the third highest-selling game in Japan in 1996.
Though various aspects of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars have received mixed reviews, it garnered praise for the quality of the graphics and for the 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, though Super Mario 64 won "Best Graphics". 1UP.com praised the graphics, stating that they are "the best seen on the Super NES". Electronic Gaming Monthly stated that the graphic element is "strong enough to resemble a Mario title but still retains the role-playing theme at the same time", and commented that the graphics are "typical of Nintendo, using clean and colorful graphics along with nice animation". RPGamer editor Derek Cavin called the backgrounds "beautiful" and stated that they "perfectly bring the Mushroom Kingdom and surrounding areas into 3D". 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". In the Virtual Console re-release, IGN's Lucas Thomas' 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".
Despite the praise, Cavin noted that most of the battle system mechanics "aren't very original" and also noting the "lack of a unified storyline" which is "far from great". 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". While 1UP.com stated that "The characters seem too childish for older gamers".
Super Mario RPG does not have a direct sequel. Considered to be its thematic and spiritual sequels, two successive RPG-themed Mario series, the Paper Mario series and the Mario & Luigi series, followed conventions established in the original (for example, the use of "Flower Points" instead of Magic Points, timed action commands during battles, and, in the original Paper Mario, the collection of the seven stars). Nintendo originally titled Paper Mario as Super Mario RPG 2. However, Square's involvement in the original game made direct sequels legally impossible without Square's permission or involvement. As a result, Nintendo changed the title to Paper Mario. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga features the Geno doll, with a mention of Square Enix as the copyright holder of the character in the end credits.
Development team members, including some from Square, went on to work on the Mario & Luigi series. These include the two directors, Yoshihiko Maekawa and Chihiro Fujioka, as well as music composer Yoko Shimomura. However, they provided different styles and mechanics than those of Super Mario RPG. Various locations and characters from the game appear in the children's book Mario and the Incredible Rescue released by Scholastic in 2006.
On May 30, 2008, Nintendo announced that Super Mario RPG was to be released on the Virtual Console in Japan the following month. On June 13, 2008, the OFLC rated the game for release in Australia. On June 24, 2008, it was released on the Virtual Console in Japan. On August 22, 2008, the game was released for the first time in Europe and Australia, as part of the 3rd Hanabi Festival alongside a release of Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels on the European Virtual Console after being available for a limited period during the first Hanabi Festival. Certain animations, namely those for the "Flame Wall" and "Static E!" attacks, were dimmed to avoid possible seizures, and colors were adjusted. On September 1, 2008, it was released on the Virtual Console in North America, under the distinction of being the 250th Virtual Console game released in that region.
- Scott Pelland; Kent Miller, Terry Munson, Paul Shinoda (October 1996). "Epic Center". Nintendo Power (M. Arakawa, Nintendo of America, Inc.) (89): 60.
- Thomas, Lucas (2008-09-02). "Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- Smithy: "Hurrumph! Better yet... Why don't YOU give me YOUR stars. Why, then I could easily conquer this world! Then we could get rid of all wishes, and create a world filled with...WEAPONS!!" Square (1996). Super Mario RPG. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Square.
- Square (1996). Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo. "Chancellor: It will be up to you to enter the keep and rescue Princess Toadstool! / Mario...her life is in your hands. Please, save our dear Princess! / Mario! Forgive me. But I can't stop worrying about the Princess..."
- Square (1996). Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo. "Mallow: Oh, no! That REPTILE stole my Grandpa's coin! / My Grandpa asked me to buy some things for him here. When I walked into town, that croc stopped me! Oh yeah! He took it from me! He stole my coin! I chased him, but he's way too fast... / I'm Mallow from Tadpole Pond. I'm a frog, but can you believe it? I can't jump. Embarrassing huh?"
- Square (1996). Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo. "Mack: Listen up, gang! These guys are gonna put a stop to OUR party! Are we happy about this?!"
- Square (1996). Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo. "Geno: But Mario and I must leave now to find... the missing Star Pieces... / Gaz: Star Pieces? You mean like shooting stars? What for? / Geno: No one's wishes will come true until the Star Pieces are found and the Star Road repaired. Which is why I have chosen to join these two in order to find the missing Star Pieces."
- Square (1996). Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo. "Booster: I'm Booster and this is my famous tower of amusement. Normally I welcome visitors to play with me and my Snifits. However, a girl fell out of the sky and into my lap, recently. Since then, I've been busy keeping her happy and entertained. I no longer have the time to play. So please enjoy yourself... at your own risk, that is! / My bride-to-be is chanting, "MARIOHELPMEMARIOHELPME". Is she showing her happiness?"
- Square (1996). Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo. "Toadstool: Finally...let's get back. / I'm finally home! / We need to go and find those Star Pieces, NOW! / Chancellor: Princess! You CAN'T be serious! You're NOT thinking of joining them, ARE YOU? This is sheer madness... You're a Princess! What will people say?! / Toadstool: I don't care! Things seem so hopeless right now... / Mario! Please, Mario! Take me along with you, please! / So...let's go find us a star! Hmmm... But I wonder where it could be... I have absolutely no idea! Do you? / Okay then! Let's do it!"
- Square (1996). Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo. "Queen Nimbus: The last star... Wait! The only place left to look is in Bowser's Keep!"
- Square (1996). Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo. "Clerk: Production is on schedule? This, despite the fact that Mack, Bowyer, Yaridovich, and the Axem Rangers were defeated. At this rate, Smithy will have a new army in no time!"
- Square (1996). Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo. "Smithy: NOOOOOOOOOOOO...!!! / Guooooooo!!!!! My b...body and head are burning! It's not...possible...! I don't believe it...! I'm...finished...done for...! Guooooooooo...noooooo...! / Geno: Come on, Mario! Send the last one way up high!... Thank you, everyone! The Star Road is back to normal!"
- Scott Pelland; Kent Miller, Terry Munson, Paul Shinoda (April 1996). "Epic Center". Nintendo Power (Nintendo) (83): 56.
- Scott Pelland; Kent Miller, Terry Munson, Paul Shinoda (October 1995). "Special Features". Nintendo Power (Nintendo) (77): 29.
- Scott Pelland; Kent Miller, Terry Munson, Paul Shinoda (October 1995). "Mario plays a new role". Nintendo Power (M. Arakawa, Nintendo of America, Inc.) (77): 26–29.
- Scott Pelland (November 1995). "Epic News". Nintendo Power (77): 51.
- Scott Pelland (December 1995). "Epic News". Nintendo Power (77): 51.
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- Official Nintendo Japan Super Mario RPG site (Japanese)
- Nintendo of Europe for SMRPG on the Virtual Console
- Nintendo of America for SMRPG on the Virtual Console
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- Games by Year 2000-1996 at Square Enix
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