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Super Mario RPG

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Super Mario RPG
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
Platform(s) Super Nintendo
  • JP: March 9, 1996
  • NA: May 13, 1996
Genre(s) Role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Super Mario RPG,[a] subtitled Legend of the Seven Stars in its North American release, is a role-playing video game developed by Square and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was 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 and to the Wii U's Virtual Console service by late June 2016 to regions around the world. Nintendo re-released Super Mario RPG in September 2017 as part of the company's Super NES Classic Edition.[1]

Super Mario RPG is the first role-playing video game in the Mario series. The game contains fundamental gameplay similarities and inspirations 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 party 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.

Square did much of the development of Super Mario RPG under direct guidance from producer Shigeru Miyamoto. The game was well-received upon release, praised particularly for its 3D-rendered graphics and humor. The game has been considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time. The game was followed by two successive Mario-themed RPG series: the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series, both of which act as spiritual sequels and use certain conventions established in the original.


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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[3]


Characters and setting[edit]

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 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.[5]


The game begins when Mario enters Bowser's Castle to rescue Princess Toadstool.[3] 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,[3] sending Mario, Princess Toadstool, and Bowser flying in different directions, as well as scattering seven star fragments. Mario is sent flying back to his pad and meets up with Toad who tells him he has to rescue Toadstool. Mario again returns to Bowser's castle, but Exor destroys the bridge, preventing him from entering.[6] Mario makes his way to the Mushroom Kingdom, where the mushroom chancellor insists that Mario recover the Princess. Upon returning, Mario encounters Mallow, a "tadpole" who has lost a frog coin to Croco, a local thief.[7] Mario agrees to help him and they manage to defeat Croco and retrieve the frog coin. They return to the kingdom to find that it is overrun by pogo-bouncing shy guys called Shysters, who are part of the Smithy Gang, led by an evil robotic blacksmith king named Smithy. He and Mallow enter the castle and are met by a giant knife and spring-like creature named Mack.[8] When Mack is defeated, they find a mysterious Star Piece, which Mario takes while the surviving Shysters run off to warn Smithy.

Mallow accompanies Mario as they travel through the Kero Sewers to Tadpole Pond, in which they must defeat Belome, a dog-like creature, along the way. There they meet Mallow's grandfather, who reveals that Mallow isn't really a tadpole and claims that his real parents are waiting for him to return home. The duo travel 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 immobilizing residents of Rose Town with his arrows, they retrieve another Star Piece and Geno joins Mario and tells him that the Star Piece is a part of the shattered Star Road, where he resides. A surviving Aero, who is one of Bowyer's minions, runs off to warn Smitty. Geno has been tasked with repairing Star Road and defeating Smithy, 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 head to the Mole Mountains where they fight Croco again, rescue two trapped mole children, and retrieve the third Star Piece from Punchinello[9] before heading to Booster Tower (the home of the eccentric amusement-venue owner, Booster) where they encounter Bowser, whose minions have all bailed out on him.

Though former enemies, they join forces to fight a common enemy as Bowser wishes to reclaim his castle. The new team head to the top of Booster Tower where they evade Booster, but he manages to escape with Toadstool. After defeating his henchmen, Knife Guy and Grate Guy, they follow Booster to Marymore. They enter the church and intercept the princess, just before she is forcibly married to Booster, but Chef Torte and his apprentice attempt to prevent their escape. While fighting them, the wedding cake that they made comes to life, forcing the chefs to flee, leaving Mario and friends to deal with the living cake (who name is Bundt). Booster helps defeat Bundt by swallowing it whole and now satisfied and no longer needing Toadstool, he returns to his tower in hopes a new wife will come to him overtime.[10]

After her rescue, the princess initially returns to Mushroom Kingdom but later joins the party as its final member while her grandmother takes her place in the castle disguised as Toadstool. They locate the fourth Star Piece on Star Hill and learn that Mallow's real parents are still waiting for him to return. The five travel to Seaside Town, where the residents inform them that a Star Piece has fallen in the sunken ship in the lake that is owned by the Jonathan Johnny Jones, a shark pirate. After defeating a giant blooper named King Calamari (who was responsible for sinking the ship) and challenging Jones and his crew to a fight, they win the fifth Star Piece. Returning to Seaside Town, they discover that the townsfolk are actually Yaridovich (another member of the Smithy Gang) in disguise. He threatens the real townsfolk in order to force Mario to hand over the Star Piece. He tries to escape with it but is unable to when his ride doesn't arrive. Jones prevents Yaridovich's escape and Mario and friends defeat him and recover the Star Piece (as well as freeing the real townsfolk).[11] After recovering six of the Star Pieces, Mario's group learns that the final piece is held by Smithy in Bowser's castle.[12] Upon battling their way through the assembled enemies and fighting Exor, they discover that he is actually a gateway to Smithy's factory, where Smithy mass-produces his army. After defeating Exor, he inhales them, sending them to the factory.[13]

They enter the factory and defeat Smithy, causing Exor to disappear, and 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 the princess return to the Mushroom Kingdom to celebrate their victory.[14]


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."[15]

Development began in earnest during the second quarter of 1995.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18][19] 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.[19]

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.[20] In December, further development and improvements to the gameplay delayed the translation of the game.[21] For example, the Chancellor, who was named the Mushroom Retainer in Japan,[19] was called the "Minister" in North America.[21] Plans continued through February for the North American version,[21] changing the release date forecast from winter to spring.[19][22][23]

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.[24] When asked about the possibility of a European release, Nintendo representatives said there were no plans for one, and remarked that preparing an RPG for release in Europe is far more difficult than other regions due to the need to optimize the game for PAL TV systems and translate it into multiple languages.[15]


Yoko Shimomura, best known for her previous work in 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 Final Fantasy IV. Shimomura regards the Super Mario RPG soundtrack as one of the turning points in her career as a composer.[25] The music from the game was released as a soundtrack album, titled Super Mario RPG Original Sound Version (スーパーマリオRPG オリジナル・サウンド・ヴァージョン, Sūpā Mario Āru Pī Jī Orijinaru Saundo Vuājon). NTT Publishing released it in Japan on March 25, 1996. The two-disc set contains 61 of the game's 73 songs.[26]


Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 89%[27]
Review scores
Publication Score A[28]
AllGame 5/5 stars[29]
EGM 8.75/10[30]
IGN 9.5/10[3]
Next Generation 4/5 stars[31]
RPGamer 4/5 stars[32]

Super Mario RPG received universal acclaim and has appeared on reader-selected "best game of all time" lists, such as 26th on GameFAQs[33] and 30th at IGN.[34] Japanese audiences received Super Mario RPG well with 1.47 million copies sold, making it the third highest-selling game in Japan in 1996.[35]

Though various aspects of Super Mario RPG have received mixed reviews, the game 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,[36] though Super Mario 64 won "Best Graphics".[37] Electronic Gaming Monthly praised the graphics, stating that they are "the best seen on the Super NES".[30] Scary Larry of GamePro gave the game a perfect 5/5 in all four categories (graphics, sound, control, and FunFactor), and highly praised the rendered enemies, cinematics, and spell animations.[38] stated that the graphic element is "strong enough to resemble a Mario title but still retains the role-playing theme at the same time",[28] and Electronic Gaming Monthly commented that the graphics are "typical of Nintendo, using clean and colorful graphics along with nice animation".[30] RPGamer editor Derek Cavin called the backgrounds "beautiful" and stated that they "perfectly bring the Mushroom Kingdom and surrounding areas into 3D".[32] 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".[29] 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".[3]

Despite the praise, Cavin said that most of the battle system mechanics "aren't very original" and also criticized the "lack of a unified storyline".[32] In contrast, a reviewer for Next Generation found the battle system refreshingly broke away 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 further remarked that the gameplay was complex enough to challenge even veteran RPG gamers, yet simple enough to not alienate newcomers to the genre.[31] 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 trademark humor and puzzle-solving to be as exceptional as usual.[38] 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".[29] While stated that "The characters seem too childish for older gamers",[39] Next Generation said the game is "held together by the strength of its characters and well-developed world."[31]


Super Mario RPG does not have a direct sequel. Nintendo originally announced a game entitled Super Mario RPG 2, but was changed to Paper Mario before release.[40][41] Considered to be its thematic and spiritual sequels, two successive RPG-themed Mario series, Paper Mario as well as Mario & Luigi, followed 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 the Geno doll,[42] with a mention of Square Enix as the copyright holder of the character in the end credits; this cameo was removed from the game's Nintendo 3DS remake.[43] Various locations and characters from the game appear in the children's book Mario and the Incredible Rescue released by Scholastic in 2006.[44]

Super Mario RPG was released on Virtual Console for Wii in Japan on June 24, 2008.[45] 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[46][47] (a period in which several games not previously available in Europe are released on the Wii's Virtual Console).[48] 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.[49] Super Mario RPG was released on Virtual Console for Wii U in Japan on August 5, 2015,[50] in Europe and Australia on December 24, 2015,[51][52] and in North America on June 30, 2016.[53] In the Virtual Console releases, certain animations, namely those for the Flame Wall and Static E! attacks, were dimmed to reduce the potential for triggering sensitive players' seizures, and colors were adjusted.

On 16 December 2015, Geno became a downloadable Mii Fighter costume in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.[54]

Nintendo re-released Super Mario RPG in September 2017 as part of the company's Super NES Classic Edition.[1]


  1. ^ In Japanese: Sūpā Mario Āru Pī Jī (スーパーマリオRPG)


  1. ^ a b "Super NES Classic Edition". Nintendo of America, Inc. September 29, 2017. 
  2. ^ Scott Pelland; Kent Miller; Terry Munson; Paul Shinoda (October 1996). "Epic Center". Nintendo Power. M. Arakawa, Nintendo of America, Inc. (89): 60. 
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  4. ^ Ogasawara, Nob (April 1996). "Super Mario RPG". GamePro. No. 91. IDG. p. 47. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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... 
  7. ^ 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? 
  8. ^ 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?! 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ 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? 
  11. ^ 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! 
  12. ^ 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! 
  13. ^ 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! 
  14. ^ 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! 
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External links[edit]