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Super Mario RPG

Vital Stats
System(s): Super NES
U.S. Release Date: 1995
Current street price: $20.00
Save: Battery Back-up
Size: Seven stars, 20-40 hours of play
Players: 1 Player
ESRB Rating: K/A

In a nutshell
A sword has smashed through the Star Road, crushed Bowser's castle, and sent the Mushroom Kingdom into disarray. As Mario, you lead a band of adventurers (including newcomers Geno and Mallow) to save the star Road and stop the evil Smithy. Turn based RPG combat and non-linear game-play are new to the Mario series, while farmiliar character, items, and locales keep popping up, keeping it close to it's side-scrolling roots.

Story
The story progresses throughout the game, and is ridiculously long if written out totally, so I'll quickly summarize. The game starts with Mario gonig to Bowser's castle to save the princess yet again. In the middle of Mario and Bowser's battle, however, and huge sword crashes through the castle and flings Mario, Bowser, and Peach to dfferent parts of the Mushroom World. Mario goes to the Mushroom Kingdom and is asked by the chancellor to save their world from the evil sword known as Smithy.
On the way, Mario meets many companions, including Peach and Bowser, both of whom join up with Mario's posse to save the world. Mario also meets Mallow, a little marshmallow shaped boy who thinks he's a tadpole. Later in the game, Mario reunites Mallow with his true royal heritage in Nimbus Land. Mario also meets Geno, a mysterious visitor from the star road, manifested in our world through a doll. Geno explains how Smithy has broken the start road and how the seven stars have been scattered across this world, and must be saved. This rag-tag bunch of warriors is the Mushroom World's only hope for survival. Can they succeed?

Gameplay Overview
Traditional RPG gameplay is mixed with many platform elements here. You begin on the map screen where there are many play area connected by paths. There are two main types of areas you an go to from the map screen, towns and enemy areas. In towns Mario can talk to people and go in shops to buy weapons, armor, and items. In abttle areas, however, enemies are swarming all over the place. These enemies are visible on the screen, and can be avoided by jumpnig. If you touch one however, you engage in battle. Up to three member of your party are pitted against 1-5 enemies in a turn based RPG battle. You have four options in battle. After each battle you get experience (which helps you become more powerful) and coins (which you use to buy items). At the end of battle areas is usually a boss which you have to defeat to go on. This battle/town cycle repeats until you get to Smithy.

What's the big deal?
The storyline:
Super Mario RPG has the best storyline of any Mario game anywhere at anytime. Period. Nothing else comes close. While other Mario games are simply "save the princess", this one is "save the mushroom kingdom and patch up the star road and stop Croco and team up with Bowser and help Mallow find his family and..." much more. There are so many people to talk to and new characters to meet and towns to visit that the game's story is almost as entertaining as the game itself.

Notes of interest
Bowser actually becomes a good guy!
First and only Mario game viewed from a 3/4 overhead perspective.
Mario never speaks, he just acts events out to explain things.
Samus Aran and Link make cameos.
One of the last Squaresoft games made for a Nintendo system.


Quote
MMMM, Peachy.
-Belome (upon eating Princess Toadstool)

Ending
After defeating Smithy and restoring the star road to its rightful situation, Geno dissapears in a puff of light and smoke. You then see how everything turns out for the major characters: The princess continues to rule from the Msuhroom Kingdom; Bowser start to rebuild his castle, Mallow gets used to being a prince, etc. The credits then roll with a parade in the background (led by Luigi) that features most every major character in the game. Then comes to standard "The End" screen (If you wait a while on this screen, you get to hear a nice, chime version of the SMB theme)



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