Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars SNES Review
Mario’s first foray in to the RPG genre was titled Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and was developed by Final Fantasy developer: Squaresoft (now Square-Enix) who certainly know a thing or two about making a quality RPG. The game meshed classic Mario platforming and traditional RPG elements such as interacting with people, turn based combat and levelling up to good effect. It’s a game that was never released here in Europe somewhat bizarrely.
Princess Peach has – as always – been kidnapped (yawn) but it’s ok this time. Her damsel in distress role is perfectly suited to the RPG genre, where Princess’s get captured almost as often as we’ve had turns in turn-based combat. It’s hardly a surprise, but being an RPG and all, the story became far deeper then this as you progressed. Surprisingly it’s pretty decent for a Mario game, though it didn’t grip in the way that many other RPGS do. The strongest point regarding the plot was probably its amusing and often bizarre sense of humour, which was retained for Mario’s later RPG exploits. It’s a bit of a contrast to the average dark as hell RPG that are often devoid of any form of humour whatsoever.
Despite being an RPG, all of the usual Mario elements were still intact. Mushrooms served as health portions, coins as your currency and many familiar faces (as well as many new amusing oddballs) were featured in the game such as the careless Princess Peach and the dastardly Bowser, along with cameos from Nintendo characters from other games. There was also a heavy emphasis on jumping around the environment, which should – along with all the aforementioned features – please the fans.
The combat system may not have been as successful from the point of view of fans of Mario’s origins, being turn based and all, though there was a twist. Players could cause additional damage to their opponents by pushing the A button for a second time, just as the attack was about to connect. Likewise precise timing as you were attacked could decrease the amount of damage received and with a bit of luck even nullify enemy attacks altogether. This interaction made for far more involving battles than your average turn based RPG and was a change from just clicking through menus and then sitting back and watching your little group carry out your desired orders.
Mario RPG certainly was not the perfect RPG though. The game was short for RPG standards, being possible to complete in fifteen hours or so and it didn’t help that the game was painfully easy for the most part, and even in the latter stages of the game some enemies dished out weak attacks that caused only one point of damage. It wasn’t the deepest RPG in the world either, but on the good side it was a fine introduction to the genre for younger gamers as well as people who have never played an RPG before and remains that way today.
It possibly may however of been a little lightweight for some hardcore fans of the genre and lacked serious challenge next to other SNES RPGS, but Mario RPG still offered much for the less demanding RPG gamers and at the same time fans of the portly plumber. Not the greatest RPG ever by a stretch, but Mario RPG still stands the test of time as a quality game.