The year was 1996 – the summer Olympics were to be held in Atlanta, Ga – and a then 10 year old Ryan Kenward was about to discover one of the most amazing games of his life up to that point. Being a proud SNES owner in a time where my friends were getting their PlayStation’s complete with 32-bit graphical eye candy, I was starting to think that perhaps the SNES ship had begun to sink. Much to my excitement I remember seeing an article in a Nintendo Power Magazine about a little game called Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars – not knowing what the hell RPG meant I was excited as hell nonetheless. I never owned this game, but I spent my allowance renting it several times. Needless to say, it was a breath of relief that my SNES had not yet met it’s untimely demise and that perhaps I had another year or two until all of my friends had their PlayStation’s and I would be laughing when I had the “Nintendo Dolphin” — later known as N64.
Simply put, Super Mario RPG was quite a feat at the time of its release. Now years later available in the Wii’s virtual console library I can say it is no less satisfying to play now than it was over 12 years ago. The game starts out like all Mario games preceding it, Princess Peach has once again been kidnapped by Bowser (If I knew about restraining orders at 10 years old I may have suggested she get one) – like always, our hero Mario sets out to rescue her battling with Bowser on chandeliers held up by chomps. After a quick battle with Bowser, Mario jumps up to reach the Princess. His victory is short lived as a bad ass sword crashed into Bowser’s castle launching all three in different directions. Mario just happens to wind up at his home (lucky shot) – and from there sets out on his initial adventure of saving our damsel in distress. Mario is joined by a puffy humanoid with a frog complex named Mallow in the mushroom kingdom. Their adventure leads them all over the three dimensional world through a roadway of bandits, a sewer full of baddies, a forest with some pissed off caterpillars, a sunken ship and much more! Mario assembles a chain gang of cronies consisting of some familiar faces (Princess Peach and Bowser join his forces) – along with Mallow and Geno (a guardian of the star road) Mario and company must recover the star pieces to reassemble the Star Road (as seen in Super Mario World [SNES]) so people’s wishes can come true again and also defeat the big sword suck in Bower’s keep named Smithy.
Graphically and in my opinion, Super Mario RPG is one of the strongest shows of the SNES’ capabilities. It integrated animated turn style combat systems, a plethora of interesting levels, and unique characters all rendered in impressive 3D for that time in video gaming.
Like all Mario games, catchy tunes are omnipresent throughout the entire game. A quick youtube search for Super Mario RPG turns up tons of song parodies to the game’s main theme. One of the many reasons the SNES was better than the Sega Genesis was the sound capability – it is clearly demonstrated in Super Mario RPG.
There are several hours of game play involved, and even after you beat the game it is still fun to pop into it occasionally and look for hidden chests or just fight some bad guys just for fun. Super Mario RPG is game that has excellent replay value; the entire journey through is equally as fun the second and third time.
All in all – the 800 Wii points ($8.00) is most definitely worth it to play this classic game. Whether it is the first time playing, or a nostalgic return to a great game – Super Mario RPG will not disappoint!
Fun Level: 9.5
Overall Rating: 9.5