Released: March 9 1996
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was the last Mario game made and released on the Super Famicom/Super NES as well as the last major Squaresoft (now Square Enix ) produced game for a Nintendo video game console until Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles in 2003. It was also the first role-playing game (RPG) in the Mario series. It contains token similarities to Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series with a story based in the Mario universe. Since it was an easy-to-play RPG starring Mario, it introduced many long-time Mario fans to RPGs and is sometimes seen as an introductory RPG. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars also became the first game in which Mario and Bowser fight as allies. A version of the game for the PAL region was not released. It has been confirmed that Super Mario RPG will be released on the Wii's Virtual Console.
Mario's enemies are visible in the field, and a battle ensues if he comes into contact with one of them. This allows the player to avoid unwanted battles by jumping over or walking around the foe, although some fights are difficult to evade and others are necessary for the game's storyline to progress.
The battles themselves are a blend of platforming elements and traditional RPG battles. As well as selecting attacks, the player is usually required to perform action commands to increase the damage done. These consist of timed button presses and other movements (such as rotating the D-pad or pressing Y repeatedly) to determine the power of the characters' moves. As with many other RPGs, items are an important tool in battles. The need to perform action commands in between navigating menus requires the player to be engaged in the battle the whole time. Unlike many RPGs before and after its release, much of the gameplay was outside of monster battles. In the field, the game plays much like an isometric platformer, with many traditional Mario features (such as jumping) as well as many new ones (such as magic spells) playing a key role. There are five characters that you can play with: Mario, Mallow, Geno, Bowser, and Princess Toadstool. Each character has a good amount of attacks and techniques.
Super Mario RPG features five permanent playable characters . Mario is the silent protagonist of the game, and often uses pantomime to act out scenes for characters. Mallow is a humanoid cloud from Nimbus Land; however, he is convinced during the early stages of the game that he is a tadpole, having been raised by Frogfucius, the elder of Tadpole Pond, for as long as he can remember. He is notable for being a crybaby. Geno is a wooden puppet brought to life by a star. Because his real name is unpronounceable in Mario's language, he decides to go by the doll's name, "Geno". Early in the game he explains to Mario about Smithy, what he's done and what must be done to stop him. Mario's archnemesis Bowser has been exiled from his castle, and joins forces with Mario in order to reclaim it. Princess Toadstool joins Mario after he rescues her from Booster, a wealthy and eccentric entrepreneur who lives in a tower with his Snifit henchmen. Booster tries to marry her, but Mario saves her.
The main villain of the game, Smithy, hides within a massive weapons factory that is connected to Mario's world via the sword/portal Exor. Smithy has expressed an interest in the Star Pieces, and sends out his minions to collect them, increasing the problems presented to Mario and his gang as they attempt to restore peace. His most notable minions include Mack, Bowyer, Yaridovich, and the evil counterparts of the famous Power Rangers, the Axem Rangers. Other villains include Croco the thief, who steals treasure from Mallow; Belome, a monster with an uncontrolled, endless appetite who guards various passages; and Valentina, who through a series of events takes over Nimbus Land with her pet Dod, and eventually falls in love with Booster.
Other major characters include the Chancellor of the Mushroom Kingdom, who desperately urges Mario and his friends to find the Princess, and seems to be constantly worried about her (as well as everything else); Toad, who follows Mario and his friends around the world providing him with helpful items and pointers; Yoshi, who lives on an island called Yo'ster Isle and needs Mario's help to remove Boshi from power; and Jonathan "Johnny" Jones, a brutal yet honorable shark pirate that inhabited a sunken ship with his fellow sharks. Mario must fight him to earn his trust.
Princess Toadstool is once again kidnapped by King Bowser, and once again, Mario goes to save her. He battles and defeats Bowser in his keep, but before he can untie the princess, a giant sword (named Exor) smashes through the roof of the castle, effectively destroying the only bridge providing access to the keep and sending Mario, Peach and Bowser flying off in different directions. It is later revealed that Exor is the first of many enemies sent by the evil Smithy to take over the mushroom world.
Mario falls through the chimney into his own house and quickly encounters Toad, and after a brief explanation of recent events, the two make their way to the Mushroom Kingdom to inform the Chancellor of Mario's failed mission. After the Chancellor "pulls his spores together", he insists that Mario locate Peach, defeat Bowser once and for all and discover the truth behind the giant sword and its intentions. Upon exiting the Chancellor's castle, Mario finds a little white puff-ball sobbing his eyes out (which, subsequently, is also causing it to rain substantially). After introducing himself as Mallow, he explains how his wise Grandpa, Frogfucius, gave him a coin and sent him to the store, but how the coin was then stolen by a mysterious purple crocodile. Mario helps Mallow track down the thief, Croco, and retrieve the coin.
Upon returning to the kingdom, however, Mario and Mallow find it under attack by a gang of bouncing Shy Guys, called Shysters. After dispatching the baddies outside, the duo runs inside the caste and find the Chancellor cowering in a corner while a giant knife-creature, obviously the leader, bounces up and down and boasts about how he (Mack), his gang and their boss Smithy are taking over the mushroom world. He's also guarding a suspicious-looking star. Mario and Mallow fight and defeat Mack and send the remnants of his gang running. The Chancellor examines the star, and while he doesn't know what it is, he's positive that it must be connected to the arrival of this "Smithy" and his gang of weapon creations. He therefore tells Mario and Mallow to find out as much about it as they can, and suggests that they start by asking Frogfucius, saying that if anyone knows anything, he does (as Frogfucius himself puts it, "Old, wise people often give good advice"). The two must first head through Kero Sewers, defeat the gluttonous dog monster, Belome, and survive the treacherous Midas River, before heading to Tadpole Pond.
Mallow explains how Mario aided him in getting his money back, and after Frogfucius is through thanking Mario, he tells him about the Smithy Gang, and that Mario must stop them. He also decides to hit Mallow with the truth, on account of how much he's clearly grown up: Mallow is not a tadpole at all; Frogfucius found him as an abandoned baby and raised him as one of his own. After Mallow is through crying again, Frogfucius tells him that it's time to go out into the world, make a name for himself and find his real parents. He also insists that Mallow accompany Mario on his quest. Frogfucius isn't sure what the Star Piece is, he simply states that shooting stars are involved in granting wishes. He does mention, however, that something strange is happening in a nearby town, Rose Town, and that the citizens need help. Perhaps, he says, this is a similar attack to the one that just occurred in the Mushroom Kingdom. So Mario and Mallow set off to help, and maybe gain some more information in the process.
When they arrive in Rose Town, they see that arrows are flying out of the forrest surrounding the town and paralyzing anyone they strike, freezing them to the spot. Mario and Mallow enter the forrest and find the source of the trouble: sure enough, another weapon creature, this time a giant bow named Bowyer. They also see that he's guarding another star and is in conflict with a mysterious character dressed in blue. Mario and Mallow rush forward to help, and after defeating Bowyer, the guy in blue thanks them and introduces himself as a visitor from the Star Road, a place high above where wishes arrive, are turned into shooting stars and ultimately granted. He explains how the giant sword Exor shattered the Star Road into seven star pieces, and that in order to repair it, all seven must be recovered. Smithy, he says, did this intentionally, since he can't rule a world where wishes can be granted. Since the visitor in blue's name is unpronouncable, he tells Mario and Mallow to call him Geno, after the doll that he inhabited to give him a physical form. With the mystery behind the star pieces finally solved, Geno joins the party and they set out to search for the remaining five pieces and Peach.
The heroes next arrive at Moleville, where a shooting star has crashed into the hollowed-out mountain on the outskirts of town and trapped two kids that were exploring inside. The party proceeds into the mountain, meeting and tussling with Croco again, and encounter a cocky stranger who calls himself Punchinello. He's been driven mad with desires of becoming famous, and he decides that destroying Mario and his friends might finally earn him his place in the spotlight. Naturally, this is as far as he gets, as Mario, Mallow and Geno dispatch him without much effort, retrieve the two missing kids and the star piece, and escape the mountain via a speeding mine cart.
The party eventually encounters Bowser and shortly afterward, Peach. When the crew receive word that someone, possibly a princess, was seen falling from the sky and landing on the roof of Booster Tower, the home of a rich and greedy madman, they decide to check it out. When they arrive, Bowser is seen standing outside the entrance, gazing up at the tower's magnificence and verbally reminiscing about his own castle and how much he misses it. When the party confronts him, he quickly stifles his emotion and demands to know what's going on. When Mallow finishes explaining about Smithy and how unless he's stopped, wishes can no longer be granted, Bowser is faced with a dilemma, which he again ponders aloud: a world with no wishes would mean that Mario would have no hope of ever rescuing Peach from Bowser again, as Peach's wish for Mario to save her would go ungranted. On the other hand, if Smithy isn't defeated, Bowser won't ever get his castle back. In the end, he decides that home is where the heart is, so he agrees to join up with Mario and his friends and help stop Smithy, in his own words ("I'll let you join the Koopa Troop"), in exchange for them helping him reclaim his castle. Bowser then uses his massive form to bust down through the locked door and the party storms the tower, fighting their way past Booster's Snifits and a variety of henchman. When they finally reach the top and find Peach and Booster, however, Booster delays the heroes with his two greatest bodyguards, Knife Guy and Grate Guy, while he grabs the protesting Peach and makes off for the nearby town of Marrymore in an attempt to wed her. The party fights and defeats Booster's bodyguards and follows in hot pursuit.
The party chases the goofy hermit, carrying the princess, all the way up Booster Hill, but ultimately fail to catch him. Upon arriving in Marrymore, they learn that Booster has kicked everyone out of the chapel and barricaded the doors. Fortunately they find a secret entrance, and after busting down the doors, and recovering the Peach's accessories, they prepare to leave. Unfortunately, the chefs, upset that no one will eat the cake they worked all day on, fight the party. During the battle, the cake comes to life, scaring the chefs away. The party defeats "Bundt" and "Raspberry" as the cake is called, and it is finished when Booster swallows it whole.
Finally, with the Princess found, the party returns to the Mushroom Kingdom and explains the situation to both her and the Chancellor. The Princess wants to join them, and, when the Chancellor tells Mario to continue the quest, she sneaks out, with her nanny masquerading as her. On Frogfucius' advice, they head to Star Hill, where wishes that have been granted fall to Earth. Due to the Smithy Gang, wishes that have not been granted are lying around. The party discovers an unguarded Star Piece, and leave.
At the next town, Seaside Town, the citizens are acting extremely odd and jumpy. Two guards are standing watch over a shed, which upon closer inspection, has people inside, and the innkeeper watches his customers when they sleep. The Elder, who seems to be somewhat normal, informs the party that a Star Piece has fallen into the ocean, where a ruthless pirate called Jonathan Jones has taken hold over a desolate Sunken Ship.
The party travels underwater, and finds the Sunken Ship, which is infested with ghosts. They solve tricky puzzles designed to keep trespassers away from the treasure, and confront a monstrous squid called King Calamari. Eventually, after numerous challenges, and getting past Johnny's pirate lackeys, they confront the pirate himself. After defeating him, the shark, impressed with Mario's strength, gives him the Star Piece, and proclaims him his "matey".
They return to Seaside Town and find the Elder is Yaridovich, a spear-themed member of the Smithy Gang. With the real townspeople in his hands, the party has no choice but to hand over the Star Piece (strangely he does not demand the other Pieces), and the coward and his minions flee. The party pursues them and finds them stuck, since their ride is late. When they try to swim away, Johnny and his pirates block them off, forcing Yaridovich to reveal his true form and fight the party. After defeating him, the Star Piece is recovered, and the townspeople are free. The real Elder tells them that a mouse from Monstro Town came by to brag about their "star".
The party's next destination is Land's End, a desolate conglomeration of mountain and desert regions. After sinking into deep sand whirlpools, they find an ancient temple which their old enemey, Belome, has taken for his new home. Despite his new ability to make clones, he is defeated, and the party heads to Monstro Town. In the small town, made of reformed monsters, they meet Monstermama, the landlady. Unfortuantly, the star the mouse was talking about was nothing but a musical Starslap.
Sensing their quest is important, Monstermama calls on grizzled air veteran Sergeant Flutter and his Sky Troopas to help the party scale an inaccessible cliff. The cliff leads to Bean Valley, an area full of bizarre vegetation, and equally odd enemies. The party comes across a Shy-Away with a penchant for gardening, and fight his monstrous pet flower, Smilax. After beating it, the Shy-Away flees. Soon after, they come across a magic vine and traverse it to a city in the clouds.
The city, Nimbus Land, seems made up of inhabitants who look just Mallow. As the party arrives, the royal advisor, Valentina, announces the King's ill condition has turned critical. However, she also claims to have found the lost "Prince Mallow", who looks like a giant black bird. The Prince seemingly asks Valentina to marry him, thus making her queen of Nimbus Land.
Looking around the city, Mallow learns from Garro, the royal sculptor, that he is in fact, the real prince, meaning Valentina is lying to everyone. By disguising Mario as a statue, Garro is able to sneak the party into the castle. Inside, they receive a key from an imprisoned guard, and come across a giant egg being tended by the same Shy-Away from Bean Valley. The egg wants Mario to "play" with it, and soon hatches into a giant Birdo. After being defeated, she surrenders another key, which the party uses to progress. They come across a locked door that contains the king and queen. Bowser's first solution is to break it down, but Mallow, not wanting to make noise if his father really is sick, suggests they get the key from Valentina.
About this time, the Shy-Away arrives and warns the vain villain about Mario. Seeing them before them, Valentina and Dodo (the imposter prince) flee. The party follows them, only to fall out of Nimbus Land. They quickly get back into town, where, fortuantly, the incessant questioning of the people has stopped Valentina. The dastardly duo fights the party, but is defeated, and flees. However, they drop a key that unlocks the door.
With Mallow reunited with his parents, the party continues onward, told by the queen that a star fell into the Barrel Volcano. They travel through hot lava, and treacherous donut blocks, to meet the fiery Czar Dragon. After defeating it, and its zombified form, Zombone, they find the Star Piece -- only to have it stolen by the Axem Rangers, an elite Smithy Gang fighting force. After chasing them onto their warship, Blade, the party engages in battle with them. It is a fierce battle, but the party emerges victorious and reclaims the Star.
Having looked everywhere else, it is assumed that the last star piece is in Bowser's Keep. Using the Nimbus Land Royal Bus, the party finally arrives. Inside, they make their way through six doors filled with battles, challenges, and puzzles. Afterwards, they battle a brainwashed Magikoopa, who comes to his senses after being defeated. They then come to two more chandeliers, and battle Boomer, an honorable samurai robot, who commits suicide after losing. The Chandli-Ho (the Shy Guys tied to the chandeliers) then takes them to the roof, where they battle Exor. After defeating him, the giant sword sucks them into his mouth, transporting them to a dark and lifeless factory, the center of Smithy's operations. Geno convinces Bowser to stay and finish the ordeal when the Koopa King believes his Keep is safe.
The party makes its way through the factory, defeating the guardian alarm clock, Count Down, and the pair of deadly jesters, Cloaker and Domino. They then come to the production line of soldiers, and defeat the executives in charge: the Clerk, Manager, Director, and the Factory Chief (along with his robot, Gunyolk). Finally, they head down to confront Smithy. The party attempts to reason with him, but to no avail, and are forced to fight him. After being defeated, Smithy, in a rage, destroys the factory, and reveals his true form. Despite this, he is defeated and explodes.
With Smithy gone, and the final Star Piece in hand, Geno thanks the party, and returns to the Star Road to repair it. The party heads outside in time to see Exor disintegrate. Peace has returned to the Mushroom Kingdom.