The Nintendo 64 is a console that has a special place in my heart. I never had one growing up, but when I went over to my friend’s house, we’d immediately run to their room to play it. One of the N64 games I never got to play until later in my life was Paper Mario. Paper Mario is a game series that I was surrounded by as a kid, but never truly experienced. The first Paper Mario game I played and beat was actually Super Paper Mario, which is a fine game, but not something I’d call great. When I finally played the original game on N64, I had a lot to say.
Paper Mario is a turn based RPG. I’ve explained how a turn based RPG works before, so I’m not going to waste your time with that. What Paper Mario’s battle system does differently than most RPGs though is the insertion of the action command. The action command takes place when the player presses the attack button at the correct time during an attack or when defending against an attack. It will help you do extra damage and take less damage during battles. The action command is a really nice addition and helps both novice and experienced players. The game progresses like a book; there are eight chapters, where Mario must rescue a different Star Spirit in each one. These chapters are all very different and fun, with Mario traversing many different areas. There are castles, deserts, snowy wonderlands, forests, and more! Each chapter ends with a boss fight, all of them super fun and interesting! This game’s version of special abilities comes in two forms: star power and badges. Badges are equipped to give Mario and his partners different abilities and help them do tons of damage, while star power is gained after saving Star Spirits. Each Star Spirit does a different ability, and this is where another issue rises for me. Some of the abilities are much better than others. I there are two or three of the abilities that I have only used once or twice in my entire Paper Mario career. While I can use Star Storm to damage all enemies all the time, I never use Time Out or Lullaby, and I don’t see a need to. That isn’t saying that there’s no use for the abilities, but I can’t find any. The game also gives Mario partners throughout, all with unique abilities. My only issue with these otherwise awesome partners, is that their abilities seem very situational. When I need to swim with Sushi, I can’t really explore the water, there’s only one way to go most of the time. Very rarely when using Watt, the electro ball, to light up a room, I almost never find anything cool besides the necessary hidden block to hit or button to press. The partners definitely make up for their outside world abilities in battle, though, as all of them have their own fun attacks that will help you deal with any enemy. The controls are your standard 3D RPG controls, but some attacks require you to use the control stick and buttons in unique ways for special attacks. You might have to tap A and B together or tap the stick in a certain direction several times. I have no issues with the controls, really. Paper Mario’s gameplay is still fun for the most part.
The graphics of Paper Mario are something interesting to talk about. The characters are all 2D Sprites in a 3D world, and Mario is Paper Thin, hence the game’s title. The sprites are all very detailed and are nice to look at. The 3D models surrounding the characters are also very nice to look at, but don’t look as good as the characters. While the 3D models aren’t mind blowing, the graphics are still good today. The music of Paper Mario is really great! Each track is notable, and I love humming them to myself. My favorite track in the game is the final battle theme, but I still remember a ton of the tracks. The music of Paper Mario is still great today.
Paper Mario is one of my favorite N64 games of all time, and one of my favorite games in general. I’ve loved it ever since I first played it, but it isn’t my favorite Mario RPG. What game is my favorite Mario RPG, you ask? You’ll have to tune in next time to see. Paper Mario has aged very well.