Living up to its brethren
Paper Mario has always been a franchise that has been critically acclaimed and adored by gamers everywhere. The games have always had something that appealed to everyone. RPG fans had their gripping story and their beloved turn-based combat. Likewise, fans of the 'old-school' Mario games bathed in what they loved: pixel-precise jumps, careful timing and colorful, vibrant graphics.
With the near flawless mixture of role-playing and platforming, both of the previous Paper Mario games instantly found their way into many 'top ten best games of all time' list. After its two older brothers met with such glowing success, Super Paper Mario has a lot to live up to. Can it meet the standards set by its brethren, or does it fall short of splendor?
Telling the tale
Super Paper Mario chronicles the story of Mario being given the heavy responsibility of saving the world from total destruction. 1,500 years ago, the Ancients wrote two books. One being the Dark Prognosticus, the other being the Light Prognosticus. The former is a book that prophecies the end of all worlds. Within its many pages, there is a passage that reads 'when a monster king and a fair princess are united in holy matrimony, The Void will appear in the sky'. Count Bleck, an evil sorcerer and the main villain of the game, somehow finds this dark book in his grasp. He then decides to carry out the prophecy written out in the Dark Prognosticus and thrust the world into devastation.
After brainwashing Princess Peach of the Mushroom Kingdom so she agrees to marry Bowser, The Void appears in the sky as prophecised. Mario and his brother Luigi, after hearing word of this occurrence, set out to stop Count Bleck. In their first encounter, Mario is defeated by Bleck and ends up in Flipside, a town between the dimensions. Merlon, a wizard who resides in Flipside, tells Mario that the Light Prognosticus tells of a hero who will step up to save the world. Fortunately, Mario fits the description of the ancient hero perfectly! Merlon then tells Mario that in order to make The Void disappear, he must first defeat the evil Count Bleck. But to do this, Mario must find the eight Pure Hearts which are scattered all across the universe. These will grant him the power to stand a fighting chance against Bleck.
The story in Super Paper Mario is much, much better than that of the past two games. While it certainly has a bit of a Final Fantasy feel to it, the Mario core still reigns supreme. You won't find any angsty spiky-haired teens here. Just good ol' Mario who has to save the world again. The only difference is that the writing gives it a more epic feel. The story will definitely have you hooked to the point where you thought you were done playing for the night, but nope! Your finger manages to creep back to the power button once again.
The game never, ever lets up in the humor department. It throws puns, irony and even satire at you. You will definitely laugh out loud at this game, and trust me when I say that's a rare quality in a video game. The game's witty dialogue has something for everyone. For instance, tech geeks will get a kick out of the Chapter 1 boss' intro speech. He spits out DOS prompts, lines of C++ code and even some good old Unix arguments as well! The writing is just so diverse and clever, that it rivals... no, surpases even the comedic genius of its predecessor. Super Paper Mario also delivers with its gameplay. The game plays out as an old-school Mario platformer. Heck, you even hold the Wii Remote sideways like a NES controller! All the elements of old Mario games are there. You're stomping on Goomba's, kicking Koopa's and jumping over bottomless pits. It is really a blast to see retro gameplay again; especially when it is mixed with new and innovative gameplay mechanics.
No Pros and Cons at this time