Paper Mario The Thousand-Year Door
Reviewed: 11/28/2004


There really are no other RPGs like those crazy Paper Mario games. They really like to take wholly different approaches on the genre, and that’s a nice breath of fresh air. The best part of a Mario RPG title, though, is the humor, and this one’s chock-full of in-jokes and crazy happenings.

The Princess has been kidnapped (again!?-Obviously the Mushroom Kingdom needs Secret Service) and it’s up to Mario to save her. You know the story, but like most of the other Mario RPGs, it does go a step beyond just saving the Princess; Mario has to save the world! Ok ok, so it may not be brimming with the most original RPG storyline ever, but the way it’s carried out IS original. The greatest benefit to the story comes from character interaction and superbly written dialogue. There are also little cutscenes at the end of every chapter where you get to control Peach and Bowser, and it is here that some really interesting moments occur, like driving Bowser through original Super Mario Bros. levels. The cast of NPCs in this game is just so colorful, and pretty much everyone has their own personality and way of speaking. Whether it be that crusty sailor Goomba at the docks or the Pianta mob boss in the hidden building, they all sound the part. I have to say the translation department did their job so well, I’d give them a freaking promotion.

The gameplay isn’t bad either. You have the great Mario RPG tradition of timing button presses to make attacks more powerful, something I think is great to add variety to battles. Not only are there button presses, but every battle is an exercise in simple strategy. Some monsters need to be bopped with the hammer, while other need a good boot to the head. Even then, it sometimes just isn’t enough. There’s one battle that’s impossible to win until you learn a certain move because the enemies defense is so high that you don’t have a chance of breaking through. All the secondary characters Mario meets will have special abilities that will come in handy during battle, and be essential while exploring the many areas. Whether it be stomping on a Koopa’s shell to reach far away switches or hiding from enemies by being pulled into the shadows, Mario’s got his bases covered. The battles are easy for the most part, but some boss battles had me on the ropes. There is also a portion of the game where Mario loses all his friends for a while, which was an interesting experience in survival. The badge system returns with its ability to grant new abilities and other bonuses. It really is very customizable. Setting up badges well can really help in battle, depending on what you’re facing. There’s everything from super powered hammer blows that shake the whole floor to HP and FP increasing badges. Some gamers are put off by the fact that you’ll be dealing in damage ranging from probably 1-6. My question to you is, do you really need to do damage in the thousands? No, you don’t. As long as the game remains balanced, which it is, I have no problems with how much damage I’m dealing out.

Screen Shot
“So is this the door I’ve heard so much about?”

The graphics are probably what’s going to get attacked most on this one. Heaven forbid anyone should make a 2D game in this day in age. The game isn’t really 2D, but has a very…flat aesthetic. I like it that way, when the characters are flat, it’s much easier to give them a drawn look, and that really helps with these crazy characters. I also like how the game keeps the paper theme going with everything. When you enter rooms the outer walls fall down to show you the inside and fold up again when you leave. You can also fold and twist Mario in different ways to use new kinds of moves and get past obstacles. Who doesn’t like flying Mario around as a paper airplane? The areas look great, the characters look great, there’s no need to complain about the graphics. The music has a lot of remixed stuff from other Mario games, and quite a bit of new stuff too. I think most of it is awesome, escpecially the different boss themes. The fact that I felt like picking up the soundtrack is a good sign. You just can’t beat the classics. *Begins to hum Mario Bros. theme.*

If you have a GameCube and you like Mario, just get this game. I don’t even know why you don’t have it already. If you’re looking for a fun, humorous RPG then this is the ticket for you. Nintendo had high standards when they had this game made, and I believe every one of them was met.

-Orie House

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Legendary
Story Legendary
Graphics Excellent
Sound/Music Excellent
Replay Value Excellent
The Verdict: 9