Author Topic: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG  (Read 27973 times)

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Offline Jonnyboy117

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RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« on: January 29, 2010, 01:55:11 PM »
Please use this thread to discuss our next RetroActive game, Super Mario RPG. It is available on Virtual Console for 800 Wii Points. Note that we'll be pulling quotes out of this thread to be read on Radio Free Nintendo during our on-air discussion of the game. Comments made here will help to direct the podcast conversation, so please ask and discuss anything about the game that you find interesting!

One more note: due to our established familiarity with SMRPG and its considerable length, we are allowing for extra time for everyone to play deep into the game. Feel free to write about your early impressions, late-game spoilers, obscure side-quests, and overall thoughts on the entire experience.
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Offline GoldenPhoenix

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2010, 02:28:17 PM »
Heck yeah! I'm on board with this game.
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Offline broodwars

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2010, 02:30:16 PM »
A pity I just replayed this game last Fall, as I'd totally be along for this one. SMRPG is one of my favorite games from the SNES era.  Pity Square-Enix owns Geno, as I'd love to see him reappear in a modern Mario RPG as more than just a minigame cameo.
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Offline GoldenPhoenix

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2010, 02:46:55 PM »
A pity I just replayed this game last Fall, as I'd totally be along for this one. SMRPG is one of my favorite games from the SNES era.  Pity Square-Enix owns Geno, as I'd love to see him reappear in a modern Mario RPG as more than just a minigame cameo.

It is most likely a dream but I'd love to see Nintendo and Square do a true sequel to it.
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Offline broodwars

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2010, 03:05:02 PM »
A pity I just replayed this game last Fall, as I'd totally be along for this one. SMRPG is one of my favorite games from the SNES era.  Pity Square-Enix owns Geno, as I'd love to see him reappear in a modern Mario RPG as more than just a minigame cameo.

It is most likely a dream but I'd love to see Nintendo and Square do a true sequel to it.

From what I remember, the period where Square made Mario RPG for Nintendo was fairly ugly (I think Square found Nintendo too controlling).  That, combined with Nintendo having their own Mario RPG franchise in (the inferior) Paper Mario series, makes me doubtful we'll ever see a true Mario RPG sequel.  I'd certainly love to see the two companies bury the hatchet and work together again, though.
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Offline Shaymin

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2010, 05:20:18 PM »
I'm due to replay this anyway, and this time I swear on my roommate's PSP that I'm going to get 30 jumps out of the Super or Ultra Jump. I've never been able to do it previously.

Does anyone have any advice on doing it? And should I play it on the original cart or the VC?
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Offline Halbred

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2010, 05:25:45 PM »
Having the Jump Scarf helps. I've gotten to 30 before, but never 100. If you have the SNES original available, why not play that? Otherwise, it's likely cheaper (and more reliable) to buy it on VC. I'll be playing it on my SNES.
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Offline TJ Spyke

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2010, 07:31:19 PM »
(the inferior) Paper Mario series, makes me doubtful we'll ever see a true Mario RPG sequel.

I think you have that backwards, the Paper Mario games (at least the N64 and GCN ones, I haven't played the Wii one) are vastly superior.

Also, Square loved Nintendo and were one of the few publishers who remained exclusive to Nintendo after everyone else started making games for Genesis. The whole split happened because Sakaguchi is a graphics whore and wanted to use the PlayStation's larger media format for all his FMVs, Yamauchi considered this a betrayal.
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Offline Stratos

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2010, 02:42:10 AM »
I think I was at the power rangers boss when I started playing this on the VC when it first came out. I'm going to start off there and keep going. I don't really feel like playing through all of it again so soon on my busy schedule. My goal is to beat the game before this RA is finished.
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Offline BeautifulShy

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2010, 02:53:21 AM »
I started playing this today and I started a new game since i beat it before when I got the game when it was released. I really like the music to the game.The gameplay is similar to the Paper Mario series. I would say that those titles are a bit more complex. Also there was the Badge system is more fun to use in those games. Currently I am in Moleville.My team is Mario,Mallow,Geno. Mario is level 8,Mallow is level 7 and Geno is level 6. I think I am a bit underleveled.
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Offline broodwars

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2010, 10:45:07 AM »
I started playing this today and I started a new game since i beat it before when I got the game when it was released. I really like the music to the game.The gameplay is similar to the Paper Mario series. I would say that those titles are a bit more complex. Also there was the Badge system is more fun to use in those games. Currently I am in Moleville.My team is Mario,Mallow,Geno. Mario is level 8,Mallow is level 7 and Geno is level 6. I think I am a bit underleveled.

You're doing fine.  Mario RPG is designed so that you should never have to grind to progress, so long as you don't go out of your way to avoid battles.  I will give you fair warning, though: there's a section of the game that takes place underwater.  While you don't have to grind to progress, you will find the boss battle of that area much easier if you did a little grinding and are well-stocked on restorative items.
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Offline BeautifulShy

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2010, 10:52:02 AM »
I beat the game before so I am aware of whats ahead. I think last time I leveled up a few levels after I got a star. I did everything in the game last time.Even the challenging boss that is harder than the final boss.


Anyway one of the things that I like about the game is that there are cameos in the game of other Nintendo characters.
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Offline noname2200

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2010, 01:51:43 PM »
Just started replaying this yesterday. I remember I liked the game a lot when it debuted, and I still like it now, but it's definitely aged. Moving around is more of a hassle than it should be due to the perspective, and it annoys me when Mario goes out of sight, or I miss a jump because of a funny angle. Times like that, when I'm struggling with the controls, are definitely the game's low points, and they're unfortunately common.

That said, I remain deeply impressed with some of the innovations it brought into RPGs. The battle system, which rewards you for hitting the proper input at the proper moment, does a lot more to keep me engaged in the fights than I do in most other RPGs, and as far as I can remember Mario RPG was the first game that did something like this. The "sequels" to this game adopted the idea, and I think they do it much better, but I give Mario RPG full credit for introducing this (still underutilized) mechanic. I also appreciate how the greater variety of weapons changes up the input: while the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi games do a better job of increasing the risks and rewards for zoning out during combat, equipping a new hammer does not change up the timing for inflicting extra damage: here it does. I appreciate this game for having a battle system where I must do more than mash the A button until the victory song commences.

Another thing I really appreciated at the time was the lack of random battles. I don't think this game was the first to feature enemies that you could see (and avoid), but those RPGs were few and far between, so it felt like a breath of fresh air at the time. I still appreciate now, too. While we're on the subject of appreciation, I have to give Squaresoft full credit for the music; it's still great stuff, especially the boss and forest music. What's odd is that the songs seem to fit both Mario and Square, even though the two tend to have divergent music: it's not quite the jazzy-ness (?) that I associate with Mario, but the music's not really the classical orchestra I expect from Sqauresoft. Instead, there's a lot of upbeat, fast-paced brass peices, with a fair dollop of what sounds like a marimba. It's almost like Big Band/Swing fused with Latin. I love it! It really sets the mood, and it's nice to listen to even out of context. I wonder, is there some live performance tape of these songs out there somewhere?

One thing I found really interesting was the decision to lump all of the party's Flower Points together. To the best of my knowledge, this is yet another "first" for the genre. I think it introduces more strategy into battles; forcing you to choose between healing your party and using your special attacks gives tight battles an extra jolt. Of course, items are plentiful, and the game's not particularly difficult, so you rarely need to make such a choice, but it's another nice element that makes you pay attention to the battles without becoming overbearing.

The game's humor definitely needs mentioning. Back then, as today, RPGs tend to take themselves extremely seriously, and moments of real levity are few and far between. Mario RPG, on the other hand, never really plays it somberly, and I think the game as a whole benefits from that. It not only suits Mario like a glove, but it really helped to make the game stand out from the other "the end of the world is coming!" RPGs that have come before and since. The best part is that the story doesn't completely shy away from dramatic moments, but it always plays those off quickly and with charm. In particular, I'm remembering the part where Mallow is told that no, he is not in fact a frog: the developers spoof the "dramatic scene," and while it isn't Abbot and Costello it was an entertaining way to briskly move the plot along without seeming contrived, all while making you chuckle. Yes, Intelligent Systems and Alpha Dream have since done it much better, but full credit to Square for once more doing something completely different with the genre.

Finally, the mini-games. Their inclusion was brilliant: they stopped the main game from getting stale, they're universally short and simple, they tended to fit into the story fairly well, they offered the proper skill/reward ratio, and best of all, most of them were at least fairly fun diversions. I applaud the creativity and effort that clearly went into these brief moments. If they were removed, the game would be lessened. Plus, they were universally goofy affairs, which fit the tone of the game so perfectly.

At first, I was unenthused that this game was chosen for the Retroactive, (I wanted to do Startropics, a.k.a. The Other Zelda) but after a few hours I have to say I'm really glad it was. I've come to appreciate a lot more since the last time I played it, and this Retroactive makes me realize just how innovative the game really was. It's also generally well-executed: the plot's quick, the characters generally likeable (especially the villains), the mechanics are fun, the atmosphere is fantastic, it never really drags, and the overall package was a blast. Some day I'd like to hear how Squaresoft managed to do a 180 from their usual fare, but for now I'll just sit back and appreciate this classic.

Offline gojira

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2010, 12:55:01 PM »
I've never been a big RPG player.  But Super Mario RPG is one of the few I love.  For one, it's Mario.  But mostly it's a very approachable RPG.  The story is simple, but still funny and interesting.  The battle mechanics can also be simple, but the action commands make the game more appealing to a non-RPG person like myself.

Offline yoshi1001

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2010, 04:38:04 PM »
Can't wait to start playing this again. I've also been working through M&L BIS lately, so it should be interesting to compare the two. One thing I really liked about SMRPG was that the size of the game seemed just right, never dragging on. Oddly enough, I've had a few occasions (on my SNES copy) where I've lost my save file midgame and been forced to start over, killing my intrest in the game at the time. Weird, huh?

By the way, for those of you playing on LCD TVs, I strongly reccomend you play on VC so you can use component inputs to avoid any input lag problems. For an RPG, this one is definitely timing-sensitive.
 
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Offline Jet Pilot

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2010, 06:18:07 PM »
I love Paper Mario.  I really love the Mario & Luigi series.  Square's Final Fantasy is one of the best RPG's ever created.  Mix them all up and you get Super Mario RPG.  A masterpiece?  Hardly.  More like a giant steaming pile.  Super Mario RPG is a pile of trash. [yes, I know Super Mario RPG predates both the Paper Mario and the Mario & Luigi series]

The story of Super Mario RPG is uninteresting tripe.  The presentation is very slow and extremely boring.  I often found myself wanting to turn off the game out of sheer boredom.  I only made it several hours into the game because the tedium of the game was just too much for me to handle.

The game's controls are unresponsive and the camera point-of-view was not a good choice for the elements included within the game.  Jumping tends to be imprecise due to the isometric viewpoint of the game's camera.  This makes it very difficult to judge your position with any sort of accuracy. 

The character progression is, at best, monotonous and tiresome.  If the first few hours of the game are any indication of what to expect, this game will require hours upon hours of level grinding.  Grinding is a task that is not -- and will never be -- considered fun.  It is a laborious waste of time used to cover up poor game design.  A good RPG should progress such that level grinding is never required to reach subsequent areas.  The player should gain the adequate experience necessary to progress through the game throughout the normal course of play.

The visuals in Super Mario RPG have that horrible 16-bit "plasticy" look.  The "pre-rendered 16-bit" visual style looked great when the original Donkey Kong Country was released -- primarily because it was a new art-style on home consoles at the time.  Traditional 16-bit sprites have aged beautifully.  Games such as Super Mario World & Yoshi's Island still look gorgeous to this day, 15-20 years after their release.  New games using traditional sprites such as the Mario & Luigi series are a testament to the fact that the 16-bit sprite art-style has a timeless beauty.  The same cannot be said about the pre-rendered style used in Super Mario RPG.  That art-style has aged terribly, and there is a very good reason why we do not see developers using that style today...it looks like crap.

The only thing decent about this game is the music.  It is good (what more can I say).

IMO, Square knew they had a lousy RPG, so they slapped Mario's face in the game in order to disguise the fact that, without the Mario skin, this title would otherwise be considered a complete pile of garbage by the masses.

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« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 04:02:11 PM by Jet Pilot »

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2010, 07:58:01 PM »
I'm not a RPG player at all, but I tried this one out due to the massive praise.  It was certainly charming, but it just couldn't pull this non RPG gamer into it.  However, I'll give it another shot since it'll be the next retro active.  Hopefully the show can show me what I'm missing out on.
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Offline Halbred

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2010, 08:54:47 PM »
Dang. Jet Pilot bringin' the h8t.

Grinding is actually pretty easy here. If you beat all or most of the enemies in a given map the first time you're in there, you'll wind up at level 25 or so by the end of the game. There's a level cap (30), but it's extremly easy to reach that cap--just fight the boss monsters that are falling off the assembly line two rooms from the final boss for like twenty minutes with your final team (which should be Mario, Peach, and Bowser) and you'll be at level 30. Bam.
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Offline AV

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2010, 10:15:57 PM »
a few things i remember when i played on VC.


1) Graphics are awful . Back in release they were amazing and now its awful especially dated on newer sets in widescreen


2) infinite jumping is much harder now. I remember jumping 80 or something jumps on a character and now it's fairly difficult to keep the momentum


3) Luigi is totally out of the picture seems so odd

Offline BeautifulShy

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2010, 10:51:59 PM »
There are many places in the level to grind if you want. In the Mushroom Kindom when the Pogo stick Shyguys take over the castle. Just stand infront of the Castle and they keep coming out.Boosters Tower there is a room where the the ShyGuys keep coming. The last one I noticed is on the Sunken ship there is a Dry bones that keeps coming back when you defeat him.It is the room with the Item seller. I am currently on the ship in that area and I will continue now.
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Offline yoshi1001

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2010, 05:47:46 AM »
There are many places in the level to grind if you want. In the Mushroom Kindom when the Pogo stick Shyguys take over the castle.

There are a lot of places with infinitely streaming enemies in this game. Nintendo Power even suggested using a turbo controller in one of them and leaving the game on until you hit level 30.

I actually really like the isometric perspective, especially after playing M&L 3. It feels like the game has a lot more depth since it takes place entirely in 3D, rather than the mostly 2D of the new DS game. It makes it feel liike there's a lot more exploration and physical space (even though I've long since found just about evey thing else in the game).
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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2010, 08:27:50 AM »
This is my favorite game ever made, though much of the challenge of the game has dissipated for me because of how much I've played it.

When I was younger, my friend, who inadvertently got me into video games, owned this game and the strategy guide. Weirdly, his SNES resided at his family's shore house. So, whenever I'd go with him there, we'd usually stay up late playing SNES, and binging on SMRPG.

That strategy guide wound up losing its binding and getting jumbled up due to overuse, and after about four or five times through the game with him, I could go through it blind. Finally, when I got my own SNES in like 2002ish, SMRPG was one of the first games I got, and I played through it again with fervor. Since then, I play through the game yearly, though in recent years I usually only get through half of it.

I unabashedly love this game, and while I could hear the argument that later Mario RPGs are better, none of them will ever topple the nostalgic value of SMRPG. The humor is spot on, the story is wonderful hybrid between Nintendo's lack of story and Square's overabundance of it. It had awesome characters that haven't really come back (Booster is basically a sexed-up Wario), and one of my favorite game soundtracks of all time (how I discovered Yoko Shimomura).

I still find it kind of funny when people refer to the difficulty of this game. Not that it's that challenging, but it became so easy for me so long ago that I don't remember a time when I couldn't beat the hell out of Smithy.

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Offline noname2200

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2010, 10:35:24 AM »
I'm surprised to hear folks talk about the need for grinding. The only time I encountered an enemy that needed grinding to prep for is the optional boss, and even then you're better off with choosing the right team and equipment than grinding to level 30. Personally, I felt that the difficulty curve was spot on, certainly better than Partners in Time.

Offline broodwars

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2010, 10:48:02 AM »
I'm surprised to hear folks talk about the need for grinding. The only time I encountered an enemy that needed grinding to prep for is the optional boss, and even then you're better off with choosing the right team and equipment than grinding to level 30. Personally, I felt that the difficulty curve was spot on, certainly better than Partners in Time.

Yeah, seriously.  Once you get the Lazy Shell armor and equip it on Peach, the game is pretty much over because there isn't a single boss in the entire game that can kill you.  The only time I ever recommend grinding is for dealing with Johnny.  Other than that, so long as you aren't a complete and total pansy and avoiding fights left and right, I felt the game did a pretty good job of balancing things so you could always proceed without grinding.
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Offline Stratos

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Re: RetroActive #11 Discussion: Super Mario RPG
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2010, 10:51:07 AM »
I think I had to grind a bit to beat Smithy the first time I played but since then I only have to grind for the secret super boss.
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