Super Mario RPG is the final Mario game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game console, as well as being one of the last games Square produced for Nintendo hardware until Chocobo Land: A Game of Dice in 2002. Square mainly developed the game, with direct guidance from producer Shigeru Miyamoto.
Mario's enemies are visible in the field; a battle ensues only if he comes in contact with one. This allows the player to evade unnecessary battles, though some fights are necessary to advance the plot. Avoiding battles also means acquiring fewer experience points, causing characters to take greater, and inflict less, damage from attacks, making battles more difficult.
In Mole Mountain, the characters travel along the Pipe Vault. Like previous Mario games, the pipe area is inhabited by Piranha Plants. The music in Pipe Vault, "From Inside the Earthen Pipe", references the Super Mario Bros. "Underworld" theme. Further South is Yo'ster Isle, an optional area in the game which is inhabited by Yoshis. Beyond the Pond to Pipes is a rocky region named Moleville that is inhabited by moles. In the Moleville mines, the player can control a speeding mine trolley, flashing through side-scrolling and Mode 7 areas. Booster Tower belongs to Booster and features a gallery of his ancestors. Next to the tower is Booster Hill, a large hill that is the home marathon race of beetles. At the top is Marrymore, the marriage resort with a wedding chapel and inn. In Seaside, Star Hill is a large group of smaller hills resembling a fallen meteor where Stars grant wishes. These stars are scattered along the dark blue rocky ground. The name "Star Hill" is reused in the Japanese versions of Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. Seaside Town is a coastal village. The Sea, also known as "By the Sea", is the site of a merchants shop, several starfish creatures, and the Sunken Ship's haunted hold deep beneath the sea.
Land's End, is the last area of land before the ocean, and is split into four sections; mountains, a field, a trackless desert, and an underground. In the caverns underneath Land's End's desert is Belome Temple. At the end of the temple is a pipe that is the only entrance to Monstro Town, which is a town where reformed monsters live. Jagger, Jinx, and a small family of Goombas are among the residents. Bean Valley is a large area accessible from the desert and leads to Nimbus Land. The first area of the valley is on the ground and has orange vegetation and Warp Pipes. Grate Guy's Casino is a secret area accessible from a pipe in Bean Valley and is run by the jester, Grate Guy. Connecting the first area to the second area in the clouds is a large beanstalk. The second area is composed of clouds with beanstalks in a variety of colors. The beanstalks lead to the entrance to Nimbus Land, a floating town in the clouds where cloud-people live. Nimbus is a Latin word meaning "cloud" or "rain storm". Barrel Volcano is a volcano located near Nimbus Land.
Smithy Factory is the final area in the game. Located here are Bowser's Keep, Vista Hill, and the Smithy's titular factory. Bowser's Keep is a castle on a jagged mountain. The keep rests on the largest rock, which resembles Bowser. Bowser's Keep is also the Smithy Gang's base of operations. Vista Hill is a large hill that originally had a long bridge that connected to Bowser's Keep. The bridge was destroyed during the beginning events of the game. A gate connects Mario's world to Smithy's world. The Gate is desolate with dark fog covering platforms connected by bridges against a black, void background. Smithy's world is a dark void filled with mechanical beings and extraterrestrials. Deep within Smithy's world is his Factory, where Mario and his allies have the final battle with Smithy. The Factory references the Airships of Super Mario Bros. 3.
Another area is the Star Road. The characters do not visit Star Road, but it plays an integral role in story. Nintendo's original subtitle for the game was "Secret of the Seven Stars". Star Road was shattered when Exor fell from the heavens. When Mario and Mallow meet Geno, he explains at Star Road that wishes are transformed into stars. When they are granted, they turn into shooting stars and fall down to Earth. But ever since Smithy destroyed Star Road, wishes cannot come true anymore.
The game begins with Mario entering Bowser's Castle to rescue Princess Toadstool. During the battle, a giant sword crashes into Bowser’s castle and sends Mario, Peach, and Bowser flying in different directions. Mario finds his way back to the Mushroom Kingdom, where the chancelor insists that Mario recover the princess, then discover the purpose of the giant sword.
Mario leaves the Mushroom Kingdom to aid a new friend of his named Mallow, and when he returns, he finds that the kingdom is overrun by creatures claiming to be part of the Smithy gang. When he defeats them, he finds a mysterious Star Piece. He takes, it, hoping to find out more about it later.
During Mario’s search for the princess, he meets a doll named Geno. He tells Mario that the Star Piece is part of the Star Road, where Geno lives. He must find all of the shattered pieces of Star Road in order to repair it, which are held by members of the Smithy gang. Mario agrees to help Geno in his search.
Mario eventually finds Bowser, trying to reassemble his forces; and the princess, as she is about to be forcibly married to a character named Booster. They both join Mario’s party and help look for Star Pieces.
When they have most of the Star Pieces, they learn that the last one is held in Bowser's Castle. They return to Bowser's Castle, and discover that the giant sword is a gateway to Smithy's factory. They confront Smithy in his factory, and defeat him. They then use the Star Pieces to repair Star Road.
With guidance from Miyamoto, Square developed the game in Japan combining parts of its traditional RPGs, Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, with Nintendo's platform games. Square's Final Fantasy series was the model for the battle sequences while the tradition of Super Mario Bros. games demanded a lot of action. During visits to town, Mario talks to people, buys items, and learns secrets just as in a standard RPG, but the 3D graphics show Mario does more than previous RPG characters, even highly animated heroes such as Crono. Mario must dodge a salvo of Bullet Bills in the Sunken Ship, recreate a tune by hopping across musical tadpoles in Tadpole Pond, and hop to turn a huge nut so that it travels along the thread of a bridge made from a giant bolt in the Factory. Mario's ability to jog in eight directions and jump up or down in three–quarter perspective gives him complete 3D motion. Mario's radically new screen perspective is reminiscent of action games such as Equinox, but at the current stage of completion, the mix of adventure and action game play elements placed it in a category closer to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
When Nintendo of America (NOA) received a 60% complete version in November, the biggest surprise was that there was an actual RPG battle system, contrary to what NOA heard earlier. Mario stomping on enemies launches the battle screen sequence. The battle screens, rendered just like the rest of the game, include attack animations of equipped weapons.
Compared to previous Mario games, where characters only moved left, right, up or down, there are four times as many ways to go, the most dramatic change in the character's 15–year history up until that point. Created by SGI workstations, the game's graphics could only compare to Rare's Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble, and Killer Instinct.
In December, further development delayed the game for the translation as well as improvements to the game play. For example, the Chancellor before named the Mushroom Retainer, was now the "minister". Plans were to continue through February for the North American version, forecasting the release from Winter to Spring..
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is one of only three games outside Japan for the SNES to utilize the Nintendo SA-1. (The other two are Kirby Super Star and Kirby's Dream Land 3.) Compared with standard SNES games, this additional microprocessor allows higher clock speed, faster RAM, greater memory mapping capabilities, data storage and compression, new DMA modes (such as bitmap to bitplane transfer), and built-in CIC lockout (for piracy protection and regional marketing control).
The game's sound effects employed the SPC700. The sound chip's built-in function was not something unique to this game, with a primitive simulation of a reverb effect through a short delay (or echo). The game features 210 sound effects.
Yoko Shimomura (Parasite Eve, Legend of Mana, and the Kingdom Hearts series) composed the music for this game. She incorporated arrangements of music by Koji Kondo (Super Mario and the Legend of Zelda series) and Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy series) as part of the score. Three tracks from the Final Fantasy series appear.
The Super Mario RPG soundtrack was released on CD as Super Mario RPG Original Sound Version, with the code PSCN-5047 / PSCN-5048. The publisher was NTT. Although it contains 61 songs, the game features 73 tracks.
|Disc one (51:09)|
|Disc two (52:29)|
|Disc one (16:33)|
Though various aspects of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars have received somewhat mixed opinions, the setting of the game have been well received overall and have garnered praise for the quality of the graphics and visual style in particular. Nintendo Powers review claimed the excellent 3D graphics helped the game appeal to a much wider audience than most traditional RPGs. In March 1997, Nintendo Power nominated the game for several awards, including "Best Graphics", in a player's choice contest, though Super Mario 64 won "Best Graphics". 1UP.com praised the graphics, stating that they "are the best seen on the Super NES. Electronic Gaming Monthly stated that "the graphic element is strong enough to resemble a Mario title but still retains the role-playing theme at the same time", and commented that the "graphics of Mario RPG is typical of Nintendo, using clean and colorful graphics along with nice animation. RPGamer called the backgrounds "beautiful" and stated that they "perfectly bring the Mushroom Kingdom and surrounding areas into 3D. IGN gave it a 9.5 out of 10.
Some of the game's team members, including some from Square, went on to work on the Mario & Luigi series. These developers include the two directors Yoshihiko Maekawa and Chihiro Fujioka, as well as music composer Yoko Shimomura. However, they provided different styles and mechanics than those of Super Mario RPG.
Various locations and characters from the game appear in the children's book Mario and the Incredible Rescue released by Scholastic in 2006.
In the June 2008 issue of Nintendo Power, Super Mario RPG Legend of the Seven Stars was revealed to be the #2 "Readers' Most Wanted" Virtual Console title (second to Earthbound); in the next issue, it had moved down to third place.
On November 23, 2007, RPG Magazines issue number 5 wrote, “Square-Enix is considering bringing back Super Mario RPG by making a sequel on the DS. The sequel would include more characters from the Final Fantasy universe.” However, there has been no such confirmation from either Nintendo or Square Enix.
On May 30, 2008, Nintendo released information that Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars will be released on the Virtual Console in Japan in June 2008 for a price of 800 Wii Points. On June 13, 2008, the OFLC rated Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for release in Australia. On June 24, 2008, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was re-released on the Virtual Console in Japan.
On August 22, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was released for the first time in Europe, as part of the 3rd Hanabi Festival alongside a re-release of Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels on the European Virtual Console after being available for a limited period during the first Hanabi Festival. It is notable that like Super Paper Mario, some lines have been changed to reflect their meaning in British English. Croco no longer refers to Mario as a "persistant bugger" early on in the game and instead refers to him as a "persistant pest" to avoid issues with the British English meaning of the word bugger. Also, certain animations, namely those for the "Fire wall" and "Static E!" attacks were dimmed to avoid possible seizures.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was released on the Virtual Console in North America on September 1, 2008 under the distinction of being the 250th Virtual Console game released in that region.