This Replay was done on Monday the 6th of June. Total run time: 1:03
So here is the first hour of replaying Super Mario RPG. Basically this means that most of the game I have relived is the “tutorial”, in other words, the whole ‘teaching the player the mechanics of the game’. How this game handles it is quite interesting, since it is not only a text tutorial, but also an experienced tutorial, much like the Mega Man X game on the SNES. But later on that.
I finally sat down to play the first hour of the game, beer in hand and some leftover potato chips from Domino’s, ready to tackle the first memories. It was quite funny for the first moments to see the intro, which tells us the basic story: Bowser kidnaps that dumb princess again, Mario after them. This is quite a misleading intro though, since once you start the game, the real bad guy is this big sword part of the “Smith Gang”.
The real use of this intro sequence is thus, take us into familiar territory. Once I started the game, it replayed the intro, unskippable by the way. It may be a few seconds long, but if this is in the preview video, why not make it skippable? Anyway, it turns out that between the start screen and that video, there is a piece of story, which takes you into familiar territory: rescue the princess. This time around, you get to experiment a bit with the new style of the game, finding some smaller Hammer Bros blocking your way. Then an epic battle with Bowser on two chandeliers, which, as far as I know, is not that normal. Also, to add to the familiarity in this weirdly changed format, Bowser arrives in the clown mobile, or whatever that thing in Super Mario World was. For my play-through, it seemed like a quite natural thing, since I already knew the dynamics, but I must imagine how many people must have felt. The weirdness of the situation, in which the familiar mashes with what will become the predominant way of playing is just unfathomable now, after a few iterations of the RPG-styled Mario.
Quite funny are the graphics. Although not as impressive as they had been a few years back, they still hold this funny charm. Seeing Mario constantly break the laws of physics to silently tell what we already know does lead to some smile inducing scenes, and Bowser’s crying is just to epically funny! The characters acquire here a funny 3D modelling that I kinda miss today, which makes them look pudgy. Yep, definitely a good bunch of nostalgia built up during the first half hour.
After tutorialling (I know it’s not a word!) my way through the first battles, I finally get to advance the story and meet the first character, what I suppose will be the wizard class of my group. Mallow, the not so froggy frog, was forgotten in my first appraisal of the game. Immediately I am on the brink of deciding what each of the characters is supposed to be in an RPG. Is this Mallow, the cloud person, supposed to be my spell caster and Mario my fighter? I definitely am here on a crossroad at the moment. And no, I am not picking up a guide for that. The first time I played it I did not have one, but I got through the game fine enough, even being able to beat the hardest enemy of the game. So why not do it again? Plus, there are a lot of hints on the function of each character.
Mario is the hammer wielding hero, who jumps on the enemies, so he is most probably the fighter. Mallow presents himself by conjuring up storms while crying, which makes him most definitely a wizard in my standards. This is exactly what I like about this tutorial. Yes, there are the boring scripted parts, where Toad teaches you the mechanics in an seemingly unending text, like the timed critical hit and the use of items, but at the same time much is taught to you through the story through subtle hints and association. I have no manual, since I bought the game in a loose cartridge, so I don’t know if there are further hints. But until now the game has been teaching me the basics sometimes screaming in my face, other times just silently letting me watch the details. Besides, I think I never noticed this until now, with a few years extra of playing. Quite ingenious!
Also, the jokes tend to blend in with the story pretty good. The chancellor of the Mushroom Kingdom, a toad himself, bellows “Spores alive!” and one of the powers the big Hammer Bro uses against me is “Hammer Time” which just brings me back memories of baggy pants and constant affirmations of me being able not to touch someone.
The only thing I have found off-putting up to now is the isometric view, which is conjuring up some images of platforming issues, but I think I will comment this later, when the issues arise.
Also, a lot more things have come into my mind, but I diligently made some notes on these and I will bring them up as I progress on the story, so I don’t run out of ideas during the next parts. There is really a lot of gold in this game, which makes my nostalgic factor feel heightened, even after all those years I had not played the game. I am really looking forward for the next hours!
Nai ainur raituvar tietyanna!