by Goran Damnjanovic, Gaming Columnist
Published in Gaming on 14th January, 2020
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is the first RPG starring Mario. Mario received many RPG games where he and his brother, Luigi, played main roles but Legend of the Seven Stars is still considered as the best Mario RPG game by many fans.
It was released just a few months before Nintendo 64 debuted but it still was one of the best-selling games for the Super NES.
The game came out so late in the console's lifecycle that Nintendo decided to skip releasing the game in Europe. If you're living in Europe, you can play the game on your SNES only with a North American cartridge and a special adapter that allows playing NA cartridges on European consoles.
The game's still a blast to play because of its unique combat mechanics, lots of cool locations to explore, and a huge number of bosses to defeat. A plethora of minigames, quality humor, and more than solid story are also worthy reasons to play Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
Here's a list of things you should know before wandering into the Mushroom Kingdom with Mario and his gang. We also included a couple of cool facts about the game, just to keep things interesting.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars starts in the Mushroom Kingdom but soon after Mario and friends go on an epic journey across seven large worlds. You will explore forests and swamps of Tadpole pond and then will set for Mole Mountains, a mountainous region that hosts Coal Mines.
There you will travel through dark caves and eventually reach Seaside Town, an idyllic settlement on the shore of a beautiful sea.
The gang then travels to Land's End, which is a desert region filled with dunes, cliffs, and caves. After Mario climbs a giant Piranha Plant and reaches the city in the clouds, Nimbus Land.
Nimbus Land looks really pretty, with its unique architecture and white as snow ground. The game's final world is Bowser's Keep and Smithy's Factory, where the final boss battle takes place.
Nintendo released the Super NES Classic Edition a few years ago and the tiny classic console was a huge hit. One of the main reasons for huge sales numbers was the fact that the company filled the console with 20 legendary titles. And one of those is, of course, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
So, if you don't have the original SNES and don't want to play the game via emulator you can go online and buy the SNES Classic Console. It's definitely worth it in case you like playing retro games.
This is a true RPG game. The combat is turn-based, you can level up characters and unlock new powers. There's lots of gear to buy in the game.
But, Mario still uses jumping non-stop. Jumping is really important during exploration because each map is dotted with jumpable platforms that come with various rewards. Next, the only way to save the game is by jumping on save blocks.
Finally, different jumps can be used in combat as special attacks. You have regular jumps, super jumps, and ultra jumps, each being more powerful than the last.
Further, Super and Ultra Jump attacks allow Mario to jump up to 100 times on enemies but only if you nail the timing of each jump., So yes, this is an RPG but with lots of jumping; in other words, this is a good old Mario game.
Since there are no mushrooms that can make them grow or award them an extra life, Mario and other characters have to get healed from time to time.
And in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars you can heal in two ways. While most other RPGs feature healing potions or a bunch of items capable of healing party members, Super Mario RPG doesn't have those.
The first way to heal is sleeping in an inn. There are lots of inns in the game so make sure to stay the night and heal, if needed, every time you stumble upon one.
Don't forget it. The second way to heal is by using special moves with certain characters. Only two characters have healing skills so make sure to have at least one in your party at all times.
Mallow, the first party member you get, has an HP Rain skill. It restores an ally's HP based on Mallow's defense level, so it's wise to invest in his defense early on.
Princess Toadstool, on the other hand, is a full-on healer, equipped with lots of different healing abilities. Therapy restores one ally's HP while Group Hug restores HP for the whole party - but to a lesser degree compared to Therapy. Toadstool can also revive downed allies with her Come Back ability.
You should have her in your party as soon as she joins you, just before Mario goes to the Seaside Town.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is a simple RPG when it comes to stats. Only three stats are available in the game. You have offense, defense, and special offense/defense stat that affects special moves and protection from enemies' special attacks.
There are also HP and flowers. HP can be increased by leveling up your characters. Flowers act as mana points for using special abilities. They cannot be refiled by using special skills or items. You can refill flowers only by sleeping in an inn or by finding flowers in the world while exploring.
This is one of the reasons why you should explore each area. Special abilities are powerful and extremely handy during boss fights so make sure your flowers are refilled before facing bosses.
The three stats that can be upgraded when you level-up aren't the same as three base stats. During level-up you can increase your HP, magic, and attack/defense.
Magic affects the power of special attacks (it affects the special offense/defense skill) and attack/defense affects your offense and defense stats.
During each level up, one of the three stats can have a bigger boost than the other two. For instance, when you reach level 2 increasing magic will boost it more than attack or HP. To know which stat to boost when level-up, just divide your new level by 3 and take the remainder.
If you get zero (like when you reach level 3), you get a bonus boost for the attack skill. If you get 1 (when reaching level 4) you get a bonus boost for selecting HP. If the remainder is 2 (for level 5) then you should pick magic.
The formula is fairly simple to follow. But, if you don't want to calculate and learn about remainders and stuff just remember this: starting with level 2, you should upgrade stats in this pattern - magic, attack, HP. So, for level 2 upgrade magic, for level 3 upgrade attack, and when your reach level 4 upgrade HP, etc.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars features turn-based combat, with a twist. Unlike other turn-based RPGs, you can affect the power of your attacks and special moves by hitting the Y button at the right time.
The timing in combat can greatly increase the effectiveness of your attacks and can also give you increased defense against enemy attacks.
For instance, you can increase Mario's Jump attack power by hitting the Y button just before Mario lands on an opponent's head. Some attacks require mashing the Y button as fast as you can, like during Bowser's Bowser Crush.
And some abilities can have increased power if you rotate D-Pad clockwise while the ability is powering, like when performing Toadstool's Mute ability.
This timing gameplay mechanic can be a bit confusing and you'll need some time to learn it. So, make sure to finish the Timing tutorial in the game. The Timing tutorial will be offered to you early in the game. Make sure to finish it since it can be skipped. You have been warned.
The game was released before patches were a thing so you can use a few glitches to your advantage. These work only with the SNES version of the game. Exor, one of the late bosses, can be insta-killed, unlike other bosses.
You have to kill one of his eyes first. Then use Geno's Whirl ability on Exor. If you time the ability correctly, it causes 9999 damage and kills Exor with one hit.
Enemies that are invulnerable to jump attacks or those that are invincible can be damaged with Ultra jump. Since the attack, if timed correctly, can affect multiple foes, Mario has to jump on an enemy that can be damaged with the jump first.
If timed correctly, Ultra jump will cause Mario to jump on other enemies and because of the glitch, he will damage even those that shouldn't be affected with the Ultra jump.
Finally, Peach can cast Mute status on every enemy in a group (Mute usually affects just one enemy). To do this, cast the Mute first and then spin the D-Pad as quickly as possible. Just don't do this when fighting against six enemies at the same time. That will freeze the game.
The most famous glitch, that got spread by word of mouth back when the game was originally released, allows players to skip the first boss fight. Mack, the first boss, holds the Chancellor (one of the major NPC characters) captive and Mario has to free him. That means defeating Mack. If you want to skip the fight, do this:
Once you enter the room with the boss slowly walk to Shysters found on the left side of the room. Then, carefully jump on their heads and reach the back of the room. Next, simply talk to the Chancellor and that's it! You technically won't receive the first star, but the game will continue normally.
Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is filled with mini-games. You can ride the cart in Mole Mountains, collect mushrooms, and coins. On Booster Hill (part of the Seaside world) Mario can partake in a Beetle Race.
This includes running up the hill, jumping on barrels and catching beetles. Goomba Thumping is a minigame found in the Pipe Vault level. It includes Mario jumping on Goombas that emerge from green pipes.
There are also races on Yo'ster Isle and Land's End. Finally, Mario can play a multitude of minigames that include Blackjack and Slots in Grate Guy's Casino. All those minigames can be played only at specific points in the game. One minigame, however, can be played anytime you want. It's called Beetle Mania.
To unlock it, the player must visit the inn in the Mushroom Kingdom after obtaining the fifth star. Back in the inn, you'll notice a toad playing with his Gameboy.
Walk to him and try talking to him until he offers to sell you the Gameboy. Buy the console from him and you'll be able to play Beetle Mania. It's a simple game similar to Space Invaders. You can access it from your "Game" menu.
Back when it originally came out, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was the only game where Mario and Bowser fought on the same side. The duo formed an uneasy alliance after Bowser realized that Exor and the Smithy Gang took over his castle.
The second time Bowser and Mario cooperated was years later in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. Again, they formed an alliance to fight the greater evil.
Mario RPG is hands down the most graphically advanced game for the SNES. It used a pseudo-3D perspective and featured characters that were 3D rendered instead of hand-drawn sprites.
It was also the first Mario game to feature eight directions of movement instead of just two, like all other Mario games of the time. Unfortunately, Super Mario 64 came out less than a year after Super Mario RPG and took the title for the most advanced game in the franchise.
Two characters from famous Nintendo franchises can be met in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Samus from Metroid games is sleeping in the Mushroom Kingdom inn. You can meet her after you obtain the fifth star in the game and then visit the Mushroom Kingdom inn. If you try to wake her up she'll notify you that she's resting up for Mother Brain.
Link can be found in the Rose Town inn, also sleeping. To meet him you have to defeat Bowyer in the Forest Maze and then visit the inn. Spend the night there and once you wake up, you'll see Link in the bed next to you.
Mario can also find two F-Zero ships as well as the ship flown by the famous Star Fox. To find them you have to reach Hinopio's Palace, a resupply shop before the battle against the Czar Dragon.
There are two shops there, one for armor and one for items. Enter the palace, reach the far right area on top of the screen and there you'll see the three famous ship models.
Mario's basic Jump special attack is handy at the start but after you unlock advanced versions (Super and Ultra jump) it stops being useful. You should continue to use it though because each time you use it, Mario's base attack power gets increased by 0.5. Just get the item that allows you to damage spike enemies with the Basic jump and then jump on everyone.
Last but not least, let's share advice on how to get your hands on some of the best pieces of weapons and armor in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
First off, here's how to get Mario's best weapon and a piece of excellent armor. When you go to Rose Town you'll meet an old man asking for the legendary seed and fertilizer. To get the seed you have to defeat Smilax in Bean Valley.
Pick the piece of paper containing the seed from a Shy Guy, who drops it after the fight.
Then, wait until you beat Valentina. Return to Nimbus Land and walk along the cloud's edge on the far-right side of the map. Walk along the edge until you discover a secret path. There, you'll find the Shy Guy from before. He will offer you a fertilizer in exchange for letting him free.
Return to the old man, let him plant the seed. Then climb on the top of it and claim two Lazy Shells. One hides Mario's best weapon and the other hosts a piece of quality armor.
You can buy Toadstool's best weapon after you defeat Valentina. Return to Nimbus Land and visit the shop held by a toad. Talk to him and he'll offer you some rare items for sale. Buy the item called "Metal Plate." It costs 300 coins and it's, in fact, Peach's Frying Pan, the best weapon in the game for Princess Peach.