Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GameCube) Preview

By Karn Spydar Lee Bianco 06.07.2004 2

The original Paper Mario was very under-rated N64 title that sold very few titles, due to lack of advertising. This is a crying shame, as it was a game stuffed full of Nintendo-goodness, and really deserved so much more recognition. Bring on the sequel to try and remedy this situation.

For gamers that have played the original, this title will instantly seem extremely familiar. For you see very little has changed in the way of visuals, or even in the way the game is designed. Although on the surface it will appear to be very much just another cutesy Mario title, full of fluffy and not so fluffy little creatures, and beautiful 'rabbit wouldn't mind hopping through' playing arenas. There is more to Paper Mario (2) than meets the eye, as you delve deeper into the gameplay mechanics, you will discover a simple yet intimately effective fighting system. Unlike traditional RPG's, that are full to the brim with over-complex menu systems, and dare we say it unnecessarily wide variety of moves and options. Paper Mario has none of this, and keeps things nice and easy, and ultimately more approachable and fun then the more in-depth RPG's that are available today.

Screenshot for Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door on GameCube

The demo we played hadn't seemed to of changed very much from the original at all, although as mentioned this is far from a bad thing. The biggest difference is the inclusion of the new Audience driven fighting scenes. Vaguely reminiscent of Viewtiful Joe, where the more beautiful your fighting is, the more points you get. This time around though, the better you fight, the more coins the audience throw at you, thus making you richer, and able to buy various items from shops across the mushroom kingdom. Although it doesn't exactly alter the way you play the game, seeing as unless your rather silly, you will always be trying your best to fight well anyway. Regardless of this, it's a nice little feature, that helps add another dimension to the Paper Mario world!

Screenshot for Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door on GameCube

In the version we played there were some rather basic locations on show. One of which had Mario fighting off various enemies all on his own, whereas others paired our favourite Italian plumber up with a chum. Each of these 'chums' had there own special move, which came in handy for (presumably purposely placed) enemies, that could be more easily defeated by them. For example one section paired you with a slug of sorts, whose special move (for reasons we do not know) was called Gale Force, which as you may be able to work out used wind to attack opponents. More specifically blow them out of the arena, thus meaning that no actually fighting was involved, we have our suspicions this won't work on certain enemies such as bosses later on in the game. Another rather more well know character was Goombella, from the original Paper Mario. She helps you with a rather basic jump attack, but seeing as in this section the only enemies you had to face where Goombas, you didn't really need anything more advanced.

Screenshot for Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door on GameCube

As mentioned the fighting mechanics work in a very similar way to the original. Meaning that little details, such as timing come into the picture, rather than just choosing the move you wish your character to use, you must constantly be on the ball to achieve best results. For example, Mario's default hammer attack can cause increased damage, if the player presses A at the precise moment that the hit connects with the opponent. This technique doesn't just apply to offensive moves, rather defensive ones as well, once again a perfectly timed push of A, when the enemy is attacking your character, will result in an overall decrease in damage taken. This can also be combined with the 'Defend' option in the action menu, for even less damage to be taken. It is details like this that add to the overall fun feel of Paper Mario (1+2). It is a very light hearted game, and never pretends to be anything but.

Screenshot for Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door on GameCube

Final Thoughts

If you're looking for an in depth RPG, full of stats and menus, then look elsewhere. If however your looking for a bit of fun, that is perhaps a bit cute for the average gamer, the look no further than Paper Mario 2! Although there wasn't very much on show in the demo we played, there was certainly enough to give us an idea of what the final version should be like, and it's looking fine.


Intelligent Systems




Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (20 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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