Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Super Nintendo) Review

By Adam Riley 26.08.2008 20

Review for Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars on Super Nintendo

Back in the days before Sony came onto the scene with the all-conquering PlayStation, Nintendo was in the lofty position of having the largest RPG developer in the world producing games exclusively for the GB, NES and SNES. Therefore, after having immensely enjoyed the Mana, Chrono and Final Fantasy series, gamers were whipped into a frenzy upon hearing the news of a Nintendo and Square collaboration starring none other than the Italian plumber, Mario. The year was 1996, the game was Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and now the game has finally hit European shores for the first time ever via the Virtual Console. Does the game many still deem a true classic manage to stand the test of time?

Unlike most Mario adventures, Bowser is suprisingly nowhere to be found during the game's opening. Super Mario RPG starts out with the all too familiar dispute between Mario and King Bowser as the green meanie has indeed whisked Princess Toadstool off once more. However, events are quickly turned on their head as when Mario rescues the damsel in distress, and begins to goad Bowser, a huge sword - calling himself Smithy - comes crashing down through Bowser's Castle, thus launching the Princess, Bowser and Mario clear of the structure, leaving them all separated and extremely annoyed. Not only that, but the impact manages to shatter 'Star Road', spreading seven pieces of star across the world. Mario is thusly tasked with recovering all shards in order to restore the road to its former glory and re-establish peace in the Mushroom Kingdom. And so we begin our adventure...

As with Donkey Kong Country, from former Nintendo allies Rare, Super Mario RPG's initial batch of screenshots was greeted with slack-jawed bewilderment. Surely graphics of this quality could not be produced on a lowly 16-bit SNES? Could this have been put together on a Silicon Graphics workstation for the Nintendo 64's launch? The reason for this was because of the isometric viewpoint allowing the SNES to process chunky, 3D graphics relatively easily, without looking as rough around the edges as Starwing.

Screenshot for Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars on Super Nintendo

However, for a system that did require a special Super FX chip to process Starwings basic three-dimensional field, this game's aesthetic value was truly unbelievable and still is to this very day, probably managing to look a heck of a lot better than some shoddy Third Party Wii efforts...The final result is like taking Rare's ACM (Advance Computer Modelling) pseudo-3D technique from DKC and having the skilful Square graphic designers using their expertise to finely craft 3D models of Mario, Princess Toadstool, Bowser and everyone's 'favourite', Toad, and the wonderful locations in which the actual action takes place. The game may suffer from slowdown when too much is on-screen at once, but this barely happens and life is peachy...Super Mario RPG was developed towards the end of the SNES's lifespan and it definitely shows as this is the one of the most impressive looking games from the sturdy console.

On the soundtrack front, what do you get when you cross classic Nintendo tunes and Squaresoft's orchestral pieces? A splendid aural experience! And that is just what we are given with Super Mario RPG. From the lush sounding music on the World Map that can be listened to for ages, to the little extra sound snippets such as when you meet Link in one of the Inns and rather than talking to you, he just makes a little noise similar to that of opening a chest in Zelda, everything just feels so perfectly suited to the proceedings.

There are typically Mario-style tunes, like in Bowser's Castle or the village of the Toads, but then again there is a very Squaresoft feel to many of the pieces as well, especially in places like the Forest Maze, where the music could very well have been lifted straight out of one of the early Mana games. So much imagination has gone into many of the tunes to make them appeal to a wide range of gamers and it is something that will score major points with many gamers from the SNES era.

Screenshot for Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars on Super Nintendo

For those that still believe Square Enix is all about making Final Fantasy games and various spin-offs that seem either too boring or slow for the average gamer, that pre-conceived notion should be wiped clear for Legend of the Seven Stars, as it is well and truly an entry-level RPG. In other words, Super Mario RPG aims to introduce newcomers to the genre by using simple play mechanics, instead of the usual tiresome random battle technique, with players instead able to pick and choose battles by avoiding on-screen enemies at most points. The odd dash of humour and a very light-hearted storyline mixed in certainly helps with making this more accessible for the masses as well.

Players start the game in control of Mario alone, using moves such as 'Jump' and 'Hammer' to defeat the evil creatures terrorising the world. However, Mario is soon joined by others: 'Mallow', a Marshmallow that was raised by frogs and can control the weather; 'Geno', a doll brought to life by star magic; the strongest character in the game 'Bowser', who is annoyed that his castle has been overtaken by a supposed nobody; and, finally, even good old 'Princess Toadstool' joins the team. Only three of the mentioned characters can make it into a battle at any one time, however, so switching and planning for specific battles wherever necessary is required. Again, though, rather than in a general RPG where only team-members in the actual battle group gain experience, Super Mario RPG prevents that potential deterrent factor by sharing points amongst everyone in the team evenly, even if they are never used in battle at all.

Screenshot for Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars on Super Nintendo

During the adventure, players must traverse a wide variety of locales, such as sewers, forests, a sunken ship and even up in the clouds as they try to reclaim the seven pieces of star that have been spread across the world. Diversity like this breeds ultimate enjoyment throughout the whole game. Battles will not detract from the fun too much either, as they a simple, yet highly engaging. The four main face buttons come into play, with normal attacks, special powers or magic (like Mallow's Thunder), item usage and defend or attempting to run away all mapped in a fashion that is extremely simple to remove any unnecessary complications. Using magic or special powers consumes Flower Points, which act like Magic Points in other RPGs, though, so careful planning needs to go into some battles to make sure the MP meter does not hit zero before the fight has reached completion. Battling is made more interactive as well, despite being turn-based - as if a player hits the same button again just before an attack hits, the amount of damage done can be slightly increased...and the same is true when it comes to defending, with damage reduced if the player has good reflexes.

Many gamers may well be used to mammoth sized RPGs by now. Sprawling stat-fests, running around trying to desperately level-up as quickly as possible (yet actually taking many, countless hours in doing so) in order to defeat some ridiculously difficult boss. Well Super Mario RPG avoids any such pitfalls. Instead, the simple nature of the battling and the not-overly-tough enemies mean that gamers will not have any trouble with what many deem the side of RPGs that really does turn some folk off the genre completely. Thankfully there is over thirty hours gaming in here, though, without all the hassle of normal RPGs and that is before most of the fun side-quests are completed. Now the game has finally arrived in Europe for the first time ever on Virtual Console, be sure to not miss out on this fantastic effort that still retains all of the charm it had when originally released...

Screenshot for Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars on Super Nintendo

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

The first ever Mario RPG is a superb base for the franchise and has definitely stood the test of time extremely well, feeling like it was only released this year and looking like it as well! There is no need to crack open that piggy-bank any more and search through eBay as for a pittance it can now easily be picked up on VC. Do not miss out on this true classic...






Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (18 Votes)

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


I wish I had money... ;-; I want this ve\'y badly.

Nice review. It\'s a shame about the length. Despite it being a \"legend\" for so long, I hardly know anything about this game!

( Edited 26.08.2008 11:40 by SuperLink )

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

It's a cracking game. I actually imported the US version ages ago and keep it safely locked away until the day I decide to finally succumbed and stick it on eBay (if that day EVER comes!).

I certainly prefer this to the Paper Mario games...

So who on here has picked this up on VC for the first time in Aus/Europe?

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Omg why cant we have it in the US!!!! It makes me mad does any1 know when or if its coming to the US?

My Brawl Code Is.... 1590-4363-1480 P.M. Me Fri. Sat. Sun. .....For the toughest macth of your LIFE

No doubt it will be coming to the US, but nothing is listed on the ESRB website, whilst EarthBound IS listed. So chances are American's will be seeing that game before Europeans!

Have you played the original SNES version?

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Oooh oooh Earthbound! Will we have to wait a whole year for the next Hanabi Festival to get that in EU? Smilie

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Probably not a whole year, the last Hanabi Festival was barely 6 months ago. Smilie

Great game, haven\'t played much of it admittedly, but that\'s because I\'m swamped with other titles.Smilie

( Edited 28.08.2008 18:34 by Phoenixus )

No I've never been into the Earthbound stuff I really just wanted Mario RPG.... could one of you gift it to me....I wonder if that would work??

My Brawl Code Is.... 1590-4363-1480 P.M. Me Fri. Sat. Sun. .....For the toughest macth of your LIFE

No, sorry it doesn't work between different regions Smilie

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery
Guest 30.08.2008#9

this game looks so cool.. ive never had a NES or SNES because im too young... I was born in the middle of the N64 RAGE SO.. I REALLY WANT THIS FOR WII..maybe ill get homebrew channel

A freakin' awesome game, and a freakin' awesome review! Smilie

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer
Our member of the week

You could have also mentionned that the music was made by Yoko shimomura to whom we owe Parasite Eve and Kingdom Hearts soundtracks among others.

AS for myself, i played this game for the first time a long time ago on my SNES thanks to a friend of mine who had imported it back in 1996 (he had and still have to this day a US imported SNES) and let me borrow it. I still don't have it as a cartridge but downloaded the VC version. Might buy the japanese version (which is much cheaper to import, and besides i already know the scenario by heart) sometime soon anyway.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

... Yoko Shimomura?

I want this game more than ever....

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery
Our member of the week

To be exact, Let's just say that she was the one who arranged the original themes from Super mario and Final Fantasy that are heard in this game, and composed herself the entirely new tracks, exclusive to this game.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

Oh god yes! This is my all time favorite game EVER! One of the first games I played that I could be good at, my first rpg too. There were just so many awesome things about this back in the day that still makes it oh so fun to play. I love this game, there is no other game that can replace the spot this game has in my heart.Smilie the love...

Proud United State-ian

He's not dead, he's electroencephalographically challenged.

I got this game last Friday and was taken aback by the graphics. This game isn't a game, that you do want to play but been taken aback by the just plain outdated graphics. Aside from it's lower resolution then other modern games, graphics are really very good!
And I played a bit and was sucked into the flow of the game. If you allow this game to get access to you, then you get enchanted.
It in fact delivers many of the elements which make Paper Mario so great a game-series: humour, easy battle system (Paper Mario gets boring after a long while, because you can not skip these too-easy battles), 'alternate universe' where bowser and the others join your party and been played by you...

Please buy it, it's well worth the 900 points! And I even don't know a lot about location and story...

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

Will be playing this on the SNES as soon as I finish Conker's Bad Fur Day.

Since the Wii is hooked up to LCD in the bedroom and the wife has been feeling ill for the past couple of days, I've hooked up the N64 and the SNES to the TV on the hall and play when she's asleep resting.

Ah Super Mario RPG...

Sounds very good, and through the black market and my cousin pete, i'll play it at his house so i dont get in federal laws here in the us. I thought Super mario rpg was here too? I guess it wasn't........i'm going to pity our stupid american gamin over there in that corner over there.....Smilie

Must... download this.

Guys this game is a must buy for any Mario or RPG fan its awsome! FACT.

I see all these people insulting the Nintendo corporation because of the lack of mature content. Yet there is something about Nintendo (at least their games) that strikes a certain unadulterated feeling of joy!!!  Pokemon Y - 1048-9263-5562

Definitely a must download and great to see it high on the Popular Titles for the UK download service right now. Between this, Sin & Punishment and SMB: The Lost Levels it goes to show how well the Hanabi games are doing.

Bring on more! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
juzzy, Renan

There are 2 members online at the moment.