List of Paper Mario glitches
This is a list of glitches in Paper Mario. Unless otherwise noted, all glitch names are conjectural.
Captured as a Koopatrol
In the Chapter 6 event during the intermission, if the player times the Sneaky Parasol right when the Koopatrol spots Princess Peach, she becomes a Koopatrol, but they still treat her as Peach, resulting in them taking her back to her room while she is in disguise. This also works on a Hammer Bro in the library; this is the result of a lack of landing sprite for the Koopatrol.
This can also be seen by using sequence breaks to bring the Sneaky Parasol to earlier Peach intermissions. Guards are not programmed to respond to her being in disguise outside of Chapter 6, so they will always capture her.
By pausing the game right after Mario and Herringway enter the Mayor's room, Herringway can be morphed into a normal penguin or become invisible. This can also be done right before initiating a conversation with the detective during Chapter 7. If invisible, he will reappear when the room is left. If Herringway becomes a normal penguin, the game will freeze when the Mayor gives him the present, and a debug screen will follow. In the Virtual Console release, the game will not freeze, and he simply will become temporarily invisible when certain "carrying" sprites are supposed to be used; otherwise, he gains a "happy" expression and sometimes rapidly flaps his flippers.
Herringway as a normal penguin
Mayor Penguin cutscene glitch
In Shiver City, standing next to the edge of the Mayor Penguin's house and mounting Lakilester causes Mario to clip inside the house without using the door, meaning the textures for the walls do not load, even during the cutscene with the Mayor.
To perform this glitch, the player must have the Charge and Ice Power badges equipped. Leveling up FP and having FP restoring badges and items is also recommended. The player must continuously charge their jump ability's attack power until its attack is high enough. Jumping on a fire enemy (such as an Ember) will cause Mario to do -1 and -0 damage, being 101 and 100 damage respectively.
This happens because the Ice Power badge does not check for the maximum of 99 damage, meaning the player deals over 99 and invalid placeholders are used to represent the numbers.
Pause background storage
When the player presses , the game saves a screenshot of what is currently onscreen as a temporary background, then brings up the pause menu. This "pause background" can be stored by having Mario touch a Star Spirit card the frame immediately after initiating a pause. Star Spirit cards have an elliptical hitbox that slowly moves up and down along with with the card itself. Additionally, the cards continue to move for a single frame after a pause is initiated. Therefore, if the game is paused when Mario's hitbox is positioned in a way that the card will touch him after descending for a single frame, the onscreen contents will be saved as the background, but the rest of the pause script will be interrupted by the end of chapter sequence. This only works if done without leaving the room and coming back after the card spawns.
The exact effects of the glitch depend on the platform. On Virtual Console, this glitch simply replaces all backgrounds with the saved pause background, which in this case would be the moment right before touching the card. On Nintendo 64, the glitch is much less stable. While the background is stored just like on Virtual Console, it also results in heavy graphical corruption that makes it nearly impossible to see what is happening in the game. This glitch's effects persist through battles, the Game Over screen, the title screen, and loading different save files. The game returns to normal after either pausing and unpausing or resetting the game.
Shiver City pond glitch
When Mario first arrives in Shiver City, if he tries to use Tornado Jumps to shatter the frozen pond, the penguin patrol will kick him out of the map after cracking it twice, and the ice will no longer be cracked when Mario returns. However, loading zone storage can be used to leave the map immediately after the second Tornado Jump, which bypasses the game's command to reset the state of the pond. Mario can then return to the area and the ice will still be cracked. Since the penguin patrol is only programmed to respond to the first two cracks, he will no longer hinder Mario. If Mario Tornado Jumps on the ice again, no visual changes occur immediately, but if he leaves and comes back, the ice will be even more cracked. This third cracked texture is normally not seen, since the ice shatters after three Tornado Jumps during non-glitched gameplay. If Mario leaves and comes back after Tornado Jumping on the ice a fourth time, the ice will be shattered and one-way invisible walls will surround the pond like in normal gameplay, but the Bumpties will still be there, and Mario can walk on the water as if it were solid ground. After five or more Tornado Jumps, refreshing the map will result in there being no pond at all, with a large hole where it used to be, though Mario can still walk over it.
The state of the pond is determined by a byte that increments every time Mario Tornado Jumps on it. This counter is not capped, so if Mario Tornado Jumps on the ice 256 times, the byte will overflow to 0. At this point Tornado Jumping again increments the counter to 1, provokes the penguin patrol, and causes the first cracked ice texture to appear. If this happens when the third cracked ice texture or the water is present, the textures will overlap. In the case of the water, the overlap causes texture flickering.
Shiver Region Toad to normal Toad
In Shiver City or Starborn Valley, the player should go into the Toad House and take a nap. After the nap, the player should pause the game. The Shiver Region Toad should then become a normal Toad. This does not affect anything within the game.
Watt missing her sparks
If Watt uses her Electro Shock on an enemy and it fails to do any damage, she will not have any lightning bolts emanating from her. This has been tested on fake Magikoopa clones and Bowser under the influence of the Star Rod.
Looping sliding sound
To do this glitch, the player must do the loading zone storage glitch. The player must go to a room in Mt. Rugged with a slide. The player must store the loading zone by jumping up the slide until the sliding animation starts. Mario then enters the room stored, but the sliding sound effect loops. This glitch persists until the game is reset.
Bombette NPC pushing
When Bombette lands after exploding, there is a one frame window where Mario can push stationary NPCs very slightly.
At the bridge connecting Goomba Road and Toad Town, there is a glitch in which Parakarry can disappear for a couple of seconds. First, the player must walk down the staircase, then spin towards a corner with a bush. If this is done correctly, Parakarry should disappear for one or two seconds.
Kooper super jump
When Mario falls out of bounds and flies back upward, the game stores his vertical momentum. If Shell Toss is used without falling or jumping in between, he will rise very high and fast before dropping back to the ground. If there is an item above him, he can pick up the item, and he will continue to gain height until the text box from obtaining the item is closed. By doing this, Mario can gain so much height that when he drops, he falls through the ground. On Nintendo 64, if he is allowed to rise for roughly 30 seconds, the game crashes due to a floating point exception.
Loading zone storage
To perform this glitch, the player must be in any area with a loading zone. Mario must jump onto the zone for one frame, jump off, land for one frame and repeat. To move while doing this glitch, the player must move with the control stick, and make sure its position is neutral one frame before landing. After being on the ground for two frames or more, the effect of the loading zone will occur. Depending on where Mario is when he is warped, his angle will be significantly skewed, and he can even fall out of bounds; this property of loading zone storage allows for many other glitches and sequence breaks.
Odd Key early
This glitch bypasses wall collisions and abuses Mario's hitbox when the hammer is used to obtain items. The player should go near the northeast corner of the house outside where the Odd Key is positioned, next to Tayce T.'s house. Mario should face east next to the east wall of the house in between Tayce T.'s house, Spin Dash without changing position, face west, and then use hammer, all before the spin finishes. If timed correctly, the hammer will ignore wall collision and extend into the house, obtaining the key. This glitch does not allow the player to enter the house early, since the door can only be unlocked from the inside.
Out of bounds
In Paper Mario, there are many ways to get out of bounds. Out of bounds behavior works as follows: after falling far enough, the game checks if Mario is below collision. If he is, the game places him on that collision. If not, the game attempts to warp him to his last valid position. This behavior can be exploited to perform many glitches in the game.
Additionally, the game stores actors 1,000 units below a map's origin when it is not using them, so the player may see NPCs or enemies clustered together after falling out of bounds near the origin of a map. In some cases, it is possible to get into encounters with enemies and even bosses this way, despite boss battles normally only occurring during cutscenes. If a boss is battled this way, the game will incorrectly play the standard battle music instead of that boss's intended battle theme.
Mario Bros.' House out of bounds
The easiest place to go out of bounds is the Mario Bros.' House, in the secret basement. The player must set Kooper as their partner, stand behind the Trampoline, and hold the control stick down and press to launch Kooper. After that, Mario will jump to the normal floor of his house, then immediately clip under the secret basement. While Mario is still falling, the player must hold to clip outside. All actions are still functional, such as talking to Luigi. Re-entering the home at this point will cause the back wall and carpet to display incorrectly.
Harry's Shop out of bounds
The player must first progress through the game until they gain access to Harry's Shop's storeroom. Next, they must use Parakarry next to the wheel to clip onto the back wall. The player must carefully navigate the back wall to the other end. Fortunately, falling into the out of bounds will cause Mario to return to the last solid spot he stood on. Once the player is successful and clips outside, it can be seen that only Harry Shop is visible, though the spring to Shy Guy's Toy Box will be visible if the player approaches the building containing it. In this state, entering a building other than the shop will keep it invisible and load any objects within. If Mario clips into the building to the left of the shop by navigating out of bounds however, the Toads inside will remain invisible. Exiting at this point will restore Toad Town's visibility but keep the shop in a broken state.
Rematch prologue Jr. Troopa
As prerequisites for this glitch, the player must not have obtained the Dolly, and Mario's key item inventory must be full. Once these conditions are met, the player must go to the area outside Jr. Troopa's playground and perform loading zone storage jumps to skew Mario's angle when he enters the playground so he falls out of bounds. This is to store upward momentum for a Kooper super jump, so the player must be careful not to accidentally make Mario jump during the following steps.
After knocking the Dolly out of the tree, the player must repeatedly pick it up and throw it (or another item) away. The goal is to get an item on top of the Save Block, but the random trajectory of tossed items makes this step very luck-dependent. Once the item is on top of the Save Block, the player must position Mario under the block and press to activate the Kooper super jump. Mario will pick up the item and the item toss prompt will appear. Until the player throws something away, Mario will continue to gain height. After waiting several seconds, closing the menu causes Mario to drop so fast that he fazes through the ground. Since Jr. Troopa is stored directly below the Save Block, Mario will encounter him shortly after falling out of bounds.
Since the battle is mostly scripted, glitchy behavior results from Mario having party members, upgrades, items, and badges that he would normally not have. Fire and explosive attacks will not KO Jr. Troopa even if they reduce his HP to 0. If Mario is electrified, Jr. Troopa will get stuck in midair in front of Mario after attacking him. If Jr. Troopa's HP is at 0, he can be finished off by using status-inflicting moves and items on him, even ones he is normally immune to such as Fright Jars or Up & Away. If Mario is made intangible via a Repel Gel or Outta Sight, Jr. Troopa's attack animation will be cut short when he tries to attack. Using Tattle on Jr. Troopa or finishing the battle with Lakilester active crashes the game.
After defeating Jr. Troopa, his post-defeat cutscene will play, the cutscene counter will underflow to 255 (since the scene with Jr. Troopa was not properly initiated), and the story progress will be reverted back to the prologue.
Toad Town out of bounds
To perform this glitch, the player must be in the central area of Toad Town, near the gate leading to where Peach's Castle once was. When the yellow Toad moving from one side to another stops at either side, Mario must spin in between the Toad and the ground, and then quickly hammer. Mario will then clip through the wall. The player can navigate through the ground by falling out of bounds, but then Mario will be warped to a valid position. Alternatively, instead of spinning and using the hammer, the player can do a Tornado Jump with the Ultra Boots to clip through the wall.
Mario can be stuck in his talking pose after the character starts talking. If the player starts talking as Mario is going up onto a ledge, Mario will be moving while the character is talking. If the player goes up onto the ledge, Mario will go back to normal after going back down, but if the player stays down, none of the controls will work and the game will have to be reset. The glitch works best in Kooper's house in Koopa Village.
If Mario interacts with the fireplace in Boo's Mansion while Parakarry is the active party member, Parakarry will continue to fly in place without following Mario. The glitch will end when he is switched for another partner, is pressed, or Mario leaves the room.
Swim on land
In multiple areas, it is possible to glitch the game in a way that will result in Mario riding Sushie on land. Since the swimming state persists between maps, Mario and Sushie can swim to other areas as long as there is a loading zone leading to it. It is not possible to climb up slopes or go through doors or pipes in this state, but most obstacles can be bypass by diving under them or swimming out of bounds and going around them. Enemies will not chase Mario since they are programmed not to notice him while he is riding Sushie. Encountering an enemy, but finishing with Sushie still as the active party member will temporarily cancel the glitch, but it will reactivate after going through a loading zone. However, encountering three enemies in one room without changing screens will softlock the game, as the game underflows the number of cutscenes that Mario is in due to the game not properly handling enemy encounters while riding Sushie. The glitch can be deactivated by returning to a dock or encountering an enemy, then switching Sushie for another partner.
In Shiver City, the player must run up against the upper edge of the dock in a way so that Mario is facing to the right but slowly moving left, then repeatedly press until Mario boards Sushie. If done correctly, Sushie will land under the dock. If Mario tries to go to Shiver Mountain, they will land in ice and cannot hit the switch, this can be remedied by swimming below the back wall and going around the switch. If Mario goes to the Frost Piranha-populated part of Shiver Snowfield, the slopes will not be easy to pass, requiring diving below the "water" in different places to try to get past. Going down the slope in this area makes it difficult to get out. This glitch can be used to skip the Scarf and the Bucket by swimming under the wall in which they are needed to get past. While it is not possible to get all the way to Crystal Palace using this glitch, multiple sequences can be skipped on the way.
On the dock by Toad Town's main gate, Mario must be positioned in a precise spot by running up against the bottom left corner of the dock, moving to the right, and tapping down for one frame. The player must then set Mario's internal direction to a precise downleft angle by spinning in place, holding downleft, and hammering. If done exactly right, when the player presses , Mario will board Sushie and faze through the dock. Locations that can be explored in this state include all of Toad Town save for the area where Peach's Castle was, Goomba Road, Goomba Village, Pleasant Path, Koopa Village, Forever Forest, and the town in Gusty Gulch. The whale's mouth can also be entered, but movement inside is heavily glitched and it is impossible to escape from it. Fuzzipede cannot be fought either, since Mario cannot interact with him without lighting up the room. Using sequence breaking glitches to manipulate the storyline position beforehand results in several glitches occurring during important events and cutscenes.
- After the Fuzzy hides in the trees behind Kooper's house, Mario will be standing on Sushie. This animation glitch ends upon diving or leaving the area. The minigame is impossible to complete since Mario cannot hammer while swimming.
- If Kent C. Koopa is present, he cannot be avoided by going out of bounds, since his dialogue is activated based on Mario's X coordinate. If Mario refuses to pay or offers to pay without having enough coins, Kent's dialogue will loop, since the game does not move him to the left after the dialogue ends like it does when Mario is on foot. There is a small window of time where Mario can barely move in between each dialogue activation, so the game is not softlocked.
- If the storyline position is past the point of obtaining the Super Boots and Jr. Troopa has not been fought yet, he will appear and fight Mario. This allows him to be fought out of bounds.
- If glitch is activated after the scene where Bow joins the party but before unlocking the gate to Gusty Gulch, Mario will be riding Bow when she orders the Boos to open the gate. After the scene is over, Mario will warp back on top of Sushie and their movement will be glitched until leaving the area.
- There is a slope at the start of the second part of the town in Gusty Gulch that pushes Mario back into the loading zone immediately upon entering. This can be avoided by repeatedly pressing so Sushie dives as soon as the player gains control. The area after the town cannot be explored, because it pushes Mario back even if Sushie dives upon entry.
- During the scene with Stanley, when the game switches Bow in, Mario will be riding nothing. Upon being prompted to press , nothing will happen, but the scene will otherwise play out as it normally does. After it ends, Mario will be stuck in midair, softlocking the game.
Tree hitbox misplacement
Trees can be shaken by hitting them with the hammer or using Bombette's field ability. Every tree in the game uses a completely separate hitbox for interacting with explosions, but two of the trees in Toad Town have their explosion hitboxes misplaced. The first is the tree south of the bridge that leads to Forever Forest, which has its hitbox mistakenly placed to the right of the tree, next to the river. The other is the tree that reveals the Playroom pipe. The tree itself has an X position of negative 265, but the bombing hitbox was accidentally given an X position of positive 265, causing it to be located behind the Li'l Oink Farm, near the egg dispenser.
Boo's Mansion chest crashes
If sequence breaks are used to open the Weight chest or the Super Boots chest in a storyline state past when Mario would normally do this, the game will crash. This is because the Boos that are supposed to react to the chest being opened in both cases are unloaded, resulting in an exception caused by the game trying to move nonexistent objects.
Bowser's Castle treasure room crash
In Bowser's Castle, if the player tries to enter the room with the door to the treasure before the lava has been cleared by jumping into the doorway, they will land in the lava and take damage, but also trigger the loading zone. The treasure room will appear, with Mario nowhere to be found; the game will freeze a second after the player entered the room, crashing into a debug screen with a floating point exception in the Nintendo 64 version. The debug screen does not appear in the Virtual Console release.
Try to have Lakilester assist Mario by facing left and dismount him near the very corner closest to the loading zone. The end result should be Lakilester very close to the loading zone hovering over the lava and Mario very close to the lava without touching. This will help Mario be pushed slightly closer to the loading zone than jumping alone by abusing party member movement algorithms, making the crash easier to perform.
Double Dip Egg Missile crash
To perform this glitch, the player must have the Double Dip badge and an Egg Missile. During the Lava Piranha boss fight near the end of Chapter 5, the player must use Double Dip and use an Egg Missile on the boss. For unknown reasons, the game will crash. Performing this in any other fight does not crash the game.
Kolorado peril crashes
This applies both scenes in Chapter 5 where Kolorado is attacked by an enemy. If the player uses loading zone storage jumps to reach the point where Kolorado chastises Mario for not helping him, the stored loading zone will warp Mario away before the cutscene can finish. Upon returning to the room, Kolorado will be in peril again, but the enemy will be missing. At this point, attempting to trigger the Kolorado cutscene will crash the game due to the game attempting to move a nonexistent enemy.
Shiver Snowfield letter crash
The letter found in a tree in Shiver Snowfield can cause a crash if collected before it lands on the ground. The game uses an invisible penguin to determine the trajectory of the letter by mapping its coordinates to the penguin's position, but obtaining the letter before it reaches the ground causes the script to fail, resulting in a TLB exception crash.
Star Stone crash
By using sequence breaks to re-trigger Chapter 7, the cutscene with Madam Merlar and the Star Stone can be watched twice. However, the Star Stone will only be present the first time, since the item is given to Mario during the cutscene. When the scene is watched a second time, the game will crash when the game tries to move the missing Star Stone out of the crystal container.
Tidal Wave crash
To perform this glitch, the player must obtain Sushie and upgrade her to Ultra Rank. In a battle, the player must get at least 14 correct inputs in a Tidal Wave. The player should notice the game slowing down and eventually crashing. While this process is still intensive on Virtual Console releases and will cause various effects, these versions of the game will not crash.
In the Nintendo Switch Online version of Paper Mario, if the player hits the right-most tree in the left area of Shiver City, the game will crash. This is because this specific tree tries to load the address 80A5F400, which is outside of the normal address range. In the original version, the value gets set to 00, so no crash occurs on original Nintendo 64 hardware. This crash also does not occur in the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console versions.
Cutscene counter underflow
The game uses a counter to determine how many cutscenes Mario is in. When Mario enters a cutscene, the game increments the counter by 1 and locks Mario's movement. When the scene ends, the game drops the counter by 1, then unlocks Mario's movement if the counter is at 0. Examples of cutscenes include talking to NPCs, opening the item and partner menus, hitting a Save Block, encountering an enemy, Spin Jumping and Tornado Jumping, opening treasure chests, and using most partner abilities, including riding Sushie and Lakilester. The counter is an unsigned byte, so it can be any number from 0 to 255. Normally, the counter would never reach anywhere near 255, but using certain glitches to end a cutscene without properly initiating it (meaning the counter drops without increasing first) causes the counter to underflow from 0 to 255.
- In Mt. Lavalava, jumping on the trampoline near the pillar where the Fire Shield badge is found begins a cutscene, sends Mario to another trampoline, which bounces him up to a Save Block and ends the cutscene upon landing. It is possible to drop off the ledge where the Save Block is and land on the second trampoline without using the first one. This ends a cutscene without starting one, underflowing the counter to 255. This can be repeated to reduce the counter to 254, 253, etc.
- Performing the rematch prologue Jr. Troopa glitch activates Jr. Troopa's post-defeat dialogue after the battle, resulting in the counter underflowing at the end due to skipping the scene where Jr. Troopa introduces himself that normally precedes the battle.
- Initiating battles while riding Sushie on land causes issues with the cutscene counter. Ordinarily when Mario encounters an enemy, the counter increments by 1 upon touching the enemy, then drops by 1 when the battle is over. Upon entering an enemy while riding a partner such as Parakarry or Lakilester, the counter drops by one upon entering the battle scene instead of after the battle. However, since Mario was never meant to get into battles while riding Sushie, doing so does not work properly. The counter will drop by 1 both upon entering the battle scene and after the battle, resulting in a net deficit of 1. Mario dismounts Sushie after the battle, but the game still thinks he is riding her, so getting into a second encounter will underflow the counter.
After underflowing the counter, initiating any cutscenes will result in the game becoming softlocked after the scene ends, since the check to unlock the player's control over Mario fails due to the counter not being at 0. Transitioning between maps resets the counter, ending any glitches involving it.
Save Block and text storage
While the counter is at 255, Mario can jump towards a Save Block from nearby, then perform a well-timed Spin Jump or Tornado Jump as he brushes underneath the block. This increments the counter twice (from 255 to 1), then drops it back to 0 upon Mario landing. Since the counter is at 0, the check to unlock Mario's movement after landing succeeds. This gives the player the ability to control Mario while the Save Block is still active, allowing the player to save anywhere. The item and partner menus can be opened, and they can also be stored by closing the save prompt at the same time as selecting an item Mario cannot use on the field (such as a Snowman Doll) or selecting Mario's currently active partner.
Another way to store text while the counter is at 255 is to use Tattle or talk to an NPC immediately after unpausing. The counter is increased by 1 twice upon pausing and decreased by 1 twice upon unpausing, with a small window of time between the two increases and decreases. This means that when the game is paused while the counter is at 255, the counter briefly hits 0 after unpausing, unlocking Mario's movement slightly earlier than normal. If Tattle is used or an NPC conversation is initiated during this time frame, the player will be able to control Mario while the text is active.
Dark battle First Strike glitches
The player is highly incentivized to use Watt in dark rooms because of the inability to see or target enemies in the dark, and the cavern in Bowser's Castle in the only dark area in the game with regular enemy encounters, so the in-battle darkness mechanic is unpolished. As a result, First Striking enemies in the dark with a partner is glitched, with the effects depending on the number of enemies in the battle. If there are two enemies, the enemy in the back will be targeted instead of the enemy in the front. If there are three enemies, Kooper or Bombette will appear to damage themselves, but they will not be immobilized afterward. If there are four enemies, the game will crash (Nintendo 64) or the First Strike will hit nothing (Virtual Console). First Striking with Mario works correctly.
Dizzy Attack demo glitch
If the player uses Dizzy Attack to start a battle, gets a Game Over on the first turn, then waits at the title screen for the demo to play, all battle scenarios in the demo will have the frontline enemy dazed. This causes the demo to get stuck during the Tubba Blubba scene. Tubba is intended to attack Mario, but is unable to due to being dazed.
Electro Pop incorrect logic
The Electro Pop's description states that it replenishes 15 FP and, if used in battle, also electrifies Mario. However, the logic of the item if used in battle contains an error, as it instead sets Mario's FP to Mario's HP plus 15, which means Mario can actually lose FP from using the item if his current FP is at least 16 more than his current HP. The FP regain animation will still show "15" regardless of the amount actually restored. Outside battle, the Electro Pop works as normal, restoring 15 FP.
Final Bowser cutscene glitch
By using Goombario immediately when walking into the final Bowser cutscene, Mario's momentum is maintained and multiple text boxes will appear at once during the cutscene. By waiting for each set of animations to finish and then proceeding to the next text box, text can be progressed before the characters finish speaking.
Happy Flower badge duplication
On the east path of Flower Fields, there is a set of three trees that will drop a Happy Flower badge when hit in the correct order. If the badge is left uncollected and the trees are hit again in the same order, another Happy Flower badge will spawn. This can be done repeatedly to spawn multiple Happy Flower badges. All can be collected (and will appear in the badge menu), but the game will function as if there is only one. If the badges are spawned repeatedly and left uncollected, the game will freeze at 57 hits in the Wii's Virtual Console release, and at 58 hits in the Nintendo 64 - Nintendo Switch Online release.
Key item overflow
The game's key item inventory limit of 32 is never reached during normal gameplay, but it can be filled by using sequence breaks to keep chapter-specific items that normally need to be removed from the inventory to progress (e.g. keys) or obtain multiple copies of key items acquired through story cutscenes such as the Jade Raven and the Ultra Stone. Once full, no more key items can be added to the inventory through chests or cutscenes. If Mario obtains a key item found by picking it up directly such as the Calculator or the Dolly, the game prompts the player to either toss an item from their regular inventory to make room for the key item or throw the key item away. If the player makes room for the key item, it is then treated like a normal item. The player can check it into shops and even have Mario eat it, though this has no effect.
Magical Seed duplication
This glitch allows the player to obtain multiple copies of the blue Magical Seed. To set it up, the player must perform the swim on land glitch on the dock by Toad Town's main gate. Mario and Sushie can then swim through Toad Town's rooms and enter Forever Forest, then navigate to the Bub-ulb's room by diving under the gates and scenery. After swimming to the Bub-ulb's room, the player must get into a battle with the Forest Fuzzy, run away, encounter it again, switch to a different partner, then run away again. The Forest Fuzzy must only be encountered twice; if it is encountered a third time, the game will softlock upon ending the battle. When the player approaches the Bub-ulb, the speech bubble indicating that Mario can talk to someone will not appear, but he can still be talked to. Talking to him normally will softlock after the conversation is over, but by pausing the game and pressing immediately after unpausing the game, Mario will be able to move while talking to the Bub-ulb. These effects occur due to the game's cutscene counter being glitched by encountering an enemy while riding Sushie. The player can then move Mario past the gates while the conversation is still ongoing. The gates must be opened twice; since Mario went past the gates without opening them, the game still thinks he is on the other side and moves him toward the center of the room the first time he uses the gates. Once Mario receives the Magical Seed, the player must leave the area without finishing talking to the Bub-ulb.
Due to Mario changing maps before the conversation finishes, the game fails to set the flag indicating that the Bub-ulb has already given Mario the Magical Seed. Therefore, upon reentering the room, the Bub-ulb will still be buried underground and waiting to give Mario the seed. This glitch can be repeated an infinite number of times. If three different seeds are planted in Minh T.'s garden, upon planting the fourth and final seed, the game does not check if that particular color of seed has already been planted before spawning the door to Flower Fields. Therefore, obtaining one of the other three seeds can be skipped by planting a duplicate blue seed as the final one. As a result, Mt. Lavalava can be skipped in its entirety, as the yellow seed obtained after completing Chapter 5 is not needed.
Sequence breaks and storyline sequence manipulation
Story progress in Paper Mario is determined by a single byte which the game updates when certain events occur, such as watching a cutscene, obtaining an important item, solving a puzzle, or defeating a boss. These updates occur regardless of the file's current story position, so using sequence breaks to activate these storyline triggers earlier or later than intended effectively allows players to "time travel" to earlier or later chapters. For example, entering the whale's mouth in Toad Town will set the game to the beginning of Chapter 5 when Fuzzipede is fought, even if Chapter 5 was already beaten, or the player has not beaten Chapter 4.
Skipping ahead of chapters and returning to their locations will have them in a "completed" state, so puzzles will already be solved, bosses are considered defeated, and characters in the area will have their post-chapter dialogue when spoken to. For example, if Dry Dry Desert is visited for the first time in a post-Chapter 2 state, Kolorado's camp will be gone, Dry Dry Ruins will already be revealed, and Tutankoopa will not be present in his boss room. However, Tutankoopa's warnings will still occur, since they are determined by flags rather than story progression. Locked doors and treasure chests are also typically controlled by flags, even if opening the chest itself is a storyline trigger. This allows certain key item chests such as the Super Hammer chest in Dry Dry Ruins and the Frying Pan chest in Shy Guy's Toy Box to function as once-per-save file methods of manipulating story progression.
Chapter 6 lockout
Though the planting of the Magical Seeds is controlled by flags, the presence of the door that leads to Flower Fields is dependent on story progress. Therefore, if all four seeds are planted to make the door appear, then story progress is reverted to a pre-Chapter 6 state, the door will be gone even though all four sets of flowers are present. This makes it impossible to reenter Chapter 6, since the only way to set the story progress to a point where the door will be present is to use the Peach warp glitch, which skips the chapter entirely. This can be circumvented by using a duplicate blue seed to spawn the door instead of planting all four colors.
Minh T. text glitch
A side effect of having the seeds planted without the door present is that the game will not know what dialogue to load when Minh T. is spoken to. Talking to her in this state displays text from the intro story in white with no speech bubble. Which part of the intro story text is loaded depends on the index number of Mario's currently active party member. Notably, the first line of the text is displayed outside of the game's windowbox, meaning that players playing the game in a way that does not allow them to see outside the windowbox will be unable to see that text. If the player speaks to her a second time without refreshing the area, the game crashes.
|Kooper||I'm going to tell the story of|
"Star Spirits and Good Wishes."
|Bombette||Far, far away, beyond the sky,|
|Parakarry||way above the clouds,|
|Goompa1||it's been said that there's|
a haven where the Stars live.
|Watt||In the sanctuary of Star Haven|
|Sushie||there rests a fabled treasure|
called the Star Rod,
|Lakilester||which has the power to grant|
|Bow||Using this wondrous Star Rod,|
the seven revered Star Spirits
1 - Goompa can be kept in the party past the prologue by exploiting a glitch.
Goombario skip/Goompa as a permanent party member
During the segment of the prologue where Mario has Goompa with him, loading zone storage can be used to enter Goomba Village at a skewed angle so he falls out of bounds and bypasses the door. This not only skips Goombario joining the party, but also keeps Goompa in the party permanently. This has many glitchy side effects. While Goompa is active, the option to change party members in battle is disabled, and attempting to open the party menu outside of battle crashes the game. This means that Goompa cannot be switched out under most circumstances, which can result in softlocks if he is active in a situation that Mario cannot escape without switching party members. For example, if the penguin murder mystery in Shiver City is started with Goompa active, Mario will be unable to progress since Sushie is needed to obtain the key from the pond (and clipping inside the warehouse without the key requires Lakilester), and Bumpties forbid Mario from leaving Shiver City until he clears his name. Switching Goompa out can only be done by either obtaining a new party member, upgrading a party member with a Super Block, or triggering an event that forces a switch out (e.g. checking a party member's mail at the Toad Town Post Office).
Goompa does not appear in the out-of-battle party menu, so he can only be switched in using the in-battle party menu, where he has Kooper's icon and a blank description. If a Duplighost attempts to transform into Goompa, the Nintendo 64 version will crash, but the Virtual Console versions will teleport Mario to the Duplighost's position and instantly defeat it. If there are still enemies left at the end of the turn, Mario will then battle from his new position and return to it after attacking.
Hitting a Super Block with only Goompa in the party results in unpredictable glitches whose effects depend on the game's dynamic memory. The game may crash when attempting to open the party menu. Otherwise, it will open a glitched party menu with an invisible cursor and two glitched options. The game may display random text from the game, and the player may be unable to select anything. If the player is able to select something, choosing the first option softlocks the game. If the second option is chosen, the game will attempt to swap in a party member, reading a set of four uninitialized bytes of the game's dynamic memory as who the game should switch to. Only 11 out of 4,294,967,295 possible values correspond to valid party members, so the game is far more likely to crash than successfully switch a party member in. Theoretically, it would be possible to glitch Twink and Goombaria (who are normally only active alongside Peach and unused, respectively) into Mario's party this way, but the unpredictability of dynamic memory and inability to monitor it without hacking make this unfeasible.
Herringway visited early
This glitch involves exploiting a flaw with the collision on the left corner of the warehouse in Shiver City. If Mario is positioned so he is slightly inside the corner and getting on Lakilester, he will clip inside the warehouse. This bypasses having to get the Warehouse Key from the frozen pond. The camera will stay outside the warehouse, so the player will not be able to see inside, but they can still reach the spring and enter Herringway's chimney. A side effect of this glitch is that the interior of Herringway's house will be completely dark when Mario enters. The interior will be briefly visible when Mario exits the house, but if he goes back in without leaving the map, it will be dark again. Talking to Herringway updates the game's story progress accordingly, so this glitch can be used to skip the first half of the penguin murder mystery.
Odd House early
By jumping at a precise spot on the wall of the Odd House next to where Tayce T. lives, then making a frame-perfect jump off that spot into the roof of the house (which has no collision), Mario can enter the Odd House early. Mario can then enter the pipe leading to Rip Cheato's room in Toad Town Tunnels. Since the breakable wall that leads to Rip Cheato's room can be destroyed from the inside, this glitch can be used to skip to Chapter 5 as long as Bombette is in the party.
Peach intermission re-triggers
When the player completes a chapter, the game transitions to that chapter's Peach intermission, even if the player used sequence breaks to re-trigger it after completing a later chapter. If Peach unlocks the door to the first floor in Chapter 4 and the door to the front of the castle in Chapter 6, those doors will still be unlocked upon re-triggering previous Peach intermissions. This leads to many other glitches.
Peach in Bowser's Castle
Normally, it is not possible for Peach to enter Bowser's Castle. The only time Peach can leave her castle is during the Chapter 6 Peach intermission, where she uses the Sneaky Parasol to disguise herself as one of Bowser's troops, and a Koopatrol gives her the front door key and tells her to find a lazy Clubba who is shirking his duties. If Peach tries to enter the door to Bowser's Castle, Twink tells her the door is locked. The game is only programmed to stop her from entering Bowser's Castle during this specific Peach intermission, which normally prevents her from ever entering, since this is the only Peach intermission where she can leave her castle. However, if the player completes the chapter 6 Peach intermission, then uses sequence breaks to re-trigger and complete an earlier chapter, any doors unlocked in previous Peach intermissions will still be unlocked. Therefore, Peach can leave her castle, and Twink will not stop her from entering Bowser's Castle.
Since the developers never intended the player to be able to enter Bowser's Castle as Peach, doing so has many unintended side effects. Characters and enemies will treat Peach as if she is Mario. If Peach gets into a battle, the encounter will be set up like Peach and Twink's battle against Kammy Koopa. However, enemies will attack Peach instead of Twink, and the game crashes when she is attacked due to her lacking the standard hurt animation. This makes battles impossible to win, and since Peach has no run command, getting into a battle with Peach effectively softlocks the game. Peach getting hit by a First Strike crashes the game for the same reason, but if Peach lands on top of an enemy, she will First Strike it with no issue as long as the enemy is not spiked.
If Mario has not already fought Jr. Troopa in Bowser's Castle, he will appear and challenge Peach to a battle upon entering the Guard Door room. Therefore, Jr. Troopa must already be defeated for Peach to explore any further. Peach can enter a cell where some Toads and a penguin are being held if Mario previously unlocked it. Peach can take a nap in the cell, which results in an animation glitch where part of Peach's sprite is cut off but otherwise works normally. Attempting to push a Bowser block will crash the game. Peach can only get as far as the room with B. Bill Blasters, since the room's narrow, linear design prevents her from getting past them.
Peach fighting Bowser
Exiting Bowser's Castle through the back door automatically sets the storyline position to an endgame state. As a result, all of the guards will be gone, examining objects such as Peach's mirror will load Mario's text for them instead of Peach's, and the background music will be the endgame one instead of the Peach intermission one. The Toad in the closet will think Peach is Mario and let her sleep in the bed, resulting in the same animation glitch as napping in the cell. If the player has not defeated Bowser in the hallway, he will appear and battle her. When attempting to attack him with Twink, he will fly off after hitting him and never return, softlocking the game. If Bowser was already defeated in the hallway, Peach can continue all the way to the top and enter the final battle with Bowser. Bowser's fire attack will crash the game as usual, but his stomp and claw attacks do not. The claw attack discolors Peach's sprite and poisons her, but the game fails to process the poison effect correctly and softlocks. The stomp attack will remove one of Mario's battle commands upon being hit, even though Peach does not have them to begin with, and the battle continues like normal. However, even if Bowser only uses his stomp attack, Peach has the same amount of HP as Mario, and if it reaches zero, the game crashes.
Sneaky Parasol in earlier Peach intermissions
If the player does not turn off the game in between completing the Chapter 6 Peach intermission and re-triggering a previous Peach intermission other than the Chapter 5 one, Peach will still have the Sneaky Parasol. Using it on anyone encountered outside of the Chapter 6 Peach intermission (except for Gourmet Guy, who is unaffected) will always disguise Peach as a Koopatrol due to that being the default disguise. The guards are not programmed to react to Peach being disguised outside of Chapter 6, so they will capture her on sight even while disguised. Entering the first floor hallway while disguised in any Peach intermission before Chapter 6 results in a graphical glitch where the disguised Peach's animation will be frozen holding a flashlight out in front of her, and her body moves in a zigzag motion when she walks. Baking Gourmet Guy's cake while disguised is not possible, since only the first two ingredients can be added before talking to Twink is necessary to continue, and the Koopatrol is too short to interact with him.
Entering Bowser's Castle results in the same glitches as when Peach is not disguised, though attempting to enter Jr. Troopa's room or the roof of Peach's Castle while disguised will crash the game. It is still possible to explore Bowser's Castle beyond Jr. Troopa's room in disguise by using the Sneaky Parasol on an enemy or one of the prisoners. It is possible to take a nap while disguised, though Peach will simply stand next to the bed without jumping in.
After completing Chapter 5, the magma in the room before the Lava Piranha fight rises, blocking off access to the rooms from the volcano escape sequence. However, glitches can be used to get back into those rooms. Since the developers only intended for the player to be able to enter these rooms during a specific part of the game, the cutscene in the final room plays regardless of story progress or whether or not the player has already seen it. This includes entering the next Peach intermission. Since replaying the volcano escape sequence does not change the player's story progress, this can be done to activate the Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 Peach intermissions early, allowing the player to skip those chapters entirely. If done during Chapter 8, no Peach intermission exists, so the game will softlock as Bowser's Castle floats endlessly on-screen.
In Mt. Lavalava's zipline room, the player should perform the Save Block storage glitch with Bombette active, then open the partner menu. They must make sure the save cursor is over "Don't save", but the partner selected is the one already out, to avoid closing the partner menu. The player must then press , which will allow Mario to move during the partner menu. Next, the player must use Bombette's field ability and, before she explodes, switch to Sushie and perform a Spin Jump or Tornado Jump (otherwise, the game will softlock). The player can then enter the loading zone, and Mario will be riding Sushie in the ground. This occurs because the game fails to clear the flag which indicates that a partner's field ability is being used as a result of switching partners mid-use. By carefully angling Sushie and bobbing down into the ground at certain points, Mario can progress to the end of the volcano to the eruption sequence. In the English version, the player must have Sushie dive at a precise moment upon entering the downhill Spiny Tromp room to avoid getting stuck.
In the room before the Lava Piranha's room, Mario must be positioned in a spot to the right of the Heart Block, standing just to the left of where the front edge bends, and facing front left with his shoe slightly fazing through the corner. If the positioning is correct, upon boarding Lakilester, Mario will fall out of bounds. The player should hold down left until Mario is respawned, then immediately hold down right upon respawning. Mario will fall out of bounds again and should respawn beneath the magma, if not directly in the loading zone. A second out of bounds glitch is necessary to prevent invisible walls from trapping Mario when he approaches the Lava Piranha's battle site. The player should board Lakilester at roughly the midpoint between the bottom left corner of the room and the magma directly to the right of it, dismount him, run to the right, and board Lakilester again just as he starts to approach Mario. If done correctly, they should clip through the border and be hovering over the magma. The player can then go out of bounds and maneuver Mario to the right side of the room, where they can proceed to the escape sequence.
Prologue Jr. Troopa skip
The fight with Jr. Troopa in his playground can be skipped by using loading zone storage jumps to reach the bush where the Hammer is hidden and examine it from the front. This automatically registers the Hammer into Mario's inventory while also warping Mario back to the site of the fallen veranda due to the stored loading zone. Mario can then use the Hammer to destroy the yellow block and return to Goomba Village without having fought Jr. Troopa.
It is possible to obtain the Weight in Boo's Mansion without using the Record to distract the Boo guarding it. With Bombette NPC pushing, the Boo can be slowly nudged away from the chest to the point that Mario can open it. Depending on positioning, the player may talk to the Boo and open the chest at the same time, which results in overlapping text boxes and the Boo's response to the weight being obtained ending prematurely if the player does not end the Boo's first dialogue quickly. If this happens, the Boo's text remains onscreen until Mario leaves the room. It is also possible to open the chest without pushing the Boo, though it is extremely precise.
If this glitch is performed, Mario will be able to play the phonograph despite the Record never having been placed on it or even obtained. This is because the ability to play the phonograph is controlled not by the Record itself, but a storyline update that occurs when Mario places the Record. Opening the chest advances the story past that point, making the game think the Record was placed even though it never was. If Mario leaves the room and comes back, the Record will be visible on the phonograph as well. Additionally, going into the room where the Record is obtained will have it sitting in the middle of the room without having played the minigame due to the storyline position being past the point of the minigame's completion.
This glitch is a side effect of performing the rematch prologue Jr. Troopa glitch. The game is programmed to activate Jr. Troopa's post-defeat cutscene and update the story immediately following the fight regardless of how it is triggered. Because of this, encountering him in an unintended way reverts the story progress back to the prologue. Several glitches and unusual behavior can occur as a result of having party members, items, and badges that he is not supposed to have this early in the game.
- If the player is holding the Control Stick when the cutscene after the battle is over, then when Mario is respawned back in bounds, he will be frozen in a standing animation while moving. Stopping, performing actions such as jumping or hammering, and leaving the room end this glitch.
- The cutscene counter underflows after Jr. Troopa finishes talking, meaning that all glitches associated with it can occur until Mario leaves the room.
- Attempting to enter Goomba Village from the back road with Kooper or Bombette as the active party member crashes the game, but switching to them after arriving in the village does not. Attempting to open the gate with Goombario active crashes the game when Goombario tries to unlock the door on Nintendo 64, but not on Virtual Console, where he simply turns invisible at certain points during the following cutscene. Parakarry, Bow, Watt, and Lakilester softlock the game when Mario examines the gate.
- The game will act as if Mario still has the Dolly and prompt the player to give it to Goombaria even if they threw the Dolly away. The game only checks if the Dolly was found, ignoring whether or not it is present in the inventory. If the player chooses "Yes", Mario will give her the Dolly despite it not being in the inventory at all. If the player chooses "No", the player will be unable to give it to her later, even if the player threw a regular item away to make room for the it, since the game will specifically check for the Dolly in the key item inventory. If a key item is removed from the inventory, the player can overfill the regular item inventory, throw the Dolly away, and pick it back up to add it to the key item inventory so they can give it to Goombaria.
- If the player accepts the badge tutorial, Mario's partner will turn into Goompa for the rest of the cutscene.
- Parakarry will not deliver letters in a prologue or Chapter 1 state. He will only deliver letters if the story is past the point of him joining the party.
- Having unintended upgrades and badges breaks the action command tutorial. Mario's first jump will be a normal jump regardless of which pair of boots he has. If Mario is wearing the Zap Tap badge, Goombario will get stuck in front of Mario much like Jr. Troopa. Having the Super Hammer or Ultra Hammer causes the action command to go abnormally fast, which glitches Twink's prompt to hold left. Holding left during Goombario's attack allows the player to proceed with the tutorial; the game will be stuck in a loop until the player does this. Some hammer badge moves, such as Hammer Throw and Smash Charge, can also be used after the first hammer attack.
- The cutscene where the Star Spirits speak to Mario on Shooting Star Summit and the cutscene where Mario meets Kooper for the first time automatically switch Goombario in if he is not currently active, even though Mario normally does not have any other party members at these points in the game.
- The cutscene with Koover that normally plays upon first entering Koopa Village will not activate. Speaking with Koover activates his dialogue for after his shell is returned, then activates his cutscene dialogue, which leads to a Fuzzy stealing his shell like normal, though the Fuzzy will be invisible until the cutscene ends. Koover and the Fuzzy will not move. Additionally, any Koopa Troopas whose shells were returned to them previously will still have them.
- Having a full key item inventory causes a softlock after completing the Fuzzy minigame in Koopa Village. Since the game fails to add Kooper's Shell to the inventory, the game gets stuck in an endless loop of thinking that the player is refusing to give it to Kooper.
- If Mario activates the booby trapped ? Block in Koopa Bros. Fortress while holding Watt, the game softlocks.
- The Bill Blasters in Koopa Bros. Fortress are controlled by a flag, so they do not respawn if they were defeated previously.
- If a floating partner is active upon entering the Koopa Bros.' room, the partner will erroneously already be inside the room before Mario is shown entering.
- Watt's Electro Dash will instantly knock over the Koopa Bros. while they are stacked, even if the player does not charge it.
Star Spirit card fails to spawn
If the storyline trigger immediately before a chapter boss is skipped, the Star Spirit card will not spawn after the boss is defeated. The post-defeat cutscene will play out normally until the card is meant to spawn, and the camera will move to where it is supposed to spawn, but nothing happens. Instead, the camera remains locked in place and the player regains control of Mario. The boss is not marked as defeated, so Mario can leave the room and come back, and the boss will fight Mario again. This will continue to occur until the storyline trigger before the boss battle is activated.
This glitch involves Lakilester, so performing it requires sequence breaking to Chapter 6 and obtaining him, then re-triggering Chapter 4. In the dark room before General Guy, the player must get on Lakilester while standing in between the foreground and the toy letter block, then hold up to fall out of bounds. The player must be holding down when Mario respawns to avoid getting stuck in an inescapable loop. Upon respawning, the player must maneuver out of bounds and attempt to reach the loading zone on the right. If successful, Mario will enter General Guy's room and the fight will commence. Since making the Shy Guys break the way open to General Guy's room sets the storyline progress to the value necessary for the card to spawn, skipping this prevents it from spawning after General Guy's defeat. The glitch can be repeated to fight General Guy over and over.
The final storyline trigger before the Lava Piranha fight is Kolorado running up to Mario and talking to him in the room right before the boss room. However, using Speedy Spin to reach the steps that lead to the Lava Piranha's room before Kolorado stops running causes the dialogue to not trigger, therefore failing to update the story properly in time for the battle. Kolorado will remain at the top of the steps until Mario returns there, which will activate his dialogue and update the story so the card can spawn.
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