Super Paper Mario
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Super Paper Mario is a platformer role-playing game for the Wii. Unlike other Paper Mario games, Super Paper Mario is a platformer and doesn't use a turn-based battle system, but rather incorporates RPG elements with platforming. The game fuses elements of 2D and 3D gameplay together, shifting back and forth between dimensions, once being described as a "2.5D" sidescroller by Nintendo Power magazine. In addition to the regular Paper Mario aesthetics, the game also uses many novel character, enemy, and background designs, including a fully pixelated world and the use of sprites from the classic Super Mario Bros. for certain techniques.
The story focuses on Mario, Princess Peach, Bowser and Luigi journeying across various dimensions to stop a villain named Count Bleck from destroying all of existence. In addition to the four playable characters are fairy-like Pixls that grant the main party members various extra abilities, such as hammering objects or calling up a temporary shield. As the players defeat enemies, they accumulate points and level up, making their own attacks stronger. While the plot is considered dark by Mario standards, as in earlier Paper Mario titles, humorous dialogue and references to other games, nerd culture, popular culture, and even mythology abound.
The game was originally planned for a 2006 release on the Nintendo GameCube, but was moved to the newer Wii console. Motion controls were added to certain gameplay features, pushing the release date back to April 2007 for North America and Japan, and September of that year for the PAL region.
The story opens with Mario and Luigi being informed by Toad about Princess Peach's latest kidnapping. Believing Bowser to be the culprit once again, the brothers immediately head off to his castle, only to find him preparing to attack. A villain named Count Bleck then appears with his assistant, Nastasia and Princess Peach, who is his prisoner. He announces his plans to use Peach "to destroy all worlds", renders Mario unconscious with his dark powers, and kidnaps Bowser as well, with Luigi and the Koopa Troop being sucked away too.
Elsewhere, Peach regains consciousness to find that she and Bowser are dressed in wedding outfits and standing at an altar, with Count Bleck officiating. Nastasia uses mind control powers to force Peach to say "I do", and the marriage between her and Bowser calls forth the Chaos Heart. Luigi awakens in the Koopa crowd watching the ceremony and attempts to intervene, but he is too late as Bleck uses the Chaos Heart to open a dimensional rift known as The Void, fulfilling a prophecy he read in an ancient book known as the Dark Prognosticus, in which all worlds are destroyed.
Back at Bowser's Castle, Mario is awakened by a Pixl named Tippi, who brings him to the town of Flipside and introduces him to Merlon. He owns the benevolent counterpart of Bleck's book, the Light Prognosticus, which indicates that a hero fitting Mario's description can stop the Void, which is visible in the sky above Flipside and slowly growing. Merlon gives Mario the first of eight Pure Hearts that he will need to counteract the Chaos Heart. If Mario refuses, he'll get a Game Over. Upon receiving the first Pure Heart, Mario has to place it into the first Heart Pillar to cause a door to appear on the top of Flipside Tower leading straight to Lineland, where the next Pure Heart is. Merlon also tells Mario that he must also learn the "dimensional technique" from his friend Bestovius there in order to find the rest of the Pure Hearts.
Meanwhile, in Castle Bleck, the Count and Nastasia meet with the other three minions, Dimentio, O'Chunks, and the shape-shifting Mimi. Count Bleck promises to replace the destroyed worlds with a perfect world where all his minions' dreams will come true, and when Nastasia mentions that the hero of prophecy may be active, O'Chunks volunteers to take care of him, with Dimentio tagging along to watch the show.
In Lineland, Mario first seeks out Bestovius and gains the ability to flip into the third dimension, allowing him to progress through the world. After climbing Mount Lineland, Mario and Tippi reach Yold Town, where they find another Pixl named Thoreau, who assists them as they cross the puzzle-filled Yold Desert and are forced to fight O'Chunks before reaching Yold Ruins. The next Pure Heart is guarded by the robotic dragon, Fracktail, but while he recognizes Mario as the legendary hero, before he can let the plumber pass, Dimentio appears and corrupts the dragon's mind, causing him to attack. Mario is forced to defeat him before proceeding inside the sanctum of the ruins, where he is given a Pure Heart by Merlumina, one of the ancients who wrote the Light Prognosticus and lingered after death to await the hero.
Meanwhile, O'Chunks reports back to Castle Bleck in shame, so the Count sends Mimi to deal with the hero, while Nastasia goes to look for any "goons" in the castle who still aren't under the Bleck's control.
Soon after, Peach (now in her usual pink dress) wakes up in Castle Bleck and joins two Koopas in search of an exit, but they are soon cornered by Nastasia, who brainwashes Bowser's minions. Peach, however, is teleported away before she can be hypnotized.
Far away, Mario returns to Flipside to bring the Pure Heart to Merlon, and the group learns from a panicking citizen that a girl has fallen from the sky. They then go to investigate, and discover that the girl is Peach, whom they revive with Spicy Soup. Feeling responsible for the opening of the Void, Peach insists on joining Mario in his quest and helps him reach the next Heart Pillar, and Merlon sends them through the new orange door to the next world; Gloam Valley.
Chapter 2: Gloam Valley
Mario and Peach cross Gloam Valley to reach Merlee's Mansion, meeting an explosive Pixl named Boomer on the way. At the mansion, Mimi is waiting in disguise as Merlee's maid and uses various tricks and traps to try and stop Mario and Peach from getting deeper into the building, including forcing them to work in the mansion's power plant to work off a phony debt she levied on them for the apparent breaking of a vase. With help from another new Pixl, Slim, the heroes outwit Mimi and enter the mansion's basement, where a spectral Merlee appears and warns them to be careful as they search for her. Mimi shape-shifts into Merlee to try and trick Mario and Peach once more but when the truth is discovered she reverts to her true spider-like form and chases them around the basement as they seek out the real Merlee, who had hidden in a bathroom. After more attempted trickery, Mimi fights the heroes, but Merlee weakens her with magical chanting and she is defeated and forced to flee. Merlee then gives the third Pure Heart to Mario and Peach and informs them that there are a total of four heroes needed to stop the Void.
With Mimi defeated, Count Bleck decides to send Dimentio to go after the hero of prophecy, while Nastasia resumes her hunt for non-hypnotized stragglers around the castle.
Meanwhile, Luigi wakes up and is manipulated by two Goombas into helping them find a way out, but they run into Nastasia. One of the Goombas is hypnotized and the other Goomba joins Nastasia's side, and they restrain Luigi so that Nastasia can brainwash him as well.
Chapter 3: The Bitlands
Upon the heroes' arrival in the pixelated Bitlands, Tippi is kidnapped by the geeky, butterfly-collecting chameleon, Francis. Another Pixl named Barry witnessed the scene from behind a bush and tells the heroes how to reach Fort Francis. After passing through an underground area just like World 1-2 in Super Mario Bros., Mario and Peach come across some castles occupied by Koopas, Hammer Bros., Bullet Bills and Bowser himself, who proceeds to lose a one-on-one fight with Mario. Bowser explains that he was locked up in Bleck's Castle and doesn't know how he appeared in the Bitlands, and with some persuasion, agrees to join Peach and Mario on their journey. The three swim across The Tile Pool, where they meet a new Pixl, Thudley, and use him to defeat a monstrous Big Blooper. Beyond the pool, the heroes climb The Dotwood Tree in order to use the winds at the top to float over a gorge and reach Fort Francis. Along the way, they battle Dimentio, who brushes off his defeat as a mere amusement, and was in fact using it to gauge the heroes' strength in order to ensure they can defeat Count Bleck when the time comes. Unaware of Dimentio's plotting, Mario, Peach and Bowser continue on to Fort Francis, where they find another trapped Pixl named Carrie and navigate their way through a sea of puzzles, Meowmaid robots and nerdy memorabilia to get to Francis, who immediately develops a crush on Peach and attempts to flirt with her using an electronic chat interface Swoon.exe. She rebuffs him and he is defeated in battle, and the surge of trust and happiness from the newly-freed Tippi calls forth the next Pure Heart from the castle itself, which Merlon later explains used to belong to the Tribe of Ancients.
Back at Castle Bleck, Dimentio muses that the heroes might be able to defy the prophecy, but Bleck is confident in his plan and calls for an unnamed new minion to take care of his foes. Nastasia lingers after the other minions leave and tries to get Bleck to reconsider, but while he won't give up after coming as far as he has, he kindly gives her a chance to leave with his blessing, which she declines out of loyalty and love for Bleck. Unbeknownst to both of them, Dimentio eavesdropped on the entire exchange, but decides not to worry about it, since he has his own "projects" to attend to.
When the heroes return to Flipside, Merlon explains about the castle and decides that Bowser is the third hero of the prophecy. After returning to the Bitlands to collect Barry, who's impressed that they managed to save Tippi, the heroes open a new green door and continue on their quest. Barry is the first optional Pixl.
Chapter 4: Outer Space
The realm beyond the green door turns out to be Outer Space, and the heroes are forced to return immediately to Flipside and procure a Goldfish Bowl to use as a helmet in order to breathe in space. They soon meet an alien named Squirps who serves them as both a guide and a living ray gun for attacking enemies. They made a pit stop on Planet Blobule so that Squirps could go to the bathroom, but the outhouse is occupied by the Pixl Fleep, who doesn't exit until the heroes find him some makeshift toilet paper. He then joins them and they all proceed through the Outer Limits to the warped, maze-like Whoa Zone. Here they are confronted by another one of Bleck's minions, Mr. L, who they think they know. They defeat him, and defeat him again in space using Squirps' lasers when he summons his massive Brobot robot for a rematch. Squirps then brings the gang to the Pure Heart and a statue of his mother, where he remains behind as they return to Flipside.
Back at Castle Bleck, Nastasia introduces Mr. L to the other minions and after he leaves, Bleck identifies him as the "man in green" that is destined to bring destruction to all, although the other minions are unenthusiastic about the newcomer. After they leave too, Nastasia voices her concerns that the heroes will come for Bleck and once again appeals to him to call off the plan. She reasons that he used to cherish the world and muses that if she had been "that girl", things would be different, but Bleck says the girl couldn't be replaced, especially by Nastasia, and leaves.
Upon returning to Flipside, Tippi faints and is left at Merlon's as the group finds their way across a three-dimensional bridge to Flopside, the mirror counterpart to Flipside. They find the next Heart Pillar and meet Merlon's counterpart, Nolrem, before returning to Flipside, collecting Tippi, and entering the next world.
Chapter 5: Land of the Cragnons
The heroes drop into Downtown of Crag and are tasked with saving Cragnon citizens who had been kidnapped by Floro Sapiens. They fight O'Chunks again, but even with Dimentio's help, he is defeated. The heroes then collect another Pixl, Cudge, and enter the Floro Caverns, where they meet up with the famous Cragnon journalist, Flint Cragley and his crew, and discover that the Floro Sapiens had been using Floro Sprouts to brainwash their captured Cragnons into doing manual labor for them. They meet yet another Pixl, Dottie, and fight O'Chunks once again, although this time he has been dumbed-down and powered-up by Dimentio through the use of a Floro Sprout. Upon O'Chunks' defeat, the Floro Sprout falls off dead, and the heroes use it to trick the Floro Sapiens into letting them gain access to their leader, King Croacus IV. They battle and defeat him too, and only then learn that pollution caused by the Cragnons had driven him mad and led to the kidnappings. Flint Cragley vows to spread the word and make his fellow Cragnons curtail their pollution in a first step towards peace between the two nations, and the three heroes are given the Pure Heart that had been in King Croacus's possession.
Back at Castle Bleck, Nastasia punishes O'Chunks for his repeated failures while Mimi complains about being bored and Mr. L picks fights with the others. Dimentio appears and quietly coaxes Mimi and Mr. L to attack the heroes, and they steal away from the castle.
Meanwhile, the heroes uses their two new Pixls to unlock the next door to the next world, Sammer's Kingdom, and are informed by Nolrem that the Void will destroy all soon.
Chapter 6: Sammer's Kingdom
In the Sammer's Kingdom, the Void is almost at full size. After defeating the first Sammer Guy, King Sammer arrives with 99 more combatants and explains that the heroes have to defeat all of them to get the next Pure Heart, as per the laws of the land. After the heroes defeat twenty Sammer Guys, Count Bleck himself appears to inform them that Sammer's Kingdom is about to be destroyed, but when Tippi confronts him, he beats a hasty withdrawal. The next five Sammer Guys recognize the direness of the situation and let the heroes pass for free, at which point the King returns and appears to present them with the Pure Heart, but it is just a bomb in a treasure chest, and the King turns out to be Mimi in disguise. She fights them with a barrage of rubees and is defeated, but she had only intended to stall the heroes. They hurry, but are unable to get farther than the 30th gate before the world is demolished and they are forced to flee back to Flipside. The door to the Sammer Kingdom remains so they go through, but all they find is an endless expanse of whiteness, and a deadened Pure Heart, now turned to stone. Mr. L appears with Brobot L-type to try to stop the heroes from getting the dead Pure Heart, but loses the fight and the Heart.
After Mario, Peach and Bowser leave with the stone-like Pure Heart, Dimentio shows up and appears to destroy Mr. L.
Meanwhile, at Castle Bleck, Nastasia reports to Bleck about Mimi and Mr. L's disobedient hero-fighting and leaves Bleck to his ponderings about whether Tippi the Pixl was really Timpani, although he pushes the thought aside and reaffirms to himself that no one can stop the prophecy now anyway.
Back at Flipside, the heroes are despondent over the now-useless Pure Heart, when Dimentio shows up at Merlon's house and before anyone can stop him, he appears to destroy Mario, Peach and Bowser just as he had dispatched Mr. L. Mario wakes up to find himself alone in The Underwhere, the video-game Underworld. He wanders around the area, breezily meeting Luvbi before finding his way to her mother, Queen Jaydes, the queen of the underworld. She tasks him with collecting Luvbi for her, and in return, she agrees to revive the Pure Heart. Along the way back to Luvbi, Mario tracks down Luigi, who can't remember how he was sent to The Underwhere at all. After Luvbi is back with her mom and the Pure Heart is restored, Jaydes revives Mario and Luigi, sending them back to Flipside, where they meet up with Tippi again and open the next door.
Chapter 7: The Underwhere
The door takes them right back to The Underwhere, where Jaydes gives them a new task of escorting Luvbi to The Overthere, where Luvbi's father Grambi lives. They make their way past Underwhere Road, where they find Bowser, get past three Door Guardians (Dorguys the First, Second, and Third), and fight the three-headed Underchomp. They then ascend the Overthere Stair, finding Peach en-route, once more in need of revival, although this time it is because she took bite of a forbidden Golden Apple, and must eat another apple to recover. When they reach The Overthere, they find it already overrun with evil Skellobits, while their leader, Bonechill, had already frozen Grambi as part of his bid to take over The Overthere. He reveals that Luvbi is the final Pure Heart, having been given Nimbi form by Grambi, and intends to use her for his evil purposes, but the four heroes defeat him and his skeleton army falls to the Nimbis. After a fierce argument with her parents and a final, tearful goodbye, Luvbi transforms back to her Pure Heart form and is taken back to Flipside by Mario and the gang.
Back at Castle Bleck, Dimentio lets the others know that the heroes are alive and the other minions scramble to get ready to fight them when they come to the castle. Before Dimentio leaves, he then asks Bleck if the name "Blumiere" rings a bell, saying Mario's Pixl mentioned the name. Nastasia once more tries to get Bleck to call off the prophecy, calling him Blumiere, but he denies his old name and identity and refuses to back down.
Chapter 8: Castle Bleck
After the heroes insert the final Pure Heart into the final Heart Pillar, the final door to Castle Bleck appears on Flopside Tower and Merlon and Nolrem see them off. The castle is large and filled with enemies, and the heroes are soon confronted by O'Chunks, whom Bowser battles and defeats on his own. After the fight, the roof collapses, but O'Chunks catches it and holds it aloft to let his worthy opponents pass. Bowser also stays behind, and after Mario, Luigi and Peach exit the room, they hear a crash and find that the door won't open up again. Now one hero short, they carry on and are confronted by Mimi in the disguises of Merlon and Merlee, trying in vain to pry information on their weaknesses from them. She and Peach get in an argument and fight, with Mimi once more taking her "true" spider form, but still being defeated. The heroes turn to go, but Peach lingers to try and talk Mimi into leaving too; the floor then crumbles beneath the girl but Peach dives forward and tries to save her, only to fall in herself.
Mario, Luigi and Tippi carry on, coming up against Dimentio, who forces them to chase him through portals to the various other worlds, before ending up back in the castle. Dimentio then tells them that he had actually been helping them all along, such as by saving Peach from Nastasia and by sending everyone to The Underwhere to undo Luigi's brainwashing and get the Pure Heart fixed. He explains that he wanted the four heroes to unite and defeat Bleck, claiming that the Count had no intention of creating a new world once the old one was destroyed, but that he didn't have enough strength to stop him on his own. Tippi warns Mario and Luigi not to accept Dimentio's offer of an alliance, and when rejected, he proceeds to goad Luigi into a one-on-one fight. (If the player chooses to ally, then Dimentio plants Floro Sprouts on Mario and Luigi's heads, causing a Game Over.) Mario, Tippi and the Pixls go on ahead while Luigi remains behind and defeats Dimentio, who responds by trapping them both in a force field in order to destroy himself and Luigi, rather than letting Bleck get his hands on the "man in green" from the prophecy.
Mario and Tippi hear the blast and fear the worst, but know they have no choice but to continue to the castle's inner sanctum, where they are greeted by Bleck and Nastasia. Tippi and Bleck acknowledge each other as the star-crossed lovers Timpani and Blumiere, but Bleck still holds fast to his plan to destroy all the worlds and Tippi knows she and Mario have no choice but to defeat him. Bleck sends Nastasia away and Mario tries to fight him, but Bleck is completely shielded by the Chaos Heart. Fortunately, Bowser (who fell through the floor before the ceiling collapsed), Peach (who landed on Bowser), and Luigi (who was simply found unconscious by Peach and can't remember what happened) arrive to help Mario, with the uniting of the four heroes shattering Bleck's shield and leading to his defeat in the subsequent battle. As Bleck pleads for death and Tippi pleads for Bleck to live, Dimentio emerges and tries to finish off the Count, but Nastasia dives in front of the blast to shield him.
Knowing it doesn't really matter if the Count's alive or dead, Dimentio simply takes control of the Chaos Heart himself, thanking the heroes for using their Pure Hearts to defeat Bleck and pave the way for his own evil plan. He activates a Floro Sprout he had implanted in Luigi's head earlier and turns him back into Mr. L, before fusing him and the Chaos Heart together into the monstrous Super Dimentio. After sending Bleck, Tippi and Nastasia away to deal with later, he adds himself to Super Dimentio and attacks the remaining heroes, who are unable to damage their new foe. All hope seems lost until O'Chunks and Mimi rejoin Bleck and help Tippi convince him to not give up, with the love and hope shared between them all conjuring up a new set of Pure Hearts, which Tippi brings to the heroes. Breaking through Super Dimentio's defenses, they defeat the enemy, but while Luigi is released unharmed, Dimentio leaves a portion of his power behind to continue controlling the Chaos Heart fuelling the Void. Bleck quickly brings the group to the altar from the start of the story and he and Tippi renew their vows of love and commitment to each other, creating another set of Pure Hearts which cancel out the Chaos Heart, make the Void disappear and restore all the destruction it had caused.
The four heroes and Bleck's minions, including Nastasia, all awaken on Flipside Tower and are greeted by Merlon, who tells them the world is saved and invites them to a celebratory dinner. They wonder what happened to Bleck and Tippi, but believe them to be alive, and at the end of the credits, two distant figures, implied to be Timpani and Blumiere, are seen on top of a tranquil grassy hill.
The player controls the four Heroes of Light in-game. They can be switched to at any time via the + menu. The player begins with only Mario, recruiting the other heroes as the game progresses and even losing the other characters at one point.
Pixls are new creatures in the game that give Mario and crew new abilities. There are thirteen in total, four are optional. However, only twelve can be carried, since Tiptron is only available after Tippi disappears. They replace the partners from the previous Paper Mario games, and set the record for the most allies in the series. Tippi (Tiptron after completion of the game) is always active and thus the player will always have two active Pixls (except at certain points). All Pixl abilities except Tippi's are activated using the button.
The Audience is a group of generic creatures who will appear whenever Mario, Peach, Bowser or Luigi attacks an enemy and does a stylish move, which is done by shaking the Wii Remote when stomping on an enemy. The audience in this game consists of Toads, Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and Shy Guys, only a handful of species from the previous game. They appear on the sides of the screen and say "Nice", "Good", "Great", "Wonderful", and "Excellent". This approval of the Crowd gives the player a higher score than if they had just jumped on the enemy. By doing this, the player can get more points faster.
Bold indicates Chapter Boss.
Duel of 100
After completion of the game, the player may return to Sammer's Kingdom to fully complete the Duel of 100 by defeating all 100 Sammer Guys. After the duel, King Sammer will award the player with Catch Cards of the partners from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
Pits of 100 Trials
The pits of 100 Trials are found in the outskirts of Flipside and Flopside, respectively. The pits each contain 100 rooms, each containing several enemies with one holding the key to the next room. The 100th room of the Flipside Pit contains Wracktail. The Flopside Pit is similar to the first, but with more powerful dark versions of enemies. It can only be accessed after the Flipside Pit is cleared and must be completed twice to battle the boss, Shadoo. The prize for completing the Flipside Pit is the Pixl Dashell, while the Flopside Pit awards cards of the playable characters and their dark versions.
The Flipside Arcade
After wrapping up development of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, director Ryota Kawade wanted to make "other type of games" using the Paper Mario series. Kawade brainstormed many ideas for a new Paper Mario game that would retain the series' humor, puzzles and leveling system while featuring a new twist, eventually settling on the concept of switching between 2D and 3D (an idea which came to him during a train ride, where Kawade was thinking about the Bowser platforming segments in The Thousand Year Door while looking at the other end of the train). The idea was presented to Nintendo, which suggested that an action-adventure game would best demonstrate the concept.
The developers and Nintendo considered that retaining the leveling system was important, as it would allow less dedicated players to still enjoy the game and make it stand out from traditional Mario games. The graphics and character design were deliberately designed to be surreal and unusual to invoke the idea of "a Mario world that's not really a Mario world" and because the idea "to show something that the player has never seen before" was considered a pillar of Paper Mario.
When asked by Nintendo Power if the next Paper Mario would return to the series' RPG roots, Kawade claimed to be uncertain if they would continue on Super Paper Mario's concept, return to the gameplay style of the previous games, or be a completely different type of game, but he concluded that "we want a challenge and to take on new things". Producer Kensuke Tanabe similarly stated that he would "look for a new and different style".
Similarities to previous Paper Mario games
As with Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, this game contained many similarities and reused elements from the previous two games:
Differences from other Paper Mario games
References to other games
References in later games
Pre-release and unused content
Super Paper Mario was originally developed as a title for the Nintendo GameCube, under the same name. The game was also at one point considered for release on both the GameCube and Wii consoles. The Pixls were also initially named "Fairens," and all but Tippi seemed to have initially been one single Fairen that would have morphed into different forms depending on the ability used.
Through the Platform
The player must be Luigi and must be under a platform moving down. To start the glitch, Luigi must high jump and hit the platform moving down. The platform will keep moving, and when Luigi starts falling, he should jump immediately. Luigi should be on the platform.
Infinite Jump Glitch
The player should use Mario and Thudley. The player should ground-pound with him, and just as Thudley's ground pound reaches maximum height, flip to 3-D, and ground-pound again and flip again, and keep repeating it.
Clipping Through Objects
If Mario flips dimensions, goes beside a slanted object, and flips back into 2D, he will be able to walk through the object.
The game was developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo. Ryota Kawade was the chief director and Chie Kawabe was the art director. The music is credited to Naoko Mitome and Chika Sekigawa. Shigeru Miyamoto is credited as supervisor. The game was produced by Kensuke Tanabe and Ryoichi Kitanishi and executive produced by Nintendo's president at the time, Satoru Iwata.