The 'Shroom:Issue XLIV/Review Corner
Hi, it’s Ralphfan again with another edition of Review Corner. This month, I will be reviewing one of my favorite games of all time, Paper Mario: The Thousand‐Year Door. This game, released in 2004, is the sequel to Paper Mario and is the prequel to 2007’s Super Paper Mario.
The action commands in this game are generally easy. Personally, I prefer to use Hammer attacks because the timing can be different on jumps depending on the size of an enemy. The enemy’s shape can also throw off your timing.
Unlike in the first game, Mario’s partners also have HP. Mario and his party can use FP to execute moves obtained by leveling up or by equipping Badges. SP can only be used by Mario. He gains a new special move requiring SP after each chapter. To level up, Mario gains Star Points after each fight. It always takes 100 Star Points to level up, but as Mario levels up, weaker enemies yield fewer points. Gone in this game is Mario’s Spin Dash.
Also added to this game is the ability to turn into paper. At various points in the game, Mario obtains the ability to fly as a paper plane, walk through cracks by turning sideways, rolling up into a tube or crossing water as a paper boat.
The graphics in this game were OK. The 3D looked generally realistic. What separates the graphics in this game from those in the original are some of the scenes that occur after Mario presses a switch. If a bridge or a flight of stairs appears, they are folded out of paper.
This game begins when Mario receives yet another letter from Princess Peach, this one telling him to go to a town called Rogueport. Along with the letter is a map that is rumored to lead to a treasure. Upon his arrival in Rogueport, Mario saves a girl named Goombella from Lord Crump. Goombella joins Mario’s party and Mario is told by her professor, Professor Frankly, to head to Petal Meadows in search of the first Crystal Star. Mario is also told by Toadsworth that Princess Peach has gone missing. He sets off in search of the star. In the town located near the meadows, Petalburg, Koops, a very shy Koopa, joins Mario. Mario heads to the castle of a dragon, Hooktail, in search of the star. In the castle, he makes use of Koops’s abilities to solve puzzles. This game is very persistent about making use of a character’s abilities in the chapter they join Mario. After Mario slays Hooktail, Koops’s father comes out of Hooktail’s stomach and gives them the first Crystal Star.
Between chapters, there is a Peach interlude and a Bowser interlude. It turns out Peach is trapped by a group called the X‐Nauts, led by Sir Grodus. She meets the computer at their headquarters, TEC, who becomes smitten with her and tries to help her escape. When Bowser finds out that someone else has kidnapped Peach, he sets off alongside Kammy Koopa to destroy the X‐Nauts and kidnap Peach. In most chapters, Bowser is a step behind Mario and the X‐Nauts. While the Peach interludes are generally tedious, the Bowser interludes make up for it by including a few platformer levels in which the player controls Bowser.
Mario goes to the Boggly Woods in search of the second Crystal Star. In the Rogueport Sewers, which has a pipe leading to the woods, he meets a Puni by the name of Punio. The Punies inhabit the Boggly Woods, and a crystal star is in their tree. Travelling to the woods, Mario encounters the Shadow Sirens, who are affiliated with the X‐Nauts. Mario defeats them and Madame Flurrie joins his party. She is a wind spirit who helps the Punies take their tree back from the clutches of the X‐Nauts. The boss of Chapter 2 is Lord Crump, using a robot named Magnus von Grapple. Mario is then told that the next Crystal Star is in a floating town called Glitzville. To get there, he allies with Don Pianta, the leader of the Pianta Syndicate. In Glitzville, Mario becomes a professional wrestler upon seeing the star on the champion’s belt. On his way to the title, Mario gains a Yoshi Kid, who can spit enemies at each other. He is needed to win one of the fights. Late in the chapter, Mario receives e‐mails from someone identifying themselves as “X”. This X tries to show Mario that the president of the wrestling league, Grubba, is up to no good. Upon defeating the champion, Rawk Hawk, Mario learns that the star on the champion’s belt is a fake. Mario then defeats Grubba, who was using the real Crystal Star to power a machine that drained the energy from fighters and kept him in shape.
In Chapter 4, Mario heads to Twilight Town and is told that a curse has been put on the town that turns people into pigs. Mario heads to Creepy Steeple to find out who has been causing the curse. It is in the steeple that one of just two optional bosses in the game can be fought, the Atomic Boo. When Mario is swarmed by Boos, he must hit them with his Super Hammer until the Boos turn into the Atomic Boo. By beating the Boo, Mario gains the Lucky Start badge, which gives him an ability at the start of every fight. Mario then defeats a nameless ghost who has been causing the curse. However, it turns out that the ghost stole Mario’s body and his partners, and Mario must learn his name to defeat him. (To prevent Mario from guessing his name properly until the end of the chapter, one of the letters in his name is removed from the screen on which Mario can guess his name). Vivian, the Shadow Siren who has been treated like crap by Beldam, leaves the Sirens and joins Mario. She can pull him into the shadows. Mario uses this to find the ghost’s name. He then defeats Doopliss and is rejoined by his partners. Mario heads to Keelhaul Key in Chapter 5. He and his crew are shipwrecked and must find a way to leave. Bobbery, a bob‐omb sailor, joins Mario’s party and helps him as he heads through Pirate’s Grotto. Mario then defeats the pirate Cortez and takes the Crystal Star. Mario then allies with Cortez, who allows Mario to use his ship to leave Keelhaul Key. (The ship can be used from that point on to go to the Key again to complete side quests).
Mario takes a fancy train called the Excess Express to upscale Poshley Heights in Chapter 6. Mario is mistaken for Luigi by a detective on board named Pennington. Mario then solves mysteries on the train and fights a boss called the Smorg. Mario then arrives in Poshley Heights to see Doopliss, Marilyn and Beldam (the other two Shadow Sirens) take what appears to be the Crystal Star. Pennington tells them it is a fake and Mario finds the real star. In Chapter 7, Mario heads to the X‐Naut Fortress on the moon to obtain the last Crystal Star. He defeats Magnus von Grapple 2.0 to take the final star.
Mario then heads to the door and enters. The first part of the chapter is in the Palace of Shadow. Mario defeats Hooktail’s brother, Gloomtail, at the end of the palace. Mario then finds an underground city and solves many puzzles in it. Mario fights Doopliss, Marilyn and Beldam during his time in the city. Upon exiting the city, Mario finally meets and defeats Grodus. He then fights Bowser a second time (the first was in Chapter 3). Grodus escapes the scene during the fight. He then finds the Shadow Queen, who takes her form in Princess Peach’s body. Mario must then defeat the queen to find the hidden treasure. Upon opening the treasure, Mario finds it is nothing more than a Dried Shroom.
This game is full of side quests. Some of these can be completed by using the Trouble Center in East Rogueport. Denizens of Rogueport ask for the completion of various tasks at the center and reward Mario for completing them. One of these, submitted by ?????, turns out to be submitted by Ms. Mowz, a Mouser who joins Mario’s party for solving the Trouble. The game’s Challenge Mode is called the Pit of 100 Trials. In the pit, Mario encounters an enemy on each level. After winning the fight, he can advance to another level. Mario obtains a reward and the ability to leave the pit on every tenth level. At the bottom of the pit is the other optional boss in the game, Bonetail.
This game has done a bang‐up job in following its predecessor. As the only Mario RPG for the Gamecube, it gives the player everything they want in an RPG. It has a detailed plot, a great hub city, and some amazing side quests. I give this game a 10/10.