Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Gamecube)
Developed by Intelligent Systems
Published by Nintendo
Released October 11, 2004
Review Written June 25, 2010
Breaks the 4th Wall
Luigi and Bowser’s misfortune
Graphics, music, and sound effects are great
Random Spikes of insane difficulty
Clichéd parts in story
At times can have a repetitive feeling
About a month ago, I was walking through my local Gamestop when I decided to pick up a Gamecube (since they are pretty cheap now). The first game I got for my new system was Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, and it was an excellent choice as my first Gamecube game. This game was originally released in 2004 exclusively for the Nintendo gamecube and is a sequel to the N64’s Paper Mario. I truly don’t know what drove me to get this game, but it wasn’t a bad choice.
The main plot of Paper Mario and the Thousand year door, revolves around what Mario does best. Saving princess peach. Peach has been kidnapped again and like all times, its up to Mario to do the saving. Though this time, they introduce a new group of bad guys known as the X-nauts who are the culprits behind the kidnapping, though their ulterior motive is to open the mysterious Thousand year door. Mario’s fight to rescue princess peach leads him to many different lands around the central town of Rogue Port. And while in these strange territories, he meets new friends, makes new enemies, and finds important items know as the Crystal Stars.
The game is broken up into 8 chapters and feels like a fairy tale right out of a book. Well, I guess that’s mostly because the game is full of text and has no voice overs, which is for the best. Mario with voice overs would just be too weird if done wrong, even though in the Thousand Year Door Mario doesn’t even have lines of dialogue. He mostly stays silent, and because of that everyone sees him as the silent badass. Besides the newcomers that Mario meets, there are many familiar faces in the Thousand Year Door too. Luigi can be spotted around Rogue Port every now and then. Bowzer also has a slight role, but not something so small that would make him an insignificant side character.
This game is an RPG, through and through. By implementing a turn base commands into the battles, this game felt very unique, compared to the basic Mario game formula. I had never played any of the other Mario RPGs, and this was very new to me. And because it has the essence of an RPG, it is also as long as a normal RPG. I clocked in about 30 hours to finish this game, not including the amount of times I died. The game stays true to the typical Mario attacks of jumping and stomping and even hammer smashing but making it turn based. The battles work out pretty well, as there is a counter-attack technique, but it may take some time to get use to. There are even monsters where it seems almost impossible to counter their moves because of the speed or randomness of the attack.
Mario doesn’t fight all his battles alone. He normally has at least one ally to be at his side, and every time you arrive at a new world, you usually get a new ally to add to your super group. As I said earlier, this game is a basic rpg, Mario and his teammates also level up after so many battles, but instead of experience you get star points after every battle. Get 100 star points and you level up as well as choose which attribute you want to upgrade: Health, Flower Power (which is basically your magic), and Badge Level (which adjusts how many badges you can equip). Badges are the equivalent to materia in Final Fantasy 7. Each badge allows you to do a certain technique or power, and there are many badges in this game. To spice up the routine a bit, Thousand Year Door has a couple random activities that change the tone as well as help you take a break from the normal RPG battles. These are held throughout the game and were really enjoyable.
I really enjoyed the story of Thousand Year Door. Even though it felt kind of clichéd, I still enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the humor of the game as well as when many characters broke the fourth wall. I also enjoyed the graphics, sometimes the 2D paper look and 3D background were just mind boggling as to how they look good. The music was also a great addition to the game, and helped set the mood for important moments in the plot, depending if it was a scene with Princess Peach, some random villains, or just Mario and his group.
On the opposite spectrum though, I truly hated the spikes in difficulty. If I’m correct there are about 8 of them in total in this game. They happen closer to the end but man are they painful. I was lucky on most of them by barely surviving. Another negative is that it does get quite repetitive, but hey its an rpg. And because its an RPG I would fall into what I call RPG syndrome, where I would play for an hour or two and forget to save in case a bad guy defeats me randomly. Well, in this game once you die, you start from the last save point, so I was quite furious at my own stupidity at times. Overall I really enjoyed this game, even with the few frustrations. So I recommend that if you like Mario or RPG’s, give this game a try.
Final Score: 5 out of 5
Review Written by John of The Time Heist
Editorial Note: This was the first review I ever wrote. Playing this game during a difficult quarter in college was a bad idea. Took a long time to beat but I’ll never forget how difficult the final stage felt to me. I really enjoyed the Train Murder Mystery level as well. Four more old reviews to upload.