LVL UP – Suspicious Cake and Classic Gaming

LVL UP – Suspicious Cake and Classic Gaming

Should taking a mostly mute, portly plumber with a penchant for jumping down big green pipes, saving princesses and obsessing over a ‘cake’ we never get to see really work as a concept for an RPG? Well, no, it shouldn’t. So why is it then, that classic SNES game Super Mario RPG is such a stellar title that, even to this day, stands the test of time and can easily be enjoyed by a brand new generation of fans? Quite simply, it’s because developers Square took the largely unfleshed world of Mario, added substance, spice, new locales and new enemies and created one of – I’m not ashamed to say it – best Mario titles in history.

Starting out with our favourite plumber who never does any plumbing and is probably therefore not a plumber living it up in his ‘pipe house’ just outside the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario’s world is once again interrupted by the ever-pesky Bowser, who has stolen Princess Peach yet again and took her to his castle. Sounds like a typical Mario tale right? Wrong – Mario goes straight to Bowser’s castle and instead finds himself face to face with an even more dangerous enemy known as Smithy, who boots Bowser from his lair, scatters some mysterious star pieces around the world and promptly declares himself lord of Bowser’s castle.

That alone means this is a very different game from most Mario titles – this has by far a much more deep and interesting story that deals with character development in much the same way other RPG’s of the SNES era did. This means that Mario will be meeting a whole load of interesting characters on his travels, each of which has their own backstories, motives and unique concepts for fighting with Mario in the grand battle to kick Smithy out of the Kingdom.

Mario Was Kicked Out Of The Castle After a ‘Cake’ Incident.

Super Mario RPG plays very similarly to a lot of RPG’s at the time. Its essentially an isometric RPG where you can wander around various locales, battle enemies and use Mario’s trademarked jumping abilities to navigate the various pitfalls and traps that litter dungeons, as well as jumping up to new heights to secure treasure (of course concealed in classic Mario ? blocks). You can also talk to other people, buy weapons, customize your characters and explore the mushroom kingdom and much more besides. There’s even a whole collection of insanely brilliant minigames including mine cart rides and river rapid riding, as well as a completely impossible Yoshi racing mission. In short, this is a robust, packed RPG filled with content and is perhaps the most comprehensive take on Mario’s world ever devised.

I’m not here to review this title though – instead I’m just letting you all remember how brilliant it was. If you haven’t played it, sit yourself down for a second and have a think. Ponder to yourself, just what are you doing with your life? Will it ever truly be complete without playing Super Mario RPG? ‘No, it won’t.’ says the invading voice of me, Dan Curtis, sapping into your private thoughts.

It really is quite amazing what Square did with so little source material – despite Mario’s storyline literally consisting of jumping on things and rescuing a princess who may or may not be in another castle, the storyline itself is actually incredibly interesting, witty and the characters actually have a surprising amount of depth. The game even offers unique insights into Bowser’s motives, who – spoiler alert – actually finds himself joining forces with arch enemy Mario to defeat Smithy and reclaim his castle. As you progress through the tale you’ll get more people joining your rag-tag party of mad-cap characters in traditional RPG fashion, and each of these has some kind of motive for following Mario around.

All that said, some of the dialogue within the game is absolutely hilarious. Highlights include the extended cake section involving a character called Booster, which I’m sorry, is filled with so much sexual innuendo it may as well be an orgy. I’ve often believed cake in Mario is codeword for sex, and sections like this only further my suspicions.

Well that concludes my brief talk on how Super Mario RPG is a classic slice of gaming. Am I completely wrong about this title and you hate it with a passion? Or do you embrace it like you should, as a cakey brother? That sounds wrong….but anyway, tell us below what you think of this title in the comments.





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