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Leon McDonald
10 Dec, 2004

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door Review

GCN Review | PALGN takes Mario's latest paper adventure for a scribble.
It's been a long year for Gamecube owners. With the lack of quality and quantity of releases, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is just what the little purple console needed. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is the third iteration for a Nintendo console, and quite possibly the first time Australian gamers have had a chance to play one. Sadly the SNES Mario RPG never made it to our shores, and the original Paper Mario came in such little numbers, the average gamer would have never even had a chance to play it. At last, things are looking up, with the success of Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga on the GameBoy Advanced and now with the Thousand Year Door in short succession, its Mario RPG heaven for Nintendo fans.

As the name suggests, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is about a magical door, which is told to hold incredible treasures sealed by an ancient generation. Paper Mario begins like any other Mario game in existence, with our friend Peach getting captured whilst on holiday. The culprit this time is a funny group by the name of X-nauts, who, you guessed it, want to open the Thousand Year Door. Hence, Mario sets off once again to find 7 crystals and save the day. Although it sounds all so familiar, the actual vibe of the game is somewhat different to what you’d expect. The story is actually generally funny and well structured while the dialogue will have you burst out laughing at least once or twice. It’s refreshing to see a Mario game take the mickey out of itself for once, for example with King Browser coming off as a hopeless romantic. The dialogue throughout the game is stylish and witty, and at times you’ll forget this is actually a Mario game. Although the word “dude” is perhaps a little overused for the surfy-isk bad guys.


Paper Mario is uniquely different in that everything is made to look 2-D and paper like. This allows the game to have truly clever puzzles such as Mario turning into a paper aeroplane to get across large gaps. As the game progresses Mario gets more groovy paper powers and comes across some truly great set pieces. The gameplay mechanics continues the Mario RPG tradition with a well rounded mix of real time blended with turn based. Mario and his pals start off with a small selection of moves and power ups, but by the end of the game, you have a full selection of mushroom power at your disposal. Power ups come in a number of forms, but primarily using badges that give Mario his powers. You are only allowed to equip a number of badges (with a total number of 85 to collect throughout the game) at any one time, hence it introduces a good mix of equipment management into the mix. Of course what RPG would be without a party, and sadly for Mario, he gets three misfits of the Mushroom Kingdom. These include a know-it-all goomba, a confident-less kooper and a has-been opera singer. Oh and a special mention must go to Luigi, as once again he gets the wrap of being the biggest loser in the Mushroom Kingdom.

As with previous Mario RPG games, you control the Princess in-between chapters, and in this adventure, she battles a super intelligent computer that enjoys spying on her in the shower. There is also an enjoyable mini-game that takes off the original Super Mario Brothers and has Browser running along smashing everything in sight. These sequences ooze with style and are a great break up for the normal game. One complaint of the year is how the exploration system works. It does feel somewhat small and flat at times. This is mainly a side effect of the implementation of the view, but it does sometimes feel like your playing a 2-D scroller. Having said that, the whole premise of the game is to feel like a story book, however sometimes it just doesn’t feel right.


The Thousand Year Door has more than enough content to keep the most hardcore enthusiast happy for a long time. The average gamer will take at least 30-40 hours to complete the game. Unfortunately, a common trend with most Nintendo games, the game can be somewhat a little easy. It would have certainly been nicer to have a few more challenging fights, as there is never really any point in the game where you'll feel like you may die. That’s not to say it takes any enjoyment from the game, as major battles can take a considerable amount of time, with the problem lying mainly in the over abundance of items. As with any RPG, once you’ve completed the main story, there isn’t much else on offer. The badge system does add to the number of items that are there for collection, but since the game is quite large, it’s unlikely you’ll have the desire to go back and hunt for all the elusive items.


The visuals of Paper Mario are truly wonderful. Nintendo have always been the wizards of style and flare. The art work and overall design of the graphics are brilliant with great use of colour and art direction. One of the more impressive parts of the games is the mass number of characters thrown around the screen. The characters look wonderful throughout the entire game and are very charming and vibrant with life.

The sound, as always with Nintendo games, very upbeat and uses a mix of old favourites with new. You’ll be humming along to tunes in no time, as there are some truly memorable tunes throughout the game. The sound affects are run of the mill, with the normal set of Mario noise. We have all become a custom to Mario grunts and Italian banter by now.

If you are looking for something different this Christmas, that doesn’t involved slaughtering hoards of aliens, don’t second look Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door for a second. With an excellent visual style and sound, and a fun evolving RPG system, this game is truly a joy to play. Every Gamecube owner should not miss this game, especially since there has been a distinct lack of killer titles this year. Great stuff Nintendo.
The Score
Another great Mario RPG title and a must buy for starved Gamecube owners.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door Content

Paper Mario 2 Website Opens
04 Jul, 2004 The official Paper Mario 2 website opens alongside with an all-new trailer.
Paper Mario 2 Preview
26 May, 2004 We take a look inside Mario’s all new paper adventure.
Mario Golf: Advance Tour Review
25 Jul, 2004 Mario’s latest golfing outing sinks a hole-in-one in our greatest game collection.
4 Comments
9 years ago
Truly an amazing review (ignoring a couple of grammar errors). Congratulations. icon_smile.gif

The sense of humour in the game is great, isn't it icon_lol.gif
9 years ago
Great review mate.

I agree with that score as well. Atm I have just completed chapter two, I have to find these two people for this crime boss.
9 years ago
Spying on her in the shower? Doesn't sound like something I would want MY kids to be playing! Oh, hang on, I dont have any kids icon_smile.gif

But good review Leon. Glad you found some time to contribute to this site again icon_wink.gif
9 years ago
In some mags people have given it a 9.0
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Nintendo
Developer:
  Intelligent Systems
Players:
  N/A
Memory Blocks:
  N/A

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