The Definitive 50 SNES Games: #9 Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Click here to view our list of the Definitive 50 SNES games. Links to each video and write-up are included.

Action elements have been incorporated into numerous RPGs over the last 15 years, including everything from the Tales series to the Paper Mario series, and all of that was started by 1996’s Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.

This game takes the most addictive elements of RPGs, including compelling story and character management, and infuses them with action and innovative design. In battle, attacks can be boosted and defenses made with well timed button presses. Outside of battle, random encounters are replaced by dodge-able, viewable foes. And all of this is smothered with a healthy coating of wacky Super Mario schtick.

Super Mario RPG takes 9th place on the list of Definitive 50 SNES games. This Square Enix developed classic is now available on the Wii’s Virtual Console service.

In this game, you command a cast of loveable misfits made up of Mario, Princess Toadstool, Bowser, and newcomers Mallow and Geno as they travel across the Mushroom Kingdom and a variety of other fantastical lands. You’re on a quest to retrieve the seven star pieces, kick the evil Smithy out of Bowser’s castle, and return order to the land.

Plenty of other classic Mario characters, like Yoshi and Toad, make appearances, but the game is by no means limited to them. In addition to Mallow and Geno, other original characters like Booster, the Axem Rangers, and Valentina all leave lasting impressions. Sadly, poor Luigi is left to inhabit the game’s instruction manual.

The game is played from an isometric perspective, with the player controlling a 3-dimensional Mario outside of battle. Here, the game is a platformer of sorts, where tricky jumps must be performed to navigate obstacles and find secrets.

It’s not just a fun experience, it’s also a visually stunning one. The game takes advantage of the SNES’s ability to use pre-rendered computer graphics pioneered in games like Donkey Kong Country to their highest peak. Each character pops with colour and detail. Environments are similarly vivid. The entire game has a clean, hefty style to it.

Super Mario RPG is, without a doubt one of my favourite games of all time. As proof, I offer you this stunning fact about my life: I’ve beaten the game more times than any other, perhaps 20. I’ve poured literally hundreds of hours into this action RPG masterpiece, and don’t regret it in the least.