Paper Mario

aka: Mario Story, Paper Mario 64, Super Mario RPG 2
Moby ID: 5498
Nintendo 64 Specs
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Description official descriptions

Up in Star Haven, there exists a Star Wand that allows the stars to grant wishes to those who are pure of heart. The Star Wand is looked over by the Seven Star Spirits, who protect it in its sanctuary. However, Bowser attacks Star Haven, steals the Star Wand, and locks up the Star Spirits so that they cannot challenge his power. With his new powers, Bowser defeats Mario and lifts Princess Peach's castle into the air, taking her and all her guests as prisoners. Now, the only way to challenge Bowser's unbridled power is to rescue all seven Star Spirits, which have been imprisoned all over the land.

Paper Mario is the follow-up to Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars. Basically, this is an RPG set in the Mario universe. Mario has the ability to gain experience and grow levels by defeating enemies and bosses. Mario also has the ability to recruit teammates to help him out in turn-based battles. As well, Mario can collect badges that will help his combat abilities, star pieces that he can trade for badges, and more items that he can use throughout the game. The Star Spirits will also aid him in his quest.

All the characters in the game are 2D within a fully 3D world. This gives the feeling that each character is made out of "paper".


  • マリオストーリー - Japanese spelling
  • 马里奥物语 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Nintendo 64 version)

101 People (79 developers, 22 thanks) · View all



Average score: 87% (based on 43 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 80 ratings with 2 reviews)

The best RPG for N64

The Good
Mario's first RPG was an amazing experience, and everyone as worrying if it's eventual sequel could live up to the hype. Well, it surpassed all the hype. This RPG is amazing. From the imaginative turn-based battles, it's fantastic storyline, and it's graphics, this game is a quality game on all fronts. It's also suprisingly deep. The worlds are huge and the dialogue is hilarious. And it often breaks the fourth wall, refering Mario and crew as real paper. Now the name is named after the visual style of everything in the Mushroom kingdom being paper. All the people are paper, and all the sets are cardboard. It's just eyeopening!

The Bad
However, the framerate will drop under 30 frames per seconds on some occations. Besides that. This game is perfect.

The Bottom Line
This game is a fantastic RPG, whih is funny, deep and eyepopping. It's more than worthy as a sequel to Super mario RPG in every way. Buy it now!

Nintendo 64 · by Willy105 (13) · 2006

Paper? Yes. Mario? Yes. RPG? nonononono

The Good
The paper art-style is really cut and they made clever use of it.

Reaction commands make the combat a little more involved.

Dialogue is well-written and I found myself laughing at some of the lines.

Story as a whole is pretty fun.

The adult jokes are not too frequent or in-your-face.

The Bad
Leveling system is poorly designed.

Combat starts to wear on you after a few days.

Many badges are useless.

Barely any challenge at all.

Only 1 companion at a time.

The Bottom Line
Paper Mario is the spiritual sequel to Super Mario RPG on the Super Nintendo, in the sense that it's a spin-off RPG with a unique art-style. The story goes that Mario and Luigi are both invited by the princess for a party, but upon arrival Bowser shows up and lifts the castle up into the sky. As it turns out, Bowser has stolen the "Star Rod", a magical artifact that grants wishes, with which he is finally able to beat Mario. After his initial failure, Mario sets out to free the imprisoned protectors of the Star Rod and discover a way to beat Bowser.

The large wheel of fortune, or in this case "wheel of quirky art-styles", that I imagine is housed within the Nintendo headquarters, landed on paper this time around, so everything in the game is themed as if it were made out of paper cut-outs. I've never really gotten into the recent yarn craze, but this style is actually pretty neat, since there is a lot of detail to it. One of my favorite touches occurs when characters fall, since they slowly dawdle in the air instead of plummeting straight downwards.

Being that this is an RPG, you of course team up with a variety of party-members. I really appreciate it that the designers chose to team Mario up with a new cast of characters, as opposed to something more predictable like Luigi. Most of these characters are actually pretty entertaining and fun to have around, especially Goombario, whose special ability provides Mario with insight on areas and enemies.

The overall story does tend to be a little dull and it has the same problem as Mario Galaxy, where it's too childish for older players and it has too much exposition for a younger audience. Side-quests are much more entertaining, though, as there is a wide variety of characters to interact with. The writers cleverly decided to imply that races commonly known to serve under Bowser are not all bad, so you get locations like Koopa Town and Goomba Town, where the inhabitants are peaceful and you can do quests for them.

During your travels, you'll often run into enemies that will charge towards you; once you make contact with the enemy, it will teleport you to a battle-screen where you can fight that foe. This allows you to get in a preemptive strike if you hurt the foe upon making contact, but it also works the other way around. Battles are pretty standard; you select your move and Mario does it, however, each attack has a special condition that allows it to do more damage. If you press A before jumping on an enemy, for example, it will have Mario jump a second time. These reaction commands do actually help to make the combat more involved and some special abilities make clever use of them.

There is however one huge problem with the game and that is the fact that it can't really be called an "RPG" in terms of mechanics. Mario can level up, but doing so doesn't necessarily increase his raw power. Instead, you get to pick between leveling up either health, FP (mana), or badge-points (more about those later). As a result, Mario doesn't actually become any stronger throughout the game. You do 1 damage when jumping on an enemy at level 1 and you'll do 1 damage to an enemy when jumping on him at level 10 too, nothing changes in that regard. Your companions don't level up at all, so as a result it never feels like you are progressing as a character.

There is also no equipment to manage, aside from badges; these badges require badge-points and give Mario some special abilities that vary in usefulness. I like to compare them to the perks from Fallout 3, but that would be too kind, since the perks had more creativity and you had more room to use them. Most badges eat so many points that equipping them becomes very costly, especially since leveling up in this game takes forever.

This leaves the combat as the only real "RPG" mechanic, but since there is no progression, the difficulty is completely planned out and geared towards the easy side of things. With no way to change this, the game relies on being an "experience". That's alright, I like experiences, but games like Earthbound (which are also called "experiences") often have the player move from event to event at a pretty fast pace, whereas Paper Mario often bogs the player down with long journeys from one location to another.

So yes, aside from the art-style, which is very nice and detailed, the game has very little to offer. The story, while entertaining, moves to slowly and the gameplay lacks any kind of substance. Super Mario RPG and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga are both a lot better, so if you are interested in playing a Mario RPG, I would recommend either of those two.

Nintendo 64 · by Asinine (957) · 2013


1001 Video Games

The N64 version of Paper Mario appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Development history

The game was originally in development for the Nintendo 64's Disk Drive but moved to the N64 due to the Disk Drive no longer being viable by the time the game was due for release,


  • The Koopa Brothers are based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • At one point in the game, a whale says "They really should call you Doctor Mario"- a reference to another of Mario's classic roles.
  • In a reference to the Nintendo 64, the number 64 is prominent in the game. Instances include the name of the train, the name of the bar near the port, and the number of Star Pieces that can be obtained from Chuck Quizmo's quizzes.
  • One entry in Luigi's secret diary reads, "I wish I had my own game... with my name in the title." Another reads, "I'm terrified of ghosts!" These are references to the Nintendo Gamecube title, Luigi's Mansion.


  • EGM
    • February 2006 (Issue #200) - named #141 out of 200 of the "Greatest Games of Their Time"

Information also contributed by Big John WV


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Rogee.

Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. Wii added by gamewarrior.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Joshua J. Slone, Alaka, Tiago Jacques, gamewarrior, DreinIX, FatherJack, firefang9212, Gouken.

Game added December 19, 2001. Last modified January 7, 2024.