Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was the last Mario game made and released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was also the last Squaresoft-produced game for a Nintendo video game console until 2003, when Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was released for the Nintendo GameCube.
This was also the first role-playing game (RPG) in the Mario franchise. It is the first game in which Mario and Bowser fight as allies. It contains token similarities to Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series with a story based on the Mario universe. Since it was an easy-to-play RPG starring Mario, it introduced many long-time Mario fans to RPGs and as such is sometimes seen as an introductory RPG.
The game is known for its unique timing-based battle system, surprising sense of humor, and pseudo 3D graphics. It also has a jump button, a feature not found in most RPGs. Since Mario is known for his platform games, many of the puzzles in the game revolve around jumping from place to place, although this may be difficult due to the fixed isometric camera.
The game's main characters include three of the main individuals of the franchise as well as two original characters. Mario is the main character who plays the role of the silent protagonist, and the hero who often saves the world. On his way to find and rescue Princess Toadstool — a common objective from previous Mario games — he meets up with the cloud-like being Mallow, who believes he is a tadpole. As he returns to his home with Mario, he learns the truth, that he is not a tadpole, and he was found floating in a river by his adoptive grandfather, Frogfucius, and sets off with Mario in the hope of finding his true parents. On their search, they meet a being from Star Road, who possesses a young boy's doll, Geno, taking on the doll's name and persona. He explains that he is an otherworldly traveler sent by a higher authority to recover the seven Star Pieces that must be found in order to stop Smithy, the main villain of the game. They eventually run into Bowser, and save Princess Toadstool. Bowser decides to help Mario, so he can reclaim his castle from the Smithy Gang; and the Princess, desperate to help, sneaks out of the Mushroom Kingdom to help on their travels.
You can carry 3 people in a party at a time.
- Mario, user of Shells, Hammers and more. His jumping ability is world famous.
- Princess Peach, the Princess, who can wield...frying pans?
- Mallow, a cloud-like crybaby raised as a Tadpole by Frogmen.
- Geno, a puppet infused with a spirit from Star Road, sent to aid Mario.
- King Bowser, Mario's longtime enemy and resident powerhouse. The first time they appear on the same side.
It's another day in the Mushroom Kingdom as Mario goes to Bowser's keep to rescue the Princess and defeat his minions. But while he succeeds, things don't progress normally, as a giant sword crashes through Bowser's keep, kicking him out. The sword appears to be Exor, an extraterrestrial baddie under control of the main boss Smithy. Seven Star Pieces are scattered throughout the land,and they must be gathered to save Mario's land from Smithy's control.
Mario's enemies are visible in the field; a battle ensues only if he comes in contact with one. This allows the player to evade unnecessary battles. It should be noted that some fights are necessary to advance the plot. Avoiding battles also means acquiring fewer experience points, causing characters to take greater, and inflict less, damage from attacks, making battles more difficult. The battles themselves are a blend of platforming elements and traditional role-playing game battles. As well as selecting attacks, the player is usually required to perform action commands to increase the damage done. These consist of timed button presses and other movements (such as rotating the control pad or pressing Y repeatedly) to determine the power of the character's attack, a concept that was carried over to some later role-playing games such as Final Fantasy VIII. As with many other role-playing games, items are an important tool in battles. The need to perform action commands in between navigating menus requires the player to be engaged in the battle the whole time. However, much of Super Mario RPG's gameplay is outside of monster battles. In the field, the game plays much like an isometric platformer, in which traditional Mario features and new ones (such as magic spells) play a key role. There are five characters the player can control: Mario, Mallow, Geno, Bowser, and Princess Toadstool. Each character has a unique set of attacks and techniques.
Super Mario RPG has a handful of easter eggs and references. The biggest of which is a hidden Superboss named Culex, who's style and music is a reference to Squaresoft's Final Fantasy series. There are also cameo appearances by Link, Samus Aran, and even the appearance of Captain Falcon and Samurai Gorroh's F-Zero racer hidden within the game, in the form of a figurine.