Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (ペーパーマリオRPG Paper Mario RPG) originally known as Mario Story 2 in Japan and Paper Mario 2 in North America, is a role-playing Mario game that was released in 2004 for the Nintendo GameCube. It was developed by Intelligent Systems and released on October 11, 2004, in North America. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is the fourth role-playing game in the Mario series, and the second in the Paper Mario series.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is explicitly related to the first Paper Mario game for the Nintendo 64, as it basically has the same turn-based fighting system for battles. The basis of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is that Mario must collect the seven Crystal Stars, similarly to the Star Spirits of Paper Mario, in order to save Peach from a mysterious clan until later on in the game when they and their hiding place are identified. The characters are all two-dimensional, however, the world is three-dimensional. Both the world and the characters exhibit a paper-like style to them, allowing Mario to use this to his advantage. For example, Mario can turn into a paper plane to fly over certain gaps or pits.
For the most part of the game, Mario is the playable character. At certain points, however, players can take control of Peach, who has game-play reminiscent of the original Paper Mario's game-play for Peach. At other points, players can take control of Bowser, where the game-play is much similar to that of Super Mario Bros. and other classic Mario games.
Outside of battle, Mario can walk around several areas and interact with several other characters, such as having Goombella tell the player all about a specific character. There are also platforming elements, similar to past Mario titles. Throughout the game, Mario meets and befriends several characters who partner up with him, such as Goombella and Koops, who can assist him both outside of battle and inside battle in unique ways. For example, outside of battle, Goombella can describe characters and locations to Mario to help him get a better understanding of the area, while inside battle, she can use her Tattle ability to clarify enemies' remaining HP as well as detailing weak points and attack power.
Inside battle, Mario, his partner, and the enemies are placed on a stage. Battles are handled in a turn-based fashion where Mario or his partner attacks first, followed by whoever did not attack previously and finally by enemies. If any attack is powerful enough, it could cause props or other such stage items to fall onto the enemies or Mario and his partner. As Mario collects Crystal Stars, he can perform new moves inside battle using the power of the Crystal Stars. As Mario begins to fight well, an audience builds in the crowd and, should Mario pull stylish moves, by pressing certain buttons at certain times, he increases the amount of Star Power that builds. The audience can also throw objects at Mario or his partners, such as Mushrooms or Fire Flowers. They can also throw harmful objects, such as hammers and cans. A bingo system also comes into play when Mario matches two images as the fight plays out. If the final image matches, as played in a roulette fashion, then he will earn a bingo bonus, where he will have his health, flower points, star power or all of the above restored.
In between chapters, players take control of Peach and Bowser. When playing as Peach, objectives change at certain times, such as creating a chemical mixture to become invisible or dancing with a holographic image of herself. Oftentimes, these objectives come from TEC-XX, a computer in the X-Naut headquarters.
As Bowser, players have either one of two things to do, often on an alternate basis between chapters. The first thing is normally to interact with the environment to find something of importance located in the general area. The second thing is a remake of levels from the original Super Mario Bros., often leading into situations that Bowser had thought had something else.
Prologue: A Rogue's Welcome
The story starts with a book explaining the story of Rogueport, and how the city was hidden underground. Later, Princess Peach is on holiday in rebuilt Rogueport. A merchant tells her of a box with the map to the ancient Rogueport, and how it only opens to one of a noble heart. Peach opens it, and the game begins. She sends it to Mario via note and tells him to go to the city. Upon getting there, Mario will need to fight a "Lord Crump". Goombella will take Mario to Professor Frankly, and go down into the sewers (getting a Paper Airplane curse along the way) to find the Thousand-Year Door...
Chapter 1: Castle and Dragon
Chapter 1 starts in a small town called Petalburg, near Petal Meadows. There is a dragon named Hooktail up in a nearby castle that eats anyone who comes to slay her. Mario meets a Koopa named Koops whose father left to try and slay Hooktail. Then Mario goes to the Shhwonk Fortress and plays the 65th annual quiz show, the follow-up to the 64th. They then get the sun and moon stones and fight the Gold Fuzzy. When Mario and co. get back to Petalburg, Koops becomes Mario's Partner, after recurring hesitation, and Mario goes to Hooktail's Castle to slay the dragon, receiving a curse that causes him to become paper-thin. Afterwards, Koopley, Koops's father, emerges from the dragon's belly, and gives Mario a Diamond Star he found in Hooktail's stomach.
Meanwhile, Princess Peach awakes in a strange, unfamiliar, futuristic-looking place. She has been kidnapped by a group of aliens called the X-Nauts, and their leader, Sir Grodus. After Grodus is informed that someone has found the first Crystal Star, Peach instinctively let's slip the name 'Mario'. Grodus overhears this and has his troops investigate immediately. He orders the Shadow Sirens to steal the treasure map from Mario. Meanwhile, Peach is taken to her sleeping quarters. She takes a shower, then approaches a set of doors, which open automatically. Intrigued, she follows a corridor to another set of doors, which, again, open automatically. She then finds a computer with artificial intelligence, called TEC-XX, or TEC for short. He is intrigued by her concept of love, and asks her to help him understand it. In return, he lets her send an email to Mario, informing him of what has happened.
Far away, in Bowser's Castle, Kammy Koopa informs the Koopa King that Mario has begun collecting Crystal Stars. Feeling that they sound like useful tools for world domination, Bowser is certain he wants them for himself. He also learns that someone else has captured Princess Peach. Outraged by this, claiming that no one but he himself can kidnap her, he leaves for Rogueport.
Back in Petalburg, Mario informs the Koopas that he has slain the dragon Hooktail, and Koops informs Koopie Koo that, against her wishes, he is going with Mario to hunt the Crystal Stars, and he is going to return a much stronger Koopa. Back in Rogueport, Mario learns that Peach has been kidnapped by the X-Nauts. He heads to the Thousand-Year Door, where he is then directed to the Great Tree.
Chapter 2: The Great Boggly Tree
Chapter 2 begins in Boggly Woods. Mario is guided by a small creature called a Puni named Punio to The Great Tree. The X-Nauts have locked up the main entrance however, so team Mario employs the help of a cloud-like actress named Madame Flurrie to access the secret entrance. Using the help of the other Punies and the Puni elder, Mario and friends are able to defeat Lord Crump (in the form of Magnus von Grapple) and drive out the X-Nauts. They then recover the Emerald Star.
Back at the X-Naut Fortress, Sir Grodus discovers Mario's capture of the Emerald Star, and is furious! Meanwhile, TEC uses a hologram for Peach to dance with, so he can understand the emotion of love.
Bowser, meanwhile, turns up in Petal Meadows searching for the Crystal Star. He travels through World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros, ending up in Petalburg. He spots Princess Peach, but discovers it is merely a poster, much to his sudden shock.
Back in Rogueport, Mario receives an email from Princess Peach informing him that the X-Nauts are also after the Crystal Stars, and to be careful. Wasting no time, Mario presses on, being directed to Glitzville. However, the town is suspended in the air. Mario goes to Don Pianta, who, in return for finding his daughter, Francesca, and his mobster, Frankie, will give him a Blimp Ticket to Glitzville.
Chapter 3: Of Glitz and Glory
Mario heads to the Glitz Pit of Glitzville, where he watches a fight between Rawk Hawk, the reigning champion, and his challenger The Koopinator. Mario notices that on Rawk's championship belt, there is a Crystal Star. They decide that the only way to get that Crystal Star is to sign up to be a fighter, and win the belt by defeating Rawk Hawk. Mario is entrusted with the ring name, "The Great Gonzales". After going up in the ranks and conquering the Minor League, Mario discovers a lone Yoshi Egg, and cares for it until it hatches, and Mario gives it a name. A series of mysterious E-mails, written in different sized letters (reminiscent of the threat letters often seen in crime dramas) alert Mario to suspicious goings on in the pit, and the instructions in these E-mails lead Mario to the truth behind the Glitz Pit. He then defeats Rawk Hawk to find that the Crystal Star is fake and that the real one is held by Grubba. After defeating Grubba (as Macho Grubba), they take the Gold Star, and the long-thought-retired Prince Mush emerges from Grubba's machine. Mush is reunited with Jolene, who becomes the new Chairwoman of the Glitz Pit. Mario is forced to retire as a Glitz Pit fighter, but is invited to make a comeback anytime he likes. The Yoshi Kid agrees to follow Mario, referring to him as "The Great Gonzales".
Back at the Fortress, TEC asks Peach to discover Grodus's plans. He has her dress up like an X-Naut in order to go undercover, and she discovers that Grodus plans world domination! She sends an email to Mario to tell him this vital information.
Bowser, meanwhile, is still searching for Crystal Stars, with little success. He comes across the Punies of The Great Tree, who are frightened to death of him. Unfortunately, he discovers that Mario beat him to it.
Back in Rogueport, Mario receives Peach's email, learning of the X-Nauts' plans. He then decides that time is of the essence, and therefore proceeds to the Thousand-Year Door, where he is directed to Creepy Steeple. Professor Frankly informs him that Creepy Steeple is near Twilight Town, a town permanently covered in darkness. To get there, Mario has Darkly, a Twilight boy, write Mario's name on his pants so the plumber can get to Twilight Town.
Chapter 4: For Pigs the Bell Tolls
The first thing Mario notices is that the town is under a curse that forces members of the town to randomly be transformed into pigs. In a shed, Mario finds a Black Chest Demon who, after once again tricking Mario (though he knew what was coming), sets a curse upon the plumber, forcing him into the shape of a paper tube so that he can bypass small gaps. After reaching Creepy Steeple, Mario comes across a horde of Boos (including an Atomic Boo who is an optional boss with a cool prize), as well as some puzzles, and the culprit of the curse of Twilight Town, a Duplighost by the name of Doopliss! It transforms into Mario and engages in battle. Despite losing, the Mario copy steals Mario's name, body, and Partners, leaving Mario as a mere shadow. Shadow Mario seeks help from the neglected and bullied Shadow Siren, Vivian. With her help, he manages to discover the name of the Duplighost - Doopliss! After revealing his name, Mario battles Doopliss again and gets his body and name back. Vivian flees, ashamed that she has been helping her enemy all along. Doopliss also flees, back to his castle. After returning to the castle, Mario defeats Doopliss and the Shadow Sirens, with the help of Vivian, who joins Mario because of his kindness. They defeat Doopliss and reclaim the Ruby Star, and after getting his name and body back, Mario's Partners apologize for being misled by the Duplighost (Doopliss).
Back at the Fortress, TEC asks the princess a few questions, leading to her discovery of the treasure behind the Thousand-Year Door - the soul of a 1000-year-old demon! And the Crystal Stars will lock the demon away! Peach sends this information to Mario, wondering why on earth TEC revealed it to her.
Meanwhile, Bowser attempts to reach Glitzville in his Koopa Clown Car - failing spectacularly! He passes an underwater level in a similar platforming fashion to Super Mario Bros, only to reach Rogueport angry and wet. Kammy Koopa boasts about the merchandise she bought in Glitzville, so Bowser douses her with flames in temper!
Chapter 5: The Key to Pirates
On the other side of Rogueport, Mario goes to the Thousand-Year Door to find that he must go overseas to Keelhaul Key. He recruits Flavio and Admiral Bobbery (after a touching tale of his deceased wife) as his crew, to sail to the Key. However, along the way, they get shipwrecked and stranded (conveniently, on Keelhaul Key!). Using Flavio's Skull Gem, they enter the Pirate's Grotto. After learning to transform into a sailboat (via a Black Chest Demon) Mario comes across a horde of stranded Toad Sailors, rescuing them and Piantas on holiday, Frankie and Francesca. The crew then infiltrate Cortez's lair, waking him up in the process. In his anger, he attacks them, but they are victorious. When he learns that all they wanted was the Sapphire Star, he is only too happy to get rid of the thing! Back on the beach, Cortez provides them with his own ship, helping them defeat Lord Crump (who was hidden in the ship's crew all along) and the X-Nauts. Cortez then takes Mario & Co. home to Rogueport.
Back in the X-Naut Fortress, Princess Peach is moments away from an embarrassing situation. TEC summons her to sneak into Grodus's room unnoticed, and steal information from an important data disk. Peach makes an invisibility potion to do so. She drinks it, and realizes after it's too late that the potion doesn't make her clothes invisible. Although she initially argues against sneaking around in the buff, she eventually agrees to do so. After a quick streak down the hall, the naked princess finds Grodus's room. She searches for the data disk, which she then inserts into Grodus's computer. Peach then makes her way back to the lab. She puts her clothes back on after once again becoming visible. TEC then analyzes the data, and Peach E-mails Mario.
Bowser and Kammy Koopa run into Lord Crump in Twilight Town, looking for the Shadow Sirens' Superbombomb, and the Koopa Troop and X-Nauts have a face-off. However, Bowser inadvertently sets off the bomb with his fire breath, destroying everything!
Back in Rogueport, Mario receives an email from Peach concerning TEC's analysis of the secret disk. The Thousand-Year Door points the group towards Poshley Sanctum. However, to get there they need a Train Ticket from Don Pianta, and Don is too sick with worry to care. Mario and Co. head back to Keelhaul Key to help Frankie and Francesca find their wedding ring, and returns them to Don Pianta in Rogueport. Francesca offers to continue the family business, meaning Don can finally retire! In his joy, he presents Mario with his Train Ticket.
Chapter 6: 3 Days of Excess
Chapter 6 starts in the hustle-bustle of a train called the Excess Express. A Penguin detective (by the name of Pennington) in the train suspiciously identifies Mario as Luigi and assists in strange mysteries of the rickety express, which are very similar in style to the mysteries faced by characters such as Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. Mario also comes across an old foe- Doopliss! who flees claiming Beldam will be upset and revealing Doopliss's joining in the shadow sirens. Eventually, Mario reaches a station named Riverside Station, an abandoned desert that used to be filled with fresh water. Inside, Mario learns the Spring Jump and retrieves a lever to operate the bridge outside swarmed by Mini-Smorgs. The next day, a dusty enemy from the station entitled Smorg infests the train and its passengers. Later after the battle, Mario and the tourists stop at Poshley Heights to retrieve the sixth Crystal Star from Poshley Sanctum.
Back at the X-Naut Fortress, Peach learns that the X-Nauts plan to sacrifice her to the demon of the Thousand-Year Door! TEC tries to help Peach escape, but is shut down by Grodus.
Bowser finds a passage to a workout room in the sewers, belonging to Rawk Hawk. He finds a Crystal Star, but it breaks, proving it is artificial. Bowser attacks Rawk in temper.
Chapter 7: Mario Shoots the Moon
Mario heads to Fahr Outpost where the only population is Bob-ombs. They have a cannon, but the Mayor denies its existence. After persuasion by Bobbery, the mayor agrees to allow Mario access to the cannon, on the condition that he locate General White. After traveling the world looking for him, they find him in his house, asleep. Mario wakes him up, and the crew are shot to the moon. There they bypass the X-Naut Fortress, play the 66th quiz show, and defeat Lord Crump a third time, who this time uses an upgraded version of his mechanical robot, Magnus Von Grapple 2.0! Defeating him gains Mario his final Crystal Star!
Bowser and Kammy arrive in Poshley Sanctum, and break the fake Garnet Star. A Paragoomba flies in to inform Bowser that Mario is heading for the treasure behind the Thousand-Year Door! Bowser plans to beat Mario there, and defeat him and steal all of his Crystal Stars, so Bowser can have the treasure.
Chapter 8: The Thousand-Year Door
Lord Crump sets the Fortress to self-destruct. However, with the assistance of TEC (who is now on standby), Mario finds a teleporter that gets him out of the Fortress alive and back into Rogueport Sewers. Mario heads for the Thousand-Year Door, conquers the Palace of Shadow, defeats Gloomtail, (who is related to Hooktail and Bonetail) Beldam, Marylan, and Doopliss (who is as mistreated as Vivian was), Grodus, Bowser and Kammy Koopa (hint: have at least 69 star points before fighting Grodus) and engages in battle with the Shadow Queen, who reveals she is a distant relative of the Shadow Sirens, who have been plotting against Grodus and the X-Nauts all this time! After failing to defeat the Shadow Queen, Mario is on the verge of defeat, but with the power of the Crystal Stars and the support of his numerous friends from all the places he visited, Mario defeats the Shadow Queen, who is locked away forever!
All the Partners go their separate ways: Goombella works as Professor Frankly's personal assistant; Koops has returned, like he said, a much braver Koopa, and is running for mayor of Petalburg; Flurrie is in a play called Paper Mario, also involving Doopliss; The Yoshi Kid is a fighter in the Glitz Pit, under the ring name 'Great Gonzales Jr.' Vivian is getting along better with her sisters. Ms. Mowz works in the Lovely Howz of Badges in Rogueport; and Bobbery lives in Keelhaul Key, though he spends most of his time out to sea.
Peach sends Mario a letter inviting him to go on another treasure hunt. Mario passes out.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door was generally well received by critics. Critics were highly impressed with the game's plot and characters. Eurogamer, however, noted that the high level of text was "the only major stumbling block" of the game. Reviewers thoroughly welcomed the idea of the paper-made universe, 1UP commenting that "it's a cohesive, clever approach that turns the game's visual style into more than just a look".
Visuals were met with a mixed response from critics. GameSpot enjoyed its presentation, writing that "it exhibits a level of visual artistry and technical prowess matched or exceeded by few other GameCube games". Other reviewers complained that it was too simplistic and not much of an improvement upon the original Paper Mario. The audio was also met with mixed feelings, with IGN and RPGGamer both stating that the music was phenomenal. However, both of them had their own complaints, such as IGN questioning the absence of voice acting in the text-based game and RPGGamer noting that repetitive battle music was "one of its biggest flaws".
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door did, however, go on to receive "Role-Playing Game of the Year" at the 2005 Interactive Achievement Awards and was ranked 56th in Official Nintendo Magazine's "100 Greatest Nintendo Games". In the first week of release, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door sold 159,000 units and proceeded to sell 409,000 units total and further sold 1.23 million copies in North America. The game has since been included in Nintendo's Player Choice line of games.
- This is the fourth Mario role-playing game overall.
- This is the second and final appearance of Kammy Koopa. Her role is replaced by Kamek in the next games.
- This is the only Mario role-playing game where Mario is already equipped with his hammer.
- This is one of few Mario role-playing game to have a post-game.
- A post-game is something where you have beaten the game (the final boss) but then you can continue on playing meaning once you defeated the final boss, you cannot fight it again. In this game's case, once you defeat Shadow Queen, you cannot fight her again (unless the player doesn't save after defeating her).
- In addition, the player could also return to the Glitz Pit, take on all the troubles at the Trouble Center, or complete the Pit of 100 Trials once they have fully beaten the game. However, these things can be done before the game is completed.
- The "Game Over" music is similar to that of Super Mario Bros., but with the pitch and arrangement being different.
- If one is extremely skilled with the Superguard, one can't take any damage at all in this game.
- There is a scene in the Japanese version of the game involving a chalk-shaped outline of a Toad that is found in Larson's House. This was removed from the international release due to it being violent and to avoid controversy during its release.
- One of the goombas, known as Gonzalez, refers to Mario as a "Foolish Mortal", a reference to the Haunted Mansion.
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