Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Japanese: スーパーマリオRPG Sūpāmario RPG) (スーパーマリオＲＰＧ Sūpā Mario Āru Pī Jī) is the first of the six Mario RPG games. This game was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and developed by Square Soft (now called Square Enix) and published by Nintendo. This game was never released in Europe until the Virtual Console.
Bowser's Keep is taken over by a strange, extraterrestrial force known as the Smithy Gang. In the process of invading the Mushroom Kingdom, Smithy's Gang destroys the Star Road, a mystical pathway where wishes are granted. Mario has to travel around the Mushroom Kingdom to collect stars and rebuild the Star Road with the help of Geno, Mallow, Bowser, and Princess Toadstool.
In Super Mario RPG, Mario, Bowser, Princess Toadstool, Mallow, and Geno fight as allies in the first console roleplaying game in the Mario series. It contains token similarities to many other Square roleplaying games such as Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series with a story and action-based gameplay based on the Super Mario Bros. series (though this makes sense since Square developed the game while Nintendo only provided creative input).
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, although some fights are necessary to advance the plot. Avoiding battles also means acquiring fewer experience points, which will slow the process of leveling up and potentially make unavoidable battles more difficult.
The combat uses a traditional turn based system without active time elements or speed contributing extra attacks. One of the more innovative features of the combat was the inclusion of timed button press sequences which became a mainstay of every Mario-role playing game. 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 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 both traditional Mario features and new ones play a key role. There are five characters the player can control: Mario, Mallow, Geno, Bowser, and Peach. Each character has a unique set of attacks and techniques. For example, Mallow and Peach have access to healing abilities whereas Geno and Bowser have offensive attacks dealing high damage. Mario is always in the player's party and he is the most balanced, whereas the other two characters can be switched before battles. Mallow also has the most elements in his magic and also has access to electric and ice attacks. Geno on the other hand, boasts more destructive magic.
- Videos - A collection of videos featuring this game.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars received very positive reviews and has appeared on reader-selected "best game of all-time" lists, such as 26th on GameFAQs and 30th at IGN. Japanese audiences received Super Mario RPG well with 1.47 million copies sold, making it the third highest-selling game in Japan in 1996.
Though various aspects of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars has received positive reviews, it garnered praise for the quality of the graphics and for the humor in particular. Nintendo Power's review commented that the "excellent" 3D graphics helped the game appeal to a much wider audience than most traditional RPGs. In March 1997, Nintendo Power nominated the game for several awards, including "Best Graphics", in a player's choice contest, though Super Mario 64 won "Best Graphics".
- Culex, a creature inspired by the Final Fantasy games, appears in this game as a secret boss battle. However, he does not have anything to do with the plot of the game.
- In Princess Toadstool's bed after beating Yaridovich at the beginning of the game, Mario finds an intergalactic bounty hunter sleeping there. The bounty hunter is none other than Samus Aran from the Metroid games wearing her traditional red armor.
- Similar Mario RPGs were inspired by this game, such as the Mario & Luigi series and the Paper Mario series.
- This is the first Mario game to portray Bowser as a hero since he aids Mario and the others for the majority of the game. The other games will include Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story and Super Paper Mario.
- Coincidentally, all three of these games are RPGs.