The era of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) brought the gamers of the 90′s many amazing titles and memories to be held as they progressed into the new millenium. There was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the Donkey Kong Country series, and of course Super Mario World just to name a few. None of these titles were quite like what we received when Square Enix (Square at the time) and Nintendo joined forces to deliver a Mario/Final Fantasy hybrid in Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars (SMRPG:LotSS). Unfortunately due to it’s release date being near the end of the console’s life cycle in 1996, just months before the Nintendo 64 (N64) was released, a lot of people missed out on this classic title.
The adventure starts off with a cutscene utilizing beautiful pre-rendered 3D graphics in which Princess Toadstool is whisked away from a flower garden just a short distance from Mario’s Pipe House. As the hero he is, he leaps into action as the prologue begins. The plot starts off with the typical storyline of nearly every Mario game, rescuing the damsel in distress. Later on in the game it is revealed that it goes much deeper than that and the fate of the world’s wishes is at hand. Throughout your experience you encounter many new characters and species that are relative to both the Mario universe and the Final Fantasy universe, with some surprise appearances in between.
One of the most captivating features that draws most in and keeps them playing is the soundtrack composed by Yoko Shimomura, Koji Kondo, and Nobuo Uematsu. Each and every track is so full of emotion that the music itself could tell a great story on it’s own. When you combine this with the fun battle system and isometric maps that you’re able to roam around on, as well as the witty humour the writers added in, it’s no wonder why this game is in held in such high regards by die-hard fans of both Nintendo and Square.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “since this game was so great how come they never followed it up with a sequel?” Many fans, including myself, ask this question as well. It’s known, however, that Square and Nintendo had a disagreement about evolving into using discs on future consoles, since the N64 was right around the corner and Sony was already using them. This isn’t to say that SMRPG:LotSS didn’t have an impact on future projects though, being the first RPG Mario starred in. It allowed Nintendo to expand on their ideas and produce the games we know and love today such as the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series. Since Square developed the game, all of the material used in the game that was new to the Mario series at the time belongs to them. Most fans still want some of the content, especially characters such as Geno and Mallow, to make an appearance in future games once again. At this point in time, 16 years after the North American release, it seems highly unlikely. For now we’ll have to continue replaying this title while they’re locked up in Square’s vault, waiting to be played with once again.