Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is the 2004 role-playing video game and the second installment in the Paper Mario series, with the first being Paper Mario. It was released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2004.
1000 years before the events of the game, a city was destroyed by a demon before being defeated by four heroes with the use of the Crystal Stars, 7 powerful magical stones. The city was buried underground and left to rot. Eventually, the events faded into myth and a new town named Rougeport was built over the ruins. Rougeport became an infamous town filled with criminal gangs.
Soon, word about a treasure located behind a door within the underground ruins spread. According to the rumor the 7 Crystals Stars are required to open the door, and a magical map would lead the way to the stars. Every crook in the town attempted to open the door, but without the map and the Crystal stars they all failed. Over time the treasure was dismissed as legend and the door was named "The Thousand Year Door".
Why It Rocks
- In terms of gameplay, The Thousand-Year Door brings over the core mechanics of the N64 original, enhances them, and solves flaws the first game had.
- Tons of likable characters.
- Besides Mario, the game features many recruitable characters, most are permanent, and one is optional. Nearly all of the partners are characters that would usually be enemies such as Koopas and Goombas which creates an interesting concept of having them as allies.
- For a change, Bowser isn't the one who kidnaps Peach.
- The game has pretty and vibrant graphics.
- Very strong and in-depth plot which is surprisingly dark and mature for a Mario game, while at the same time not causing the game to feel like it tries too hard to be edgy and still being light-hearted.
- Humorous dialogue and situations along with with a gorgeous colorful world and paper-themed world.
- Creative and challenging puzzle solving.
- Mario now has a voice used for jumping and attacking, and starts his adventure with a hammer. He still doesn't speak a single dialogue in text bubbles though.
- Unlike the original game, where partners had a simple fine/injured status system, this game gives partners their own Heart Points. As such, partners can fall in battle, and items such as the Mushroom can be used on them as well. They can also go in front of Mario to guard him.
- Battles are set up on a stage, like a play; this greatly affects battles, and characters can interact with the audience and stage.
- The part where Flurrie kisses Mario after he retrieves her necklace is quite romantic.
- Throughout the game, Mario will find special abilities to use in the overworld and allow Mario to transform into a paper boat, a plane, etc. This abilities take advantage of Mario being completely flat. For comedic effect, this abilities are "curses" inflicted on Mario by demons.
- In some parts of the game, Bowser becomes a playable character, as well as Princess Peach
- Every time Mario wins a battle, he will earn Star Points. When Mario's Star Point Level gets up to 100, the player can choose whether to upgrade Mario's Heart Points, Flower Points or Badge Points much like the first game.
- Special items called "Shine Sprites" can be collected, which allow Mario to upgrade his partners to learn new moves and increase their HP.
- Badges can be equipped to gain new abilities and opens options for countless different strategies.
- Many optional mini games and side-quests which add lots of game-play.
- An optional challenge dungeon called the "The Pit of 100 Trials", in which Mario can take on the enemies found in the 100-basement floor area and face against a powerful superboss at the bottom level. This dungeon must be completed without a break or saving points, which makes it a very challenging and intense side-quest.
- Many fun and challenging bosses.
- Sir Grodus is a really good main antagonist of the game.
- The final battle with the Shadow Queen is AMAZING!
- On that topic, the Shadow Queen is one of the best villains in the entire Mario franchise.
- Many call backs to the previous Mario games, such as the Shine Sprites and Piantas from Super Mario Sunshine and music and stages from the first Mario game for the NES.
- A baby Yoshi is one of recruitable characters and his color as well as his look may change depending on how long Mario carries his egg before hatching.
- Unlike the first game, after beating the game, you can go through the post-credits scene.
- Unlike the first game, Heart Boxes and sleeping in beds require 10 or more coins to be paid.
- Even if the Partner still has his or her HP after Mario dies, you still lose a battle.
- While the battle with the Shadow Queen is epic, there's a very long cutscene in the middle of the fight that you have to watch every time.
- Somewhat tedious backtracking. The worst offender being Chapter 4 which has you go to back-and-forth between Twilight Gulch and Creepy Stepple at least 3 times.
- The General White mission is considered one of the most boring missions in the game.
- The gimmicks on the battle stage can get a bit annoying and even unfair at times.
- While the Bingo games are fun, there are these poisonous shrooms, and if all three of them match, your HP, FP and SP gets drastically cut down and your audience will leave the arena.
- The heavily expanded badge system resulted in cheap and exceedingly overpowered strategies being created, such as Danger Mario in which Mario is equipped with badges that only work while Mario is in the Danger state and then Mario's HP is reduced to five to prevent Mario from exiting the state.
- The New Partners are not as good as the old ones. Bobbery, Mrs Mowz, and Koops remain as Below-Average partners.
- If you know the instructions on what items you need to buy in the correct order to get to Don Pianta's base is, you don't have to pay Ishnail 64 coins to know the order.
- Keep your partner in the front position so enemies are less likely to attack Mario. If your partner is defeated you can bring out another one, but if Mario is defeated, you get a Game Over.
- When Battling the Shadow Queen (during the second phase), their are three characters that are useful against her hands:
- Vivian can use her Fiery Jinx to take out the Shadow Queen's pair of big hands.
- Flurrie can use her Gale Force to blow away the Shadow Queen's army of smaller hands.
- Yoshi's stampede can defeat either form of the hands at once.
- There are some NPC's you should not talk to before getting to Petalburg, as the game will crash in the cutscene that happens when you enter Petalburg.
The game was well received by critics, who generally praised the game's engaging plot and gameplay.
One of The Thousand-Year Door's main features, the use of a paper-based universe, was welcomed by reviewers. When referring to the paper theme, critics commented that "It's a cohesive, clever approach that turns the game's visual style into more than just a look." Critics also commented extensively on the game's battle system, which deviated from traditional RPGs