The first game in the Paper Mario series, titled Paper Mario (but calledPaper Mario 64 for the sake of differentiation), released for the Nintendo 64 in 2001.The game starts when Mario and Luigi get an invitation from Princess Peach to attend a party at her castle. When Mario goes to have some alone time with Peach, the ground suddenly shakes and the castle suddenly rises into space with all of the guests still inside. It turns out that Bowser built his castle underneath Peach's and rose both of them up into space in a giant Koopa Clown Car. Bowser then appears and reveals he had stolen an artifact called the Star Rod from Star Haven, which he uses to effortlessly defeat Mario and throw him out the window to the world below.Mario later wakes up in Goomba Village, where he receives a telepathic message from a star to go to Shooting Star Summit. Once there, the star, named Eldstar, tells Mario to find the seven star spirits, who have been kidnapped by Bowser's forces all over the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario then sets off, meeting a quirky cast of partners along the way.
The Dojo Master, as well as the other disciples of the dojo. As you progress through the game, you can keep coming back for new dojo fights, each getting progressively harder until you reach the Master at his full strength.
In Chapter 4, the Anti-Guy guards a chest with a powerful badge; you can either beat him or bribe him with his Trademark Favorite Food (it must be cooked, and although the ingredients are easy to obtain, no recipe forLemon Candy is ever given). He has no special abilities - just high hp and extremely high attack power.
The Anti-Guy appears again in the final chapter. At one point you take a three question quiz, and getting all wrong (you'd really have to do so intentionally) results in a brutal brawl with three Anti-Guys at once.
Kent C. Koopa appears somewhere in the late game, blocking an early path to another town and demanding a rather hefty toll for safe passage. You can pay him the money, beat him up, or take the quicker underground shortcut like you probably do.
Book Ends: The prologue and epilogue involve the Mario Bros. being invited to a get-together at Peach's Castle. The only difference is that you're walking around in the castle in the prologue, and around town in the epilogue.
Boss Remix: Specifically, King Tutankoopa for the Dry Dry Desert/Ruins leitmotif, Tubba Blubba for his own leitmotif, General Guy for the Shy Guy's Toybox BGM, Lava Piranha for the Mt. Lavalava BGM, Crystal King for the Crystal Palace theme, and finally, Bowser's battle music for the theme heard in Peach's castle just before the final fight.
Butt Monkey: Professor Kolorado. It's not apparent at first, but by the time Chapter 5 rolls around and he accompanies you to Lavalava Island, he's a walking slapstick comedy, getting minced by rolling spike Thwomps, falling 50 feet, and scorching himself in lava multiple times. Not to mention his wife who's usually annoyed that he's almost never at home and always doing expeditions, and eventually begins to send him letters demanding he return home immediately.
Raphael the Raven, a boss from Yoshi's Island, appears as an oddly helpful character on Lavalava Island... where the Yoshi tribe lives. Furthermore, the boss of this same chapter, Lava Piranha, resembles the boss Naval Piranha from Yoshi's Island. And the background music for the Yoshi Village is the title screen music from Yoshi's Island.
The Koopa Bros. fire cannons at you on the roof of their fortress while the airship music from Super Mario Bros. 3 plays. The battle with the Koopa Bros. themselves has a remixed version of the Hammer Bros. music from Mario 3 as well.
Those who have played Mario Kart 64 will likely recognize the train in Toad Town.
The credits music for Super Mario World plays on a radio in Koopa Village.
Canon Immigrant: The Koopa Bros. first appeared in Super Mario-Kun issue #2. Several years before Paper Mario.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: The entire penguin population of Shiver City, with the exception of Herringway, has a loose grip on reality and a really excitable nature. Mix this in with a serious penchant for gossip, and the slightest rumor can make them all go completely nuts.
Cognizant Limbs: The Lava Piranha. Notably, the fifth bosses in the two sequels follow his trend.
Convection Schmonvection: Mt. Lavalava. Reaches its logical conclusion when Misstar flies Mario and Kolorado out of it when it begins to erupt, and Kolorado's head is just grazing the surface of the lava as it shoots towards them.
Critical Status Buff: There are a number of Badges that boost Mario's attack power, defense, or evasiveness when his HP is low (5 points or less). "Danger Mario" is one Self-Imposed Challenge exploiting this by combining as many as possible and keeping Mario at 1 HP for as long as possible.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: The first Jump upgrade changes the timing of Mario's Jump action command, because it includes a Ground Pound. The second Jump upgrade changes the timing of the action command back, because it replaces the Ground Pound with a Spin Jump. This makes getting down the timing for Power Bounce tedious, to say the least.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: KammyKoopa proves to be this, investigating leads about Mario's progress throughout the game, and hindering him however she can. This comes to a head when she anticipates the possibility of Mario rescuing all seven Star Spirits, and prepares for it. The only reason Mario comes out okay is because of a Deus ex Machina.
Death of a Thousand Cuts: Lady Bow (succeeded by the Yoshi in the second game) specializes in doing a lot of damage in a flurry of attacks that do one damage each. Because of this, she can't do any damage to monsters with defense. She gets an upgraded attack later that deals two damage per hit for a grand total of ten - higher damage than any of your other partners can pull off in a turn.
In fairness, all subsequent fights are probably more about him getting even after his defeat(s).
Distressed Damsel: Subverted somewhat, some sections have you take control of Peach sneaking around in the villain's lair trying to find information for Mario.
Disc One Nuke: If you try hard enough to scavenge the world for Star Pieces, you can buy such things as the Power Plus badge early on in the game. Once you get the Super Boots, you've got Ultra Boots attack power a few chapters early. On that note, a subtler example in that you can go and get the Ultra Boots as soon as Lakilester joins you and use them against Huff N. Puff.
The Star Storm power edges pretty close to this; you get it at the beginning of the fourth (out of eight total) chapter, and it deals 7 unblockable damage to all enemies on the field (in comparison, your regular attacks will never do more than 6 damage without any power-boosting badges). It costs two units of Star Power, which makes it just a bit too costly, but it still shreds through Mooks for most of the game.
You aquire the Power-Bounce badge in the Koopa Fortress, which can strike any given (non-ceiling, non spiked, non-burning, although exceptions can be made to those last two) enemy a maximum if 101 times. If your timing is good enough, this badge can be almost game-breaking.
Not really disk one, but if you spam the Amazy Dayzee in the flower fields (a good way to do this is to use the mega rush, power rush, and power bounce badges, then start the battle with Mario in peril, be sure to use the bump attack badge to avoid falling victim to other mooks) to quickly reach level 27 and then use the bump attack badge, you can walk through the last two chapters of the game without ever fighting a non-boss enemy. Or having any reason to.
Dressing as the Enemy: Peach gets an umbrella that lets her take the form of others as a game show prize from a Koopatrol. She uses this to her advantage, although she doesn't find much out aside from Kammy apparently working on something special for Mario.
Drop the Hammer: Several enemies use hammers, but the Hammer Bros. do it best. Mario also uses a hammer for one of his basic attacks, the other being the classic Goomba Stomp.
Early-Bird Cameo: You can fight an enemy, Bzzap!, in Chapter 3. It isn't formally introduced to you until Chapter 6.
May double as Boss in Mook Clothing, depending on your level and build. It does 6 damage in one shot, but has a paltry 3 HP of its own. How many of these do you fight exactly?
Fighting a Koopatrol and Hammer Bro. in Shy Guy's Toy Box is also possible.
Easter Egg: In one room, you can transform Mario into his 8-bit form, complete with the classic tune.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Used to a relatively small degree. Ice and water attacks do extra damage to fire enemies, and fire attacks the same for ice and bony enemies. But there are only a handful of elemental enemies and even fewer elemental attacks, and these enemies are almost completely contained to a single chapter each (fire in Chapter Five, ice in Chapter Seven, bony in Chapter Eight). Instead, there's a larger emphasis on Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors (see example below).
Encounter Repellant: Several Badges allow you to avoid combat with enemies that no longer give you Star Points. Namely, Bump Attack and Spin Attack).
Enemy Scan: The Tattle ability reveals enemy stats and a unique description, and also displays an HP bar for each instance of that enemy you encounter from then on. The Peekaboo badge will let you see enemy HP all the time if you are too lazy to Tattle every baddie you come across.
Expy: New variations on old enemy families appear. One example is the Clubba family, a variation on the Super Mario Bros. 3 Spike enemies. (In Japan, Spikes are known as Gabon, and Clubbas are known as Gabon Hei, where "Hei" means "Soldier").
Fake Weakness: You can have Peach tell Bowser that Mario is vulnerable to healing items; he'll then scatter them throughout the next game area. He will believe that Mario hates mushrooms after decades of rivalry. Gets lampshaded by Kammy when she wonders if the healing items and power ups are really things Mario fears after she conjures them up.
Flunky Boss: King Goomba, Tutankoopa, General Guy, the Lava Piranha, Huff n' Puff and the Crystal King.
Gameplay and Story Integration: At the end of Chapter 5, Jr. Troopa finally catches up to you... only when you leave the island. When he fights you back at the pier, Jr. Troopa's health is significantly dropped due to swimming across the ocean. Twice.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: During one side quest, you have to return a video tape for a character. After you return it, the character says something along the lines of "You're probably wondering what was on that tape... I'll tell you when you're older."note Mario's got a mustache. Just how old should he be before he's old enough? This is repeated in the other two games.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Blooper, Electro Blooper, and Super Blooper, who all appear out of nowhere screaming "BLOOPER!" in huge text while you're exploring the sewers below Toad Town. Although, by the time you see the Super Blooper, the shock has all but worn off.
Glass Cannon: The Bzzap! enemy. It does damage comparable to that dealt by late-game bosses, but it has less HP than some mooks in the very first dungeon. You can encounter a group of them much earlier than you're supposed to, earning you tons of experience.
Heel-Face Turn: Lakilester, after helping Mario free Flower Fields from the baddies' cloud-spewing machine.
He Knows About Timed Hits: Twink will give you a tutorial about performing the Action Command after giving you the necessary item.
Hive Mind: Huff N. Puff. When damaged, he splits off into several Tuff Puffs which have their own sentience. They refer to Huff himself as Master, despite being smaller parts of him. So it seems Huff is made of roughly 80 individual Tuff Puffs that you knock off and then kill as the battle goes on. As they're knocked off, they are separated from the central mind and become independent (but still loyal) once more.
Hypocrisy Nod: During the course of the game, there's a news bulletin in Toad Town that has different news articles on the front Mario can read and underground gossip on the back. One time, the back reads, "Both people who read and write these messages must have nothing to do but gossip. Of course, I'm one of 'em."
Incest Subtext: Believe it. In the Japanese version, one of Quizmo's questions is What best describes the relationship between Mario and Luigi? One of the answer options is "LOVERS". It's Hilarious in Hindsight after that incident where the Spanish press got duped by that one joke article from Ciencia Seminal "revealing" this to be true.
King Mook: Tubba Blubba is a much larger, invincible variation of the Clubba enemies. However, Tubba is also a small subversion in that in his normal state he's really vastly weaker then the average Clubba and something of a crybaby to boot; his incredible powers came from the fact that Bowser used stolen wish magic to separate and hide Tubba's heart, which rendered Tubba's body as an invulnerable puppet. Tubba's heart is the true boss fight, as normal Tubba has only 10 HP.
King Goomba is about as straight as it gets; Bowser enhanced him with the power of the Star Rod and left him to govern the lands west of the Mushroom Kingdom. Unlike Tubba, he retains his enhanced powers, though he shows up in other games using the moniker Goomboss.
This is technically all over the place in the Paper Mario series, as most bosses can generally be considered the strongest members of their species; many of these bosses are actually variations of the trope, mainly as though the developers said "Well, we've already got a King Mook, what else can we come up with?"
Huff N. Puff is a giant Ruff Puff, and, when damaged, breaks up into a a smattering of tiny "Tuff Puffs", which can attack or be reabsorbed to heal Huff... unless Mario and company can destroy them first.
The Crystal King is a subversion, being unique among Bowser's minions.
Jr. Troopa technically counts, though he's a miniboss example; by the end of the game he has powers that far outshine the average koopa.
Large Ham: A good portion of the series' humor revolves around just how over the top some of the characters speak and act, especially the villains.
Leitmotif: Several bosses have distinct theme music, most notably, the Koopa Bros.
As do areas that are related to each other. Such as Dry Dry Desert and Dry Dry Ruins, and Mt. Rugged and Dry Dry Outpost.
Lemony Narrator: "Who stuck that weird thing into the story?" (referring to the picture of Kammy taped into the picture of the Star Spirits in the intro)
Level Up Fill Up: HP, FP, and even Star Power are fully recovered when you gain a level.
Limit Break: Mario's "Special Moves" are powered by limit break points called "Star Power". Mario gets eight of these special moves over the course of the first game and each uses a different amount of Star Power.
Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded. Twink sees Peach's dresses are all the same, and she is adamant that they are different.
Subverted in that they do it horribly at one point. When Kooper comes back with four of them, they're disguised as Kolorado, Goompa, Luigi, and Koopa Koot. Kooper gets really mad if you pick the wrong one on purpose.
Monster Town: Found all over the games populated by members of enemy races that are friendly to Mario.
Noticably, enemiy Koopas are always red and purple in Toad Town Sewers.
Friendly Goombas are light brown, and enemies are pale, green, and blue.
My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Nearly all of Mario's companions are heroic individuals of the various enemy types. Other friendly versions of the enemies also appear, implying that not all of them work for Bowser.
Mythology Gag: K64, the train that travels between Toad Town and Mt. Rugged, looks a lot like the train from Kalimari Desert in Mario Kart 64. The music that plays during the train ride is a remix of the Kalimari Desert theme.
The first floor of Peach's Castle looks vaguely similar to its Super Mario 64 incarnation, while Bow's mansion looks like and has the same rough layout as Big Boo's Haunt.
Never Say "Die": Blatantly averted in Chapter 7, which contains liberal usages of words like dead, death, kill, killer, murder, etc... Though the character in question turns out to be alive anyways.
NPC Roadblock: The Koopa Bros. keep you from moving to Koopa Village in Chapter 1, and the penguins in Shiver City will prevent you from leaving the area after you become the prime suspect in a murder.
Peninsula of Power Leveling: You can get yourself into a fight with some Bzzaps! (bee-like enemies) in Chapter 3, though they're Chapter 6 enemies. Thanks to the game's usage of Anti-Grinding and the Bzzap's Glass Cannon status, you can use them to reap plenty of experience.
Perky Female Minion: Kammy may count; most moments starring her show that her personality is pretty upbeat for someone who gets verbally abused as often as she does.
Powers as Programs: The Badge system works this way. Some badges contain special moves for Mario's hammer and jump, while others contain status buffs or immunities for Mario or his partners.
Pre Existing Encounters: Nearly every fight in the game works this way. You can even get an early advantage (First Strike) by attacking an enemy in the field before the actual encounter begins.
Punny Name: The Toads of Toad Town all have names that end in "T." This creates several punny names describing them, such as Tayce T., the chef.
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: You're joined by a Mario fanboy, a wannabe archaeologist, a pink exploding tomboy, an absent-minded postman, a ghostly Ojou, a baby spark of electricity, a fussy nanny fish, and a cloud-riding punk.
Rainbow Speak: Almost every time a new location or character is mentioned.
Random Effect Spell: Mysteries, which can give you a surprising number of good things. They cost only 1 coin (3 in the sequel), so they're not a bad investment.
Remembered I Could Fly: Bombette is first seen stuck in a jail cell. Once she joins the party, she can use her explosion power to break through the wall. She then sheepishly admits that the idea hadn't occurred to her before that point.
Scenery Porn: The cartoony, paper environments in all games are just amazing to look at. Especially in Star Way, where you can look back at the path you came from and see how awesome it is.
Second Place Is for Winners: During one of the sections in which you control Peach, you take part in a game-show-like quiz. First prize is a rather helpful item you can send Mario, but the consolation prize is the Sneaky Parasol, necessary to complete the game.
Small Name, Big Ego: Kolorado, to an extent; this type of character joining you in the fifth chapter is a recurring element in the series.
Smooch of Victory: When you return Goombaria's Princess Peach doll, she gives Mario one of these and a Star Piece.
The fifth Star Power, Smooch, has Misstar kiss Mario on the cheek to heal him for 20 HP.
Sound of No Damage: A soft "clink", like a small object falling into a tin cup, is heard when an enemy fails to damage Mario with an attack (or vice versa). It's always accompanied by a small yellow star graphic, instead of the large white star indicating damage.
Stealth-Based Mission: Every Peach section is 80% this. Tubba Blubba's Castle also requires a bit of sneaking around with your new Boo partner (which is also the only practical use for the Slow Go badge).
Super Drowning Skills: Despite being able to at least swim on the surface in most Mario platformers (and even swim underwater with a breath meter in some), Mario is not allowed to jump in pools of water in this game...until you get Sushie.
Sweet Tooth: If you want to get the Power Plus badge the Anti-Guy is guarding without fighting him, you can bribe him with a Lemon Candy.
To say nothing of Gourmet Guy's cake fetish...
Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Your jump is a direct contact attack from above, and your hammer is a non-direct contact attack from the side. Spiky, electrified, and fiery enemies cannot be harmed by direct contact (such as your jump), but you can hit them with your hammer. Many attacks (such as your hammer) are ground-only, and can't hit aerial enemies. Almost all types of Koopa can be flipped on their backs with an attack from above, reducing their defense. Alternatively, one of your partners has a defense-piercing attack. These are only a few broad examples; most enemies have some kind of resistance or weakness to some type of attack.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: One of your party members is recruited when you break open a lantern she is being held hostage inside. Most players just whack the lantern with the hammer but if you break the lantern by blowing it up with Bombette she complains that it wasn't necessary to use that much force.
Toy Time: Shy Guy's Toy Box. Might also count as a Joke Level, but it's only slightly sillier than the rest of the game.
Useless Useful Spell: The curses you can inflict on yourself in the game give random effects out on occasion, such as doubling your attack power/defense, your experience, or the money you earn from your victory. Unfortunately, said curses have a high tendency to activate when there's absolutely no need for them, such as stomping on the average Goomba, getting double Star Points when you only got one from the battle, and having your defense raised when the only enemy left is flipped on its back unable to do anything.
Video Game 3D Leap: While Super Mario RPG, of which PM is a Spiritual Sequel, was technically already in 3D to begin with (using computer-rendered sprites and backgrounds a la Donkey Kong Country), this game upgrades to fully three-dimensional geometries - well, except for the characters.
And if you talk to him in between the whacks leading up, he apparently becomes more and more incoherent and confused. So not only do you kill him, but you give him brain damage leading up to it as well.
We Cannot Go On Without You: Mario's partners will not continue the fight should he fall in battle, therefore, it's vital that Mario's HP is kept at healthy levels at all times.
Welcome to Corneria: Subverted with the residents of the Hub Level, who will change their dialogue after each chapter (many having mini-stories of their own) but played straight with most of the other locations, where the residents typically only have pre-chapter, sometimes mid-chapter, and post-chapter dialogue that stays the same for the rest of the game. Some get post-game dialogue, as well.
What the Hell, Hero?: After you defeat Lakilester in battle, his girlfriend, Lakilulu, will ask you politely to spare his life. If you answer "No" she will get angry, throw a Spiny at you, and ask you again.
The Wild West: Mt. Rugged and Gusty Gulch look like areas out of a western film.
You Can't Thwart Stage One: No matter how badly you curbstomp Bowser in the first fight at the end of the game, he still escapes to the 2nd arena; you have no choice but to follow him and get trapped inside Kammy's device that negates the power of the Star Beam.