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Video Game: Paper Mario 64

The first game in the Paper Mario series, titled Paper Mario (but called Paper 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.

This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Toad Town Tunnels.
  • Action Commands: Nearly every action has one.
  • Adult Fear: The Yoshis of Lavalava Island go into a panicked frenzy when their children get lost in the dangerous jungle.
  • Always Night: Shooting Star Summit and Forever Forest. You can actually see the sky fade into darkness as you approach either area, and then back to daylight as you leave.
  • An Ice Person: The Crystal King.
  • Anti-Grinding: The game refuses to give you Star Points if you defeat enemies that are too weak.
  • Badass Adorable: Anti Guy fits this pretty well, seeing as he's harder to beat than most of the bosses, and yet he says everything with hearts.
  • Badass Mustache: Mario and Luigi, who else?
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: The Koopa Brothers reappear at the very end of Bowser's castle to fight you... before being curb stomped by the actual Recurring Boss, Jr. Troopa.
  • Balcony Escape: Mario exits the second floor of the houses in certain towns to jump from one balcony to the next.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Bow's Mansion, a literal example.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Peach's Castle, also Bowser's Castle if you emphasize BIG and replace "fancy" with "Gothic".
  • Big "NO!": The Goomba King says this after Mario defeats him
  • Blackout Basement: Any place where you need to use Watt's ability, but especially the huge cave underneath Bowser's Castle.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • 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 for Lemon 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 seven question quiz, and getting 3 wrong answers before getting 5 right results in a brutal brawl with three Anti Guys at once. This fight isn't impossible, but it's hard to survive unless you have prepared for it in advance (meaning you've already anticipated the questions and answered wrong on purpose).
    • Kent C. Koopa appears in Pleasant Path after completing Chapter 5, blocking the path to Koopa Village and demanding a rather hefty toll of 100 coins for safe passage. You can pay him the money, beat him up, or take the quicker underground shortcut like you probably do. But if you choose to fight him, he does have a weakness.
  • 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.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Goombario. Sometimes he catches himself doing it and apologizes.
  • British Accents: Kolorado speaks like a stereotypical English gentlemen. Using such phrases as "old chap" and "dear boy".
  • Build Like an Egyptian: Dry Dry Ruins.
  • 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.
    • Fuzzipede counts as well, considering that he gets accidentally swallowed by a friendly whale while he was sleeping with his mouth open. In fact, Fuzzipede admits that he is this trope.
  • Call Back: Quite a bit of the character sprites look like Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island Sprites.
    • 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 entirety of the Koopa Bros. Fortress is one to Super Mario Bros. 3. The music throughout the fortress is based on the fortress level theme, the airship theme plays during the part with the bullet bill blasters, the fake Bowser has Bowser's theme playing, and the Koopa Bros. themselves get a remix of the Hammer Bros. theme.
    • Those who have played Mario Kart 64 will likely recognize the train in Toad Town. It even plays a remixed version of Kalimari Desert!
    • 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.
  • Cap: Level 27.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: You'll quickly notice that this game is a lot lighter than the sequels are.
  • Chain of Deals: The letter quest, which had you shuttling all over the Mushroom Kingdom delivering everybody's mail. Although it's worth it for a badge that dramatically boosts your evasion stat. It's much simpler if you have unlocked the pipes in the sewers, but if you haven't...
  • Character Development: Mostly regarding to Twink and Peach.
  • The Chew Toy: Kolorado, definitely.
  • 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.
  • Collection Sidequest: The Star Pieces, which return in the sequel as well.
  • Combined Energy Attack: Used in the end of the game.
  • 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.
  • Cosmetic Award: The Diploma for beating The Master. Other than just changing three conversations in the whole game, it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Cowardly Boss: Tubba Blubba's heart.
  • Credits Montage: Credits Parade, actually.
  • 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.
  • Dark Is Evil: Big Lantern Ghost and Anti Guys. Subverted with the Anti Guy in Shy Guy's Toy Box if Mario talks to him with Lemon Candy in his inventory.
  • 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: Kammy Koopa 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.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Lakilester. After you beat him, he asks what you're fighting for. No matter what answer you give, he digs it and decides to join you.
    • Also, the Goomba Bros. They ask to be Goombario's friend through a letter.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Dry Dry Desert, Dry Dry Outpost, and Dry Dry Ruins. Apparently, one "dry" doesn't get the point across.
  • Detective Drama: The penguin murder mystery. Also gets paid homage to in the sequel.
  • Determinator: Jr. Troopa traverses through a mazelike forest, swims across the ocean twice, travels to barren icy lands and follows you into space to fight you. Just because you stepped foot in his playground once.
  • 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 acquire 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.
  • Do Not Call Me Paul: Spike does not approve of being called Lakilester.
  • The Dragon: Kammy Koopa. Too bad you don't have a real fight with her until the sequel.
  • 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.
    • Fighting a Koopatrol and Hammer Bro. in Shy Guy's Toy Box is also possible.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Partners don't have HP or their own badges, instead being knocked out for a certain amount of turns when damaged. Also, Mario's HP and FP Cap is a measley 50 instead of 999.
  • Easter Egg: In one room in Boo's Mansion, you can transform Mario into his 8-bit form, complete with the classic tune.
  • Eggshell Clothing: Jr. Troopa.
  • Eleventh Hour Super Power: Even the Star Beam gets cancelled out by Bowser's final-stage buff. Cue the Peach Beam.
  • 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).
  • Elite Mooks: The Koopatrols.
  • 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.
  • Exact Eaves Dropping: This happens several times per game.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Happens to Tutankoopa with his Chomps after defeating him.
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Racism: Implied.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Dryites and Nomadimice are quite obviously based on Middle Eastern/North African cultures.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Kent C. Koopa acts cheerful when collecting toll fees of 100 coins from those who want to go through Pleasant Path. He becomes sincere if Mario chooses to fight him, though, even warning him that's he's very, very, very strong.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Kammy Koopa and Kent C. Koopa.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Mario and his partners: Mario himself (melancholic), Goombario (sanguine/phlegmatic), Kooper (sanguine), Bombette (choleric/sanguine), Parakarry (phlegmatic/melancholic), Bow (choleric), Watt (leukine), Sushie (melancholic), Lakilester (phlegmatic).
  • 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'm afraid I can't tell you at this moment." He then adds "It was great though!" 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.
    • Tubba Blubba after reuniting with his heart also applies. He deals a fairly high amount of damage for an early boss, but only has 10 HP.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Jr. Troopa.
  • Good Feels Good: Lakilester.
  • Goomba Stomp: One of Mario's main attacks, the other being his hammer. Ironically, only Goombario and Goombella, both of whom are Goombas themselves, have similar jump attacks.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: In the prologue.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Prologue area and Pleasant Path give off this vibe.
  • Ground Pound: Useable once you find the Super Boots to break open boxes and loose floorboards in the environment.
  • Guide Dang It: Some puzzles, recipes, and other optional things.
  • 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.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Bowser at the beginning of the game.
  • Hub City: Toad Town.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Bowser mecha.
  • 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."
  • Ice Palace: The Crystal Palace.
  • Idiosyncratic Combo Levels: Nice, Good, and Super.
  • Idle Animation: The characters fall asleep if you don't move them for too long.
  • Implacable Koopa: Jr. Troopa just WON'T STOP.
  • 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.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Watt is referred to as both a "he" and a "she," depending on where the text is. Officially, she's female.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Merlon and his family. A character in the second game tells you that they are from a special tribe that names their members based on their profession.
  • Infernal Retaliation: After you seemingly defeat Lava Piranha, he comes back in a second phase where his attack is increased and he's on fire, preventing physical attacks.
  • Invisible Anatomy: Several instances, but Goombario and his family are the biggest offenders.
  • Item Crafting: Cooking, which initially improves one item, but after finding Tayce T.'s cookbook, she can combine two items for a greater effect.
  • Jungle Japes: Lavalava Island.
  • Just Add Water: Cooking.
  • Just Eat Him: Tubba Blubba terrorizes the Boos by turning them into snacks.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Anti Guys, and Amazy Dayzees if they choose to attack.
  • 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 than 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?"
      • The Koopa Bros are a selection of four Koopa Troopas mixed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
      • Tutankoopa is a koopa with a running motif of Pop Ancient Egyptology.
      • General Guy is a Shy Guy with, well, military stylings.
      • Lava Pirahna is a gigantic Pirahna Plant with fire powers. Especially during round two.
      • 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)
    • Bowser: Oh, that's right. I did!
  • Lethal Lava Land: Mt. Lavalava, and parts of Bowser's Castle.
  • 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.
  • Long Speech Tea Time: It's a Running Gag in the series to make Mario fall asleep during a long, dull story.
  • The Lost Woods: Forever Forest. Complete with warping to the beginning after taking a wrong path.
  • Lovely Assistant: Parodied with Chuck Quizmo's assistant, a Toad named Vanna T.
  • The Magnificent: Bowser gets several titles.
  • Metal Slime: Amazy Dayzees, which could qualify as Bosses In Mook Clothing if they ever bothered to stay and fight. When they do stay to attack, they can cause a whopping 20 HP damaging attack which also can put you to sleep.
  • Mini-Game: The Jump Attack and Hammer Attack games in the Playroom are the straightest examples.
  • Mirror Routine:
    • Done by Duplighosts in the Crystal Palace.
    • 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 Munch: Stanley in Chapter 3.
  • Monster Town: Found all over the games populated by members of enemy races that are friendly to Mario.
    • Noticeably, enemy Koopas are always red and purple in Toad Town Sewers.
    • Friendly Goombas are light brown, and enemies are pale, green, and blue.
  • Mook Bouncer: The UFO creatures in Tubba Blubba's mansion.
  • 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.
    • Before starting Chapter 5, Mario has to help a whale with digestive issues. When he succeeds, the whale suggests that people ought to call him Dr. Mario.
  • Nepharious Pharaoh: Tutankoopa is the boss of Dry Dry Ruins and keeper of one of the kidnapped Star Spirits. He attempts to frighten Mario away from the ruins, even calling himself the "remorseless king of the desert" in his first warning.
  • 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.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Bowser while using the Star Rod.
  • 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.
  • Ojou: Bow
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Bowser's Castle. Mario as a series loves these levels.
  • One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other: Look closely at the background in Forever Forest to get hints for the correct path.
  • One Steve Limit: Vanna T.'s Japanese name is Kinopiko, which is also Toadette's Japanese name.
  • The Pin Is Mightier Than the Sword: Badges, as in the rest of the series.
  • Palette Swap: There's a zillion of them in each game...
  • Paper Fan of Doom: Bow uses one.
  • 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.
  • Playable Epilogue: Of the "explore after the final boss but load the game before it" variety. Which turns out to be nearly in the same situation as the playable prologue.
  • Pop Quiz: Chuck Quizmo can be found in random spots and will give you a question every time you talk. Successfully answering a question gets you a Star Piece, and he has 64 different questions.
  • Power of Love: The Star Spirits only grant good and selfless wishes, so when Peach and the grand majority of the Mushroom Kingdom wishes for the Star Spirits to be powerful enough to defeat Bowser, the Right Makes Might-o-meter goes Up to Eleven, into full Deus ex Machina territory. Powered by love.
  • 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, it's usually in red. In Shy Guy's Toy Box, the color of each station to travel to is colored in its respective color.
  • 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.
  • Recurring Boss: Jr. Troopa.
  • Recurring Traveller: Chuck Quizmo, Kolorado and the Castle Maids.
  • Redundant Researcher: Kolorado.
  • 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.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Merlee always talks like this.
  • Rock of Limitless Water: The Crystal Stone, needed as part of a Fetch Quest in the Flower Fields.
  • Say It with Hearts: And stars, and musical notes...
  • 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.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: If a Magikoopa is the last enemy on screen, he'll always run away.
  • 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.
  • Secret Diary: Bowser and Luigi each have one.
  • Sequential Boss: General Guy.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Dry Dry Desert.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Mihn T.'s Japanese name is Lip. Both characters are associated with flowers.
    • In the same vein, Herringway the penguin novelist.
  • Shows Damage: Happens with a few bosses, such as Huff N. Puff.
  • Shrinking Violet: One of the Dryites in Dry Dry Outpost is very much so this. Though well-informed, he says everything through his friend and shies away if Mario tries talking directly to him.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Tayce T. from the first game and Zess T. from the second game are sisters, and near opposites in terms of personality.
  • Sic 'em: Tends to happen in the cutaway scenes between chapters.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: All of Chapter 7.
  • 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.
  • Spiritual Sequel: Of Super Mario RPG.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Though technically they aren't sprites, they're flat 3D models. (This can be noticed whenever someone turns around.)
  • Squishy Wizard: Magikoopas in Bowser's Castle have a lot of health, inflict a high amount of damage with their magic blasts, but have a defense rating of 0.
    • Kammy Koopa also counts.
  • Standard Status Effects: Poison and Dizzy, as well as the beneficial Electrified, which shocks enemies who touch you, and Transparent, which makes you essentially invincible for a turn or two.
  • Star Power: The star spirits.
  • Star-Shaped Coupon: The star spirits, again.
  • 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).
  • Stone Wall: Several of the enemies later in the game that have high HP (but no defense) that deal relatively small damage such as Putrid Piranhas, Monty Moles from Flower Fields, Lakitus, Gulpits and Duplighosts.
  • Storybook Opening: Bowser hijacks the intro by sellotaping Kammy onto the background.
  • 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.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: There is a health-restoring block and a save point before each major boss.
  • 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.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Played straight and lampshaded.
  • 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.
    • To meet Moustafa in Dry Dry Outpost, you have to buy a Dried Shroom and Dusty Hammer in the shop. You're supposed to learn this by giving a Lemon to another mouse, but if you buy the items beforehand, Moustafa lampshades how "lucky" you are to have stumbled into the correct solution. Similarly, the Boo painting in the mansion has unique dialog if you bring him the relevant quest item without having spoken to him.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Most of the Toads have Punny Names that end in the letter "T" (Felissa T., Mihn T., etc).
    • Another theme throughout the entire series is having the wizards' names begin with "Merl" in homage to Merlin.
    • The few named Koopa characters all have names that start with "K".
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: During the You Can't Thwart Stage One/Final Boss Preview battle at the very beginning of the game, Mario is reduced to two Heart Points, and Bowser decides to finish him off with an attack worth 10 Attack Points! Since Mario only has 10 HP at the beginning of the game, Bowser could have taken Mario down in one hit, implying that he was Just Toying With Him.
  • Toy Time: Shy Guy's Toy Box.
  • 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.
  • Verbal Tic: Fuzzies...MEEEOOORK!!!
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Bowser's castle floating in space.
  • 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.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Hitting the Whacka. Hit the Whacka eight times, and he dies for good. 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.
    • Poor Goomba.
    • When an enemy is impersonating one of your partners and you have to hit the one you think is "fake", you can "accidentally" attack your real partner.
    • If you don't use Watt in the room right before General Guy, Shy Guys will swarm you and slap Mario around. It doesn't cause damage, so this can go on forever if you let it.
    • Jr. Troopa remains on the map after most of the boss fights with him, and you can whack, jump on or bomb him to your heart's content until you leave the screen.
  • Voice for the Voiceless: Mario's various partners act as this for him.
  • 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 ALL Look Familiar: A favorite target of one of the game's frequent Lampshade Hangings.
  • 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.
  • Zero-Effort Boss:
    • Tubba Blubba turns out to be pathetically weak once he's no longer invincible (the chapter's actual Climax Boss was instead his own heart, which you fight right beforehand).
    • Even more so is Monstar, whose ludicrously flashy attacks never do more than 1 damage. The Star Kids sure know their magic pyrotechnics, at least.

    VideoGame/Paper MarioPaper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Paper MarioEastern RPGPaper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Paper MarioFranchise/Super Mario Bros.Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Shifting Sand LandImageSource/Video GamesPaper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
PaperboyUsefulNotes/Nintendo 64 Ultraman

alternative title(s): Paper Mario 64
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