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Videogame: Super Mario RPG
"Listen, Mustache, you and your overgrown turtle-friend can take a hike! Go! Scat! Make like Mario and jump outta here!"
The Snifits

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is Exactly What It Says on the Tin; It was the first Mario game to be a Role-Playing Game. It was developed by Nintendo and Square and released in 1996 for the SNES — this gives it the honor of being the last Mario game made for that system.

During a routine princess-saving by Mario, a giant sword with a face on the hilt crashes into Bowser's Keep, sending Mario, the Princess, and Bowser flying. Soon afterwards, a messenger from the stars named Geno (or rather, "Heart-1/8 Note-Exclamation Point-Question Mark") informs Mario that the sword also destroyed the Star Road, which grants the wishes of Mario's world. Unless the seven Star Pieces can be obtained and reassembled, no wishes will ever come true again. With the help of his companions (including, for the first time, Bowser), Mario sets off to smash the Smithy Gang and save the world.

The game was one of the first games to engage in a full-on frenzy of Lampshade Hanging regarding the tropes of the Mario series and RPGs. Nintendo would take this theme and run with it, producing a series of pseudo-sequels (Paper Mario, Mario & Luigi) without Square's involvement. (Nintendo and Square would finally work again, starting with Mario Hoops 3-on-3 on the Nintendo DS).

Due to licensing problems, very few of the characters that made their debut in this game have recurred in later Mario games, including fan-favorite Geno. But worry not! The game has appeared on the Wii's Virtual Console for all regions!

Tropes include:

  • 100% Completion: Hidden chests, the Frog Coin store in Seaside Townnote , Grate Guy's Casino, Yo'ster Isle, getting everyone to Level 30...
  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: Even when your party is maxed out at Level 30, the final battle with Smithy's two forms is pretty challenging.
  • Action Commands: Probably the Trope Codifier in Role Playing Games: every attack, spell, and item use has a benefit if you time an extra move right. You can even reduce or negate the damage from an enemy attack using a timed button press. Naturally, both of Super Mario RPG's Spiritual Successors, Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi, take this mechanic and elaborate on it in different ways.
  • Actually Four Mooks: Mostly seen with random encounters; scripted fights and boss battles usually have the same number of enemies both on the map and in battle, though not always. The lone-on-the-overworld Hammer Bro faced as the Warmup Boss somehow becomes two in battle.
  • Addressing the Player: You're required to have a profile name. It ends up being the password to the balcony in Booster's Tower. However, Mario doesn't know this, which causes problems for a player doing a second playthrough.
  • After Combat Recovery: Dead characters are revived with 1 HP and even gain experience at the end of battle.
  • Amplifier Artifact: The Quartz Charm is described as "A shining source of power!", boosting attack and defense by 50% (although it doesn't tell you so). Many other accessories can be considered as such, like the Amulet (sacrifice speed in favor of all other stats), the Jinx Belt (speed and physical attributes), and both scarves (one for both kinds of attack, the other for both kinds of defense).
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Subverted with Booster. His plot to marry Toadstool seems quite sinister at first... until over time you realize he has absolutely no clue what marriage is, let alone any interest in being with Toadstool after the "wedding". He just thought the idea of a wedding party sounded fun. After a chaotic ceremony, swallowing a gigantic cake monster, and getting a kiss from Bowser and/or Mario, he promptly leaves, content with his "wedding" party, and never bothers the heroes again.
  • Anthropomorphic Food: Bundt, the surprisingly difficult cake boss. There's also a giant carrot enemy in Booster Pass.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Die and you respawn with your levels retained, and there's always a chance to save and heal before major bosses. In fact, a lot of rooms before the bosses have a chest, hidden or visible, with a Mushroom inside to fully restore your stats. Or, in the case of Yaridovich and Valentina, you fight them when you go to a certain location and thus can go to another town and rest up at an Inn (one of which is always FREE to use) or Mario's Pad.
    • A more specific occurrence is in a platform minigame in Bowser's Castle. You're required to leap over a series of moving platforms over a pit of lava, but if you fail ten times you get kicked out of the room, second of three in a gauntlet of minigames. Fortunately, the platforms stop moving when you're jumping so you don't need to time your leaps, if you fall off you respawn on the platform you were on before you jumped, and if you attempt to walk off normally Mario will stumble back to safety.
      • If you die in once of the two battle corridors, you're simply booted back out to the selection room, same as if you failed the action or puzzle sections, rather than getting a game over.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Johnathan Jones' diary tells of his ship getting entangled by King Calamari.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You're limited to 3 active party members.
  • Armor of Invincibility: The Lazy Shell. Like the name implies, it lowers the wearer's offensive stats.
  • Artistic License - Biology: Star Hill features an enemy called Mastodoom, which is an elephant skeleton, complete with a trunk.
  • Art Shift: Culex is a classic, Amano-style Final Fantasy enemy. In keeping with that spirit, his sprite isn't animated (aside from bobbing up and down).
  • Ash Face: A massive bomb in the mines goes off, but thankfully only inflicts this.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Toadstool's Psych Bomb attack (the last attack she earns). Hits everyone and definitely makes her a bit of a Badass but it burns a lot of FP that could be better used for her healing abilities.
  • Bag of Sharing: Exists in the traditional sense, but also strangely for an RPG, Flower Points (the game's equivalent of Mana) are also shared between everyone.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Your party members can be turned into Mushrooms and scarecrows.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Everyone affected with the sleep status will produce a crassly obvious Snot Bubble, except Toadstool, who daintily Catches Some Z's.
  • Behind the Black: There are some hidden passages that exploit this.
  • Betting Mini-Game: Grate Guy's Casino has blackjack and a slot machine.
    • If you get a "Lucky" flower, you can play a mini-game after battle where you can potentially double or lose all the experience points or coins you earned from the battle.
  • Bicep-Polishing Gesture: Bowser does this in the Japanese version. It was changed in the other versions because the gesture also resembles the slap-the-crook-of-your-elbow gesture, which is roughly the equivalent of the middle finger to many Western cultures.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: Proper timing on your Action Commands during defense could completely eliminate damage from an enemy physical attack; otherwise, they take half the normal damage.
  • Bonus Boss: Monstro Town has two: Jinx, the diminutive martial-arts master who has to be fought three times, and Culex, the Dark Knight of Vanda.
  • Boring, but Practical: One of the most hard-hitting attacks you have to watch out for during the battle with Culex and his crystals is Culex's standard physical no-flashy-effects attack. There's virtually no telegraphing for it (as he doesn't even move from his position when it happens), so it's very difficult to defend with the Action Command. Luckily, he doesn't use it as often as his magic attacks.
  • Boss Bonanza: The game has the Factory stage. Just getting in requires that you defeat an evil alarm clock, followed by Domino & Cloaker, a Dual Sequential Boss (whose second stage is another Dual Boss). Inside the Factory proper, Mario has to fight through four levels of factory management, the first three of which have bodyguards while the Factory Chief has his own autonomous secret weapon.
    • Worth noting is that in the SMRPG factory you also get to fight mook versions of all the previous bosses. One even being a required fight.
    • Also, the end of the previous stage, Bowser's Keep, was made of three other bosses: a Magikoopa, Boomer, and Exor. And there was a chance the fight a Boss in Mook Clothing, Chester, right before the Magikoopa. You're not given a chance to heal in-between Boomer and Exor either.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Mokura/Mokuka, who appears on the overworld like a normal enemy, but has powerful magic attacks that target the entire party, and far more HP than any other enemy in the area. He does try to avoid you, and the game treats him more like a boss, though, so he could also be considered a lesser Bonus Boss.
    • The chest monsters are also this. Box Boy, for example, uses Carni-Kiss and powerful magic spells, and summons Fautso, which can put your entire party to sleep.
  • Boss Remix: The "Armed Boss" theme, played when fighting against Smithy's goons, is a remix of the background music played in a town troubled by one of them.
  • Bouncing Battler: Mario, of course, but the trope also gets lampshaded here. After Mario beats Jinx, a professional martial artist, Jinx and his student decide to incorporate Mario's jumping techniques into their own fighting styles and spend the rest of the game bouncing up and down on one spot trying to emulate Mario.
  • Breakout Character: Geno remains insanely popular more than a decade after release.
  • Broken Bridge: To Bowser's Castle. Mario finally finds a way back in once Lakitu's bus service is resumed.
  • But Thou Must: Or else Mallow will cry.
    • Also happens once you rescue Toadstool and try to leave Marrymore in the way that doesn't go back to the castle. Your party members will come out one by one convincing you to go the other way. What makes this odd is that both exits are functionally identical, since they just take you to the world map anyway.
  • The Cameo:
    • Samus and Link are resting in hotels at certain points in the game. Samus can also be seen as a doll in Booster's toy box.
    • Also, in one place, you can also see models of an Arwing and Blue Falcon in a certain inn.
    • Luigi is only seen at the very end of the game leading the parade. You do get to see his wish on Star Hill if you know where to look.
    • One of the portraits in Booster's Tower looks like Wario. Seeing how Booster is kind of a Wario Expy this makes sense.
  • Can't Drop The Hero: Once your party roster grows beyond 3 members, you can switch up your party as you see fit, but Mario can never be forced out of the party at all.
  • Cap: Surprisingly, the game's level cap is one of the lowest eastern examples at 30.
    • The amount of coins the party can hold is also very limited at 999; some items can sell for more than half of that.
  • Cartoon Juggling: Knife Guy's idle animation is endless juggling, cascade-style.
  • Cavalier Competitor: Culex won't return to his home dimension until he has a chance to meet this world's "strongest knight." If you win, he thanks Mario for the memorable duel.
  • Chest Monster: Four of them: Pandorite, Hidon, Chester, and Box Boy. They're all pretty tough and drop some useful items when beaten.
  • Climax Boss: Any battle against a member of the Smithy Gang, especially since they normally occur at the end of each world.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Several examples, including the evil clock Countdown and the Final Boss.
  • Conflict Killer: A giant sword falls out of the sky after Mario and Bowser go at it. They join forces to defeat this new opponent.
  • Continuity Nod: Mario can become 8-bit for a short time in Booster Tower.
  • Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: The US television commercials for the game referred to the sword that struck Bowser's castle as "Smithy the Sword." This is not the sword's name, Smithy being a completely different character.
    • Not just the commercials, but Nintendo Power's first walkthrough article and the magazine ads, which score bonus points for hinting at a subplot involving Geno becoming a "real boy".
  • Cowboys and Indians: Toys of Mario and Bowser.
    • Humorously, Gaz has Bowser kill the Mario doll, much to Mario's shock and dismay.
  • Credits Medley: The ending sequence depicts the entire cast participating in a parade with floats. The medley rolls through several variations on the Mushroom Kingdom; We're also treated to Smithy's goons and their leitmotif one more time.
  • Crying Wolf: Gaz... or so his mom thinks.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: The entire Smithy Gang is pointedly not stupid, they come to realize Mario's patterns and use them to their advantage, and also begin seeking the Star Pieces when they find out how powerful they are. Starts right at the beginning of the game when Exor, annoyed at Mario coming to Bowser's Keep after they just invaded, collapses the bridge, keeping Mario out for most of the game because not even he can jump that far. This culminates with the battle for the sixth Power Star, when after most of the Smithy Gang has been beaten despite their various tricks and schemes, the Axem Rangers decide the best way to solve the Mario problem is to grab the star and run like hell.
  • Deadpan Snarker: One of the Toads in Toad Town Mushroom Kingdom who delivers this line regarding why he didn't stop the thief Croco.
    "Because I left my bazooka at home. Sheesh! Cut me a break here!"
  • Debug Room: A rather limited one, unfortunately. It's speculated that most of it was cut out before the final release.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Jonathan Jones.
    • Grate Guy reforms his ways and opens a casino after you defeat him.
  • Degraded Boss: Gray "Machine Made" copies of the Smithy Gang bosses are churned out by Smithy's factory.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • When using the Hurly Gloves, Bowser tosses Mario at his foes. If Mario is under a status effect, Bowser tosses a doll instead.
    • When you confront Mack, two Shysters try to jump on Mario's head and he deflects them, knocking them off the platform and so only the remaining four aid Mack in the fight, those two survive to flee and tell Smithy what happened. If you approach the platform from the sides and thus walk past the Shysters, when Mack does his Dynamic Entry the two are knocked backwards off the platform to keep the story straight.
    • In one town, a toad kid can be seen running in circles. Jumping to the top of his head, then waiting a bit would cause a brief cutscene of Mario jumping off the kid's head dazed.
  • Digitized Sprites
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: Goomba Stomping. In order to get prizes, you have to get a score of at least 20 points at first, and then beat your previous record by at least 2 points, so it makes the most sense to get 20, 22, 24, ...
    • Also the Mine Cart mini-game. You get a prize each time you get a new record time. Since you are guaranteed to eventually reach the end of the course no matter how badly you screw up, the best strategy for the first run is go as slow as possible: hold down the brakes the entire time, leap off the track at every turn, and deliberately miss every jump.
  • Dual Boss: Loads.
  • Duel Boss: A couple. The battle with Johnny with eventually escalate to the boss insisting on going one-on-one with Mario (unless you exploit an oversight in leaving at least one if his flunkies alive, in which Johnny will never speak up about this). Then there's the last throwdown with Valentina, where Dodo will inevitably whisk whichever ally you put in the middle away for a little session of single combat until you tire him out.
  • Easter Egg: Walking behind one of the curtains in Booster's Tower will transform you into 8-bit Mario.
    • In Mushroom Kingdom, there's a young Toad running around quickly in a square path. Jump onto her head and stay on for a few laps, and Mario will eventually fall off and collapse out of dizziness.
    • If you spam "no" while trying to overwrite an different save file, Mario's expression will change from the victory pose (normal) to anger (spam it a few times) or depression (spam it a lot) once you finally save.
    • The above-mentioned cameos of Link and Samus, who only appear for a short time after certain events are completed.
    • There's a character hidden behind the left-most house in the Mushroom Kingdom whose dialogue changes with pretty much every major plot event. Hacking and emulation revealed that this character doesn't have a sprite.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: The normal enemies you encounter aren't too tough and will likely die with one strike from a Timed Hit. Bosses however make frequent use of group-hitting attacks that do heavy damage, and a lot of them have status-inducing attacks which may also be group-hitting, and/or employ Mooks to assist them. This in in addition to unique gimmicks to catch you off guard — Bowyer locks button commands, Bundt has to have candles blown out, Johnny Jones fights one-on-one, etc.
    • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: That being said, anyone who played other Squaresoft/Square-Enix games, or who is playing the story a second time would find the bosses in this game quite easy in comparison. What is not as easy, however, is trying to navigate the stages/courses/routes/dungeons. Unlike in most other Square-Enix RPGs, you actually need to run/jump as with most other Mario games, and the axiometric pseudo-3D view used in this game combined with awkward controls makes this easier said than done.
  • Enemy Mine: The first time, though not the last (discounting spinoffs), that Mario and Bowser work together.
  • Escape Battle Technique: The game has the standard Run Away command, but it can sometimes fail, causing your turn to be wasted. Halfway through the game, you could get the See Ya! item that lets you run away from fights successfully.
  • Evil Chef: Chef Torte and his assistant aren't really evil, just kinda grumpy (but you would be too if someone jumped on top of your cake). They attack you later on, but they run away once the cake starts moving.
  • Evolving Attack: Unlike the other party members, who have a variety of special moves, Mario only gets two types: jumping on enemies and shooting fireballs at them. Later variations do more damage or target multiple enemies, but cost more FP. Also see Magikarp Power for a more subtle version of this.
  • Face Fault: Hilariously happens a great many times, with heroes, villains, and NPCs.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: The game opens with Mario dueling Bowser on a giant chandelier, which inevitably crashes with Bowser stuck to it. This happens again during the battle with Boomer, who breaks the suspension chain as a form of seppuku.
  • Fetch Quest
  • Five-Man Band: Your party, though only three are out at a time.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: The Star Egg does 100 damage to all enemies and can be used an unlimited number of times, while the Rock Candy does 200 but can only be used once. The Attack Up buff increases the damage to 150 and 300, respectively.
  • Flunky Boss: Several. Jonathan Jones subverts this a bit in that if you kill his flunkies before beating Johnny himself, he'll immediately challenge Mario to a little one-on-one for the star.
  • Flying Bus: It's made out of clouds and driven by a Lakitu.
  • French Jerk: Chef Torte and his flunky.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Frying Pan is the best weapon for Peach. It make a hilariously satisfying whang! sound when it connects, too.
  • Gainaxing: Queen Valentina, when she's struck in combat.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In the battle at Nimbus Land, every time you hit Queen Valentina, her breasts shake. Seriously, this happens in a game approved for everyone, kids and adults alike. Her hair is also appears to be dead parrot. It reacts to her being hit however.
    • "It was so loud I nearly dropped my spores!"
    • Johnny's currant juice? Well, it may or may not be a substitute for wine, which currant berries can be used to make.
    • Poke around Toadstool's room and you'll get a message saying Mario "found Toadstool's ????". Her grandmother will immediately run over and tell you to stop rummaging through her things, before giving you a mushroom to go away. Try it again when Toadstool's actually in the party and she won't let you anywhere near it. It's never revealed what the item in question actually is, but given the character reactions, most adult players can come up with a few ideas...
  • Giant Mook: The giant Bob-omb.
    • The Giant Squid, King Calimari, is a Blooper on steroids.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: It's probably safe to say at least half of the bosses in the game qualify.
    • But, by far, Bundt takes the cake...
    • Punchinello is a Lampshade Hanging of this, you hear nothing about him prior to the fight, and Mallow states outright that he's never heard of him. And he wants to be famous... In fact, the only reason you fight him is because he believes that defeating you will make him famous.
  • Global Currency Exception:
    • One shop in Tadpole Pond only takes Frog Coins, which are a bit trickier to get a hold of.
    • There's also a shop in Moleville that only sells three of the bomb-type items (Fright, Fire, and Ice), and they don't take money at all. Instead you trade them items, and receive points based on how rare the item is.
  • Go Karting with Bowser: Played with. Bowser's lost his castle to a certain giant sword, and is thus willing to "let Mario join the Koopa Troop" until this is rectified.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: Sort of. It starts raining when Mallow cries, and it seems as if the rain is his tears.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • Finding Grate Guy's Casino, and for that matter getting in. There's a guy in the Marrymore Inn that will give you hints, but not very helpful ones. First, you have to beat Knife Guy 10 times to win the Bright Card. He gives you useless items, so casual players would just ignore him after a couple tries. Then, go to Bean Valley and enter the top pipe in the group of five. If you stand in a certain spot and jump three times, a platform will appear that when jumped on takes you to a secret area that holds Grate Guy's Casino.
      • By the same token, if you talk to Grate Guy several times he'll finally ask if you want to play a game of "Look Away". If you guess right a total of 100 times, he'll reward you with the Star Egg, an item that deals 100HP of damage to all enemies on the field and can be used again and again.
    • Also the Mystery Egg's use. You equip Toadstool with the B'tub Ring, a random item bought from a Mole kid, and use the Mystery Egg on her turn ten times... On the tenth time, it will turn into the Lamb's Lure. Use it another 48 times, and it will turn into the Sheep Attack, an item that turns most non-boss enemies into sheep and ends the battle.
    • In fact, most of the weapons and accessories have very vague in-game descriptions, often not mentioning what their most important effects are! Indeed, the game is notorious for the sheer crazy steps needed to complete secrets, or even activate the ability to even start the steps for those secrets. Many of the secrets, like the above Star Egg, are piled onto other secrets where you wouldn't expect to look for them. Super Mario RPG definitely gives the old Pokemon PokeGod rumors a run for their money.
      • One of the most blatant examples of vague item descriptions in the game is the Quartz Charm, the reward for beating the Bonus Boss. No one, not even the guy you won it from, will tell you exactly what this item does. Its exact description is "A shining source of power!", which doesn't tell you much. The game even seems to highlight its supposed uselessness because it sells for only three coins. Worst of all, the stats display no change when you equip it. Only by some careful deduction of damage output while having it equipped/unequipped can one discover it actually increases the wearer's offense and defense by 50%.
      • The official Player's Guide says it protects against instant death attacks. So that has to count for something.
    • For those of us who have played a Low Level Run of SMRPG, there is a way to convert Mario's standard 3FP Jump attack into an almost necessary Disc One Nuke. The Jump attack's power rises 2 points every time it's used (up to 125 times), making it into the most powerful move in the game (100 Super Jumps might be more powerful, but you'll never learn the attack if you do the Level 3 challenge), and will carry you right until you get Bowser, which is coincidentally when Mario starts turning into Glass Joe. Powering up Jump and collecting experience turns it into a Game Breaker of epic proportions.
      • A full-power perfectly timed Jump attack is equal to 50 Super Jumps.
    • The timing on "timed hits" isn't always obvious, and it's usually pretty finicky.
    • The hidden chest in the Mushroom Castle. You can only get it when you first enter, before you'll even know it's there. To get it, you have to stand on Toad's head and jump onto the doorway at the end of the hall, landing not on an invisible platform, but on part of the background that shouldn't even be possible to step on. Even if you blockade Toad into that position later in the game, it won't work, for whatever reason you can't jump high enough save for that one time.
    • The 3D maze puzzle in the Sunken Ship. The problem is that 90% of the maze is obscured. Sure you could feel your way around it, but you'll more than likely go in circles.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Trope Namer.
  • Heroic Mime: Mario. He even transforms into Princess Toadstool and Bowser during his pantomimed explanation of what happened.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: When first entering the Moleville Mines, one of the moles there reacts at Mario's presence with the line, "Well, I'll be a Goomba's uncle!!"
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Lazy Shell, Frying Pan. The Super Jacket armor and Attack Scarf accessory are also Game Breakers, but they're at least ridiculously hard to earn.
  • Infinity–1 Sword: The Ultra Hammer, found in the last dungeon. The Lazy Shell can be found before you even get the sixth star.
  • Inn Security: Entering Rose Town's inn gets Mario knocked out, and Geno awakens that night. At first, the Seaside Town inn is free... but the "innkeeper" will take the chance to watch you sleep. Monstro Town's "inn" (actually just a room with a bed) is also free, but happens to be haunted by the 3 Musty Fears.
  • Instrument of Murder: Mallow's cymbals.
  • Invisible Monsters: Mokura, who starts out as the invisible Formless. The game treats it like an obscure Bonus Boss.
    • Might count as an obscure reference to the vanish buff in Final Fantasy VI. All of your regular attacks miss it. How do you damage it and reveal it? A magic attack.
  • Isometric Projection
  • Item Get: The Star Pieces, as illustrated by the page picture.
  • King Mook: King Calamari. Megaslimax is well, a giant Smilax, an enemy never encountered until you fight it, but both the normal and mega varieties are species of Piranha Plant.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero Found Underwear: Mario can case Princess Toadstool's room to find her "???" - and a retainer will immediately run up and swap it for an item. If you wait until she's a party member, you'll be treated to a freak-out on her part.
  • Lampshade Hanging: This is not a game that takes itself seriously. The general reaction to Bowser's having kidnapped the princess is, "What, again?"
    • After beating the Axem Rangers, they use their ship weapon against you. In the Japanese version, perfectly scanning it with Mallow will net you a remark about how it was not used right from the start against you.
  • Lazy Backup: Mario gains 4 party members (not counting himself), but can only have two of them in his party at a time.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Culex. He uses the Final Fantasy IV boss theme, has the four crystals used in the early Final Fantasy games, and even talks about meeting Mario and the group again after he is defeated. He is a walking Shout-Out to Final Fantasy, after all.
    • The Thwomp in Monstro Town will ask Mario if he likes the background music. "Don't you dig these vibes?"
  • Leitmotif: The "Smithy Gang" has one, which is remixed three different ways: as background music playing in any town they've invaded; as the boss theme for Smithy's lieutenants; and as the first boss theme for Smithy himself.
    • Smithy's final boss theme is very different from the other boss music, but the main leitmotif actually does play on bass for a few seconds. Listen to it here: at 1:00 to hear the riff.
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: Happens every time you get a Game Over.
    • Also happens in-story when Mario blacks out after being hit with the Geno doll's Arm Cannon.
  • Level Grinding: Happily averted in this game, although considering that the max level is 30, this is almost a given.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: Punchinello is the only major boss you fight for a Star Piece that isn't affiliated with the Smithy Gang.
  • Lost Forever:
    • An invisible chest in the Mushroom Kingdom castle can only be reached at the very beginning of the game when Toad is running down the hall, by jumping onto his head and then leaping up to a platform where the chest is. Besides the fact the platform is part of the doorframe and nothing would indicate you can step there, you don't even find out the chest was there until late in the game when you acquire an accessory that alerts you to hidden chests, and for some reason you get a higher boost off of Toad's head than anyone else, so only he can get you up there that one time. Guide Dang It to the extreme.
    • Samus's cameo is only available during a certain period in the game. However, as soon as Link appears in a similar manner, he stays there the whole game.
    • Some of the items you can buy from Seaside Town can only be acquired before you liberate it. On the bright side, most of them aren't that good so you won't miss much.
    • Beating Croco's Crooks in the Coal Mines will earn you extra Flower Points. But only if you choose to fight Croco last instead of immediately.
  • Lost in Translation: Many places.
    • During the second battle with Belome, if Princess Toadstool is active in your party and Belome eats her, he'll say, "Mmm, tastes peachy..." Super Mario RPG was the last Mario game to use her Dub Name Change; Super Mario 64, released that same year in North America, phased it out.
    • There's the item called the Red Yoshi Essence, or the Lazy Shells being Heavy Troopa's shells, and the Safety Badge protecting from more than just mute and poison.
    • Belome sounding more sleepy and his name being a pun with "Bero", tongue, and several puns with names of the opponent you fight.
    • Another punny name lost is Chomp Chomp's original name is Wan Tsu (read: Japanese pronounciation of "one two"). The joke is that Chomps were originally called "Wan Wan", which is an onomatopoeia for a dog's bark.
    • The Magikoopa you fight in Bowser's Keep before reaching Boomer and Exor isn't a mere random Koopa Trooper - it's Kamek. Like with Mario Party 9, his name was goofed up in the localizing.
    • Bowser's ultimate unique armor - the... Heal Shell? That doesn't suit him at all, unlike the other four characters. If it was the Fear Shell, that would be much more fitting...note 
    • The Shy Guys that hold the chandeliers together on the second visit to Bowser's Keep are named Chandeli-ho. This is in fact a portmanteau of "chandelier" and "Heiho", the Japanese name for Shy Guys.note 
  • Low Level Run: It's possible to beat the entire game including Culex at level 3.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Occurs several times.
  • Magikarp Power:
  • Make a Wish: The Star Road can grant wishes, and you even get to visit the place where they fall before being granted; Mario can read them, and Mallow gets angry if you read his wish. The Star Pieces are required to restore the proper cycle of wishes, and it is vital to do so, as there is more to wishes than just the wisher's personal life; Mario's own successes are often aided by the many people wishing for him to do so.
  • Mana Potion: Syrups restore Flower Points.
  • Maximum Fun Chamber: The building where the villagers of Seaside Town are being held. See Cool and Unusual Punishment.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Geno written in Japanese is ジーノ (jiino). jiino is the Japanese pronunciation of "xeno" (there is traditionally no "zi" sound in Japanese). The word prefix xeno- is Greek for “alien,” “strange,” “guest.” Guess where Geno comes from in Super Mario RPG when he's introduced and where he returns to at the end of the game?
    • Mallow's bodily consistency is that of marshmallows.
    • Smithy's goons are all modeled after weapons.
      • Mack is a knife.
      • Bowyer is, not surprisingly, a bow.
      • Bowyer is also the profession of someone who makes bows. (Just like a fletcher is someone who makes arrows.)
      • "Yari" means "spear" in Japanese. Yaridovich's design is decidedly spear-like.
      • Exor's name is likely based on "Excalibur", seeing as he's a sword.
    • The Axem Rangers name speaks for themselves.
    • Smithy himself is a weapon maker, i.e., a blacksmith.
  • Metal Slime: The Shy Ranger will randomly appear with Pirahna Plants, and has an insanely high speed, high defense, and immunity to all four elements. Beating it rewards the player with a buttload of experience.
  • Mini-Game: Buttloads of them.
  • Minigame Zone: Grate Guy's Casino. It's actually hard to find and access, not very large, and not very profitable. Booster's Tower is also supposedly a very fun yet eccentric amusement park, with clowns, an indoor railroad, and dolls.
  • Motor Mouth: The Gardener in Rose Town.
  • Musical Spoiler: As if the patently creepy behavior of the townspeople wasn't enough of a clue, the presence of the "town in trouble" theme is a dead giveaway that something is seriously not right in Seaside Town.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Averted, enemy groups have an FP pool too. Usually you'll either win or lose long before theirs runs out, though.
    • Played straight with King Kalimari's Tentacle Rope attack, which ignores immunity to fear. Equipping Mario with Jump Shoes lets the player invert this and ignore enemies' Jump-attack immunity.
  • Mythology Gag: Walking behind a certain column in Booster's Tower will cause Mario to transform into his 8-bit self.
  • Nintendo Hard: Getting the Super Suit requires you to do 100 Super Jumps in a row. That's 100 perfectly timed button presses in a row, without pausing, the timing getting harder and harder to nail every time. And you thought getting 30 was hard?
    • Getting 100 coins on the Midas River, as well as the Mushroom Derby. This is the only non-TAS video with a run of the former, and it still expresses frustration over the latter.
  • Noble Shoplifter: When the Mushroom Kingdom is under attack, the item shopkeeper can be found cowering in the back of the shop, with a sign on the counter saying to take what you want and leave the money. Reading it allows you to buy items as if the shopkeeper was there, with no option to leave without paying.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Mario painting himself gold and hiding amongst Valentina's statues.
  • Off Model / You Don't Look Like You: Some of the returning characters and enemies account for this as well (examples include Goombas and Hammer Bros).
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Smithy's Factory, which is also a near endless Eternal Engine.
  • One-Hit Kill: The "Magnum" attack. Also, Pulsar and Corkpedite Body's self-destruct "Migraine", Jinx's "Silver Bullet" attack, Glum Reaper's "Scythe", and Cluster's less common "Psyche".
    • Last Chance Hit Point: There are a few One-Hit Kill moves that you can block (using a timed button press). Doing so will allow you to survive with 1 HP. A perfect block will allow you to take no damage.
      • If you can collect the Safety Ring, Jinx Belt, and/or Quartz Charm, your party members are immune to OHKs.
  • One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other: In the Forest Maze, The correct path to take is the one that the player sees Geno taking.
  • One Size Fits All: Work Pants, the Lazy Shell armor and (if you manage to get it) the Super Suit.
  • Out-of-Character Moment / What the Hell, Hero??: An upset Mario was going to punch a kid! Good thing Mallow stopped him in time.
  • Panty Shot: Inverted hilariously with an extremely rare male version: as the party is falling down inside of Exor's to the last area, the camera is pointed downward with everyone falling head-first — except for Toadstool, who is feet-first.
  • Party in My Pocket: played with repeatedly:
    • After a conversation is supposedly concluded, all the characters prepare to step back inside Mario. The speaker then remembers something and when he says, "Oh and one more thing..." all the characters bump heads. A moment later, when the speaker has finished for real, they start to move into Mario again, and Mario makes them stop until he's ready.
    • The other party members are also apparently literally inside Mario (or merged with him, or something), rather than metaphorically. Check out the reaction of the Mushroom Chancellor and his court when Bowser steps out. You'd think they'd have noticed the giant turtle-dragon if he'd actually been present prior to this.
    • Similarly, at one point after Bowser joins the party a Mushroom Kingdom citizen will start to tell you what an awful, evil person he thinks Bowser is. Bowser growls from (apparently) inside Mario, causing the guy to ask wildly what that horrible noise was.
  • Perverse Puppet: Remo Con and Puppox.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Jinx.
  • Pirate: Pirate sharks, in fact. Surprisingly logical combination, actually...
  • Playing Card Motifs: Mario's special attacks involve a spade aura, Mallow's a club, Bowser's a diamond, and Toadstool's a heart. Geno ends up with a star aura.
  • Plot Coupon: Star Pieces.
  • Pop Quiz: Dr. Topper's Quiz.
  • Power Fist: Several of the weapons. Mario gets ones that give him a longer punch combo, then ones that make his fists huge, Mallow gets something similar, Princess Toadstool gets a larger hand to slap enemies, and Bowser's best weapon is called 'Drill Claw'.
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Axem Rangers.
  • Puzzle Boss: Some:
    • The fight against Bowser in the game's start. You can attack him but his HP is so high that Mario will be down before he can even knock Bowser out. The princess tells Mario to attack the chain instead, since breaking it will cause the chandler Bowser is standing on to fall. Actually, Bowser has relatively little HP but just doesn't die after it's depleted, and subsequently takes no damage anymore, forcing you to hit the chain.
    • The battle against Birdo qualifies. Although you can beat Birdo by sheer force, it will take a lot of level grinding to bypass her defense and her egg attacks can seriously damage your party. What isn't told about the fight is if you have your characters use Defend, the eggs will bounce back to Birdo's nest and become targets. Destroying the eggs afterwards creates an explosion that severly hurts Birdo.
      • There is a servant you can have a conversation with who will talk about having to defend themselves from Birdo though...
    • Bundt has no Hit Points. Use Psychopath on it and its HP reading will come up zero. Its health is only dictated by the number of lit candles on its head, each candle getting snuffed whenever you land a hit. But one relights every time Bundt has his turn. So one must continually pelt Bundt with attacks nonstop to ensure the first phase of this battle ends quickly. The second phase gives the boss back a set amount of HP.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A middle-aged Italian plumber, a child made of clouds, a doll, a giant turtle, and a princess.
  • Rainbow Motif: The seven star pieces are colored this way.
  • Rain of Arrows: Smithy's second form has a spell called this. He also has two other variations, Spear Rain and Sword Rain, that pretty much do the same thing.
    • This is Bowyer's preferred method of attacking Rose Town, constantly firing arrows into it from the forest. When someone is struck with the arrow, they are paralyzed in place, unable to move, but still able to talk. Rather fitting considering that he's a giant bow and all of his minions are sentient arrows.
  • Rearrange the Song: Does the music for the fight with Bowser at the beginning of the game sound familiar? It should! It's his boss music in Super Mario Bros 3!
  • Reset Button: An item called Earlier Times lets you redo a battle from the beginning again.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Belome, when casting the game's first instance of the Scarecrow status, S'crow Funk:
    Stick for a body, head full of straw, give me a scarecrow, rah, rah, RAH!
  • Rocket Punch: Geno's unarmed attack has him shoot his arm at the elbow. Later, he gets a weapon called precisely this to shoot both of his arms at once.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: More than half the party is filled with royals; King Bowser, Princess Toadstool, and Prince Mallow.
  • Save the Princess: Subverted in the prologue, and then played straight... sort of.
  • Say It with Hearts: Birdo.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: The Attack Scarf, a Mario-only accessory that can only be obtained by doing 30 Super Jumps in a row. There's also the Rare Scarf, which can be used by anybody and boosts defense.
  • Scenery Porn: Just like the Donkey Kong Country series, it uses CG models rendered as Digitized Sprites. And it looks just as good, if not better, than a lot of the early N64 games.
  • Scrolling Text
  • Secret A.I. Moves: Bowser can shoot his spikes out of his shell when you fight him early in the game. When he finally joins your party however, that move is not available.
    • Not to mention the clones that Belome create are capable of using moves you can never have.
  • Secret Shop: Of sorts. It's actually an out-of-the-way casino, and you'll need a card to get in.
  • Sequence Breaking: By running away from an enemy in Kero Sewers and jumping on their head, you can get an item box and go to an area that you normally couldn't get until over halfway through the game... but The Dev Team Thinks of Everything, and the item box contains a single Flower instead of the Cricket Jam you'd normally get, and a Broken Bridge prevents you from going anywhere in Land's End (and an enemy even has special dialogue if you try this).
    • You can also skip the first major boss by making a very precision jump. The game continues on as normal, but the Star Piece option never shows up in the menu.
  • Sequential Boss: Boomer and Exor are fought back-to-back with no chance for healing, and then the battle with Smithy has two parts.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The desert at Land's End.
  • Shout-Out: Being a Mario game made in part by Squaresoft, this could almost get its own page.
  • Skippable Boss: An unintentional one due to a glitch in the game, but the fight with Mack can be skipped entirely.
  • Smooch of Victory: Depending on how fast you recover the Princess's accessories in Marrymore Chapel, Mario can receive one of these from Toadstool, Bowser or Booster.
  • Snot Bubble: The "sleep" status effect.
    • Lampshaded by the Big Boo of the Three Musty Fears: "Check those bubbles coming out of his nose!"
  • Spiritual Successor: The Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series are this to this game. The former was even known as Super Mario RPG 2 early in development, while the latter shares a composer with this game.
  • Star Power: The star pieces.
  • Stealth Pun: You recruit Mallow just as you walk into a marshy area. Marshmallow?
  • Stone Wall: The Lazy Shell armor will turn anyone into this when it's equipped, raising their defense and magic defense through the roof but at a severe cost to their offensive power. Stick it on the Princess and your party is effectively unbeatable unless your opponent has a One-Hit KO move or you run out of Flower Points.
  • Storming the Castle: Mario does this at the beginning of the game in Bowser's Castle. And it is done again for the final Star Piece, Except that it is not The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Strange Syntax Speaker: Nya! Both this and a regular Verbal Tic, Bowyer uses. Nya!
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Would you rather get to Tadpole Pond by: a) walking on dry land the whole way, or b) wander through a temple filled with ghosts and killer fish, defeat a huge guardian dog who wants nothing more than to literally eat you alive, and get washed away by the flood (which the guardian dog was preventing by standing on the switch) and carried downriver on a barrel after going over a waterfall? Admittedly the waterfall option involves getting a flower tab and some frog coins, but still...
  • Sugar Bowl: The overworld map certainly has elements of it.
    • Sugar Apocalypse: What Smithy intends to bring about, turning it into "a world filled with weapons".
  • Super Title 64 Advance
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Koopa Troopas in this game are all replaced with soldiers called Terrapins (never mind that Koopa Troopas have already been shown to walk on two legs at this point). The Sky Troopas managed to stay, though. Even the cooks in Marrymore are Terrapins, as well.
    • Terrapins are simply Koopa Troopas in armor, which is only ambiguous because of the translation; in the Japanese version, they are called Nokohei (hei meaning soldier), from Nokonoko, Koopa Troopas' original name. This is also why you obtain a "NokNok Shell".
  • Taking You with Me: The Cluster enemy's "Psyche!", a One-Hit Kill that it uses as a Counter Attack unless you defeat it with one hit. Its later Palette Swap, Pulsar, has "Migraine", which has the same effect. Corkpedite's Body will also use Migraine if the head is destroyed first.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Played with. Mario and Mallow have a conversation with Geno after interrupting the duel between him and Bowyer, only for Bowyer to stomp the ground to get their attention and yell at them for ignoring him. The three promptly assume their regular positions and the fight begins.
  • Tempting Fate: A dialogue after finishing minecart level.
  • Tentacle Rope: One of King Calamari's attacks consists of dragging a character away offscreen. When they return, they are inflicted with the fear status, which splits their attack and defense in half and makes them tremble violently.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Mario whistling in the shower.
  • This Cannot Be!: Axem Rangers and Smithy.
  • Too Awesome to Use: KeroKero Colas, Rock Candies, and especially Red Essences. Thankfully, you have a chance of getting a "freebie" whenever you use any item, so luck (or Save Scumming) can allow you to use them multiple times.
  • Took a Level in Badass: One of Bowser's subordinates had an epiphany not long after the start of the game. He sucked royally and decided to do this trope so he could be a more effective minion for his boss. Bowser, upon finding this out, forgives him for what would technically be desertion and wishes him well on his goal.
  • Took a Shortcut: How else would Toad get to the second last room in the game, which is in the middle of the enemy's factory?
    • Capitalism, Ho!
    • Just makes you wonder how he wasn't even able to get from Mario's place to the palace without getting trapped by enemies.
  • Trauma Inn: All of them cost money to stay in, except for the one in Rose Town and Mario's house (obviously). In the Marrymore Inn, it's even possible to delay checking out until you're broke.
  • Trick Boss: Czar Dragon.
  • Turns Red:
    • A variety of enemies will boost their attack or defense when things are getting dangerous for them. Wigglers actually do turn red when doing this.
    • Johnny does this if you kill his flunkies and shift the battle to a Duel Boss, becoming notably stronger.
  • Uncommon Time: The music inside Exor has a very strange time signature of 13/8.
  • Underground Level: Kero Sewers, the Pipe Vault and Moleville Mines.
  • Underground Monkey: With so many enemies, it's almost inevitable.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The minigames, and even those have you alternating genres as well.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Toadstool when Bowser captures her.
  • Vendor Trash: Goodie Bag.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: When you recover that guy's wallet from Croco, you can sell it for money. You shouldn't, because he rewards you with a much-harder-to-obtain if you return it.
    • If you help the guy out in Rose Town by opening his house, you can steal from the chests inside. When he enters, he'll ask if they're okay. If you left them alone - okay, great, you get some directions in the Maze. If you didn't, they contained two Flowers.
  • Video Game Settings:
  • Villainous Breakdown: Smithy when defeated in his first form by Mario and allies, with the minions even try to calm their boss down to no avail.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Croco serves as a wake up call to players that haven't used all available options in battle properly. Mallow is too physically weak to damage the boss and spamming Thunderbolt will quickly drain your FP and leave none for Mario to use his special attacks since the party shares FP instead of having it individually. Croco also introduces attacks that CAN'T be blocked with button timing and uses an item to heal himself. Unless the player uses the defend command for Mallow and learn how to ration FP and items, they will be in for a very rough fight.
    • Bowyer also serves as a wake up call gimmick boss. After depleting some of his HP. Bowyer will lock out the battle commands (attack, items, and abilities) you've used most the past few turns and he will utterly destroy you if you don't quickly adapt to having an option taken from you.
    • Yardovich is a very tough boss if you haven't optimized properly: he hits hard, has a lot of HP, and to make it even more difficult, he splits in two halfway through the fight and gets twice as many actions.
  • Warmup Boss: Hammer Brothers.
  • What the Hell, Player?: In the first room of Booster Tower, among some normal enemies, there are two Spookums apparently having a conversation. Like normal enemies, if you touch one, you will enter a battle; however, after defeating one, its partner will continue talking for a bit, then look around, panic, run to the corner and stay there, shuddering, until you defeat him.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue:
    • Mallow is officially crowned the prince of Nimbus Land.
    • Bowser is repairing his castle, and gets mad at a Shy Guy that hijacks his Clown Car.
    • Johnny Jones enjoys the sunset in the area where Yaridovich was fought.
    • Croco has moved to Yo'ster Island, and befriends Boshi after losing a race to Yoshi.
    • Frogfucius and his student (the one who was in Seaside Town) attend a concert conducted by Toadofsky.
    • In the middle of his wedding to Valentina, Booster runs off, to the befuddlement of Dodo and the Snifits.
    • Mario and Peach return to the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • Who Dares?: In Johnny Jones' lair: "How dare you dodge the barrel!"
  • Work Off the Debt: If you overstay your welcome in the Marrymore Inn, you get to be a bellhop. Some players do this on purpose for the fun of it or for the occasional really good tip in forms of rare items like Max Mushrooms or Flower Boxes.
    • Although the manager will not let you use the Save Block until you fully worked off the debt and if you racked up a massive bill, expect to be doing the same tasks for a long, long time. Luckily, you can exploit a trick by standing on the head of the person closest to the block, leap off and land on the block, letting you save.
  • X Meets Y: It is best described as Super Mario Bros. meets Final Fantasy, to awesome effect.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The party finally manages to exorcise Exor, only to realize the portal to Smithy's factory is still open. Now that he's gotten his castle back, Bowser is content to leave everyone to rot, but Geno persuades him that Smithy could crash it again.

"No, you may NOT sleep in the princess's bed! Have you no manners?"

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alternative title(s): Super Mario RPG
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