Follow TV Tropes

Following

YMMV / Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

Go To


  • 8.8: Game Informer originally gave the game a 6.5. This would have been bad enough, but the reviewer's primary complaint? The writing was bad. The ensuing fan backlash actually prompted two letters of apology. The first one claimed that the reviewer gave the score not of his opinion, but guessing how well consumers would like it. This caused more complaints about the review, so a second apology letter was written with the exact opposite message.
  • Advertisement:
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Lucky, the Bob-omb who runs the Happy Lucky Lottery. Most players thought nothing of him at first, but when this video by Stryder7x revealed that the lottery is rigged internally,Explanation  people began characterizing him as a two-faced scam artist who sells tickets for a rigged lottery to trick people into spending 100 more coins for a new ticket, where he'll reset the win timer so that it takes you another year for a shot at the grand prize. Worse is that if you try to beat him at his own game by turning back the GameCube clock for another shot at a matching number, he guilt-trips you into confessing and when you do, he accuses you as being the cheater, and forces you to pay 500 coins to "help restart the lottery".
  • Anticlimax Boss:
      Advertisement:
    • Macho Grubba from Chapter 3. Despite having a whopping 60 HP, which is massive for this point, considering that the last chapter boss only had 30 HP and the next one will only have 40 HP, he's still incredibly easy to beat with attacks that are easy to Superguard. He spends most of his turns getting temporary stat buffs instead of attacking.
    • Grodus. While his attacks deal solid damage and come with annoying status effects, he has only 50 HP and 1 Defense, which isn't much for this late in the game. While the Grodus X minions he summons can draw out the fight, they go down easily to pretty much any attack that hits all enemies. For a fight that was built up for almost the entire game, it's not unheard of for it to be over in less than five turns. Perhaps justified because of the fight with Bowser and Kammy immediately after it with no chance to heal beforehand.
  • Arc Fatigue:
      Advertisement:
    • Chapter 2 is a tedious escort mission with a confusing layout and lots of backtracking, and the Peach and Bowser interludes up to that point are talking and not much else.
    • Mario going to the Moon in chapter 7 is considered a highlight of the game, but to get there you have to backtrack to nearly every single previous town in search of General White, only to find he'd been doing the same looking for you and is eventually found in the town where you started the quest. Then you have to jump on him about 10 times to wake him up.
  • Ass Pull:
    • During the final battle, the Crystal Stars act as communicators for the people of the world to convey their support and encouragement to Mario and his friends, which ends up fully restoring their HP and nullifying the Shadow Queen's invincibility. While a heartwarming and inspiring moment and a recurring element in the series, there was no previous foreshadowing or hints that the Crystal Stars had the ability to do this, particularly compared to the Star Spirits or the Pure Hearts doing the same thing in their respective games.
    • TEC's return to life at the end of the game. Not even TEC is sure how this is possible, though he suspects Peach has something to do with it.
  • Awesome Music: See AwesomeMusic.Paper Mario.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Beldam. Some love her for her "Plot Twist as the actual antagonist leading up to the Shadow Queen's reveal" and being fun to fight in the Siren boss fights. Others hate her for her total verbal abuse toward Vivian and Doopliss. Considering Vivian's fanbase and how many love her for being an Adorkable Woobie, this doesn't sit well with some people, and many people still haven't forgiven her even after she and Vivian made amends. They also see Beldam as a huge Jerkass Karma Houdini for being easily forgiven for everything she caused in the game.
    • The Punies as a whole. Many people consider Chapter 2 as their least favorite of the game because of the Puni mechanic, which made people dislike them. They also find them to be annoying characters. Others find them to be quite charming in dialogue (especially the favorable Puni Elder who has funny dialogue) and ignore their mechanic and don't see it as that bad because they enjoy their charming characters.
    • Pennington - is he funny or is he annoying?
    • Flurrie. Originally considered The Scrappy due to her... odd design, in later years a small minority of players began to note actual use in her moveset, with Lip Lock and Dodgy Fog in particular gaining traction. Her Lip Lock ability pierces defense and makes her a total wall against enemies. This downright cripples Bonetail and Gloomtail's offense, meaning Flurrie never loses HP. Flurrie is also a great shield for protecting other partner's HP by taking hits and restoring her health. Dodgy Fog acts as a nice evasive option that can be very useful in many later boss fights, even more reliable than Veil. And finally, Gale Force, despite its RNG factor, can be reliable in rewarding the player free Star Points and dispelling Fog, which is the better option to use over Bobbery in non-Boss battles. It's even effective against the most dangerous of foes like Poison Puffs. Because of this, a few people argue that she has more potential than many players believe and that there are worse partners combat wise (Ms. Mowz). Even her usage compared to Bobbery has been debatable.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • The Glitz Pit in Chapter 3. It's primarily battle-focused with no two enemies being the same, the plot is interesting, and even Bowser pops up at the most appropriate time.
    • Chapter 6's train ride is an incredibly varied and interesting chapter. It focuses on Mario riding a train across the country, and has elements of mystery. You visit a number of different and varied locales, and the boss of the chapter is challenging but fair and looks awesome.
    • Chapter 8, since it's the final chapter, is awesome as well, being packed with interesting puzzles, several bosses, the fight against the Big Bad (followed by a good case of a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere) and of course, the grand finale.
  • Best Boss Ever:
    • A lot of them. The chapter boss fights are some of the best parts of the game, and even some of the minor bosses are fun to fight against, too. However, the Shadow Queen stands out. After her introduction and the Hopeless Boss Fight, followed by one of the best moments in the entire game, she reveals herself as a severely difficult boss in an otherwise not-too-difficult game (depending on how you play it, of course) with a very varied moveset, dark blood-pumping music and the fact that she's an all-out Marathon Boss with a whooping 150 HP, which is impressive considering that only one other enemy, the optional Bonus Boss Bonetail, has HP going into triple digits.
    • Cortez, the fifth boss, definitely counts. He's a Sequential Flunky Boss that changes patterns entirely every time you "beat" him, with an interesting moveset that involves skill to counter, and also has one of the best boss themes in the game. Not to mention that he's also one of the hardest bosses up to that point.
    • Magnus Von Grapple. Both versions, fought as the second and seventh boss respectively, with one of the best boss themes in the game, also have quite interesting attacks with some hilarious dialogue. And even though the 2.0 version has one attack that's hard to avoid, it doesn't change that it's one of the more challenging bosses.
    • Grodus. He's the boss of Chapter 8 (not counting Bowser, who's fought right after with no chance to stop and heal), and boy, does he put up a fight, being a Shielded Core Boss that uses several dangerous tricks but isn't unfair at all, and best of all, this is the same asshole that has been hunting you down for nearly the entire game, kidnapped Peach and threatened to rule the world, so beating up his ass results in a very strong Catharsis Factor.
    • Also, Bowser in both instances he's fought. Yeah, he has almost zero reason to be there except for accidentally saving Mario from Grodus, but he puts up one hell of a fight either way, especially the second time around when he's aided by Kammy Koopa and you're likely worn out from defeating Grodus.
    • Smorg. Yeah, it's a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, but the fight itself is very fun, and a great conclusion to Chapter 6. The blood-pumping music especially helps.
    • Doopliss, one of the best examples of a Mirror Boss. It helps that he's fought after one of the more annoying parts of the game.
    • Rawk Hawk is a mid-boss, but his awesomeness is comparable to that of a major one. With epic rocking music, awesome build-up and a challenging but fair fight (especially in BP-only runs), it makes for a memorable fight, especially when beating him.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The Smorgs, the boss of Chapter 6. They just show up to block the switch to lower the drawbridge at Riverside Station, then the next morning, they attack the train, kidnap the passengers, get a beatdown from Mario, and are never seen again. Word of God says there was going to be a scene establishing that Beldam had summoned them, but it got cut out.
    • Bowser ambushing you in the Glitz Pit. Made especially strange in that a little later in the game, Bowser's subplot involves him attempting (and failing) to go to Glitzville.
  • Breather Boss:
    • Hooktail if you have the Attack FX R badge equipped. It progressively lowers Hooktail's attack power, gets rid of her defense point, and makes it possible for Hooktail to miss with her attacks. Not using the badge, however, turns this into something else entirely.
    • Doopliss does not have many fancy attacks and he has less HP and attack than the previous boss. He also comes between Macho Grubba, who can attack twice in a turn and up his attack and defense, and Cortez with powerful attacks. Even in his second battle which is harder the real threat comes from your partners who fight alongside him.
  • Breather Level: The Excess Express in Chapter 6, for the most part. It's more puzzle-oriented than battle-oriented, but it does have a "dungeon" portion with some fairly tough enemies, including an enemy who is obscenely difficult to deal with for the game's standards.note  Professor Frankly even lampshades just how easy a three-day train ride will be compared to the backbreaking work of the other chapters (while you still have work to do, of course).
  • Catharsis Factor:
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • Like with the first game, just about every experienced player only ever focuses on leveling up their Badge Points and never raises any other stat past 20. It's an even bigger case than before thanks to the addition of Superguarding, which negates all damage if pulled off, and the max BP cap being raised from 30 to 99.
    • For the exact same reasons as Goombario in the previous game, it's particularly easy to just stick to Goombella. To reiterate from Paper Mario 64's YMMV page, the main reasons are A) Tattle, B) Multibonk, and C) good, solid attack power. And again, if you have the Quick Change Badge, it's even easier because you can just switch in a partner who can swap out someone to defeat an enemy that Goombella can't fight (likely Yoshi or Vivian) and then immediately go back to her. Or for more strategic uses Goombella's Rally Wink can serve the same purpose. As any enemy she can't normally damage she can just give the extra turn to Mario instead, and depending on your setup can be really useful.
  • Common Knowledge: Only the X-Yux's X is pronounced "cross", not the X-nauts themselves. Koops' "Tissues to the extreme" joke wouldn't make sense otherwise.
  • Crack Pairing: Vivian and Doopliss are very often shipped together for no apparent reason.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Amazy Dayzees. Their attacks can deal twenty points of damage, and put both of your characters to sleep. Also double as a Metal Slime. Fortunately, they usually run away, and give out more star points than any other enemy in the game even after the point where all battles only earn you one or two.
    • Regular Crazee Dayzees are usually no big deal, but their singing attack can be annoying, as it can put Mario and/or his partner to sleep if not blocked, which can be quite difficult if one doesn't get the timing down right. Worse, they are almost never alone, which means that if you're unlucky, you'll repeatedly get put to sleep by their attacks and take a lot more damage than you normally would, as you can't guard (and thus avoid falling asleep) while asleep. This is especially dangerous during Mario's brief time alone, as not only are all attacks obviously geared towards him (versus the enemies occasionally targeting the partner in normal battles), but the Dayzees are sometimes accompanied by hyper enemies or Amazy Dayzees; the former can boost themselves up to deal huge damage and the latter sometimes runs away, but if it doesn't, can inflict 20 damage. The threat of a Game Over during this part is very real.
    • Some of the later monsters in the Pit of 100 Trials can be BRUTAL. Namely, Wizzerds of any sort, Arantulas, and even the dreaded Amazy Dayzees can show up (and always accompanied by Bob-ulks!). Pretty much any enemy on levels 81-99 are beyond brutal and dangerous, as well as exclusive to the pit.
      • To elaborate, almost everything in the last 30 floors falls squarely into this. The first ones you'll encounter are the Badge Bandits who are found after the half-way point of the pit, whose attacks are hard to guard against and, as their name suggests, they can steal your badges. Later, you face Wizzerds, more powerful versions of the Dark Wizzerd enemy from the Palace of Shadow. It gets even worse near the bottom, with Spunia, Piranha Plants, Arantulas, and Dark Bristles, which are very difficult to hit without getting hurt and have a whopping 8 attack and 4 defense (though combining Quake Hammer with Spike Shield will utterly counter them)! On the lowest levels, you'd run into aforementioned Amazy Dayzees, Poison Puffs (with the ability to store up poison, surrounding them in a cloud of unapproachability and allowing them to do a breath attack for 10 damage and chance of poisoning), Swampires (with and the ability to drain your HP and replenish their HP, which is at an absurdly-high 20), Bob-ulks (which would charge up before unleashing a self-destruct attack so that they'd be up to 16 by the time they hit—including a defense boost almost immediately in the sequence.), and the absolute worst, Elite Wizzerds—12 HP, 8 attack, 5 defense, and the full complement of buffs. In fact, they are most likely the toughest enemies in the whole game, and for some reason, they tended to appear in groups of four or five. Five elite mooks at once practically amounts to a boss battle. The only saving grace is you no longer need the Spike Shield to jump on any enemies. If you can manage to survive all of that, you'll probably find the actual boss at the bottom floor to be, ironically, an Anti-Climax Boss.
    • A rather infamous one is the Spiky Parabuzzy found in Chapter 6. Take Jr. Troopa's fourth form in the first game (itself already considered That One Boss there) and multiply him by about 3 per room in the Brutal Bonus Level. And you might not have the Spike Shield badge if you can't get past the retracting Spikes of Doom trap protecting it. To make things worse, the only partner to hit them without being damaged themselves is Vivian, who can't damage them because of its immunity to fire! If you haven't equipped Hammer Throw, either just run away, use Flurrie's defense penetrating Lip Lock on them, Earth Tremor, or Thunder Rage... hope you've been warming that audience up. This regular enemy is essentially a Boss in Mook Clothing and has quite a reputation among fans of the series.
    • The X-Yux's HP isn't very high, but you had better kill it before it gets a turn. If it attacks, its beam will immobilize Mario unless he superguards it. While Mario's unable to act or defend, it will build up its mini-Yuxes until it has four, which allows it to shoot five beams every turn. Once that happens, it's pretty much Game Over. On top of that, it's immune to status effects, so you can't use Clock Out to stop it from moving or Showstopper to just kill it before it can move. Fail the Thwomp quiz, and you must fight TWO at once.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Vivian, whether it's for being a very sympathetic Anti-Villain who turns on her sisters to join Mario, being a Cute Witch with an original design, being a surprisingly well-written transgender character in non-English and German versions, or her incredible usefulness in combat. She gets the most fanart of all the partners, hands down. There's also the fact that, of all the partners from the Paper Mario series, Vivian's design is completely unique, and not from a preexisting race in the Mario universe (possibly excluding Flurrie, who many argue is based on the Puff line of enemies). She is consistently requested to return for future games and, much like Lady Bow from the first game, may have become a Breakout Character had the series not wanted to stick with mainline Mario characters. Nintendo is seemingly aware of her popularity as she is one of two reps from this game (the other being The Shadow Queen) to get spirits in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
    • For a character that only plays a major role for a short time, Jolene is pretty popular with the fans. Might be because of her Sugar-and-Ice Personality and being one of the more attractive Toads.
    • Rawk Hawk, to the point where he's one of only three Paper Mario characters to get a nod in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, along with Parakarry and Goombella.
    • The Yoshi partner. Not only is Yoshi already a popular species, but he's a newborn that the player gets to hatch. The fact that you get to name him and he can come in different colors means you're allowed a basic level of customization as well. Helping things is his endearing Cute Boisterous Bruiser personality.
    • Doopliss, for being the source of a lot of the game's funniest moments while also being a surprisingly effective and savvy villain. The Chapter 3 and 4 areas are chock full of darkhorses, it seems.
    • The Shadow Queen, thanks to being an Eldritch Abomination that's played shockingly straight for a Mario game.
    • Goombella is beloved for her sassy personality, her good design, her use in battle and her mix of sweet-hearted charm and Deadpan Snarker moments.
    • Flavio. Even though his crew hate him, the fans surprisingly adore him. Even more so after the discovery of a glitch that lets him stay in Mario's party permanently.
  • Even Better Sequel: Widely agreed to be a better game than its predecessor for multiple reasons. Namely an improved battle system, more unique locales, even more memorable characters, a far more original plot, epic boss fights and more. The result is a game that is often seen as the best of the Paper Mario series and even the Mario RPGs in general, and maybe one of the best Mario games ever made as a whole.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Possessed Peach has this appeal.
  • Fanon:
    • There is no evidence or even hints that the Secret Society of X-Nauts are aliens in the game, but it's a common fan interpretation, given that their base is on the moon. This stems from the game's NOA webstite, which incidentally also got K.P. Pete's colors wrong (NOA has a reputation for making mistakes).
    • It is generally assumed that The Shadow Queen is of the same species as the Shadow Sirens, but the game never explicitly gives them a species.
      • Hell, their species being "Shadow Siren" is this to begin with. The term is very clearly meant to refer exclusively to Beldam and her sisters, regardless of what they are, but fans treat it as if it were the species' actual nomenclature.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • Sticker Star was hated by fans for going overboard with the paper aesthetic and the characters commenting constantly on it. In The Thousand-Year Door, the characters themselves never outright said that they were made of paper, but the game took advantage of the aesthetic with the "curses" Mario gets throughout the game, which allowed him to roll up into a tube or become a paper plane or a boat. Worth mentioning however is that these abilities were treated as curses, and therefore unnatural, whilst in Sticker Star they were anything but.
    • Sticker Star's Thing weakness system was also one of the biggest criticisms the game had, but The Thousand-Year Door did something similar with the Hooktail battle, in which you could capitalize on her hatred of crickets by using a badge that made the sound of one with each of your attacks, thereby turning the boss from somewhat-challenging into a complete pushover.
  • Game-Breaker: The "Danger Mario" setup, the epitome of a Glass Cannon. By setting his max HP at 5 thanks to Chet Rippo and equipping tons of Power Rush badges, which can easily be gotten at the casino, Mario can deal obscenely huge amounts of damage. Add to that the Spike Shield, which allows you to jump on spiked enemies safely, Close Call, which sometimes causes enemies' attacks to miss when Mario is in Danger mode and can be gotten by stealing them from any Goomba, Ice Power, which allows you to jump on fire enemies safely, and several Life Shrooms in case Mario dies, and you can kiss the difficulty good-bye. This is alleviated somewhat by the fact that you can only make the best use of it late in the game, as you need Bobbery to reach Chet Rippo, but it still makes the rest of the game (As well as the Pit of 100 Trials, if you haven't cleared it already) a breeze.
    • Depending on the setup anything can really be a gamebreaker in reality. As many options outright rip through enemies and bosses. Especially having Attack raising badges and Power Lift, which does a lot of damage.
    • Goombella and Yoshi can be considered this. Decreasing their HP down to one combined with some Attack Raising badges, Power Lift, Power Rushes and Mega Rush P and they do massive amounts of damage (the best damage of any party member in game) leading to some game breaking battles. This easily makes them the best party members. This has been named "Danger Yoshi/Goombella"
    • Clock Out, Power Lift and Art Attack, as they are all the most consistently useful Star Powers and can ridiculously overpower entire battles. All Crystal Stars are useful, but these three are the most useful. TO elaborate:
      • Clock Out freezes all enemies on the battlefield for three turns, and they can't attack once the effect wears off. Sound underwhelming, due to the usual Contractual Boss Immunity to other status effects? Well, guess what? The only enemies it won't work on are Yuxes (and their recolor relatives) and Bonetail. With the Emerald Star's power, you effectively have more than enough time to dish out incredible amounts of pain.
      • Power Lift gives Mario and his partner Attack buffs depending on the amount of arrows popped during the action command. These buffs can quickly stack up to incredible levels, sometimes to even +5 or +6, drastically increasing your entire party's damage output. Though the buff only lasts for three turns, that's more than enough to lay a real wallop on whatever stands before you.
      • Art Attack deals three damage for every circle you make around the enemy. Underwhelming on paper, right? That three HP's worth of damage is an Armor-Piercing Attack, and it quickly stacks up if done correctly, meaning Art Attack is able to do a surprisingly high, consistent amount of damage.
    • Since Mario and co. are given so many options, almost anything they do can be considered overpowered. Flurrie's Lip Lock can be game breaking against Gloomtail and Bonetail, Vivian can break many enemy swarms, Yoshi and Goombella do ridiculous damage, Koops can sweep the Pit of 100 Trials easily and Bobbery can clear fog.
    • Superguard can be this, basically with it you not only take no damage but if the attacker is a direct one, you deal a point of damage back. This allows for a slow but sure victory and Mario and partners can Superguard nearly everything in the game.
    • If your guard timing is even remotely passable, Vivian's Veil ability is this, allowing you to skip an entire turn's worth of incoming attacks for a measly *one FP*. Vivian is unable to act the next turn but this is where the guarding comes in; learn to Superguard effectively and you will become legitimately invincible.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • By doing some sequence breaking to get to Chapter 5 early, Flavio can "join" Mario permanently. This can lead to some hilarious cutscenes where he randomly warps in or flies off for no reason while the game tries to figure out what to do with him.
    • There's a not so known glitch know as the "Hazard Respawn Glitch" which allows players to sequence break into Chapters 5 and 6 as early as Chapter 2 when the Super Boots are obtained. This can lead to getting the Ultra Stone during Chapter 5, and even getting to West Rogueport during the Prologue, which helps prepare for Pre-Hooktail Pit runs.
    • As mentioned with the Hazard Respawn Glitch above this can also be used to obtain Ms. Mowz early as a party member. This is done by using the glitch to Poshley Heights, activating the Note on the Sanctum Door and having the game register you in Chapter 6, do Ms. Mowz's "??? Elusive Badge" mission and then head back to The Great Tree and Spin Jump to break the Punies out. This unlocks Ms. Mowz as early as Chapter 2. She's registered as a glitch until after Chapter 4 though. She's even active during Chapter 4, where she doesn't leave Mario's team with the rest of the party, resulting in a party consisting of Mario, Vivian and Ms. Mowz.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In Chapter 6, Doopliss steals Nitro Honey Syrup, shell earrings and a gold ring to combine them into a bomb to destroy the train and kill Mario. Come 2006, there was a panic about terrorists making bombs right on the plane.
    • Admiral Bobbery's "sacrifice" in Chapter 5 where his final resting place just ends up being a resting place becomes a bit more uncomfortable come Paper Mario: The Origami King when another Bob-omb ally makes a Heroic Sacrifice...and doesn't come back.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In her last tutorial Toadette was sad about not being able to see Mario anymore, now in New Super Mario Bros. U she joins Mario in his quest and is able to help him more.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In The Super Mario Bros Super Show!, professional wrestler Captain Lou Albano voiced Mario, and even played him in the live-action segments. Meanwhile, although he's no longer voiced by a professional wrestler in The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World, both cartoons each have wrestling play a significant role in an episode. In Glitzville in this game, Mario takes on the role of a professional wrestler, the Great Gonzales.
    • In the scene before you recruit him, Bobbery thinks that Mario has adventures in the afterlife...
    • After beating the game, talking to the gamer Toad in Petal Meadows reveals that he's been playing the sequel to this game, noting that Luigi fans shouldn't miss out. Sure enough, of the four playable characters in the next game, Luigi has the most plot importance and even makes up part of the Final Boss.
    • In Luigi's story, he had to dress as a bride to get an audience with a two-headed snake. In Super Mario Odyssey, Mario can do the same thing (minus the snake part).
    • This is not the only game that has a Petalburg City... or a Twilight Town.
    • One of the pieces of graffiti written on the back of the Rogueport bulletin board is signed from "The Heart-Stealing Thief."
  • It Was His Sled: The Thousand-Year Door was set up to seal the Shadow Queen. It's kept a secret at first while gradually revealing this to the player, but it quickly became very well known.
  • LGBT Fanbase: Vivian has one, as in many translations of the game, she is implied to be transgender. She is also considered to be an extremely well written trans character and that not being the only thing that makes her special.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Was anybody actually worried over Peach's "death" after the final boss fight?
  • Memetic Badass: In wake of the Flavio glitch, Flavio has been given the reputation of a god by the fandom for his tendency to teleport during cutscenes while offscreen, stand on water, phase through a pirate ship, and stand in front of the moon, among other things.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Sir Grodus shutting TEC-XX down. As the player's guide says: "If you don't feel much animosity toward Sir Grodus at this point, you will by the time the event is over." Plus, he does it in front of Peach.
    • Grubba trapping King K and Bandy Andy under a box and leaving them to (presumably) die after draining their powers with the Crystal Star. And he's been doing this for years.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Let's just say that there's a very good reason why the Rogueport citizens feel uneasy whenever they're near the Thousand-Year Door. It's fabled in legend as the door leading one to a grand legendary treasure. It's actually the gateway to the Palace of Shadow, where the Shadow Queen has remained sealed for a thousand years.
    • The tune that comes with X's e-mails as well as Grubba's when he threatens you (from the ice world in Super Mario Bros. 3). It doesn't help that the controller rumbles whenever you receive one of these calls, which will often jolt the player's focus. Even Mario and his partner are startled when it happens.
    • The Shadow Queen is basically a nightmare incarnate. And when she actually makes an appearance in the story, the first thing that happens is the entire world is plunged into darkness. Instantly. It gets worse from there.
    • The 'victory' music that plays at the end of a battle and your partner has been knocked out. Ugh...
    • While Mario explores the unused rooms of Glitz Pit, finding the half-dead forms of two of your former opponents-turned-allies.
    • From Chapter 6, waking up the third day to find that all of the passengers on board the Excess Express have been abducted by a weird tentacle monster made up of smaller creatures that are abundant enough to swarm the entire train, covering every single window.
    • The abilities of the Chapter 4 boss, Doopliss. The boss himself might be Nightmare Retardant, but him first turning the villagers into pigs, then performing identity theft in the most literal manner possible is definitely scary. Hits home if you try to take the pipe to Rogueport during the second bit; you can't, because that pipe requires you have something with your name written on it...and you no longer have a name.
    • Bonetail and the Pit of 100 Trials in general. The Pit itself was made by the Shadow Queen as a sort of dungeon that is almost completely filled with dangerous and non-stop monsters! There are ways out, but they were most likely never there before. Meaning that anybody that got trapped there was left to either be killed by the monsters or to eventually rot! And there are one hundred floors of this! And the scariest part is that it's all a few rooms under Rogueport, the Hub Level that's supposed to be the "safe" zone. The music, a very low-key yet menacing theme which perfectly fits what amounts to a long-abandoned torture dungeon, doesn't help this one bit.
    • Due to Super Drowning Skills / Border Patrol, there is a large chain chomp-esque pirahna/shark called Nibbles in every body of water in the game - including the park fountain in West Rogueport and the swimming pool in Poshley Heights.
  • Nightmare Retardant:
    • Doopliss has abilities that remain terrifying throughout Chapter 4, but that doesn't change the fact that the one responsible for the town's curse is a Bedsheet Ghost in a party hat and bowtie who is sitting in an easy chair watching TV when you first meet him. Your partner even lampshades how ridiculous Doopliss looks.
    • The black chests count as well. The first time you open one, the encounter is (at first) somewhat scary...until the spirit explains the nature of the curse just put upon you. The second one is less scary because of the choice of words, and also because you end up getting Cursed With Awesome again. The third time, you already know how it's gonna go, and by the last one, Mario is clearly just letting the last spirit put on its act.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Dreaded Shadow Queen only appears in the Final Battle. But — as Peach, Grodus, Beldam, and Mario and co. along with the rest of the world can attest — she definitely makes the most of her only scene.
  • Padding:
    • Some of the fight conditions Grubba sets down for you can be this such as "Don't attack for the first three turns" or "Let your enemy damage you five times" as they only unnecessarily drag out the fights.
    • Chapter 4's layout has Twilight Town, Twilight Trail, and then Creepy Steeple. Your first trip through Twilight Trail is fine enough, but at the Steeple, you have to return to town afterwards. Vivian joins you, and you have to go back to the steeple to find Doopliss's name. You go back to town to confront him, and he runs to the steeple, making you go through Twilight Trail again. Oh, and of course, you have to get back to Twilight Town by passing through Twilight Trail after you beat the chapter. That's six trips through the area, with no changes past the initial visit.
    • The first section of Chapter 5 takes place on Keelhaul Key, between the base camp and the entrance to Pirate's Grotto. After your first visit to the grotto, you meet Bobbery, who wants you to get Flavio's Chuckola Cola; he's back at the camp. Once you give it to him, he joins your party and you have to go back to get Flavio, then return to the entrance so Flavio can open it. And after you beat the chapter, you still have to go to the entrance and back to get Frankie's wedding ring.
    • While not as bad as Chapter 4's backtracking, the search for General White makes Chapter 7 much longer than it needs to be and the order you visit past locations seems to be designed to take as long as possible, even with the warp pipe shortcuts. To say nothing of the sidequest where you have to chase him around again.
    • The 100 "I love yous" Francesca makes Frankie say, when they lose the ring on the island. It's unskippable and really feels like it drags on far too long for a quest that shouldn't even be that long. The only other gag even present is a counter for each "I love you" starting from 10.
    • The Trouble Center allows Mario to do short sidequests at certain locations. Most of these take place outside of Rogueport, forcing you to go back to those areas, hear what you're requested to do, and then finish the task; sometimes it also involves going to other places. You can only have one trouble active at a time, which is inconvenient when two are located in the same area (The Great Boggly Tree has two in the same room, and the Pit of 100 Trials makes you go to floor 20 for one and floor 50 for another.)
      • In Jolene's trouble, in Glitzville, she has you collecting dirty clothes in the locker room. You have to sell these to a Goomba in Rogueport, then go back to Jolene, and then back to Rogueport to choose another trouble.
    • If you want to get the abilitity to ultra-rank your partners, you have to go back to Hooktail's Castle and into the furthest room, and then go back to Rogueport. You can't do this on your first trip there because you don't have the needed partner.
  • Player Punch:
    • Sir Grodus shutting TEC-XX down, if you really felt for TEC.
    • Seeing Doopliss possess Mario's body and running around pretending to be him, while the player is unable to do anything about it just yet or even return to Rogueport, can be a little jarring.
    • Watching Vivian get bullied by her sisters, even when you first meet them, is bound to make the player feel horrible for her.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Flurrie has endured no shortage of hatred and is outright reviled by a large portion of the fanbase, being regarded as a pompous, self-absorbed windbag even though her actual character couldn't be farther from that. She devotes herself to aiding the Punies out of a very skewed (in their favor) sense of Because You Were Nice to Me, and she remains a down-to-earth Proper Lady for almost the entirety of the game. Beyond the fact that, shock and horror, she asks Mario to reclaim a lost necklace of hers before she helps him, the only thing about her to actually get hung up on is her design — and even that is meant to be a stylized take on her being some sort of cloud spirit.
  • Sacred Cow: In the eyes of popular gaming sites like GameFAQs and classic RPG fans, this game is the golden standard for Mario spinoffs and even Mario games, period. Nowadays it's practically immune to criticism, especially as the newer games get considerable backlash while this one (along with the first and to a lesser extent Super) still gets a lot of praise from gamers, just like it did back when it was released.
  • The Scrappy:
    • General White is despised for the copious amount of backtracking he makes the player go through during Chapter 7. He does it again if the player takes up Goldbob's request in the Trouble Center.
    • Francesca Pianta is hated for her selfish attitude as well as having a controlling Sickeningly Sweetheart attitude towards Frankie. When she hears that her father Don Pianta is sick and misses her, rather than be concerned for her father's health, she selfishly forces Frankie to say "I love you" 100 times which in and out of game just serves to waste the player's time. Also Frankie's trouble in losing his ring implies she has a temper with regard to their love for each other.
    • Podley is generally disliked for not obeying Scarlette's Last Request by not giving Bobbery her letter, essentially ruining his life.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: A few of the elements injected by the audience/stage into battles are not well-regarded, mostly for being random events that can screw you over even in the Pit of 100 Trials:
    • Falling stage props. While the background scenery tipping over is slow and predictable to defend against, sometimes buckets or spotlights will fall from above at way too high a speed to properly react to, and some can inflict the Dizzy condition.
    • Random stage fog reduces everyone's accuracy to about a 50/50 chance. While this can potentially save your hide if an enemy misses you, it can also ruin you just the same. Bobbery's explosions and Flurrie's Gale Force can get rid of the fog, but it can still waste turns and they're never explained.
    • Once you reach higher ranks, the nozzles on the front of the stage will sometimes spew ice jets, fire, or explosions at the combatants. Unlike other stage elements, these all deal more than one damage, and the ice jets can potentially freeze you while the fire and explosion jets can make Bulky Bob-omb enemies explode instantly so that you either die from their explosions or get weakened enough that another attack can kill you.
    • Bulky Bob-ombs take up two chairs in the audience, thus reducing your maximum audience size, never throw any items onto the stage, and sometimes will light their fuse and explode, taking out a huge chunk of the audience. Dull Bones are also similarly disliked, as they do not provide any Star Power to Mario and only ever throw damaging objects at him, being an effective waste of a seat.
    • The audience as a whole can be a horrendous distraction, as if you screw up the timing on your attacks or counter poorly, your audience starts to leave, while you get Star Power from the audience, which you need to pull off your special attacks. Things get even more complicated when they can mess with the stage or throw things at you, ranging from rocks that do damage to helpful items.
    • Enemies constantly pursue you in an attempt to fight, regardless of relative strength level, and their vision range is increased compared to 64. This really becomes a problem in the more tedious parts of Chapters 4 and 7 as well as general backtracking for sidequests and exploration.
    • First Attack and Bump Attack badges not working in the Pit of 100 Trials. Half the pain of the Pit is the super difficult lower levels, the other half is the tedious slog through the unchallenging higher ones.
    • Enemies can hold items and use them in battle. This gets particularly annoying with status-inflicting items like Dizzy Dials or Sleepy Sheep, or even healing items such as Super Shrooms and Life Shrooms. If you don't kill the enemy on the first turn, they are very likely to use the item.
  • Self-Fanservice: Vivian in particular gets a lot of this. Often she will she be given actual breasts and a more realistic humanoid figure instead of the wispy spirit look she has in game. She is also often given a penis, because of her being a trans woman in Japanese.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge:
    • It is possible to defeat Bonetail before you challenge Hooktail, the first boss with a Crystal Star, though you do have to visit Hooktail's castle first (as the only way to get to the Pit requires an ability you get at the castle, and only there). It is extremely difficult, but it is possible.
    • Speaking of Hooktail, a common challenge is to defeat her without using her weakness. It makes what is otherwise a pretty easy boss into a difficult one.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: While the game isn't too much harder in comparison to the previous game, it's still quite a bit difficult overall; enemies have more health and strength than they did before and they can also carry items and use them against you. The game also has several kinds of Non Standard Game Over (some you can get around while others you'd have to jump into them on purpose) whereas the previous game didn't have any. Some bosses have attacks that can't be guarded or super guarded.
  • Shocking Swerve: Beldam, not Grodus, was the one behind everything. While the Shadow Queen turning on Grodus is to be expected of powerful evil beings, the subsequent reveal that Beldam was using Grodus and knew this would happen comes completely out of left field even though the Shadow Queen is a Living Shadow, just like the Sirens.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Lampshaded by Lahla; any time you hang out in the Pianta Parlor, she points out that rescuing the Princess is important, but also encourages you to have fun.
  • Spoiled by the Format: Did you really think Chapter 4 would be finished in about 15–20 minutes?
  • That One Attack:
    • X-Yux's primary attack can immobilize you, and it can only be neutralized with a well-timed Superguard. If that doesn't kill you, then its attack when it has four mini X-Yux shielding it definitely will.
    • The Crazee Dayzee's sing attack. It has an obscure timing for dodging and can put you to sleep if you fail to dodge it correctly.
    • Magnus Von Grapple 2.0 would be easy if it weren't for its audience-machine-gun attack.
  • That One Boss:
    • The Shadow Queen is quite hard, even by Final Boss standards. Despite having only 1 Defense and her Attack being outmatched by a boss from 10 minutes ago, she gets multiple attacks per round, as well as being very difficult to time for dodges. And all of said attacks ignore your defense, so the damage starts racking up very quickly. She also has an attack that will drain your HP to replenish her own, and at one point, restores her health completely at the expense of the audience. Speaking of which, she has more health than the two preceding bosses combined, at 150. Oh, and there's a pair of very long unskippable cutscenes before the real fight starts. She was even harder in the Japanese version, where none of her attacks were Superguardable.
    • There's also Bowser's appearance out of nowhere in the Palace of Shadow, primarily because Mario is likely worn out from the preceding battle with Grodus, Bowser and Kammy both have quite a bit of health and hit like a truck, and you have no opportunity to heal in between. Most guides recommend you grind so that you level up on Grodus for a full heal to avoid getting completely trashed.
  • That One Level:
    • A major part of Chapter 2 is an escort mission for the Punis, who number 101 in total. It's made very tedious by the confusing level layout, the Puni Orb mechanics slowing exploration down, the bubble and blowing mechanics having wonky hitboxes, and the fact that the Punis can get stuck on terrain, flee from any nearby enemies, and can drop out of the swarm seemingly at random, forcing you to go back and get them to move on. The Timed Mission near the end doesn't help, especially since the timer keeps running in menus, battles, and cutscenes.
    • Chapter 4 is infamous for the amount of backtracking, requiring four trips on the Twilight Trail at the minimum. What makes it a pain is the enemies, who are capable of very strong attacks, and the fact that all your partners have left you for this segment. It gets a little better when Vivian joins you halfway through, but only a little.
    • Pirate's Grotto from the fifth chapter, particularly the part where Boat Mario has to get past some rolling waves.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Jolene's brother and the Glitz Pit's first champion, Prince Mush. After you beat Grubba and the Crystal Star releases him, he could have been a good Bonus Boss along with Bonetail and the Atomic Boo. Instead, after the end of Chapter 3, you never see him again.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: More than a few fans would have enjoyed a defictionalized version of Luigi's adventure. That there's a Toad kid in Petalburg who was playing the Paper Mario games and speculates if they'll release a "Paper Luigi" doesn't help.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • Koops' options in battle are limited to attacking on the ground, and unlike Kooper from the first game, he doesn't get a fire move to help deal with ice-based enemies. While his innate Def of 1 may seem appealing compared to every other partner having 0 Def, he has the lowest HP of all partners (tied with Ms. Mowz) and can be flipped over just like enemy Koopa Troopas. Coupling that with his low attack, he'll almost never see use in the lategame.
    • Ms. Mowz is seen as very cumbersome in combat. Her one helpful move is to steal badges and items from enemies, while every other move is outclassed by something else. While Love Slap pierces defense and is the only base move that pierces defense without using FP, it does very little damage in battle (being 4 damage at max), especially since enemies and other partners at that point will primarily be doing 5 and above. Add in that Love Slap can't hit fiery, spiky or flying enemies and is limited to the front target only, and you have a move that's completely outclassed by Gulp, Shell Slam, Fiery Jinx and Lip Lock, all of which have superior defense piercing capabilities, the ability to hit multiple enemies, and/or ability to attack many types of enemies and heal Flurrie. Tease gives enemies the "Dizzy" status, and while it's nice for avoiding moves (and useful for keeping Bandits from Stealing your things), it's subpar in that, like Vivian's Infatuate, it's largely inconsistent in use and most of the time just doesn't work. Her only ranged move, Smooch, could be a useful move if not for its cost of 10 FP just to recover 10 HP for Mario, when an item or special move could do the same for no FP cost. Because of these flaws, Ms. Mowz barely receives any attention in combat or story scenes.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Every single Paper Mario game that was released after The Thousand Year Door will always inevitably draw comparisons to it, as it is very frequently cited as the pinnacle of the series, if not Mario RPGs as a whole. The comparisons are seldom positive.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • The informed main purpose of the Ultra Hammer, unlocked after Chapter 6, outside of battle is to smash stone blocks. However, these are much less common than expected.
    • After appearing early on in Hooktail Castle, elevator blocks don’t reappear until way ahead in Palace of Shadow, and even then in a much smaller role.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Despite being universally hated in-game, Flavio has a surprising fanbase thanks to his eccentric personality and association with a glitch.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Admit it, you were as shocked as everyone else when you heard Gloomtail refer to Hooktail as his sister.
  • The Woobie:
    • Vivian would be very difficult not to feel sorry for. To elaborate, she's blamed for literally everything that goes wrong for the Shadow Sirens, has a necklace she found taken from her by Beldam and gets repetitively kicked around by her sisters, and she's implied to be transgender, which Beldam isn't any kinder about in the versions where it's inferred. It's quite surprising that it took her that long to finally be fed up with Beldam's abuse, and join up with Mario.
    • Bobbery's backstory involving Scarlette qualifies him as one as well.
    • Podley the bartender is difficult not to feel sorry for given his guilt in his connection to the aforementioned tale of Bobbery, even if it is warranted, as well as his mysterious past involving the character Eve in the sidequest involving said character.
    • Jolene and Prince Mush certainly qualify too. Their family was poor, Mush disappeared as a result of Grubba's machine, resulting in Jolene having to work for Grubba to find her brother and having to put on a brave face the whole time. It helps that Jolene is popular with the fans and a lot of fans thought Mush would've been a cool Bonus Boss.
    • Even Mario qualifies to some extent. Having your body and name stolen by a Jerkass, and no-one recognizing you with nothing but your jump, a hammer, some badges, and whatever items you had. While everyone talks about how great you are. Not to mention having your girlfriend transformed into the Big Bad before your eyes.
    • Luigi is either this or an Iron Butt Monkey due to a certain request in Poshley Heights. Basically, a fangirl of Luigi's wants to meet him, and in order to do that you need the L Emblem. When you show up, the real Luigi also shows up and she thinks YOU are the real one, practically crushing poor Luigi. That's right, if you want 100%, you have to be a dick to your own brother.
    • TEC-XX is this. Knowing nothing about love, helping Peach try escape, and trying to cheer her up when she misses the Mushroom Ball. But then he's shut down by Grodus, only to use the last of his power to tell Mario where Peach is and activate the teleporter back to Rogueport. He gets better at the end of the game, but still...

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report