Paper Mario (JP) (formerly known as Super Mario RPG 2) is a Mario role-playing game developed by Intelligent Systems for the Nintendo 64, and was later re-released for the iQue Player and Virtual Console.

Paper Mario has the player taking control of Mario on his quest to rescue Princess Peach and save the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser, who has stolen the mythical Star Rod of Star Haven and used its wish granting powers to make himself invincible. To stop Bowser and rescue Princess Peach, Mario and company must save the seven Star Spirits; magical beings who have been sealed in cards by Bowser with the power to nullify the Star Rod, as well as the original owners of the Star Rod.

Paper Marios gameplay is a blend of traditional Japanese role-playing games and Mario-esque platforming features; Mario has the ability to jump in both the overworld and in battle, and jumping remains one of the most important actions in the game. The player controls Mario and a party of followers as they journey through the Mushroom Kingdom, exploring dungeons, managing stats, and battling enemies. The title refers to the game's arts and crafts aesthetic; nearly every character in the game is drawn as a flat 2D sprite, revealing itself as paper-thin when turning around, and many elements of the environments are also depicted as 2D sprites.

Paper Mario was initially in development for the Nintendo 64DD under the name Mario RPG 2[1] and intended as a sequel to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. It later became the first installment of the Paper Mario series and would go on to receive several sequels; the first in the same style of gameplay (Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door), followed by several in different playstyles (Super Paper Mario, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, and Paper Mario: Color Splash).


The game is modeled after popup books, with everything being made of paper while having a 3D perspective. Various things change much like a popup book, such as the front of a building falling over upon entering it.


Far, far away beyond the sky, way above the clouds, it's been said that there was a haven where the Stars lived.

In the sanctuary of Star Haven, there rested a fabled treasure called the Star Rod, which had the power to grant all wishes. Using this wondrous Star Rod, the seven revered Star Spirits watched over our peaceful world carefully...very carefully.

Then one day, a terrible thing happened...The evil King Bowser appeared in Star Haven and stole the Star Rod! Using its incredible power, he quickly imprisoned the seven Star Spirits!

Completely unaware of the trouble in Star Haven, Mario is back home in the Mushroom Kingdom, eagerly reading a letter from Princess Peach. It was an invitation to a party at the castle. With much anticipation, he and his brother Luigi set off for the party, oblivious to the chaos that lay ahead...

Catastrophe at Star Haven

Beyond the clouds high in the sky above the Mushroom Kingdom, exists a place known as the Star Haven. Seven elder Stars called the Star Spirits are in a sanctuary guarding an old and legendary treasure known as the Star Rod. The Star Rod is said to grant any wish the user desires. The Star Spirits use the Star Rod to grant wishes of people of the world as well as watch over it. On this fateful day, Bowser and his minion Kammy Koopa break into the sanctuary. Bowser takes the Star Rod for himself and uses it to imprison the Star Spirits and take them to separate places around the kingdom to be guarded by his minions.

A Plea from the Stars

The player takes control of Mario at his house. He and Luigi had just received a letter from Princess Peach in the mail. It's an invitation to a party at her castle. So the two brothers, excited, enter their Warp Pipe and head to the castle. People and different creatures all from around the kingdom are at the castle. A loyal subordinate of Peach tells Mario that the princess is in her private chambers. As Mario and Peach greet each other in one of the upper rooms, a giant earthquake erupts. In shock, Peach and Mario are puzzled at the events. Bowser appears and breaks through a nearby window in his Koopa Clown Car. He explains to Peach that he used his castle to uproot hers and now the castle has been lifted high in the sky. Both he and Mario engage in a brutal fight. Though Mario gains the upper hand, Bowser uses the Star Rod to make himself invincible and easily takes down Mario. With a lightning bolt from the Star Rod, Bowser sends Mario plummeting out the window down from the castle high in the sky. Bowser laughs in victory and takes Peach. Mario, thought to be dead, survives the long fall and lands in a forest near Goomba Village. The family of Goombas find Mario unconscious and put him in a bed at the Toad House. During Mario's slumber, Eldstar, one of the Star Spirits, tries to contact Mario through a dream. Eldstar tells him to meet him on Shooting Star Summit. After Mario awakens, he finds out he has been unconscious for several days. Thanking the Goombas for their hospitality, Mario sets out for Shooting Star Summit. Kammy Koopa appears and finds out Mario is not dead. Telling Mario he can't defeat Bowser, she uses her wand to make a Yellow Block to block the path to Toad Town. Mario than helps Goompa find his Hammer to destroy the block. Mario sets out along the trail to Toad Town with his new party member, Goombario. Halfway to Toad Town, Mario finds that the path is blocked by a tower. The tower is home to the Goomba King and his allies the Goomba Bros. After Mario defeats them, they go to Toad Town and Shooting Star Summit. Here, the Star Spirits tell Mario what happened at Star Haven and the abilities that is bestowed upon the user of the Star Rod. They tell him he must rescue them from their prisons scattered across the land.

Meanwhile, Kammy Koopa had watched Mario's fight with the Goomba King and notifies Bowser.




The title screen of Paper Mario.

Other Characters


On the field, Mario can walk and jump around with one of his partners. He can activate their special power by pressing down on the C-Stick to solve puzzles, initiate battle, and more. All enemies (except for bosses) can be seen on the field making most battles optional, and a battle will begin if Mario touches the enemy, jumps on them, hits them with a hammer, or uses Kooper's or Bombette's special powers. Conversely, an enemy may have the first hit and initiate battle allowing it to attack Mario. In battle, Mario always takes the first turn, although he may let his partner act first by pressing the Z button. Battle is turn-based, so the player can take as long as they want to decide Mario's and his partner's actions. Possible actions include Jump, Hammer, Items, Star Power (rewarded by the Star Spirits upon release), Change Partner, Run Away, and Do Nothing. After successfully completing a battle, Mario is rewarded with Star Points which, if Mario collects 100, gets a level up where he can decide to increase his HP (Heart Points), FP (Flower Points), or BP (Badge Points).

Virtual Console differences

The Wii Virtual Console version has more framerate drops than the Nintendo 64 version, but also loads more quickly when moving between areas. Special effect attributes have been altered to reduce the risk of seizure or are different due to emulation issues: the brightness of light effects from Super Blocks have been reduced, the screen dims when an explosion occurs, fire/explosion effects are now solid colors, and magic/transformation wave effects no longer have flashing colors of white and yellow and are waves of purple and pink.

The Wii U Virtual Console version is darker throughout the whole game, but has a smoother framerate not unlike the Nintendo 64 version. Fire/explosion effects match that of the original version (albeit darker), but the magic/transformation wave effects are altered, but in a different way than in the Wii version. In addition, the light effects are malformed and have a black glow. Loading is as fast as the Wii version.

Wii Shop Description

Paper Mario is a graphically innovative game that breaks the confines of the RPG genre. Now slimmed down, everyone's favorite plumber flips, spins, jumps, and hammers his way through scads of exotic worlds that teem with a huge and hugely entertaining supporting cast. Players control numerous characters, both old and new, in a complex, nonlinear story that follows different scenarios depending on player choices. A dizzying collection of spells, attacks, skills, and special items can be collected by players willing to thoroughly explore the lush 3-D environments!

Wii U eShop Description

After Bowser™ steals the Star Rod and kidnaps Princess Peach™, Mario™ plots to rescue the seven Star Spirits and free the Mushroom Kingdom from the Koopa's rule. As Mario travels from the tropical jungles of Lavalava Island to the frosty heights of Shiver Mountain, he'll need all the help he can get.

Master the abilities of the seven Star Spirits and the other allies joining the adventure to aid our hero on the battlefield. There are over 50 Badges to locate that, when equipped, will grant special abilities and powerful attacks. The turn-based battle system will make fighting Bowser's baddies equal parts strategy and timing. Discover over 100 items, mix them together, and cook up fantastic creations that will send your enemies' spinning and fleeing.

Close the book on Bowser's story before his evil deeds turn the world upside down and only his wishes come true!

Relation to other games

Similarities with Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Paper Mario shares many elements with its spiritual predecessor Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, seeing as it was initially intended to be a sequel. These similarities include:

  • Paper Mario was originally going to be called Super Mario RPG 2, but was later renamed "Super Mario Adventure" (while still in development) due to legal reasons. Eventually, it received its finalized international title to emphasize the unique graphical style of the game.
  • As with Super Mario RPG, Bowser is the very first boss to be fought in the game.
  • After the cutscene that takes place when Mario is defeated by Bowser, the Paper Mario logo is displayed in a similar manner to how the Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars logo is displayed after Exor crashes into Bowser's Keep and destroys the Star Road.
  • Redesigned versions of Star Hill and the Chancellor from Super Mario RPG reappear, although this is lost in translation in the international versions.
  • The Shy Guy riot in Toad Town is similar to Mack and the Shysters' takeover of the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
  • Both Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG contain karate dojos.
  • The Master is Paper Mario's equivalent of Jinx, as they are both powerful senseis that are fought three times (with each battle getting harder), and are completely optional. The Master also shares the role of an optional boss harder than the final, main boss, like Culex.
  • Both games have plots that involve finding seven stars, and have something to do with wishes not being granted due to what the games' main antagonists have done.
  • The opening storylines of both games begin with the usual "Mario battling Bowser to save Peach" scenario, when Mario suddenly becomes overpowered and sent hurtling a great distance away. In Super Mario RPG, as Mario goes to free Peach after defeating Bowser, Smithy's gang sends Exor crashing into the castle, the impact sending Mario flying, landing back at his house. In Paper Mario, as Mario is fighting Bowser, Bowser makes himself invincible with the Star Rod, then dispatches Mario out a window, and he crash lands in a field just outside Goomba Village.
  • In both games, Bowser's castle is unreachable throughout most of the story. In Super Mario RPG, it cannot be reached because the bridge is down; in Paper Mario, the castle is all the way up in the sky. Also, both games feature a special vehicle that is used to reach the castle.
  • Mario uses jump and hammer attacks, which in both games have regular, super, and ultra variations. Both have the three hammer variants, but the jump variants in Super Mario RPG are special moves that Mario learns, whereas Paper Mario has these variants as the boots that Mario finds to improve his jumping ability.
  • The Power Bounce badge is reminiscent of Mario's Super Jump ability in Super Mario RPG.
  • Mario's first partner in both games has a special move that identifies the enemy (Mallow's "Psychopath" and Goombario's "Tattle").
  • Both games feature a special area where Mario can turn into 8-bit Mario, complete with 8-bit sounds and music.
  • In both games, Mario can travel to an island where Yoshis live.
  • During the second boss battle with Bowser, he has the ability to temporarily disable some of Mario's commands, similar to how Bowyer disables certain button commands during his battle in Super Mario RPG.
  • When Lava Piranha re-emerges from the lava after the first phase of the battle, it resembles Czar Dragon's resurrection as Zombone.
  • Both games feature a volcano as a location where a star is hidden. Both areas have an escape sequence after locating the Star, though the reason behind it is different (in Super Mario RPG, the Axem Rangers are escaping with the Star; in Paper Mario, the volcano is erupting).
  • The endings in both games feature a parade that is led by Luigi and ends with a fireworks display.
  • Both Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario feature a Hammer Bro who hosts a quiz game.
  • During the parade in the ending of Paper Mario, Twink flies by with Mario and Peach waving at him on a starlit float, as Geno does in Super Mario RPG.
  • Both games feature antagonist groups that are based on characters from TV series (the Koopa Bros. are based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, while the Axem Rangers are based on the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers).
  • In both games, the battle for the sixth star takes place in the sky (the Axem Rangers battle and the Huff N. Puff battle).
  • Both games have a party member who fights against Mario first before joining him (Bowser and Lakilester).
  • Both Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario have three-headed Piranha Plant bosses (Lava Piranha and Smilax).
  • Neither games feature an Endless Play mode, so if the player wants to collect something or accomplish a task, they must do so before facing the final boss.
  • The battle systems of both games contain a feature where correctly timed player input makes the protagonists perform better overall. Super Mario RPG has "timed hits", while Paper Mario has "action commands".
  • Both games were released towards the end of their respective console's life. Super Mario RPG was released for the Super NES in May of 1996, four months prior to the launch of the Nintendo 64. Paper Mario was released for the Nintendo 64 in February of 2001, and the Nintendo GameCube was released in November of that year.

References to other games

In addition to its many similarities to Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario has many elements that reference other games:

  • Donkey Kong - The opening theme plays when confronting the Koopa Bros. in Koopa Bros. Fortress, followed by the Koopa Bros. theme.
  • Super Mario Bros. - By entering a vase in Boo's Mansion, Mario can assume his appearance from this game's sprites, albeit with the color scheme used for him in the game's artwork. Also, if the player waits fifteen or more seconds when a chapter title is shown on screen, the overworld theme will play. There is a pillar with eyes on Pleasant Path which will give free hearts and play the invincibility theme if Mario runs around it.
  • Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels - The ending theme for the 64th Trivia Quiz-Off has the same beginning notes as the bonus theme from the All-Stars version of this game. Additionally, at the end of the game, when Peach thanks all of the friendly characters for helping restore peace to the Mushroom Kingdom, the music that plays is this game's ending theme.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 - After saving Luigi from a Shy Guy, he says "I'm a great jumper, but my running needs some work", referencing his higher jumps and lower speed from this game.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 - When the Koopa Bros. fire Bullet Bills at Mario and his partners, a cover of the Koopalings' Airship theme plays. The Koopa Bros. fight theme is a cover of the Hammer Bros. theme from this game. The level up music is a cover of the overworld theme from World 1. When Mario finds a new hammer or pair of boots, an arrangement of the boss clear theme plays. When Mario rescues a Star Spirit, an arrangement of the "King Saved" theme is played. Another arrangement plays when Mario wins the Star Rod back from Bowser.
  • Dr. Mario - When Mario defeats the Fuzzipede boss, the Whale exclaims that "they should call him Dr. Mario!"
  • Super Mario World - The Attack FX E badge makes the same sound that Yoshi makes when jumping on his back. Also, the overworld/underwater theme is a cover for Paper Mario's title screen music, with notable modifications. The song that plays on the Golden Oldies station of the radio is a cover of the credits theme. The credits theme in the game plays a short cover of the Switch Palace theme. Lastly, the sound effect heard when the player presses Start is similar to the sound effect for Message Blocks in this game.
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island - Paper Mario contains several references to Super Mario World 2. Bandits (the red kind, that only take coins), Bumpties (simply called "penguins" in-game), Shy Guys, Spear Guys, Pyro Guys, Chain Chomps (using their designs from Yoshi's Island), a Lantern Ghost, forward-facing Piranha Plants (who appear from the ground, as opposed to only pipes), and Crazee Dayzees appear as enemies. Sushie's coloration and Squirt attack favor the appearance and abilities of the Spray Fish, Spy Guys wear flowers on their heads like Petal Guys, and Boos have faces and eyes similar to those of the Caged Ghosts from Yoshi's Island. Poochy appears in one of the game's early builds. The music used for Yoshi's Village is a cover of this game's title screen music, and the Ravens (including Raphael) make an appearance. Lava Piranha is similar in appearance to Naval Piranha. Finally, snowmen who wear the same attire as Dr. Freezegoods appear in Shiver Snowfield. The final boss battle against Bowser had some similarities to the final boss fight in Yoshi's Island, namely that his right-hand minion enchants Bowser to become larger in order to increase the odds of beating his nemesis (with the only notable difference being that Kamek cast the spell on Bowser directly, while Kammy Koopa merely activated the Power Platform to have Bowser become larger).
  • Super Mario 64 - Peach's Castle returns and is near identical inside, but without the paintings, and both games begin with a letter from Peach. Also, Mario jumps into a painting to access the third floor of Boo's Mansion similar to the way he accessed areas in this game. The Stone Cap is an item based on the powered-up caps and it functions similar to the Metal Cap.
  • Mario Kart 64 - When riding the K64 train, a cover of the Kalimari Desert theme plays. Also, the concept of a train running through a desert and the train itself originates from this game.
  • Mario Golf (N64)/Mario Tennis (N64)/Mario Party series - In one of the pages of Luigi's diary, it says, "I remember the carefree days when we played Golf and Tennis and had Parties." The capital letters specifically hint at their respective games.
  • The Legend of Zelda series - If Goombario uses tattle on Sheek after he reveals his true identity, he will start his tattle with "da da da dum", a reference to the "item get" theme from this series. Also, Sheek himself is a reference to Sheik from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • Pokémon series - A key item shares the same name as an Evolutionary Stone from that series.

References in later games

  • Mario Kart: Super Circuit - Peach's castle is seen on top of Bowser's castle just like in Paper Mario, located in the background of the course Rainbow Road.
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee - Paper Mario appears as a trophy.
  • Mario Party 5 - The Star Spirits return as hosts.
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga/Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions - A block from Paper Mario appears in Woohoo Hooniversity, along with blocks from other games. The name of the game is even mentioned in the block's description.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door - Parakarry makes a brief cameo at the beginning of the game, and delivers a letter to Mario from Peach, just like the previous game. Lady Bow also makes a cameo appearance, and makes a direct reference to Boo's Mansion, as well as the adventure they had. There is also a random Toad at the Excess Express (after Chapter 6 is completed) that will ask Mario a quiz question, ("What did Bowser steal in the first Paper Mario?"), and the answer is, "Star Rod". The video game-obsessed Toad kid from Petalburg also mentions that he has been playing this game, describing Bow as the "cutest Boo of ALL TIME!!!" Jr. Troopa also appears in the background in the picture that Zip Toad attached to his e-mail. Several parallels exist between bosses in the two games. The first chapter boss in both games resides in a gray fortress, the third chapter boss in both games are members of the Spike species, the fifth chapter boss in both games have "cognizant limbs" and can be found in caves of some sort on tropical islands, and the sixth chapter boss in both games is one entity consisting of multiple, smaller members of their species (and both explode when defeated, releasing the smaller units toward the screen). Additionally, puzzles in some places are solved identically or similarly. The Riddle Tower has many puzzles from Crystal Palace, including walking through or blowing up seemingly solid walls, and the Palace of Shadow has puzzles and traps from Bowser's Castle, including an area wherein Mario only makes progress by following a pattern (though this is actually taken from the final castle level in Super Mario Bros.) and rooms with stairs where Mario has to defeat Bullet Bill Blasters to reach the next level.
  • Mario Pinball Land - Koopatrols appear as enemies in Bowser's castle.
  • Super Mario 64 DS - The Goomba King returns in this game, renamed to Goomboss.
  • Super Princess Peach - Koopatrols appear as statues in [Bowser's Villa.
  • Mario Party 7 - The board Pyramid Park has a Bowser Sphinx whose crown has the same colors and Chain Chomp ornament as Tutankoopa's crown.
  • Mario Kart DS - Goomboss also appears in this game's Mission mode as a boss in the third level.
  • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - Star Hill appears once again and is north of the castle just like in this game.
  • Super Paper Mario - Every partner here returns as a Catch Card in this game. Francis also has posters of Lady Bow and Bootler in his castle. Tubba Blubba was also mentioned, and had his own TV show called, "The Blubbening". At the beginning of this game, all of Mario's partners, as well as his ones from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, are all seen together in a photo. The "chapter parallels" return, though to a lesser extent. For chapter 3 in both games, Mario travels through a castle with chambers/rooms similar to those of real-world large homes and castles, and both contain security entities that will remove Mario from the area if he is caught. For chapter 5 in both games, the bosses once again have "cognizant limbs", and both happen to be plant-based.
  • Super Mario Galaxy - Both games begin with a letter from Peach to Mario, also Bowser's way of kidnapping Peach (by lifting her castle into the sky) is reused here.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Kooper, Lady Bow, General Guy, and Kammy Koopa appear as Stickers. Three of the Star Spirits - Eldstar, Muskular, and Misstar - are also represented by Stickers, but use their Mario Party 5 artworks.
  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star - Similar to Bowser's role in this game, Bowser ends up being the main villain as well as being superpowered by a wish-granting object. Unlike in Paper Mario, however, his gaining the object was completely accidental.
  • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS - In the Paper Mario stage, the Whale from chapter 5 appears under the S.S. Flavion variation of the stage lifting the ship up above the water.
  • Paper Mario: Color Splash - When Mario collects a Big Paint Star, an arrangement of the first few notes of this game's title theme is played.

Pre-release and unused content

Early screenshots of Paper Mario showed that Poochy was originally intended to play some sort of role in the game. Another screenshot showed that Nep-Enuts were going to be in the game (indicating that Lavalava Island was going to be more like Yoshi's Island). Also, a pre-release screenshot of Forever Forest showed that it would have originally been much smaller than it is in the final game, and that all of the forest's trees would have had sinister faces.


  • Upon learning that Princess Peach has been kidnapped, Goombario's father exclaims, "Princess Peach has been kidnapped...AGAIN!?" This is a running gag in the Mario series.
  • If you jump in the pot in one of the rooms in the Boo's Mansion, you will change into 8-bit Mario accompanied by the original music and sound effects. Re-entering the pot or leaving the room changes you back. This only affects Mario.
  • There are a few times when the sound effect of the random item feature from the Mario Kart series is used.
  • Mario helps the Yoshis in this game, and is able to communicate with them.
  • When you help the whale, he claims you should be called Dr. Mario.
  • Mario can eventually upgrade his hammer to the Golden Hammer from Wrecking Crew.
  • The Spin Jump originated in Super Mario World, but was horizontal instead of vertical. It was also used to kill enemies and break blocks instead of being a Ground Pound.
  • This game was originally going to be called "Super Mario RPG 2" but was changed to "Paper Mario" instead.Of course, this is the second Mario RPG overall.
  • This is the first Mario RPG to use Star Points instead of Experience Points.
  • This is the first Mario RPG to have Bowser as the main antagonist. The second is in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, the third is in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, the fourth is in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, and the fifth is in Paper Mario: Color Splash.
  • This is the first Mario RPG to be played in 2-D.
  • Although Luigi isn't a playable character, this is Luigi's first major role in a Mario RPG.
  • This is the first Mario RPG to be separated into chapters making game progress much easier.
  • Oddly, the Star Rod makes its major appearance in this game. The Star Rod is normally associated with the Kirby series.
  • This is the last game to be released for the Nintendo 64 in Australia, while in the rest of the world, Mario Party 3 was the last Mario game to be released for said console.
  • The name "Paper Mario" appears in transcribed form in certain Japanese materials related to this game, including on the back of that region's packaging, despite it not being the title of the game itself there.
  • Paper Mario was released in China on the iQue Player just one month before Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door was released in Japan.
  • In Italy, the title is written with a lower-case p, thus being called "paper Mario".
  • The scenes where Mario finds the missing children of Yoshi Village are inspired by Humongous Entertainment video game: Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo where Putt-Putt finds and saves the missing baby animals.
  • This is the only Paper Mario game of the series where Mario's Pad can be accessed during any part of the game.
  • This is the first Mario game to depict Bowser's motives for kidnapping Peach being due to having a crush on her outside Japan.


  1. IGN: Miyamoto Reveals Secrets: Fire Emblem, Mario Paint 64 - interview from 1997 where Paper Mario (under the name Mario RPG 2) is mentioned as a 64DD title in development

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