Yes, yes I know, you don’t have to tell me. Paper Mario isn’t a movie and this is a site called “MoviesFilmsMotionPictures”. Well, I love a great movie, it’s my favorite art form and my favorite form of storytelling. However, how could I not love a great story in general? So here it is a list that has nothing to do with the art of film, this is a top ten list dedicated another favorite story of mine and far and away to greatest video game I’ll ever experience. I’ve always had a fascination with mario games, but no mario game and no game for that matter came close to the relationship I had with Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. I love movies, but not even a movie would’ve done the tale of Paper Mario justice. Anyways, here it is, my favorite chapters of the greatest Mario story ever told…
10. The Mystery of Dry Dry Ruins
Whereas Storming the Koopa Bros. Fortress works as a fantastic introductory chapter to what you’re about to get into, it pales in comparison to exploring for the next Star Spirit. It’s easy to forget about Tutankoopa and the trials in his ruins being that its only the second chapter in the greatest Mario story, I always found this second chapter completely memorable. The Koopa Bros. Fortress is awesome, but you don’t get the epic tone of the game until those ruins reveal themselves.
9. The Key to Pirates
Whereas I could understand why someone might complain that The Thousand-Year Door doesn’t evolve much from the original, the reason I love The Thousand-Year Door is because its so similar, it’s the little differences that make it such a perfect sequel. It’ s a whole new adventure maybe even more epic but it still pays homage to its predecessor. Both chapter 5’s take you to an island, exploring a volcano in the original is a blast and it just missed this list. It couldn’t beat out this swashbuckling quest for Cortez’s legendary treasure at Keelhaul Key.
8. For Pigs the Bell Tolls
With fond memories of Tubba Blubba and Bow’s mansion, upon entering Twilight Town how could I not be ecstatic about the prospect of another haunted chapter. For Pigs the Bell Tolls and its strange plot of some sort of monster turning the townspeople into pigs is enthralling. Even though its not particularly challenging and it does involve a fair amount of backtracking it still makes for one of the most memorable Paper Mario chapters mainly because of one of the greatest characters in the series, Doopliss, oops spoiler alert, but hey you can’t tell him his/her name after finding that P anyways.
7. 3 Days of Excess
Paper Mario is my favorite game and one of the reasons The Thousand-Year Door is a close second is because of its similarities but also because the individual chapters of the sequel are so incredibly different in tone and playability and that comes into full force in this sixth and brilliant chapter in which you simply take a three day train ride. Where that might not sound incredibly exciting, it is just the opposite, with its unexpected boss, Riverside Station and the mystery of it all.
6. A Star-Powered Showdown
There’s no video game experience quite like Paper Mario and it all leads to this. You’ve seen Boo’s Mansion’s and fortress’ in the realm of Mario but it’s just not quite as detailed, fun or captivating as exploring the realm of Paper Mario, but now you have all seven star spirits and it’s time to venture into the dark halls of Bowser’s Castle which is in the clouds and directly under peach’s castle where your love is being held captive. The final chapter has everything from awesome puzzles, an epic final battle and even a final appearance from my favorite Paper Mario character, the relentless Jr. Troopa.
5. The Thousand-Year Door
Paper Mario is the perfect game in my eyes and we can all forget about The Great Boggly Tree and I’ll say that so is The Thousand-Year Door. I’d have to give it to the original, but the ending of the sequel is even greater than the Star-Powered showdown in the first. After seven completely distinct adventures to obtain seven magical crystal stars, each giving you a powerful new ability, you have to go on one final and grueling adventure using the crystal stars as a key to open the titular Thousand-Year Door and traverse the mysterious Palace of Shadow. The chapter doesn’t disappoint and actually exceeds expectations with not one, but five boss battles. Maybe it sounds excessive but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
4. Of Glitz and Glory
When I first conceived this list, Of Glitz and Glory was a little higher. I got to thinking and I just couldn’t put it in the top three so here this miracle of a chapter stands. It’s hard to put it at four but there was no other way, this is where my favorite Thousand-Year Door chapter stands. Every Paper Mario chapter has its own feel, but 3 Days of Excess and Of Glitz and Glory may feel the most unique. Fighting your way to the belt is one thing, but past a certain point you find that the Crystal Star on the belt is a fake and there’s something fishier going on with the Crystal Star than just using it as a champion’s trophy.
3. The “Invincible” Tubba Blubba
Well you’ve stormed the Koopa Bros. Fortress, you’ve ventured through the Dry Dry Ruins and it’s time to find that third star spirit and boy are you ready cause those last two chapters were a cake walk, Bowser personally calls the Koopa Bros. and Tutankoopa “wimps”. The next challenge you must face appears to be much more overwhelming as the chapter itself is titled “The “Invincible” Tubba Blubba”. Crazy as it seems, you find out half way through the chapter that Tubba Blubba lost the Star Spirit he was supposed to be protecting for Bowser. Regardless, you still have to face off against the Boo-eating fiend if you want Skolar, the Star Spirit in a cage at the mansion owned by your new friend and partner, an assertive and confident Boo by the name of Bow.
2. Dark Days in Flower Fields
Of all the miraculous lands you venture to in the realm of Paper Mario, none are as beautiful and majestic as the world of Flower Fields. And while no level sounds as cheery and happy, no chapter feels as dark. Atmosphere and music are two of the many reasons I love Paper Mario and never is the music and feel of a chapter as riveting as Dark Days in Flower Fields. While some chapters have you searching high and low for a Star Spirit or a Crystal Star, some chapters have you playing the hero, taking down Tubba Blubba for helpless Boo’s, helping Twilight Town with the bell-tolling menace Doopliss, but no task feels as daunting or important as saving Flower Fields from the thunderous clutches of the evil cloud Huff n Puff.
1. A Star Spirit on Ice
The premise of Paper Mario lies in the power of the Star Rod and its protector’s the Star Spirits, unfortunately they weren’t able to protect it for long as Bowser sneaks in and steals the Star Rod, making Bowser himself nearly unstoppable.In the beginning you’re introduced to the mechanics of the game when Bowser trounces you with his new found power, only a truly epic journey can prepare you for one final showdown with the princess-stealing basterd, that and all seven Star Spirits.
Only with the power of the seven Star Spirits can Bowser’s power be matched, and with this seventh chapter of the greatest Mario story ever told only one Star Spirit remains. No other chapter feels as full or engrossing. Before you can enter a hidden passage for Shiver Summit and make for the doors of the terrifying Crystal Palace, you must find a scarf and a bucket, the scarf is one thing, but there’s no way of getting the bucket without solving a murder mystery. Then, upon entering the Crystal Palace you realize the mystery has only just begun. This hall of trap doors, mirrors and lies leads to the greatest Boss battle in the series, none other than the Crystal King. Six chapters have passed, six star spirits have been collected and yet this still feels more so than any other chapter, like a Paper Mario chapter, I love it the more I play it, just like the game.