Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

released on Jul 22, 2004

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

released on Jul 22, 2004

What sleeps behind the door? Time passes, the pages turn… and a new chapter unfolds in an unfamiliar land! Get ready for a two-dimensional role-playing adventure for the ages as Mario returns to paper form to discover a mystery that sleeps behind an ancient, legendary portal called the Thousand-Year Door. The quest is long, the dangers many, and this time, Mario will have to make full use of his papery qualities just to survive.


Also in series

Paper Mario: Color Splash
Paper Mario: Color Splash
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Super Paper Mario
Super Paper Mario
Paper Mario
Paper Mario

Released on

Genres


More Info on IGDB


Reviews View More

One of my favourite games and something I could play forever. The world is fascinating, the characters are memorable, the writing is hilarious, the music is beautiful, and the content is plentiful. There's some backtracking in a couple chapters, but things like that don't bother you when just being in the world is so perfect.

A game with wonderful music, level design, combat system, and writing - all largely let down by the mission design. The amount of time you spend in this game running back and forth through the same once interesting screens makes you feel like there was one guy on the dev team who hate you, the player, specifically.

Let's talk about the PlayStation.

There were two big promises when it came to the launch of the PSX. The first, and the main one, was 3D. The second: bigger. Bigger games, longer games, games with more game inside of them. And if you were into RPGs, still a nascent genre on consoles, like I was? Oh boy. Longer, stronger, packed to the brim. CDs were going to be a gamechanger for RPGs.

And they were. RPGs went from being 20-30 hours to 50-80. There were more locations, more mechanics, more systems. At first I was delighted. There was just so much more. And more. And even more. And that's when I truly began to understand: quality over quantity. Novelty over repetition. Meaningful mechanics over systems cruft.

For a while I fell out of love with RPGs, began to gravitate toward more mechanically-driven games. Still, I remember being a bit excited about Thousand Year Door. I also remember how that excitement faded, so much so that I passed on the game on launch. In fact, I avoided it for two decades, until the wheel landed on it.

You see, then and now, I could tell what Thousand-Year Door was: it was more.

Take a step back. Look at Seven Stars. Two giants, Square and Nintendo. Speaking roles for characters that had never spoken before, an expansive new world full of secrets and callbacks, a novel battle system, incredible music. And then Paper Mario: a new take on the same battle system, familiar but different with its addition of elevation and the wildly inventive paper mechanics. Neither game was perfect, but both were fresh, new.

But Thousand-Year Door? It's just Paper Mario +, stuffed to the brim with meaningless additions, plagued with beyond sub-par level design and absolutely endless backtracking, overflowing with effusive, shallow lore. So many parts of the game are utterly unnecessary. Trouble center side quests? At no point do you suffer for money or their paltry payouts. Stage hazards? Inconsequential at best, annoying slow downs more often. A slot machine that randomly happens and makes no difference in most cases. So many attack badges, all rendered utterly irrelevant by Shrink Stomp and the various defense and power up badges that make normal attacks one-shot enemies. Quick Change makes bosses trivial because you can simply hide with Vivian whenever you want. Lore is everywhere, but time-consuming due to Tattle, childish in its content. Cooking, with absolutely no need to ever do so. Point rewards in shops for items you neither want or need to buy or win. There's gambling. There's an arena. And so on.

All of which would be largely forgivable if the design of the game itself wasn't so unbelievably weak. Levels are largely flat and uninteresting, puzzles are simple, plots are short and mindless, battles require virtually zero attention. I died, once, to Cortez because I was both drunk and bored and didn't pick up on the bonepile mechanic soon enough. The final battles were, quite literally, just having Bobbery use his ultra move over and over while Mario did Spring Jump. Grodus never even managed to attack. My inventory was overflowing with powerful items I never even considered due to how unnecessary they were. I largely ignored star abilities because of their tedious minigames. And so on.

Nintendo was right to abandon this formula. Super Paper Mario next, followed by various new paper gimmicks. Coloring, stickers, the various implements of Origami King. Mario RPGs are at their best when they're doing something new, when they don't have the luxury of just building a hollow palace on a previously established foundation. I'll take innovation over repetition any day.

When it comes to some of the best of the best video games, this will forever be my favorite to ever come. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door holds a special place in my heart as it’s what really got me in to rpg’s as a genre, and really video games too, the atmosphere, combat, characters, storytelling all just fits so well to make what is to be one the best games ever created. I remember vividly playing chapter 5 in the pirates grotto at my grandmothers house on a weekend night just listening to the faint music that would play in the background. It’s the little things like these that give video games such as this a spot in our hearts. And this game does it like no other, if you know me personally then you know how much i love this game. It’s one of a kind