This is the legendary Thousand Year Door, but is it the best in the series?
In my Super Paper Mario review, I said that the gameplay of that was platforming and that this game was an RPG... Well, there's more to it obviously, otherwise there's no comparison. Super Paper Mario would win hands down. However, the facts are that for an RPG, TTYD is great in the gameplay department. Hell, it's great even by normal game standards. Having the ability to use action commands to increase the attack power of your attacks made the game fun, and using the same thing on defence to reduce damage keeps you on your toes and invested. There's also a unique stage mechanic in the game where every battle takes place in a theatre on a stage. Maybe poking fun at other RPG's how they use a battle transition and a battle stage. Anyway, not only can good timing with commands do stylish moves to get the crowd going, the crowd excitment filled your star meter and allowed you to use special moves. It's ingenious!
However, on the other side of the coin, Super Paper Mario had a platforming feel which involved switching perspective to make it to other platforms. For a platformer, it's pretty weak, considering that most platformers have a way to speed up the pace to keep it engaging. This is something Rayman Origins does well. Hell, even other Mario games managed to keep the pace going! What this almost amounts to in terms of pacing is a god damned puzzle game. Where you may have to search around for an answer to a puzzle you're stumped at, only to find it was actually pretty obvious. There's not many enemies either, until the last place which has the amount of enemies that should be in the middle of the game to make it interesting. I'm ok with the gameplay of Super Paper Mario, as it seems it's just a means to an end, and is usually inoffensive, but when compared to TTYD and getting into the nitty gritty, Super Paper Mario doesn't hold up to it. The d!#do of a Wiimote doesn't help either, when compared to the godlike entity of the Gamecube controller. It's like in TTYD the makers of platformers were told to make an RPG, so they made it fast paced and fun. Then, for SPM, they told makers of RPG's to make a platformer, so they slowed it down into something their little heads could understand. Point to Thousand Year Door.
TTYD - 1 SPM - 0
This is a category which involves almost gameplay, but not quite. It's subgames and other things to do not involving main story, which is a category I'll use when comparing RPG's. TTYD has a ton of extras which should keep you busy for quite a while after you beat the main story. There's finding the recipes, which I thought was fun... DON'T JUDGE ME! There's the tattle log which is a scanning mechanic mainly just for 100% nuts, and most famously, there's the Pit of 100 trials. This pit is quite possibly on of the hardest things to get through in all of the Mario franchise. There's 100 straight battle, the last of which being a boss that is stronger than the final boss. It's almost impossible and more importantly FUN! It's really fun to see just how deep you can get in the pit during different parts of the game. However, while TTYD has all of those things, SPM has all of those things and more. It has an improved cooking side thing being that there's more recipes to find. There's also a version of the tattle log, but it uses cards which can be collect either at shops or using items on the enemies. It's even more assinine than the tattle log, though, just because of the cards being hard to get sometimes, and sometimes are your only reward for doing assinine s#!t. There's also the Pit of 100 trials, but because this is a platformer, 100 straight battles would be very simple, so it's a find the key in the enemy game. The end of which also has a bossfight at the end. It's ok, but strangly enough, this game has 3 different version of the Pit of 100 trials. The second is in the second hub city, and the third is in world 6, and is just 100 straight battles. Oddly enough, it's actually difficult, and fun! It's simply because of the funny things the fighters have to say. It's a close decision but I'm going with SPM in this category just because there's just more of it. Sometimes TTYD has better extras as is the case with the tattle log, but that's miniscule in comparison to what almost has the same quality of extras in SPM, like the Pit of 100 trials, and the cooking. Point to Super Paper Mario.
TTYD - 1 SPM - 1
This is an area which both games somewhat lack. Mainly because of the main character, Mario. He's a silent character, and reminds me alot of Chrono from Chrono Trigger. It's for a classic nostalgic feel, so let's ignore the tool, and look at the other characters.
TTYD Peach vs. SPM Peach
Ok, this is no contest, because the TTYD Peach does virtually nothing but force Mario into life threatening situations, and get kidnapped. Granted, she does SOME things like gathering information for Mario to use in his journey, but all in all, she's just a tool. Peach in SPM on the other hand is actually playable, and she does more than just gather info. She can actually fight in SPM. At one point even requesting a one on one with a boss because of pride being smashed. It was hilarious and more importantly satisfying.
TTYD Grodus vs. SPM Count Bleck
These are the main villians in their respective games. Grodus has aspirations of using the Crystal Stars to take over the world, and... that's about it really... His goals aren't really explained very well, other than he wants to remake the world in his image, just like all of the other people who want to take over the world. Count Bleck on the other hand wants to destroy all worlds. Why? He's tired of these pathetic worlds so he's going to destroy them all. It goes a lot deeper into his back story and why he's f@%king crazy. In a way, the reasoning is a bit juvenile, but sometimes, the reason can cause thoughts like this, and he had the power to do this, so far enough.
Luigi and Bowser are about the same. Luigi has his own adventure in TTYD, and is playable in SPM, so it's about the same. Bowser has his own playable levels in TTYD, and is just straight playable in SPM. Their both funny to an equal extent in these games. This is more involving the others, like the partners in TTYD. Each different partner has their own backstory, skills, abilities, and personalities. They're all enjoyable, but sometimes get overshadowed by themselves. For example, my favorites were Bobbery, Vivian, and Ms. Mowz. I ended up having those being used during the cutscenes, and you only can have one partner out at a time, so usually only have to hear what they have to say. The other characters, because of this, is a bit of a waste, because they decay away in your pocket, and are reduced to nothing but tools.
On the other hand, SPM doesn't have partner, or really anyone other than Tippi... She's like your little tour guide throughout the game. If Navi from Zelda had a much less annoying attitude, and was entirely relevent to the plot, then that's Tippi. She's kind, mistrusting, and really much of an idealist. She's a flawed character, and that's what made her great. All of the characters in both of these games were like that, but Tippi got more screen time as an extra, so they had more liberty to show her character, making her very likeable.
Overall, comparing both of these games characters is a quality vs. quantity issue, and considering the circumstances, I'm going to go with the better quality in this case which is Super Paper Mario. Again a close call, but the characters in SPM have more developement and evolve in a little better ways, as in some do die by the end of the game. Nothing against the characters in Thousand Year Door, but the SPM characters just had more to them. Point to Super Paper Mario.
TTYD - 1 SPM - 2
This is a negative category and is worth -1 point. I'm using this because both of these games have a big bunch of annoyances in them. As much as I love these games, it's my job to point out and inherently make fun of these flaws. SPM doesn't have very many annoyances throughout the game, but because of the level based gameplay, the annoyances seem to be concentrated into 2 levels; World 2-3 and world 5-1. World 2-3 is when you break a vase that if you scan, says isn't worth 100 coins, but your forced to pay 1,000,000 rubees, which might as well be rupees from Zelda. The best way to earn these is to jump and hit a block over and over and over and over and over and over and OVER again, until you can gain about 100 rubees, then talk to a guy who gives you a code to a bigger room of work. Then you get to run in a giant hamster wheel for 15 c@^t gargling minutes, so that you can get 10,000 rubees. Then, you can pay someone else to give you the 8 digit code to the big safe which has 1,000,000 rubees in it. If you simply want to run in the hamster wheel until you're done, it takes 25 hours to do mathematically. I have no idea if it works, because I never tried. Either way, it's annoying and tedious. World 5-1 is one where you come across three blocks in a straight line, and have to hit them in the correct order, so you have to go back to the village and talk to the guy on the stone pillar. He asks you to say please like 5 or 6 times, then tells you a long ass order that you have no choice but to write down. Again, tedious.
However, TTYD has it's own tedious s#!t in it, but it's not as concentrated and perhaps more widespread. It's throughout the game, and that's backtracking. The backtracking in TTYD is outrageous! You backtrack to get stones to unlock a giant castle, then you backtrack to find a bunch of little creatures called punies, then you backtrack to fight some dips#!t named Doopliss. It's terrible! I think I prefer SPM in this matter simply because the backtracking is one of the most annoying things you could ever put into a video game. The stuff in SPM is tedious, and there's no excuse for it, but the backtracking in TTYD is just atrocious. Minus to Thousand Year Door.
TTYD - 0 SPM – 2
This is a category dedicated to the overall design of both games, like the character designs, and backrounds and stuff. TTYD had all kinds of new characters and designs for these characters to match. All of the main partners have unique, and sometimes very awesome designs. Like Vivian had an excellent figure, plus she did that thing where she popped out of the ground like a shadow had come to life. I'm fully aware of the fact that the American version was the only version that had Vivian be a woman, but that's the one I played, so she's a woman to me. Also, all of the unique designs for some of the story important Toads seems to seal the deal for TTYD, but before I jump the gun and give the point straight to TTYD, let's look at the design of SPM.... It's piles of Legos held together with magnets. All of the new characters were like that. Mario, Peach, and the other main characters basically have the same design as before. Oooh, Mario's hat's a bit lower on his head. Big f%#king deal. Essentially though, all of the other designs of the game just amount to piles of bricks. It's like the SPM staff ran out of a suitable budget and just use South Park cut outs as characters. Seems kind of dumb considering the success of TTYD. Point to TTYD.
TTYD – 1 SPM – 2
MUSIC & SOUND
Both games do a decent job of this. I suppose the music in TTYD is better because I can remember it. Maybe it's because the pace is higher in SPM, but I don't remember a damned song from it. With TTYD, I remember a bunch of the songs from it, and what I remember the music was good. Both games have shout outs to the classic games with specific moments or easter eggs of sound effects, but I have to go with TTYD, just because I can actually remember the songs from it. To be honest with you, in some respects, I don't remember if SPM even had music. One thing I can say is that none of the music got on my nerves, but still. Point to TTYD
TTYD – 2 SPM – 2
So, it comes down to this. It's a tie running into the final segment of this versus, which is story. I've said a lot about the story of SPM. The crazed loon wants to destroy everything because he sees nothing but emptiness anyway. There's a lot more to it than that obviously, because it got my high recommendation for the story, but let's not rule out TTYD. I wont spoil too much, because TTYD also has a good story as well. Peach is on vacation in a place called Rogueport, and she finds a treasure map in an old yard sale there. She sends the map to Mario, and basically tells him to get his fat ass up and find the treasure there. She said she'd meet Mario in Rogueport. Low and behold, when you get there, she'd been kidnapped, and this is funny because they play it off as the sarcastic shock. "Oh, no... Peach has been kidnapped... Ahhh..." So, the story takes place from there, taking hilarious turns to find legendary treasure of the map, and rescue Peach, again. This story is simply hilarious, and it can be slightly dramatic too. It doesn't have too much, but when Mario has his identity stolen, then it strikes a bit close to home. Really, to be frank, this category is almost up to taste. If you like your video game story dark and dramatic with a hint of comedy, then go with Super Paper Mario, but if you prefer heavy comedy in your games, then The Thousand Year Door is more your style. Me, well I fit in the first category. Not taking away anything from the story of TTYD, but SPM fits more to the style of what I like from a video game story. So in my vote, Super Paper Mario gets the point, and the win in this versus.
TTYD – 2 SPM – 3
So, after all of that, I still think that Super Paper Mario is superior. I guess some things never change, but this has given me a new respect for The Thousand Year Door, AND the Paper Mario series as a whole. Especially since I replayed both of these games after I played the atrocity of Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Doing that made me realize how bad Sticker Star is. Sticker Star was even made by the same group who did these two games so there's no excuse, but I'm getting off track here. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, even though it lost the versus, it's still a damned good game that is a perfect example of "Sometimes, things are popular for a reason." It's really a great game that I'd recommend to anyone.