A staple from my childhood, a lot is going on in this opening than you might think. It starts off with how any Mario game would start; Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach and it is up to Mario to rescue her. Simple. Straightforward. Why doesn’t someone fill a restraining order on this guy? From there, things start to look different from a normal Mario game. There is jumping, familiar enemies, and Toad is there, but also this weird element shown off. Why is Mario facing enemies like an old western shoot off? Up until this point, Mario had venture into different play styles like painting, being a baby, and that one time he had a time machine. This is when you realize that the R.P.G. doesn’t stand for running…..plumbing…..and gunning, but correctly Role Playing Game.
The other element shown off is the movement of Mario. No longer just running left and sometimes right, but “full” movement in a large area that can be explored. This would be Mario’s first “3D” game until a few months later when Super Mario 64 released. Mario can go wherever he wants and shows off some new things like his hammer and barrel riding skills. We are then introduced to some new faces that help Mario on his adventure. Meet Mallow, the crybaby puff boy that relies on magic and Geno, the one no one shuts up about. These two were great new additions to the Mario universe and
they would go on to be main stays in future game to come nope scratch that they show up here and then yeet off into Smash Bros forums. Back to the intro, they are shown off a great deal to give the player an understanding of each characters move set. What the intro tells you but doesn’t spoil (like I’m about to) is that it shows off Bowser and Peach without spoiling that they join the party as well. The other excellent job is that you get to see all of the major areas that you will travel to. Mario games have all been about the different worlds that you visit, and the intro shows them off to you without giving away any surprises that they might have. This allows players to get comfortable that the Mario charm that had been established at this point is still in the game even if the core game is different. The accumulates to the end shot where the music shifts tone and the true threat is shown. This gets the player excited to know that you are still traveling to different places in order to reach the same end goal as always, Bowser’s Castle. Nothing different, but presented in a new fun way.
That was a long paragraph of words (sigh). For those reasons, I like this intro for the thoughtfulness of showing off the areas that you visit. You learn about you two new companions eventually, but the mystery of learning who they are adds to the wonderment of playing the game until you meet them. The only thing that is weak to me is the song choice, but hey they all can’t be bangers.
Tune in tomorrow for Day 3!