I will score these games on a system of 8, for the number of chapters in both games. When I display scores, a P1 is the N64 original and P2 is the GameCube game.
Storyline: P1: 4, P2: 7
All right, so in both games, the princess gets kidnapped. That takes away a few points for lack of originality. However, the way and reason the princess was kidnapped in P2 was DEFINITELY more original! In P2, instead of Bowser, there are weird astronaut thingies using her as an aspect of trying to take over the world, but how is for you to discover. P1 lost serious points for having Bowser as the main villain. I mean, that idea ain’t original now since the first Mario Brothers. Also, another adventure simply in the Mushroom Kingdom? In P2, you really feel like you are exploring new places moreso than in the first. P2 also, well, HAD to use star thingies, but that really doesn’t matter. P2 has a much better story, and it is really funny too! Much moreso than the first.
Controls: P1: 7, P2: 8
This one was a hard for me to decide since the controls are very similar in both games. A to jump, B to bash, and C-down/X to use party member, but there were a few varieties that stuck out. In P2, they apply the title much better than making it a storybook with thin characters. In P2, Mario uses magic to use paper-like abilities (my favorite is the plane). In P1, Z is to spin to move faster. Really lame, although it helps. You can’t do that in the GameCube, but it doesn’t matter. You plan so much and kill stuff so often, you really have no time in P2 to spin, and same in the first, unless of course you are traveling to the other side of the main towns Toad Town or Rogueport, but getting the Yoshi in P2 takes care of that. So the real reason the controls are better is because they are cleverer.
Graphics: P1: 6, P2: 8
Wow! A 8 on another subject even though minor! Okay, the graphics don’t matter to me, unless of course you have a title like Paper Mario. Either way, I think text-based games like Ancient Domains of Mystery are much better without taking up so much room for graphics but with variety, but that is off topic. P1 did well to look like paper, but again like in controls, P2 not only made everything sharper looking, they applied the principle of paper much better, and they also made things not only look like paper, but even included 3D paper models like Hooktail the dragon. Hooktail is definitely paper, but not flat! Amazing models, Nintendo!
Battles: P1: 5, P2: 7
All right, in Paper Mario, the battles are comfortably animated. That part is good. You have party members with wickedly cool attacks. Paper Mario 2 has more variety with an audience, more unique party member abilities, party member HP, and more Star moves. The battles could have been harder in both games, though, although at least in Paper Mario 2, they make it more highly essential to hit action commands as compared to P1. The audience goes away if you don't hit action commands, and the Yoshi’s Gulp, which is needed in one battle, only works if you hit it properly.
Puzzles: P1: 8, P2: 8
This one was perhaps the hardest one to think about. My decision is final. Both games for their themes and graphics had equally interesting and challenging puzzles. This is assuming I didn’t know the other game existed, however I must say that P2 has the added bonus of the paper effect of turning pages to reveal secrets. Still, I think especially for their time, Nintendo really did good in this section. In P2, although some of the puzzles are interesting, well… Mario moves in some ways a bit unrealistically, sort of helping to make the scores even… but it is good either way and interesting. I still think the puzzles in both games were equally time consuming and challenging.
Difficulty: P1: 4, P2: 5 (rated in terms of hardness)
No comment. I explained my opinions elsewhere. Still, I will say the games, although they required decent strategy and reflexes, should have been a bit harder.
Fun Factor!: P1: 6, P2: 8
Both games are funny, but I have been told that P1 was a bit more, uh… loosely translated, or the language couldn’t fit in some of the intended jokes… But anyhow, P2 is so much funnier! You play as Bowser in P2 doing silly quests including a spoof of the original Mario Bros. A computer falls in love with the princess, Mario is really hot even in the eyes of female bad guys… There is so much I could tell that I could ramble about it for hours if I could remember it all. Besides, the battles are good nonetheless and the puzzles are interesting and challenging.
Recommendation: P1: 5.7, P2: 7.3
Hey there! Believe it or not, I had to divide the total scores by seven to get the average! If you can only afford one game out of these, buy the sequel, although some gags and secrets may be more recognizable if you play the first. Try to buy or rent the first and play that. After that, BUY the second and DEFINITELY play that one. Both games are interesting and should be considered. Either way, since I am an expert gamer (except at shooters), I would look for something else in terms of difficulty, unless of course that means Grand Theft Auto, which I have a lawful grudge against. (I hate it for the controversial M rating.) HEY, WAIT! Why am I going off topic! Just buy the Paper Mario games and you won’t regret it, at least not too much, especially with the GameCube version.
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