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Super Mario RPG 2 Preview

Publisher - Nintendo
Developer - HAL Laboratories
Platform - N64
Release Date - February 1999
Type - RPG

The sequel to the charming Super Mario RPG for Super NES, Super Mario RPG 2 is probably on of Nintendo's most underhyped N64 games. Sure, the game is still very early in development, but there is no way denying that the latest Mario adventure just looks a little odd. It's 2D. Well, sort of.

From what little we have seen of the game, Mario is a rough-looking 2D sprite, who flips over like a piece of paper when he runs from side to side, as a weird, consciously made homage to old 2D characters, or even Sony's Parappa the Rapper. As many gamers know Parappais a 2D rapping dog whose 2D sides can be shown in an artsy display of hip-hop coolness, his flimsy, plasticy flatness all too apparent.

Like Yoshi's Story, Mario navigates through flat, pseudo-3D worlds that offer multiple paths of exploration. Whereas the Super NES original surprised with excellent isometric graphics, Super Mario RPG 2 deliberately goes for a picture book look.

Last year, Nintendo's game master Shigeru Miyamoto spoke with us to discuss his plans for Super Mario RPG II. During the conversation, he said: "I think [Super Mario RPG II] will be the game that's friendly for game beginners and amateur players to start out with. As you can see in Yoshi's Story, the idea of the three-dimensional picture book will appear in Mario RPG."

Although nothing is known about the quest and goal of the artsy RPG (rescue Peach, perhaps?), you can tell from the screen-shots that many Mario regulars are set to appear in the game. Mario will encounter oombas, ghosts and Koopas and face them in traditional RPG battle scenes, similar to the ones in the predecessor. This time around, though, other members of the party will do their own fighting without the need of input from the player -- yet another departure from most roleplaying games.

Unlike the original, Super Mario RPG 2 is being developed by HAL in Japan, without any input from Square. Hopefully, this game doesn't go the ways of HAL's other major project, Kirby's Air Ride, which is being reworked into another Kirby title right now.

Still scheduled to come out on 64DD in Japan, it is possible that Nintendo will rework Super Mario RPG 2 and release the game on cartridge over here.