Paper Mario games are some of my favorite RPGs on the planet due to the sheer diversity of their chapters. From a toy box, to a palace of mirrors, to a field of talking flowers in the sky, the original Paper Mario has it all. I love these chapters so much, but some are much better than others. Because of this, I felt obligated to share my opinion on the chapters in today's article... Paper Mario 64: All Chapters RANKED!
9. Prologue - D Tier
The prologue of this game is alright. It's not terrible, but it's not good. As a whole, it could be better. One of the least replayable game prologues I've played due to the fact that you don't start out with the Action Command! The prologue is honestly just a smaller, less fun version of Chapter 1 that serves little to no purpose in the grand scheme of things. This game could have had Mario start in Toad Town (similar to how TTYD starts) and it would've hardly changed the game as a whole. I don't really ever want to play this Prologue again, but it did its job just fine. Overall, the Prologue is a fun and cute way to start the game, but it is nothing special.
8. Chapter 5 - C Tier
This might be super contraversial, but I honestly did not like this chapter at all. I think Thousand-Year Door's phenomenal fifth chapter just made me despise this chapter or something. This chapter just pales in comparison to TTYD's Keelhaul Key. There's no Flavio, no Lord Crump, no Cortez, no trapped Toads, no awesome trip to the island... the list just keeps going on. Sure, there are Yoshis... but you can actually play as a Yoshi in Thousand-Year Door! My least favorite part of this entire game was that dreadful segment where you had to find the Yoshis throughout the island. I would have taken finding General White any day over that. I somehow managed to die after collecting all the Yoshis right before I got back to the Yoshi Village, and I literally quit the game for a while, I was so done with this chapter. This whole chapter just was much too artificially lengthened in my opinion, and I just didn't have all that much fun with it. Like, the volcano was literally Mount Rugged, but with lava. So lame. Now that I am done ranting, I will share my favorite parts of this chapter. I loved the boss fight (though it did come out of nowhere), I loved the whale, I liked Sushie, and Kolorado was as epic as ever. The highlight of this chapter for me was escaping the volcano once the chapter was over. First of all, it was an epic scene. Second of all, it meant I was finally done with this forsaken chapter. I liked the World 5 in Sticker Star more than in this chapter. And that is saying something. Overall, this was not that bad of a chapter, but I just love hating on it due to the bad experiences I had with this chapter. If you love this chapter, I'm happy for you. I just wish I loved it as much as everybody else did :(
7. Chapter 4 - C Tier
Let me get this straight: I like this chapter a lot better than Chapter 5. This chapter is mostly only in C Tier since I was trying to balance out the chapters evenly across tiers. Anyway, enough about that. First of all, this chapter is oozing with charm. The whole chapter is cute and fun, and the variety of Shy Guys gives a lot of character to the place. Second of all, attempting to beat the Anti Guy (and perferably winning), is a very fun challenge for such an early point of the game, and getting a badge has never felt quite so good. Third of all, the Big Lantern Ghost fight is a major standout, and is a great mini-boss. Fourth of all, the Gourmet Guy is hilarious and is a great addition to Peach's story down the road. However, this chapter has a few glaring flaws. First of all, I find this chapter to have the most annoying backtracking of any of the chapters. And without a guide? This chapter becomes quite confusing... and guess what? Even more backtracking. Second of all, you get Watt so late in the chapter that you only use her once for one room. Every other partner has their time to shine in their chapters, but Watt was just kinda there. Even though I think Watt is the strongest partner in the game, she really is quite useless outside of battle. Third of all, it is a hassle to start the chapter and give all the items back to the civilians of Toad Town, so that's not great. And last but not least, the chapter boss is entirely forgettable and has no foreshadowing throughout the chapter leading up to it. Overall, I absolutely love the vibe of Chapter 4, and there are bits and pieces of it that I love, but it is too flawed for me to rank it any higher than C Tier.
6. Chapter 6 - B Tier
This is going to surprise everybody, especially after how low I ranked Chapter 5... but honestly? I thoroughly enjoyed the Flower Fields. Besides the final chapter, this chapter had the best self-contained story, and it also had the most personality in terms of the flower characters, as well as its unique design. This chapter took the basic idea of grass fields and spoofed it to create something new and unique. The boss fight of this chapter was my favorite in the game, and giving berries to the flowers was hilarious. Even before the chapter, this chapter was taking me by storm, as reaching this chapter was fun in and of itself. Having to plant the flowers with different bulbs was honestly pretty cool! I also loved Lakilester in this chapter, even though his ability was underused. Now when it comes to the flaws of Chapter 6? This chapter has dreadful backtracking and has some of the most boring enemy battles in the entire game. For how much backtracking there is, having only four enemies to hold you over as you traverse the fields is laughably bad. It's okay though... other than that, it was a very solid and unique chapter as a whole! Overall, other than the backtracking, enemies, and that dreadful flower who thought she was the most beautiful thing ever, this chapter was a blast to play through! But due to the flaws, it can't go any higher than B Tier.
5. Chapter 1 - B Tier
This chapter, in my opinion, does a much better job of introducing the charm of Paper Mario than the Prologue ever could. I absolutely adore the Koopa Bros, since they are basically just a parody of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! It still makes me so sad that you don't actually get to fight the Koopa Bros. in Chapter 8! Really Jr. Troopa? Really?! Want to know what would have been perfect? Fighting BOTH of them... back to back! I love boss gauntlets! Anyway, I digress. Another part of this chapter that I love is that this is the only Paper Mario chapter in any of the games to give Mario two partners! (Unless you are counting Pixls, but that's a whole other story.) The castle and Koopa Village are a little basic by today's standards, but they are still a blast and do a great job of preparing you for the game's subsequent chapters. Overall, I don't really see any flaws with this chapter, and it is an awesome first chapter, but it isn't anything revolutionary, so I can't place it any higher than the B Tier.
4. Chapter 2 - A Tier
This chapter may just boast my favorite desert of all the RPGs I've ever played. Sure, you can still get lost in it, but there is a straight shot path to the town if you would like to skip the exploration aspect of the desert. The Dry Dry Oasis is my favorite town in the game, as it is full of life and has some interesting ideas happening there. The Dry Dry Ruins is also an awesome dungeon full of puzzles, fun enemies, and a pretty decent chapter boss! Though the chapter boss is fun, Mount Rugged's Buzzar fight is even better! What a unique mini-boss fight that was! I honestly really enjoyed Mount Rugged as well, and it was fun to use Parakarry while he was still worth using (see my Paper Mario 64: All Partners RANKED! article for why Parakarry becomes the worst partner in the game). This chapter does an amazing job of making not-so-fun mountain and desert levels into levels full of charm, and that is one reason I adore this chapter. Overall, this chapter has an amazing vibe and does a great job for a desert level, but in the end? Chapter 2 is stil a desert level no matter how good it is, so I couldn't rank it any higher than A Tier.
3. Chapter 8 - A Tier
This chapter is the most story heavy chapter, and it really elevates this chapter to be one of the best chapters in the game. Bowser's Castle relies on every partner ability, making it the most in-depth dungeon when it comes to puzzles. This chapter has the most diverse regular battles, which really gives this chapter bonus points for me. The Boswer fights, the Jr. Troopa fight, and the Kammy Koopa fight are all very fun, and Princess Peach's empty castle is a perfect build-up to the final fight. Though this chapter does lose some points for being the third castle in the game, there is no denying that this chapter has some of the best moments in Paper Mario. Overall, with the conclusion of the story, fun puzzles, and great battles and bosses, Chapter 8 is easily one of the best chapters in Paper Mario.
2. Chapter 7 - S Tier
I'm just gonna go on a quick rant about why this chapter is so good! Bear with me here. The detective section is very fun. This chapter has three towns, which is more than any other chapter in the game. This chapter also has great enemy encounters, and allows Kooper to shine again after a lot of time on the bench. The trek through snow was super fun (definitely better than the Fahr Outpost). This chapter gives the lesser Star Spirits some character development. This chapter has a very fun boss fight (though I do dislike that it isn't foreshadowed... that's my biggest problem with this chapter). This chapter has the best dungeon in the game, as well as my favorite enemy in the game: the Duplighost. I fully understand why most people say this is the best chapter in the game... and I do believe it is the most well-crafted and objectively good chapter in the game. But overall, even though it has so many pros and so little cons, there is one chapter that still outshines Chapter 7 for me...
1. Chapter 3 - S Tier
Chapter 3 is quite easily my favorite chapter in this game, and one of my favorite chapters in the whole Paper Mario series. The chapter starts with a scared Toad that has no interest in entering the Forever Forest, and boy, do I like that forest. It was really fun and interesting to spot the differences and traverse my way to the Boo's Mansion, all while taking unconventional paths to find hidden badges. Boo's Mansion levels are always my favorite levels in Mario games, Super Mario Bros and Paper Mario alike... so I loved that part of this chapter as well! Tubba Blubba's Castle is one of my favorite dungeons in the entire game, and the whole section where Tubba Blubba is chasing you and you are chasing him and then you run to the windmill to find his heart is just so epic. The whole idea of him eating the Boos and being invincible makes him seem so much more powerful than any other chapter boss in the game, and it was the only boss I felt like was actually a danger to Mario and his friends. Overall, every portion of Chapter 3 is a blast and is the epitome of what makes me love Paper Mario.
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