I already ranked the first and second chapters in the series, so now it is time for the third chapters! From a chapter about boos being terrorized to a floating coliseum town in the sky; from a chapter focused around pixels to a gloomy swampland full of poison; from a chapter with a hotel, an underwater weapons factory, and mini forest to a phenomenal desert level, there's some awesome variety on this list. Just like last time, I would like to give you a trigger warning, as this ranking is... controversial. Now, without further ado, RPG Ranked presents... Paper Mario Series: All Third Chapters RANKED!
6. Sticker Star's World 3 - C Tier
This is my second least favorite Paper Mario chapter of all time. And yes, I still say it's C Tier because I am biased, and this is my all-time favorite video game series; deal with it. But I digress. This world is usually lauded as either the best world in Sticker Star or despised. I wouldn't say I despise it, but it isn't great. This world had the most levels of any world in the game, yet no matter how much I tried, I could only remember two levels: the Gooper Blooper level and the spider level, where you lose your Stickers. While these two levels were excellent, this chapter had so many long and completely forgettable levels, and this world dragged on so long that I almost quit the game. This world had its moments; I mean, the Wiggler segments added an element of plotting that didn't really come with any of the other worlds, but in the end, this world is just was a slog to play through, even if it had some excellent moments in those two aforementioned chapters.
5. Super Paper Mario's The Bitlands - B Tier
Like the last chapter, this chapter is very polarizing... people either say it is one of the best Super Paper Mario chapters or one of the most generic. If I had to choose a side, I'd choose the second, but I thought this was a mid-tier Super Paper Mario chapter. I loved how many Pixels and bosses there were in this chapter—four bosses and four unlockable Pixels here—and I loved Francis and all of his dialogue. However, I found the levels mediocre and much less inspired than many of the other chapters in the game. I understand the love for this chapter, but I thought nothing here was too special outside of the bosses, Pixels, and the dating simulator. I just thought the level design was some of the most boring in the game, and for that, I can't say this is a Paper Mario chapter that I adore. I envy those who love this chapter, but this is just my honest opinion.
4. Color Splash's Blue Paint Star - A Tier
Many people say this is one of the best chapters in Color Splash, and I can see why: I loved the Dark Bloo Inn, thoroughly enjoyed the Sacred Forest, and adored Fort Cobalt! However, I had one issue with this chapter—it was easily the most disjointed chapter in the entire Paper Mario series. There was no narrative throughline here, and it just felt like a bunch of levels, not an actual chapter. All of these were some of my favorite levels in the game, but looking back, this chapter didn't do as much for me as many of the other Color Splash chapters that told fun narratives and had great theming. It kind of took me out of it when Mario suddenly appeared on an island at Fort Cobalt... how did he get there? Especially with the fourth chapter being set on islands and having a pirate ship? Whereas most chapters in this game rectified the disjointed feel of Sticker Star and could have totally been interconnected areas instead of a level-select world map, this is the one chapter that felt absolutely nothing like that, and it just made this one of the more disappointing chapters in the game for me. However, in the end, I still loved all the levels here, with Fort Cobalt, Sacred Forest, Dark Bloo Inn, and Plum Park being some of my favorite levels in the game. As a whole, this chapter felt like an amalgamation of a bunch of random bonus levels that didn't fit under any chapter, and while it was a fantastic amalgamation, it was incredibly incoherent and disjointed, so it can't rank any higher on this list.
3. 64's The "Invincible" Tubba Blubba - S Tier
While Paper Mario 64 typically isn't my favorite Paper Mario game (don't hate me, let's agree to disagree here!), this is easily my favorite chapter in the game. First of all, unlike all the other partners, Lady Bow has a well-fleshed-out personality! Also, the boss, Tubba Blubba, was a threat from the beginning of the chapter, making him a much more significant threat, as well as an entertaining villain! The dungeon at the end of the chapter is my favorite in the game; the Forever Forest and the Boo Mansion were fun and unique, and the chapter boss? Goodness... it was so good! I've never been compelled to play Paper Mario 64 over Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door because, quite frankly, I'm not the biggest fan of the original, but I would replay this particular chapter any day of the week—it is far and away the best chapter in the game for me! Yet, as much as I adore this chapter, Paper Mario has some outstanding third chapters, and there are two more that I like more than this one.
2. TOK's Yellow Streamer - S+ Tier
For me, this is just a fantastic reimagining of Paper Mario's Chapter 2. This took everything I loved about that chapter and cranked it up to eleven, just like I said in my ranking of all the second chapters in the series. Exploring the desert on the boot car, digging up treasures, finding gemstones, killing the Paper Macho Pokey, exploring Snif City, finding Captain T. Ode, exploring the Fire Vellumental Cave, and witnessing the phenomenal content in the Temple of Shrooms... this is the best desert I've ever explore in an RPG. While I wish the desert was one expansive open area, and the chapter wasn't too replayable on a second playthrough since I knew all the secrets, it still held up so well because it had so many unforgettable moments. This is my fourth favorite chapter in the entire series due to its phenomenal exploration, mystery, dungeon design, and bosses, and it easily deserves to be this high on the list. However, somehow, there is still one better chapter on this list...
1. TTYD's Of Glitz and Glory - S++ Tier
What can I say about this chapter that has yet to be said three billion times by the entire Paper Mario fanbase? This chapter has incredibly impressive pacing, battling, characters, atmosphere, mystery, twists, turns, music, and whatever other things can be said about a phenomenal Paper Mario chapter. While this isn't my favorite chapter in the series, like many people, it is up there as my third favorite. I am endlessly impressed by how much I like this chapter years after playing it for the first time... it just hooks me in like it did the first time every single time. While the loading times between each fight took me out of this chapter a bit, and walking through the hallways was tedious, this truly is the quintessential Paper Mario chapter—the golden standard to which I compare every other Paper Mario chapter. While this isn't my favorite Paper Mario chapter, I can confidently say it is the objective best. It does everything right, and its legacy as the most popular chapter in the Paper Mario series is absolutely deserved.
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