Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES) vs. Kingdom Hearts (PS2)
When I first heard about Kingdom Hearts, one of the initial things that came to my mind was a comparison of this game to Super Mario RPG. With KH being a collaboration between Squaresoft and Disney, and Super Mario RPG being a collaboration between Squaresoft and Nintendo, it seemed only natural that similarities might be conjured up between the two. To me, anyway. If you don’t agree — tough cookies. This is my first shot at writing Versus Mode, and this is the topic I wanna discuss. So sit on it, disbelieving headwire.
Super Mario RPG is, you guessed it, a role-playing game featuring the world and characters of Earth’s most famous plumber. A few new characters are introduced in this game, though never to be seen again, such as the bad-ass Geno and the fluffy Mallow. Attacks are turn based, though Square introduced this nifty feature where you can add on to the damage you deal if you hit a certain button at a certain time. (Years after completing SMRPG, I find myself still using this method in various RPGs, despite the feature not actually being in them.) The story is well written (and surprisingly not entirely centered around the capture of Princess Toadstool) and entertaining, and if you look carefully, you might find cameos by other Nintendo game dwellers, such as Hyrule’s own Link.
In Kingdom Hearts, too, you’ll find cameos by characters from worlds of the source material; however, they play a much larger role in this title. As opposed to SMRPG, where a few main Nintendo characters were interspersed here and there, most of the cast of KH is made up of Disney characters. Those who aren’t are from other Square games, or are entirely new characters; but these characters make up a minority. The story of Kingdom Hearts is even more well written than that of SMRPG, and the battle system is strikingly different. In KH you find an action-oriented schema of fighting, akin to that of Secret of Mana or Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, which I personally prefer. No original characters from KH have yet to be seen outside of the title itself, but I have a feeling that this will change with the summer release of Kingdom Hearts’ two sequels.
While Super Mario RPG is one of the better RPG’s available for Super Nintendo, it is slightly edged out by Kingdom Hearts, due to the story and battle system of the latter title. Certainly, you should pick up both titles if you can, but the winner in a head-to-head comparison is our Game of the Year for 2002 (despite its painfully awful camera).
Winner: Kingdom Hearts (PS2)