Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Genre Role-playing game
Developer(s) Intelligent Systems
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Composer(s) Yoshito Hirano
Yuka Tsujiyoko
Series Paper Mario
Platform(s) Nintendo GameCube
Release Date NA October 11, 2004
JP July 22, 2004
EU November 12, 2004
AUS November 18, 2004
Mode(s) Single-player
ESRB:80px-ESRB Everyone.svg - Everyone
PEGI:60px-PEGI 3.svg - 3 and older
CERO:Cero classic all - All ages
ACB:35px-OFLC Australia Rating - G8 - General 8 and older

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
North America

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Paper Mario RPG in Japan, is the sequel of the Nintendo 64 title, Paper Mario. The game was developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo GameCube. The game won the "Role Playing Game of the Year" award at the 2005 Interactive Achievement Awards.

The game is similar to the original Paper Mario, as it uses elements such as turn-based battles. For a majority of the game, the player plays as Mario, but Bowser and Princess Peach are also playable in scenarios after the end of each chapter.


The game opens with an introduction about a seaside town which was damaged by a cataclysm and consequently sunk into the depths of the earth. A town named Rogueport was later built at this site, with the fortunes of the lost kingdom fabled to exist behind the eponymous Thousand-Year Door, located in the ruins of the old town.

Mario, one day, receives a letter from Princess Peach that states that she had bought a treasure map while she was in Rogueport with the map accompanying the letter. She invites him to Rogueport, but when he arrives he learns from Toadsworth that she has gone missing. With the help of Goombella and Professor Frankly, Mario learns that the map reveals the location of the seven Crystal Stars which can open the ancient Thousand-Year Door. Under the assumption that Peach is trying to find the Crsytal Stars, Mario decides to use the map in order to locate her.


The Thousand-Year Door has a unique visual style. The graphics consist of a mixture of three-dimensional environments and two-dimensional characters who look as if they are made of paper. At different points in the game, Mario is "cursed" with abilities that enable special moves in the overworld, all of which are based on the paper theme. Mario can fold into a boat or a paper airplane by standing on a special activation panel, and roll up into a scroll of paper or become paper-thin. The game's environments also follow this theme; for example, illusory objects that conceal secret items or switches can be blown away by a gust of wind due to the environment's paper-like qualities. In certain parts of the game, the player controls Bowser in multiple side-scrolling levels based on Super Mario Bros.. Additionally, the player controls Peach in the X-Naut Fortress at the completion of most game chapters.

Battles in The Thousand-Year Door borrow elements from the original Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. The turn-based system, in which players select an attack, defense, or item from a menu, is augmented by timed button presses that can result in substantial attack or defense bonuses when performed correctly. A similar system was also used in AlphaDream's Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. In The Thousand-Year Door, each of Mario's party members now have their own heart points (HP) and may receive any attack that Mario can receive. When a partner's heart points are reduced to zero, the partner becomes inactive for the rest of that battle and later battles until recovery. If Mario's Heart Points are reduced to zero, however, the game ends. Flower Points—which are required for special moves—are shared among Mario and his party members. Defeating enemies awards various numbers of Star Points to Mario; for every 100 Star Points, Mario is able to level up. Mario can choose to upgrade his heart points (HP), flower points (FP), or his badge points (BP). The battles take place on a stage in front of an audience; if the player performs well in a battle, the audience can assist Mario by replenishing star points, throwing helpful items on-stage, or inflicting damage on the opponent. Conversely, the audience may throw damage-causing items at the player or leave if the player performs poorly in a battle.

Outside of battle, the game contains some strong console role-playing game traditions. For example, Mario's strength is determined by multiple statistical fields and status-boosting items that can be used in and outside of combat. The effects of these items range from healing Mario or his partner to damaging the opponent. Mario can also purchase badges from non-player characters or occasionally obtain them from defeated enemies; when equipped, these badges can permanently enhance a particular skill or aspect, or, in some cases, give Mario new moves, including Sleepy Stomp and Quake Hammer. Throughout the game, Mario is permanently assisted by a party member. Each party member has a specialised skill, some of which are required to solve puzzles to advance progression in the game. More party members are gained as the player advances through the game.


Nintendo first revealed The Thousand-Year Door at the Game Developers Conference of 2003; before release, the game was known tentatively as Mario Story 2 in Japan and Paper Mario 2 in North America, and was revealed to be a direct sequel to the N64 game Paper Mario. A preview of the game was available at the E3 of 2004 with the playable stages including Hooktail Castle and a Bowser bonus stage. The game was released on October 11, 2004 in North America. The Thousand-Year Door was met with controversy in 2008 after Morgan Creek filed a lawsuit against Nintendo alleging that they illegally used the song "You're So Cool" from the film True Romance in an advertisement for the game. Morgan Creek dropped the case six days later, after Nintendo revealed that the advertising agency, Leo Burnett USA, Inc., had licensing for the song.

A sequel to the game, Super Paper Mario, was developed by Intelligent Systems and released for the Wii in 2007. The game has a stronger emphasis on platforming than its predecessor. Super Paper Mario's plot is unrelated to the story of The Thousand-Year Door, but contains many easter eggs referencing past characters from the previous two games.

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