I remember 12 years ago that Toonami showcased this game, and at the time, we subscribed to Nintendo Power to get Pokemon Gold. Back when there was a rental store in town, I rented this game, and loved it so much that I kept it for 3 weeks trying to beat it.
The plot involves Bowser, Mario's long-time nemesis, stealing the Star Rod from Star Haven, which is located up in the heavens. With the Star Rod's power, Bowser manages to send Princess Peach's Castle up into the sky on top of his fortress, and, GASP!, defeat Mario! Fortunately for our mustached friend, the Star Spirits, who have been sealed into cards, had enough power to restore Mario (who would have been dead and mangled up from such a long fall) and tell him to go save them so that he can save Peach yet again. Throughout his journey, Mario teams up with a fanboy Goomba, an adventure-loving Koopa, a spunky female Bob-omb, a klutzy Paratroopa mailman, a pampered no-nonsense female Boo, a Li'l Sparky toddler, a motherly Cheep-Cheep, and a somewhat aloof Lakitu.
This game was the crown jewel of the gaming part of my childhood, and I was happy that it got a Virtual Console release. And let me tell you, this game will never leave your mind and soul, so play this to your heart's content.
My rating: 9/10