The original Paper Mario was a guaranteed masterpiece. It had a unique graphics style than any other Nintendo 64 game and was one of the last great games on the Nintendo 64. Although the story was its main weak spot, just like most of the Mario games to date, the game was still spectacular, fun, and witty at some points. The sequel, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, is one of the most amazing games the Gamecube had to offer and defined what the console was capable of. The battles were exciting, the paper effects were even more awesome than they were before, and the plot was much more developed than in the first game. If you liked the original Paper Mario, then you'll love this game.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is anything but your ordinary RPG. Are you tired of the long, uninteresting battles where all you do is use the Destructive Magic with the Mage and continuously revive some useless party member with the Medic? In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, you can kill your foes in the most interesting ways, from explosions to headbutting. Also, you use taps of the A button to guard enemy attacks and be potentially unharmed. Even more exciting is the addition of audience and Stylish Commands, where the audience can raise your Star Point meter gradually if the Stylish Command(s) for that attack are performed correctly. Plus, the background falls on Mario, his partner, and/or the enemy/enemies sometimes. Now that's an exciting battle.
Sure, the story may not be up to par with other RPGs, but it sure is an improvement over Peach being kidnapped by Bowser. In this game, it's more than kidnapped princess rescue. Mario and friends have to stop a possible apocalypse caused by a group of elite soldiers called the X-Nauts, led by their leader Grodus. In order to stop Grodus' evil scheme, Mario and company must embark on an epic journey to obtain seven Crystal Stars to break the seal on the Thousand-Year Door and imprison and ancient demon's soul for another thousand years. Massive upgrade, isn't it? Along the way, Mario will encounter tough situations such as retrieving treasure from a giant skeleton, solving mysteries on a train, and literally getting his identity stolen. Seriously, all Mario was after his identity was stolen was a purple... thing.
The music in this game is downright amazing. This is especially noticeable in the boss themes. And I'm talking about ALL of the boss themes. The battle against Cortez was especially my favorite.
Not all of the gameplay is as Mario, mind you. You can also play as Peach and Bowser between chapters. The Peach interludes were greatly improved over the first game; although they're still the slow and dull Peach interludes we know and hate, you get to make an invisibility potion in TTYD, unlike baking a cake in the original Paper Mario. I still liked how you can disguise into Bowser's guards as Peach in the first game, though. Bowser's interludes are hilarious and all-action sometimes. In some interludes, you get to play Super Mario Bros.-style levels as Bowser, who can grow huge and spit fire to destroy nearly anything. In other interludes, Bowser gets in really witty situations such as talking to a Peach poster to nearly committing suicide.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is an outstanding game for the Gamecube. I would recommend this game to Mario fans and RPG fans everywhere.