Ah, Paper Mario. You're the very first game to enrapture me to the point of total obsession, a trait that would lead to your inevitable completion and a smaller version of me dancing around the room, excited at the prospect of having finally completed a game from start to finish. Suffice it to say, my love for Paper Mario runs deep. It's only appropriate that a game I love would have a boss battle that has been engraved in my memory. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I present to you: The Koopa Brothers
A blatant parody of the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Koopa Brothers are the first of seven bosses in Paper Mario. They reside within a fortress near to the Koopa Village where they rule as tyrants over the residing Bob-ombs and Koopas. The first of the seven lost Star Spirits, Eldstar, is in their clutches. It is up to Mario and his cohorts to breach the fortress and ascend to its tallest tower, inevitably defeating the Koopa Brothers and reclaiming the Star Spirit.
Upon entering the boss chamber, Mario and co are greeted by a make-shift Bowser Mech. Obviously piloted by the Koopa Brothers, it's easy to make short work of this contraption. Fans of humor will appreciate this part of the battle; the boss consistently throws out taunts and claims that he his the "real" Bowser. The musically inclined will notice that the music that plays during the first part of this fight is a reworked version of the Bowser Battle music
from Super Mario Brothers 3.
After defeating the fake wooden Bowser, the Koopa Brothers are revealed in all their glory. With a quick pose and a flashy entrance, the battle begins. The Koopa Brothers signature attack involves the four of them forming up into a tower. The number of Koopa Brothers left alive determines the strength of their ultimate attack. To avoid being completely decimated, you need knock the Koopa Brothers over on their back followed by tearing into them with your hammer and signature jump moves. It's not a particularly difficult boss, but it does do what Paper Mario does best. Whereas most RPG's are a constant uphill battle, where your weaker spells and weapons become obsolete as soon as the more powerful versions are unlocked, the Koopa Brothers require you to make use of every skill and item you've come across so far. It's a nice touch that makes every acquired badge and ability feel worthwhile. Again, the music that plays during the fight is a reworked version of the Hammer Bros music
from Super Mario Brothers 3.
The Koopa Brothers marked the first time I felt a connection to an enemy in a video game. Instead of being a quiet, one-dimensional sprite, the Koopa Bros. were a group of loudmouth hotheads, determined that they wouldn't be defeated by a scrawny Italian plumber. To top it off, their likeness to a certain group of ninja turtles resonated with my boyish heart. Their distinct personality made them stand out from the mass of generic bosses I had encountered in games like Final Fantasy VII and Breath of Fire, and spurred me to continue further on into Paper Mario.
Near the end of the final dungeon, the player is unexpectedly challenged to a rematch by the Koopa Brothers. You've likely forgotten about the costumed quartet at this point, their sudden reappearance a nice homage to the beginning of the game. The battle itself isn't too challenging, but it most certainly was cool
It isn't the strength of the fight itself that earned this motley crew a place on this weekly feature. Instead, it is the strength of the writing and the overall personality that the Koopa Brothers exude that has earned them a firm spot in my video game memory. I strongly suggest that anyone who owns a Wii download Paper Mario on the Virtual Console, if only to experience an RPG unlike any other. If you don't own a Wii, get it through other means. You won't regret it.