Review Information
Game Reviewed Mario's Mansion, by FanGuy
Review Author Vitiman
Created Jun 25 2020, 5:48 AM

General Commentary and Game Overview
Whew, it took me far too long to finally talk about this game. I mean, where do I start? This is arguably one of the most influential fangames to me personally that has ever come out on this site. I think it (along with titles like Super Mario Epic 2, Super Mario Storm, and Mario Quest 2) cemented my fascination with the early fangame archetype at a young age.

Okay, before I let that paragraph get out of control and lose focus, maybe I should back up a bit and explain myself: when I first started going onto MFGG around 2002-ish (so practically when this site was brand new), I was much younger than the typical userbase at the time. I would even hazard a guess and say I was one of the OG "baby members", aka my made-up term for the increasingly younger-skewed member base that composes MFGG. For reference, I'm in my early-to-mid 20s right now, so that would have put me at... wow, 6 years old. What a time to be alive, huh? Anywhoooo, Mario's Mansion was one of the first games I ever played when I started browsing this site, and - to this day, in fact - I believe it to be a hugely important fangame that nobody ever talks about anymore.

I'll spare you further reminiscing for another time. In fact, I had a great idea to also take a look at this game's sequel and just continue rambling there too. Sounds like fun, right?

Being objective here will be a challenge, but I'll try my best!
Pros + Absolutely oozing with charm
+ Lovely presentation and visual flair
+ Not nearly as frustrating as you would think
+ The humor in this game is top-notch, it really captures that early 2000s Paper Mario-y vibe so well
+ I love the music choices so much
+ Infinite lives/continues! Try as much as you want with no real penalties!
Cons - Some mildly obtuse moments sprinkled throughout
- It's certainly shown its age over the years, I can't deny this
8 / 10
For a game that's pushing 20 years old, wow - I don't think you could find me many examples of fangames that have aged so well, especially ones that exhibit the so much of the Clickteam DNA like this one does.

With that little exclamation out of the way, let's start with the basics. You're Mario. You just built a mansion, a monument to your greatness (Mario in the "Mario's Mansion" duology is a bit more... full of himself than he is canonically - a trait I think is hilarious). Luigi doesn't like it. Tells you to bugger off. You go exploring in the mansion, and you find yourself into some wacky hi-jinks.

Gameplay is extremely straight-forward: you've got a hammer, you can swing it basically whenever you want, and you can kill almost anything with it. Go nuts. A lot of the other reviews (which actually appear to be contemporary to when the game was new) seem to groan at this aspect of the gameplay, but personally I think it makes it age very, very well. Almost remarkably so, in fact! A lot of older fangames that tried to mimic Mario's usual conventions fell so far flat that the engines would be buggy and frustrating to do basic things. You couldn't guarantee a jump would actually properly land and you'd find yourself getting killed for no good reason, for instance.

There's very, very little of that in Mario's Mansion thankfully. There's SOME of it still (this is an old Clickteam game, after all), but given that FanGuy used the default platform engine like many of us did, it's a damn miracle he managed to make it largely glitch-free. There are certainly moments that stick out (the river ride, walking over the sludge in the bathroom), but overall the game manages to be absolutely rock-solid... given that the odds are so painfully stacked against it.

The humor in this game (as mentioned above) is one of the highlights of it. Without it actually aping Paper Mario, Mario's Mansion actually comes pretty damn close to having that exact vibe! Of course, it has its own flavour in the writing, and the writing isn't always so up-to-par, but what do you expect? I'm pretty sure the guy was like... 14 when he made this. Probably. I don't know.

Without spoiling anything, the game does end on a cliffhanger. You definitely need to play Mario's Mansion 2 anyway, so it's not that big of a deal. That one was far more ambitious than this one, but I still think this one holds up extremely well too.
9 / 10
Mmm, absolutely, yes yes. I'm in love with these retro-tinged, Yoshi's Island-flavoured graphics. I want all of this, all the time. Everything just fits so well together, even when you think it wouldn't! This is one of the earliest fangames I can think of that exhibits little-to-no graphic clash, and I think it makes it all the more impressive to see in action. Just... wow! I know it seems like I'm selling this game up so much, but you have to consider when this was made (the year of our lord 2002). I think if you keep that in mind, you might just see what I see.

Or you'll think I'm a nut. It's hard to tell! Overall, the graphical presentation is one of the best I've ever seen in such an old fangame. Easy praise coming from me, perhaps... but it's praise nonetheless.
7 / 10
There really isn't a whole lot to say about the sounds and music. It's probably one of the more run-of-the-mill aspects of the whole game, but don't get it twisted: it's got some strong, fitting music choices. Almost nothing but Mario tunes, too! That's very impressive considering the time when this game out, when it was highly tempting to throw everything and the kitchen sink (in MIDI form, of course) into one's fangame. Excellent restraint, FanGuy!

Sounds are the same classic lo-fi sounds you've heard a million times, and while that may be practically cliche at this point, I'll always love 'em.
Final Words
8 / 10
Though superseded by its sequel in ambition and scope, the original Mario's Mansion rightfully holds its status as one of the most defining fangame titles of its day by being as charming as possible, relatively easy-to-beat even nearly 20 years later, and for still being one of MFGG's most original and enjoyable games to have ever graced the site. Absolutely recommended, a must-play.

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