Unlike any other "Mario" games that I have played in my life, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (TTYD), seems to be the most absurd of them all.
When I started playing this video game on GameCube I expected the normal 2D run of the mill: jump on gumbas, use the shells of the turtles (Koopas, I believe) to break blocks, and rush to the finish line of each level. However to my astonishment, this Paper Mario has several puzzles in the games for you to figure out and it's not an all linear game. There is a lot of back tracking and running around aimlessly trying to find the clue or item that you need to continue on to the next Chapter until you fight the "Big Baddy," who is surprisingly not Bowser.
When Mario is faced with an enemy, instead of running and jumping on it, or simply attacking like most video games, it cuts to a stage where you then choose what action you want Mario (or his partner) to take: jump, hammer, run, special move, etc. After Mario or his partner takes the shot at the enemy (and you better hope your chose the right one) the enemy then gets to attack you.
The fighting rules are simple: stick to what Mario and his partner can do and win. However, with the limitations on the amount of damage a hit can do the enemy and what hurts the enemy, you must think of some sort of strategy to kill the enemy fast so that you take the least amount of damage. Also, you must strategize who the best partner in the fight will be.
Take for instance the Iron Cleft (above). Two enemies in chapter three that Mario must defeat in order to continue on in the fighting ring and ultimately beat the chapter (or level). The key thing in this battle is the partner since these two are made of iron and have a spike on their head in order to damage Mario or his partner when they try to jump on them, and Mario's hammer does zilch to them.
Juul stated that most people only somewhat strategize in a game; always willing to adapt in order to win the goal. After fighting these two guys, that became more prevalent to me. I had went into the fight only expecting to cream these guys with my awesome Mario powers and continue on to the next fight until I beat the chapter. When the fight started though, I realized that it wasn't going to work as I switched from partner to partner (I had 4 partners at the time) trying to find the one that was best fitting to help me to win the fight. Though, my first attempt at winning against these fellas failed miserably, I found myself making strategic (and sometimes desperate) moves just to get that satisfying win in the game.
The rules makes the game more interesting and challenging, but the strategy is how you go about winning the game. The limits of the game as to what Mario and his partners could do hindered me at the time, however it also made me think about the game and the best way to go about defeating it instead of wasting life after life. When I lost the match, I wasn't mad at the stupid rules that limited my moves, but rather at my game playing techniques, wondering what I could do to beat these guys. After I gained a new partner, I used his abilities and defeated the Iron Clefts; I felt happy and satisfied at my new defeat, ready to take on my next opposer.