The badge system in the first two Paper Mario games is one of my favorite parts of the games. A player’s badge setup basically determines how difficult or easily they are able to progress through the games. And different badge combinations can showcase what a player feels is the most important aspect of Mario’s abilities, whether it’s focusing on equipping defense badges or power-increasing badges or a mixture of the two.
Choosing the most useful badges in Paper Mario 64 is even more difficult than doing so in TTYD because of the low BP cap the game puts in place.
Here’s a list of Paper Mario 64 badges that I consider the most useful (in alphabetical order, not necessarily the order that I would rank them):
Dizzy Attack – 2 BP – If player spins into an enemy before battle, that enemy (which will be the front-most enemy) will begin the battle dizzy for one turn.
I Spin Dash everywhere when I play PM64 and using this badge to incapacitate enemies before battle in conjunction with an ability which I’m using anyway just makes sense. Anything for an advantage.
Feeling Fine – 3 BP – Protects Mario from various status effects such as poisoning and dizziness.
Dizziness is one of the most annoying status effects in PM64. Good grief, Mario can attack but he may miss so it’s not worth it to use FP. Except when Mario is actually able to hit the enemy while dizzy and you’re left to wish that you actually had gone on and used the FP. So this takes away that annoyance.
Happy Flower – 3 BP – Slowly and automatically regain FP in battle.
Happy Heart – 3 BP – Slowly and automatically regain HP in battle.
I really enjoy gaining HP and FP automatically during battle, even if it’s not strictly necessary. I’ve seen people say these badges work too slowly to actually be helpful but I don’t think that’s the case. I think they refill health at a rate where things aren’t too easy but you’re not sporadically getting more health either.
Ice Power – 2 BP – Mario’s attack power against fire enemies goes up by 2, and he is able to safely jump on fiery enemies.
I prefer this badge over Fire Shield because honestly I value attack power over defense. That is the way I play most games and I think it shows in my preference of Ice Power over Fire Shield, which reduces the damage Mario takes from fire attacks. But also, if I remember correctly, you get the Ice Power badge first so there’s that.
Peekaboo – 3 BP – Allows the player to see the enemies’ HP without using Goombario’s Tattle ability.
I feel like Peekaboo loses some of its appeal in TTYD because of the Tattle Log. I’m less likely to use this badge there because I always attempt to complete the log. But in PM64, you are rewarded not at all for using Goombario’s Tattle ability, other than just wasting a turn. Peekaboo makes battles go faster.
Pretty Lucky – 3 BP – Enemies will occasionally miss Mario when it’s equipped.
It’s always fun to avoid an enemy attack thanks to luck.
Quick Change – 4 BP – Allows Mario or his partner to switch partners in the midst of battle without using up a turn.
This is probably my favorite badge in PM64. It is so helpful and allows you to change your attacks a lot faster than when you have to waste a turn for Mario to change partners. Accidentally select Goombario for a Spiked Goomba? Quick Change has got your back! Get in there, Kooper!
Refund – 1 BP – If the player uses an item in battle, the player will be given coins equal to 75% of the standard sale value of the item, rounded up. Maxes out at a sale value of 150 coins, so any item worth more only gives 113 coins back.
This badge makes it so easy to never run out of money for the Lil Oinks.
Speedy Spin – 1 BP – When Mario uses his Spin Dash, he will go further (and faster) than normal.
Spin Dash moves fast but Speedy Spin moves faster. What better way to see Paper Mario’s world than by spinning even more quickly?
Spike Shield – 2 BP – Renders Mario immune to enemies’ spike-based defenses, allowing him to safely jump on spiked enemies and hammer front-pointing Spear Guys.
Jump attacks are awesome, especially when I can hop on those spiked enemies. Plus, it’s great for if you’re absent minded and oops, I forgot that it injures Mario to jump on a Pokey.
Zap Tap – 4 BP – Electrifies Mario, causing most enemies to take 1 damage when they physically touch him. Prevents HP-leeching attacks as well as allowing Mario to safely jump on electrified enemies without getting hurt.
This is the only fool-proof way for me to avoid Fuzzy attacks honestly. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking this badge will help in the boss fight against Huff n’ Puff.
*Badge descriptions taken from the Mario Wiki