Posted by: peanutmaster | February 22, 2008

Super Mario Galaxy – Nintendo – Wii


 We have all heard of Super Mario Galaxy that has apparently re-defined what ‘platforming’ means, but does it meet the standard previously set?

Over a decade ago Super Mario 64 defined the template for 3D platform games, and set a standard that surprisingly few of the games that followed would even get near to. Sadly for Nintendo, that included its own Gamecube sequel. It seems harsh and sad to label a game as so enjoyable as Super Mario Sunshine a disappointment, but it’s hard to deny that it failed to match its predecessor for invention, and where it did innovate – the F.L.U.D.D. water-cannon – it added complications that changed the feel of the game for the worse…


But at last, however, Nintendo has knuckled down to create a truly worthy follow-up to Super Mario 64. Curiously it seems to have found its greatness not in Super Mario Sunshine’s wider worlds or coherent settings, but in it’s weird, shorter puzzle levels. These broke out from the main game in a riot of brightly coloured blocks, traps and odd mechanisms, where the player’s expectations and the rules of gravity could be tweaked and pulled like Mario’s face in the legendary Super Mario 64 start screen. These sections had a straighter, more arcade feel, as if Nintendo had decided to bring the more open 3D worlds of SM64 in with the more linear levels of the old 2D Mario games. They were hard – occasionally draconian – but they also had an energy that other parts of Super Mario Sunshine were clearly missing.


With Super Mario Galaxy, Nintendo has taken this energy and run with it. Mario no longer races and leaps around flat worlds of flat floating platforms. It’s goodbye to the sunshine towns, haunted hotels, industrial facilities and golden beaches of Super Mario Sunshine, and hello to the strange realms of outer space – or at least what passes for space in the universe of the Mushroom Kingdom. We’re no longer interested in worlds but in galaxies: clusters of planetoids, linked by trails or odd stellar pathways, some of them small enough to run around within a couple of seconds, and many navigable on both the ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ of the surface. The basic objective remains collecting stars, usually through the completion of particular oddball tasks or boss-battling missions, but that’s all that’s really familiar here, and thank god they kept it that way! Up is no longer always up as you see it on your screen, and your brain will be battling to make sense of new angles and directions. At first, playing Super Mario Galaxy can be a confusing, somewhat disorienting experience.

Super Mario Galaxy also has a multiplayer option called “Co-Star Mode”, in which one player controls Mario and a Star Pointer whilst the other controls another pointer on-screen to gather Star Bits and shoot them at enemies. While the first player can normally do this except during certain events, the second player can shoot star bits without restriction. The second player is also more efficient in manipulating the environment, such as halting objects and enemy movement. Additionally, the second player can make Mario jump by simply pressing the A button on him, or the height of Mario’s jump can be increased if the first and second player press the A button at the same moment. Because of these added abilities, Co-Star Mode is less difficult than single-player mode.

The grapics of Super Mario Galaxy is amazing – from the bewildering expanses of space to the furry underside of a giant queen bee, this game has everything looking beutiful – even bowser is looking amazing!

Rating: 100%


If you liked this, try Super Mario 64, or Super Mario Sunshine on Gamecube.


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