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ESRB RATING: E
He’s back! He’s back! No, not in a tennis, baseball, golf, soccer, kart, party, doctor, rpg, olympics, or dancing game (that all of them?), but in full 3d platforming goodness.
The story here is same as ever. Bowser’s trying to marry and rape Princess Peach, and has kidnapped her once again to do what he pleases with her. I’m not sure if Bowser’s even thought of the logistics of trying to sleep with a human girl- he’d probably break her in two. Are there no females of his species?
Anyway, this time he’s taken her up to space where he’s determined to set up his own universe to rule over. Our hero Mario (of the famous Mario Bros.) takes issue with this and sets after him, without even a space helmet to his name. He gets help from some weird chick who’s got her own space station/ship and a whole lot of little Star friends.
The story is expendable, but this isn’t the kind of game you play for story. This is pure gaming bliss.
This is the game that people wished Super Mario Sunshine was. I still find that game to be a fun enough diversion, but a true Mario game it is not. This is.
Remember that first time you played Mario 64? I remember trying it out at Toys ‘R Us (in Co-Op city below the flea market) before the N64 was released, and instantly regretting my purchase of a Playstation, because obviously this console was going to be better in every way (Funny how that turned out, eh?). The game was the pioneer of 3d platforming and still to this day is one of the best. The analog control, the scale, the hundreds of stars to find; everything was pure old school gaming goodness finally updated. You could spend dozens of hours in the huge castle and still not find all the secrets.
That’s exactly how Super Mario Galaxy feels. The little jumping bean has all his trademark jumps back, and no silly water tank holding him down.
The big twist in this game is that it’s in outer space, which you could probably tell by the title and the Buzz Aldrin promo video (watch that here if you haven’t, it’s hysterical. My friends are convinced that Buzz is drunk). What this means for Mario is that he’s going to have some gravity problems. Half of the levels are stadard platforming worlds, but some of the others send you to tiny planets floating in space. Each of them have their own gravity field and are usually spherical in form, which means you can walk completely around them. This leads to a bit of confusion at first when you’re walking upside down on the bottom of a world but you’ll soon get the hang of it.
Of course, the other new factor is the inclusion of the Wii Remote. Using the remote you can point at the screen to collect Star Bits, which help you open up new areas later in the game. You’ve also got a new spin move that takes out enemies and allows Mario to float a bit, which you do by shaking either the nunchuck or the remote. But besides that and a few new types of Mario you can morph into (Bee Mario, Spring Mario), you’ll be right at home here.
There are a few snags to the game, of course. Sometimes you’ll get bogged down with the dumb story parts. No, Princess, I don’t care about your stupid space station or all the poor little stars. The later sections to use the Wii remote in a gimmicky way (turn to steer
the Manta Ray, balance on the ball) are difficult as hell but
thankfully over before your hand can cramp up too much, although it
will a bit. The controls are spot on but there’s one power-up in particular (Spring Mario) that has you bouncing all over the place, and good luck not plummeting to your death for dumb reasons.
But otherwise the difficulty is perfect.
The game sends you on a quest for stars, so you can power up the ditsy Star Girl’s spaceship and head off to fight Bowser. Some of the stars at the very end of the game are so hard to get that I found myself cursing so viciously it’d make the dirty little plumber blush. It’s that great kind of frustrating though, where you don’t have a bad camera system or controls to blame, only yourself for not being good enough. It’s the kind of frustrating that when you finally obtain one of the hardest stars it’ll be the greatest thing in the world. Seeing Mario holding that little golden nugget of beauty you’ll jump from the couch and scream in joy along with the victory song "DUH, DUH, DUH DUH DUH DAHHHHH!!!" and dance until you realize your girlfriend’s staring at you, horrified. And then you’ll quietly sit down and put aside your beer. Or maybe that’s just me.
So yes, what I’m saying is that Super Mario Galaxy made me feel like a virgin, like I was a little kid once again, innocent and carefree. It’s not the greatest game to come out this year, but it’s a worthy successor to Mario 64 and one of the best platform games to come out in a long damn time.
Calling it the best looking game on the Wii is a weak compliment (BETTER THAN ELEBITS?!?), so we’ll just say it looks damn nice, and Mario’s never looked better. Bowser finally looks like he can start some shit, too.
The sound is a Dolby Pro Logic mix, and any Mario fans will cream their pants at how good the renditions of the old tunes sound. Nothing like orchestrated and remixed versions of the classics, which these undeniably are. Great stuff.
The beauty of this game is that it caters to the casual and the
hardcore. All it takes for the mainstream gamer to beat the game is to
obtain 60 stars, which is a pretty easy task. Once you do that, though,
go back to the game and you’ll realize that you’ve got another 60 more
to unlock, with plenty new worlds and challenges ahead. If you don’t
get that far you’ll miss out on all types of stuff that I don’t want to
ruin, including one of the best power-ups in the game.
And Nintendo knows what it’s doing, too. The first 30 or 40 stars are
incredibly easy for someone who’s played another Mario 3D game before,
and you’ll wonder if the hairy wop has lost his edge. But after you get
those 60… hold tight. You’re in for some fierce battles. It’s a nice,
gradual learning curve, although I can’t help but wonder how hard
getting used to everything would be for someone who never played Mario
There is also a 2-player mode, but it’s mostly worthless. Unless you’ve
got a friend who’s a vegetable most people won’t find it too exciting
to play Mario’s little star helper buddy. All the second player does is
wave the remote around and collect star bits. They also can stun
enemies by hitting the A button and give Mario a new, higher jump but
you both have to hit it at the same time, making it pretty impossible
on all but the easiest of jumps. Nice try but no dice, although I can
see this being a good diversion for any of you who are visited by that
one little annoying little cousin that won’t stop wanting to be involved in
the game. You know, those kids who want to play even though it’s
obvious the little bastards will die in 10 seconds and waste all your
friggin’ lives. So now you can just hand the controller off and pray
they don’t make you jump off a cliff or something.
But you’ll definitely get your money’s worth with this game. There’s a ton to do and see here.
If you own a Wii, you must have Super Mario Galaxy. That is all.