Review by DarkECOJak
"Not Even Space Can Keep This Plumber Down!"
A few years back, Nintendo graced us with yet another great step forward in gaming. They called it the Nintendo Gamecube. Fans rejoiced as they would hope to see another launch title starring Nintendo's plucky plumbing mascot, Mario. However, Nintendo felt it would be a good idea to release the system with a game starring his younger sibling Luigi fighting ghosts in a haunted mansion. Needless to say, Luigi's Mansion had it's strong points, but this cruel joke sent many fans heading down the Sony path for a while.
Some time later, we finally got a Mario game for the Cube. But instead of the "true sequel to Super Mario 64" we expected, we got a game about cleaning up an island infested with goop. Mario donned a water pack which allowed him to spray the island clean, with a few peripherals for hovering, blasting upward, etc. Personally, I had never been happier to have Luigi's title launch before this, since it may have been the Gamecube's immediate downfall had it been a launch title.
Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate either one of these games by any means. But the fact had been that Mario games had a significant decline in the fun department. And maybe the most sad part of all was that the Gamecube never saw an official sequel to 64 before being laid to rest for the upcoming system, the Nintendo Wii.
So, was the wait for Mario's newest adventure truly worth it? Was the Wii capable of producing a game that didn't make you regret spending all that hard earned (or possibly stolen) cash? Well, unless you've avoided this game since it's release you'd know that Nintendo deserves a lot more than what they asked for this game. Whether you're a rabid Mario fan, or just love the though of a solid platformer, you're gonna love Super Mario Galaxy.
As with any good Mario game, the story is pretty much the same as the rest. Peach invites Mario to a star festival, only for Bowser to come and screw things up and take peach away once again. Bowser's newest plan involves creating his own galaxy and ruling it with Peach. But Mario doesn't take that kinda crap, and throughout a series of events he ends up in space aboard a comet observatory run by Rosalina. Now Rosalina (who looks like Peach, only kinda "Giggity Giggity Goo") tells Mario that he can rescue Peach by collecting the well-known Power Stars to restore her obsevatory's power and reach the center of the universe where Bowser is hiding.
There are different parts of the observatory, but they are secluded in darkness due to lack of power. So the more stars you collect, the more levels (which will hereby be referred to by their true names: galaxys) open up for you to explore. Each galaxy has a number of stars, much like the previous titles, which you must complete tasks to earn. And with 120 of these bad boys, you're gonna be very busy for quite some time.
No one can argue that the drawing point of Galaxy, in the grand scheme of things, is the worlds you get to explore. From the first galaxy you enter, you immediately realize you're dealing with a brand new type of platformer due to the gravity implement. Instead of falling to an untimely death from walking off a ledge, you instead find yourself on the underside of the level. Not only does this make for an interesting approach, but gives you a sense of scale like you'd find in very few games. You'll mostly be hopping from one small planet to another to start, but soon realize the worlds grow larger and more in depth. And traveling between the parts of the level are made fun and easy by way of different stars which Mario can jump into and blast off, be flung from, or just be grabbed using the pointer on the screen.
Graphically, this is one of the most beautiful titles to grace the Wii so far. The shadow effects are incredible. And while it may not be the most impressive ever seen, Nintendo did a fantastic job creating a believable and realistic environment. While the game is pretty to look at, what really surprised me was the soundtrack. The score is absolutely amazing, with music that rivals some of the greatest in gaming. I've almost never heard a game's soundtrack that made me want to buy it, but Galaxy does it.
But my personal favorite part of the game is the control scheme thanks to the new Wii remote. It controls like you would expect, but with some new twists. You use the nunchuk to move about, and with a shake of the remote (or nunchuk) Mario gives a spin to knock out nearby enemies. The flipping and long jumping you expect from a Mario game are all intact here too. But an interesting added bonus is an onscreen star pointer which is used to collect star bits. These are a "snack currency" of sorts for the little star creatures named Lumas that Mario encounters. Don't let this control scheme fool you, though, it's the easiest way to move Mario around since he first made the move to the 3rd dimension. The only thing you may get peeved about is that they still haven't perfected swimming! It's still a huge hassle! Luckily swimming (and a few segments where the remote is used by itself for movement during a race or ball balancing) are few and far between.
As you can see, I've rambled on about this game, which I rarely do. In other words, I love this game! I can think of very few things Galaxy could have done better. With great graphics, spot on controls, a camera that doesn't laugh at you and say "I think I'll be an jerk right as he tries to jump", and some of the best level designs since Psychonauts, I can't praise this title enough. There are even some clever boss fights (I said clever, but not hard), and a ton of replay value thanks to a certain... just see for yourself. Just take my advice and buy this game! Buy it for yourself! Buy it for a friend or a loved one! Whatever you do, do not miss Super Mario Galaxy.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 01/18/08
Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy (US, 11/12/07)
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