Super Mario Galaxy

This is the box art for Super Mario Galaxy, one of the greatest Mario games of all time (Happy 50th page!).

Super Mario Galaxy is a game released in 2007, the third 3D platformer in the Mario series and one of the most popular video games of recent history. The game begins with Bowser stealing Princess Peach's entire castle (sound familiar?) on the night of the centennial Star Festival and warping with it into space. Mario attempts to stop Bowser, but as he is too unprepared, he fails and is catapulted through space. However, he wakes up on a small planet and soon meets Rosalina, an enchanted woman who runs the Comet Observatory, the main purpose of which is to monitor happenings in the universe. However, the stars which power the Observatory have been stolen by Bowser and re-purposed in order to create Bowser's sun, with which he plans to hold total domination of the universe. Rosalina give Mario the ability to travel through space with a young Luma (little star creatures who Rosalina lives with on the Observatory), and tells him to rescue all the stolen Power Stars as well as the powerful Grand Stars, so that the Observatory may re-mobilize and stop Bowser.

I decided to review this game because it is this wiki's 50th page (I know, how awesome is that?), and this is one of the best games out there, no contest. It's a truly gorgeous, varied, fun, and replayable game that deserves its place among Nintendo lovers.

Let's start with the look of the game. Nintendo has outdone itself more than I've ever seen with this game as far as graphics go. The characters were beautifully rendered, the overworlds were incomprehensibly beautiful, and the level design, even down to the immediate area, was a real joy to behold. However, this is not even where Super Mario Galaxy BEGINS to astonish you. Where it really begins is when you're flying. Often times, Mario would have to use Launch Stars within levels to reach new areas, and you got the most amazing angles when he was soaring across space. It looked like it could all go on forever, which is what space and the universe is supposed to make you believe. Sometimes, in the main hub, you could also make use of Red Stars, which would allow you to fly around the area freely for a certain amount of time. This was a really fun experience in that it showed the attractiveness of the overworld in a more impressive way than before. As far as graphics, level design, and overall grandeur goes, this game will go down in history, because it reaally captured the imaginative, tear-inducing effects that exotic worlds can have on a person.

Now we move on to the gameplay. I gotta say that, especially the first time around, this is one of the most fun Nintendo games to go through. It was always an interesting process exploring the area and figuring out what to do to move on in the level. For example, a fascinating twist is that when you are holding a shell underwater, it allows you to move progressively in a single direction, and also lights the way to a certain extent. The underwater environments had other interesting aspects as well; not only were there little secrets you could find by looking around, but you could also replenish your air supply by swimming through a submerged air bubble. And believe you me, there is infinitely more perks to the game than just the underwater. The role of gravity in playing this game made it somewhat tricky, but more like hilarious and mind-boggling. That is, there were some points where you could walk on the underside of something, and be pulled back over to a body despite jumping right off the edge. This game re-defined the concept of 3-D platformers in how it challenged the status-quo of running right through a level, like in Super Mario 64, and made it possible to branch off into other little surprising bonus areas where you could finish the level in different ways.

It doesn't even end there. For instance, look at the game's power-ups. It had the usual 1-Up Mushroom, and Super Mushrooms that doubled your health, but there were also things like the Ice Flower, that let you freeze and walk across water and lava, the Fire Flower that let you hit enemies with fireballs and light torches, the Bee Mushroom, that let you climb honeycomb and fly in short bursts, the Spring Mushroom, which let you bounce around and jump vertically to dizzying heights, the Boo Mushroom, which gives you special ghost-like qualities, and the Rainbow Star, which makes you temporarily invincible. In this way, you had to test your skills with each item in order to successfully finish the level, and that went a long way towards making the game interesting.

What about challenge? HA! What, did you think this game was going to be super-easy? The game had the perfect amount of challenge, because it struck an optimal balance between easy-to-beat enemies to ones that required going out of the comfort zone and changing your style of combat a bit to get past them. However, the challenge lies not so much with the enemies as it does with the bosses. The bosses were far from simple; even the first one took some real doing (at least for me...). Some of them really required that you keep at it over and over and find the proper method to do damage. You might believe that this great challenge detracts from the game, but it only makes the completion of the galaxy all the more gratifying.

Another thing I really liked about this game was the control; it was like a coming together of the 3-D platformer titles and the side-scrollers alike to give you a very full experience of playing as Mario. You could do spins, jumping spins, triple jumps, forward springs, and backflips. The huge potential of all of these moves toward making the game easier drove you to master them and be all you could be, and not only that, but they all worked perfeectly with a little practice, which I always like.

Now, we come to the issue of replayability, and whether or not you'll enjoy going back through the game to get everything you can. I'd say this game has tons of replayability, because there are extra stars within levels to get (by playing through the level differently), as well as different comets that had you go back into levels and fulfill certain requirements, like racing a former shadow or finishing the level within a given timeframe, to earn stars. Also along the way are Hungry Lumas, whom you can feed with Star Bits to open up fun little new galaxies to earn more stars. There were all sorts of opportunities like this throughout the hub, so you always find yourself inclined to get as much as possible. There are only a couple of qualms I have with this subject; some of the requirements for stars are unreasonably difficult, or incredibly hard to find in the first place. For example, there are a few levels that require you to surf along a suspended track with a huge Manta Ray, and it was a waste of lives because it was impossible to avoid falling off the edge. Another instance is the ball-rolling levels, which make you roll a giant ball to the end of a treacherous course to earn a star. The controls for both of these were way, way too loose and it made the process too unfair. Moreover, even if you do earn all of the 120 Power Stars in the game, all youg et is the opportunity to replay the game as Luigi. I guess this is kind of cool for those who like Luigi, but it just seems like a dud of a prize for all that frustration and hard work.

Now for by far the worst thing that there is about this game: the multiplayer. The multiplayer was much improved in the sequel, but in this title, it's just embarrasing how limited it is. All the second player could do was shoot things with Star Bits and hold down enemies for the other active player to kill. For an otherwise very impressive game, this seems like one area that really should have been done better.

Despite the few noticeable failings of this game, they in no way change the fact that this is one of the greatest Mario games, and maybe one of the best Nintendo games, of all time. You will love this game whether you're young or old, or a Nintendo buff or not. This is absolutely, without question, worth its weight in gold and is a definite buy.

By the way, I just want to thank all of you who have contributed so far in order to get this wiki up to its 50th page already, and I thank those of you who have taken the time to read our articles here!