Outside of putting hours into the Backbreaker demo to be released Friday morning, the only thing I know for sure about this weekend is that I’ll be getting up fairly early on Sunday morning to pick up Super Mario Galaxy 2. I have a birthday coming up in a little more than a month, but major Mario releases do not sit in a queue for me.
Though I happen to agree with most of the knee jerk praise of the first Galaxy from 2007 (namely the assertion that it’s better than Super Mario 64), I do have a few complaints that I hope have been addressed.
I hated having to beat the game before unlocking access to these fifteen star challenges. I’ve never understood the need to beat the boss and go through the rigmarole of sitting through credits and reloading your save game only to finish the game to ultimate completion. I most recently had this issue with Final Fantasy XIII, where (spoilers!) you have to beat the final boss and save the human race before you can even access a major portion of the game by time warping back before you fight the boss so you can return to Pulse to complete all the side quests. Ugh. (/spoilers!) The 100 Purple Coin challenges don’t bother me in and of themselves, but I say “nay” to the lack of access until beating the game.
Secrets on Secrets
What made some of the 2D Mario games an absolute joy to play and revisit tens of times were the secrets that took some serious thoroughness to uncover. It seems with each playthrough of Super Mario World, I’ve found something I didn’t remember from previous experiences. It’s a beautiful thing. Super Mario Galaxy didn’t have enough of this. There were secrets, sure, but there weren’t secrets piled on top of secrets.
What gets me excited about Galaxy 2 is the indication that my qualms from the first installment have been fixed. I’m still very interested to know if the “240 stars” figure is a Mario/Luigi thing like the last game or if it’s referring to 240 unique challenges. I want Galaxy 2 to be the purest gameplay extension of concepts introduced in the first title — more gravity elements, more nostalgia, more variety, etc.
Briefly, I remember reading somewhere that Super Mario 64 shows up on “most overrated game” lists with alarming frequency. This offends my senses. I can totally empathize with those who place Final Fantasy VII in that category — that particular title feeds directly into the pleasure centers of my brain, but it definitely is more visible than other (superior) Final Fantasy titles. My big issue with these silly lists is that I rarely see Ocarina of Time in those ranks, but yet I see Mario 64.
Go back and play those titles. In fact, play the successors to both — Super Mario Sunshine and Majora’s Mask. Tell me that Sunshine holds up better than 64 and Majora’s Mask is a step backward from Ocarina of Time. I would be surprised if you reached that conclusion. I’m astounded with how well Mario 64 holds up to today’s gameplay standards. So many I come in contact with obsess over the idea of remaking classic JRPGs, but I have to say my most desired graphical overhaul would be the seminal 1996 N64 launch title with the jovial plumber. All that game needs is a fresh coat of paint.
Anyway! If you own a Wii (or know someone who does), get out and rejoin the Mushroom Kingdom (Mushroom Universe?) this Sunday. Don’t ask questions.
Posted by John Warren