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Point-Counterpoint: SMG2 Rocks/Sucks
- Written by cheatmaster-30
With Super Mario Galaxy 2 out just recently, you as a Mario fan will
probably be wondering exactly how much it brings back from the era you
loved as a kid, how many nostalgic elements make a long needed return
and just how much this game resembles the past games. Well, it is
probably the best 3D 'action' styled platformer you can imagine. It's a
very different game to Super Mario 64 and Sunshine, and in all it's
very much like the Bowser levels in the original in it's style, but you
can keep one thing to heart, this game is absolutely built upon the
foundations of the past Mario series and it's games.
First thing of all, it's the definitive end to Bowser's villain decay.
Really, 100 ft tall Bowser circling a planet, hitting it hard enough to
send meteors into the sky, sending down meteors and levitating via fire
breath of doom is about as far removed from the sad joke you fought in
the Mario and Luigi and Paper Mario series as you could get. As are his
minions, gone are the weak little things like Boom Boom and Big Boo and
all, in are the monsters many times bigger than the planet they're
fought on. Gobblegut, Megahammer and the Boomsday Machine make epic
bosses, although nothing still compares to just how over the top huge
Megaleg was in the first game. It really makes me wonder why Bowser and
his troops don't just steam roll the next wannabe RPG villain/sealed
evil in a can before it can blink. I've alway wanted to see the Shroobs
return in that mothership and then Megaleg just crush it flat in one
hit. Like how some villains expect a nice medieval society which just
rolls over and dies and then the humans fight back with modern day
technology, have it so Bowser and co just crush the threat nigh
instantly due to THEIR advanced technology and troops. It'd be somewhat
satisfying to see something like Megahammer just smash flat Exor from
Super Mario RPG in one Smithy Gang destroying hit. I always will now
wonder why Bowser doesn't just become giant in one of his myriad ways
next time the Shadow Queen poses a threat, or why he didn't just send
out Gobblegut, Megaleg and the Boomsday Machine to take out Fawful,
Midbus and their sad little castle mech. You think they freak when they
see Giant Bowser lifting up and throwing his own castle or the Peach
Castle mech thing? They'd freak more when they see a couple of hundred
foot dragon and a six story high steel tank charging towards their HQ.
Or the mecha that towers over them as much as Bowser in giant form did
over the Fawful Express. All while Bowser just goes off go karting
But back to the topic, the Bowser levels really are the closest you'll
get to Bowser's Castle in 3D. They're sadly too short (although it
seems 3D levels are never as big as the 2D ones unfortunately, I always
despair at how the final level never has the twenty odd rooms the SMW
castle did), but they really are nostalgic. Seriously, it's all there,
the good and the bad. Thwomps, Bullet Bills, Banzai Bills, Hammer Bros,
Boomerang Bros, Magikoopas, Whomps, Firebars and even Podoboos make
their return. The 2D bits look just what New Super Mario Bros Wii
should ideally have looked like (good game, but it would have done
better still with this game's presentation). Heck, one such level is
even called 'Breaking into Bowser's Castle'.
And Bowser's Galaxy Generator is a real sight to behold.
But nostalgia wise, the enemies are even better. Hammer Bros AND Boomerang Bros in full 3D for the first time in Mario history? You bet. Not counting party or spinoffs where they're playable here, but these are full bloody versions of the 2D enemies in a 3D environment. You can eat the hammers and boomerangs and fire them back, blow them up with Bullet Bills, kick them into lava, jump on them, etc. Yoshi can't eat them sadly, but this is the best enemy comeback after the Koopalings in my opinion.
Hammer Bros IN 3D! All we need now are Chargin’ Chucks.
There’s also the Grinders from Super Mario World, which I doubt anyone expected to see return ever again, let alone in a 3D platformer. They work exactly as you’d expect, with the added cool element of cutting away the floor as they pass and forcing Mario and Luigi to hurry the *** up and reach that Launch Star already. Two new varieties of Blarggs also appear in 3D, including ones big enough to eat small planetoids.
Not content with enemies, whole planets and areas return from the past. The Rolling Coaster Galaxy is awesome here, it’s basically Rainbow Road from Mario Kart in a mainstream platformer. Remember how people despair how Nintendo ignores the Mario sub series? Not this time around apparently, it’s even called the Rainbow Road Roll (and later, Purple Coins on the Rainbow Road). That really has to make it into a future Mario Kart, maybe the 3DS one. It’d be hilarious to see the Star Ball everyone hates roll straight through the Mario Kart racers in the same way as the Chomps in Mario Kart 64 did, maybe with a Luma riding it or something. I just hope the game won’t ask you to collect purple coins as one of the missions in the style of the coin missions in Mario Kart DS...
There’s also the Twisty Trials Galaxy, a perfect replica of the secret stage in Ricco Harbour. You know, that Mario Sunshine mission where you lose FLUDD after entering the light house top and all that? It’s got the rotating planks of wood and everything, albeit with a few dozen more star bits and a comet medal placed in the middle somewhere.
And the best part of this nostalgia trip in the game? Throwback Galaxy. You should recognise it instantly:
it’s Whomp’s Fortress remade exactly in the amazing Wii graphics of
Super Mario Galaxy 2! Okay, not perfectly, it has lots of new enemies
and less Whomps, but it’s a certain trip down memory lane with the main
theme from Super Mario 64 being remixed and used for the level music, as
well as a full blown rebattle against the Whomp King
from Super Mario 64. Except he generates cute little tiny Whomps when
he jumps and pounds the ground, and causes shockwaves on landing.
Sadly, he also kills you instantly like every other Thwomp, Whomp and
Tox Box the game has to offer, but is at least nice enough to show a red
shadow on the ground indicating where he’ll land as he falls. He also
makes an extremely flashy entrance, doing the kind of jump previously
only Bowser and Big Bob-omb seemed to revel in doing. Interestingly,
you seem to fight him on the underside of Whomp’s Fortress, which is
certainly rather unique, and by far a more well suited arena than the
fortress roof. However, a minor issue because of this is that they
surrounded the entire arena with black holes, so there’s literally no
way to flee the battle any more, sucks for you if you enter without
finding an extra health life mushroom or whatever, because you ain’t
Finally, there are some Mario Galaxy references. One is good, one less so. The bright side? The Boss Blitz Galaxy. You refight Dino Piranha, King Kaliente, Major Burrows, Bouldergeist and Fiery Dino Piranha without taking a break. Bringing back one old boss like the Battan/Whomp King is cool, bringing back seven is the meaning of awesome retro nod (sadly no Koopalings, the last referred to is Bugaboom). There’s also the Stone Cyclone Galaxy, which has taken another ten levels of hatred in design (everything’s got the fast foe comet effects permanently), and the Mario Squared Galaxy, which is basically ‘Luigi’s Purple Coins as a level’. Oh, didn’t I mention it has Cosmic Clones? *** that sucks.
you’re being chased by about twenty evil clones who copy your
movements. Miss a coin and you will pay with your life. Meh, could be
worse. Could be the ‘Daredevil Speed Run Ultra Fast Super Mario
Sunshine Lilypad Storm Drain Level with Cosmic Clones Chaos’. Or maybe
the 9-7 Cosmic Clone mission based on the infamous New Super Mario Bros
Wii level. Or a Donkey Kong Country level with ‘em. Imagine Lightning
Lookout or Rocket Rush with Cosmic Clones and Daredevil Comet effects.
That would be true ***. But sadly, the bad came back with the good
stuff. Remember those annoying Piantas that threw you in Mario
Sunshine? They come back in Starshine Beach. On the bright side, the
level is as flat as anything, so there are no annoying platforms to be
thrown off to a quick demise, and you don’t ever have to actually use
them for anything. Thank God.
Similarly, you know what else didn’t need to return? Snake Blocks. Those freaking annoying things from that second tower in world 8 of New Super Mario Bros and Roy’s Castle from Super Mario World. A fast one appears too, in the Boo Moon Galaxy, and as per Nintendo and their stubborn game design, you have to long jump off the thing to get a Green Star. Hope you’re laughing there, that annoying thing cost me about twenty lives, and having to dodge ghosts while running with the platform is about as much of a punch in the face as you can imagine level design wise. On the bright side, the others in the game are less annoying. But do they even need to exist in the first place?
anyone actually like these platforms? Do they serve any purpose other
than avoid having to design ground and platforms? They’re space filling
But all in all, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is an excellent example of nostalgia and listening to what the Mario fans want. There could indeed be improvements, I still wait for a Chargin’ Chuck in a 3D Mario game, and the game has a few boring levels here and there, but all the retro throwbacks and nods are great for fans of the series.
~Waluigious: It's like, political, or something.