The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.

My top 10 video games of all time Day 6 – No #5

Super Mario Galaxy
Platform: Wii
Release: 2007

Super Mario Galaxy came at the best time in the world. At the end of 2007, the Wii’s hype amongst core gamers and after only receving a handful of quality games, we were left with the question, now what? Then came Super Mario Galaxy. Mario’s 3rd 3D platform adventure, that aimed to take away the gimmicky faults of Super Mario Sunshine and blast Mario back into the stratosphere, thankfully the game did that. Quite literally.

If you know your Mario games, the plot is fairly similar. Bowser steals Peach and carries her into space with his Airship Armada. Mario, unsurprisingly, follows suit to rescue her, he turns up on an observatory that can only reach Bowser once it’s had a certain number of Power Stars, spread by Bowser across various galaxies. No guesses to what you have to do.

Super Mario Galaxy could easily be summed up in 1 word. Fun. The game is stupidly fun, unlike Super Mario Sunshine, where if you failed a mission several times, you’d angrily throw your controller at something and storm off and never play the game again. Super Mario Galaxy has somehow perfected a formula, which due to bouncy music+long roads+lots of jumping on enemies+powerups= endless replayabilty.  Believe me, even on aggravatingly difficult missions such as Luigi’s Purple Coins will have you constantly coming back for more, regardless of how many times you’ve died, you keep coming back until you’ve got that star (and maybe even then, you’ll come back to it)

The game is also brilliant for nostalgists. Those who’ve yearned for Super Mario Bros 4 (which they are getting in the form of New Super Mario Bros. Wii Launching Winter 2009, can I have my free copy now, Nintendo?)  can breath a sigh of relief, it’s so similar to that of the 2d ancestors, just with an alternative view. There’s the return of the Fire Flower power-up, the Airships from Super Mario Bros. 3, Weegee (Luigi for non-chan people) is playable and of course, the legendary 1-1 theme is re-mixed.

On the subject of levels, there are some amazing ones on offer here. From the brilliant introduction of Toad Town to Bowsers Galaxy Reactor, every level oozes personality. With bright colours and exubarant tones, my only regret with the game is not having a HDTV to play it on. The music is also exceptional. For the first time in a Mario game (Super Smash Bros. Melee doesn’t count) The score has been orchestrated. Not just by anyone, but by Nintendo’s brand spanking new Super Mario Galaxy Orchestra. All the music was written by longtime Mario composer Koji Kondo (responsible for the legendary  1-1 theme from the original Super Mario Bros.). It’s one of my all-time favourite soundtracks and I’m going to share a few tracks with you.

From top (Gusty Garden Galaxy, Buoy Base Galaxy, Melty Molten Galaxy, Purple Coins)

Of course being a space based game, Gravity has to come into it right? Right. Gravity plays a key part, you can float round whole planets and flip onto the underside of platforms, in a similar manner to Raphael Raven’s castle from Yoshi’s Island (So the concept isn’t entirely original) or even Ratchet & Clank (although according to Miyamoto, it’s a conicedence, he’s never heard of it) But it excels on both of those games in so many ways and with the amount of options available, it’s almost impossible to resist. Nintendo announced a sequel last month and well…it’s got a lot to live up to.


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