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First Impressions: Super Mario Galaxy November 1, 2007

Posted by Chris in Articles, Console, Games.
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For starters: wow.

I’m just three proper stages in (the opening bit in the Mushroom Kingdom with Bowser raining fire and brimstone doesn’t count) and already it feels like Game of the Year. But more on that later.

 

Once old fiery breath has run off with the Princess (surely only Kim Bauer rivals Peach for kidnapability), you’re introduced to some star-shaped creature who’ll be your companion throughout the adventure. He turns into a rabbit and challenges you to catch him and two others. So you run across the surface of your first planet and…woah! It feels very disorientating to see the camera swirling round as you dash along a spherical plane, more still when you’re upside down and trying to jump. All around the planetoid, the space seems terrifyingly vast, but you’ve got gravity on your side. Here, at least. Catch your starry chum’s two mates, and you eventually find twinkle-chops hiding away in a large crater.

Observation: you go down pipes automatically. Didn’t know that.

Once you’ve caught him, you’re introduced to Rosalina (definitely hotter than Peach, if you’re into drooling over collections of pixels) who is some kind of star goddess thing  – I dunno, it’s all in Japanese – and she’s got this observatory with a load more star-shaped creatures. A bit of research suggests they’re called Lumas. Anyhoo, this Grand Star seems to power your ability to travel further in space. I had just the one so I zoomed off to the first galaxy, where I had to kill a Petey Piranha type thing. Harder than it sounds – he’s quick once you’ve bopped him once, and it’s tricky to get your bearings when you’re used to traversing flat plains and you find yourself legging it round a tiny sphere with a HUGE baddie closing in. Two lives down (though others are in plentiful supply – collect 50 stars by aiming your remote at them to suck ’em up) and he eventually drops. Each time you start from the planetoid just before you reach him, so no having to do the whole level again – nice touch.

If I’m being a bit vague about the actual level description, that’s for two reasons: 1. I don’t want to spoil the experience for you. And, more importantly, 2. I have a shocking memory. But there’s a caveat to number 2 – the reason I can’t recall everything that’s happened (in the right order, anyway) is that SO MUCH HAS. I’ve already smacked a giant Goomba onto his backside, zipped through space arms outstretched with stars flying all around me, grabbed blue stars just to hear the wonky Theremin-y sound effect, stopped completely for a minute to listen to the stunning music, entered a giant glass capsule with 2D-ish upside down bits, felt a little bit of motion sickness for the first time in my life – memo to self: don’t sit so close to the telly – and just marvelled at the astonishing level of inventiveness shown in these very early stages. It’s possible that Galaxy might have shot its load early, but somehow I doubt that. If it maintains this quality throughout, then we’re talking one of the best videogames I’ve ever played.

As for Mario 64/Sunshine comparisons – yes, it’s similar in a lot of ways. But at the same time, oh so different. It can’t possibly have the same impact as that move to 3D, but…well, you’ll know when you play it for the first time. It does feel just a little bit extraordinary – and the first time you jump off the ‘edge’ of a planet and land on the underside you’ll be utterly sold. Not revolutionary, then – but something very special indeed.

More later. Stay tuned, folks.

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Comments»

1. Mike - November 1, 2007

Thanks Chris. Absolutely cannot wait. Enjoy the rest!

2. Jevan - November 1, 2007

We should have taken the Blog route to start with shouldn’t we? 🙂

Thanks Chris. In spite of having far too many games to play at the moment, this one can’t come soon enough.

3. MCN - November 1, 2007

I am SO jealous.

4. Mockmaster - November 2, 2007

It sounds like the most joyful game experience of all time. Thanks for the feedback, it only ups the anticipation even more.


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