Super Mario Galaxy stunned the gaming community, and the folks at Nintendo EAD Tokyo intend to replicate the overwhelming critical and commercial success of the first with its anticipated sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 Launch Center
No other game this century has garnered as much love as the original Super Mario Galaxy. And that's no exaggeration, as right now it is the second highest rated game of all time on GameRankings.com, just behind the big kahuna: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. There were hardly any criticisms whatsoever, and for good reason... SUPER MARIO GALAXY WAS PERFECT. No... really, it was perfect. And Super Mario Galaxy 2? It's probably even more than perfect.
Okay, maybe I'm over exaggerating now. I'm doing it for good reason though: I'm extremely hyped. And why wouldn't I be? Super Mario Galaxy is arguably one of the most memorable games of all time. It cranked it up to eleven and changed people's perceptions on a 25 year old genre. What other games have done that in the past? Well, let's take a look at genre bending Mario titles that share an equal (or even more-so) amount of importance with Galaxy:
- Donkey Kong - The question of what exactly the first platformer ever was is regularly brought up. It's no question, though, that without Donkey Kong the genre we love and hold close to our hearts would not be the same, or even exist. The lovable carpenter (what) Jumpman (WHAT) did all in his power to save his beloved Pauline (....WHAT!) from a disgruntled ape named Donkey Kong (wha.... oh wait, no that's normal). He jumped over barrels, climbed up ladders and created the modern platformer.
- Super Mario Bros. - Whereas games preceding SMB were mainly on a single screen, Super Mario Bros. featured stages that sometimes contained up to thirty screens. When Mario moved, the screen moved. Today that doesn't seem groundbreaking, but in the eighties it was. The physics of Mario's movements were astounding; he jumped higher when he ran and his position in the air could even be altered. the programmers learned a lot with previous titles like Balloon Fighter... you may even notice some similarities with Mario's movements in the water and the Balloon Fighter's movements in the air.
- Super Mario 64 - Most of the Mario games following Super Mario Bros. were enhancements of the original, but Super Mario 64 is known for taking the series to a new dimension. Previous games before Super Mario 64 had tried but ultimately failed. What made Super Mario 64 so different? Well, Super Mario 64 was the first 3D game to feature a camera that the player could control. In a world in which things are going on in all directions, this is especially important. The controls were also perfect, largely thanks to the wonders of Nintendo's hardware department who developed the joystick.
- Super Mario Galaxy - Koizumi and his team worked tirelessly at trying to get Sunshine to be as ground breaking as Super Mario 64, but ultimately failed. Don't get me wrong: I loved Super Mario Sunshine. In fact, I'd say it is one of the greatest Mario games ever created, but it really didn't do much new in terms of pushing the genre forward. Miyamoto publicly stated that he thought competitors would copy the F.L.U.D.D. mechanic they implemented in the game, and while it truly was a novel idea, it didn't compare to the wonder of the gravity mechanic in Super Mario Galaxy, a game that truly did break new ground, something that hadn't happened since Super Mario 64. The sequel will not be as innovative as this game, but who could complain when the first was just so great?
There are many new features present in Super Mario Galaxy 2, but we'll just take a look as a few of them. The most prominent "new" feature is the inclusion of Yoshi. Yoshi appeared previously in Super Mario World, Super Mario Sunshine and most recently New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but not quite like this. In his only 3D outing (sans Super Mario 64 DS) he was regarded as a gimmick, but this time he is implemented much more effectively. Next is the Drill item. Miyamoto came up with this idea and actually wanted it to be in the original, but the developers never got around to making it. With the drill, Mario is able to go from one end of a planet to the other side. The Cloud Suit is among the new power ups. With it, Mario can generate up to three clouds before having to collect another suit. The clouds are strong enough to support him. The Rock Suit turns Mario into a Goron-like sphere that can crash through enemies and objects, allowing him to progress through the game. There is a new Co-op mode that will have the second player controlling a Luma that can grab onto anything from enemies to objects. The new hub world is a Starship in the shape of Mario's head. With it, Mario will travel the universe in search of new galaxies. When he saves characters from certain worlds, he'll bring them back to the new hub. Eventually, a Yoshi egg will also appear.
That's certainly not all. There are hundreds of secrets littered throughout the stage. Luigi makes his triumphant return but this time you don't have to collect 120 stars for him to join Mario's team. Instead he'll appear fairly shortly a few hours in. When a level is completed with Luigi, players can watch a speed run done by a Nintendo employee. There's also a new hint system similar to the one Nintendo EAD4 put in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. When activated, a ghostly Rosalina-like figure will appear and take control of Mario, subsequently finishing the level (and showing the player how it's done).