|Super Mario Galaxy|
|Media||Super Mario Galaxy|
|Input||Wii Remote, Nunchuk|
|Predecessor||Super Mario Sunshine|
|Successor||Super Mario Galaxy 2|
|Super Mario Galaxy at Nintendo.com|
Super Mario Galaxy is an award-winning 3D platform game developed by Nintendo EAD Tokyo and published by Nintendo for the Wii. It was released in Japan on November 1, 2007, the United States on November 12, 2007, Canada on November 14, 2007, Europe on November 16, 2007, Australasia on November 27, 2007 and South Korea on September 4, 2008. It is the third 3D platformer in the Mario series, after Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine.
The game follows the protagonist, Mario, on a quest to rescue Princess Peach from the game's primary antagonist, Bowser. Levels are galaxies filled with minor planets and worlds, while gameplay is updated with gravity effects and new power-ups.
Super Mario Galaxy was first shown at E3 2006 and enjoyed a high level of pre-release awareness. The game is one of the most critically acclaimed titles of all time, and has won numerous "Game of the Year" awards including a BAFTA.
Premise and setting
Super Mario Galaxy is set in outer space, where Mario travels from galaxy to galaxy in order to collect Power Stars, which are earned by completing quests or defeating enemies. Each galaxy contains a number of planets and other space matter for the player to explore. The game uses a new physics system that allows for a unique feature: each celestial object has its own gravitational force, allowing the player to completely circumnavigate rounded or irregular planetoids, walking sideways or upside down, a feature seen previously in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. The player is usually able to jump from one independent object and then fall towards another one close by. Though the main gameplay and physics are in 3D, there are several areas in the game in which the player's movements are restricted to a 2-dimensional axis, an element reminiscent of 2D Mario games.
The game's main hub is the Comet Observatory, which contains six themed domes that provide access to the forty-two galaxies available in the game. When the player first begins the game, the player only has access to a limited number of galaxies. However, as more Power Stars are collected, more galaxies become available for the player to access. Some galaxies are accessed through special means; for example, the star-shaped creatures called "Hungry Lumas" will transform into new galaxies once they are fed enough Star Bits (Small, collectible objects that serve as weapons and currency in the game). The Hungry Lumas may also appear within the galaxy, and when they are fed enough Star Bits, they will transform into other planetary bodies which will contain some form of puzzle or challenge which will reward Mario with a Power Star when the challenge is complete. When 120 Power Stars are collected, the player has the ability to play through again as Mario's brother Luigi. Gameplay is slightly different while playing as Luigi, as some obstacles can be harder or easier to overcome. Once 120 Power Stars are collected with both characters, the player is rewarded two additional challenges as well as two commemorative pictures that are sent to the Wii Message Board.
There are five "Prankster Comets" that appear periodically (Speedy, Daredevil, Cosmic, Fast Foe, and Purple). When one of them comes into orbit with a galaxy, a special challenge is initiated that leads to a Power Star. The Speedy Comet challenges the player to replay an episode (usually a slightly more difficult version) within a varying time limit. The Daredevil Comet has the player replay a section of a level while shrinking Mario's maximum health to one unit, meaning that the player must complete the objective without being damaged even once. The Cosmic Comet pits the player in a race against a doppelganger of Mario (or Luigi) to a Power Star. The Fast Foe Comet makes a galaxy's enemies more swift and thus harder to avoid. The Purple Comet, accessible only after completing the story half of the game, allots 100 purple coins (or 150, though only 100 are needed) across an area of the 15 six-star galaxies for the player to collect, sometimes within a time limit.
The player's character is controlled via the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. While most of Mario's abilities are directly from Super Mario 64, such as the long jump, wall jumps, and a variety of somersaults, Mario is given new moves that take advantage of the Wii Remote's pointer and motion sensing. The most basic control scheme is the Star Pointer, which appears on-screen for the entire game and both marks the position of and is controlled by the Wii Remote. First and foremost, the Star Pointer is used to pick up special konpeito-shaped objects called "Star Bits", which are then shot to stun enemies, manipulate obstacles, or feed Hungry Lumas. Secondly, the pointer can latch onto small blue objects called "Pull Stars" that gradually pull Mario through space. Thirdly, if the player becomes encased in a floating bubble, the Star Pointer is used to blow air at it in order to influence the direction and speed it moves. At one point the pointer can be used to clear snow. Luigi controls identically to Mario, but he has both better jumping abilities and less traction, making some areas either less or more challenging when playing through the game the second time.
The player gains a new ability early in the game, known as the "Spin" technique, which has previously appeared in varying forms since Super Mario Bros. 3. In Super Mario Galaxy the Spin is primarily used for melee attacks, as it can stun enemies and shatter objects, and is used to trigger special propellers called "Sling Stars" or "Launch Stars" that launch Mario across large distances through space. The Spin is also used for climbing vines, ice-skating, unscrewing bolts, and for activating several power-ups. Other Wii Remote functions are available for smaller quests, such as surfing aboard a manta ray or balancing atop a large ball and rolling it through an obstacle course.
Power-ups and lives
Super Mario Galaxy features the most power-ups and transformations of all 3D Mario games to date. Nine power-ups supply Mario with a special costume that grants him new abilities. For example, special Mushrooms bestow the player with a Bee, Boo or Spring Suit. The Bee Suit allows the player to hover through the air, climb special walls, and walk on clouds and flowers; the Boo Suit allows the player to float through the air, as well as become transparent and move through obstacles; and the Spring Suit allows the player to jump to high areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. The Fire Flower, which allows Mario to throw fireballs, appears alongside the Ice Flower, which creates hexagonal tiles of ice to cover any liquid surface Mario walks on. The Rainbow Star grants Mario invincibility, allowing him to destroy multiple enemies. He can also jump higher and run faster. The Red Star, which is only accessible after completing a certain mission, allows Mario to fly.
Mario's health consists of a three-piece power meter, which can be depleted from contact with enemies and hazards. When swimming, Mario has an air supply meter, which quickly depletes his main power meter if it runs out. Mario's health can be restored by collecting Coins and his air supply by touching bubbles or reaching the water's surface. When the power meter becomes empty, the player loses a life and must return to a predetermined checkpoint. The power meter can be temporarily expanded to six units through the use of a Life Mushroom, with the maximum health returning to three units if the overall health falls to three units from enemy or hazard contact or if Mario suffers instant death. Instant death can occur by being swallowed by quicksand or dark matter; falling into bottomless pits, which either consist of black holes or leaving a planet's gravitational pull and falling into space; getting crushed between objects; losing a race against a non-player character; or other special challenges. The player can obtain extra lives by collecting 1-Up Mushrooms, 50 Star Bits, or 50 Coins while on a single level. Differently-colored Hungry Lumas can also exchange Star Bits for 1-Up Mushrooms and Life Mushrooms in certain galaxies.
Super Mario Galaxy has a co-operative two-player option called "Co-Star Mode", in which one player controls Mario and a Star Pointer while the other controls a second Star Pointer on-screen to gather Star Bits and shoot them at enemies (The first player's Star Pointer is blue, while the second player's Star Pointer is yellow). While the first player can normally do this except during certain events, the second player can shoot star bits without restriction. Additionally, the second player can make Mario jump, or the height of Mario's jump can be increased if the first and second player press the A button at the same moment. The second player's pointer star can also be aimed at some enemies to stop them by holding the A button, which prevents them from moving. The second player does not need the Nunchuk in order to play.
Shortly after Mario is invited to the centennial Star Festival by Princess Peach to celebrate the comet that passes overhead, Bowser invades the Mushroom Kingdom with a surprise attack in a fleet of airships. Summoning a giant flying saucer, he rips Princess Peach's entire castle from its foundations and lifts it into outer space. After an unsuccessful rescue attempt, Mario is catapulted across the cosmos and awakens on a small planet. On the planet he meets a mysterious woman called Rosalina and her companion stars, the Lumas. Rosalina is a watcher of the stars, who uses her mobile Observatory to travel across the universe. However, the Power Stars that act as the Observatory's power source have all been stolen by Bowser, rendering it immobile. Bestowed with the power to travel through space, Mario sets off on an intergalactic adventure across the universe to reclaim the Power Stars and restore power to Rosalina's observatory, with some help from Luigi and the Toad Brigade, a small group of Toads that escaped from Bowser when he stole Peach's castle.
On collecting enough Power Stars, Rosalina's Observatory has enough power to transform into a comet and fly to the center of the universe, where Peach is held captive. Confronting Bowser, Mario learns that Bowser's plan is to rule the entire universe with Peach at his side, using a newly constructed sun of his own via the power of the Grand Stars. Mario manages to defeat Bowser and free Peach; however, in doing so, Bowser's sun collapses into itself, becoming a supermassive black hole that begins consuming the nearby galaxies. All of Rosalina's Lumas jump into the black hole to destroy it, but sacrifice themselves in the process. The galaxies sucked into the black hole collapse into a singularity and explode in a supernova. Rosalina appears to Mario as a giantess, stating that stars never die and are later reborn as new stars. Mario awakens in the restored Mushroom Kingdom alongside Peach and Bowser, celebrating the new galaxy that has emerged in the skies.
The concept for Super Mario GalaxyTemplate:'s game play originated from ideas taken from Super Mario 128, a tech demo shown at Nintendo Space World in 2000 to exemplify the processing power of the Nintendo GameCube. The demo's director (and director of Super Mario Galaxy), Yoshiaki Koizumi, desired that one of the demo's distinguishing features, spherical-based platforms, would be used in a future game, but was held back in belief that such a feat would be "impossible for technical reasons". Shigeru Miyamoto suggested to work on the next large-scale Mario game after Nintendo EAD Tokyo finished development on Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat in late 2004, pushing for the spherical platform concept to be realized. A prototype of the game's physics system took three months to build, where it was decided that the game's use of spherical platforms would best be suited to planetoids in an outer space environment, with the concept of gravity as a major feature. During development, the designers would often exchange ideas with Miyamoto from his office in Kyoto, where he would make suggestions to the game design. Miyamoto ended up being more involved in the development of Galaxy than he did with Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine.
The idea for Mario to have a "spin" attack came during the early stages of development, when it was decided that jumping on enemies on a spherical map would be difficult for some players. Initially the "spin" was activated via rotation of the Nunchuk's control stick, but after motion sensing was confirmed to be implemented in the Wii Remote, the "spin" was changed to be activated through shaking the controller.
It was first hinted by Takashi Tezuka, Nintendo's analysis and development's general manager, that multiplayer was going to be co-op in an interview with gaming site IGN. Two-player functionality was later confirmed, along with reports of the team experimenting with new ways to use the Wii Remote so that one player can control Mario while the other aids him, backed up by suggestions by Miyamoto that the second player could have the ability to affect Mario's progress. It was later revealed at Nintendo's E3 2007 that the co-op mode was permanently implemented into the game and could be accessed at any time.
In an after-hours press event at E3 2006 in May, Miyamoto stated: "I don't want to promise anything yet. But if it's not a launch title it will definitely be there within the first six months". Nintendo of America's President Reggie Fils-Aime later stated in a November 27, 2006 interview with cable TV network MTV that the game was expected to be released sometime up to Christmas 2007. Near the end of Miyamoto's keynote presentation at the 2007 Game Developers Conference in March, he further confirmed: "You'll be able to play Super Mario Galaxy this year".  At Nintendo's E3 2007 conference, it was confirmed that Super Mario Galaxy would be released in North America on November 12, 2007 and four days later in Europe. In North America, certain retailers had given out a free limited edition coin for preordering the game. Some retailers had delayed it until November 13, 2007, such as GameStop in North America, and some retailers had delayed the release until November 14, 2007. Equally, certain UK retailers shipped the game a day earlier than the European release date, for example Virgin megastores and Game.
In the 1,000th issue of Famitsu, Miyamoto stated his interest in making a sequel to Super Mario Galaxy. Producer Koizumi said in a GameSpot interview that there is a "really high chance" several power-ups and suits that did not make it into Super Mario Galaxy would be used in the sequel.
During development, Mahito Yokota, who was in charge of the composition of music, originally wanted Super Mario Galaxy to have a Latin style of music and even had 28 tracks completed for the game. The reason for this was that Latin percussion instruments had been used in previous Mario games, such as steelpans, bongo drums, and congas. For Super Mario GalaxyTemplate:'s theme, Yokota used Latin instruments and a synthesizer to create sci-fi sounds. The song was approved by Yoshiaki Koizumi, the game's designer, but when he presented it to Kōji Kondō, he told him that his song was no good. According to Yokota, he always had an image that Mario was for children, causing him to create cute music that would appeal to children. Three months later, Yokota presented three different styles of music to Shigeru Miyamoto. One piece had an orchestral sound, one was a mix of orchestral music and pop music, and the last was pop music. Miyamoto chose the orchestral piece, which was written by Kondō. From then on, the game's soundtrack would be composed for a symphony orchestra. Kondō often asked the orchestra to play at unusual tempos to perfectly synchronise with the rest of Mario's movement. He also stated that even the sound effects fit into the musical score if the player listens carefully.
The official soundtrack was released on January 24, 2008. It was an exclusive to Club Nintendo subscribers in Japan, although as of November 2008 both versions of the soundtrack are available from Club Nintendo of Europe. The soundtrack was released in two versions: the Original Soundtrack, which only contains 28 songs from the game, and the Platinum Edition, which contains all 81 songs from the game on two discs. The soundtrack has won numerous critic awards, such as "Best Design in Audio" from the U.K.'s Edge Magazine.
Template:VG Reviews Super Mario Galaxy has received universal commercial and critical success. By December 31, 2008, Nintendo had sold 7.66 million copies of Super Mario Galaxy worldwide. It is the second best-selling non-bundled Wii game and the sixth best-selling Nintendo-published game for the Wii; the four best-selling Wii games, Wii Sports, Wii Play, Wii Fit, and Mario Kart Wii, were bundled with the console or an accessory. As of July 9, 2008, the game has sold 912,746 copies in Japan, according to Famitsu. According to the NPD Group, since the launch of the Wii, Super Mario Galaxy has become the third best-selling video game in Canada as of April 1, 2008.
Super Mario Galaxy is the highest rated game of all time on the review aggregator websites TopTenReviews, and MobyGames and third at Game Rankings. Nintendo Power voted in its August 2008 issue that Super Mario Galaxy was the best game for the Wii; it was also the only Mario game to get a top spot on the list, as well as the only game to be unanimously voted for the top position. NTSC-uk said that Super Mario Galaxy "will influence gaming perceptions, sure to replenish any lost passion". GamePro stated that the title "raises the bar in terms of what can be achieved on the Wii." IGN called Super Mario Galaxy "Wii's best game, and an absolute must-own experience", and "one of the greatest platformers ever played." GameSpot praised its gameplay and level design stating: "if ever there were a must-own Wii game, Super Mario Galaxy is it." Game Revolution noted the variety of gameplay, reliable camera angles and easy to use controls.
Reviewers have expressed minor complaints with certain aspects of the game. GameSpot editor Alex Navarro found the spring suit difficult to control at times. Matt Casamassina of IGN noted that the auto-camera "works well most of the time", but occasionally "stumbles", and criticized the plot, revealed through readings from a storybook, for being "an unnecessary side-tale [that] contrasts with a traditional story".
Towards the end of 2007, Super Mario Galaxy was named Game of the Year by IGN, GameSpot, Nintendo Power, GameTrailers, Edge and Yahoo! Games. On February 7, 2008, the game received the "Adventure Game of the Year" award from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences at the Interactive Achievement Awards. The game placed 3rd in Official Nintendo MagazineTemplate:'s "100 greatest Nintendo games of all time".
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