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Super Mario Galaxy
TBA 2007

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Super Mario Galaxy
Written by James Hobbs

Glimpsed for the first time at this year’s E3 in Los Angeles, Super Mario Galaxy is a game that has been in development for a very long time indeed. In fact, since Super Mario Sunshine came out on the GameCube all those years ago. It’s difficult to ascertain precisely whether or not the years spent in development have been worth it, but from this first look, Super Mario Galaxy looks absolutely intriguing.

Thankfully Nintendo have opted to shy away slightly from the traditional Mario game mechanic, in even more of a drastic fashion than they did with the water cannon in Super Mario Sunshine. The E3 demo was set in outer space, which presumably will be the setting for the entire game, with Mario navigating his way around floating satellites and other cosmic debris. The graphics, even at this stage, are very sharp and colourful, with the frame rate thankfully being consistently high. Think of a higher-resolution Mario Sunshine, with a lot more going on. The backgrounds are just as detailed, with beautiful cosmic clouds and stars twinkling as Mario manically dashes along the floating rocks. Navigation from object to object is by means of a small star that launches Mario through space – accompanied by beautiful movement and graphics as he soars through space. Certainly this is one of the prettiest Mario games ever. It is for this reason that I've decided to post a video of it in action from E3 - no screenshots do this game justice. This video doesn't either, but it'll give you an idea.

Interestingly, the remote controller is not used to manipulate Mario as you may think. The analogue stick on the ‘nunchuck’ attachment is used to move Mario, with the Wii remote being used as an attack – spinning the remote causes Mario to launch into a spinning attack, used for clearing the path of enemies or other destructible obstacles. This will certainly make the game easier to pick up and play for anyone who has played Mario before – utilising the Wii remote may take a bit of getting used to however. One of the strangest features is that Mario can run around the floating objects – all the way around them, in 360 degrees. Think of it as running round the Earth, albeit an Earth around the size of a small house. This may make the controls somewhat strange at first, but in hindsight is an incredibly good idea as it adds yet another dynamic to the gameplay.

The demo showed familiar enemies to battle, including the ‘Bullet bill’ adversaries from Mario games of old. The gameplay seems fairly simple, with Mario having to lead the Bullet bills around until they crash into various objects. It remains to be seen how Nintendo will maintain a difficulty curve throughout and keep the gameplay varied, but as Shigeru Miyamoto has already said he does not expect Galaxy to launch with the Wii, there is plenty of time for Nintendo to implement more. What has been seen so far is but a glimpse of the finished software.

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