I started my Mario retrospective off yesterday by covering Mario’s 2D platforming career, taking him from the arcades through the more recent offering on the DS. I left off saying that I’d have to do a second part all about his 3D adventures, so that’s where we’re at for today. Here-a we go!
Super Mario 64:
Nintendo had a heavy burden on their hands when the N64 was announced. Suddenly, games were capable of more than 8 and 16-bit graphics. Everything was shifting towards polygons. Even more, platforming had to enter the realm of 3D if it was expected to survive. How could Nintendo ever rise to the challenge?
Enter Super Mario 64, a launch title with the N64, quite possibly the finest launch title to prove that, yes, this system was necessary, last proved with Super Mario World on the SNES and Super Mario Bros on the NES. Mario just had a knack for knowing the right things to do on every new console. But moving from 2D to 3D? How simple could that really be? Turns out extremely simple.
While Mario 64 certainly has some slip-ups, such as the awful reward for obtaining all 120 stars, the overall package is beyond solid. The gameplay, the real thing to judge it on, placed the 3D platforming bar higher than most games could clear on their first try, if ever. Fluid controls just made everything perfect. Mario was built without anything restricting his movements and adding a fairly simple camera only made the experience (mostly) easy going.
Naturally, Mario 64 wasn’t a complete walk through the park (cliché writing metaphor #76). It was brutally difficult at some times, especially the 100 coin challenges on each level. Those were just cruel at times, leaving you a mere coin or two away from the 100 but ruthlessly killing you like it took some sick pleasure from seeing you waste your time. Overall though, it’s a Must Play, and it’s easy to find on either the Virtual Console or Amazon for a price that’s reasonable for anyone.
Super Mario Sunshine:
The GameCube was announced and many people were wondering where Mario 128 was. Naturally, we as gamers thought the only possible title for the follow-up to Mario 64 could be Mario 128, because we’re just that blatantly stupid. Also, Nintendo made the mistake of showing a tech demo that included dozens of Marios on screen at once, leading people to believe that it was footage from the sequel.
While the GameCube didn’t launch with a true Mario game, it did get one within a year of release. Super Mario Sunshine came out to a willing crowd, but sadly, many of these diehards proved they didn’t have it in them anymore. And it all comes down to F.L.U.D.D.
See, the big gimmick with Sunshine was the waterpack on Mario’s back that allowed him to spray water and hover over gaps. A lot of people thought this dumbed the controls down, though the sections where F.L.U.D.D. was taken from you were just ungodly difficult in a good way. Still, most people hate this game relentlessly because it involved Mario cleaning Isle Delfino, a resort island, due to his wrongful conviction of polluting everything.
Honestly, I loved Sunshine for the exact reasons people hated it. I liked the idea that it was a game with a theme. Usually, Mario games always have a grass level, a mountain level, a sky level, a fire level, a water level, a snow level, and a sand level, among others. Sunshine had a fully realized theme for the whole game of “island resort” with beaches, waterfalls, amusement parks, and even a tourist village or two. I always thought this concept was really cool. I liked the feel, like I was on a Mario vacation. Simple, fun, great. Still, I’m not everyone, but I still rank Sunshine highly on my list of Must Play GameCube games. Especially now, look it up on Amazon for significantly less than the price of a new game. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
Super Mario Galaxy:
Finally we come to now. When I heard the concept for Mario Galaxy I was very skeptical. I thought, “How are they going to pull off a space theme?” Turns out Nintendo was quite aware how they’d do this. Lucky for you, you already know my thoughts on Super Mario Galaxy from my previous article covering just that. Also, don’t forget that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is coming out next month. That’s one month from pretty much right now. I wrote a preview article to let you know, remember?
Here’s my last little bit of advice: If you haven’t played Super Mario Galaxy, but you own a Wii, correct this and get it from Amazon today. Then, after you’ve realized how great the first Mario Galaxy is, preorder the sequel. Here’s the best part of the deal: A preorder of Mario Galaxy 2 from Amazon gives you a $20 credit for your next purchase. You better believe I’m using that for Metroid: Other M. Listen to me here. I worked for Game Crazy, so I know how frustrating getting hassled to preorder things is. This is one deal I fully endorse, and one I don’t get reprimanded on if I’m not making numbers, if that gives you an idea of my sincerity.
That about covers all things Mario right? Wrong. We’ve only just begun. All the “official” Mario series games are out of the way, but I haven’t gotten into the sports franchises, the parties, or the karts. Which to do first? Come back tomorrow and you’ll see for yourself. In the meantime, share some Mario memories in the comment section. I’m not just talking to hear myself talk. I mean, you can’t even hear anything in space anyway, which is where I am at the moment preparing for Galaxy 2. Just don’t forget my advice.
Still need more Mario? You can find him in these articles, too: