E3 2006 Hands-On | Super Mario Galaxy

By James Temperton 12.05.2006 23

Super Mario Galaxy (Hands On)
Nicholas Kleczewski :: 11th May 2006 :: Reporting from LA


Super Mario Galaxy better than Super Mario Sunshine? The demo alone was enough for a resounding yes on that one. Super Mario Galaxy = Super Mario 64? The demo proves ultimately that the possibility is there. The videos Nintendo are releasing showing game footage mixed with shots of Japanese folk manipulating the controller are good in theory, but visually don't make any sense as to what's really going on. So how's about some hands on impressions...

The game looks fantastic. Think Super Mario Sunshine with a refined primary color palette and better saturation. Plus you'll hear me mention this a lot down the road, while the Wii may only be a Gamecube x 1.5, with 480p and widescreen native support, the HD gap is severely narrowed. Nintendo made a great compromise by opting for the widescreen support. With it, the only thing kids can really complain about now is a few missing polygons and lower resolution. I notice no real difference in things like color saturations and texture quality.

The demo levels included at E3 have a real Sonic feel to them. The action is high for a Mario game and on each little planet you move around on, (and move on a 360 degree plane which makes for some interesting visuals) there is some minor goal to be accomplished before you, literally, blast off to the next mini objective. The boss battle is awesome, forcing you to make your way up its gigantic mechanical body dodging heat seeking Bullet Bills and timing your moves through rotating gears just right, classic Mario. Heat seeking Bullet Bills in fact play a huge roll in these levels as you'll need to constantly trick them to follow you for a bit only to have them plow in to some environmental obstacle causing it to blow up.

The game makes full use of the Wiimote and nunchaku. In fact it feels very much built from the ground up to do so as you'll be using just about every function within about the first 15 seconds of gameplay. Whatever Mario 128 was brewing these last few years I have a feeling is a shelved product in favor of Super Mario Galaxy. The nunchaku analog stick moves Mario. Buttons are still used to jump and butt stomp so you won't be doing anything like jerking the controller up for "jump" as seen in the original Wii promo video. What you will jerk the controller around for is Mario's windmill attack. In addition to baddie destruction, the windmill seems to serve some key gameplay rolls this time around. In the demo worlds available at E3, once you've solved whatever was in your way on the tiny planet your on, you use the windmill technique underneath a glowing star to rocket propel you to the next objective. The game moves so fast some times that you are doing this kind of traveling a couple times a minute.

What can the pointer do in a platformer? Umm, plenty. While its unknown what the hell they are, littered through out the planets and floating in space are rock shards that must be collected for some reason. The way you accomplish this is not by walked to them but by aiming with the pointer and firing at them with the Wiimote's underbelly B button. There is a star like cross hair that is constantly onscreen which represents what you're pointing at. It has some neat graphical touches too. There will be times when your zigzagging the thing all over the screen trying to shoot at tons of shards dancing all over the place, testing your skills with the remote. The star cross hair leaves a comet like tail behind it and the faster you move it, the longer it gets. As you might imagine, the action can get pretty intense because you're doing all this rock zapping while concentrating on a platformer of Mario proportions with the nunchaku. It could in fact be argued that Super Mario Galaxy is a good example at how all this innovative control can actually be used for far more complex gaming rather than just the simplistic line we've been sold so far.

Heck, that's not even all you do with the pointer. There are times when Mario isn't even platforming on a platform at all. There's full on floating in space sections as well. You move around the space sections by axing the nunchaku all together and shooting floating blue stars with the remote in the order that you want Mario to travel. There are multiple paths in these space sections that will let you decide which way to go next based on what order of blue stars you shoot at.

All this sound like a lot? Well, it is. Like the sound of a new and completely fresh Mario universe, something Super Mario Sunshine tried but really didn't deliver on? This is it. I'd venture to say Super Mario Galaxy is the best demonstration of the Wii on display here at E3. Its utilization of the controller to its fullest is almost chuckle inducing and is simply a blast to play. Remember when you first fired up Super Mario 64 and Latiku came sweeping down with his camera and you got the first glimpse of the Mushroom Kingdom in 3D. And then the feeling you got when the dialogue screen ended and you were actually put in control? It feels just like that.

Nicholas Kleczewski

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Comments

Nicholas Kleczewski, luckiest git on the planet.

Indeed Smilie

Nice work again Nick, good to hear it's all coming together well.

Barry Lewis [ nin10do :: General Writer :: Feature Writer :: Fountain of Industry Statistics ]
"We're mentalist psychic Scots, which means we can read your mind. If you're lying, your head explodes and we laugh."

The graphics in this game look like the best of all the E3 line-up and the game does intrigue me. Thanks for the informative report Nick. Smilie

It's going to be shit and you jolly well know it.

Great work Smilie

Theres a binch of videos and screen up on IGN by the way for anyone who's interested. All of it Gameplay Smilie

"Gamecube x 0.5"
You mean Gamecube x 1.5.......sigh....I have no life..

Smilie

IANC said:
Dude yuor totally awesome. And i won't be killing you anytime soon.

No, he means X 0.5.

Have you seen any of the games at E3? They're mostly just below RE4 standard.

It's going to be shit and you jolly well know it.

x 0.5 would be half grumbler Smilie

*bangs head against wall*Smilie

Yet another example of me getting 2 numbers mixed up in my head. A bit like the haiku's thread.Smilie

It's going to be shit and you jolly well know it.

Hehe, great stuff Nick!

This game looks incredible, shame it's not a launch title but we're spoilt for choice already! Can't wait. Smilie


Cubed3 Staff [ Retro Editor :: Previews Editor ]

2 x 0.5 = 1
2 / 2 = 1

Multiplying by 0.5 is the same as dividing by 2. The Wii is better than the GameCube so Slydevil is right.

Unless your saying the Wii is worst. Or it could be something completely different.

Sorry, that was my editing work, I'm crap at maths, I should have left it how it was, consider it corrected. Nice hands on report Nick. I didn't mind Sunshine, but Galaxy looks like the same sort of revolution and development that Mario 64 was over the SNES titles, so I'm really excited about this one. Bring it on Smilie

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

Bring it on indeed.
Ill certainly be getting this one.
Hell, these graphics look great and from all the Hands-On reviews it also plays great.

There is only one Mario game in my library, Super Mario 1 for the original GameBoy.
I feel like I need another one. (Of course I will get Mario 64 for the Virtual Console.)

( Edited on 12.05.2006 16:50 by Memphis )

Good read. Smilie

I'm seriously impressed with the videos I've seen so far, there's a new one up on IGN with much higher quality and that looks insane. The visuals look fantastic and the game itself looks unbelievable. It really does look like the massive step on from Mario 64 we've all been waiting for, maybe not in the exact form we thought, but it certainly has the potential to better the plumber's defining Nintendo 64 platformer.

I'm still a little confused as to if this is in actual fact the Mario 128 project that has been worked on for so long. I've heard it's being made by the team who created Donkey Kong Jungle Beat so I'm a little unsure. But either way, this has the potential to be one of the greatest Mario games of all time

Tom Barry [ Reviewer - Editor - Resident Sim-Racer @ Cubed3.com ] 

The Boss-battle one in IGN looks amazing, theres alot of stuff in there that reminds me of old Mario, and at some parts I'm near drooling over the graphics, When Mario shoots through space, a Star, Bullet-Bill exploding, etc.

The video I saw on Jeux-France showed the person playing it getting stuck with the simple task of wiggling the controller to zoom through the warp stars and then pick up what looked like little jewels! Smilie Smilie

And I'm so happy it's by the Tokyo branch of Nintendo...they're made up of Super Mario Sunshine staff and DK: Jungle Beat was the freshest platformer of this generation.

'Super Mario Galaxy' is classed as a working title, but you've got to hope it sticks, as it sounds so perfect.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

hmm, im not all that convinced pointing and selecting things in a 3D platormer just doesnt sound too right as in all 3D platformers it is always you getting the on screen character to do something instead of you directly doing somethin (pointing at objects). I think the Wiimote ought to influence mario's moves a little more than just a windmill attack.

From reading this and watching the trailer i get the impression that the levels are structured differently to mario 64 and sunshine. Instead of entering a specific world through a portal of some sort where in that word you are free to explore and do any of a certain number of tasks available, this appears to be more linear where you just complete a section and then do the next section allowing little freedom.
Thats just what i think of it know, nintendo will do a good job and put my worrys to bed im sure.

-Have you any idea what it's like to be a Fembot living in a Manbot's Manputer's world?
-What?

'Super Mario Galaxy' is classed as a working title, but you've got to hope it sticks, as it sounds so perfect.

It does sound like a perfect Mario title, as Revolution sounded like the perfect console title...

DUN DUN DUUUNNN.

Smilie

You need to update your sig Erotic_SpiderSmilie

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

You need to update your sig Erotic_Spider

Oh yeah, but i no longer have photo shop Smilie

( Edited on 12.05.2006 18:55 by Erotic_Spider )

-Have you any idea what it's like to be a Fembot living in a Manbot's Manputer's world?
-What?

I can't wait to get my hands on this beauty - looks like the first 3D Mario game I'll properly enjoy, everything looks so much more...free than anything else we've seen, even though it seems to be on fairly determined paths in the demo.

Great write up, you lucky sod.

I what I loved about SMS was the sense of control and manovouring, you get anywhere with a bit of tricks. This seems to take it to a totally new area. I can see myself thoroughly enjoying this game. Looks graphically supurb, looks like a blast to play and is totally new, refreshing and original. I can't wait for this.

I admittedly strongly disliked Sunshine for various reasons, one of the main ones being that FLUDD and the gameplay concerning him dumbed down most of the platforming aspects of the game to me. Another strong reason was that it failed to evolve on the total sense of freedom Super Mario 64 had waaaaaay back in 1996.

So I've found it pleastantly surprising that instead EAD seems to of gone the opposite direction and given the player even more complete control over Mario and even to the worlds themselves. The graphics look very nice for the Wii, even in consideration to some 360 and PS3 games, the music sounds wonderful and jazzy, exactly what I want out of a Mario game and the remote seems to compliment Mario's moves rather than obscure them. So I'm really, really looking forward to this game, despite my worries prior E3.

Masterfully put Muffin_Man, totally agree..Smilie

IANC said:
Dude yuor totally awesome. And i won't be killing you anytime soon.

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