Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Video game update

I'm in Toronto, about to take a nap, in preparation for my first night of debau--er, um, diversion. In case you're wondering, no you won't hear about it, since this is a Family Blog. But as long as I was logged in (ya gotta love wireless internet service), I thought I would log my thoughts from the other night, having 'finished' Super Mario Galaxy.

First 'finished' isn't actually true. I rescued Princess Toadstool (again called 'Peach' but she'll always be Princess Toadstool to me) from the clutches of Bowser and Bowser Jr (who remains as annoying and whiny as ever, but I guess that's the little guy's charm). But the game consists, as previous versions of the franchise, in/of collecting stars by completing various challenging stages in any of a number of themed worlds. In Super Mario 64, you jumped through paintings in Castle Toadstool and were presented with any of several variations on the theme to win your star. In Super Mario Sunshine, you traveled to different cities/sites on the Pianta resort world, and did the same, although as I recall, the stars were called something different.

Anyway, in Super Mario Galaxy, you use various observation domes on a ship/comet/observatory, to travel to different 'galaxies', by which they seem to mean planetoids (each with several versions) in a system accessible from one of the domes. In addition to the jumping and spinning and bonus flowers and mushrooms (some quite, let's say, new), you collect power stars to rebuild the energies of the observatory/comet/ship thing, and after 60 power stars you have enough energy to travel to the "center of the Universe", which is where Bowser has Peach.

Okay, so the game is fascinating. Most stages are challenging without being maddeningly finicky. The different galaxies are a hoot. The hidden and bonus stars (some just 'hidden' alternative paths in other stages, others 'available' when some kind of interesting 'comet' appears in the relevant galaxy/system (some comets speed up the monsters, some introduce new stages, and so on).

So you need to recover at least 60 power stars to get to the final boss battle with Bowser and rescue the Princess. I've got to say, I was a little disappointed by the final battle. You meet Bowser in a few previous stages, and the final boss battle, while more or less being three times as long, isn't really any harder, or involve any new strategies or attacks, than the previous one. Don't get me wrong, it took me several (actually many) lives to get through it, but it wasn't very interesting, compared to previous final battles.

On the other hand, there's nothing actually 'final' about the final boss battle. There are at least 120 power stars available, between the various stages, comet variants, and hidden stars (and I'm told that at some point you unlock the Luigi character who is slower, but jumps higher (as in previous games) and you can then go for all 120 stars again as Luigi. And then something else unlocks, I think a 121st star.

So we'll see if I have the patience. I've never, ever, before collected all the stars in a Mario game. And having lived through most of the stages once, I'm content to leave the thing fallow for a week while I'm 'vacationing' here in Toronto. We'll see if I go through any withdrawal in the meantime.

Okay, zzzs call, then off to experience some vacation.

No comments: