The 'Shroom:Issue 120/Critic Corner
This month we're giving attention to our lovely 3rd dimension, depth! Sounds super boring when put into those words, but this is the 120th issue of The 'Shroom, taking the lead from Super Mario 64's 120 stars. In spirit of this we all got together to do something with a 3D theme, and almost all of us did something about Super Mario 64 itself. Be sure to read everything because we certainly all have something different to say ;) Please direct all hate mail to my secretary, Twentytwofiftyseven (talk).
This month we welcome back an old section with a facelift, Could Have Been by Alex95 (talk)! Additionally starting this month I'm gonna try shifting around sections here, most noticeably with a full inversion: Opinion Pieces on top, with Reviews following. I'll keep an eye on how this shakes things up, whether for better or worse, and will adjust accordingly as we travel through time and space, even within this same month so if you have a strong opinion on this please feel free to let me know because my goal is to make this page easy to read, sensible, and fair. Think of it as a kind of spring cleaning!!
Thank you voters who chose my Half-Baked Reviews for CC's SOTM again! It makes me really proud that it's been a well-received section, and this month I'm challenging that by putting forth what this community would consider an objectively bad opinion :bowser: .
Section of the Month
Wiggle your way down to another boss battle.
Yoshi876's Monthly Thoughts
Hello readers and welcome to my Monthly Thoughts! Here, I give a run down on the nine, I didn't make ten this month, news stories that interested me the most in the past month. Most of these will be me shining the light on lesser known stories, among some of the larger ones of the past month. This issue we'll be covering news from February 12 - March 11.
9. Bagelgate - It was thought that Brexit divided the country, but this story points to a different story: bagels. The story goes that passengers on a train started putting bagels on other passengers' heads, leading to a brawl, and the police needing to be called in. If that doesn't symbolize what 1 in the morning is like for us Brits, I don't know what will.
7. Breast cancer drug mistakenly withheld - I report on cancer treatment like the Daily Mail does in these pages, which is probably a small embarrassment to admit to, but anyhow, I found this story rather confusing. GPs are withholding a breast cancer drug, that helps reduce the risk of getting the disease, because they're unaware that they're meant to be issuing it. In a survey of 1,000 GPs, only 24% were aware of the guideline, that's a massive error in the system. What's even more alarming is that nearly half of them weren't even aware that it helped reduce the risk. Surely there are training programs for this sort of thing, and if there aren't, I'm aware money is short for the health service, but perhaps investing in something like this would be a wise idea.
6. Salmonella could help defeat cancer - Yes, salmonella is a food poisoning bug that can do bad things, but South Korea have managed to engineer a strain that poses no threat to humans, but can alert the immune system to cancer. As cancer is body tissue / cells gone wrong, the immune system doesn't usually flag them up, but if the tumours have salmonella injected into them, the immune system will rush to get rid of it, and get rid of the tumour. Trials on mice have proved successful, with colon cancer, being removed, but you have to remember that the bodies of mice are very different to the bodies of humans, and as such this could just be another red herring.
5. Legalizing same-sex marriage linked to suicide attempts dropping - Long-time readers will know how supportive I am of same-sex marriage, so this report is a breath of fresh air in a world that has many negatives. The legalization has been linked to a drop of 134,000 suicide attempts in America, since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide. The implementation has also led to a 7% drop in suicide attempts from LGBT youth in high school. So, seeing as since the legalization society hasn't collapsed, and the countries that legalized it haven't been dragged down to Hell, I do fail to see the negative side of its implementation, especially when it's helping stop our youths from killing themselves.
4. Philippines plan to put nine year olds in jail - The Philippines is already an... interesting place with Rodrigo Duterte as president. He's already called Obama the son of a whore, and likened himself to Hitler over his killing of drug addicts, and his government's next idea is to put nine year olds in jail over his war on drugs. His war on drugs is admirable, even if I feel he's doing it in completely the wrong way, but this just isn't the right step. Nine year olds can easily be coerced by adults into thinking that what they are doing is fine, so criminal responsibility shouldn't apply to them. Lotta Sylwander, Unicef's country representative, also brings up a very good point, having nine year olds raised in a prison is more likely to turn them into criminals as they learn the tricks of the trade. I honestly fail to understand to see how a war on drugs needed to get this messy.
2. Time crystals discovered - Now the reason in the above story I say may be one of the biggest, not the biggest, is because of this story. Time crystals have been discovered, and these crystals also exist in the fourth dimension: time. I would explain further, but to be perfectly honest, I don't understand all of the language that they are using, but I can summarize it. The time crystals' existence was thought to be impossible, because they break the laws of physics, and we know they exist on the fourth dimension because the crystals are able to oscillate for all of time, without any external influences.
1. British journalists could face jail time for obtaining leaked documents - You've heard me bang on in this section before how I hope to be a journalist in the future, and so stories related to sanctions placed on journalists, like the ones imposed in Turkey following the alleged coup usually pique my interest. Sadly, this story has come along, and majorly piqued my interest. The proposals, which are open to consultation until April 3, plan to increase sentences for journalists who obtain leaked official documents, even if they're in public interest (which is the go-to defence, because most reasonable people will agree that knowing when a politician or official figure is breaking the laws that everyone else is meant to follow is in our interest), and will also be expanded to leaking poor economic documents. The example used in the report I read highlighted that should a journalist obtain a leaked document that says our economy will be worse after Brexit, then it's hello prison for them. And it's not like it's a short jail-term, no it's 14 years. Many people have different views on whistleblowers, I'm pro whistleblower, and I think that and a free press allowed to report on anything is a cornerstone to a democratic country. It's refreshing to know that my government may not, especially with other laws that may be coming in soon.
Could Have Been
Hello everyone! My name is Alex95 and I am the new editor of "Could Have Been". Originally this segment was called "Should Have Been", but I thought this name made more sense. For this segment, I'm going to talk about features that didn't quite make it into a game's final release and see just how the cut content would've affected the game. Keeping with the theme of Meta Knight's vision, I'll be talking about removed features from my absolute favorite game of all time: Super Mario 64! So let's dive right in and take a look at what could have been.
First let's start with a major change: Luigi. In a very early build of the game, Mario and Luigi were running around on screen simultaneously, something that didn't come to fruition in a mainstream Mario game until nine years later in its DS remake. Like games before it, Super Mario 64 was originally meant to be two player, likely with player one being Mario and player two being Luigi. The screen would split if the players got too far away from each other, allowing full exploration. Unfortunately, due to hardware constraints, it was either cut Luigi or make the levels as bland as possible as too many loading areas would probably cause issues. Obviously, cutting Luigi was the chosen option, making Mario the sole playable character in the game. However, a group of modders made a, well, mod of the game that allows players to play as both Mario and Luigi at the same time. So, for those of you that don't believe in the "L is real 2401", "L" most certainly is real. If you want to see what could've been, be sure to check out that mod for yourself! It would be very interesting to see this reimplemented should a remake of Super Mario 64 be made for the Nintendo Switch. Make it happen, Nintendo!
Next, let's take a look at some unused items. The little bouncy guy to the left is a Yoshi Egg and its graphic is stored in the game's data. Just this image alone implies that Yoshi was going to have a larger role in some way rather than just staying on top of the castle roof. How could Yoshi Eggs have been used? Hacking the graphic into the game shows them to be rather small, and touching one shows a sparkling animation similar to when you collect a Coin. With this information, it's possible the Yoshi Egg was going to be some form of collectable, possibly something like the Red Coins. Maybe collecting enough of them and bringing them all to Yoshi would have him give you a Power Star or maybe collecting them would spawn a rideable Yoshi! …Most likely the former, because if Luigi was giving the game problems, image what Yoshi would've done.
Also in the game's code are two types of keys. The first, shown on the right, appears to be a collectable like the Red Coins or Yoshi Eggs. Presumably, collecting enough of them would've resulted in a working key you can use to access doors like the entrance to Big Boo's Haunt. The Japanese version of Super Mario 64 has a key icon for the HUD, which was changed to a Ü in the European releases and removed entirely in the English ones. The appearance of the Ü is likely the game looking for a graphic that was removed, and that search function was also removed in the U.S. version.
Let's move on to some enemies. First is an unused Blargg found grouped with Lethal Lava Land, Bowser in the Fire Sea, and, strangely, Wing Mario Over the Rainbow. The poor guy is mostly finished, actually. It has jumping and idle animations and a red texture…it just can't see! The unfinished Blargg is just a large red lump with no eyes. Based on its animations, we can assume it would've acted like a regular Blargg: lying in wait until Mario approaches to jump at him. Unfortunately, Lethal Lava Land is a rather large area and the platforms are grouped close together, so Blargg would not have provided much of an obstacle. However, in the fifth and sixth missions, you can ride a Shiny Shell across the lava, which would've made Blargg quite a threat, but I guess the developers removed him so players could enjoy their leisurely ride over boiling lava. Blargg would've made a good obstacle on the Bowser in the Fire stage, especially during the first segment with the moving platform, but I fail to see how it could've worked in Wing Mario Over the Rainbow. …Unless Blargg could fly.
Let's finish up with a couple of locations. I probably shouldn't talk about all of them, as that would use up a lot of space and I'm sure you guys want to read Anton's Half-Baked Reviews down below, so I'll keep this brief. While there are fifteen main courses in the final game, there were originally planned to be over thirty! In this piece of concept art, Mario is seen climbing ladders, turning a large pipe, and jumping on a giant piano, among others. Interestingly, the one showing Mario spinning around a pole did make it into Super Mario Sunshine, and the one with Mario on the fence is reminiscent of Super Mario World (and the ladder climbing and pipe turning I guess worked out for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time). It's unknown if these were planned to become full courses or were just meant to be for certain missions, but it would've been cool to see the pipe turning in areas like Tick Tock Clock to raise a platform Mario can jump on above, or the Bomb timer in areas like Bob-omb Battlefield where you have to carry a Bob-omb to a breakable wall or cage maybe within a time limit.
This is just some of what was cut from Super Mario 64. If you want to see more, be sure to check out this page here. What would you have liked to see readded into the game and how do you think it would've worked? Until next time, thanks for reading.
Heya guys, this month we’re doing 3D shenanigans so a request I got was to play Super Mario 64 so that’s what I did! I didn’t exactly have a carefree enough childhood that permitted playing classic games like this, and I just never got around to it otherwise, but this section is literally built to help overcome that exact thing, so, !!!
Rather than making an actual review thing what I did was just play each section and type out notes of things I did and stuff that happened and how I felt to turn into real big boy paragraphs a few weeks after when I forgot most of the details other than trauma and what I had in the notes. Just try to imagine it’s just a vague live retelling of me playing the game in the event of the stream cutting out.
Do note that this is LITERALLY the first time I’ve ever even turned the game on or witnessed anything about it beyond a couple gifs and watching a speedrun for like a minute before I got bored. I am not reviewing this with any bit of nostalgia because I literally do not have any with this, and as such I have no knowledge of tricks, glitches, or even how to do absolutely anything. Unsurprisingly this will impact my playthrough and subsequent reaction, which is divorced from whatever impact this game had on game theory and mechanics, as well as Nintendo as a company and Mario as a franchise. This disclaimer exists solely because a few people in chat told me that people will be sharpening their knives waiting to behead me, and I really like having my head because it’s my primary method of eating Chex Mix.
Play Super Mario 64
As I jumped in one of the things I’m given is the quest to collect 8 red coins to get a Power Star. I’m used to red coins being on a timer so grabbing the first one sent me into a panic. Also immediately I notice that it’s hard to move how I want to because the camera angle changes on its own and thus shifts the direction of movement. Walking across thin planks in an experimental 3D environment is giving me Sonic 3D Blast flashbacks. I run around some and eventually come up to the Chain Chomp, who of course is super cute, and me trying to get a good look at him and free him cost me like 80% of my health so I just ran away. I noticed that Mario falls asleep after like 10 seconds when I went to IRC to complain about how I’m not beating the game immediately. I’m not sure if someone with such low stamina should be given this quest to undertake and instead someone stronger like Luigi. Blah blah I do some nonsense and eventually get to the top of that mountain where King Bob-omb is. He tells me “you’ll never escape my grasp”, but he has no thumbs or any digits at all really so……..As I’m figuring out what to do, he just grabs and throws me, which is rude. I pick him up and throw him because that’s what he did to me, but suddenly he says it’s against the rules. It’s easy to get around him but difficult to hit the buttons to pick him up because I didn’t bother to remember what they are exactly, as well as him having a 340 degree grabbing scope. I do enjoy how slow he walks and the stomping sound, though. Apparently it doesn’t count if you throw him off the side so I did that for like 10 minutes, googled it where it said to throw him off the side, so I did it some more, until I asked 2257 who said you just gotta throw him onto the ground. This was bad. So whatever, I get that star, get kicked out of the stage, then go back in to beat Koopa the Quick easily despite him trying to cheat. What I didn’t exactly like much was that Red Coin progress is erased once you grab another star. Nabber in chat said you can just not get the star but honestly how am I supposed to just assume that, the star could very easily disappear right along with the Red Coin progress. Instead of booting me out of the stage it should just pull up the option to do so. What’s the reason to boot me out anyways? This level was the only bits of the game I was aware of so anything beyond this point is going to be a complete mystery.
Lakitu comes in to provide cutting exposition for some reason, and tells me to sneak up on a sleeping piranha plant and then punch it. Mario is a monster. Blah blah more mountain climbing platforming. Eventually I make it to the top of Whomp’s fortress to be told the plight of the working class straight into a macro stomping roleplay. Thwomp’s UNGH sound is the best.
I then went back to free Chain Chomp because I felt bad.
Jolly Roger Bay
Before I actually went into this level I got a castle secret star doing some butt slide down Peach’s hallway room escape chute thing while I was trying to find the next stage. Oh boy, a swimming stage, where I have to constantly slam the A button while the camera goes and decides on its own which direction I go in. After frantically slapping around in the water I found some secret cave and pretty much immediately unlocked the secret treasure chest and got a star, and as a result it booted me out of the level so I have to suffer with more swimming again. Got inside the sunken ship and easily did the chest puzzle whatever and then it starts rising so like gr8 I get some more air. Wrong. I have to scale this stupid wall now and thanks to the camera being bad it’s hard to jump on each platform, and if you miss even just a little you start sliding with enough speed to just zoom right over the safety of other platforms. After getting mad enough to consider just ending this playthrough right here, the sheer energy of me holding the controller harder and being upset helped me volley Mario’s gut up onto the final platform and get that star. Inspired by pure rage overcoming minor difficulties, I then pursued the rest of the stars so I’d never have to come to this stage again. Red Coin star was easy-peasy. Edo and 22 said the eel star was difficult and would frustrate me and to just avoid it because it wasn’t necessary. I went up to the eel’s cave and just kinda hung around him as he came out and just didn’t move and suddenly the star at the end of his tail just moved into me on its own and I got it immediately without any effort. Got the pillar star which was just a couple minutes of swimming back to the cannon as I’d phase through the tip of the necessary pillar. I was surprised that there was no boss and it was literally just a bunch of mini-quests with no real climax to the stage except the boat I guess.
Bowser in the Dark World
I didn’t mean to come here but I fell into his trap thing I guess. The platforming part only seemed difficult if I tried to get every red coin so I just didn’t. Swinging Bowser around is really fun and was really easy to beat; it was actually kinda underwhelming as an actual battle, but I did at least enjoy the novelty of it. He got salty that I defeated him so easily so he shapeshifted into a key. Took me like 5 tries to exit that hallway because the camera shifted too hard upon walking through the door and inverted movement making me just walk right back through it.
Cool, Cool MountainI tend to like ice stages so I’m cautiously enthusiastic. First up I grabbed the screaming penguin and threw him off the edge.
Hazy Maze Cave
On my way to the basement first, I went to get the wing cap because that’s a thing I guess. I hit the red switch and whatever but honestly the wing cap really sucks. You’re not even flying, you’re just falling, flinging yourself in a direction, and then falling again. The complete lack of building up potential energy is ugh and bad and what’s the point, plus the steering isn’t as tight as I’d like. I sure hope I don’t need this for anything important. Inside Hazy Maze Cave I took the path to the left first where you have to long jump or something across a hole. After trying like 7 times because the buttons wouldn’t register or something I got across. Got the star that you can reach by riding the Loch Ness monster thing. It took more effort than it should have because even though I clearly landed flat on the ledge, I would still slide backwards and fall off despite there being enough time of not doing that that should otherwise indicate that I’m safe and there being no visible incline. I hate mazes that aren’t on paper and by this point I’m already grumpy and frustrated because this game’s controls aren’t as precise as the platforming demands it to be and the camera controls are really bad and mess up movements more than they really help actually seeing the 3d environment and I honestly don’t even want to play the game anymore because I really don’t find it too fun, but, I’ve made a flimsy commitment and I’ll at least attempt to push forth to beat the game.
Big Boo’s Haunt
I knew this level was a thing and then suddenly there’s all these boos around so I thought that maybe killing them would open it up and wowo that’s what it did. I’m such a good gamer. Getting the first star was like whatever, I just had to know what to do. I initially tried to get the merry-go-round one but apparently you can’t get that one first so ??? whatever. I then went to go get the merry-go-round one and that was super easy once it actually let me get it, and then I left the map. Even one of my favorite enemy and level themes couldn’t boost my enthusiasm about this game.
Lethal Lava Land
This level sure does sound and look intimidating, but seemed super easy after playing it on a new day whereas the night before I kept falling into the lava around like 3am half-asleep. I wandered around and like pretty much immediately got the puzzle piece star. Then I wandered past that and got the big bully star also pretty much immediately. And then I went another direction and got the star with the 3 bullies and then a big one. Feeling strong and lucky, I continue to do more. I jump inside the one volcano thing and go left first up the Sonic the Hedgehog platform and get that star fairly easily, then go back to the right and blah blah going along fine until a bully pins me against a wall and keeps slamming me. This looks really lewd but there’s not much I can do about it as I’m pinned. Eventually I clip through the surface and fall into the lava below, not only just getting burnt once, but instead flopping wildly on it so I die immediately. Navigating the platforms up isn’t hard, but god getting into that last pole is ridiculous, which seems to arbitrarily not sense when you hit it, because the other ones you can lock onto really easily but this one won’t accept you even if you go straight through it. I eventually got it by subverting it and just stepping on the platform below and jumping across those. Not sure if that’s what was intended in some puzzle-kinda way but if it was maybe they should indicate that in a way that’s not suddenly changing the physics of the environment. Finally I got the log rolling one. Was this level supposed to be actually difficult? The only issues I had were when the physics broke or if I literally fell asleep while playing.
Shifting Sand Land
Well I was trying to catch the stupid rabbit but somehow fell through a wall into this place so ?? ok. Right away I learned that this is a very unforgiving level and is like 0 fun, but I figured I should make some vague attempts to at least get a single star. I’m trying to run around and do literally anything but you sink in the sand and can’t run, and there’s quicksand death spirals everywhere, and then other sand you die immediately in. I eventually just found a wing cap and used it to lob myself towards the bird thing carrying the star or get the star on top of the pyramid but ended up landing inside anyways so I got the one in there easily enough through some basic platforming, minus having to slam the c-pad to get the camera to cooperate. I still hate the wing cap but it was the only thing that kept me from not just falling into the instant-death sand, and it also wasn’t riding the koopa shell which seemed a lot riskier. After I get that one I went back to get some more. Apparently you can just run up those pillars?? It makes no sense and just seems to be another “hey let’s add a new rule of physics for literally only this one thing right now” thing. I tried getting more but instead only got frustrated because apparently everything you do has enough to allow exactly 0 mistakes and if you make one you immediately die, and those mistakes include the game not registering you standing flat on a platform and making you slide off anyways, so I left with no real intent on ever coming back.
Bowser in the Sky
Not wanting to be bothered with getting 8 more stars to unlock Dire Dire Docks and try out other stuff, as well as suffer with moving forward with the game when I’m actually miserable playing it and am finding absolutely nothing fun about it, I simply went and loaded a save file already on this cartridge with 70 stars. I poke around the fully unlocked castle and pop into another stage just to maybe try it out, but I’m plopped right into another water level so nope, quit that, and continued on my main quest. This stage from the start just looks like an American Ninja Warrior course. Suddenly, another instance where Mario can just suddenly walk up an 85 degree incline with no issue because who cares about physics in a platforming game, right?? I finally get to Bowser, and there’s a 1-up right at the part where if you die you respawn so that’s gg ez. This level seems really boring and is just a repeat of the last one, but instead a bigger arena and smaller targets. I guess maybe his attacks are different ?? I don’t honestly know because I beat him so quickly earlier he had no chance, and these attacks are easy to avoid anyways except in instances where the camera decides to not work, or when you go to grab his tail it instead thinks that you want to faceplant into his spikes and die. After finding a rhythm of backflipping after baiting him towards charging I get 2/3 of the hits. Unfortunately this is a struggle still because the difficulty seems to be ramped up by virtue of it being difficult to aim the throws rather than actually making Bowser tough. Finally I do it, as Mario screams “so long gay Bowser”, revealing himself as a bigot, Bowser flops into the middle of the stage and is presumably dead because nothing’s happening. Apparently that was because I was too far away and was just waiting for me to get closer. Peach having actual voice acting instead of squeezing a dog toy into a microphone sure was a shock, even though I heard it at the beginning of the game kinda, too. In celebration of Peach baking Mario a cake, I went and got myself some cake too.
Apparently the world record is in 5 minute range for 0 stars; Hour and 40 minutes for 120 stars, or so says one of my friends because I didn’t bother googling it. I was so close, but I’m sure if I honed my sick strat of loading an already completed save file I will surely get closer. Practice makes perfect. Imagine how long this section would’ve been had I gone to every stage.
Now, I fully understand that I’m here in 2017 playing a game from 1996, as well as the impact it had on gaming. I know this because I googled it while writing this to figure out why they made the decisions they made. Apparently the camera tracking was like super revolutionary and yeah I can see that and yeah it’s understandable that it’s not refined and imperfect and all that because it was groundbreaking, but I don’t really feel that nullifies how frustrating it was to play; at most it just shields it from my seething rage enough to tone it down to a mildly miffed. A lot of the platforming elements required precision that the control didn’t exactly seem perfectly equipped to accommodate, so you’re just left with sitting there all day trying to figure out which exact nanosecond of timing you have to do with what, which really doesn’t feel like it’s too fun to do unless you get off to having really low payoffs to a lot of work, which I don’t. I ended up having to consult walkthroughs or ask people what to do to achieve certain stars or even know that they existed, and a lot of the time the walkthroughs were imprecise, but regardless the one thing that will make me immediately hate any game is it making me have to decide between sitting around and poke at everything for 500 days to figure out how to get something or to just look it up. Getting the stars is simply tedious and the bosses are way too easy for me to feel any sense of accomplishment. I can see why the only value people place in this game is either nostalgia or speedruns. Maybe if they linked the L button into just making a thwomp grunt every time you pressed it would make the game more playable.
Explanation: About a year ago I asked a friend of mine who’s one of the top store managers of a grocery chain to get me an entire flat of Chocolate Peanut Butter Chex Mix for myself, I would pay for it and also would eat all of it. This wasn’t out of just pure gluttony, it’s my favorite flavor and was notoriously difficult to find, with bags almost only being available in those tiny not-worth-it-for-the-price bags at gas stations. After a week or so I asked again, and he never put the order through. This kept going on for a while so I decided to just try to find it on Amazon. Nothing. Specialty store sites. Nothing. Eventually I check out the General Mills website, which still lists it as a flavor, but I’m noticing that it’s excluded from a few of the other listings. I send an email and inquiry and soon enough I discovered that the entire flavor had been discontinued--they do not make it anymore, it cannot be purchased anywhere, it no longer exists. The disappointment and frustration experienced is comparable to having played Super Mario 64 after years and years of people hyping it up to be literally the best game ever made. As I’ve already said earlier in other words, as someone who is aware he lives in a reality that exists within spacetime and a society that maintains history and a species that is capable of memory retention, I understand that there is cultural value within Super Mario 64 and it is playable within the confines of understanding where we’ve come from, understanding its impact, and pure nostalgic joy (unlike Javelin and his opinion re: 2001: A Space Odyssey; stop by chat some time to ask about it), but as someone who exists in 2017 with knowledge and experience of contemporary gaming expectations who went in to play it for the first time ever in the context of trying it out as an actual game without a single iota of nostalgia pushing me through, the game wasn’t much beyond a monotonous chore hindered by experimental physics.
Walking outside and breathing fresh air after getting unreasonably mad at a video game
Taking a break and walking away from the situation can really help you realize just how silly the situation is; how silly you’re being. Now, I wouldn’t recommend doing this at like 3am in your pajamas when there’s snow on the ground like I did, but I’m a man of my word and committed, plus I heard strange noises anyways and had to investigate. It’s certainly a lot nicer when you put some slippers on and the sun is kinda rising and it looks nice and totally distracts you from being really mad about a video game.
Rating: A cold crisp glass of 2% milk to wash down over-powdered Chex pieces that you’ve eaten too much of too quickly
Explanation: While this was something you should be enjoying, your impatience and rashness ruined and disparaged the moment, leaving you with nothing to do but hit the eject button and be rocketed out of the situation. Having been forcefully removed from the environment, you can take the time to gather your thoughts and replan your approach.
I might try Super Mario 64 again from a different approach, but not anytime soon.
Tune in next month where I all kinds of topics relating to I have no idea yet because I haven't picked a theme yet! Also, tell me what to review next! Here’s my Steam Inventory filled with games I haven’t played for some ideas, but things you can tell me to do can also be movies, shows, physical actions, trying new foods, music, literally anything and I’ll cover it eventually if it’s not too ridiculous. Just send me a message here on my talk page or PM it to me on the forum. Don't like what I have to say? That's fine, and probably bound to happen because I've been told about how much people like Super Mario 64 and how they feel about any criticism of it! We at Critic Corner will welcome your alternate review of it as a new section for the next issue!
Hello everyone! It's Rosalina1999 aka PowerKamek here to review a glorious Mario Game! I'm having a fun March so far, and I hope y'all are too! Anyway, I'm going to review the first third-dimensional Mario Game today… Super Mario 64!
Super Mario 64 is one of the first Mario Games I ever played. Back in 2007, I used to call my best friend and one of my neighbors to come over to my house and play Super Mario 64 together. I had lots of fun times. The game may be almost 21 years old, but it's a true Mario classic. Anyway, I'm going to start explaining the positives and negatives.
Wow. I was blown away when my Grandma pulled out her Nintendo 64 and showed me this game. Me and her (and my friends) would probably play it every day. So much that we're 12 more stars to finishing today. I enjoyed that I could move Mario wherever I wanted without just moving him left and right. The game was great overall, and I don't really think there's anything bad about the game. I also enjoyed the boss battles. Okay, the negatives have really got to stop showing up in every game review. Anyway, there's only one thing I don't like about this game. Well actually, there's no negative thing I need to mention. The game is that good! I love Super Mario 64 overall not only because it brought Mario to the whole new 3D life, but because of the challenge that this game has. I mean, doesn't the older Mario games seem easier?
I would give this game a 10/10! It's really good. I know most of y'all reading this already have this game, but if you don't have this game, get it. It's a true Mario masterpiece! Even though the visuals may not look it's best anymore, that really doesn't stop the fun! Hope y'all have a GREAT beginning of spring, and don't forget to have an April Fool's prank with someone!
Graphic Novel Reviews
Greetings, book junkies and graphic novel nerds! Thank you for taking the time away from your new Switch to come give me a read! FunkyK38 here with your Graphic Novel Reviews! Today I will be taking a look at a new version of a comic all-star: Archie! This review will cover the first and second volumes of Archie since I get them in graphic novel format, so this review will be over issues #1-12 of the new series. As this is a graphic novel review, there will be spoilers ahead, so if you want to read these books, go read Palette Swap right now instead of this.
Here's my disclaimer: I love Archie comics. I've been reading them probably as long as I've been playing Pokemon, and for a series to capture my interest like that isn't easy, especially when there's such a massive universe of Archie to read (seriously, the dude just celebrated 75 years last year.) So, I try to stay up on what's new with everyone's favorite redheaded klutz, which led me to the new books. You can refer to this section as "FunkyK's discourse on the Archie series: Part 1."
This new series of Archie began in July of 2015. It's part of a reboot of the main characters of the series, including Jughead, Betty and Veronica, and Reggie. From what I've read of the other books (Jughead vol. 1 and the first issue of Betty and Veronica), the focus audience here seems to be set on teenagers, by revamping the original series and bringing in some SERIOUS PROBLEMS THAT ARE CULTURALLY RELEVANT (AKA a half-baked attempt at the teenage ANGST they wrote in Life with Archie).
For the most part, the art is really good. Colors are pretty vivid, the updated art format looks really nice, and the settings are new, but familiar to older readers. The only thing I have an issue with are the changes in art styles as the artists are settling down for the long run. It's like reading a road map on Wikipedia: Staples illustrates for the first three issues, then there's a guest artist for issue 4, then Fish does the next six, then a couple other guys work on it for 11 and 12, and another new guy is supposed to be the regular artist for 13. While most of the artwork is really good, there are a few places where it just doesn't look good, although those parts are few and far between. I really am hoping that this new series doesn't mean the end of the classic artwork that I grew up with.
Now, for the plot. There's a lot of plot that happens over these two issues, so I'll keep the summary brief. Life in Riverdale is turned around when Veronica Lodge and her family move to Riverdale. Veronica immediately latches on to Archie and he's pretty much her slave for a good chunk of the first book. Betty and Archie had a bad argument over the summer, and their relationship is now full of regrets and awkwardness, and Jughead is still Archie's pal. I think. There's not a whole lot of interaction between the two of them once Veronica moves in, which is a shame. In the second book, Veronica is toned down a bit when she moves in with Archie while her father is running for mayor and really doesn't want to see them together. Things go downhill for Archie and Betty when he and Veronica accidentally humiliate her uncle, who is also running for mayor, forcing him to drop out of the race and leave town completely. Surprise, though, Mr. Lodge loses the race to a write-in candidate and is so furious that he picks up his family and leaves town, ending issue 12 with a dramatic scene of Archie and Betty standing at the airport watching the Lodge jet take off into the sunset.
That's the tl;dr version of the plot, which has more twists and turns to it, obviously. While I think the plot is mostly okay, I would find it hard to categorize this series as being "friendly for all ages" like Amazon says. The book feels like it was written for an older audience in mind, the audience that would read this and then go watch the new TV show Riverdale. The little elements of the older comics are there (Mr. Lodge hates Archie, Betty and Jughead are scheming to break up Archie and Veronica, etc.), but some of the bigger themes are scrapped for the drama factor. The big argument that split Archie and Betty up? It was because Tomboy Betty showed up to a date with Archie wearing lipstick and acting like a preppy-ish girl (like Veronica). In the old comics, Betty was a tomboy, yes, but she knew how to put on lipstick, loved wearing dresses, and frequently dressed up pretty. So this "fight," dubbed "The Lipstick Incident," feels really out of place. It's supposed to send the message that Betty is trying to be something that she's not, and Archie doesn't like that, but when Betty has been in a dress wearing lipstick for over 60 years, this "message" just says that tomboy girls shouldn't wear lipstick or try to look pretty.
On the issue of the characters, my main issue is with how they handled some of the characters in this series. The biggest offender is Veronica. Veronica, in this adaptation, goes from one extreme to the other, starting out as a bitchy rich girl that takes her original stereotype a little bit too far, then turns into a little puppy that needs Archie to hold her leash. In issue 11, she wants to form a band with Archie and Jughead and wants to be the lead singer. In the old comics, Veronica was horrible at singing, and she knew that, and accepted it (most of the time). Here, she's a horrible singer, but when she looks at Archie, then she can sing beautifully. Veronica's character is crippled in this adaptation and she's forced to use Archie as a crutch to help her develop herself. She's lost the great relationship with her father as well. The Lodges originally moved to Riverdale so Veronica could go to a public school so she would know what it's like for people who don't have tons of money. Veronica spends way too much money and Mr. Lodge is trying to help her not become more of a spoiled brat. Newer Hiram Lodge moved to Riverdale to expand his company and run for Mayor so he could pretty much take over the town. He hates Archie for accidentally knocking over the skeleton of his house while it was being built, and the only time he interacts with Veronica's life is to tell her she can't date Archie. It's like the writers forgot that Hiram Lodge is actually Veronica's father and just decided to make him the villain of this story. It feels like they tried to mimic the new characters from the TV show, but that's a different story I won't even go into right now.
Okay. I think it's time for me to wrap this up before I really start rambling. How do I stand on a recommendation for this series? Well, as a longtime fan, I'm not a huge fan of this new iteration. But I will admit, that it is a good place to jump into Archie Comics right now if you want to start somewhere. A lot of the older stories aren't being published anymore, so starting your reading at the series' new point is probably a good idea for now. I can definitely make other recommendations, and I can promise you that this won't be the last time I review something from Archie Comics. Definitely not.
See you next time, readers, when I will bring you a new Book Review!
As you may have noticed, this month is themed around the 3D collect-a-thons, and as such I
As her name implies the Honey Queen is the queen of the Bees in the various honey-related galaxies, but she's a hard character to review because she doesn't really do anything, she's just there. Her sole contribution to the first Galaxy game, is have you creepily crawl all over her as she eggs you on, creates a Launch Star, and then complains about her kingdom being invaded. It's the exact same in Galaxy 2, just without the latter part. In all honesty, the game could have functioned perfectly fine without her inclusion, and without her doing anything meaningful it's irritating that she was created.
With the Galaxy series ending, I presumed that this would be the end of Honey Queen, but nope she reared her lazy head for Mario Kart 7. Surprisingly, however, I'm not going to rip into her here. I like when Mario Kart uses new characters that aren't power-ups of baby versions of existing characters. Her inclusion was definitely left-field, and caught us all off guard, but in a game that still had Galaxy influences, and bee references, it's not entirely surprising. Her character suits being a heavy one as well, given her stature. However, I don't think her inclusion should have come at the cost of characters like Waluigi, maybe this is because I love the purple gangly weirdo, but I don't think many people would want the bee over him. Besides, just dump Metal Mario, and everyone's a winner.
It's strange, usually when I write these reviews I laud praise on the main series appearance, and criticise the spin-off appearances, but here it's the complete opposite. Her main series appearance was a complete waste of time, and I would've much preferred a much more simple route to the Power Star. In the spin-offs, although she came at the expense of one of my favourite characters, her inclusion as an original heavy-weight, instead of a metal clone that the series has become now was rather interesting.
DragonFreak's Review Quest
Greetings fabulous 'Shroom readers! Welcome back to another section of DragonFreak's Review Quest, in which this month I tried really hard to think of a game that was a first step from 2D to 3D gaming that's not Super Mario 64. Suffice to say I did not have much luck figuring out games I could realistically review. If you haven't noticed, I like reviewing games that aren't considered mainstream. For example, almost all of the Mario games are out of question for reviewing, and the same goes with Zelda, bar maybe the Oracle series or Minish Cap. So while brainstorming on what to do, I was suddenly reminded of a few games that started as 3D and had some later games become 2D. This made me realize a game that I long forgotten about, even though I owned it and is part of one of my favorite series of all time: Spyro: Season of Ice.
If you know me, then you know that I absolutely love the original Spyro trilogy. Each game is amazing in nearly every way, however when Insomniac moved on from the Spyro franchise to Ratchet and Clank, other companies didn't treat the purple dragon with nearly as much respect, which is evident from how the first console Spyro game made after the original trilogy, Enter the Dragonflyl, is largely considered among Spyro fans to be the Sonic '06 to the Spyro franchise. Yes it's that bad. For a long time, and it still lasts today, Spyro became a cow to be milked and exploited. During that time, two Game Boy Advance games were made: Spyro Season of Ice and Spyro Season of Flame. Now when I was a kid, I absolutely loved Spyro and the Game Boy Advance, so I thought Spyro on the GBA would be the most amazing thing ever. Yes I actually thought that, but who could blame me? However, what I got is something I did not quite except.
The levels are well made from a graphical aspect. For a gameplay aspect, well I'll talk about that later. Each level has a theme and it almost always looks really pleasing. There's great detail put into the landscaping, NPCs, and enemies, which I will give credit for, especially being on a handheld. It makes exploring the levels really fun. Visually, this game passes for me.
However, the controls are more of a mixed bag. Spyro in this game controls exactly alike in the previous game, except not as tight. That itself is not too bad, but I feel like the levels weren't made with Spyro's movement in mind. In the Playstation games, the levels are very wide open and you can see a lot of the level at once in any given time. You can do your charge attack and stop or adjust properly without much fear of taking damage because you can plan ahead. In Season of Ice, the levels are much more cramped and you can only see a relatively small window of the level at a time. I would not recommend charging ever, because if there's some instant death pit nearby, and there's a lot of those, you most likely won't be able to react on time. Spyro can glide too, but even that's a pain. In the original games, there was good depth perception from ledge to ledge making gliding very easy. Here, there's little to no depth perception, and there will be many instances where it looks like you could make a glide, but simply cannot because of how hard it is to judge height. It's way more frustrating than it is difficult.
Another thing that is super frustrating are the Speedways, which have sadly returned, and are worse than any other previous Speedways in the series. I'm not a big fan of forced timed challenges in games. I like going on my own pace rather than the pace the game wants me to go. The original Speedways were a challenge, but they weren't insanely hard or boring. Season of Ice's Speedways are both very hard and boring. Not to mention they are very limited in what it can do because of being on a GBA. When I played this game, I spent hours trying to beat these Speedruns because they require perfection and then some to be completed.
As with many 3D to 2D franchises, or from console to handheld franchises, Season of Ice just feels like a watered down version of the previous Spyro games. With so many positives and negatives attributed to it, I can say this game is just ok. If you're a huge Spyro fan you might want to play this game and/or Season of Flame out of curiosity, otherwise just give it a pass. To its credit, it's better than...other Spyro games. However, that's not setting the bar too high to begin with.
Meta Knight's Boss Battle Reviews
Hello and welcome to this month's boss battle! I'm going to cherry-pick a boss from Super Mario 64 to theme for this month as it's Issue 120 to celebrate 3D Mario titles. That being said, this particular boss may be a minor enemy in some games, and note even an enemy at all in other games. However, in Mario 64 this enemy is a boss. Let's celebrate inside someone's house. Let's take a look at the Wiggler!
The Wiggler is a boss inside Tiny-Huge Island. In order to get to him, you need to go to the top of the mountain in the small world and Ground Pound. Then the water at the top will all drain inside. But where does it go? You will then travel to make the world big and head inside the hole. Inside is a Wiggler and you just flooded his house with water. Now he's upset, and wants to fight you. The fight will begin.
Wiggler attacks with... well nothing really. He just moves around all over the place. When the fight starts I don't even think he aims for you. Jump on him once though, and he will get mad. He will start becoming more aggressive as you do damage, and start chasing after you faster. All you have to do is jump on him three times. That's pretty easy. In fact it's ridiculously easy. This fight is arguably easier than King Bob-omb.
This is admittedly a pretty short section, but there really isn't a lot to say about Wiggler. He's too easy, although getting to him may prove some value to the fight. Honestly I feel a little sorry for the Wiggler. You flood his house and then start jumping on him. I know it's because you have to get the star, but that's a pretty easy star. Maybe they intended it to be easy because Wiggler isn't naturally a fighter in personality. If that's true then I will give them credit for that. If you need an easy star, go and fight the Wiggler. Other than that there isn't much to him.
The Final Destination series is one I've had my eye on for a while. I like the concept, and before I even watched the films I watched the deaths on YouTube, looked at all the clues throughout. The other day, I finally got around to watching the first film in the series, and to be honest it didn't live up to my expectations.
The film follows Alex Browning who has a premonition about the flight he is on exploding. He freaks out, and him and several others are removed from the plane as a result. As survivors start dying, Alex (Sawa) realises that Death is targeting them, and tries to come up with a way to stop it. Like I said earlier, the concept is neat, and they definitely work it well, but pacing is a massive issue. For the most part, when it's not a death scene, the pace is non-existent, bar only a couple of times: those being Alex and Clear (Larter) breaking into the mortuary, and Alex's near-deaths when trying to rescue Clear. However, when the death scenes are happening, in certain ones there is good suspense and tension as who do briefly wonder if they'll make it out alive; the major highlight of the film is probably one of the ending scenes when Death is coming after Clear.
One massive issue with the film is the fact that barely any of the characters are likeable. This should be a film where you're rooting for the survivors to outsmart Death, but in reality I couldn't wait for them to die so I could stop pretending I cared about them. That's not to say they're all bad, I did want Alex and Clear to survive, I kind of wanted Tod (Chad E. Donella) to survive, and Tony Todd as the mortician was the best casting choice they made, in all honesty a spin-off centered around him would probably be a decent film. Everyone else had no substance to them, and as a result their deaths had no impact on me, other than a potential chuckle. The two female non-leads had nothing to them, and I could not wait for Billy's death. Billy has to be Seann William Scott's worst performance, the acting was off, and the character was annoying, and just there. He seemed to be around everything major, but in all honesty he had no reason to be in half the places that he was.
It's not at all a scary film, but in all honesty I don't believe that this was the intention. If it kept up the suspense consistently, it would have made a fairly interesting thriller film, and that's how it should have been marketed. It attempts to be a horror film with a supernatural presence hunting them down, but other than the occasional shadow or gust of wind Death isn't really there.
One of the things that drew me to the films were the "clues", and "hints" before a character's death, but these ended up being one of the weaker parts of the film. If they were little subtle things, that only an experienced moviegoer would notice, or if they were revealed to the viewer after the death, they would have been good. Instead, you were hammered over the head with them, and in all essence this removed the feelings of suspense.
I wanted to like this film, and through sheer wanting to I did manage it, but I can't recommend it to other people, and I likely won't pick it up again for a good while. I know I'll make it to the sequels, and I might review them in future issues, but I highly doubt they'll fix this movie's problems, they'll probably only end up amplifying them. This is a movie with a great concept, but sadly due to poor characters and bad pacing, it is wasted potential.
Greetings, ‘Shroom readers. This is Lord Bowser here with a new edition of Lord Bowser's Inside Story for you all!
As you may have heard, my computer was broken last month, which prevented me from working on any of my 'Shroom sections. Luckily, I have a back-up plan this time around; just in time for Issue 120! In the spirit of the 3D theme prevalent this time around, I will cover the postgames of all of the 3D Mario platformers in the series that aren't 3D Land or 3D World! I hope you will enjoy this ride through five fantastic games, and I hope that this won’t destroy me inside!
Super Mario 64
No real postgame, besides Yoshi appearing at the top at the castle and giving you a better triple jump after getting all 120 Power Stars. It does turn the game into sort of a sandbox mode, however, which is fun.
Final rating: N/A
Super Mario Sunshine
Also no real postgame, besides an alternate post-credits photo after getting all 120 Shine Sprites, shown at right. Then again, who would actually want to put themselves through the torture that is collecting all 240 Blue Coins? Definitely not me, ha ha!... ha... ha............... help
Final rating: N/A
Super Mario 64 DS
Still no real postgame. Not even the credits change. If anything, this is a downgrade from SM64, since you don't get sandbox mode. :(
Final rating: N/A
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy is the first 3D Mario game with at least some kind of postgame. After collecting all 120 Power Stars and beating Bowser, the player unlocks Luigi as a playable character in his own mode. This new game mode, nicknamed Super Luigi Galaxy, is... exactly the same as Super Mario Galaxy.
Okay, maybe not exactly the same, but it’s about as close as you can get. In this mode, you need to collect all of the same 120 Power Stars again, with only a few small differences;
The most notable difference is that Cosmic Clone missions are quite a bit more difficult. As how it should be, Cosmic Luigi is smarter than Cosmic Mario, meaning that he travels faster and takes most available shortcuts. This means that Cosmic Comets are even more painful than they already are when playing as Luigi.
Anyway, after collecting all of the same 120 Power Stars as Luigi and beating Bowser once more, a new galaxy is opened up in Mario’s mode. It is called Grand Finale Galaxy, and it is actually a simple Purple Coin mission taking place in Toad Town from the game’s opening. Nearly all of the Purple Coins are arranged in a path leading to Peach's castle, making it one of the easiest missions in the game. However, there's one Purple Coin hidden in the level that often drove me insane simply because I just didn't bother to check where it was. One Purple Coin is found off of the path leading to the castle; it's found on top of the Starshroom found near the end of the level. In retrospect, it is a pretty clever place to hide a Purple Coin, but can you really blame me for not going over there and checking? I mean, the Toads near there are pretty boring anyway, and that meat on the fire hurts me when I touch it! This is the definition of unwelcoming!
Anyway, collecting all 100 Purple Coins will earn you the last Power Star in the game, along with the Mailtoad at the end giving you special ending photos depending on whether you cleared it with Mario or Luigi.
Additionally, after clearing the mission as both Mario and Luigi, your save file planet becomes all cute and sparkly. Fun!
As amazing as it is to play as the vastly superior Mario brother, Super Luigi Galaxy... really doesn't offer much at all. Aside from a few situational differences and the usual slight difference in physics, it's literally the exact same game all over again. At least there's a little bit of variation so that it doesn't seem like a carbon copy of the base game, and at least the base game was quite excellent anyway, but still... this isn't very impressive. The final level was a cute touch, though; it's nice to send off a good game with a happy, simple ending. I so desperately wish this style was kept in future games...
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Hoo boy. For those who don't know, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is rather notorious in this community for often being viewed as a bad game, in stark contrast to the lauding it gets nearly everywhere else. As such, my view on it may be slightly skewed. Whether that's a good or a bad thing remains to be seen, however.
Anyway, SMG2 definitely has a much more substantial postgame than its predecessor. Upon defeating Bowser in World 6, the player is awarded with Luigi as a playable character, and a new world opens up to them; World S. World S alone isn't really that great of a world, though; there's only two original galaxies, both of which suck, and the rest of the galaxies are just straight-up ports of planets from SMG... and one level from Sunshine?????
I might as well start off on a good (?) note and discuss the original levels featured in World S; Rolling Coaster Galaxy and Flip-Out Galaxy. Rolling Coaster Galaxy is... rainbow colored.
This... can't be good.
I believe the immense pain and suffering caused by this level can be adequately explained by the following four images;
As you can see, the galaxy is a (disgusting) homage to the Rainbow Roads from the Mario Kart series. This is also everyone's absolute favorite type of level; the ball-rolling levels with the deviously tricky controls. Forget Mario Kart Wii's Rainbow Road; this level makes me curse so much it'd make a drill sergeant blush. There are gaps in the path everywhere, not to mention Goombas and Bob-ombs that can push you off the track if you roll into them. However, someone at Nintendo was sadistic enough to believe that the base level wasn't enough... that additional challenge was necessary to drive innocent players to insanity... and that person was responsible for bringing us Purple Coins on the Rainbow Road.
You read that right. Someone had the nerve, the audacity, the sheer evilness, to put in a Purple Coin mission in a ball-rolling level... not to mention the hardest ball-rolling level. To make matters still worse, there's very little room for error here; there are only 110 Purple Coins found along the path, meaning you only have 10 freebies before you have to do the entire level all over again. You can't just take it slow and easy, either, as there's a two-minute time limit. In short, this mission is brutal.
Moving on, the Flip-Out Galaxy sure looks and sounds fun. It's not rainbow-colored, so it can't be too difficult, right? Right? Right???
Well... mostly. The gimmick of this level is similar to that of Flip-Swap Galaxy, in the sense that there are stage elements controlled by the player's movement. However, in this galaxy, the stage elements are walls that go outward and inward. This is a more difficult take on things, but it's a fair enough challenge for the player, especially since it's the second-to-last galaxy in the game. The base level itself isn't too bad; there are some tricky wall jumps and the Comet Medal can take a few tries, but it's not a total bullshit thing. However, it's the Prankster Comet that really makes life sad for me. Under the effects of the Prankster Comet, the layout of the level and its goal remain the same, but you're followed by Cosmic Clones throughout the entire level. That doesn't sound too bad until you realize that wall-jumping often requires you to double-back to a spot you were just at, which more often than not means running into a Cosmic Clone; since taking damage halts all of your movement, if you're in midair when this happens, GG. What makes it even worse is that this level gets particularly wall-jump-heavy at the very end, which makes it all the more aggravating since you'll have to repeat the hard part of the level should you die there. At least they had the decency to give us a Checkpoint Flag, but still, this is an annoying comet.
All of the rest of the galaxies in World S are ports of planets found in SMG (along with that sore thumb from Sunshine...?????), and sadly, most of them are the shitty, aggravating ones. Mario Squared Galaxy is a port of the 8-bit Mario planet from Toy Time Galaxy, though instead of collecting Silver Stars, the player must instead activate all of the Switch Panels found on the planet. A bit of a lazy design choice, but it's not too terrible at least. The real kicker for this galaxy is.. you guessed it, the Prankster Comet! This time, the comet is another Purple Comet... combined with a Cosmic Comet. Add on disappearing platforms, spinning platforms, only 100 Purple Coins, and a strict time limit, and you've got my second-most hated mission in the entire game. Jesus fuck, this mission shows absolutely no mercy. You have to be almost as perfect as possible when collecting the Purple Coins, as there are no stable platforms to speak of; they either rotate indefinitely or disappear whenever you touch them. Should you fall, you'll quite literally be swallowed up by the poisonous water that makes up the base of the planet... really a pretty gruesome death for a Mario game. Couple that with a trail of Cosmic Clones following you, and this can be a massive headache. Just thinking about this level is making me sick to my stomach... gaaahhhh...
I've been harping on the Sunshine (?????) level a lot, so I might as well give it a (dishonorable) mention too. Twisty Trials Galaxy is a near-direct port of The Secret of Ricco Tower from SMS. The only differences are that you are provided a Cloud Flower in the place of F.L.U.D.D., and that the platforms are bigger. Otherwise... it's déjà vu. There's nothing new to do here at all. It's simply a platforming challenge you've likely done before, except easier since you aren't so dependent on F.L.U.D.D. in this game. I can understand bringing back an old favorite (was this even a favorite though?) if they remastered it or did something fresh and new with it, but porting literally the exact same level just with a different power-up is not the way to go with things. This is quite lazy on the developers' part. There is a Double Time Comet, which obviously doubles the rotation speed of the platforms (along with Yoshi inexplicably replacing the Cloud Flower), but still, this was a pretty bad missed opportunity. What makes this even worse is that Stone Cyclone Galaxy, the level right after this one, does the exact same thing, except using a level from SMG. The only big differences there are is that it's under a permanent Fast Foe Comet effect, meaning that you'll need to use switches in order to slow things down, and that there's Silver Stars instead of just a Power Star; otherwise, it's the same exact planet found in SMG. World S is really quite a lazy final world, sadly.
Finally, Boss Blitz Galaxy is another SMG throwback, because we clearly needed more of those! This isn't a straight-up port of one planet, however; it's a straight-up port of five planets! Yippee!!!
As you can probably guess from the name, Boss Blitz Galaxy is the boss rush level of this game. Here, you fight five bosses returning from SMG; Dino Piranha, King Kaliente, Major Burrows, Bouldergeist, and Fiery Dino Piranha. Nothing at all has changed in how you fight them, making the only real added challenge being dealing with how tedious the rush is. At least they give us a Checkpoint Flag before the Bouldergeist fight, so it's not necessary to complete it in one go... until our best friend, the Prankster Comet, shows up!!!!! I do have to give props to the developers for having at least some shred of mercy by making this galaxy's comet a Speedy Comet instead of a Daredevil Comet, but still, having to clear all five bosses within five minutes and not having any sort of rest stop just fills me with anxiety. On top of that, it's immensely aggravating to time out on the Fiery Dino Piranha fight when the Bouldergeist fight before it takes up a good 2-3 minutes of your time.
Now that I've covered the galaxies in World S, it's time for me to move on. After collecting all 120 Power Stars, you are given an additional challenge; the Green Stars. Of course, it's impossible to review the postgame of SMG2 without touching on the Green Stars, but quite frankly, I'm far too lazy to comb through them all. Therefore, I paid my good buddy Meta Knight (talk) to take the fall! Read all about them here, and make sure to like him, cause otherwise you'll be feeling my wrath.
Assuming you're still here, there's still one last thing SMG2 has to throw at us. After losing your mind and collecting all 120 Green Stars, a new galaxy is opened up to you in World S; the infamous Grandmaster Galaxy. Despite their similar names, this galaxy couldn't be more different than the final galaxy from SMG. Grand Finale Galaxy was almost literally a walk in the park, besides one semi-annoying Purple Coin; here, you're pretty much sent through hell and back. Instead of explaining it to you with words, I'll just show you what this is like;
As you can see, Grandmaster Galaxy features air mines, electric fences, Hammer Bros., and pretty much everything else that can make life miserable for you if you aren't careful enough. Thankfully, with an ample supply of Checkpoint Flags found throughout the galaxy, it shouldn't outright destroy your soul. It's quite hard, yes, and definitely earns the title of the hardest galaxy in the game, but it is possible to do with enough patience. The same, however, cannot be said at all for its other mission. After collecting this galaxy's Comet Medal (and arbitrarily being forced to deposit 9,999 Star Bits to the Banktoad)... a sweet, lovely, absolutely charming Prankster Comet comes around to visit Grandmaster Galaxy!!!
This one is a Daredevil Comet, and it also removes all Checkpoint Flags. Take a few seconds to imagine what that might be like.
Assuming you imagined it correctly, you will likely understand why I say that this is my least favorite mission in the game by far. Grandmaster Galaxy under Daredevil Comet conditions puts the Purple Coin mission from Mario Squared Galaxy to shame. This mission disgustingly earns the name "The Perfect Run" for a reason; you literally have no room for error here at all. The base level is changed up too; it's made harder. As previously mentioned, there are no Checkpoint Flags to be found anywhere in the mission, meaning you have to clear the whole level in one clean sweep. Additionally, the first area of the level is made quite a bit more challenging, as the Paragoombas are replaced with Choppahs and there's a lot more mines for you to crash into due to being one pixel off. This is an example of artificial difficulty, and why it's very bad. The base level and mission are fine; it's difficult and often takes a few tries, but it's fair by giving you checkpoints. It's a decent level to have as a sort-of final challenge. This, however, threw that nice balance out the window. The developers changed one small mechanic of the game that has a drastic effect on the difficulty of a level, while providing little change to the actual level itself. This is lazy, incredibly frustrating for players, and just overall really bad. I can get the idea of making a super-hard challenge as the final task in a video game, but the developers of it should actually put effort behind it instead of just hiding behind the curtain that is changing HP values.
Anyway, after somehow completing that hot mess, you are awarded the final Power Star in the game, along with a congratulatory message from the SMG2 staff. However, I'm not exactly sure why they sent one out in the first place, as many people would have their brains far too fried by this mission to be able to process the letter. In conclusion, the postgame of Super Mario Galaxy 2 receives a...
SMG2's postgame was a sad end to an otherwise decent game. The galaxies of World S were either lazy, cheap, or both, and while I don't have much room to talk about the Green Stars since I didn't cover them, a lot of them were mostly padding. I personally find the Green Stars much more entertaining than having to redo the whole game with very little changes, such as what SMG did, but I can definitely see why they receive so much flak; they're kind of a lazy concept. You're going around galaxies you've already visited a number of times before, looking for arbitrarily-placed stars that basically popped out of nowhere. Like I said, I personally find this better than redoing nearly the exact same game, but it's overall not even that much more of an improvement. And don't even get me started on Grandmaster Galaxy... this was a terrible ending to a bad endgame.
Well, that's it for this month's edition of Lord Bowser's Inside Story. Again, apologizes for being unable to submit a section last month; I'll likely be back full-time next month. I hope you enjoyed reading this section, and stay tuned for more next issue!