Thursday, December 24, 2015

Personal List: Top 5 Underrated Super Mario Galaxies

Hey all!
Before I delve into this, I just wanted to say that I reached 7000 views today... that's a pretty nice early Christmas present! I'm not in this for the views or anything like that, but the fact that this measly 'site' has been viewed 7000 times is remarkable.
Secondly! I'm not sure if I will be able to get an interview this month. It's probably because I didn't plan it out well enough considering that almost everybody I wanted to interview is on Christmas vacation. Perhaps it's because the people I've chosen are hard to be humble with. Perhaps it's because nobody actually likes me. (a solemn manly tear rolls down my face.) Regardless, it ain't lookin' too hot.
In addition, next month's also looking iffy because I have something kind of big planned- for each day I'm going to write about one of my favorite videos of 2015. That's 31 articles in one month! As such, I think it would be weird to have someone sandwiched in the middle of that avalanche of non-gaming content, but February should definitely have something fun!
If you couldn't already tell, I love me some Super Mario Galaxy 2 (and 1, to be completely fair). I mean, I've already written about it twice prior. In the first article, I talked about the hardest galaxies (in the first game), a list that I've come to loathe a fair amount. The second, arguably much better, article on why I replay games even went on to reflect my biases over why I preferred Super Mario Galaxy 2, a topic that I'm sure will be tackled again and again later down the line.
Now, what galaxies do I love but seem to be overshadowed by, well, the fan favorites? Here are ten.
5. Sky Station Galaxy, NOT Yoshi Star Galaxy
I've always had a soft spot for the first galaxy in the game. It's simple, yes, but that't the point. It caters to both those who don't quite understand the mechanics and those who've already mastered them. It's welcoming to new players in the sense that it's wholly linear and presents small aspects of the game into one level; the first galaxy is harmless, the second is safe but with a handful of gaps, the third involves some relatively 'challenging; platforming, and it ends with an easy boss battle.
In addition, the whole galaxy is aided by some downright beautiful music.
Then there's Yoshi Star Galaxy.
Don't get me wrong, it's a fun galaxy, and it's fairly pretty, but I feel as if the only reason people remember it so fondly is the return of Yoshi, in 3D after eight long years! In addition, the music, while still infectiously catchy, doesn't display the same orchestral sensibilities. What does that mean? I don't know, but it just doesn't do it for me like Sky Station Galaxy's does.
4. Cloudy Court Galaxy, NOT Fluffy Bluff Galaxy
Cloudy Court will always have a place in my heart. I remember watching the trailer so many times and it kept showing this galaxy. Of course, it was in its preliminary stages, but it just goes to show how memorable parts of it were- the floating drum pieces and arches galore- that I recognized them even though the galaxy ended up looking almost completely different.
Fluffy Bluff, on the other hand... well, it introduced the Cloud Flower. Don't get me wrong, the stage is pretty, but it just isn't as inspired or unique. It also introduced a completely unnecessary character to the game, The Chimp, an annoying character that forces you to do painful "get X many points or you lose" challenges, none of which are as enjoyable as they are tiresome.
It's also worth noting that both, fittingly, used the same music track. It's magical. In fact, it's so magical that it pretty much goes together perfectly with the theme from Space Jam. Just sayin'.
3. Cosmic Cove Galaxy, NOT Beach Bowl Galaxy
Spoiler for the rest of this list: Cosmic Cove Galaxy is one of my favorite galaxies in the game. Yes, it's simplistic, and yes, there's a lot of that dreaded stuff... what was it called again? Oh yeah!
But instead of using the tired concept of a water level to make a barebones "dodge this and don't die" experience, it's... peaceful. The galaxy is very pretty, with a nice azure tinted water contrasting with dramatically-sloped rock, while under the water lies colorful plantlife. To tie the whole stage together is one of the most sublime music tracks in the game, a peaceful song with a radiating and soothing vibe. That harp player must have waited her whole life to play something this perfect.
Beach Bowl Galaxy's music just feels campy in comparison. That tambourine player must have waited his whole life to play something this... well, grating? In addition, it did nothing fun with the concept of an underwater level. It was empty, and for the most part, it barely used the water in an effective way, instead breaking off into four main levels, one of which involved stealing a golden Koopa shell (ergo, swimming around like an idiot until the penguin swimming with it came to the right spot for you to steal it) and the, erm, Stone Cyclone Galaxy, also known as the PTSD trigger-point. In addition, the whole galaxy was hefty but almost completely empty; it was an issue that the first game struggled with, which is why Super Mario Galaxy 2 downsized everything into smaller, bite-sized planetoids, and it fared all the better.
2. Melty Monster Galaxy, NOT Melty Molten Galaxy
So you just got to World 6, the final galaxy, and the game ain't messing around no more; within the first few seconds you'll be bombarded by monsters of molten lava and flying from planet to planet covered in the fiery goop. It was a fun level to get you pumped for the last world in the game, and although it might have raised the bar a little too high for the galaxies to come, it was a blast to get through, and if the pulsating, adrenaline-pumping music didn't get you excited enough, the sheer action did.
It was surprising that, as an off-shoot of the first game's Melty Molten Galaxy it fared much better.
The original was a fan favorite, and don't get me wrong, I loved it when it came out, but it realistically could've been elevated much higher. The music, while nicely orchestrated, didn't really peak, instead slowly meandering along without reaching a climax, while Melty Monster's was almost all a massive climax, but in a good way. In addition, the level didn't show as much love. The main planet was simple and flat without much hidden, and the following galaxies just dissolve into an unmemorable mess. Advantage: Melty Monster.
1. Space Junk Galaxy, NOT Battlerock Galaxy
The main difference between the two galaxies is the fact that Space Junk is calming whereas Battlerock is straight-up chaos. That's not to say that Battlerock is without its merit; it's one of the finest galaxies in the game, and for once, almost every moment of it was memorable and well planned-out. It showed genuine care, and the music was glorious and one of the many high points of the game.
Even so, Space Junk is where it's at.
The whole galaxy really sells what it advertises; it's a collection of space junk in the middle of space, and it takes the idea and runs with it. It's a ton of fun and a blast to go through, plus it didn't include that darned GARBAGE LEVEL.
The best part, however, is that it includes my favorite music track in the whole game. It's a soothing, ethereal composition on the piano, capturing that feel of being lost in space, an insignificant, solitary figure amidst the cosmos. It's simply phenomenal, a cherry on top of what is already a flawless level.

For the last interview, CLICK HERE.
For the last list, CLICK HERE.
For the last A Thought to Chew, CLICK HERE.
Happy Holidays. I'll see you on the other side.

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