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Joystiq impressions: Super Mario Galaxy

Kyle Orland

In addition to a brief mention of a release date at their press conference yesterday, Nintendo is showing off a brand new four-level demo of Super Mario Galaxy at this year's E3. A quick recap of the levels and new stuff available this time around. Warning: Potential spoilers ahead.

Stage 1: The basic training level shows you how to jump around some small grass- and dirt-covered planets. Falling into a pit doesn't necessarily kill you -- sometimes you just fall to the other side of the planet. Be careful of black holes, though -- fall into ones of those and it's "too bad" and a restart from the same point.

The boss of the first demo level actually takes place on the inner edge of a giant sphere. Mario has to avoid moving electrical conduits and jump on panels to shut down a giant generator. A nice, simple introduction.

Stage 2:
A little tougher than the first stage -- there are more enemies this time around. Luckily, there are also plenty of stars to collect with the pointer. Once you have some stars, a quick point and a flick of the B button can fire them to stun or knock over enemies. A second player can even pick up another remote and help with the shooting.

One interesting section in this level has a sort of elastic green ball that Mario can knock into oncoming boulders with a spin. The boss starts off as a cracked egg that walks around a smallish planet. When you bonk it's tail it becomes a giant, rampaging Pirhana Plant. Run around his back and hit the tail a few more times and get a star.

Stage 3:
The Bumble Bee Suit level! Lots of honeycomb-inspired planets to jump between, complete with a lot of bees to guide you around. Watch out for the small blue blobs that latch on like headcrabs and slow Mario down -- a quick spin will dispatch them.

Mario is so cute in his yellow and black suit. Flying reduces a small "fly meter" as you hold down the jump button and ascend ever higher. You can also hover a bit with the suit. The boss is more of a puzzle than an enemy -- a giant queen bee that has an itch on her back. Get a bee suit and climb on her fuzzy backside to find five star pieces and finish the level.

Stage 4:
A stark level that's dominated by the void of space. The games plays with gravity a bit in this demo, with Mario running on all sides of some complex polygonal planets. The highlight of this level isn't a boss, but a maze of gem-blocks that fly in from the void as you progress.

Overall the new demo wasn't too different from the one showed a year ago, but showed off enough new features and polish to get us excited for the game all over again. Nov. 12 can't get here fast enough.

Also see: Nintendo Wii Fanboy's impressions

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