Nintendo Articles

Our exclusive editorials about the 3DS and its games, as well as Nintendo as a whole.

Mario Kart 7; Unlockables and Tips

Not track specific tips or shortcuts here, since I covered that in an earlier post.  If you need those (like how to do the glitch at Wuhu Mountain Loop), check the link below:

Mario Kart 7 Track and Shortcut Guide

Now onto the more general tips, tricks and unlockables:


As you may have noticed, you unlock every single secret character in 150cc, bar the Mii.  Strange when you consider how Mario Kart Wii tied them to everything from 50cc to unlocking expert staff ghosts, but I hope this isn’t too annoying.

  • Daisy: Get 1st place in 150cc Mushroom Cup
  • Wario: Get 1st place in 150cc Flower Cup
  • Rosalina: Get 1st place in 150cc Star Cup
  • Metal Mario: Get 1st place in 150cc Special Cup
  • Honey Queen: Get 1st place in 150cc Banana Cup
  • Shy Guy: Get 1st place in 150cc Shell Cup
  • Wiggler: Get 1st place in 150cc Leaf Cup
  • Lakitu: Get 1st place in 150cc Special Cup
  • Mii: Place 1st in all cups at one cc.  If you got all the others, you should get this one too.

Stars next to name

Get at least one, two or three stars on every GP cup (including Mirror Mode) to have that many stars by your name online.  This is based on the lowest result you got for a cup, so if you got all two stars except for one cup, you’ll have one star next to your name online.

As for how to easily get stars, well here are some tips:

One Stars: I think this is the minimum.  Really, you have to either be legitimately trying or terrible not to get this on your first go, since you can even get it while placing second or third overall.

Two Stars: You played okay.  Well, that’s vague, but literally the only requirements are:

  1. You came first overall
  2. You didn’t do too terrible.  Really, unless you fall off a metric ton of times and screw up in every way possible, it’s very likely you’ll get at least this.

Three Stars: You played well.  Hard to judge what counts as ‘well’, but the one real requirement seems to be that you’ve won all four races in a cup.  Other than that, try not to fall off more than once, and generally do as well as possible, and you’ll get this eventually. Yes, shortcuts on Wuhu Mountain Loop, Wuhu Island Loop and Bowser Castle 1 will still let you get three stars, don’t panic.

Mirror Mode

Get gold/1st place on all cups in 150cc.

Kart Parts

You get these mostly at random at these coin amounts:

  1. Random Part – 50 coins
  2. Random Part – 100 coins
  3. Random Part – 150 coins
  4. Random Part – 200 coins
  5. Random Part – 250 coins
  6. Random Part – 300 coins
  7. Random Part – 400 coins
  8. Random Part – 500 coins
  9. Random Part – 600 coins
  10. Random Part – 700 coins
  11. Random Part – 800 coins
  12. Random Part – 900 coins
  13. Random Part – 1000 coins
  14. Random Part – 1200 coins
  15. Random Part – 1400 coins
  16. Random Part – 1600 coins
  17. Random Part – 1800 coins
  18. Random Part – 2000 coins
  19. Random Part – 2500 coins
  20. Random Part – 3000 coins
  21. Random Part – 3500 coins
  22. Random Part – 4000 coins
  23. Random Part – 4500 coins

The pattern gets a bit broken then, since at 5000 coins you unlock the Beast/Ghastly Glider.  Always for some reason.

True Ending

Finish first on all cups in all GP classes.  True here means you see more than just the starting characters at the end.  Note that if you play GP cups again, you see the true ending only after some cups, not all of them.

New Title Screen

See true ending.  Note that this title changes each title you turn on the game, showing one random character who shouts Mario Kart 7 in their voice as the game starts.

Gold Kart Parts

Which unfortunately, happen to be pretty much useless in normal racing (the wheels ae best, but the others are notoriously useless, and all have much the same stats as other kart parts).  But here’s how to unlock them.

Gold Wheels

Get one star on all cups in all ccs.  I think also 15 000 coins or something, but only a fool tries to get them that way.

Gold Kart

Get over 10 000 VR or 20 000 coins.  The VR is much, much easier and quicker, but still not exactly something you can reach quickly.

Gold Glider

Get either 100 StreetPasses or 10 000 coins.  Definitely best to get the coins for this one, as anyone who’s not living in Tokyo is unlikely to find enough people to StreetPass with.

Gold Steering Wheel

Using the gyro/first person controls 80% of the time (in 100 races or more)

Kart Bonuses

See the following table for a list of all the kart bonuses in Mario Kart 7.  The difference is fairly minor, and apparently you can only notice one every so much more points in one stat (I think every .5 points in one stat is another ‘level’).

Staff Ghosts

Two types here, like Mario Kart Wii.  The first ones are, truth be told, terrible.  Anyone with a decent amount of skill will absolutely destroy the times of these guys. Then you have expert staff ghosts, which are pretty difficult to defeat.  Both sets of times are below:

Normal Ghosts

New Tracks

Toad Circuit     

Nin*KATIE 01:35.135

Daisy Hills

Nin*Terui♪ 02:06.351

Cheep Cheep Cape     

Nin*Gonta♪ 01:53.758

Shy Guy Bazaar

Ret*TEAGUE 02:31.167

Wuhu Island Loop

Ret*Bryan 01:44.287

Mario Circuit

Nin*Miki* 02:25.001

Melody Motorway

Nin*wtnbt 02:19.336

Alpine Pass

Nin*Morimo 02:35.105

Piranha Plant Pipeway

Nin*tBando 02:20.186

Wario’s Galleon

Nin*Miyamo 02:26.268

Koopa City

Ret*Chuck 02:11.032

Wuhu Mountain Loop

Ret*Reed 01:50.607

DK Jungle

Ret*Derek 02:24.040

Rosalina’s Ice World

Ret*RLingo 02:25.784

Bowser’s Castle

Ret*Matt M 02:34.815

Rainbow Road

Nin*Takamu 02:10.090

Retro Tracks

N64 Luigi Raceway

Nin*McCoy 02:04.317

GBA Bowser Castle 1

Nin*Hayata 01:31.030

Wii Mushroom Gorge

Nin*Kataok 02:02.292

DS Luigi’s Mansion

Nin*Konno 02:09.982

N64 Koopa Beach

Ret*Amanda 01:54.274

SNES Mario Circuit 2

Nin*ITRO-S 01:28.106

Wii Coconut Mall

Ret*Thomas 02:30.117

DS Waluigi Pinball

Ret*Bill 02:44.372

N64 Kalimari Desert

Nin*Nishim 02:01.932

DS DK Pass

Ret*Sean 02:35.045

GCN Daisy Cruiser

Nin*Dai8 01:49.564

Wii Maple Treeway

Nin*Asakaw 02:53.560

Wii Koopa Cape     

Ret*Quinn 02:49.046

GCN Dino Dino Jungle

Nin*iwaco 02:29.837

DS Airship Fortress

Nin*OBSHNN 02:23.323

SNES Rainbow Road

Nin*YABUKI 01:34.459

Expert Ghosts

New Tracks

Toad Circuit

Nin★Ishi 01:26:632

Daisy Hills

Nin★SASAKI 01:51:111

Cheep Cheep Lagoon

Nin★Tkdr 01:42.011 (with first person view)

Shy Guy Bazaar

Ret★RWO 02:14:714

Wuhu Island Loop

Nin★nkm 01:32:854

Mario Circuit

Nin★raba 02:10:018

Melody Motorway

Nin★Masa 02:07:511

Alpine Pass

Nin★Hiroma 02:19:149

Piranha Pipeway

Nin★JIKU 02:06:540

Wario Galleon

Nin★syun1 02:12:313

Koopa City

Ret★Matt M 01:58:996

Wuhu Mountain Loop
Nin★chucky 01:39:361

DK Jungle

Ret★Dupree 02:10:777

Rosalina’s Ice World

Ret★Dax 02:13:091

Bowser’s Castle

Ret★Tom 02:15:244

Rainbow Road

Nin★Asakur 01:52:077

Retro Tracks

Luigi Raceway

Nin★miyakw 01:52:206

Bowser Castle 1

Nin★hokwai 01:22:221

Mushroom Gorge

Ret★Jay 01:50:526

Luigi’s Mansion

Ret★Vince 01:58:539

Koopa Troopa Beach

Nin★ueda 01:42:909 (with first person view)

Mario Circuit 2

Nin*==Kony 01:17.777

Coconut Mall

Ret★RyanP 02:14:167

Waluigi Pinball

Nin★Nshhr 02:27:574 (with first person view)

Kalimari Desert

Nin★KOZ★ 01:48:707

DK Pass

Nin*MaTU 02:16.534

Daisy Cruiser

Ret★Carlos 01:43:341

Maple Treeway

Ret★Bill 02:34:877

Koopa Cape

Ret★Shane 02:28:585

Dino Dino Jungle

Ret*Will  02:14.430

Airship Fortress

Ret★Shane 02:07:704

Rainbow Road (SNES)

Nin★SRIWtm 01:21:994

Character Stats

Because just like in Mario Kart Wii, the stats of the kart are also affected by what character to use.  They’re different this time though.

First number is speed, second acceleration, third weight, fourth handling and fifth off road.

Toad, Koopa Troopa, Lakitu, Shy Guy 3 4 2.25 3 4
Peach, Daisy, Yoshi 3.25 3.5 2.75 3 3.75
Mario, Luigi, Mii 3.5 3 3.25 2.75 3.75
Donkey Kong, Rosalina, Wiggler 3.75 2.5 3.75 2.5 3.75
Bowser, Wario, Metal Mario, Honey Queen 4 2 4.25 2.5 3.5

Rocket Start

Hold down A from when the 2 is disappearing in the pre race countdown to do a rocket/turbo start when the race begins.

Boost when Lakitu puts you back on track

Press A the moment your kart hits the ground to immediately boost away.

Kart Stats

For good or bad, all kart parts make a slight difference to the stats of the finished vehicle.  Here’s what they all are:

Full List of Mario Kart 7 Part Starts

Note: They’ve been added to a different page because the javascript/code for filtering and searching the tables breaks when used in the normal ‘post’ template.

And that’s all the unlockables and miscellanous tricks I can give, I hope this article helped people!

3DS Virtual Console Suggestions; Five Game Boy Games I want to see

Only five this time around, because I’ve decided to change a few things, namely limiting the suggestions list to Game Boy and Game Boy Color rather than Game Boy Advance games like in my earlier video, and because about half my Game Boy game suggestions have actually been added to the 3DS eShop by Nintendo themselves.  That kind of happens when your thoughts tend to coincide with the popular opinion.

Still, without much further ado, here are my five Game Boy games I want to see on the 3DS eShop/Virtual Console:

1. Pokemon Gen 1-2

I know.  People say you can’t have these games because they require multiplayer, Nintendo’s too lazy to change it to work with the 3DS and that modern remakes make these obsolete.  But come on a few minutes, none of those really seem like they should make it impossible to rerelease these games.

First things first, we haven’t had a remake or rerelease of Pokemon Yellow or Pokemon Crystal, so why not make them available as virtual console/eShop games so an all new generation of Pokemon fans can enjoy them?  And while I guess Heart Gold/Soul Silver make Gold and Silver a bit redundant, Fire Red and Leaf Green are crippled by the fact you can’t play them on any recent Nintendo systems, the DS dropped GBA compatibility a while back and the 3DS can’t play them either.  So why not have Pokemon Red and Blue up there too, to honour the originals?

Similarly, there’s a certain charm Game Boy games had that their remakes didn’t match.  Many people for example preferred the original eight bit tunes played in Lavender Town, Silph Co and Team Rocket Hideout:

People also may actually have liked the old fashioned graphics style from the early games, and even the later remakes didn’t let you choose to return to that like they did with the music.

Did I mention that the gameplay was so different, the physics so broken, that the original Red and Blue basically felt like different games entirely?  This was the age of Missingno, the Mew glitch, tricks involving the Safari Zone and psychics apparently being immune to ghost moves due to bad programming. And both those games and Gold and Silver had their own unique ‘metagames’, where the games played very differently at the tournament level due to only having 151 or 251 Pokemon and fewer attacks respectively.

That’s one good gameplay related argument in favour of bringing them back, to let people experience what it was like to have Mewtwo being nigh unstoppable and everyone getting 999 Master Balls due to the Missingno glitch.

The technical elements like multiplayer could be fixed.  Just let the games trade with each other, or maybe even the later games in the series, seeing as the programming problems should in theory be possible to overcome.  Imagine being able to trade stuff like a level 5 Dragonite or a Kangaskhan with sky attack to Pokemon Black and White!  Screw ‘balance’, you have to admit it’d be entertaining.  That’s why these games should be on the eShop.

2. Wario Land series

Yes, Wario Land 1 is available in Japan (but not over here yet apparently, don’t know why), but remember that the interesting part of the Wario Land series is less the first game or the Virtual Boy one (although the latter could do with a virtual console release too) but the second and third ones, where the gameplay diverged drastically from the Mario style platforming that characterised the original.  No longer could Wario die or take damage, he was just pushed back or changed into some zany transformation.  And the levels began to resemble mazes where you could smash down walls and go all over the place looking for the exit.

Wario Land 2 (called II on the box) is the first of these, and is a bit of a halfway house between the more typical style of Super Mario Land 3 and the maze/puzzle platforming of Wario Land 3.  It’s also the first and only direct sequel in the series; Captain Syrup returns, Bobo returns and the Cave Master/Minotaur boss returns too, as does Syrup Castle as a location.  It’s also supposedly one of the best games in the series, so not to have it return seems awfully short sighted on Nintendo’s part.

But Wario Land 3 is arguably where the series went a bit… insane.  I’m not really sure how to describe it any more, the game seems to be part platformer, part adventure game and part ‘metroidvania’.  There are no level exits in the traditional sense, no general left to right progression or ordered worlds, the whole game has you finding treasure and causing changes in the environment, which in turn alter different levels and open up new areas or let you fight some of the interesting bosses.  And interesting can only be the right word here, with monsters ranging from a fox magician to a hammer weilding doll to a pirate ghost to… I kid you not, an inflatable sausage and a giant mutant beaver.

Note: No kidding, that above thing is apparently a mutant mouse/fish hybrid that has to be sunk by feeding it too much cheese.

Still, games this bizarre and honestly entertaining really need a rerelease, don’t they?

3. Donkey Kong Land series (mainly one and three)

Now, some people likely haven’t heard of these games, or considered them a bit average due to being cut down remakes of the SNES Donkey Kong Country series.  They’re wrong.  Well, sort of.

You see, while Donkey Kong Land 2 really is a cut down version of Donkey Kong Country 2, the others are nothing like their console counterparts.  For one thing, Donkey Kong Land 1?  Is an entirely different game to Donkey Kong Country.  The worlds and levels are new, the music is new, the bosses are new, the enemies are partly new, everything about the game is brand new and entirely different to Donkey Kong Country for the SNES.

Did you know about the stingray boss, the clam boss or the mole boss from this game?

Note: Ever notice how much Hard Hat fights like Mole Miner Max from Donkey Kong Country Returns?  They probably got the idea from here.

Or the fact the final world, Big Ape City is implied to be the real location of the arcade Donkey Kong games?  Most people apparently don’t.

And while Donkey Kong Land 3 isn’t really that much of a new game, it’s at very least new enough to be interesting, being a sort of sequel/spinoff to Donkey Kong Country 3 with similar level themes and bosses, but different level designs and boss battles.  Think of it as a very cut down adaptation come remake come sequel.

And even though Donkey Kong Land 2 is technically a remake, it does have some new levels to replace the ones the Game Boy couldn’t mimic, and some very, very catchy eight bit chiptune versions of David Wise’s original soundtrack:

I think all this warrants the games being available on Game Boy, since they’ve definitely become underrated since the Game Boy’s days were over.

4. Legend of Zelda Oracle Series

Now, if you ask a Nintendo fan what Zelda games were best on Game Boy, there’s a fair chance they’d mention these ones rather than Link’s Awakening.  That’s not because Link’s Awakening was anything like an average game, it was fantastic, but the ‘Oracle’ series was arguably that much better.

You had two games which could be linked together to become one gigantic Zelda adventure.  Oracle of Seasons was action based, Oracle of Ages puzzle based, a split which meant fans of the more modern style games could play one game, fans of the NES era games could play the other and then both would have to be able to master both gameplay styles to reach the true final boss fight with Ganon after Twinrova ressurects him.

But what’s more important here is content.  Both games have an interesting world to explore in the form of either Labrynna or Holodrum (former is in Ages, latter in Seasons), both games have many dungeons with interesting boss battles, items and puzzles, and both have an interesting cast of characters you can meet, including the three animal companions who help Link through part of the adventure.  Add to that some decent graphics and music, as well as hours upon hours of gameplay through mini games and side quests, and you’ve got two excellent Zelda titles that really should been made available again.

Oh, yeah, and both can be linked together to become one long adventure with a classic style final boss or two.  Like this:

Definitely games that should be on the virtual console, don’t you think?

5. Final Fantasy Adventure/Legend

Oh boy, this was a difficult game to choose.  You have Wario Blast.  You have Duck Tales.  You have god knows how many Mega Man and Castlevania games, and while all of them are supposedly good, none of them really stand out.  But I think these RPG Final Fantasy spinoffs could be interesting.

They’re supposedly excellent RPGs, with great music, great characters and generally good gameplay.  And while they don’t in my opinion quite live up to the best SNES RPGs (I mean, against Crono Trigger and such like, that’s not really a fair fight), they definitely seem like interesting games to rerelease.

Plus, we get to hear music like this again.  Everyone wins!

And with that, my list of games I want to see reappear and end up on the 3DS virtual console comes to a close.  It’s a tough set of choices (especially as some of the best games around are already available on the console), but they’re good games none the less.  Are there any games you wish were available?  Comment below!

Could the 3DS to Wii U Connectivity possibly solve the biggest problem of handheld multiplayer games?

As similar as home consoles and handhelds are getting these days with the increase in tech power and capability of running very similar games on either, it has to be said that some games don’t work on one type of system. Pokemon for instance and other heavily personalised games tend to do better on a handheld like the 3DS, Mario Kart and Smash Bros style ‘party’ games on a home console like the Wii.  But could a possible 3DS to Wii U connectivity feature solve this problem?

So what is the problem here with multiplayer games on handheld consoles?  Well truth be told, its the general impracticality of setting up multiplayer matches offline.  If you want to play say, Mario Kart Wii with three friends at your next party, that’s fairly simple and inexpensive to do.  You just buy three more controllers, plug them in and everyone can gather around and play with the minimum amount of fuss.

But for a handheld and playing Mario Kart 7?  Well, that makes it ten times more difficult.  You need at least one console for everyone playing, you need the standard copy of the game (or four if you want the full experience and everyone to play as someone other than Shy Guy) and all in all, it’s much more difficult to set up and much more costly to boot.

And I’m not exaggerating cost wise. Three video game controllers? That’s fairly cheap at a total price of about $100, assuming the controllers are about the price of a brand new Wii remote.  But for three whole 3DS consoles, that’s well over $500, which is way outside of the reasonable price range for a simple social gathering.  Not to mention, I’m not counting the cost of buying three more copies of Mario Kart 7, which can easily push the total sum over $600.

That’s not the only issue.  The other one is how so much content in multiplayer focused games is locked away at the start and only unlocked via either long hours spent playing the single player modes or even longer ones spent online.  So, you want everyone to have a fair chance when playing Mario Kart 7, as in the same characters and karts as everyone else? You need to beat 150cc with all gold cups on all four games, collect over 10 000 coins on all four games and get over 10 000 VR on all four games.  So for a simple Mario Kart 7 night or tournament, if people don’t have all the game and have it beaten, you need to spent over $600 on games and consoles and about two weeks trying to unlock everything on every single copy of the game you’ll be using.  Don’t Nintendo think that’s a bit overkill?

Now with that problem explained, here’s my solution:

Have it so the 3DS can connect to the Wii U, and with just a single copy of a 3DS multiplayer game you can play on the TV screen and any controllers attached.  Somehow the game would get streamed to the three Wii U controllers, and hence those without a 3DS could play a multiplayer game using the Wii U tablet as if it were a 3DS.

It’d be more conveniant, it’d be a lot more fun (for games without split screen like Super Smash Bros, it’d be far better to play them on the TV screen rather than looking down at the 3DS/tablet controller, and it’d be much cheaper for the unfortunate parents/friends/people who want to play with others they know offline.

Admittedly, Nintendo would be initially losing the price of the 3DS consoles and games, but I think the public opinion of the system and the games would be much better and well, maybe playing games like Mario Kart 7 on the Wii U would entice some people to go out and buy a 3DS where they wouldn’t have done so originally, giving Nintendo new customers and positive word of mouth.   Besides, what good is a multiplayer game in which you can’t find anyone to play it with?  Not everyone spends all their time playing online you know.

So, is this a good idea? Would allowing people to use some kind of 3DS to Wii U connectivity feature make it more fun when playing games like Mario Kart 7, Kid Icarus Uprising and Super Smash Bros?

Some Thoughts on Luigi’s Mansion 2; What the Game Needs to be Successful

Out of all the upcoming 3DS games in 2012, I have to admit that Luigi’s Mansion 2 is one of the ones I’m most looking forward to.  I mean, Kid Icarus is nice (but an untested concept), Smash Bros is good but possibly not the best fit for a handheld game, and Paper Mario 3DS seems like it’s staying a little too close to the Nintendo 64 original stylistically, and perhaps is a more ‘wait and see’ type game.  But Luigi’s Mansion 2 interests me, because the original was one of my favourite Gamecube games.  And while it seems like the sequel will easily be even better than the original, there are a few things I think it should do in order to be a great game and overcome the original’s shortcomings.

1. Have more variety

And it immediately seems like it’ll accomplish this by having multiple themed mansions to explore.  Unfortunately though, this seems to highlight a bit of a problem with the original game, and heck, much of the Mario game library on the Gamecube… the localised areas they were set in by definition didn’t allow a great deal of variety.

In fact, you have to give Luigi’s Mansion 1 its due here, it did an incredible job of keeping the setting varied despite an extremely limited scope.  Yes it may have been small in compared to some real mansions, but most in the real world end up having multiple of every type of room, like say, ten bedrooms, five bathrooms, three or so lounge/sitting room type areas and multiple kitchens.  Luigi’s Mansion dodged that, even if it did have to make the mansion’s rooms seem awfully contrived at various times.  And you have to admit, the game did seem a tiny bit over the top as far as all the different rooms went.  Does anyone really have the varied types of rooms the original game had?  I can see people having a toy room, artists studio, armoury and billiards room, but I don’t think you’ll find many realistic houses having ALL of them at once.  Not to mention, the fortune tellers room, mirror room, secret shrine and safari room that don’t really seem to have much place in any traditional mansion.  People complain the game’s too short, but come on, there probably aren’t enough room types on the planet that could justify another four areas.

That’s why the idea of having multiple mansions with their own themes works so well, and why I’m not really too worried about each mansion being shorter than the one from the original game.

Here’s hoping for some more varied levels.  We already seem to have an egyptian style tomb with mummy like enemies and what seems to be an ice cave, so maybe we can also get a haunted town?  Or a haunted factory?  Maybe if they were going to mock survival horror more, a haunted boat/ship, considering the setting of Resident Evil Revelations.  Not to mention some of the classic horror locations not yet mentioned, like a creepy run down hotel or an abandoned hospital/mental asylum.

2. More variety in gameplay

Sadly, this is where the original game didn’t quite live up to expectations.  It was fun while it lasted, but I’d say the gameplay definitely got a bit samey as you got closer to the final boss, and you’d pretty much seen and done everything ‘new’ by the start of area 4. There were no elements or power ups, and after you’d conquered the blackout it felt like the game was practically done with you just clearing out the last few rooms left.

Ideally, the sequel needs more variety.  Not sure what that would entail (does the core gameplay of sucking up ghosts with the Poltergust have enough depth for a longer game?  Can the exploration/puzzle solving be taken much further?), but it needs to have the sort of variety found in other Mario games, where every new area introduces a new gimmick and where you’re still learning new things right up to the final boss.

Not that the final area was bad, I thought many of the final portrait ghosts you encountered were some of the best designed, most interesting characters in the game (and ones like Sir Weston, Vincent van Gore and King Boo are often cited as some of the more interesting ‘bosses’). But Luigi’s Mansion 2 can do even better.

3. Interesting enemies and bosses

You know how I mentioned how great the last few portrait ghosts were in Luigi’s Mansion?  Well I’d go even further and say that the characters were a definite strong point of the whole experience.  Not only did all the ghosts have a decent amount of character and more backstory than most other characters in the Mario series as a whole, I always felt they made the game stand out from most other Mario games.  You almost wonder what their backstories and previous lives were like before they became ghosts, and more to the point, they actually look like they actually were once alive unlike most other ghosts in the series.

That’s currently a problem I have with Luigi’s Mansion 2, at least from the various screenshots I’ve seen.  The generic ghosts lack the charm of the older ones, and the boss/portrait ghosts don’t even seem to look remotely human this time around, and hence don’t seem as interesting.  This is the one we’ve seen so far, who pretty much looks like an undead Toad:

I’m sorry, but he just seems so uninteresting as far as design goes. Sure, the original had some non human ghosts as well, like the guard dog Spooky, Boolossus, King Boo and Bogmire, but they had far more memorable designs than the guy above has. Maybe it’ll turn out he’s got an interesting backstory to explain the weird design, like how he was corrupted by his delusions and turned to dark magic, hence the strange designs that doesn’t seem too far from that of the normal ghosts.  Maybe it’ll turn out he created them like Van Gore did in the original.  But as of now, he seems boring.  More to the point, I kind of dread they’ll just go the generic ‘giant mook as boss’ route so many other Mario games went and take away much of the reason people liked Luigi’s Mansion in the first place.  I don’t just want ‘giant ghost’ in the same way Big Bob-omb is a giant Bob-omb and Big Bully is a giant Bully.

Considering having multiple mansions and areas that aren’t standard mansions as explorable areas is a feature of this game, I really hope they come up with some interesting portrait ghosts to go with them.

4. Atmospheric, excellent quality music

Another thing I think the original Luigi’s Mansion did fantastically was the music.  It was a bit more subtle and atmospheric than your standard upbeat Mario fare, and it really kept the game exciting to play. Heck, the music probably scared more people than the actual ghosts or ‘horror’ elements did…

Listen to the themes played in dark rooms or outside the mansion.  They not only fit the locations perfectly, but they really do keep you on guard at all times:

They’re just so different and arguably so much more interesting than your standard Mario music.  It’s why ever since Luigi’s Mansion, I’ve never particularly loved much of the music in standard Mario game haunted house levels because of how they seem almost too cheery for the area in question.  Not that I hate the music in Ghostly Galaxy, it’s just it doesn’t seem fitting:

Thankfully, Luigi’s Mansion 2 really looks to deliver here.  We haven’t heard much of the game’s music, but the stuff in gameplay videos seems to be low key enough as to keep the creepy mood going, and the trailer theme is excellent:

Here’s hoping the rest of the game’s music is at least the same quality, because a game like this really deserves the very best in background music.

In conclusion, I’m hoping for great music, more variety in levels, interesting ghosts and some more variety in the core gameplay and game mechanics, and those things would make the game into a definite classic.  What do you think Luigi’s Mansion 2 needs to be successful?

New Super Mario Bros 3D; What I want

Recently, Nintendo has announced a new 2D Mario game that’s coming to the 3DS within the next fiscal year.  So in anticipation of what will likely be a fantastic game and sell 3DS consoles within mere days, here are some ideas I had that would make the game that much better.

I’ve also got this very same article, albeit with less detail up as a Youtube video for those who want to see what I have to say with the addition of a fantastic remix of the Super Mario World castle theme.  Check it out below if you want to, or keep reading for the full article.

And for any Nintendo employees who may happen to be reading this, mark my words.  A 2D Mario game with the stuff I suggest would easily sell at least 30 million copies.  Do you truly want the 3DS to be a DS or Wii level success? Follow my advice in this article when making the New Super Mario Bros game that’s coming soon and you’ll reap the rewards big time.

Here are the things I want:

1. More of a Super Mario World theme

Kind of the most important change I want really.  You see, for too long, New Super Mario Bros and modern Mario games in general have been just a bit too heavily based on Super Mario Bros 1 and 3, neglecting all the other interesting developments in the series.  But this time, I think it’d be good if they made the new game basically New Super Mario World, with all the familiar elements of the SNES classic and less of the generic ‘worlds’ and NES like themes from the other recent games.

They could bring back classic enemies, like the Fishin’ Boo, Chargin Chucks, Dino Rhinos and Rip Van Fish.  Magikoopa as normal castle enemies for once (they’ve taken this role in all the 3D Mario games since Galaxy, but none of the 2D ones for some reason).  Reznor as a returning boss to be fought in some fortresses, but not the only one.

But it should go deeper than just enemies, since the last two games brought those back as well.  There should be some power ups taken from the game, like the Cape and Yoshis abilities when he hits different coloured shells (blue ones let him fly, red ones let him spit out fireballs, etc).  More importantly, the game structure itself should be very different, no more flagpoles (again Nintendo, we don’t NEED these in a 2D or 3D Mario game, most of the NES, SNES and Game Boy games did perfectly fine without them) and more of a choice in where to go.  Remember how in Super Mario World you could take many different routes, and explore a good ten or so levels without returning to the main one?  Or how you could use the Star World to get to Bowser in about ten levels?  I liked that.  I’ll come back to it when I get to a later point about the overworld, but Nintendo really needs to stop with the linearity.

2. Super Mario World items

See above.  Heck, may as well bring back keys and the P Balloon while you’re at it.  Maybe even the Yoshi Wings you could get in certain levels?

However, maybe we shouldn’t just bring back Super Mario World stuff.  Maybe we should also have the last few classic SMB 3 suits back, like the Hammer Suit, the Frog Suit and Kuribo’s Shoe.  Maybe even some Super Mario Land items would be nice too, who knows.

3. A better overworld

Technically, this is pretty much an extension of my earlier point, the one about how the game should feel more like Super Mario World.  But none the less, I really want a proper, interesting world map for once.

Because you see, recent Mario games have neglected this terribly. Galaxy 2 stupidly used a boring map for navigation between different galaxies, and the two New Super Mario Bros games have fell straight into the old issue of relying on themed worlds.  Like Super Mario Bros 3 except without any of its charm. What we truly need is  a real world map.  Like the one in Super Mario World, where the places fit together nicely as if they were actual places and just not cliched video game settings:

Just look at that.  Every level seemed to actually fit the area it was in, and the ‘worlds’ weren’t just ‘fire land, ice land and water land’, but proper locations that could easily have been part of a real world.  There was the peaceful Donut Plains, the caves of Vanilla Dome, the forests of the Forest of Illusion and the rocky deserts of Choco Island. But none of them were purly based on a theme.  Donut Plains had grass, water, sky and forest levels, and they fit the setting, while the Forest of Illusion managed to make various forest areas interesting in their own right by carefully using enemies and obstacles to give each level a sort of mood/atmosphere.

Heck, you know what did this world theming right? Donkey Kong Country, especially the second game:

Each world was beautifully designed, had interesting levels which fitted their location on the map perfectly and never felt cliched or one themed in the slightest.  Why can’t this be the case for the 2D Mario games as well?

On that note, why don’t we have level names any more?  It was so much easier to remember what level was what by names like Donut Plains 1 or Forest Ghost House or Valley Fortress, and even that could be made better if they just gave every single level a proper, memorable title.

4. Better Bosses

Should be obvious really.  I mean come on, it’s been about 20 years since Super Mario Bros 3, yet the bosses in the 2D games haven’t really improved at all since then.  Whereas the 3D games have been slowly improving (at least, before 3D Land and its non final Bowser bosses) and the Zelda series has impressed with excellent boss fights in every game, the Mario series has just quietly let the boss battles stay much the same. Having a Koopaling run around and shoot magic every now and then, before staying in their shell for a bit aftwards?  Fine in the 90s, less so in 2012.  No, this game needs to become epic.

Look at fan projects for inspiration.  Many have made the official games look terrible in regards to bosses due to having some fantastic boss battles with all kinds of varied, interesting opponents. Like this one:

Would some of them be a tad difficult in a real Mario game?  Maybe, but Nintendo has to consider that there’s nothing wrong with making the bosses as hard as the levels, if not harder.  Besides, you’ve got a super guide anyway.

It also brings me to another thing which would be nice, more variety in bosses.  That’s something the 2D games always seem to get wrong, repeating boss battles and having the same old opponents time and time again.  Make it so the Koopalings, Reznor, Boom Boom and Bowser Jr are just fortress/airship bosses (with a different attack pattern for each one), and come up with some interesting main castle/world bosses. Make it so the opponent gets scared out their wits when they first see their opponent and likely die a few times without beating it first.  Make the battles ‘epic’.

5. Better Playable characters

As in, ideally not just two Toads, but actual different characters perhaps with their own abilities and quirks.  Wario and Waluigi, one Toad, maybe Yoshi as a playable character on his own.  That kind of thing would be awesome.

Also, we need to let people choose their playable character in single player.  Player 1 doesn’t HAVE to be Mario, heck, if four people want to play and none want to use Mario, why not let them do just that?

6. Better level atmospheres

Awkward word to use, but if it was to sum it up… weather.  We need more levels that have different weather and different visual styles and such like.  Remember how nice the sunset levels from Donkey Kong Country Returns looked?

Or the silhouette ones in general?

But you don’t need fancy graphics tricks or different art styles to make your levels interesting.  Look at how Snow Barrel Blast goes from a calm winter day to the middle of a raging blizzard as you journey towards the end of the level:

Heck, how about an old idea some other games have where various levels have time progress in the actual level and it goes from day to night to day, etc. Maybe even a variant where the enemies and obstacles actually change depending on the time of day it is, that would be a really nice effect.  Torrential rain would be pretty cool too, like in this clip of Monsoon Jungle from Wario Land 4:

So much more atmosphere in that one level than about 90% of New Super Mario Bros, unfortunately.  Nintendo take note.

7. More Mini Games

Not as big a deal as the rest, but I really miss the mini games Mario 64 DS and the original New Super Mario Bros had.  They weren’t perfect, but they’d keep you interested for a few minutes at a time wheneve you got bored, and they provided some variety for if/when you tire of the main adventure.  Bring them back please.

8. Level editor

It’s been way too long without one of these in the Mario series, hasn’t it?  Still, like them or not, level editors add a ton of replay value to a game.  Remember Smash Bros Brawl?  That had the worst level editor I’ve seen, and STILL ended up providing hundreds of hours of entertainment and thousands of fan made stages.

And for a Mario game, one of these would be even more popular.  Look at any of the unofficial ones like Lunar Magic, Toad’s Tool or the editors for Super Mario 63, Super Mario Bros X or various other fan games. Many of these became so popular whole websites opened about them and more fan projects were created in them than ever before.

Think of all the awesome things you could do with this kind of feature if you were Nintendo:

  1. Give away a random level every day like Smash Bros
  2. Have contests for levels based on different themes
  3. Have developers make levels and give them away every day/week like WarioWare DIY
  4. Have rewards for if you beat a level sent through Street/SpotPass…

They might as well let you go crazy with it.  Let you add your own resources, modify most of the game, make millions off the one game.  Let them make their own quests for Mario and co with custom designed levels, world maps and other stuff.  Like how Minecraft endorses the site for Game Mods of it.

Some would say this is a bad idea or complain about piracy, but let’s face it, this would pretty much turn a great deal of ‘pirates’ into legitimate customers.  The custom stuff would be an incentive for average Joes to buy the game as much as the developer made content is.

Imagine how great it’d be to point out that your game can literally serve everyone and has millions of levels, bosses, items, etc.  Best of all, you’d only have to make about 9-12 worlds worth of said content yourself, and you’d initially create a market where this Mario game was basically impossible to compete against.  Add your own official downloadable content and add ons, and you’d officially give people very little reason to buy any clones of the series, pirate the series or  buy platformers from your competitors.

9. A Great Final boss

Enough said really, and I don’t have to worry about this one in the slightest. Why should I?  Every Mario game since Super Mario Bros 3 has technically had a great final boss.  Well, maybe except Sunshine if you’re picky.

So I may as well make a few guesses about how this fight might go:

  • Chance he’ll turn into a giant, about 50-70%.  It’s already happened in both Yoshi’s Island games, New Super Mario Bros (technically), Super Mario Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros Wii and Super Princess Peach.  Oh, and Mario Party 5.
  • It’ll be in the sky or outer space.  Fair chance, was true of both Galaxy games, Mario 64, Mario Sunshine and various spinoffs (especially Mario Party)
  • You’ll be running from him. Didn’t use to be true, but was of New Super Mario Bros Wii and Mario 3D Land, may well happen again.
  • The final boss music will be epic.  It always is.  And every single game, someone somewhere compares the tune to that of a boss in an RPG game.

Here’s hoping for another great final boss.  Who knows, may not even be Bowser this time… oh wait, this is a 2D Mario game.  Never mind.

10. Great Music

Again, I don’t think they’ll disappoint, the quality of Mario’s music as a series has never really gone far below excellent, unless you’re talking Yoshi’s Island or educational games. True, people have said they don’t put as much effort into the music in 2D Mario games as in 3D ones, but come on, even much of the New Super Mario Bros music is fantastic, especially if you’re willing to look beyond just the grass/athletic/overworld level 1 theme with the silly noises and enemies dancing to it.  Listen:

It’s remixed excellently by third parties as well:

Really, the music only needs to be orchestrated if you ask me.  The New Super Mario Bros Wii style works perfectly fine as such:

The castle music alone sounds like it’s out of Castlevania with a bit of remixing, and even the normal grass land music isn’t exactly bad by any means.  None the less, we will get an awesome soundtrack, I can be 100% sure of that.

Still, that’s all I want from a new 2D Mario game on 3DS.  Will the game have all/most of what I wished for?  Probably not, it’s coming out in either 2012 or early 2013, so unless development has been going for years prior to the announcement it’d be impossible to have all of it.  None the less, it’s a new 2D Mario game, and it’s basically confirmed the game will be excellent. Don’t worry about it, there is officially zero chance it won’t be an instant classic.