New Super Mario Bros 2; More Footage from official site!

And in case you’re wondering, this spoils a ton of the game, showing off all kinds of different levels from various points in the adventure.  First off, we have a general trailer for power ups:

Okay, I technically spliced together about six different mini trailers and add title images and music for the video, but the footage is from the official website. There are some pretty ‘interesting’ level designs in this one:

For example, this is a water themed castle where Mario and Luigi have to dodge a ton of Grinders moving around on rails and jumping up out of pits.  Reminds me quite a bit of the Forest Fortress from Super Mario World.

A sky level.  Seems to be using a new foreground tileset here, as well as a new background not seen in either New Super Mario Bros for DS or Wii.  Not much to say, some of these areas do seem to have Hammer Bros in though.

Mario on some lifts in a Mushroom level.  It looks like it mixes the SMW mountain background with a cloudy sky one.

A tower where the lava rises to try and kill Mario.  It looks to be extremely difficult with all kinds of precision jumps, spikes and lots of net climbing, and it’s the first level the person playing had to use the Gold Leaf/invincible Tanooki Suit on.

Reminds me of Toxic Tower from Donkey Kong Country 2:

And it also has lots of Rocket Engines set up to burn Mario!  Oh, and while you can’t see it in the still image, those nets are moving around. In other words, this is a level which will give many, many people lots of trouble.  The whole game is turning out to be pretty brutal!

This one just shows the gold items (except the Flower oddly, which is classed under ‘returning’ items on the official site despite being new).  Some interesting things can be seen here too:

Chain Chomps!  Yes, these are confirmed as returning enemies via this trailer, and they look pretty much like they do in the rest of the 2D platformers.

Mario rides a gold Lakitu cloud.  These leave coins behind them and seem to go pretty fast too.  Also, seems like we’ve got a new foreground and background here.

The SMW style ice level with all the slopes from an earlier video.  Looks a lot like ‘Awesome’.

Tilting Mushrooms in another part of the level with the lifts. Again, the background is new, and this time they seem to have mixed the ice and mushroom ’tilesets’ together to make the level.

An underwater gauntlet, seem earlier.  It’s the one with all the spikes, meaning the hard room you saw in an earlier post was probably slightly earlier in this very level.

And here’s the co-op trailer, with hilarious unfitting music!  It’s much shorter than the others, so not as much new stuff to discuss I’m afraid.  However, here’s what I did find interesting:

A colourful bonus area.  Looks pretty cool, and again seems to have a new background.

This sand cave shows where you can bounce off another player’s head to reach a P Switch.  This one makes coins appear, but others might open new paths and such.  See, there is a reason for making characters in multiplayer solid unlike in Donkey Kong Country Returns or Rayman Origins!

Mario and Luigi fighting Reznor.  As you can see, they still shoot fire and the bridge still collapses, it’s just much slower.

Next up, here’s the new coin rush ‘trailer’:

Again, it’s very short so there isn’t a whole lot to see in this video, but there are still some interesting new things to comment on.

More of the bridge level.  Not sure what’s with the design here, it looks kind of… strange to say the least.  And why is it all bright orange?

End of level screen.  Of note is the word ‘Mushroom Pack’, does this mean there are different packs of levels with different themes?  Will world 2’s coin rush segments be called ‘Desert Pack’ or something?  How about a castle or ghost house only set?

Finally, there’s the world themes trailer:

It’s… pretty long.  And gives plenty of info about worlds 1 to 3.

One way gates return.  Not the most exciting development, but the level here looks pretty cool.  I like how it seems you go underground mid way through a grass level and can see the background above the ‘dirt’ line.

Platform riding will be in world 2.  I think this whole level might take place on an abandoned and broken up series of bridge ruins.

See what I mean?

Mario falls down a narrow shaft, presumably into a pyramid.

Did you know the forest and water worlds are one and the same this time around?  Yes, this takes place in world 3 not 4 or 5.

Bloopers get shot out of horizontal pipes now.

All in all, that’s a lot of new screens, videos and info about New Super Mario Bros 2 there, and the game seems to be getting more and more interesting with every new piece of information.  Are you excited for New Super Mario Bros 2?

Is Nintendo planning to buy Rare?

Oh yes, it’s one hell of an interesting rumour this time around, one which has set much of the internet on fire since it was first mentioned.  Basically, it’s that Nintendo are planning to buy Rare (the whole company) to get ownership of all their IPs, and have Retro Studios working on a new Banjo Kazooie game in anticipation of this moment.

Want more of this?  Better hope the rumour’s true…

In case you think I just made that up and need a source, check here:

So is it plausible?  Well, my guess is no based on a wide variety of different factors, but if you need some reasons why I don’t believe it to be true, here they are:

1. Retro Studios turned down Grant Kirkhope.  Not sure if you remember this news from a while back, but wouldn’t this be an extremely moronic move by them if they really were working on a new Banjo Kazooie game?  Turning down the original series main composer, the person responsible for near enough every memorable bit of the original series soundtrack?  I suspect that if this rumour really had some accuracy to it that Retro would be trying their utmost hardest to fit Mr Kirkhope on their music team.

2. Nintendo already had the opportunity to buy Rare.  You know, back in the old days when the buyout first occurred?  They didn’t decide to buy the studio then for whatever reason and that was right after a whole bunch of high selling games were released and when every new title the team was working on was getting 90%+ ratings across the board.  Why would they buy the studio now when most of their once beloved series have been driven into the ground and most of their best employees have long moved to greener pastures?

3. Why would Retro Studios be working on a game they couldn’t legally publish at that point in time?  I mean, it does sometimes happen (remember how Commander Keen was once ‘Dangerous Dave in Copyright Infringement’ and was meant to be a Super Mario Bros game for the PC?) but generally studios don’t make games they can’t release for simple business reasons, it’s pretty much wasted time and money if they fail to get the IP.

4. Wouldn’t just buying Banjo Kazooie be cheaper than buying Rareware as a whole?

However, while those reasons do suggest this rumour is just completely wrong in every way, it’s not as easy as just saying the above and concluding the whole thing is completely false.  For example, I could still potentially counter the above points by saying:

2. Rare were being sold at a high price in the buyout era due to their previous successes, and now with less of the talent working there and a recent string of mediocre games the price might be low enough for Nintendo to consider buying the company.

4. Perhaps Microsoft are only willing to sell Rare as a whole rather than individual series.  Not sure why, but the possibility exists.

One major point hasn’t been considered yet though, and this could potentially be what proves the rumour wrong.  Why would Microsoft want to sell Rare?  The very purpose of buying the company was to pull the rug out from under Nintendo and stop them getting all the high quality second party games they had access to in the SNES and Nintendo 64 eras, they wanted to avoid having to compete with series like Banjo Kazooie and Perfect Dark.  Selling the company back for any price would pretty much be giving Nintendo the perfect weapon to sell a good ten million more copies of a Rare franchise game, one which do the same for the Wii U as Donkey Kong Country Returns did for the Wii.  Would Microsoft want to take the chance and let Nintendo have a ton more hit games under their belt?  And that’s something I’m not sure they’d allow.

Either way, this rumour is exciting stuff.  If Nintendo really did buy Rare and give their franchises to teams like Retro Studios, then we’re certain to get a whole ton of fantastic new games as a result of this.  Maybe even Banjo and Kazooie as playable in Super Smash Bros 4?  But alas, it seems like the rumour might just be the usual pack of lies supplied by so called ‘insiders’.

What do you think?  Is Nintendo planning to buy Rare and make a proper Banjo Kazooie sequel with Retro Studios as developer?


Why I’m now interested in New Super Mario Bros 2

Now in the past, you may have noticed that I was kind of skeptical about New Super Mario Bros 2 and not as excited for it as Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon or Paper Mario Sticker Star.  I thought it was a bit ‘samey’ and a bit generic and wasn’t quite sure of how the whole coin collecting feature would really be implemented.

However, I now seem to have much more of an interest in the game.  Why is this? Because it looks increasingly interesting.  Because every single video makes me actually think that this game does have that spark of creativity to it, that every new trailer shows enough new ideas and level designs that I actually care for this game now and somewhat look forward to buying and playing it.

For example, I initially thought the graphics looked far too much like those in the DS or Wii game, but they don’t.  I’ve compared them side by side with the ones from these games and while the style is vaguely similar in that it has the ‘New Super Mario Bros look’ to it, they’re certainly not lazily made or ripped from any of the past games despite what your short term memory is probably telling you.  Not to mention that many levels don’t even use graphics of a similar style to the older ones, a recent ice level has a background like those from Super Mario World, a recent sky level has a background unlike anything I’ve seen before and the bonus areas have the beautiful multi coloured sky and rainbow, again not seen in the DS or Wii version.  Is it Rayman Origins, Donkey Kong Country Returns or Wario Land Shake It style impressive?  No.  But it looks good enough and it’s at least unique enough looking I think the game’s worth a chance.

Back in the old days he just walked around the room and died in three hits!

The level design and boss design is also interesting me more than it used to.  Climbing spider webs was already a pretty nifty thing in itself, but I do like the new appearing blocks gimmick in the lava level (which has a very Mario Galaxy like feel to it), the underwater tower/fortress, how Morton throws spike balls down platforms in a manner remniscient of the original Donkey Kong arcade game, how you can turn all the enemies to gold and all the possibilities it brings, etc.  And the fact it’s now confirmed Reznor does indeed fight like in SMW complete with the disappearing bridge and fireball shooting at least makes it better than it did when we saw the gimped first fight in  a recent convention video.

Reznor fights like he always has done.

The bit where all the Koopalings chase you in the Koopa Clown Car and shoot dangerous magic that lights up the background after every shot looks like a clever new level design too:

Koopaling chase

It really does seem like the level design is really interesting in parts and that it’s at least at the same level as quality as the levels in the likes of Super Mario Bros 3 or World.

It also seems to be significantly harder than previous games were.  This spike tunnel underwater looks downright murderous:


And when you add in the now required flight sections, bits where you have to bounce on Bullet Bills, etc, the game looks to be getting as close to kaizo gameplay as possible in the finale and secret worlds.    Really, if you think Super Mario World still looks harder than this game you’re in denial.

Okay, it doesn’t all seem perfect, the music seems relatively untouched from New Super Mario Bros Wii in many cases, but is this really the worst thing ever?  It’s not like the castle theme got worse all of a sudden:

And while it seems the soundtrack of the past games has quite a few critics, I don’t honestly think it’s that bad.  In fact, much of the music is quite good and at least comparable to that in Mario games prior to Galaxy, it’s just that everyone’s got all spoiled and expects Galaxy level orchestration in every new Nintendo game ever made now.  Remember that at one time, this is all we got:

Not mention, you can still do a lot of neat things and have a lot of great music even in midi format.  Is the old fashioned castle music really better than the current stuff?  The old underwater music better?  The old tower music better?  I don’t really think so, and while the lack of new themes can be a bit disappointing it’s not like the original music is bad.

All in all, while it’s still not a Super Mario 64/Galaxy level upgrade from the previous games it’s still ingeniously enough designed I now have more an interest in it, so my previous dislike of New Super Mario Bros 2 has kind of faded after all the recent videos of the game and I do think I’ll be buying it on day one the minute it comes out.

Another New Super Mario Bros 2 Trailer; shows Roy boss battle

And for the people thinking the boss room reminded them of Super Mario World and that the fight would proceed the same way… well they’re kind of right.  Here’s the video:

Now, I can’t see much of the boss battle since the video only shows Mario landing the final blow,  but from what I can see it probably works like this:

Roy fires magic wand like in Super Mario Bros 3

Gets hit by Mario

Walls close in a bit

He spins around his shell to get Mario

Repeat three times to win.  You can easily tell the walls work the same way as in Super Mario World by how they quickly retract/move out the screen once the boss has been defeated, although he doesn’t seem to do what he and Morton did in SMW and start climbing up the sides of the room for whatever reason.

Also of interest is how the player seems to be playing a ‘challenge’ mode, note how the timer is extremely low in the first level:

Just 50 seconds?

You’ll also notice that whenever there’s usually a 1-Up Mushroom there’s now a gold Mushroom that gives Mario fifty coins, seems to be an interesting little change in the Coin Rush modes.  In addition to this, whenever he crosses the midway point 50 seconds are added to the timer, making it seem like most levels are only beatable in this mode if you get the midway point flag halfway through the level.

The second bit shown is a water level.  As I mentioned before, it seems like circling Cheep Cheeps will act like the Boo Rings in SMW, except underwater.  Nice touch.  Also, the roulette block now has a Gold Mushroom in as one of the possible items you can get out of it.

And the flight based castle definitely requires a Raccoon Leaf/tail to progress and probably involves a fair amount of flying, as I noticed from an earlier video.

All in all, while there isn’t a particularly high amount of new content show in the video, there is some new stuff from New Super Mario Bros 2 present and the game does still look to be excellent.

New Super Mario Bros 2 Famitsu Scan

Well, people wondered where the Famitsu coverage of the game was considering they gave it a 36/40 review, so here you go.  Here’s some of Famitsu’s review showing new images of the game and various such things:

There’s not much there that can be really classed as new (except maybe the Golden Bullet Bill artwork and about two screenshots), but it seems to only be the first two pages of an article that’s at least four pages long.

Pity we don’t know what the text says though, that could have been kind of interesting to read.

Still, there’s part of Famitsu’s article on New Super Mario Bros 2 for anyone who wants to see it, and it looks like there’s quite a lot of coverage of the game inside.