More New Super Mario Bros 2 Footage!

I haven’t seen this video online much at the moment, but it shows two player co-op lasting through quite a few different levels.  Unfortunately the music in the original video just cut out after the castle scene for whatever reason, so I had to splice in some ridiculously out of place music from the Wii version to stop the footage from that point onwards being in complete silence.

It does show some new things however.  Like how it seems trees have been added to the grass land levels to stop them looking so much like how they did in New Super Mario Bros on DS.  Also, it turns out castle levels look much like in New Super Mario Bros Wii complete with the same music and Thwomp graphics.

Still, it looks decent enough, and this footage does at least show the game isn’t entirely a lazy rehash of New Super Mario Bros 1.  What do you think of what’s been shown in the video posted above?

Nintendo Announces 3DS XL!

No, it doesn’t have most of the improvements people wanted in a 3DS hardware revision, why do you ask?

None the less, Nintendo announced it at Nintendo Direct earlier today.  It’s obviously a bigger version of the 3DS, but also a fairly different look too, one which some people online have considered a change for the worse.  Here’s a comparison between the standard 3DS and the XL version, as well as a bunch of other electronic devices:

As you can see, it’s about as big as the DSi XL was, although bigger than the 3DS and Vita and a fair amount smaller than either an iPad or a Wii U Game Pad.

It has a slightly longer battery life (3.5 to 6 hours for playing 3DS games rather 3 to 5 hours on the original) and the screens are about 90% larger than those of a standard 3DS.  Doesn’t seem like much of a difference really (certainly not enough to buy the system if you already own a normal 3DS), but it’s a bit better anyway.

There’s one change however that few people will agree on… in Europe and Japan, they’re now selling the AC Adapator seperately.  You know, the thing that lets you charge the device from the mains rather than the cradle like thing?  Gone, unless you’re in the US.  Here’s the box art for it, for the people who are likely to feel right ripped off:

^This has the word ‘sucker’ written all over it.

And the design is a matter of taste at best.  Still, here’s some photos of the different models of 3DS XL, as well as the box art in both the US and Europe and various other pictures related to it:

Here’s the box art (top one is the different box arts provided in the US, bottom one is the console box art for Europe).

So that’s the 3DS XL then.  Is it worth buying instead of a 3DS or to replace it?  Not sure, I’d personally advise that if you don’t have a 3DS already and want a larger screen to go for it, but to hold out if you already own the console since it doesn’t provide too much of value.  It’s not like a 3DS Lite or 3DSi to say the least…

June 22nd Nintendo Direct; Lots of New Super Mario Bros 2 Info and Footage!

Yes, three whole trailers/videos were released showing levels and content from New Super Mario Bros 2 complete, with a whole lot more interesting information about the game.  Here’s the general trailer first of all:

First of all, it seems Mushroom levels are definitely confirmed, as are gold rings.  The Mushrooms also seem to be swinging side to side in time with the music, just like in the DS New Super Mario Bros game.  The most interesting element though is actually the gold ring, which turns all nearby enemies in gold when Mario passes through it.  This explains the snow level scene provided with the first initial screenshots of the game where all the enemies were gold coloured.

The Gold Block ‘power up’ is also detailed, and works like the wearable ? block from Super Mario 3D Land.  Nothing more needs to be said here.

Also, it looks like the art style of this game will also be taking inspiration from Super Mario World too.  Look at that nifty looking mountain background found in the slide level, which looks just like it came straight from Super Mario World!

The same level also has a nifty looking effect with the transparent bricks and the various holes in the ground, making it look almost like the kind of level found in Super Mario World game mods and hacks more than anything.

There’s also some footage showing the main menu of the game, shown before the Coin Rush mode:

As you can see, the options for solo and co-op play are present and accounted for, along with the new Coin Rush mode.  Looks a little like the kind of menu used in the Super Mario Advance series.

It’s explained that the courses in this mode are random too.

It also seems like the traditional NSMB cave tileset and level archtype will be present here too:

Also returning is the beach world, presumably as either world 3 or 4.  It seems like it’ll have those moving barrels found in the original New Super Mario Bros, although there’s no sign of the water skeeter like creatures that drop bombs yet.

Banzai Bills are also confirmed, although I’m a little worried about how common the nearby ‘snake blocks’ seem to be in this game, they seem like they’re littered about normal levels even more than in the last few Mario games, and I damn hated that in those.

I think the below screen might show a level with a new tileset and background too, which is kind of appreciated given how samey and generic much of New Super Mario Bros 2 looks.  Reminds me a bit of some of the graphics used in Wario Master of Disguise and Shake It, although I’m not sure why.

There’s also a pretty cool like Dry Bones coaster platform you can ride in lava levels, which reminds me an awful lot of both the Bonecoasters in New Super Mario Bros Wii and the raft riding in Super Mario 3D Land’s final level.

Next up, we have some videos showing the coin rush mode, starring two Japanese actors I don’t know the names or give a toss about.

The first level seems boring enough, although the trap found here (see below screenshot) looks quite interesting.  You see, this block has coins in it, but doesn’t become a used block once it runs out… the guy makes Mario ground pounding it too much, and BANG!  Falls to another area!  You can see some pretty nice tricks coming from this addition to the game.

Don’t pound the block for too long Mario!

We also get the first footage of the desert world, which looks fairly typical.  All your standard Mario desert themed elements are there like quicksands, pyramid, a drab beige colour scheme that makes me think video game companies assume Egypt and the pyramids always looked the way they do now…

One guess what the gimmicks are in this level.

The music seems to identical to in a past Mario game.  Give me a moment…

That’s it I think.

Something I do find quite interesting in this part of the video is how much of the game world seems to be ‘sheltered’. As in, has a ceiling and a back wall despite not being in the middle of a castle or underground level, as if the designers at Nintendo have only just figured out the effect where you can see the level background through holes in a back wall.

This special effect was amazing back in the NES days…

Next video!

Next up is the tower level.  You may recognise it from a video someone recorded back at E3, since the levels these guys are playing through are some of the same stages.  It’s got more moving block snakes for whatever reason (these damn things are becoming as much of a theme in New Super Mario Bros 2 as the gold is), as well as some very interesting enemies…

Such as this pretty damn creepy zombie/skeleton looking Goomba.  Well, they sure are going with the undead themes in these castles and fortresses now.

What the hell is that thing?

There’s also a zombie like Piranha Plant.  Undead plants?  How the hell is that supposed to work?

I guess this is what happens if you lose in Plants vs Zombies…

In another supposedly funny bit of the video, Mario runs out of time.  But hey, they timed it just right that it looks like the unfortunate plumber was killed by the falling sign.

Reznor is apparently the boss in this fortress, except these are the idiots versions which don’t seem to breathe fire and come in pairs rather than fours.  Well, it is the first tower, but it’s still kind of pathetic.  Also, I think I’ve just figured out what their ‘attack’ is, they pound the ground and the bridge shakes slightly.  No idea what happens if you’re standing there.

Wow, most dangerous attack ever!

Still, that’s all the New Super Mario Bros 2 footage analysed, next up will be the 3DS XL, possibly the most pointless console revision in video game history.



There’s another Nintendo Direct tomorrow!

No really, Nintendo’s next Nintendo Direct conference or whatever it’s called is scheduled for the 22nd June 2012, aka tomorrow.  Kind of quick really, considering E3 was less than a month ago, but perhaps Nintendo have decided they need some time to cover the upcoming 3DS games they didn’t give enough information about like Fire Emblem Awakening and Animal Crossing 3DS.

Or maybe it’s just an excuse for more trailers showing of Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon, Paper Mario Sticker Star and New Super Mario Bros 2,  or even more coverage of the Wii U and its various launch games.

Still, it’s tomorrow, so we won’t have too much longer to find out what Nintendo have planned for us this time.


Should Mario Kart take after Super Smash Bros in future?

Mario Kart has always been a pretty fun series, but I can’t be the only person thinking that it really does seem rather primitive and dated compared to Super Smash Bros, right?  No, this isn’t about how we should have non Mario characters in the games and turn it in Nintendo Kart for whatever reason, but how Mario Kart could be so much better if it copied many of the features and set ups used in Super Smash Bros Melee and Brawl.

For one thing, Mario Kart needs the amount of options given in Super Smash Bros for multiplayer.  Look at them, you have about ten or twenty types of ‘special match options’ you can mix and match between, a way to set how many KOs are needed, how long the timer is, etc.  Wouldn’t this level of customisation really improve Mario Kart?  Imagine if you could not only set the number of laps and what types of vehicles were allowed, but even set up your own Mario Kart special matches where players were permanently tiny/mega sized or always invincible.  It’d certainly add to the game’s replay value, as would having the option to choose how many balloons the players start out with in Battle Mode.

Because admit it, Super Sudden Death Last Man Standing would be one hell of a fun way to play battle mode, right? Especially if the only items were Bob-ombs…

The second obvious thing that should be carried over is the item select. Communities in Mario Kart 7 gave us some basic form of this (albeit more ‘shells, bananas or bob-ombs’ rather than in depth options), but I think it’d be much better if in multiplayer you could choose the exact items to enable or disable for every race.

And for everyone who likes Mario Kart, that means no more Blue Shells ever again!

Yet another element that should be incorporated into Mario Kart is multiple unlocking methods for characters and karts.  You see, that’s something I always really liked about Super Smash Bros, you always had multiple ways to do something and weren’t forced into a mode you didn’t enjoy to get all the unlockables.  Liked adventures? You could unlock characters in the Subspace Emissary.  Liked general single player?  You could unlock them in Classic mode. You could even unlock them by playing hundreds of vs matches if you were one of those people who preferred to go straight online and start facing off against random people.

And I’m pretty sure Mario Kart Wii even allowed this.  Unfortunately, no other game in the series has done the same, Mario Kart 7 included.  Oh yes, you can unlock Gold Parts using coins.  Pity there’s no alternative way to get all the characters…

Other interesting things that could be carried over include the music selection options (it’d be much better if you had the choice between about five possible background tracks when choosing what track to play, that way they could even bring back music from past games without the respective level being included).  Maybe even an Excite Truck style option to play music off the SD card instead of the background music used by default would be an good idea.

A sound test would be nice too.

Tournaments should be included too.  True, they weren’t used by that many people in Super Smash Bros (how often do you have enough people in the room that a full blown elimination tournament is even remotely practical?), but they would be rather useful in Mario Kart 7 for the inevitable online tournaments people are designing, especially if you could make them playable online (perhaps even with the option to let random people join).

And finally, alternate costumes could be useful too, like in Mario Tennis Open. This way, we wouldn’t need to waste pointless character slots on Metal Mario or Dry Bowser, just have them as costume options for Mario and Bowser respectively.  Plus, being able to choose between Wario Land or WarioWare style Wario would be pretty nifty, as would being able to choose what colour of Shy Guy, Koopa or Yoshi to play as.

With those features mentioned above, I think Mario Kart could really become more viable as a proper ‘competitive’ game in this day and age, or even just as a more fulfilling experience than just something to play at parties.

Maybe it would have helped Mario Kart 7 stay popular too, who knows?