Super Mario Galaxy 2 is but a week away, so let's Rank Up! What is Rank Up? Rank Up is a relatively new feature on SuperPhillip Central where I take a franchise and rank the titles from worst to best. Let it be known that there is no worst title when it comes to 3D Marios. Here are the titles we'll be examining.
Super Mario 64 (N64)
Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)
Super Mario 64 DS (DS)
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
In 1996, when Mario went 3D, he revolutionized gaming. Yes, 3D had been done before, but never to the perfection and mastery of Super Mario 64. Mario's next adventure would take him to the tropical shores of Isle Delfino in Super Mario Sunshine, a game that many consider to be the worst of the bunch. Then again, the worst of the bunch in a Mario game is still pretty excellent. Then a remake came out when the DS released. The remake was of Super Mario 64 with added content. Finally and most recently, Mario shot for the stars in the superb Super Mario Galaxy. Now with that out of the way, let's Rank Up!
4) Super Mario 64 DS (DS)
Super Mario 64 DS was the headliner for the Nintendo DS' launch lineup. It was one meaty remake including thirty brand new stars to collect, several new worlds to explore, new bosses, and the addition of three other characters to play as in the form of Luigi, Yoshi, and Wario. This game would be higher on my list if it weren't for the controls. The d-pad takes getting used to when playing on a 3D space, and the touch controls were adequate at best. Throw in some clever touch screen mini-games which would also be included in New Super Mario Bros., and you have a wonderful game to anyone's DS collection.
3) Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)
Mario is on a pleasant vacation to the sunny shores of Isle Delfino. Unfortunately, a little impostor known as Shadow Mario is causing trouble, defacing the island with icky, paint-like goop as one of the Toads say. This puts Mario in the judicial system as the main suspect to the crime. His sentence? To clean up the island by collecting several shine sprites all around the island. Super Mario Sunshine for better or worse was more story-intensive than previous Mario games either 2D or 3D. Mario wasn't alone in his endeavor, however, as he came across a water-shooting nozzle device named FLUDD. Together, they helped to clean up the island, take out the main villain behind the pollution menace, and have a lot of fun doing it. Nearly all of Mario's moves were present and accounted for including the ability to hover for a limited amount of time, the wall jump, and the awesome rocket nozzle. The bonus stages where Mario was stripped from FLUDD were my favorite parts of the game. While the camera was imperfect and the locales weren't as varied as one might like, Super Mario Sunshine remains a fun and entertaining game.
2) Super Mario 64 (N64)
We go from a game that ran with the formula to the one that started the formula to begin with-- Super Mario 64. The game had fifteen unique worlds each with seven stars to collect. Collecting power stars opened up new areas in Peach's Castle, the hub of the game. The story was minimal at best. Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach after she invites Mario over for some cake. Mario arrives to see the castle in chaos, and opts to leap inside the worlds hidden among paintings to gather power stars, take down Bowser, and rescue the Princess for the umpteenth time. I remember first playing this game at a kiosk at a Best Buy. I couldn't get a handle of the controls, so I kept running in circles into the water and out. This play experience convinced me of getting a Nintendo 64 as silly as that sounds. With revolutionary 3D gameplay, awesome moves such as the long jump and wall kick, and impressive for the time visuals, and you have my second favorite 3D Mario.
1) Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Here it is-- the most recent and best 3D Mario ever (perhaps until Super Mario Galaxy 2 comes out). Mario and company celebrate the arrival of a comet at the Star Festival. Suddenly, Bowser's airship armada bombs the heck out of the village surrounding Peach's Castle, captures Peach, and sends Mario sailing into space. It's up to Mario to collect enough power stars to engage the mysterious Rosalina's observatory to reach where Bowser is no doubt hatching his next devious plan. The addition of planetoids and a more rigidly linear structure lending well to Super Mario Galaxy. It felt like you were playing a 2D Mario only in 3D with the point being you're going from the start to the goal of the level (the power star). Don't even get me started on the absolutely phenomenal presentation! From the sensational visuals to the supremely fantastic soundtrack (half of which was orchestrated), and you have my top pick for 3D Mario games.
What about you? Is your order of these games different than mine? Let me, and everyone else know, in the comments section!