Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Super Mario Galaxy’s Opening Is Still Terrifying

Gif: Nintendo / Kotaku

Super Mario 3D All-Stars, launching tomorrow for the Nintendo Switch, gave me the opportunity to revisit a trio of classic video games. It also brought me face to face with what is perhaps the most terrifying opening of any Mario game, wherein Bowser literally carpet bombs the Mushroom Kingdom.

Advertisement

As with most games in the series, Super Mario Galaxy is a whimsical adventure, filled with enough cute, endearing moments to make even the most Call of Duty-hardened gamer soften a bit. I mean, Mario goes to space! How cool is that! Unfortunately, the inciting incident to Mario’s galactic sojourn sees the Mushroom Kingdom’s Star Festival interrupted by Bowser’s armada.

The entire sequence is shocking. Warships crest the horizon and begin firing indiscriminately on the celebrating Toads. Buildings are set ablaze and sent crashing into the streets. Smoke and explosions fill the air. We’re given a ground-level view of the carnage, a perspective that feels like it was pulled out of Saving Private Ryan or Black Hawk Down rather than the intro to a first-party Nintendo game.

Advertisement

Mario ducks and weaves through Princess Peach’s castle gardens as we witness screaming Toads—some equipped with shields and spears but most unarmed—blown up by Bowser’s weapons of war. Some lie eerily motionless on the cobblestones. The lucky ones are encased in crystals, frozen in place until Mario comes back to free them later in the game. Multiple fires cast a ghastly yellow glow on their surroundings. What should have been a time of celebration is now a picture of hell.

Forget Bowser’s usual shenanigans; this isn’t just kidnapping a princess, stealing royal wands, or ruining Mario’s vacation. King Koopa commits an honest-to-god war crime to open Super Mario Galaxy. And he seemed like such a nice dad in Super Mario Sunshine, too.

Staff Writer, Kotaku

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

sensesomethingevil
WARRIORS! Revive the power of the ORBS

Oh my god, yes! This is my favorite opening in a Mario game. They always dance around Bowser taking over the Mushroom Kingdom, but here he launches a full strike on a peaceful toad festival AND rips Peach’s castle into space AND pretty much murders Mario right off the bat.

But you know damn well Peach knew this was coming. She’s already out there hugging that star. She’s gotten the head’s up but doesn’t cancel the festival? So wrong.

Horrific attack on a major location, and the leaders had advanced intel and chose to ignore it? This is like the Mushroom Kingdom’s 9/11.