Playing Super Mario Galaxy 2 in 2020: Green Star Challenge

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by: Hairball

If you haven't completed the Green Star Challenge in Super Mario Galaxy 2, it'll almost feel like playing a new Mario game!

After completing Super Mario Odyssey, I'm feeling a little withdrawal from 3D Mario platforming. It took me a few months but I eventually collected all 880 unique Power Moons, it was a chore to get all of them, but quite a fulfilling journey along the way.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 Green Star Challenge

I just had a random idea a few days ago, and thought, why not plug in the old Wii and try to play some Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2? I never quite completed them, and these were some of my favourite Mario games of all time. I know there are 120 more Green Power Stars that await me in Super Mario Galaxy 2, and I want to challenge myself with that.

Despite being somewhat of an "expert" in Mario games, I actually haven't got 100% in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2. As a hardcore Mario fan, generally I try to complete everything because I just love playing these games, and there's usually a little bonus for doing so. But certain levels can be so frustrating and challenging that I can't beat them no matter how much I cheat, by reading tutorials or watching YouTube videos.

No matter how many times I've tried, I could not get through Champion's Road in Super Mario 3D World. I was able to complete the Darker Side of the Moon challenge in Super Mario Odyssey, that was one heck of a level, it was challenging, but fair and was very fun to play.

I've gotten the 120 Power Stars as Mario in Super Mario Galaxy, to be honest I don't have interest in playing the game again as Luigi to unlock the final bonus stage, the Grand Finale Galaxy. It looks like a nice little "thank you" from the developers, but I just don't think I have the patience to do that right now, it feels kind of like a chore, though maybe down the road when I want to completely replay SMG, I will go through it as Luigi.

I remembered that I was currently stuck at 119 Power Stars in Super Mario Galaxy 2, one away from unlocking the Green Star challenge. The one remaining star I needed to obtain is the Throwback Throwdown Speed Run in Boss Blitz Galaxy where you have to beat 5 bosses in 5 minutes! That's right, I have to defeat Dino Piranha, King Kaliente, Major Burrows, Bouldergeist and Fiery Dino Piranha in under 5 minutes.

The first three weren't too bad, and I can defeat them at ease with a little bit of practice. I always had trouble with Bouldergeist even in the first Super Mario Galaxy game. After watching some videos, I found you can actually stay pretty close up to him, avoid the projectiles and spikes that come out, and just spin and pick up the Bomb Boos to attack him. In the second phase, try to aim the Bomb Boos at his head and avoid the hands which don't do damage. Once I got this, as long as I did everything else smoothly, I should get to the final part with Fiery Dino Piranha with a minute and change.

Fiery Dino Piranha was difficult to beat even the first time. I noticed that at the right beat of the music, his tail will extinguish and you can get a quick hit in. For the rest of the battle, I tried to stay as close to him as possible and just try to hit his tail after his attempt at charging you. I wasn't really sure the pattern, but with enough time on the clock you should be able to do it. Eventually, I got the job done with over 30 seconds left. Counting all the times I tried to beat this over the years, I must have tried at least 50 times!

I was so thrilled to finally get the 120th Power Star! After doing that, it's necessary to go back to Bowser's Galaxy Generator and defeat Bowser again. I had a couple of close calls, but I managed to get through this level without dying.

First Green Star in SMG2
The first Green Star in Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Source: MarioWiki)

It's finally the start of the Green Star challenge in Super Mario Galaxy 2. I know there are 120 Green Stars to collect, so it's almost like I'm playing a brand new game, and I'm looking forward to it. It's been nearly 10 years since Super Mario Galaxy 2 was released, so my memory of some stages might be fuzzy, so simply because of time there's definitely a sense of newness to this "post-game" bonus.

Currently, I've collected the first 10 Green Stars. It actually feels kind of refreshing to play Super Mario Galaxy 2 again. Of course, it didn't have the charm as the original Super Mario Galaxy, but it still stands as one of the better Mario games, no surprise it was one of the top ranked games of the 2010s decade.

While playing these Green Star missions, it actually reminded me a lot about the random Power Moons that are scattered throughout Super Mario Odyssey. I'm not a fan of "collect-a-thons", but as long as it's not outright brutal. Super Mario Galaxy 2 tended to have stages that were more linear, so the Green Stars turn out to be a nice addition because you will explore around the stages more than normal.

I'm excited to go on this uncompleted Mario journey that I've let sit for a decade, I hope it won't disappoint. And then I will see if I'm up to The Ultimate Test in the Grandmaster Galaxy! Getting those 120 scattered Green Power Stars will perhaps be a good warmup to that challenge...

Will we see Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 ported to the Nintendo Switch some day? It's about time these two great Mario platformers get a HD remastering!

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