96 stars. Tossed Bowser into the sun. I think that's probably a respectable finish.
There's 120 stars to find - and I'm sure something INCREDIBLE happens if you get all of them - but the last few levels I completed were so miserable that I really no longer have the taste for it.
Never did get that "big world" level. Everything was a small floating asteroid. Even the bigger asteroids were small. Although the gravity thing was fun, I really grew tired of it halfway through. Keeping your brain on straight as you keep correcting your analog stick to compensate for Mario's ever-changing heading just is not a friendly experience. I don't see how Nintendo can pitch Mario Galaxy as a new Wii Sports-style Game For Everyone when things get so dizzy. Your TV spots can show a twelve-year-old and his mom playing together, but casual gamers are not going to get past the third galaxy cluster. The last galaxies are hard and the last thirty stars are insane. This game ramps up to hardcore for the final act; this is why Nintendo's star collection system lets you stomp Bowser when in the 60 star range.
Although the final Bowser stage/fight was pretty hard, too. I appreciated having the skills buildup of 90 stars before going into that level.
I still like Sunshine a whole hell of a lot more. In my opinion, you cannot beat free-roaming.
Although I was initially pretty down on the 2P co-star mode, it did come in quite useful in the end stages. Some of those levels are so chaotic that having an extra brain around really helped. A couple times, Rhonda's quick clicking helped me save Mario's ass... particularly by using the 2P jump ability. And for the levels with Bullet Bills or scads of cannonball attacks, I can't even imagine attempting to navigate them without having her there freezing enemies.
Co-star still isn't a true multiplayer experience, but it's better than a kick in the breadtray.
BIG THANKS TO MARIO GALAXY FOR LETTING ME CONTINUE TO PLAY THE GAME AAFFTTEERR BEATING BOWSER. Seriously. I accomplished the game's final goal but not 100% of the sub-goals, and the game has no problem with me going back into the gameworld. What is so wrong about that philosophy that Legend of Zelda and Kingdom Hearts and others can't do it?
Sure, it's ironic that I don't much feel like doing it, but if I want to, I can.
I haven't looked it up yet, so I honestly do not know what happens when you get that 120th star. Here are my guesses:
- No waiting for the waggle-spin attack. Wouldn't that be cool?
- Screenshot ability in-game. That would be classic Nintendo to unlock something impossibly awesome AFTER you've drained all the fun out of the game.
- Unlock Super Mario Bros in Animal Crossing. IT'S STILL COMING, TRUE BELIEVERS!
- 2P as Luigi, onscreen with Mario. And support for two more simultaneous co-star players.
- Unlocks hidden video of Reggie demanding you buy Metroid Prime 3 or he'll kill this dog.
- Game remembers your accumulated extra lives.
- Play as Mii.
- Game now uses Forecast Channel data so Mario can explore galaxies while experiencing the local weather conditions of twelve hours ago.
- All those damn smegging tiny asteroids unwrap and join to become a solid, free-roaming level.
- User-controlled 360-degree camera.
- $5 credit on Shop Channel, but you can only use it on NES Soccer.
- Play as Wario; now invincible.
- Congratulatory star shape appears on your Mii's shirt in Mii Channel and wherever else you see your Mii.
- Star List resets! Find all 120 again!