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E3 06: Super Mario Galaxy - hands on

Wii has barely been fully unveiled and we've already got a brand new Mario game to salivate over. Super Mario Galaxy uses both the pointer and the nunchaku attachment to create a mixture of classic, 3D platforming and brand-new ways to interact with Mario's colorful, outer-space world.

Running, jumping and butt-stomping all handle just like 2002's Super Mario Sunshine - that is to say, the analog control stick and normal buttons are used. The pointer, however, lets you directly affect items onscreen. In Galaxy, Mario isn't prancing around typical worlds - they're all floating planetoids in space, each with their own personal gravity. To hop from one to another, you have to find a star icon, stand in it and shake the wand around to "charge" the star. Then you're off to the next globe.



In the quick E3 demo we played, these tiny globes had their own structures and enemies walking around on their surfaces. A few could be climbed into and explored, but there's more a sense of "keep pressing on" than true exploration. What is cool, though, is how the gravity can shift on each planet - arrows let you know that if you walk up this wall, it then becomes the floor and now you've changed your perspective.

Some areas didn't have launching stars, so you've got to find a new way to fly through the airless vacuum of space. In this case, there were blue beacons that stretched into the distance. Pointing the wand at them and clicking the B trigger causes them to snatch up Mario and hold him in place. So, you just click your way across the void until something else's gravity pulls you in. Oh, there was also a giant black hole, ready to act as this generation's bottomless pit.

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