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The Grandmaster Galaxy Effect

Joined
Oct 13, 2013
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Australia
Mario Galaxy 2 has the Grandmaster Galaxy. an easier (but still rather hard) and a brutal one hit death version.
This is not the first or last game to do something like this . . . but what is this and why does it exist? Lets have a discussion.

Many games seem to have this premise where 99% of the game is at a constant difficulty. Could be hard or could be easy. That's fine, the games are fun. However that last 1% is exponentially harder than the rest of the game combined. Why does this 1% even exist?

To give the more experienced gamers a challenge?
To pad out the time completionists take to 100% the game?
To artificially lower the number of people who beat the game?
For games with trophies or achievements, making that final one or two trophies less common?

What do you think about this practice? Do you like it and find these extra levels hard?
Or do these final challenges in the game just annoy you as it's just taking you longer to 100% the game and move on?
Or do you not even bother about these final overly hard challenges and never do them?

Do you find them fun or not?
 

Spiritual Mask Salesman

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The Grandmaster Galaxy wasn't even that difficult overall if you grind extra lives between Starship Mario and a random level. Within a day I was able to make it through each area, up to the last one filled with the Boomerang Bros. I died multiple times in this portion of the stage, until I was able to frequently make it to the platform with the star on it, but then the Boomerang Bros. there would always kill me.

I started rage quitting. Then maybe once a year I'd return to the game. Suprisingly I could still make it through the whole level with no problem but that last platform with the star on it was always my downfall. Until a few years ago when Libk and Pen mentioned to me that I could avoid the Boomerangs they throw by crouching. I completely forgot I could even crouch in the game, lol. I got the last star that same night.

It depends on the game really, if I like the game a lot I want to try to 100% it, but if I'm not too thrilled with the game I can be content not to do everything. I liked Super Mario Galaxy 2 a lot, it is maybe my favorite out of the Galaxy games and definitely in the running as my overall fave 3D Mario game (I have Mario Odyssey I just need to play it eventually to see where it stacks up).
 

MW7

Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Location
Ohio
This practice has never bothered me in Mario games. Typically there is an ending of sorts before you even reach the real final challenge so people who aren't interested in the higher challenge will just call it quits and still feel like they completed the game. Also Mario levels designed by Nintendo almost never feel unfair to me even when they are supposed to be the ultimate challenge.

The one exception where a greater challenge at the end of a game really bothered me was the final Canary Mary races in Banjo Tooie. In a collect-athon game aimed at children, it just seems obnoxious. I've never beaten it or come close. For me personally the most difficult things in Banjo Kazooie (Rusty Bucket Bay engine room) and Donkey Kong 64 (final Beaver Bother games) would be like a 1/10 in terms of difficulty compared to Canary Mary. It still bothers me to this day that someone programmed it the way that they did.
 

twilitfalchion

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I think having a meaningful final challenge in most games is important, but especially for a series of platforming games like Mario. They're optional for people only interested in beating the game, but also there for those who really want to test themselves. On the same order of collecting all coins, items, etc.

The only games I was actually able to beat these kinds of final challenges were 3D Land, 3D World, and Odyssey (though to be honest, Odyssey's final level wasn't that difficult, especially compared to the final levels of past games). I can't say I found any of them to be unfair or overly frustrating. 3D World's took me the longest, but despite all my attempts, I never felt like it was impossible.

100%'ing games is rarely a goal for me, so I never mind the presence of noticeably hard obstacles keeping the player from getting there. More of a test of pure skill (or so it should be).
 
I enjoy the practice in platformers specifically. Platformers are among my favorite game genres. Naturally, I've gotten pretty good at them. It feels great to actually have to break a sweat for the likes of Champion's Road and Darker Side of the Moon.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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I don't mind the addition of bonus post-game levels that offer extra difficulty. My issue comes with games like Super Mario 3D Land, where the entire game is incredibly easy and exists on a flat difficulty curve, offering difficulty only once you access the "post-game" content.
 
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I enjoy having optional challenges, even if a lot of the time I don’t end up doing them. It just means that there’s always something for me to go back to, especially if the base game is too easy. The only thing I dislike is when the balance between these is skewed in favor of the optional content and that the main stuff is really short.

I got every star in Mario Galaxy twice, and while it is not that tough, it is one of few Mario games I’ve got 100% in. Things like all the extra challenges in God Hand, Bayonetta, even stuff like Kirby sometimes, I’m not sure I’ll ever go through everything. Kinda wish Zelda did it more often with how both WW and TP had the 100 floor pits, because often times there’s not much else that’s too hard outside the main content.
 

Jimmu

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One that comes to mind for me is Toxic Tower in Donkey Kong Country 2, it is so so much harder than the rest of the game (at least in my opinion). When I was younger this prevented me from finishing the game until fairly recently so it was quite frustrating honestly, If there is a level which is extremely difficult compared to the rest of the game it should either be the very last one or something that is an optional extra.
 

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