The Super Mario Galaxy games are often considered the best 3D Mario games around, and, if Metacritc has anything to say about it, are the most critically successful Wii games released. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but they're probably among the most commercially successful too, at least if you pretend Wii Sports doesn't exist because that game just makes everyone else's sales numbers feel inadequate. Unfortunately, I'm not here to talk about how great the two Galaxy games are, because you already know that anyway. No, what I'm here to talk about today is how our supposed hero, Mario, is a serial murderer.
Read on, if you dare. Or, if you don't, I dare you to keep reading. Double-dog dare you!
Let's start with the first game, on the first level, because Mario just can't wait to start killing innocent things. Seriously, in the very first stage, Mario faces a boss at the end, but it's not Bowser, not Bowser Jr., not even a miserable Boom-Boom. It's an egg...or, it was, until Mario callously landed on top of it in an attempt to destroy the creature inside before it was even born. After the creature awakens, it makes a futile attempt to get away from Mario, completely blinded by the remainder of the egg shell covering everything but its feet and tail. Mario then cracks the egg completely to reveal some kind of Petey Piranha looking thing. Rightfully annoyed by this point, THEN the creature attacks Mario, and Mario goes ahead and destroys it like he was going to do anyway. Take a look at what it took for the "monster" to even get to the point of attacking though - it was clearly acting in self-defense by then.
Not to mention that, other than the razor sharp teeth, it's completely adorable.
Or how about Tantarox, found in a later galaxy encased in not one, but two protective layers of webbing. Clearly he doesn't want something getting in, right? Hint: It's Mario. He doesn't want Mario getting in and killing him for no reason, which is exactly what the plumber does when he breaks through both layers to reveal Tantarox, who, I stress, wasn't bothering anyone because it literally couldn't even be seen by anyone. Later in the game, one of the bosses is a gigantic robot that Mario disassembles for pretty much no real reason. It doesn't make any attempt to stop him, probably because it doesn't even know he's there. Being a giant robot makes it difficult to see tiny assassins running up and down your body, removing screws that hold your vital components in place.
Moving on to Galaxy 2, Mario's bloodlust is far from satisfied. One of the early boss fights is against a cute armadillo...thing called Rollodillo. Why, just look at the little guy!
I SAID LOOK AT HIM.
If it wasn't for the rocky exterior, he'd be the most huggable thing this side of the Yoshi Star Galaxy! When Mario arrives on his little outer space ball thing, he shows up and...just sort of runs around. He doesn't run AT Mario, or even really try to do anything besides frolic about and look absolutely adorable. It's almost like he just wants to play! It's not until Mario uses the Rock Mushroom powerup to ram a boulder into Rollodillo's backside that Rolly actually makes an attempt to crush Mario, which makes you wonder if, just maybe, he wasn't going to hurt the plumber at all...until Mario made him mad trying to kill him.
That isn't even the worst example, though. In another level, the Flipsville Galaxy, the Toad Brigade tells Mario about a monster, which can be seen on a faraway platform. Oh no! Mario had better be careful when he gets over there, because surely Glamdozer will be keen on attacking when he-
Hmm, maybe I didn't land hard enough.
Oh, no, it's just sleeping. And not a Star Bit to the eye or a spin to the face will wake it up. You'd think at this point, Mario might find a way to just sneakily look for the Power Star while it's asleep, but you've been reading this far, so you know better than that. Mario's solution is instead to flip a freaking grate underneath Glamdozer to damage its one weak point. Honestly, I'd probably try to kill someone if they woke me up like that, too.
Mario's homicidal tendencies aren't even limited to bosses, as regular "enemies" get the same treatment. I put "enemies" in quotes because a large number of the creatures in the games don't attack Mario or even acknowledge his existence - they're just there, going about their day, when suddenly a chubby plumber decides to bring their lives to a rather undignified end. Granted, you could say this is like the older Mario games where enemies just keep walking if Mario passes over them, but it's probably only because they didn't have a running animation to show them fleeing in terror from the thought of becoming another bloodstain on Mario's boots. Sure, many of the bosses and enemies in the games are directly antagonistic towards Mario without provocation, so maybe he's just playing it safe, but I wonder if he's playing it too safe...by killing everything.
I get that everything Mario does in these games is done out of love or...honor, or...something. I'm not sure why he rescues Princess Peach every time, he just does, and that's fine. But even still, you never see Bowser stopping along the way to Peach's castle to burn down a forest or step on bunnies or anything like that - he just goes straight there, grabs her, and then goes off to hide somewhere, all without killing anyone. Mario's response is to instead cut a bloody swath across numerous galaxies and destroy anything that might stand between him and his shiny gold trinkets. When your archnemesis has a lower bodycount than you, you might actually not be a very good hero.
The games are still pretty amazing though, so I guess I'll give Mario a pass.