Tag Archive: new


Originally Published: January 8, 2011, on PlayerAffinity.com and Comicvine.com

I had the chance to sit down with acclaimed comic book artist Ron Frenz over the holidays. We discussed some of Ron’s best known work including how him and Tom DeFalco came about creating Spider-Girl and his extremely popular seven year run with Tom DeFalco on Thor. We also discussed his current five issue mini-series bringing back his character from the mid-90s, Thunderstrike and if he hopes to somehow work this into bringing back the Thor Corps.

Originally Published: January 8, 2011, on PlayerAffinity.com and Comicvine.com

I had a chance over the holidays to sit down with acclaimed comics artist Pat Olliffe. We discussed some of Pat’s more popular works such as the Untold Tales of Spider-Man and his being part of the stable of artists for DC’s 52. We also discussed how he came to work with Jim Shooter on the new run of Mighty Samson, a former Gold Key property, now being done by Dark Horse.

Originally Published: November 23, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com) and Lundberg.me

New Super Mario Bros. Wii Red Carpet w/ Ray Carsillo
Video by Jared Bodden

He is the most recognizable figure in video games and Nintendo is celebrating his 25th anniversary (23rd in the US) by releasing an old-school side-scroller that pays homage to his decorated lineage. Of course I am talking about Mario and speaking of that lineage, Nintendo threw a party at the Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Center for Mario’s anniversary and I was lucky enough to attend. Take a look at the video!

The new game is New Super Mario Bros. Wii and it takes elements from the greatest of Mario’s titles from over the years (mostly Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, with hints of the original Super Mario Bros., Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island and Super Mario 64 sprinkled in). Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser for the millionth time and it is up to Mario to traverse eight worlds (inspired by Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World) broken up into 69 different stages.

To make matters more difficult, Bowser has pulled out all the stops. After their 18-year hiatus, the seven Koopalings (again from Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World) Larry, Morton Jr., Wendy O., Iggy, Lemmy, Ludwig von, and Roy are back along with Bowser Jr. to defend the castles at the end of each world. Bowser Jr. is also traveling in style since Bowser’s old airship has been rebuilt and will continue to pester Mario on his quest. Also brought back into the mix are the many varieties of brothers who used to pester Mario way back in Super Mario Bros. 3. Hammer, Boomerang, Giant Hammer, Fire, and Wrench brothers are back along with the all-new Ice brothers, and always seem to pop up in Mario’s path at the worst possible moments.

To help combat the largest roster of baddies Mario has ever had to face, Mario has been given several brand new powers along with his payload of Invincibility Stars, Fire Flowers, and Super and Mini-Mushrooms.

The first is the Propeller Mushroom that gives Mario limited flight abilities (anyone remember the Tanooki Suit, Raccoon Leaf, or Cape Feather?) as well as increases his spin attack. The next item is the Ice Flower. Similar to the Fire Flower, Mario throws snowballs now that freeze his opponents in huge blocks of ice that he can then use as stepping stones to make it to higher ground or to pick up and throw at other enemies. The final new item, the Penguin Suit, is a multi-purpose tool. It not only allows you to walk on ice with minimal slipping, but you can throw snowballs like with the Ice Flower and swim better as well (memories of the Frog Suit come flooding back to me now). They even brought Yoshi back, but unfortunately, he can only be used on the stages you find him in, he can’t travel with Mario anymore.

This game is the ultimate shot of nostalgia for any gamer who grew up with the Mario Bros. franchise. There may be a few new additions to the franchise like new items and the 4-player co-op gameplay, but aside from that this is just plain old-school Mario Bros. (they even brought back item reserves that you can access from the world map like in Super Mario Bros. 3).

The graphics are crisp, clean, and make this probably the best looking side-scroller I’ve ever seen. Mix that with the classic Mario music, SFX, and Charles Martinet as Mario and the peripherals for this game don’t come much better.

The plot is the same as it is in every other Mario Bros. game, but we wouldn’t have it any other way and with 4-player co-op adding new levels of fun and intensity, this could be the greatest Mario game ever. Along with the 4-player co-op adding tons of replay value and a new level of difficulty to the game, there are also three special star coins on each stage that unlock something special at the end of the game if you collect them all…

The only real knock I have with this game is the single-player difficulty. I beat the entire game with 50-plus lives in just under 6 hours and was left wanting more. With an abundance of items and 1UP chances available, there is no reason why you should die repeatedly on any stage or against any boss (all you need is to jump on all their heads three times, works every time). I think Nintendo was worried about trying to cram in every single obscure reference to previous Mario incarnations that they forgot to add a little more difficulty to some of these levels.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii is available now and looks to stack up as the greatest Mario side-scroller of all-time.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest.

Graphics: 9.0: This is the best looking side-scoller ever in the Mario series simply because this is the most advanced system for a Mario side-scroller to be on. Need I say more? Although tiny Mario (before he eats the Super Mushroom) did look a little weird at times.

Audio: 10.0: Charles Martinet coming back for a Mario’s limited dialogue combined with the classic SFX and music we’ve all come to know and love and the audio is spectacular.

Plot/Plot Development: 10.0: I don’t know how the same thing has worked for the past 25 years, but it has and I’m more than happy with it just being “Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser, Mario chases after Bowser, Mario stomps on Bowser (or throws fireballs), and Mario rescues Peach”. If something is not broken, don’t fix it, and Nintendo knows that better than anyone.

Gameplay: 8.5: For the most part the game handles perfectly and is classic Mario action in every way. I love the new items, I love all the nostalgia, I just wish it was a little more difficult.

Replay Value: 9.0: Like I said, the lack of difficulty might keep you from wanting to come back, but 4-player co-op, tons of collectibles, and classic Mario action should outweigh the difficulty factor.

Overall (not an average): 9.0: This game is a must have for any Mario fan and gamers who grew up with the series will jump for joy with all the old-school elements brought back. The only real knock on the game is that I didn’t think it was as hard as it could’ve been or had been hyped to be. At the end of the day though this is still a great game and most gamers should go crazy for all the nostalgia this conjures up. And hopefully it won’t be another 18 years before we see the Koopalings again.

-Ray Carsillo