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  • The opening sequence could be a moment for Bowser. Ever wondered how he and his kids seem to be able to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom and kidnap Princess Peach so easily despite Mario's presence? One word: BLITZKRIEG.note  An attack of this scale had not been witnessed in any prior Mario games, and it was a good way to show the player the kind of action that was to come.
    • Another one for Bowser! Following this initial attack, he uses the power of the Grand Stars to get a foothold in almost every corner of the universe. Bowser nearly conquers the universe with little to no prep time. Mario's not just the ultimate hero, Bowser's the ultimate villain being able to accomplish that on the fly, and it would ultimately set the stage for his plans in later games which were equally impressive.
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    • Third time's the charm! This game was the first time in a main game that Bowser's new VA, Kenny James, voiced the character. And good lord, did he make a first impression. It's no wonder he's been a mainstay since; he actually makes Bowser sound like a monster, especially compared to his predecessor Scott Burns. For a game that takes the "Castle and Dragon" plot across the cosmos, it's fitting that Bowser sounds more menacing than ever before.
    • When you think about it, Bowser in general counts. Around this game's time, Bowser suffered badly from Villain Decay in Super Mario Sunshine, being seen more as a Harmless Villain and a Bumbling Dad back then. But here, he comes roaring back as the Big Bad of the franchise with his most grandiose plan of all — taking over the entire galaxy. With these motives, he tosses out all of the aforementioned decay in one singular game — suddenly, the Koopa King seems awesome again, if not even more so than before.
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    • To add to the above, all this happened only seven months after his appearance in Super Paper Mario, which is sometimes looked at as his lowest point in said Villain Decay. The Koopa King bounced back very quickly. And, just as impressive, it stuck in all games afterwards. After Galaxy, even the RPGs generally started treating Bowser better, and though his Laughably Evil traits were re-emphasized as early as Super Mario Galaxy 2, he has remained legitimately threatening in almost all of his appearances since.
  • The Freezeflame Galaxy's purple coin challenge is a particular highlight. You have to scour the entire area for coins, then make a slow danger-filled climb to the very top of the mountain to end up with... 98 coins. To get the final two coins, you have to jump off the top of the mountain onto a tiny little platform below. One of the most epic-feeling moments in the game.
    • What Captain Toad says while you're up there adds to the awesome:
      Captain Toad: The summit. It is always the pure essence of challenge that burns in an adventurer's heart. Leaping from here will take all the boldness you possess. You better make sure it's a long jump.
  • The final level. The final boss. The final blow. Mario faces off with Bowser in the center of the universe, and hits so hard with the final blow that he knocks Bowser into the sun. Even more amazing? Bowser somehow SURVIVES this.
    • And as a result of Mario's actions, the entire universe is destroyed and then recreated.
      • This is only to cause more Moments of Awesome: All the Lumas try to stop the end of the universe, cause a new big bang, and reboot the cosmos, dumping everybody back in the Mushroom Kingdom.
      • The ending is one of the most epic in any Mario game, and the very end caps it off perfectly. After they wake up in the new galaxy, Mario raises his hands and joyfully cries out "Welcome! Welcome, new GALAXY!"
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  • The moment you first have Mario use the Red Star.
  • You can laud the final battle of Galaxy all you want, but Buoy Base also deserves special mention. Having Mario fly into an enemy base and just... pummel everything with no hesitation really cements his status as a One-Man Army.
  • Or how about what some of the Launch Stars do? For example, blasting right through a battleship, which then explodes behind Mario; blasting up from the mouth of a volcano, which erupts as you fly away from it; and probably many more.
  • Even simply flying off the Launch Stars is glorious, watching Mario soar through the sky leaving a stardust trail like a comet behind him. You can particularly exploit this almost purely for fun in the Good Egg Galaxy, where the pear, red rock, and egg planetoids have a network of Launch Stars among the three of them such that Mario can be launched to any two of them from the third, without actually sending you to the next story planet. You actually need to travel all those different Launch Star paths to collect all of the galaxy's Purple Coins.
  • Rosalina deserves some mention here. After you retrieve enough Power Stars, she proceeds to transform her space station into comet mode and blasts though the armada surrounding the castle like the ships were nothing but cheap toys.
  • Nothing for Megaleg? The Grand Star bosses in Super Mario Galaxy aren't exactly varied (Bowser is fought three times, and aside from him, the two other bosses are Bowser Jr. and King Kaliente, the latter of whom was already a boss earlier in the game). Megaleg, however, is a Humongous Mecha that is larger than the moon it stands on, and to defeat it, Mario has to climb it and then direct Bullet Bills at the cage containing the Grand Star. All accompanied by some fantastic boss music.

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