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Super Mario Sunshine

Review By:  Sam Cosentino

Developer:  Nintendo
Publisher:  Nintendo
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Platform
ESRB:  Everyone
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card
Date Posted:  1-9-03

Video Games wouldn't be the same without him, and Nintendo wouldn't be Nintendo without him.  He is the man who was able to revive the video game industry and who was able to transform 2-D platform games into 3-D platform games.  If you were around during the old school era of video games you would probably know that ever since the NES he has been Nintendo's most recognizable and most loved mascot of all. Aside from being just Nintendo's mascot he is also a mascot for the entire video game industry.  Of course I am talking about Nintendo's old and legendary Italian plumber named Mario.  Now after his six-year hiatus, he is back and better than ever in his new title named Super Mario Sunshine.


August 26, 2002 was a huge day for me for it was the very day that I went back to school for my last year, but it was also the day that I would be playing one of my favorite franchises ever on my beloved GameCube.  I was a bit skeptical at first for I wasn't sure whether or not Super Mario Sunshine would make me feel the same way I did when I played Mario 64.  At first I thought that Super Mario Sunshine would simply be a lesser-version of Super Mario 64, thankfully that wasn't the case.  Super Mario Sunshine is a true sequel to Super Mario 64, and that's saying a lot since I loved Super Mario 64.

The story of Mario is basically the same as Super Mario World for you go to this island for a little R & R and something goes wrong.  Mario is immediately thrown into custody and has to go to court.  The judge sentences Mario to clean up the entire island, and thus that begins your quest to clean up the island in order to have some fun with Peach and the crew.  Yeah, the story isn't that original, but has any other Mario game ever really had some amazing story?  The answer is no, and they have all been really good games regardless.

Super Mario Sunshine isn't just a sequel to what was an amazing game; it is a game that improved upon its predecessor.  Thankfully that old and magic Mario game play still exists in Sunshine, but it seems refined and reworked so that it gives you a new and fresh experience when compared to other games in the same genre.  Mario has also retained his old and traditional moves such as the Butt-Stomp, the Triple-Jump, his body slam technique, and his somersault!  In Sunshine you get to use Yoshi again, with the addition of a new companion-FLUDD.  I originally thought that FLUDD was stupid, that it was just a gimmick and that it would remind me too much of Luigi's Mansion-a game that I loved but was sadly too short.  FLUDD is very fun to use adds a new sense of difficulty to the game, and that makes it seem so much better than I originally thought possible.  The difficulty that FLUDD adds to the game is something most gamers would ignore.  All the nozzles except the squirt nozzle really only open up secrets and allow you to explore more of the island if anything.  Overall, you will be using the squirt nozzle the most, but the other nozzles except the rocket nozzle seem unnecessary and seem as if they are just there.  It seems as though Nintendo didn't fully utilize the hover nozzle and the turbo nozzle as much as they should've.  Also, FLUDD doesn't store all of his different functions automatically once you get them-you must find them each time to use them, and for that reason I have mixed emotions.  I like the fact that it adds more difficulty to the game in the sense that you have to get the new FLUDD part every time you want to switch FLUDD's function, but it also sort of pisses me off.  I don't feel like going back each and every time to get FLUDD's new piece, I feel as though it should've been a permanent upgrade, or something.  With all that said, FLUDD is a blast to use, and you! will miss him when it comes to the mini-games in Sunshine.

Speaking of mini-games, they are one of the hardest parts about Super Mario Sunshine.  They add a whole new difficulty to the game that's almost unpredictable.  The first mini-game is pretty easy, but the difficulty only increases as you progress through the mini-games, like Bianco Hills: the Secret of the Dirt Lake was the first hardest mini-game I came across.  After you beat the mini-game a first time, you can go back and play it again with FLUDD, which makes it a whole lot easier the second time around.  Once you regain FLUDD you will realize how much easier the mini-game would've been with him, and that will make you want to not even use FLUDD a second time around.  That is actually one of the complaints I have with the mini-games-you get to use FLUDD after you beat them the first time.  I understand why they did this, because if they didn't getting those 8 red coins would be almost impossible, but I still believe they should've made the us! e of FLUDD optional.  Even though it is optional, you still feel as though you have to use FLUDD when you have it back, but when you don't have FLUDD it adds a new thrill to the game that you can only understand once you play the level without FLUDD.

The controls are also another feature about this game that I really enjoyed.  From the moment I picked Super Mario Sunshine up I knew exactly what I was doing.  The control system felt second-nature to me and I really enjoyed that for it showed that Miyamoto hasn't lost his touch when it comes to accessibility.  The new control system is easy to understand, and it will only take no more than 5 minutes to comprehend for even the most inexperienced players.  The camera for Mario is also much more dependant on the player than Mario 64, for this camera relies mainly on the player's skill with the camera and that can make the game very challenging if you are not good with the camera, but it eventually becomes second-nature after a couple of hours of playing it.

The graphics of Super Mario Sunshine are impossible to ignore for in some instances they are visually stunning, and in other areas just dull and unimpressive.  The water in Super Mario Sunshine is some of the best I've ever seen in a video game period.  I thought that the game's water effects were especially beautiful when I looked at the beautiful water as the sun's rays seemingly reflected off of it in some amazing and godly way that I just couldn't comprehend.  I think that it is so great that they actually allowed you to see the waves as they moves to the beach and as they disappeared as they hit the soft golden sand.  I also simply love the way the water looks when it is launched from FLUDD for it looks so damn good. I like the fact that I can see what is behind the water when it is fire from the nozzle, and it's all blurry just like it would be in real life.

I also like the attention to detail that they put into this game.  I can literally see the heat burn the air particles in front of Mario in the distance, and that added a great sense of realism to a game that's supposed to be like a cartoon.  Hell, you can even see the leaves of the palm trees blowing in the wind and when you squirt the water from the squirt nozzle onto the ground you can actually see Mario's reflection if you step over the water.  I also love how I can see the waves ripple and splash as I jump into the water and swim through the water.  And I appreciate the detail when Mario gets covered in paint that it drips off of his body and onto the ground below.  Even with all of the attention to detail, Mario still suffers from a couple of graphical problems.  One problem is that the frame rate sometimes drops from its 30fps, and that can cause for some annoying situations.  Also, another problem I have noticed is that the characte! r models aren't as good as they could've been, and thus I am a bit disappointed.  Mario's model is pretty good, but the Islanders look pretty crappy, and that's just a sad thing to say.  One of the greatest parts about Mario Sunshine is not just the graphics, or the return of Yoshi, and only just the addictive gameplay.  It's the amazing sound effects and music.


Usually in a Mario game one of the main standpoints is the music for it usually redefines what was originally good, and makes it even better.  With that said, the sound effects and music to Sunshine is some of the best I've ever heard in a video game to this day.  The way Mario swims through the water and the way that Mario's feet actually make the correct noise as his feet touch the ground is almost spectacular.  I also think that they did a great job as Mario walked through water for I could actually hear Mario's feet hitting the water and it made that splash sound that you would expect to hear.  The music is great in this game, especially the remix of the original Mario theme for the mini-game levels.  I also love the Delfino Plaza song that plays as you wander around Delfino Plaza.  There is another part about Mario's new adventure that needs to be noted:  the voice acting.  It's not all that great, save Mario himself.  The people sound pretty corny, which is understandable considering the type of game Mario is, but I still believe that the acting should've been better in the game.  Even though it's not all that great, it still wouldn't deduct from the overall score considering the fact that there isn't much voice acting in the game.

Sadly, though, Mario is not without its problems.  Super Mario Sunshine gets a bit repetitive sometimes, and the final boss fight was just way too easy.  Getting to Bowser was harder than actually beating him.  They also forgot about Mario's traditional desert, snow, lava, and ghost levels too!  And where is Bowser's castle?! 

All in all, Super Mario Sunshine is an epic adventure that all fans of Mario and video gamers alike should at least play.  If you liked Super Mario 64, then be prepared to be blown away by Super Mario Sunshine.

Highs:

  • Music
  • Good difficulty
  • Excellent water graphics
  • Tight controls
  • Really addictive gameplay
  • FLUDD
  • Level design

Lows:

  • Not enough diverse levels, such as the ghost, lava, snow, desert, etc.
  • Some functions of FLUDD seem gimmicky and aren't really necessary.
  • Poor character models.
  • The final boss fight
  • No extras
  • Beyond Mario, the voice acting sucks.
  • FLUDD

Final Verdict:

If you're looking for a single-player game that takes Mario back to his roots with a bunch of mini-games with addictive gameplay then look no further.  Super Mario Sunshine is possibly one of the best games on the Nintendo GameCube.  This game is a must-buy for any Mario fan, and any fan of video games in general.  This game is difficult enough to keep you busy for a long, long time.

Overall Score: 9.2

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