Review by The President
""I shipwrecked myself on this island, and I can't swim." How can you drive a boat but not be able to swim?"
The game that everyone has been waiting for since the N64 debuted in October 96. However, it took Nintendo a new console to finally make it. Yes, our fun loving plumber is back, and he is taking names and making a whole new generation of gamer feel the enjoyment of people in red suspenders. Now everyone has a few things on their minds: Does it live up to Super Mario 64? Is it very kiddie? What does the water pack do to change the gameplay? Well, I will answer all of these questions when I get to them. However, I will say this: This is not a game that will top Super Mario 64. Never ever. Though it is breakthrough, bringing a whole new aspect to the Mario games, it can never do what Mario 64 did in terms of changing the landscape of 3-D gaming. However, it is a great game, bringing back parts of gameplay that have been forgotten over the years, while added completely new elements to make this game a refreshing experience, having being bogged down by other horrible platformers trying to recreate what Mario has done. But really, there is a change, but I say that most of it has been done for the better. Just imagine Mario with a gun and the red flying cap 24/7.
This seems to begin where Mario 64 ends (with Mario saving the Princess) and they decide to go to the beautiful Isle Delfino, which is filled with things called Shine Sprites. These sprites make the island what all bright and cheerful, and makes everything shine with brilliance. However, all is not right on the Isle. There is one person who feels like he should make this Isle covered in graffiti. This graffiti also brings some nasty creatures to the isle, and they produce a nasty Sludge. When Mario and Peach land, the natives on the isle make a very nasty mistake: They think that the graffiti artist is really Mario! Mario is sentenced to clean all of the sludge on the island, or he shall stay on isle forever. However, Mario doesn’t clean all the sludge with his toothbrush, but with a water pack, named F.L.U.D.D. F.L.U.D.D gives Mario some hints on how to clean up the sludge, and how to fight back the creatures that spawn from it. I hope I didn’t put any spoilers in the beginning story.
I have been playing this game a lot, and I haven’t seen any pop up. I mean none. Even in the largest of levels, everything is all there. Though some people would say that the game is not as polished as soon other Gamecube games are, I find the graphics style to be just to my liking. Some of the island’s inhabitants (the main race, have a bit if a polygon problem (their long noses are kind of blocky) but other then that, everything looks great, especially Mario. The cutscenes are great. The fake Mario looks the best when you see him. He looks very well done, and moves so fluidly, it is quite amazing how the could get that many frames of animation for him. The people move around like real people, and you see their clothes moves around from a breeze if you can hear it. Enough about the people, let’s move over to the water effects. When the game takes place on an island, there must be large amounts of water. I just want to say that the water looks SWEET! Glistening in its moisture ridden H2Oness, SMS plays fully to the GC power to make some dazzling water effects. You bob up and down as you try to search for those hidden Shine Sprites or blue coins, you can look around when you are under water. Then look up. See the distortion of the level? That is what water does. See the sunshine on the water, giving the water a kind of glow? That just looks nice. Waves; everywhere, the ocean.....so beautiful. Enough of water, how about the colors. Though most people would say, if you check some message boards, people would say: bright colors means it a kiddie game. I like mature games because they have guns.” Why do people even care if the game is so called kiddie? I base games on how the game plays, not how it looks. But back to the point. Everything has a very nice, tropical feel to it. Lots of greens, blues, and yellows merging to form what looks like a great place to live. The only thing missing is a tiny paper parasol in the drinks. Graphics don’t make the game however, and gameplay does. Let’s see how that is.
With gaining new abilities from his jetpack, how would the normal Mario gameplay be added into the game? When people look at his water pack, they said: Now he isn’t gonna jump on enemies and it would be hard. The answer to the question is: No. These are some gameplay mechanics changed about the water pack, but it still feels like a Mario game. The water pack is like a fireball powerup always, and most of the other features that the F.L.U.D.D pack has are like powerups from older Marios. So really, it’s like adding older Mario game elements to Mario 64. It actually works quite well. Because the main world is much bigger then Peach’s castle, you need more movement. So, that is where the water pack comes in. You need to find the main items in the game: The Shines. The Shine sprites are like Stars in the Mario 64, when you get enough, you can face the boss and finally beat the game. However, to collect all of the sprites means a lot of hard work. After Shines, the 2nd most important item in the game is water. Why water? Because you need it. Water just doesn’t appear in F.L.U.D.D without any notice. That is why you have so much water in and around the levels. When you jump in the water and press R, you fill up F.L.U.D.D. and you’re ready to take on more sludge. You also have more types of add-ons for your water pack. Shooting and Hover come standard. However, if you get a new add on, like rocket booster, one of them will need to go, and shooting water can never leave. It really waters what type of challenge you have. All the jumps are back if you don’t want to use your water, along with the all might butt stomp.
After water, the next thing is the coins. You have the same 3 types like in Mario 64, yellow, red, and blue. However, they each play different roles. Yellow coins fill up your life circle (like in Mario 64, no more one touch death for us) red coins are used in red coin finding challenges, and blue coins, which are the most important coins of all, play something new. When you get a certain amount of blue coins, you can trade them in for shines. Blue coins aren’t as plentiful as they were in Mario 64, so it won’t be easy.
The levels take a tone like Mario 64, they aren’t straight. You need to look long and hard to find the Shine that you was assigned to get. They are very big and sometimes confusing the first time you play them. Even the Delfino Plaza can get confusing when you first walk threw it. However, when you go around, you see that everything always leads to a level or blue coin challenge. There are tons of mini games to play if you don’t want to collect shines, which lead to more lives, blue coins, or more yellow coins around the main areas. Think of it as old school Mario with new school rules.
They brought back original themes from the first one. That’s all I need to say. When you figure out how to go into the sewers, and it’s not that hard, you hear a remix of the music from the underground levels in the first Super Mario Bros. That shed’s a tear in my heart. The new music has a slight tropical feel to it, which fits well into the game. For the first time, everyone has voices, when you watch the cutscenes. However, no one has voices when you are doing things inside the game. Mario really doesn’t talk, but Peach does, and do her little friends, the toad. I still love that old toad guy so much. He sounds so cool. But most of the voice acting doesn’t sound as good as some other games, like Eternal Darkness. All the voices are like a 9 year old girl or boy (very very high) and do get annoying if you listen to them long enough, but mostly the part would end before that. When you walk around the water, you hear the waves splashing around, in a irregular pattern (as waves do) and I was dazzled by everything sounds. Happy music= Happy game= Happy Gamer.
Fun Factor: 10
This game has one flaw: The Camera. Though Mario 64 didn’t have a very good camera either, we though after having 6 years to improve, the camera should be flawless. We were wrong. However, that is easily beaten back with an ugly stick by using the C stick. So it’s just annoying. However, playing the game is a gratifying experience. Everyone who can has played a Mario game, and loved it. Trying to find all 120 Shine sprites along with all the extras inside the levels will be a very frustrating time, but until you do, you will play this game for 3 hours of the day, every day. I am. Mostly because I can find only about 10 seconds of loading times in the whole game. Meaning that in the whole game, I haven’t seen one loading screen yet. Face it, that’s pretty darn fast. Only time is seems so slow down are when you switch to real game to a cut scene, and I bet most people are impressed as much as I am with it. Other then a sort of gimmicky Camera, there is nothing wrong with this game. There are some strang eplot lines “like what I said in the title” but it all works out in the end.
Buy or Rent?
It really matters what you think.....what the heck am I saying, RUN TO THE STORE AND GET THIS GAME NOW. EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A GAMECUBE, BUY THAT TOO. Now I feel better. I feel that this and the Zelda game that will come out is going to be the games to own once the GC’s life has come to it’s end. It’s fitting for a plumber to work with water. If only this game wasn’t so hard.......
Fun Factor: 10
Reviewer’s Score: 10/10
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 08/29/02, Updated 08/29/02
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