Review by SuperSmashBro13
"In a world of mixed reviews for this game, which side is right? Determine that yourself after reading this review."
(Like a couple other of my reviews, I noticed this was amateurish and poorly written, so I redid it. I hope you like the new review.)
Super Mario Sunshine. You've heard a lot about it. Some people say it's the best game ever, unchallenged by those inferior things they call "games." Some say it doesn't deserve the title of "game." With so many mixed reviews, it's hard to say what it really is. One man's trash is another man's treasure. My goal here is to lay down everything and see what you think of it so you can decide if it really is worth getting. There will first be seven sections, respectively: Plot, Graphics, Sound and Music, Gameplay, Replay Value, Control Ease, and Game Length. Following that up will be a section laying down all the flaws and bad points of this game, not to mention the total score. By the end of that, hopefully I have cleared things up for you.
PLOT: 7/10. This is Mario. What is a typical Mario storyline like? Generally, it's underdeveloped and, in some cases, childish. Super Mario Sunshine doesn't stray from that sad line, but the plot is not terrible. Sure, it could have been better--most plots can be--but it is not worth turning away from the game just because of it. Mario, Peach, Toadsworth (her paranoid steward), and some Toads are taking a vacation on tropical Isle Delfino, home to the bulky Piantas and the timid Nokis. (Some people call it Dolfino, some people call it Delphino--maybe the spelling differs from location to location, but from my understanding, it's supposed to be Delfino). Their vacation is interrupted when the plane nearly crashes in the Delfino Airstrip's runway because of a bunch of bright-colored goop. Mario fixes this mess with the help of a water-launching device called FLUDD (a Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device, made by Gadd Science Inc.), but is taken to court, mistaken for a doppelganger bouncing around the island and painting goop and graffiti everywhere. The court lasts about ten seconds, with no real evidence being shown forth but with Mario still being found guilty. Mario is forced to clean up the island and, on his own part, find and stop the mysterious Shadow Mario. The Shine Sprites, the island's power source, have fled in terror from the graffiti, which plunges the island into darkness and gives Mario another job to do: Save the Shine Sprites. So yes, the story is underdeveloped, because real court does not last less than a minute, although it DOES show the hasty, rash, and overall very dense nature of the Piantas. The plot itself is a little more than just "princess is kidnapped, save princess," which I give credit to, but as usual, the game does not revolve deeply around the story.
GRAPHICS: 8/10. The graphics have been debated a bit. Some claim they're pitiful. Others like it. The graphics are both. Isle Delfino, having been plunged into darkness, is a bit dull and gloomy at first, but as you recover more Shine Sprites, light begins to return, widening until Isle Delfino returns to its usual brightness. (Strangely enough, although Delfino Plaza is dark, all the other locations are still bright and cheery.) When the sun comes out, boy, do the colors get bright. Being on a tropical island only makes that better, as you can enjoy the sand, beaches, palm trees, water, sun, and other environmental objects. And speaking of the water, the water is very well done. It flows, ripples, and shines like few other games can muster. Unfortunately, if you look closely, you will see that characters appear to be made of many little squares that lean and twist their way into a 3D structure. Sometimes, it's more obvious than in other characters. The game takes place in several stages, and each one is themed nicely. There have been complaints of the missing environments from Super Mario 64 (which this game is based on). It lacks 64's deserts, lava lands, snowy landscapes, mountains, sky worlds, and other locations. This game trades those environments in for other locations, which I, personally, think are better. The volcano remains, and the other places include peaceful villages, harbors under construction, 4-star hotels inside and out, amusement parks, and other places--all with the color of a tropical island.
SOUND AND MUSIC: 8/10. The music is great. The sound is average. The voice acting is terrible. Let's deal with music first. The music is appropriate wherever you go, and, in most cases, catchy. When in Delfino Plaza, a happy, guitar-based theme plays, which is VERY catchy, despite the complaints from a few people. (I'm not even sure what they're complaining about, but they don't seem to like it for some reason.) A watery paradise with towering rock pillars and ancient ruins and structures has a peaceful, relaxed tune. A raging volcano, the lair of some dangerous beast, has a dangerous, threatening tune. Beaches have tropical, lay-back-and-get-a-tan music. The music of all stages are remixed versions of the main tune. You should definitely enjoy the music.
The sound effects are nothing special. They're not bad, but there isn't much to say about them. Mario lets out one of his yelps whenever he jumps, which is always fun to hear. Some other sounds are ropes bouncing, birds chirping, coins being collected, enemies being squashed by your jumps, landing from a long fall, swimming, spraying water with FLUDD, and other noises. They do sound completely nice and appropriate, so I don't think you can complain about them.
Now for the final part: Voice acting. I'm sure if you ask any of the reviewers here, they'll tell you the same thing: It stinks. Even the ones writing positive reviews for the game will tell you that. Mario, silent protagonist, doesn't speak (thank goodness). Toadsworth is okay. He's actually a voice actor that isn't painful to listen to. The Toads have high-pitched, throaty voices which are cool and annoying all at once. The true-identity-of-Shadow-Mario's voice is okay. Pretty throaty and high-pitched--not like the Toads, mind you--but I wouldn't call it too bad. Another big villain who appears doesn't seem to sound like it should. Such a big guy should have a deep, booming voice, but it sounds like a man with a fairly high-pitched voice trying to pretend like he's got a deep voice. And then, finally, the one who you turn your volume off for...Peach. She is not just bad. She is painful. Sweet, delicate princesses have soft, gentle voices, right? Yes, true. But Peach kind of takes it to the extreme. Her voice is SO soft and gentle, it's like a dreamy whisper. Go on, talk in a dreamy whisper. You see how bad you would sound if you were to talk like that all the time? Well, that's what Peach sounds like, every time she talks. She is almost wheezing, for crying out loud! Next time, can you please give Peach a normal voice? Like a normal princess? If you want to hear Peach's voice, go type something in on YouTube. Then you will know the horror I speak of. (Just beware of spoilers.)
GAMEPLAY: 8/10. Yes, the part people complain about most in just about any game. If you have played Super Mario 64 (or gone ahead and played Super Mario Galaxy), you will be familiar with how this game works. Like in Super Mario 64, 120 Shine Sprites have been scattered throughout the island. You are to collect them all. Also like Super Mario 64, you don't need all of them to beat the final boss; in this case, a minimum of 50 (although there's more to it than just collecting 50 Shine Sprites in this game). Where do you get the Shine Sprites? The most basic way is to enter stages and get the Shine Sprites. There are 8 Shine Sprites per stage (not counting hidden ones or ones you get by collecting 100 coins). Unfortunately, there are only 7 stages, compared to 64's 15. This is the base of a lot of players' complaints: There aren't many stages. You can also find Shine Sprites around Delfino Plaza. To get the Shine Sprites in stages, you must undergo "episodes." These are little miniature missions that could involve a number of things. Once you complete that thing, you can get your Shine Sprite. These missions may involve beating a boss, getting from point A to point B, collecting 8 red coins, racing a moron wearing purple, and doing Secret levels. These "Secret levels" are both very fun and very frustrating. To get to them, you have to access them from inside the stage. The Secret levels involve shapes, cubes, blocks, trampolines, and, sometimes, enemies, that you must bypass--all without the help of FLUDD. (We'll get to FLUDD in a minute). The background is often more like wallpaper or things drawn with crayons, just to give it more of a strange effect. Unlike Super Mario 64, you can rarely skip one episode to do one ahead of it; it's pretty linear.
And there's FLUDD. Mario traditionalists don't seem to like it. They claim FLUDD takes up all of Mario's abilities. This is only partly true. FLUDD, like I explained, is a Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device developed by Prof. Gadd (remember him from Luigi's Mansion?). It sprays water. This will not only help you clean up goop, but defeat enemies in alternate ways rather than jumping on them. (Some enemies cannot be jumped on, you know). You can't punch in this game, so you'll be using FLUDD mostly. FLUDD can do more than spray water: It can also transform into a jetpack of sorts to let you hover up a bit. You can also find Rocket and Turbo Nozzles, which blast you sky high into the air and send you speeding along, respectively. You can only keep two Nozzles at once, though, so your Hover Nozzle is replaced if you find one of the other Nozzles. Mario can still wall-jump, jump, slide, side jump, pick stuff up, interact with people and objects, and swim all by himself, not to mention climb railing and walk across ropes. FLUDD sprays water, hovers, launches up, and blasts forward. Needless to say, FLUDD does not take up all of Mario's former abilities. That's one myth you don't have to worry about. Since FLUDD runs on water, you have to refill him at water, wherever it may be, regularly.
Yoshi returns in this game. You can unlock him at some point and ride around on him when you find his egg. Yoshi is required for a few missions, but mostly he's a bonus you can have. He runs faster, jumps higher, and acts kind of like armor; if you get hit, you'll bounce off of Yoshi unharmed. To free him from his egg, find him the fruit he's thinking of (a little thought bubble will come from his egg). Unfortunately, even Yoshi is not invincible; he disappears when he goes to swimming-depth water (and still disappears if you hop off of him in shallow water). Which begs the question, "How can he not like water if he lives on an island?" Yoshi is still fun to use, although you must obviously be careful and not reckless, as the wrong turn might lead to death for your dino buddy. (Okay, not death, but you get the point.) Yoshi attacks mainly by spitting juice. (Some reviewers, mostly ones opposed to this game, call it regurgitating, which is more than an exaggeration. Another myth you don't have to worry about.) The effects of the juice depends on the kind of juice; the kind of juice depends on the Yoshi's color; the Yoshi's color depends on what fruit he just ate. Enemies hit with juice turn into platforms and will move up, to the side, or remain motionless, depending on the kind of juice. You must also constantly feed your pal, lest he starve to death. He runs out of juice quicker than you'd think.
REPLAY VALUE: 6/10. I once gave this category a high score. Now I realize it doesn't have much replay value. After beating the game, you can collect Shine Sprites you missed, set high scores of coins for stages, and goof off. That's really all you can do. You can always redo favorite missions, but even that gets old after awhile. Starting another game, on the other hand, can be fun indeed.
CONTROL EASE: 8/10. The controls are okay. There are some bad points which I will explain in a second. Press A to jump. You can also, in conjunction with the Control Stick, perform things like wall kicks and side jumps. B performs various functions, like talking to people, reading signs, sliding to attack when running, and picking up objects. Y stops and looks around, and X switches Nozzles. R uses whichever Nozzle is currently out, and L makes the camera stop behind Mario and allows him to sidestep (as if he really needed to). Z brings out the map and lets you check high scores, Shine Sprites gotten, blue coins gathered, etc.. The controls are pretty nice, but they do have a couple of flaws. If you flip back up from sliding and use your Hover Nozzle, you will plummet, despite the water pumping out of your jetpack. Sometimes, when very high in the air, your Hover Nozzle will sputter and then stop working for some reason, leaving you to shriek your lungs out in terror as you plummet down a pit you should have crossed. (It really only sputters towards the peak of your hover, but still sputters out prematurely.) Mario's wall kicks also feel a little hard to use, because you often wind up wall kicking in a direction you didn't want to go in.
GAME LENGTH: 7/10. Beating the final boss doesn't really take long if you decide not to get all of the extra Shine Sprites. It would take you probably 4-7 hours in that case. To make it last longer, collect more Shine Sprites along the way, and stretch it to a good 5-10 hours. That's not counting going back for Shine Sprites you still missed and goofing off.
TOTAL SCORE: 52/70. This means it's a pretty good game, but could have been a lot better.
FLAWS: The camera. The camera, on occasion, moves on its own, which is the cause of a number of deaths. You're prepared. You're ready. You can take this jump. You jump! Piece of--WHAT!?! Why did that happen!?! It is certainly very frustrating, and while likely put there for your convenience, it is very INconvenient. The camera also seems to be able to go through walls and not be able to go back out of them, leaving your camera stuck unless you press Y. Remember the Castle Secret Star places in Super Mario 64? If you lost in them, you were ejected without losing a life. A good many of the hidden places in Delfino Plaza that resemble those places in 64 are hard enough on their own, but you also lose a life if you fail. Another idea that probably seemed good on paper was the blue coins. By collecting 10 blue coins, you can trade them in for a Shine Sprite. There are 240 total blue coins. So, only 98 Shine Sprites can be obtained normally. The rest, you've gotta pay for with sapphire-colored cash. In Super Mario 64, you could get all of the Stars after hard work, sit down, wipe the sweat off your brow, and say, "Whew! Finally done!" I still have yet to get all of the Shine Sprites in this game--and I've had the game for years. The reason? Those blue coins. You are forbidden from truly finishing without finding every one of those blue coins. Hunts for them frequently end in boredom and frustration.
CONCLUSION: I have told you of the gameplay, the plot, the flaws, everything you should know. I sincerely hope such information has helped you decide whether Super Mario Sunshine is the game for you. I enjoy the game; I take a "good-until-proven-bad" stance rather than a "bad-until-proven-good" stance, like most other people seem to be. Super Mario Sunshine is a good game; not grand, not superb, but definitely not a waste of space among your other games.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/21/07, Updated 12/01/08
Game Release: Super Mario Sunshine (US, 08/25/02)
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