Review by Sockman

"Easily the best Gamecube game I've played, but is it the best Mario game I ever played?"

I am a Mario fan. I’ve played most games that have featured Mario as the main character. I love the gameplay, the challenge, and the fun each game provides. This is why I have been very excited about playing Super Mario Sunshine. Well, I finally bought it. I must say, the game is as good as I was hoping it to be (maybe even better). Well, on to the review.

GRAPHICS: 9/10
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I don’t care about graphics! A lot of game companies are focusing too much on making great graphics nowadays, and not focusing a whole lot on everything else. Due to this, many games are too short and easy. Anyway, I love the graphics in Sunshine. Many of the effects are great (especially the water effects). The game may not be as graphically superior as other games out there at the moment (some characters look like they are from Nintendo 64 games), but I believe the makers of the game focused more on the other aspects of the game more. It makes me feel good that there are game makers out there who don’t focus too much on graphics.

SOUND: 9/10
The sound is great. I love the opening tune that is played when the title of the game appears in the sky, I think the voice acting was well done (it’s one of the best voice acting jobs I’ve seen compared to most other games), and the way that they incorporated classic Mario tunes is great. One example would be the tune from the older Mario games that played whenever you were underground. The new music in here is great too, and is nice to listen to (although I cannot really remember it that well like I can with the music from the older Mario games). The main reason, however, I am not giving this game a 10 with sound is because I love the classic Mario tune used in the older Mario games (I believe it was played during the above ground levels in Super Mario Bros. 1), yet that tune has yet to be heard by me in this game.

CHALLENGE: 9/10
I haven’t played the game enough to tell you my true opinions on the challenge level, but from what I’ve seen so far it looks like it will be a good challenging. Most games start off extremely easy, but this game is starting off a little bit harder (not much harder though). If the difficulty continues to increase, but the fun remains, I am sure I will love this game.

GAMEPLAY: 10/10
Ah yes, usually the greatest part of any Mario game. When you first play the game, it feels a lot like the controls from Super Mario 64. That changes quickly. For example, you have a few new jumps, one of them being the spin jump (from Super Mario World). What also adds to the gameplay is FLUDD, the helpful item Mario carries on his back. If you have ever played Luigi’s Mansion (which had Luigi carry a vacuum on his back), you will be happy to hear that FLUDD is a lot better than the vacuum. The vacuum sucked up things and blew out fire, ice, and water. Even with all these options, FLUDD is more fun to use (even though all you can do with it is shoot out water, use the jet pack, and grab a couple of power ups). While the vacuum in Luigi’s Mansion was used primarily to continue the game, I find that I use FLUDD to continue the game and have fun. I enjoy spraying the inhabitants of Isle Delfino (the island where this game takes place), for example. Controlling Mario is very fun, and even though the camera can be a little tricky, I haven’t found it to be all that bad. There are different obstacles that you come across that require you to use all your skills (swimming, your jumps, FLUDD, etc.).

FUN: 10/10
With what could be hours of gameplay, and lots of areas to explore, you’ll have a lot of fun with the game. I recommend not using a guide too much so you can get through the game yourself (games are usually more fun this way). The hub-world, which in this game is Isle Delfino (in Super Mario 64, it was Princess Peach’s Castle), is quite large. A lot larger than Princess Peach’s Castle from Super Mario 64, and has a lot more secrets to discover than the Castle did. Plus, if you look into the distance, you can see other levels of the game (but you cannot access them unless going through the correct transporter for each level). This gives you the feeling that everything is connected, which makes the entire island look extremely large. The levels are great too. There are only 7 of them (compared to 15 in Super Mario 64), but they are huge. In fact, they make quite a few of the levels in Super Mario 64 seem rather small. I have a feeling that I will continue to explore the levels even after I beat the game, and possibly start the game over again. Don’t worry, you’re going to have a lot of fun with this game.

OVERALL: 10/10
No game is perfect, and Sunshine does have some flaws. But when I give the game 10/10, I don’t mean that it is perfect, I mean that it is pretty close to perfect. The camera can be a little hard to get use to, and I would have liked more variety in the levels (such as levels with snow, for example). Don’t let that stray you away from this game. If you are a Mario fan, you should definitely get this game. Even if you are not a Mario fan, rent it and give it a try. It feels a little different than other Mario games, so you may like it. This is easily the best Gamecube game I’ve played yet (and I’ve played around 16, 17 of them). After spending more time with the game, I will conclude whether or not if it is the best Super Mario game ever. At the moment however, I am leaning towards yes.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/27/02, Updated 08/27/02


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