Review by Genjuro Kibagami
"Death of a Plumber - Review that's 100% swear free ;)"
Wowee Zowee (album by Pavement)! I thought the Nintendo 64 hit Super Mario 64 was bad? Miyamoto's latest endeavor in the world of the Mario Brothers proves to be way worse; like a thousand times worse. Super Mario Sunshine is simply a terribly frustrating and boring platformer that'll have you screaming for mercy in only a matter of hours. It doesn't bring back any of the magic of the Mario series that was lost in Super Mario 64. Instead Super Mario Sunshine heightens the flaws present in 64 while adding in an insanely bizarre new water spraying system of attacking. I swear man, Miyamoto is out of his mind.
Oh wait, didn't this guy come out at E3 swinging the Master Sword claiming to know Link? Gee, I guess he is out of his mind. I'LL FORGIVE YA' FOR PIKMIN, GOOD BUDDY!
Our story begins with the old tubby plumber by the name of Mario and Princess Peach (in my day she was Princess Toadstool, you know) going on a vacation to the luxurious Hawaii-like paradise of Delfino Island. Unfortunately upon arriving to said location, Mario and the gang encounter a strange goop on the runway. Eventually we find out that some mysterious Mario imposter is running around Delfino Island and messing it up by spraying goo and leaving graffiti. Thus Mario is accused of these crimes and ordered to clean up all the grime with his special FLUDD backpack, an annoying piece of metal that doesn't shut up and sprays water. However along the way Mario must collect silly, little items called Shines, because apparently we're still stuck in the mentality that platforms need to be about collecting stuff. But let's put aside Super Mario Sunshine's rather goofy story and get into the rotten meat of the game.
Once again you'll play as Mario in his needless quest of gaining worthless items. One of the problems from Super Mario 64 with this system was that you had to replay these tiny levels over and over again to acquire more and more stars. Super Mario Sunshine makes things even worse by having even fewer levels than in 64. Therefore someone like me (someone who just wants to beat the damn thing) will have to replay levels even more because there simply aren't as many around. In addition these levels are even smaller than those found in the last game thus making them quite disappointing and unimpressive. But perhaps Nintendo jazzed up these tons of exciting platform elements? Well, yes and no.
BAD CAMERA ATTACK!!!!! BRRRRRRRR!!!! YOOOOOOOOOW!!!!
While Sunshine boasts some cool and different platforming aspects such as walking across a tight rope, kicking up walls, and climbing iron gates, these features become frustrating due to the games horrid camera system. By twiddling with the C analog stick, you can have the camera zoom in and out as well as swerve to all different sides. At first I thought, Hey! Like the super awesome Wind Waker! Cool!. Unfortunately very much unlike Wind Waker, this game's camera has a tendency to move itself into very poor positions. I remember doing this weird lake level where you had to kick up a long, smooth shaft. I started up ok, every time I made my way to the top, the camera would shift into the wall and I couldn't see anything of the sort. The biggest problem with this camera system is that Super Mario Sunshine's more complicated platforming elements make it far too challenging to manually change the camera during action. Thus nearly all of the games platforming quickly becomes irritating rather than entertaining, and that's a damn shame because I could see promise in the more challenging platforming segments. But one must remember how Super Mario 64 had some tight combat. Sunshine has some combat too. . . . well, kinda.
Rather than the punch-kick combos from the last Mario game, Super Mario Sunshine employs the horrid FLUDD system. Basically you run around and hold down the right shoulder button so that Mario will spray his foes with water. Yes, you read that read. Spray things with water. It's dreadful. It's boring. It's just not right. Nintendo does try to bring back some the magical whim of the older Marios such as a decent number of enemies that you'll need to jump on in order to defeat. Unfortunately Mario's jumps aren't suited all too well for attacking. Essentially he leaps through the air so far that it's bothersome to maneuver him over an enemy. Hell, you're better off just running past your enemies; it's not like they're smart enough to go after you. But the FLUDD has more uses than just hosing down your foes. With the hit of a button, Mario can change the nozzle on his annoying partner for many other features. These include creating two jets of water to make Mario hover in the air momentarily, using water to shoot Mario in the air like a rocket, and finally blasting through the water at high speed. Fortunately these extra nozzles are pretty neat; especially the hovering one (it saved my hide quite a few times). The FLUDD system is also very important with water levels.
There are a few levels here and there in which Mario is in the icy depths of the ocean. In these stages, you'll have to move Mario through the water by shooting out those jets of water from the hover nozzle. But it all proves worthless as Mario is tossed all over the place by the frustrating ocean currents. Simply put water levels are a severe pain in the ass. And speaking of things few and far between, Yoshi makes a comeback in the game, but he's barely ever uses. You basically jump on him, force him swallow some fruit, and then make the poo, little guy to puke out the contents of his stomach. Yuck! That's not fun Nintendo! That's just gross!
Another huge flaw with the game is the constantly fluctuating difficulty of each level. Each main stage is divided into different episodes, which have their own goals and things to do. However Nintendo didn't order the episodes with increasing difficulty. Oh no, that'd be too intelligent. Instead you'll either get a pathetically easy task that the trained chimp could easily master while drinking Starbucks coffee (I love that stuff but I think I'm getting addicted to the caffeine. I'll drink Pepsi in the morning instead), boring collect the red coins missions from Super Mario 64, and finally the incredibly frustrating throw the controller against the wall and have shards of controller bits impale your manly hands. It's very disheartening when you've just demolished a painful level, gotten enough shines to unlock a new level, and find that the next episode is a complete snooze-fest.
Probably the greatest aspect of Super Mario Sunshine is the mini-platform areas that are a nice respectable take on the older Mario titles. Basically Mario ditches his lame FLUDD pack and goes through a challenging all platforming course in order to reach a new shine. These mini-stages are wickedly cool and very fun to play through. It's a damn shame the rest of the game couldn't have been pure platforming goodness. Unfortunately these areas are slightly marred by some iffy camera angles every so often that'll have you falling straight into a pit.
Graphically Super Mario Sunshine is some sweet eye candy. Each area is just drop dead gorgeous and will have you drooling for more. Mario and his fellow enemies are extremely detailed and well animated. It's just so amazing to see all these bulbous and gooey type foes pulsate and so on. The water effects though are the highlight of the game. All the waves, foam, and sprays of cool water are photo-realistic and quite impressive. So to reiterate: OH MAN OH MAN OH MAN THOSE WATER EFFECTS ROCK MY SOCKS OFF LIKE POW KAZAM (omgs Shaq attack!). I mean, I haven't seen this much water since I wasted my money buying a ticket to see Water World starring Kevin Costner. Yeah, I thought he could make another great movie like Dances With Wolves, which really rocked on the super duper deluxe six hours of getting naked in the grass extended edition DVD. There's also little to no pop-up or slowdown. Thanks, Nintendo! This is truly the power of the GameCube! It's even better looking than some Xbox games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (of course, KOTOR is one of the best games of this generation and completely rocked unlike this game). Unfortunately the game could have benefited from better sound. The voices just plain suck. Peach sounds about five years old and all the Delfino residents quickly become an annoyance. The music isn't all that memorable either; just a bunch of silly acoustic guitar riffs and island rhythms. While there are some classic Mario tunes present, but they only appear for a little while.
I was hoping that the progression to Super Mario Sunshine would be like the excellent albums by everyone's favorite British rock pop band Coldplay. You know, how Parachutes was an amazing beginning that just isn't as sophisticated as the later work (classic 2D Mario games), then A Rush of Blood to the Head was like the apex of the band (Super Mario 64), and finally X&Y was the masterpiece that wasn't as well received as the predecessor (Super Mario Sunshine). A lot of Nintendo fans may tell you this is the case, but they are wrong! The Mario games are a lot more like The Doors ,where their albums just kept getting worse! Once we hit 3D, Mario made his The Soft Parade.
So this game truly did suck. Super Mario Sunshine is just more proof that the Mario games just don't work in 3D. What Miyamoto and his goons need to do is get back to making 2D platformers with our favorite Italian plumber and not weirdo item collecting romps with backpacks that shoot water. Simply the game's combination of boring combat, repetitive replaying of levels, and horrid camera system makes this game not worth anyone's time. While it does contain some beautiful visuals, interesting ideas, and cool mini-platforming stages, Super Mario Sunshine is one terrible vacation. It's awful games like these that make me want to sell my GameCube. Thank goodness for Metroid Prime, Wind Waker, Resident Evil, and Tales of Symphonia. Peace out, my fellow Coldplay fans. Give me one of those block rockin' beats!
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 11/29/05
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