Review by Wolfbutter
"Seemingly overrated and underrated at the same time."
Super Mario Sunshine already had its work cut out for it. It was going to sell no matter what; it was a Mario game. On the flip side, it had some gigantic shoes to fill, which was not exactly accomplished. No suprise there; I didn't exactly expect Super Mario Sunshine to change the face of video games forever, which is what Super Mario 64 did. However, if you enter the game with a reasonable point of view, you will see that the game in itself is a very good one, and the overall experience is better than everything the game is made up of.
The story doesn't contribute much to the game; it basically seems like filler. A strange, shadowy figure that look suspiciously like Mario is on the loose, and he is spraying disgusting gunk and goo all over the island paradise of Isle Delfino. Of course, Mario himself gets blamed for these crimes, and it is your job to clean up the island and put a stop to this doppleganger. Joining you along for the ride is F.L.U.D.D, a water pack on your back that will assist you in washing everything up. And I do mean everything.
If you've played Super Mario 64, you will know how to control the game right when you are given the ability to. If you haven't, the controls are still incredibly easy to just pick up and learn. In fact, running around in itself is fun, because of the massive array of acrobatics that Mario has at his disposal. Not only that, but F.L.U.D.D has a few functions also. You can spray water, to drown enemies or trigger switches, and hover in the air for a few seconds.
Once again, I am going to compare this game with it's predecessor. The layout of the Super Mario Sunshine, and the general mechanics, are taken right from Super Mario 64. There are a fair number of levels, and each level has eight missions each. Infact, this game even borrows some idea for missions from the previous entry in the series, and to tell the truth it gets a little redundant to see these things appear so frequently. There are 120 Shines to get, which are basically items that signify when you have completed something. They are gotten after missions, after bonus levels, and generally just finding them in hidden areas.
The level designs themselves are fantastic. This game proves that you can have all of the levels have the same theme and still be fun, satisfying and refreshingly different. There are a few bland levels, but most of them are simply a blast to play. They manage to keep the missions exciting creative without going absolutely overboard. However, there are two things in particular that really, really bring the game down.
At first glance, Super Mario Sunshine is a game that would not appear to be too difficult. However, this game is one of the most frusturating experiences in video gaming I have gone through. It's not awfully bad, but there will be several times when you feel like simply tearing your hair out. It's not that the game is hard; it is just amazingly cheap. The game cheats on you, and it ends up that you have to pay for it. It also doesn't help that the camera is absolutely terrible, and makes it difficult to see clearly most of the time. This won't be a problem with most missions, but a notable amount, to say the least.
Of course, I'm willing to take a few sacrifices in the gameplay department if the presentation makes up for it; and it does. The graphics are simply fantastic. The water looks amazing, the animation is stunning, and the entire game just looks really spectacular. The game is an explosion of color, and a delightful feast for the eyes. There are a few chokes and framerate here and there, and they can actually affect the gameplay a little, but they are kept to a minimal.
Speaking of chokes, that is what the voice actors sound like. While I commend Nintendo for going out on a limb and trying something new, it doesn't work at all. The voice actors are abysmal; they make it hard to appreciate the already awful storyline, and they make you wonder if the creators were on drugs when they went back through it. Everyone sounds like a joke; but I guess it is still better than just plain text.
On the subject of new things, the music is actually new this time around. They didn't just remix the same old tune for the millionth time, which I applaud them for. However, I noticed every level has the same song; just remixed in itself. They manage to be different enough to be good still, however. They are nice and catchy.
You probably won't want to finish Super Mario Sunshine all the way. After you beat it once, you are most likely done for good. There's no real incentive to get the remaining Shines, or to play again; it's too frusturating to do that, and I know most people don't have rock solid patience. To add insult to injury, the game is also relatively short, and can be completed in around seven or so hours if you are good enough, which means if you would make the choice, you should definetly rent the product instead of fully buying it.
Super Mario Sunshine is a really solid game. But because Super Mario 64 was such a smash hit, this game was quick to be denounced by many people. If you can see this game for what it truly is, and what it is supposed to be, then you will most likely enjoy the great atmosphere and fun the game provided. If you enter with too high expectations, you will, without a doubt, be dissapointed.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 01/22/08
Game Release: Super Mario Sunshine (US, 08/25/02)
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