Review by Quilavatrainer

"Not quite the sequel we wanted, but is still interesting and fun"

Super Mario 64 paved the way for 3-D gaming. It was a classic and revolutionary for its time, but now with the Gamecube, fans are expecting a brand new 3-D Mario platformer for the system. Does Super Mario Sunshine shed some light, or is it just all wet?

Mario games are never known for award-winning stories and Nintendo is in no hurry to change that here. But, they are trying to provide a little more purpose for the quest. Mario and Princess Peach are going on vacation to Isle Delfino. But shortly after arrival, they discover that the island has been polluted heavily by graffiti and the guardian shine sprites have fled the shine gate, leaving Isle Delfino in the dark. To make matters worse, Mario is framed by an evil clone and is arrested. Now Mario must use the help of his new water pack friend, Fludd, to clean up the island, take back the shine sprites, and catch the imposter to clear his name.

The story is a little more interesting than the damsel in distress story in 64, but still doesn't do much to keep you paying attention to it. But, after 6 years of waiting, players have little need of convincing to go jump some platforms and stomp some enemies.

Super Mario Sunshine plays out very similarly to Super Mario 64. Delfino Plaza serves as the main hub world where you can talk to citizens and enter portals to travel to the other parts of Isle Delfino. The castle paintings are replaced by a graffiti insignia of the perpetrator that Mario can jump into like a portal. There are several different portals that lead to various locations around the island. You have to collect shine sprites by completing tasks and missions, which are hinted by the shine select screen.

Mario has the majority of his moves in Mario 64 such as the wall jump, the back flip, and the ground pound. Mario's punching ability has been removed. The B button now serves as Mario's grab command where he may pick up nearby objects.

The biggest change to thew game play is the addition of Mario's water pack friend, Fludd. With Fludd, Mario can spray water to clean up mud, paint, and other substances to clean up the island. Mario can also use Fludd to hover in the air for a short time, as well as two other nozzles which become available later on in the story.

Mario can still swim, stomp on the heads of enemies, and collect coins to restore health. The game feels very similar to Mario 64, but much more loose. Using Fludd is easy to learn, but can get annoying after a while, having to constantly stop and clean up a sludge puddle in your path before continuing. There are numerous mini levels that return Mario to his basic roots. You'll have to complete an obstacle course that's very reminiscent of the Bowser Road levels in Mario 64. The collect the 8 red coins missions return, as well as many other game play elements that made Mario 64 great.

Collecting shine sprites is what you will be doing the majority of the game. Collecting shine sprites opens new levels, triggers boss fights, and various other events. If you get bored of collecting shine sprites, you'll get bored with the game easily as there isn't anything else to do. Fans of the platforming sequences will have a blast, but players looking for more depth, will find little here.

The controls feel a little too loose. It feels awkward to not have the ability to punch, but after a little practice, you'll be jumping and spraying water like a pro. The controls are very similar to Mario 64, so if you haven't played that, there will be a bit of a learning curve. But the controls do take some adjusting to because there may be some areas where you make a mis step and fall to your death. It would've been better if the controls were as tight as Mario 64, but this is obviously programmed to give players a little more freedom.

The music is decent. The many tropical beats keep things fun and lively, but after a while, the Delfino Plaza theme will be cemented into your head. The classic Mario them is remixed during the mini game levels, but that's pretty much the only familiar Mario tune. The levels have a remix of the Delfino Plaza theme, which is nice but a little originality would've been better. The music is fun, wacky, and is all Mario.

With the exception of the classic Mario coin sound, all the sound effects are new to fit the new surroundings. Shockingly enough, there is voice acting in the cut scenes. Charles Martinet suits Mario well as usual, but the other voices sound a bit out of place for a Mario game.

The graphics are a step up from the N64 since this is the Gamecube. The scenery is bright and filled with a rainbow of colors. Even the mud and paint has detail, which is impressive. The water and sky effects are nice and while there are a few nasty textures here and there, the game looks neat and polished. It may look outdated compared to today's standards, but back in 2002, it was great, and it's not that bad now. The game doesn't have any frame rate issues and the cut scenes have appropriate mouth syncing. It would've been nice if the levels had a little more originality since the tropical island them will get boring after a while on every level, the design is overall well done and is definitely an improvement from the Nintendo 64.

Super Mario Sunshine is an interesting game. It is indeed the 3-D Mario sequel fans have been wanting, and it delivers. There are some new changes, but they don't break off from the implemented formula. People looking for more depth than just platforming, won't find much here. Players who were looking for the Mario 64 sequel, it's different, but still just as fun.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 10/19/09

Game Release: Super Mario Sunshine (Player's Choice) (US, 09/25/03)

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