Review by Kabigon

"The sun truly shines in Super Mario Sunshine."

Super Mario Sunshine. It really does go without saying that this game is going to be good. How good? Well, you’ll have to read on and see.

Graphics: 9
When you first boot up Super Mario Sunshine, it is evident after watching the starting cut-scene that a lot of work has gone into the graphics of this game. The look is actually quite original. One way to describe them, and this has been said by many, is that the graphics almost give you a cel-shaded feel without actually being cel-shaded. Things like the use of colour, the way things are lit up, the quirky animation of the many enemies really do contribute to the new look. Each world has it’s own unique graphics to it but the whole game is played on a single island so there is a bit of repetition in many of the graphics suck as tree’s etc. One aspect of the graphics that really does add to the fun is how you can see far into the distance. The further out, the blurrier the graphics get and it is really a nice effect.

The only part of the graphics that I believe could have been better is some of the wall textures. They are often fairly bland and don’t show bump mapping (rigid and different graphics), and some just look flat and boring. But this really doesn’t affect the gameplay and if anything, it adds to the cel-shading effects used with the rest of the graphics. Basically, the graphics in the game are truly outstanding. If you think that the graphics in pictures are good…just wait till you play it.

Sound: 9
The sound in Super Mario Sunshine is very reminiscent of other Mario games. Mario sounds just as good or if not better than he did in Mario 64. And the voice-acting in the game is very good. Hearing the toads speak is like watching the Mario cartoon that used to be on TV. The water pack makes a fairly repetitious but nice sound.

One really cool sound bite is that of when Mario is walking around. His footsteps can be heard very well. The enemies make really goods sounds as well. Obviously, a fair amount of work went into the sound of this game and it is evident everywhere. All in all, a pretty good job by Nintendo.

Music: 9
The music in Super Mario Sunshine is again, just like it is in the classic games, but with a new feel. The obvious nature of the tropical island though means that a lot of the level music sounds very…tropical. It does sound very professional and it is almost like you are listening to a band play at a resort on some tropical island. The music really does suit this game’s theme. And without giving away spoilers, some of the music in some of the boss battles is really nice and is well fitted for the fight’s boss. One thing that is really great that Nintendo added in was the classic Mario music with a new, jazzy feel to it. You will witness such music in the classic platforming areas on each level. A really nice touch.

In conclusion, the music in this game is very good. The music and the sound tie in together really great and you may just find yourself humming to some of the music or clicking your fingers together to some of the retro music.

Story: 7
For a Mario game to have a storyline is indeed a new experience. Yes, this game does have a storyline! The story is fairly basic though and is nowhere near on par as the great stories of the final fantasy series or even The Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time, but the game doesn’t even need a story. No Mario game really does. Anyway, the basic idea of the story is that Mario, Peach, Toadsworth, and some toads are off on a vacation to a tropical island named Isle Delphino (Dolphin Island in Spanish). When Mario arrives though, he is greeted with some disgusting goo all over the runway of the airport. After a simple battle with the goo, Mario is caught by the police of the island. He is taken to a court where a picture of the culprit who made all the mess is shown. The sketch looks just like Mario. Then, you Mario and crew find out that the whole island is filled with this goo and Mario is told that he must clean it up before he is allowed to leave the island. Of course, it is not Mario who did this crime. Shortly after, a strange character dubbed Water Mario is found to be the culprit and it is up to Mario to stop Water Mario with just his moves and his new trusty water pack call F.L.U.D.D.

The story doesn’t evolve to much for the duration of the game but it does have a slight twist to it. For a Mario game to have a story even slightly good is an accomplishment, so even though I only gave the story a 7, in terms of Mario stories, this is the best by far.

Game Play: 10
Aside from everything else great about the game, nothing compares to the incredible gameplay of Super Mario Sunshine. Gameplay has always been the key aspect of every Mario game. In the classic Mario’s it was just plain 2-d platforming that evolved into the great 3-d platforming of Mario 64. Although this game isn’t exactly an evolution to the gameplay of Mario 64, it sure as heck is a revolution. The reason why the gameplay is great is because it really does have the feel of something original.

The water pack is the main reason for this. It goes without saying that the gameplay will be different to all the other Mario games because this time you have to rely on the water pack mainly but the way that Nintendo integrated the pack into the game is just amazing. The basic water pack comes with two main functions. To wash away the sludge on the island and to help Mario hover, super jump, and jet around. But the pack is used for so much more. It helps Mario swing onto things, helps push objects like windmills around and it helps destroy enemies. The pack itself is not to hard to manoeuvre and with 20 or so minutes practice, you will be a master with it. Mind you, many of you will rely to much on the hover function of the pack to get you everywhere. But you will have this function taken away from you in many instances in the game so don’t live of it.

Aside from the water pack though, the game is basically another 3-d platform game. But it’s not just any 3-d platform game. The areas to play around in are massive and probably 3-4 times bigger than those in Mario 64. The amount of things that you can interact with is amazing and never will you feel like you are doing the same thing over again. The levels aren’t exactly flat either. They are multi-layered in some cases. Things like the reflective mirror stands on the third level, the Windmill on the first, the cliffs of the sixth level really make playing this game fun.

But don’t think that you will only be able to use the water pack and Mario’s classic moves. One of the coolest things in the game is the ability to ride Yoshi. In Mario 64, players were teased with only being shown Yoshi and not being able to do anything with him. In Super Mario Sunshine, you can rid Yoshi in a lot of areas in the game. As a matter of fact, you will need to use him to open up levels and get shines. Yoshi plays similar to Mario and his basic function is to eat fruit. Yoshi can also wash away the sludge in the game by spitting out juice from the fruits. Yoshi can also eat many fruits that are in the way of entrances. He can’t swim though so keep that in mind. Yoshi is a fun addition to the game and is fun to muck around with.

The basic aim of the game is collect shines and beat the final boss. There are 120 shines in the game. These are distributed through the seven worlds and the Main town area in the game. There are 8 basic shines on each of the seven worlds. But there are also 2 secret shines on each level that will take so time to find. Also, if you find 100 gold coins on each level, will gain another shine. A total of 11 shines to a level. There are also a lot of shines in the Main Town area. But with all those ones added up, you end up with about 95 or so shines…So where is the rest? Blue coins. On each level there is 30 blue coins. For every ten you find, you can take them to a man in the Main Town area and get a shine for them. Of course, you can take some from different places. Also, you don’t have to get all 30 at once. You can get some from one story of a level, and come back to it or go to another level. You aren’t obliged to trade in your blue coins but they are not used for anything else and if you want to get more shines, you have to trade them in. There are 240 blue coins in the game. Some are easy to get while some are harder to get than some shines. And not all of them are visible…

If you have ever played Mario 64, the game is very similar to it in the way that all the level’s are connected to a central hub (Main Town area), and by entering certain holes or sluge marks on the Main Town, you will be transported to each level. Once you enter each level, you will be shown a screen that tells you what story you want to go to. Each story is about a single shine. You have to get the basic 8 shines on each level in order. The 2 secret shines and the 100 coin shine do not follow this rule though ,and can be gotten anytime…if you can find them. This does somewhat restrict the gameplay as in Mario 64, you could do what ever star (shine) you wanted to get. The reason for this though is because with most shines, the actual level changes slightly so that each shine can be gotten. In some levels, you may find characters that you could not find on other stories. The level may have changed and a new route may be opened up. So in that sense, it is understandable why the gameplay was changed from Mario 64.

But all of the above is really based on the difficulty of this game. Basically, this game is hard. Real hard. The game doesn’t offer a tutor so many new and young gamers might be thrown off by the difficulty early on. The game is hard at the start and only gets harder the further on you go. Of course, I may be exaggerating as I got all 120 shines without to much trouble but honestly, don’t expect this game to be a walk in the park. Some shines will have you ripping out your hair. Imagine playing Mario 64, 15th level, spending 10 minutes trying to stay on a moving carpet and all of a sudden…you fall. Very frustrating. I would say that at least 20 shines in the game are real buggers to get. Although there are also some shines that are so easy to get that it is a joke. The game really does expect you to have played Mario 64 and other platform games and it thinks that you are ready for hard platforming. If you haven’t played Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Jax and Daxter or any of those 3-d platform games…this game will be pretty hard for you. But the difficulty is actually really good as it adds to the replay value of the game and makes sure that you don’t beat it in a few hours (Like Luigi’s Mansion).

So far, Super Mario Sunshine sounds like it is almost perfect. Yes…almost. There is one tiny aspect that does appear and although some may not care, it is there and it is a pain sometimes. The camera. It goes without saying that the camera won’t be perfect as it is always somewhat a problem in all 3-d platform games. You may find yourself in instances where you are behind a wall and the camera is looking at you from the other side of the wall. Nice one. In such instances, you either have to manually turn the camera around or you have to live with a mere shadow of yourself, and not being able to see anything else on the other side of the wall. But one good thing about this is the fact that you can manually control the camera. Most times you will end up controlling the camera yourself anyway as you can pick what camera angle you want to use when approaching different challenges. But I think that the game does depend on the manual use of the camera. Again, some might not find this problem at all but most will. But don’t get me wrong, the camera really doesn’t spoil the game. It doesn’t even have the power to bring the gameplay score down to 9 because when you put everything together, the camera really isn’t that big a deal.

So overall, this game really is based on how good the gameplay is. And it’s good. Actually, it’s not just good. It is amazing. There probably wont be even a second where you will not be enjoying the game. Well, maybe when you are in a really hard spot but otherwise, the incredible fun that you have with the water pack in the huge worlds will be unbeatable for ages. You will probably not be able to be without playing this game for more than 10 minutes.

Replay Value: 10
The Replay Value in Super Mario Sunshine is great. It will take around 30 hours for most games to get enough shine to verse the final boss and it will take 15-20 more hours to get all the shines. But even after you have gotten all the shines, you will still want to come back. Wether it be to show of a friend the levels, graphics or cool stuff in Mario Sunshine or whether it be the fact that you want to just muck around and have fun, Mario Sunshine will keep you interested for ages. This is actually a game that you may find that you want to play again. The shear fun that you can have and the fact that getting 120 shines is difficult and time-consuming, this game is a real keeper and for the casual gamer, this game will last you for ages.

Overall Score: 10
Super Mario Sunshine is so much fun, I don’t think that anything parallels it. The amount of shines, the huge worlds, the great music, the incredible graphics…This game is just incredible. I don’t I have had so much fun playing games ever. This game is a true testament of how great the creator, Shigeru Miyamoto is, and how much fun you can have playing games. Fantastic job Nintendo. This game easily deserves a 10 and no Gamecube owner should be without it. And for those who wonder…Rent or Buy? Buy. Definently Buy. I can only afford one game for the next few months, this is the game to get. This is Gamecube at it’s best.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/12/02, Updated 08/12/02

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