"Best Mario ever or is it? (Warning: Based on IMPORT)"

The Game Cube has had a lack of good games or any games for that matter. At E3 Nintendo showed promise with a new Zelda, Metroid, Star Fox, the surprise Wario and last but not least Mario. Mario is out in Japan and import form. I have bought the game and put it through it's paces. Has it been worth the wait of six years...

Graphics: 8.75 / 10.0
Cool opening cut scene ... but ... after the scene is over the game mildly drops in quality of graphics. Don't get me wrong they're still good but the graphics aren't near the best on Game Cube. Everything is much more colorful than the last Mario platforming adventure, it definitely has the look and feel of a tropical island. The environments and backgrounds are somewhat bland in certain spots and look a lot like smooth Nintendo 64 textures. The water has some cool animations and the way it affects everything can have some of the best graphical results. The shadowing and reflections are very well done for a game in the platforming genre. The cut scenes probably have the best animations of the whole game. Overall it's a nice package but not the best.

Sound/Music: 9.5 / 10.0
Easy listening, that is what Mario games music and sound have always been like. Some classic Mario tunes mixed and some new tunes, none ever droning on or repetivitve. The sounds of the game fit the mood nicely. Mario and the creatures have well done voices and sound affects. Overall a good soundtrack.

Control/Gameplay: 9.0 / 10.0
Mario returns with most of the moves he had in the last game accept for one major change, the water pack. This item is probably one of the best innovations of the Mario series. It upgrades many of Mario's basic moves. In the last game the cannon or hat was needed to soar to great heights and send Mario up to the triple jump or next star, but now just find an upgrade make sure your pack is filled and achieve the same heights with half the effort. Also in the last game Mario couldn't move across the water that fast, now just find an upgrade and you can propel yourself at a much greater speed. Also the Game Cube controller handles everything nicely and makes everything easy to function. The only problem is learning to make everything work can take a bit of time, but practice makes perfect.

Story: 9.5 / 10.0
This is one of the few Mario games that has an actual story. Most of the other platforming adventures have only been about the Princess being captured and Mario rescuing her, excluding the weird Super Mario Bros. 2 story. This time Mario and the princess are on vacation to Dolphino Island, when they get there they find sludge on the runway and right after Mario gets a water pack and cleans up the sludge he is arrested under the charges that he is polluting and putting graffiti all over the island. His mission becomes to clean up the sludge and find out who is ruining his good name. I felt that this story is a relief from the usual princess is captured and Mario is out to save her, although the last battle isn't much of a surprise.

Life-Span: 9.5 / 10.0
This is by far Mario's longest platforming adventure. This game is a lot harder than the previous game. It's not an impossibly hard game, it's more of a good challenge. The game will test a lot of your platforming skills. You will have to become in a Zen like state and become one with your game platforming skills. My first time through was about 24 hours and 30 minutes, but it's been an additional 10 hours just trying to dig apart the island and find every shine. The game is well worth the 50 dollars or more just to find and complete everything.

Final Score: 9.25 / 10.0
This is probably Mario's best adventure to date, but by it American because it is real annoying using a translation guide to play the game. If you don't own a Game Cube buy one now and get this game as soon as you can. Trust me you won't regret it. This is probably going to be the Game Cube game to own this year, or for that matter ever. Ma Ma Mia, whata good game!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/15/02, Updated 08/15/02

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