Review by red13n

Reviewed: 08/28/02 | Updated: 08/28/02

Its a nice game, but it has its share of flaws.

Well, when I bought Super Mario Sunshine I wasn't expecting something breakthrough and new like Mario 64 was, and I got exactly what I was expecting. It wasn't breakthrough, it wasn't all that new, and overall its not a game that will be cherished forever. That being said, its still a fairly fun game overall, though not nearly the hit you would expect from a Mario game. Lets take a look at why.

Story: 4/10
Well, the first thought that comes to your mind when you see this is that story doesn't matter in a Mario game right? Well, thats true, but it doesn't change the fact that the story for this game is horrid.

To sum up the story, Mario, Peach, and various Toads were going on vacation to Delfino Island. When they arrive on the island they are stopped by a mysterious substance. This substance is all over the island in various forms(On the walls, on the floor, etc), and the culprit, well he looks just like Mario. Mario is accused of being responsible for the grafitti, and is ordered to clean up the entire island using his newly found FLUD gadget. Adding to this story of course, the town is lit by the Shine Sprites, which have mysteriously gone missing. Mario being the helpful person that he is will of course be collecting these along the way.

This is not the bad part of the story. Believe it or not the start is where some of the least-cringing scenes come about. Just after the first major boss battle, you will come to about a 3 minute cut-scene. This is where the story takes a turn for the worst. It is just horrid, and I couldn't stand it. I would have preferred that they just throw in the classic ''Bowser kidnaps Peach, areas Locked, collect stuff to work your way towards Bowser''. But they didn't, and here we are, left with a pathetic attempt at a story.

Gameplay: 9/10
Gameplay is the strongpoint of the Mario franchise, and this is no different with SMS. I bet the idea of the water pack on Mario's back isn't sitting too well with you after Luigi's Mansion right? Well don't worry, Nintendo has pulled off the water pack idea without ruining the game. It still is fun, though the water pack is the main device used in solving puzzles throughout the game(Something many people assured us it wouldn't be used for before the games release). Despite it being overused, it doesn't take away from the fun factor.

All the kicks and punches of Mario 64 are all gone, and the only non-water pack related ''B'' attack mario has is a dive. Which is interesting, since when Mario dives forward, you can continually press B for Mario to hop around on his stomach. Its really quite good for laughs for a few minutes of your time. The double/triple jump makes a return, with the addition of a spin jump(Done by spinning the control stick and then pressing A or by spinning while already in the air). Now we get to the water pack, which has 2 modes that are switched with the X button. The first mode, which can be changed with various power ups to allow Mario to do different things, is by default a hover mode. This allows you to cross short distances or to control where you will fall after jumping. Its useful for platforms you can get to but are unsure whether or not you can land safely by simply jumping. The next mode, which you will always have, is a water spray mode. Obviously it sprays water. This is what you will use to clean the substance off the walls and floor, or to combat enemies with. By lightly pressing R, you can shoot a spray of water out while being continually on the move. By clicking and holding R all the way down, you will be stopped in place and be able to aim the spray of water to hit an area of your choosing. Now of course, whats a Mario 3D platformer without being able to climb on things? Mario's old ability to climb on fences from Super Mario World makes a return. If there is a fence, you can now attach to it from below or to the sides. Just like in Super Mario World, if there is a good sized box marking in the fence, Mario can use a certain command to spin it and move himself to the other side. A welcome addition to the abilities of Mario. Of course you can still climb on trees and various other objects you will come across throughout the game. Now that you have all these moves down, how will you be using them? Its quite simple, as the game follows the same basic format as Mario 64. You will journey throughout the levels completing various tasks and beating various bosses to collect the shine sprites. These tasks range from beating up on a piranha to the classic red coin collecting. A new addition to the formula is the blue coins, which are scattered throughout the levels and may be exchanged for a shine sprite every 10 you collect.

Now that the good stuff is out of the way, we get to the gameplay nuisance. This is usually the problem with platformers, and SMS is no different. The camera. To put it simply, its hard to control, gets stuck behinds wall, wont respond exactly how you want it to, and overall makes you want to rip the C-Stick from the controller. You can move the camera in just about every way with the C-Stick, but the camera won't go through walls. This is bad, as often times these walls are buildings which are right behind you. This requires you to move the camera around the building so that you can see where you are going again. The camera is not that bad, but its definitely quite a nuisance.

Graphics: 8/10
If there was one thing to say about the graphics of SMS, its that it was mean't to show off the water effects. They were done very well, and the water just looks good. From spraying it out of the water pack to the various gunk lying on the floor to the water being sprayed out of various places. It just looks good, and was done very well. However, water isn't everything, and as such I must say that the non-water objects were not up to par with what they should have been. Some things just don't look nice and rounded like they should be, and often just don't look that good, such as the people on Delfino Island. They were pretty cheaply done, and don't have much detail to them. Overall it is graphically sound though, and I don't think anyone would have any problems with it, other than that certain areas may be too bright for their liking.

Sound: 6/10
I would like to give a higher rating for the sound, but they decided to throw in that awful awful voice acting. Let me just get this out of the way right now. Everytime a character speaks in this game, I lower the volume to the point where I can make out what they say, but not hear the voice completely. These voices were just done so poorly that I don't want to hear them, and you won't either. I would have preferred that they simply use boxes of text to the voices in this game. They are just that damn bad.

Now other than the voices, you get those nice happy tunes you would expect from a Mario game, along with a modified version of various classic tunes. Along with these are the classic sounds of Mario jumping, and coin collecting. Its not exactly the best sounding game out their, but it works. Its a nice and hearable, unlike the voice acting. Got to love that classic pipe sound.

Replay Value: 8/10
So what can you do after you beat the game? Well you can collect all the shines of course. Just like in Mario 64, there are more shines available than the number needed to reach the final boss. This provides you with plenty of hours of replay value, and the ability to come back to the game after you have beaten it. There are a good number of shines, so you shouldn't be able to collect them all so simply. However, overall you may find yourself getting tired of doing all the same moves over and over, and you may become slightly tired of the game. This shouldn't occur too quickly though, and overall you should still be satisfied with it if you enjoyed it to begin with.

Worth your money?
Well, its hard to say whether or not you should just go out and shell out $50 for the game. If you are a platforming fan, you will most likely enjoy this game, so buying it would be a definite thing. If you aren't that big of a platforming fan, give it a rent before buying, as their is a decent chance that you won't enjoy it. Overall I have had quite a bit of fun with the game, but it definitely is not without its share of problems.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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