Review by jessetobiason

"The Fall of Mario"

The Mario games have always served as the poster children of new Nintendo systems, showing off the systems' capabilities and awing gamers with their revolutionary gameplay. Until now. Mario Sunshine does for the Mario series what the Phantom Menace did for Star Wars: it maligns, insults, and demeans everything that made the other games great.

Graphics: (5/5)
The only high point of the game. The graphics are absolutely amazing. All the characters are detailed and articulated well. Water, while not really realistic, is incredibly stylized. The only noticable slowdown is during some extreme mirror effects in one of the levels. Other than that, the graphics are absolutely perfect. FMVs in the game look very realistic, if a little too cartoony.

The music in this game is totally average, with only one song standing out, a pseudo-tribal dance song for the seventh level. There are remixed versions of some classic Mario songs here. I said the music was totally average. Well, it was at first. All of the music gets annoying really, really fast. (Like 20 minutes)

I have no complaint about the ingame sounds. Mario is still the stupid, masochistic Italian from Mario 64. (He laughs after he falls into lava, for god's sake!) Sound effects are pretty much what they should be. Why, then, is this category so low? The voice acting in the FMVs. They are the most horrifying, brainslaying loads of crap EVERY put into a non-preschool videogame. In FMVs, Mario is typically mute and the Chancellor sounds like Scrouge McDuck. So far, so good. The Toads sound like eunuchs who swallowed way too much helium. The princess, however, makes Ed Wood movie acting seem good. The only possible description of the Princess's voice would be...The most feminine man in the world combined with barbie style voices then punched in the stomach. It is the whiniest, most nasal and grating voice ever. Bowser sounds a lot like Tony Soprano, the...the other villian is almost as bad. I never thought something as trivial as voice acting could hurt a game so badly. Of course, I hadn't played Mario Sunshine yet.

This is hard to grade without giving away spoilers, but I'll try anyway. The game starts out really cool. Mario and party arrive at Isle Delfino for a nice vacation, only to be attacked (of course) by a pirahna plant covered in paint. Mario is forced to chase down a blue doppelganger of himself, who is painting the island with graffiti. Oh god, no. After a while, I thought they might do something incredibly creepy and cool, like have the blue Mario be Luigi or something, ANYTHING! The designers of this game couldn't have failed more completely. They absolutely destroyed what could have been incredibly cool. At that point, the plot disappeared for 6 hours or so. It never started up again. Even after you beat the game, nothing happens.

This does not mean in any way that the game is easy. What is means is the difficulty in the game sucks. There are 3 types of missions in the game. (1) Easy stuff my 6 year old sister actually did on her first attempt. (2) Missions whose difficulty actually reflect their position in the game. (3) Absolutely IMPOSSIBLE missions put basically at the beginning of the game. Guess which two are the most common? The difficulty is absolutely random, ruining the game. The final dungeon is nearly impossible, just as it should be, but the end boss is easier than the pirahna flowers you fight at the beginning of the game. Let's just say jumping from rooftop to rooftop is more challanging. Nothing ruins a game faster than badly designed difficulty, except maybe bad gameplay. (Here we go)

This is what really, really brings this game down. First things first. This game is way, way too short! It took only about 13 hours of playing to complete, and that was only because it was the first time. Playing through the game a second time, I beat it in under 10 hours. Given the size of a Gamecube disc, no game has any excuse for being that short. There are about 10 main levels in this game, each of which is far too small. The actual gameplay mechanics are almost the same as Mario 64, except that Mario no longer has any offensive moves other than jumping on the enemy. All attacking is done via FLUBB, a water filled backpack with a squirt gun on it. Yes, just as you may have imagined, this is absolutely impossible to control in 3d. A game where your only projectile weapon is an unaimable squirtgun has serious problems. FLUBB does have 3 other functions. One is a hovering nozzle, which will keep you in the air for several seconds. There is a rocket nozzle to shoot you really high, streight up. The other nozzle makes you run and swim super fast, like Sonic the Hedgehog. You have access to all of these nozzles within the first three levels, leaving nothing to get later. Yoshi does appear and is controllable, but you will wish he wasn't. To make him appear, you feed his egg a specific kind of fruit. The resulting Yoshi has a huge tongue and can eat almost anything. He can also vomit on enemies, but if you empty his stomach, he disappears. This means Yoshi basically have a time limit of a couple of minutes. To make this worse, Yoshi cannot go into water without dying immediately. Yoshi is of use in only 3 or so missions, and taking him anywhere else is pointless. One of the biggest problems in the game is the lack of variety. For the first several levels (remember, only 8 total) you get Shine Sprites (don't be fooled, they're stars) from beating the same giant pirahnas and squids. Each level has an 8 red coins mission, and some even have two! A lot of the missions are the same as they were in Mario 64. There is a race with an NPC, a climb to top of level and fight boss, a 100 coin hunt, etc. As a ''tribute'' (I guess) to sidescrolling Mario games, there are mini-levels in each main one that contain ridiculously hard platform jumping, which we know simply doesn't work in 3-D.

FINAL SCORE:24/80 = 30%
(Each category is given a score based on importance. Graphics near bottom, gameplay of course at the top)

Replay:(0/10) Forget about replay, there isn't even any reason to get all the Shine Sprites. Once you beat the end boss, you will think, ''Wow, I should have stuck with Mario 64!'' No need to ever come back to this game

Rent or Buy?
Rent it, no doubt. This game is nowhere near good enough to warrent owning for the rest of your life. You can get everything you need to out of this game in a few days.

Reviewer's Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Originally Posted: 10/23/02, Updated 10/23/02

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