Review by DOA

"A disappointing experience of such a loveable Nintendo great."

The long awaited arrival of the sequel to the groundbreaking Super Mario 64. We have Super Mario Sunshine. A title that should have co-in sided with the Gamecubes initial launch. But why oh why did Shigeru Miyamoto put it off until now? Who knows.

The plot for this outing is your highly typical and ultimately predictable Mario title. The plot goes a little something like this: After Mario's last adventure, him and his friends decide to take a vacation, but as soon as they arrive at the beautiful Isle Delfino resort, they find the place a total mess with graffiti and pollution everywhere, and the worst part, Mario is being blamed for the mess! Mario is put on trial and sentenced to clean the island all the while returning the Shine Sprites, to the Sun Gate, the source of the islands power. Predictable? Yes. Engrossing? No. This is one of the more weaker Mario titles. You can honestly tell that they were not taking this plot very seriously when the creative juices were flowing.

I'd expected a little more from Mario Sunshine's graphics. It just doesn't appeal to me the way Mario 64 did. The characters models for the Isle Delfino inhabitants just lack that cartoon appeal that past Mario games had. Mario doesn't look blocky at all in this title. A real step up from the previous Mario adventure. They also gave Peach a new hair style. No longer flowing, it's in a pony-tail. The Isle Delfino is most cases is are basic carbon copies of the worlds featured in Mario 64 with just a few tweaks to them.

I was really disappointed in the over all sounds of the game. The musical score seemed to be pasted together and it just does not immerse you into the game. The voice acting is just plain awful. Mario doesn't even talk half the time, Peach's voice sound too high pitched and fairly uninspired. Jen Taylor just walked right through her script. As for Bowser, oh me oh my, it's just plain awful. First time we actually hear the big lug talk and he doesn't even sound threatening. Harvey Atkin, who was the original voice of Bowser on the Super Mario Bros. Super Show back in the day was pitch perfect as the role of Mario's greatest and most persistent nemesis. But the worst out of the bunch is Baby Bowser. Every time I hear him, I'd like to throw my controller right at the TV. The F.L.U.D.D jet pack sounds just like a talking computer. But it's not as bad as Baby Bowser. As for the rest, you just hear little squeaks and random gibberish. They were probably rushing the rest of the game and did not feel like adding in the extra voices.

What really kills this game is that they did nothing to fix the spastic camera angle that plagued the first game. The creators also got rid of the punch kick combo from Mario 64. The boss battles are way too easy and almost always use the same three-hits-to-kill method. Which is pathetic. Spray until they die. Where's the challenge? Doing standard moves like doing the back the side jump has become a real challenge. The F.L.U.D.D jet pack is practically worthless. You only have four uses for it, a rocket launcher, a glider for water that'll drain up on land, a little jet pack and a squirt gun. But three of which (glider, rocket and jet) are all switched around and that can be a real pain at times. That's just about it. It's also a real eye sore. Swimming in this game is no longer that simple. It's almost impossible to stay under. Why do they let little things like these slide? It really hurts the over all score. They even threw in Yoshi and now, you can play as him, well not actually play as him but use him as a means of getting around. Like in Super Mario Bros. World. But is that a good thing? I found Yoshi to be fairly difficult to control and hatching them was a major pain. And whenever it hit water it would dissolve and disappear like the T-1000 and you'd have to repeat the same process of getting it a fruit that it wants, it's a basic rinse and repeat process. But the thing that really, REALLY, really kills me is that when Mario loses his hat, his health seems to just drop, like he has a dire need for that hat. Unlike in Mario 64 where he'd just get twice the damage, here, he'll die in a matter of minutes. Real creative. But when you break it down to the thinnest of lines alls you need is the back jump, the jet pack (which is a permanent fixture), and wall-to-wall.

I did not find this game worth going through for a second time. The two endings were nice, but not satisfying enough to warrant another go. Other things like the sunglasses and the Hawaiian shirt were quirky but ultimately unnecessary.

Graphics: 8

A nice upgrade from the Mario of old. But the characters lack that fine texturing that previous Gamecube titles had.

Sound: 5

Bad, bad, bad voice acting with a fairly uninspired music hurt the overall feel of the game.

Gameplay: 4

This is more a downgrade from Mario 64. There's no punch kick combo, the camera still roams and it's just not fun anymore.

Replay Value: 3

The two endings were nice. Everything else wasn't.

Final Thoughts:

I was disappointed in this title. They did not do much to improve upon the series. I would consider this more of a downgrade if anything else. We only hope that the upcoming Zelda game can improve the standards of what Nintendo Gamecube can actually accomplish at times. Super Mario Sunshine is by far one of the weakest Mario titles ever created.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

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

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