Review by JoeCoolc3 III

"The World's A Special Place!"

Lots of people didn't like this game. Complaints included, it wasn't mario enough, it was too kiddy, the water gun was stupid. Please, disregard them. I felt that Super Mario Sunshine was none the such and a welcome addition to the Mario franchise. I might go as far to say that this is one of my favorite Mario platformers ever. Right up there with Super Mario Bros. 3. Sure, it wasn't exactly like all the other Mario platformers, but that's what made it good!

Story: 7/10
Okay, I don't know what to say about this story. It's extremely... weird. It is definitely the weirdest storyline in a Mario game ever. But it's still an improvement over say, Mario 64 storywise, let me embellish you.Mario, Princess Peach, and Toadsworth (Peach's loyal assistant/servant toad) have set out on a tropical vacation for a little R&R. Upon arriving though, they find the Isle Delfino to be polluted with sludge from a shadowed graffiti artist, Shadow Mario. Well, the stupid Delfino mayor confuses a see-through blue maniac for Mario and imprisons our hero. Mario is sentenced to clean the town with his trusty FLUDD. A water gun-THAT TALKS! And so, Mario busts loose and chases after the villain. Who turns out to be.... Well. then it gets weird. I won't ruin it for you, but at least this storyline's a little more complex. I like it enough to give it a 7.

Graphics: 10/10
I really love the visuals in this game. Some people might complain its kiddy, i don't think so AT ALL. personally consider the tropical, beachside environment to be an amazing change of pace from dark alleyways that incorperate so many games these days. I loved the feel the game let off and the graphics were just plain good. Each time I turned on the game I WANTED to play it. The graphics are inviting and take you to a place that is more relaxing than everyday life. I can enjoy a good bloody gang fights here and there, but Super Mario Sunshine really like me relax and enjoy the video game. The water plays a big part in this game and the effects are spectacular. One level has a giant waterfall and it is very impressive, and another level lets you swim through a coral reef. It is very realistic, you wouldn't expect such a great environment from a cartoon game but SMS delivers the graphical goods. Two thumbs, way up.

Music: 10/10
Ah, what great music this game has. Delfino plaza, the main area, has such a great theme to it. Ricco Harbor is another jewel. All the music is kind of tropical and island-like, it really fits in with the game perfectly and makes you feel like you're actually on an island vacation. This is probably one of the best soundtracks in a Mario game. All the music just fits in so well. Another job well done.

Sound: 9/10
I think the sound effects in this game are really good. The footsteps change accordingly depending upon the turf. The water sounds just right while crashing against the side, washing up on the beach, or guzzling out of FLUDD. Mario makes all his usual noises, good job with the voice acting. Toadsworth and the Pianta islanders also make a lot of goofy noises that just help make this game what it is. Once again the sound, graphics, and music are used to their full potential in a Nintendo game creating the perfect atmosphere they were going for. This is very evident with Super Mario Sunshine. You feel like you're on a tropical island, you feel relaxed, you're able to enjoy the gaming experience.

Atmosphere: 10/10
If I wasn't obvious enough already, i loved the atmosphere in Super Mario Sunshine. The feeling of being on this island is perfect. I really enjoyed discovering the whole island for myself. The main city, the airport, the villages, the harbor, the beach, the hotel, it's all just very well assembled and a joy to advance through. The islanders and inhabitants are all very colorful and fun. The piantas and nokis are two new species in the Mario universe and they fit in just right. I found myself just going around talking to them all at certain points in the game. Many of them seem to always have interesting things to say. And what would a tropical island be with lots of fruit. Nintendo filled teh island with colorful fruits that make me want to go have some myself. Well, they've brought back Yoshi to try them all out for you. Gliding around the cities on Yoshi's back is truly fun. even after you've completely beaten the game, you might want to go back and explore because it's just such a welcoming environment. Some people might not care about it and think it's stupid, but i really appreciate the extra effort Nintendo put in to making this a truly enjoyable gaming experience and atmosphere.

Characters: 9/10
The characters in this game are good as usual. Mario is there, plumbing it up. Princess Peach and Bowser make their obvious returns along with Yoshi and Toad. And a wealth of new characters including the many islanders, the debut of Petey Pirahna, and Toadsworth. You get to know everyone a little better which Mario games have lacked in the past. Nintendo took it a step further and tried to show us what the characters are like on their own. I only wish they'd go a little bit further. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is a great example of showing how the Mario brothers personality really is. They did that same kind of detail in Super Mario Sunshine, especially showing bowser's comical side, but i feel like they could have gone a little further. Oh well, there's always Super Mario 128! :D

Gameplay: 9/10
I enjoyed the gameplay of this game. It's relatively simple. your basic platformer controls. Mario can still jump. in fact, he can jump even more, with FLUDD attached, gliding and rocketing to new heights becomes a reality. And for the classic gamers, like myself, Nintendo threw in a bunch of classic style levels where Mario heads in FLUDDless and does some classic platforming. These levels in particular can be very fun and give some variety to the style. Also, rather than collecting starts this time around, this introduced Shine Sprites, which are used to bring some life back into the graffiti-ridden island of Delfino. They're pretty much the same as stars in Super Mario 64 though. I think everything about this gameplay is lots of fun and I don't see how so many people can gripe about it.

Unique Features: 8/10
I enjoyed the unique features of this game. They incorperated the classic Mario gameplay and brought in some new concepts. I think it adds varity to the Mario series and stands out as one of the more original titles. The waterpack (FLUDD) was the main new concept and I think they pulled it off very well. there's 4 things you can do with FLUDD. Spray, which is used to attack enemies from a distance, clean up the graffiti and fill stuff up. Hover, particularly useful, is used to levitate for awhile to clear gaps too far for a simple jump. Rocket, which is used to shoot Mario up an extremely high distance to reach high places. And finally, another nozzle that will shoot you forward very quickly. They all add to the gameplay variety and provide many interesting ways of obtaining new shine sprites. This makes the boss fights more interesting as well. I also enjoy the Yoshi-back riding that has become a staple in Mario platformers.

Fun Factor: 9/10
This game is very fun, you will have a great time playing it. The bosses, the platforming, the collecting, the exploring. It's all a joy to any fan of Nintendo or platforming. Some grumpy Mario fans might not enjoy the fact that this isn't a carbon copy of Super Mario 64, but most people will look past the slight differences and enjoy this game for what it is. It's a challenge that any mario fan should enjoy taking on and any newcomers will enjoy it as well.

Length: 7/10
This rating is not included in the overall score, as many people's opinions on the importance of game length varies. This game's about as long as the 64 title. It's no RPG, but it lasts long enough. Collecting everything can take quite a long time, while simply beating the final boss isn't nearly as lengthy. But most people will want to go and explore and find all the game has to offer, and by doing so the game becomes pretty long, but never unenjoyable. i actually wish the main adventure was a little longer because I enjoyed it so much.

Difficulty: 7/10
This rating is not included in the overall score, as many people's opinions on the importance of game difficulty varies. This game is on level with Super Mario 64 I'd say. It's much more challenging than Luigi's Mansion. Getting up to the final boss isn't too bad. And the final boss is pretty easy, but if you expect to collect everything, you're in for a treat, as it gets quite difficult to get some of the later shine sprites.

Overall: 9/10

Buy or Rent: Buy.
I myself would definitely recommend buying this game. I don't care what anyone else tells you, it's a good buy. Whether you love Mario or you hate him, you have to admit Super Mario Sunshine is that casual, relaxing game you've been looking for. This game is fun and inviting. It's definitely different, and that's a god thing in this case. It's a unique gaming experience that everyone should try. It's worth the buy just to be able to kick back and relax with Mario.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/30/04

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