Review by Megaman1981

"Welcome Mario, to the sunny beaches of Isle Delfino."

When Nintendo created the Gamecube, there were three games that were in development for the new system. Not a big surprise, but they were Zelda, Mario and Metroid. Each one of those games were vastly different than what people expected. Metroid was turned into a FPS game, and Zelda was a cel-shaded game. Mario was probably the least changed game of the three, but there was still a big difference. Mario now carried a water pack on his back. People were cautious, but had no reason to be. While people thought that Super Mario Sunshine was supposed to be a follow up for Super Mario 64, it turned out to be a different style game with some Super Mario 64 elements thrown in for good measure. Case in point, Super Mario Sunshine is a game that I waited for when the Gamecube first came out, and it is indeed a brilliant game.

There have been a lot of people that have bashed it, but it is a terrific game. The problem with this game is very similar to what people were complaining about with Zelda. Everyone was expecting the new Zelda to be a follow up to Ocarina of Time. Instead they got a cel shaded game instead, which was terrific. The same went for Super Mario Sunshine, people were expecting a Super Mario 64 follow up, but got a Super Mario 64 game with Mario using a water pack. Again a brilliant idea.

The original Super Mario Bros. saved the video game industry. That awesome Grand Theft Auto game that you are playing right now wouldn't even exist if Super Mario Bros. hadn't been created. After the video game market crashed in the mid 1980's, it was in fact Super Mario Bros. that helped revive the video game industry. It's safe to say that Mario is the most popular video game mascot in history. Since then, Mario has gone on to star in many adventures. He's even played a damsel in distress (Luigi's Mansion), a doctor (Dr. Mario), and a villain (Donkey Kong Jr.), but his classic adventures involving Bowser are the best. That is why Nintendo was smart to bring the world of Mario into 3D.

Mario games from the NES era were all in 2D, and the basic gameplay was simple. Mario had to jump on the enemies heads in order to defeat them. Mario can also use fireballs, hammers, and the tail from his raccoon suit to defeat enemies as well. In order to acquire those weapons, Mario needs to find power ups. That is the other aspect of 2D Mario games, the power ups. Mario starts out very small, but by using a mushroom, he can grow bigger. In addition finding a flower will give you fire power. Finding a raccoon suit, frog suit, and hammer suit will allow Mario to use different weapons and techniques. A star will allow Mario to become invincible. Mario 3 is a bit easier than Mario 1 or Mario 2, but there is still a decent challenge to the game. When Nintendo decided to bring Mario into the world of 3D gaming, a lot of people said it couldn't be done. Well, let me just say that they were wrong. Super Mario 64 is a brilliant game, a game that launched the N64 perfectly. Super Mario Sunshine is a nice follow up to Super Mario 64, but there are some differences between the games.

The basic premise to any Super Mario Bros. game is to save the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser. Bowser has once again kidnapped Princess Peach Toadstool, but this time it is a bit different. This time Mario doesn't know that Bowser has kidnapped Peach. Instead, Mario, Peach and several of her servants are on their way to a vacation when a commercial for Isle Delfino pops onto the screen. They decide to go there. Once they land, they discover that the entire island is covered in goop, and that the culprit seems to be Shadow Mario. The police of Isle Delfino mistake Mario for Shadow Mario, and arrest him. His punishment is to clean the entire island. Oh yeah, and Shadow Mario kidnaps Peach (not a big surprise)!

So that is how the game starts. What do you do next? Well, instead of collecting stars this time around, you collect shine sprites. The same thing basically as stars, but these shine sprites control all of the power in Isle Delfino. Mario has all of his moves from Super Mario 64; jumping, swimming, wall-jumping, etc. The new feature is a water pack called F.L.U.D.D. Created by Professor E. Gadd (Luigi's Mansion), this device is essential to your quest. First of all, this pack is needed to clean the mess in Isle Delfino. Watering enemies kills them, plus this water pack gives Mario the chance to hover over areas in order to save him from falling. There are also times where Shadow Mario steals the water pack when you enter a stage, and you are forced to complete the stage without it. I must say that the camera in the game is really annoying. The one in Super Mario 64 was decent, but the one in Super Mario Sunshine is pretty bad. A lot of times when you are jumping, the camera will do a quick movement, and it usually causes you to fall.

To collect all of the shine sprites, you need to enter every world several times, as I said before. Sometimes to collect a shine sprite, it is as simple as beating a boss, or climbing a mountain. Other times you need to race against another character, or collect blue coins to trade in for a shine sprite. That at least shows that the game does offer a nice variety. A lot of people think that the game is a bit hard, and I have to agree a bit. Super Mario Sunshine is much harder than Super Mario 64. In that game you could collect over 50 stars in the first few easy levels alone. In Super Mario Sunshine, you must beat the first six parts of the level in order to face Shadow Mario. In Super Mario 64, you can do whatever you want, and skip certain parts of the stages if you want, but that does fly in Super Mario Sunshine. To get right to the point, Super Mario Sunshine is a bit harder than Super Mario 64.

The graphics are what amazed me about this game. What's so great about the graphics? Well, when this game came out in 2002, the world had never seen a game that looked so 'bright' before. The colors are awesome, and each environment had the most colorful detail. The character voices are pretty funny though. Baby Bowser sounds like he does in Mario Kart: Double Dash, Peach sounds very ditsy, and Bowser sounds just plain goofy.

The music is also a big part in the Mario series. However, most of the music is totally new. I like this; new game, new music. Some of the tunes are very memorable, including the boss theme. I still think that the music from the NES Mario games were better, but Super Mario Sunshine still had fantastic music regardless. The best part is how the underworld theme has been remixed with the original Super Mario Bros. World 1-2 music. Nice touch!

The game is just busting with replay value. As I said before, you only need to beat the first six parts of each stage in order to unlock Shadow Mario, and beat the stage. However, collecting all of the shine sprites will unlock a secret ending. The best reward might be the glory and pride from collecting all the shine sprites, which isn't an easy task. The game doesn't take that long to complete if you go for just the game completion, but collecting all of the shine sprites will take a long, long time. You can also play threw each stage with the ability for Mario to wear sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt.

In conclusion, I think that Super Mario Sunshine is a fantastic game, but it goes even farther than that. The game has the ability to grow onto you. I was impressed with the game for my first time threw, but you fall in love with it after multiple times threw. This is the game that helped make the Gamecube a success. Yes, I know the Gamecube isn't as successful as the NES or SNES, but times have changed. Nintendo now goes for quality over quantity. Super Mario Sunshine is a prime example.

So why should you buy this game? First of all this is the game that I believe made the Gamecube a true hit. But that really isn't the reason. Buy it because it is one of best games ever created. Buy it because it is a game anyone in the house can enjoy. Buy it because this game is the reason the Gamecube was so successful. Super Mario Sunshine is a fantastic game, one that will stand the test of time along side The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker on the Gamecube. Now if only they would do a 3D Mario game with the Koopa kids.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/10/05

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