Review / Test:
Mamma mia, that's a game !
But for some people, Super Mario Sunshine, it's just: "the camera sucks", "it's too much like Mario 64", "it's not as good as Mario 64", "I think this is badly done (because I'm lame at it)". The truth is that Mario Sunshine is an excellent and challenging game, shining with originality and creativity more than Mario 64 which mostly adapted to 3D the classic 2D universe.
In Mario Sunshine, Nintendo came up with new ideas, new characters and new ways to play, along with a few conservative elements from the Mario series and the N64 version especially, to make the player feels comfortable. Nintendo didn't choose to keep and to change what we expected; that's perhaps why some people complain and why we often hear contradictory comments like "it's less good than Mario 64 / it's like Mario 64". Super Mario Sunshine is not perfect and maybe the fun wears out a bit faster than in the past Mario, because the quest for the 120 stars becomes tedious near the end mostly due to the blue coins, but it has some huge qualities; one of them is that the fun revives itself very quickly and easily when you start playing again; it's always hard to put the controler down once you grabbed it.
In this new adventure, Mario has to clean up Delphino island from mischief. A strange impersonator called Shadow Mario is covering the isle with some magic painting which makes people and things disappear in it. Mario uses a water pump to wash the goo, it also turns into a jet pack for flying and, later in the game, into a turbo and a rocket. He will also meet his friend Yoshi, this good ol' green dino, who can help him for some tough jumping sequences. Mainly, there are two types of action, free-roaming 3D with the water pump, and old-school 3D platform without the pump. It gives a great diversity, so do the multiple tasks (finish an episode, find the secret stars, find the blue coins, find 100 coins...). You can complete the game fully or not, whether you go hunting for the 120 Shines or not, and basically you can play it in the order you want. For my part and as an example, I haven't finished all the levels yet although I collected around 200 blue coins and found several stars (100 for now). There's lot of freedom in Mario Sunshine, you can just enjoy yourself running and jumping around or explore and try different things. For instance, instead of chasing Shadow Mario when you have to, you can see other interesting things in the level. That's why in my opinion Mario Sunshine is so much better than Starfox Adventures. There's no freedom at all in Rare's title, you just do the things in the order; the idea of doing something out of the way doesn't even come to your mind.
Mario shines also with creativity. True, there are some elements from Mario 64, like gathering the red coins or racing Il Piantissimo. These few common points of the gameplay mechanics are little compared to the amount of original ideas; you could just write a review with nothing else but telling one by one all the unique ideas: the electric goo of the Shadow Manta Ray, the dune buds, the sand bird, the teeth of the eel, the hidden passages in the wall, the secrets of the hotel, eliminating the enemies by filling them with water, the red coins and the fishes (in two different ways, err, difficult to explain, just play it !), etc, etc... plus all the different uses and effects of the water pump, all the twists and weird platorms of the classic levels. That's not all. It's also a visual blast, though not as detailed as some other GameCube games, Mario's adventure is clear, shiny, sunny, fresh, beautiful ! The character design is very original, none of the enemies (Cataquacks, the smalls guys in spotted pants...) or friends (Pianta, Noki...) look like someone seen in another game before. Even the style of the menu is brilliant: the colors of the episodes selection screen, the text box, the screen display, the map, it's all neat, colorful and, once again, original. It's very funny too, the friendly characters have tons of humorous speech, I don't know if it's the English translation which is especially good or if the Japanese writer was such a joker, but it's a real pleasure to read. Personally, I always ensure I talk to everybody, and there's a lot of people to talk to. Well, yeah, the text is too, very original.
Every aspect of the game is blessed with Nintendo's touch of creativity if you bother paying attention to it. While game makers like Naughty Dog are just awfully inspired by Disney's work and other US cartoons though they probably don't want to admit it (Jak & Dexter = Aladdin, Sly Racoon = classic Disney comics, Ratchet & Clank = Jak & Dexter, Crash Bandicoot = Taz, etc...), Nintendo just make new things with their own style. They don't get their ideas by digging in someone else's field. Anyway, the music and the sound effects of Mario Sunshine are very good too. There are many interesting sound effects, well chosen like Yoshi's noises or very precise like Mario's steps on different surfaces, also a large variety of speech sounds for the inhabitants and a little voice acting for Mario, including the rare "oh, arrivederci !" when losing a life. Very traditional is the music, nothing big, almost nothing a cartridge couldn't do, it's Mario's spirit, simple yet good melodies. You will have them going around in your mind and that's something pretty unusual nowadays for game music. A special award for the animation, with some very smooth and detailed motions for Mario, the way he handles the different functions of the pump, when you look carefully at it, is amazingly realistic. Same thing about the numerous water effects.
Mario's latest adventure is great, this opinion is not the isolated delirium of a fan boy, but a fact. Yep, a fact like Mario got good scores in most reviews, like most decent players enjoyed their experience and only a few morons said it was crap. That doesn't mean Super Mario Sunshine is critic-proof, it has some serious weaknesses like a too restrained amount of levels, a very few detestable scenes (the awful flipper board level, one of the worst Nintendo's idea ever) and too much repetiousness in some taks. Still, its qualities prevail for one reason: not a single game with a style of its own has done as well so far. A wonderful game for sure, the question is can you appreciate it ?
Samurai Nintendo thinks this game is suitable for everyone (kids over 7, teens and adults)
Official story and features:
"Seeking well-deserved rest and relaxation, Mario and Princess Peach travel to a beautiful remote island. It is said the local citizens are friendly and the weather forecast suggests year-round sunshine. However, when they get to the island, they quickly find out that the peaceful paradise has been polluted by a mysterious stranger. Worse still, the individual bears a striking resemblance to Mario! Determined to clear his reputation and clean up the island, Mario sets off on his greatest adventure yet."
Story from Nintendo site
"- Discover the first Mario title for Nintendo GameCube, developed by a team under the supervision of Mario's celebrated creator Shigeru Miyamoto.
- Explore the game's colorful 3-D world, filled with expansive environments.
- Restore the power of Shine to keep the island clean.
- Wash away island mess to restore the community to its pristine condition using Mario's new water pump device.
- Perform a number of different jumps, bounce off walls, run, slide, climb, and fly to the highest reaches - more mobility than ever before.
- Bask in cheery graphics, real-time lighting effects and stunning reflections that bathe the island in sunshine.
- Visit Yoshi, Toad and a host of other friends as Mario encounters a collection of enemies bent on foiling his efforts to restore the island."
Features from Nintendo site
Man, what can I say? I just absolutely love this game. I can't get over it. When I'm depressed, I just pop this game into the GC, turn the tv on and have a great time. The colorful and cheerful and well made (sooo many 'and's...) graphics really get one's spirit up and it's just so great to jump on the locals (mwahahahaha....). I always get a laugh and loads of fun from this wonderful game. Whoever says this game sucks doesn't know what they're talking about. I love this game! Wheeeee!... fear my weirdness.
-- From Just Me
I've had this game forever and beaten it about 100 times. But I still love it. It's incredible.
-- From Jayden
Almost everyone plays Mario games, knowing that most of them were going to be instant hits (everyone had to agree that "Mario is Missing" was a very stupid game, right?). Mario Sunshine is a new world to describe. It's very much like Mario 64, just slap in some new (and great) features like FLUDD for instance. And I pity those stupid morons who said it was @#$!. It has a lot more humor than Mario 64. I love everything in this game except the way Mario looks when you're in the water and then drown (It looks a little creepy, okay!)
-- From an anonymous player
As a total Mario fanatic (my obsession falling short only to Legend of Zelda), this game continues the legacy of Mario, possibly the most world-renowned character in all of gaming, with a unique and ultimately fantastic twist on the original gameplay. Unlike my feelings about the changes for Zelda: Wind Waker, this change in storyline for Mario Sunshine was a great move. It's innovative and the graphics are astounding. I loved the idea behind it, with the "good" Mario/"bad" Mario...it's much more of a "story" than just going through all the levels collecting stars (though I loved Mario 64, don't get me wrong). The quotations are hilarious, and the character responses to events are entertaining. Definitely recommend it to any hard-core Mario fan...and even not-so-hard-core ones.
-- From FairyPix