Super Mario Sunshine - GCN Classic Review

Super Mario Sunshine is the next in line 3D Mario game following Mario 64, and it is also the first ACTUAL Mario game for the Nintendo GameCube. Although Luigi's Mansion had been released before it, it featured a completely different style of gameplay, and stared Mario's brother Luigi instead. Unlike Luigi's Mansion, Super Mario Sunshine once again stars our hero Mario, but this time with quite a bit twist which has caused a split in the fan base. So what is this major change? Why is the fan base split? Well...

Lets go to the Tropical Island of Isle Delfino:

Although most Mario games are pretty light on the story, Super Mario Sunshine actually has a much more detailed story, and it actually gives Mario more of a reason to do what he is doing. At the start of the game Mario, Peach, Toadsworth, and a few toads decide to fly out to a tropical island called Isle Delfino. The place is said to be an amazing tropical resort with a lot of food, beautiful beaches, and amazing attractions (such as a theme park); however when they finally arrive at the island, they find that not everything is as it should be.

On the landing strip appears to be a massive blob of slug and grime, and the island is in a panic. After wondering around the air port, Mario soon comes across a device called Fludd which was created by Professor E Gadd. Fludd is a type of massive water gun which straps onto the users back, and well, can shoot water (as well as provide advice as it seems). After Mario straps Fludd to his back and starts to clean up the graffiti, a huge Piranha Plant rises out of the mess, and begins to attack. Finally after taking down the Piranha Plant, two police officers slowly walk up to Mario to thank him for all his hard work... And throw him in jail.

It turns out the person running around the island with a magic paint brush, that spreads graffiti, was none other than Mario! Despite the fact that Mario and company just arrived at the island, the judge rules in the town's favor, and Mario is given community service. Using Fludd Mario must clean up the island, return the Shine Sprites which made the place such an amazing island paradise, and return everything to normal.
Not too long after Mario starts his clean up, he runs into "Shadow Mario" who is the actual cause of the problem, and he soon finds himself going on an adventure to save Princess Peach once again.

Cleaning up Isle Delfino:

Like in Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine features a type of "over world" and many different levels to travel to as well; however this time everything has been improved on. While in Mario 64 all you could really do was explore the castle, in Sunshine you can actually explore the entire island! The island is filled with places to explore, levels can be found allover the city, and even yoshi can be used later on. Although most of the levels are unlocked by gaining Shine Sprites (which work as the Stars did in 64), Mario can also unlock other Fludd power ups which allow him to access different areas.

Whenever Mario comes across a strange rainbow graffiti, you can use Fludd to spray it and open an entry way into another level. Just like with jumping into paintings in Mario 64, jumping into these strange graffiti patches will send Mario across the island into a completely new location with a brand new goal to complete.
Before each area starts, you are actually given the option to select a set mission to take on. Each area has quite a few missions, and each mission gives you a Shine Sprite, but some missions will remain locked until you have completed others in the very same area. While normally the first mission of each area revolves around Mario cleaning up messes and fighting a boss, other missions come in a wide verity of different forms. From racing, to collecting hidden items, to solving the mystery at the haunted hotel, there's plenty of different types of missions for you to complete, and it never gets old.

Now I know a lot of what I said sounds just like Mario 64, the over world, the levels, the missions, the Shine Sprites (Stars), etc, but there is one thing that makes Super Mario Sunshine very unique, and that's Fludd.

As I said before Fludd is a water gun which sprays water to clean up messes; however that is not his only abilities. Since Mario cannot kick or punch in this game, Fludd is his main source of combat, and he can be used in many different ways. While holding down the R button will spray a stream of water at whatever your target is, lightly pressing it will simply spray water as you run around to clean up the graffiti. There are also spin and jump moves which you can preform while holding down the spray button, but these moves have a very limited amount of uses, and are something you will mostly forget about for most of the game; however the next few abilities are the complete opposite.

Throughout the game Fludd can receive upgrade parts which change what his secondary "spray" is, and they are all important. At the very start of the game, Fludd starts out with a type of Jet Pack spray which shoots two streams of water toward the ground which allows Mario to hover/fly for a short amount of time. This allows Mario to access areas that would normally be off limits, or even save him from a fall. As for the other power ups, they serve completely different purposes. While one is a rocket which allows you to reach higher areas, the other is a type of jet which allows Mario to run at super fast speeds, and fly across the water! They really are fun power ups to play with, but they really end up being more for puzzle solving in a few key areas.

Although Fludd does in fact take water to recharge, don't worry there's water around every turn, he can preform a wide verity of actions, and makes what might have been a limiting game, not so limiting. Fludd allows for a much wider verity of missions than we saw in Mario 64, he gives Mario a completely new move set, and he is a very likeable character who actually really adds to the story.

The Realistic Island:

One of the major differences about Sunshine's game world and 64's game world is the fact that it is realistic. Although you are still warping through magical paint to get to different areas, everything is also connected. As you walk around the main town you can actually see the rest of the areas of the game. The theme park is in the difference, you can see the volcano, you can see the other beaches, and you can also see the docks. Everything is right there, but with something blocking you from actually walking to it. It really adds a sense of realism to the game, which is something you normally don't see in a Mario game.

Unlike other Mario games, Sunshine also features full voice acting! Sure Mario is his quiet self like always, but Toadsworth, Peach, the toads, the villagers, and even Fludd are completely voiced during all cutscenes. It was actually a little bit shocking to see voice acting in a Mario game, at least to this extent, but at the same time it was a much welcomed addition!

The Gameplay:

Although I already touched on this earlier in the review, the gameplay of Super Mario Sunshine is what really makes it stand out. Like in past games, Super Mario Sunshine is a completely 3D action platformer which gives you different goals to complete as you collect the Shine Sprites. Each area is completely filled with graffiti which Mario must clean up using water, or else it will hurt him, but there really is much more to the gameplay than that.

Every single area in the game is flat out HUGE! They are wide open areas, with many hidden areas to find and explore, and a lot of different type of enemies. Although most enemies simply require you to clean them off or use water to push something into them, there are still some classic enemies which are defeated by jumping on their heads. Sometimes enemies can feel quite a bit like a puzzle, but it never feels like a chore to clean them up or defeat them!

While most areas are completely open "adventure field" like areas, there are also other areas that take on a completely different style of play. Since Sunshine is in fact a Mario platformer, don't be too shocked when you come across levels that focus completely on the platforming aspect. Floating platforms in mid air that move and turn on you, tight jumps that you wouldn't have made without Fludd's help, and enemies that you have to avoid to keep from falling off the stage. The classic Mario platforming is still there; however for the most part it does take a back seat to the rest of the game.

Really, unlike most Mario games, Sunshine is a challenging game despite being rated E for everyone. While the platforming can be a bit tricky at times, there are also some missions that may have kids that play this confused; the Hotel for example. Although the Hotel is one of the more creative levels in the game, it is filled with mysteries that can be quite hard to solve. From finding hidden passages that lead you into another room which apparently has a trap door that leads you into another room, to flat out just figuring out where to go, the game can become quite confusing (especially for younger players). Still if one area were to be too hard, it's always good to know that there are other missions out there which you can earn Shine Sprites from. Since the game doesn't require you to collect all of them to complete it, some missions CAN be skipped! (The only down side is that the island wont be as bright and sunny in the end.)

The Sunshine, and the Shadows:

Super Mario Sunshine is a fun game, there's no doubt about it. The world and levels are amazingly huge and fun to explore, Fludd's mechanics are a really nice and fun addition to the game, the story is amazing for a Mario game, it's nice that the game has voice acting, the entire game is bright and sunny and really makes you feel like you're on an island paradise, and it's really nice to see that they brought yoshi back. The wide verity of levels and missions are also really nice, the game is challenging for the ones who want a challenge, and it has easy missions for the casual gamer, and all of the bosses are unique as well. In other words the game really is an amazing game, and a must have if you own a GameCube, but it still might not be for everyone.
Since the game focuses on Fludd, most of the Mario 64 gameplay you may be a fan of is gone. No more punching and kicking, no finding power ups like the wing cap, and since the game doesn't take place in the mushroom kingdom, don't expect to see many familiar enemies either. Super Mario Sunshine is FILLED with new content, and that right there is what caused a split in the fan base. The game is an either "love the changes" or "hate it because it's not Mario 64" type of game, and that's all there is to it.

The game has no real down sides, besides being different, and that really isn't something I'd call a "down side." Super Mario Sunshine is great, and because of that I'm giving it a 10/10! Just keep in mind that this game is NOT Mario 64.

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