Review: Super Mario Sunshine
Posted 05 Nov 2002 at 10:37 by Dan
Mario is quite possibly the most well know character in any form of entertainment ever. You could ask just about anyone in any country about Mario, and they would most likely know who he is. This is because Mario has been in great games throughout the history of Nintendo. None of his games have ever been bad (save Mario's Time Machine, or other knockoffs) and every Mario title has had a new innovation in gaming. This time around Mario is sporting a new innovation on his back, and he is back at another go to make video game history. But does this new game live up to the Mario legacy?
Every new Mario game has graphical improvements over the previous game, and each has turned some heads. The predecessor to SMS was the first Mario game in 3D, and it blew everyone away, and this new game has once again reached new heights for Mario gaming. The environments stretch off as far as the eye can see, and each one is filled with many things to gaze upon. Water makes up much of this game because you are on an island, but it is a very good thing. The water effects are amazing, the best I have ever seen. Oceans, lakes, and rivers look almost real, with realistic movments. Reflections play nicely off the surface, and you can see clear to the bottom of all of the bodies of water in the game.
However, Nintendo could have done a better job, and I am somewhat un-impressed by the overall presentation of the game. Some of the buildings that make up the island mainland look pretty bland, and they could have been spruced up a lot more to make the overall feel of the game better. The graphics aren't the best out there, they aren't even close, and I think it was a little disappointing to see that Nintendo didn't use the full potential of the Gamecube.
I think most would guess at this category already. Nintendo have always provided amazing sound-tracks for games, and this one is no exception. The tracks consist of old favorites, and some new comers as well. Some of the old tracks have been remixed to give them a more tropical feel to match to the mood of the island in which Mario visits. None of the tracks have been changed around so much as to make them bad, and most of them are just as good as the originals. There is nothing to gripe about in the music department in this game. The soundtrack is as good as gold.
The sound effects are also very good, with some voice acting to add to the mix. Princess Peach, among others now show us that they can speak. The voice acting, however is not very good, and could have been done without. Most of the game is shown in text, but the story is very simple, so there is not much to read. Mario is back with his patented woops, and ah has! Mostly is it all the same as the Marios before, but that is not a bad thing.
Each and every Mario game has tweaked and changed around the gameplay, but it has generally remained the same. The biggest jump before SMS was Mario 64 where Mario was first introduced to a 3d world. This time, Mario has been put into another 3d world, but now he has a new pal. FLUDD is his name, and cleaning goop is his game. FLUDD is basically a backpack that squirts out water. For some reason, FLUDD can talk, and at times it gets somewhat annoying. The backpack adds a new element to the game, and it works fairly well.
The story in SMS is about as complex as the other Mario game, so not much thinking is needed. The basic plot is that Mario decides to take a vacation with his good friend Princess Toadstool, Toad, and a new character; Miss Peach's chancellor. Anyway, they decided to go to the Isle Delphino and have some good R & R. However, when they arrive poor a mysterious man who looks just like him frames Mario. This mysterious man has been gooping up the island with his handy magic paintbrush, and all the Shine Sprites of the island have scattered. Mario is sentenced to clean up all the goop on the island so the Shine Sprites can return, and that is where the very uncomplicated story unfolds. Uncomplicated isn't necessarily a bad thing, and in this game it is just fine, because the fun gameplay is what drives the game.
Speaking of gameplay, SMS game has oodles of it. You jump, hover, and squirt your way to victory, and meet up with an old friend along the way. Yoshi is back, and he is better than ever (except he now has a dire fear of water, which is plentiful on this island). Mario must use his backpack attachments (4 in all) to battle the baddies of the island. This game is much like SM64 because you must collect 'Shines' to unlock more levels and beat the game. Each level you get to has different objectives in it, much like Super Mario 64. My only gripe here is that there are not as many levels as I would have liked, but I will get over it. What are new are the blue coins that you collect and trade for Shine Sprites at a store. The levels are now bigger and significantly harder than Mario 64. Beware of all objects with the word 'secret' in them because you are in store for some potentially frustrating times. The red coins are back, and in every level you must find all 8 to be rewarded a Shine Sprite. This is certainly a step up from Mario 64, but some people may have been expecting something different, and might think the new backpack somewhat strange. And it is, the concept is weird, but it works.
Mario is still the master of jumping even though he is somewhat over weight. He still possesses the triple jump, and the side jump. He also can still jump off walls like a maniac. Gone from his bag of tricks are the double back flip and long jump, but some new things have been added. He can now perform the spin jump, and many new things with his trusty backpack. He can squirt water in all directions with the R button. Holding down R lets his aim, but he can not run, and just pressing R lets Mario run around like a little fire engine. With the other main attachment he can hover for a short period of time to help him get across deep ravines and the such. The controls are very good, and you will get the hang of them VERY quickly.
The only problem in this game that will cause you some grief is the camera. It flies willy-nilly all over the screen on its own, and a lot of the time it goes to places you don't want it. Walls obstruct your view and make it very difficult to accomplish a seemingly simple task. The only savior of true disaster is the good old c- stick. You can manually control the camera with it, and it makes the camera almost perfect. The Y and L buttons also control camera functions and they come in handy many a time. However, you may find yourself fuming from the bad angels the game gives you, and find some lives lost because of the sometimes-atrocious camera.
This game will last you quite a while, with all the Shine Sprites to get, and all the blue coins to painstakingly find. There is a lot to explore in this game, and you will find it fun to do so. After completing this game, I cannot say, but I think most people will not give it another go. But, the first time through will give you many house of enjoyment.
This game is a gem, although somewhat disappointing in some aspects. Nintendo has done it again, and has given us an amazing game for any person of any age to enjoy. Casual and Hardcore gamers alike should make sure to check this game out, and at the very least give it a rent at your local rental store.
N-Europe Final Verdict
This is Mario people! Need I say more?