Review by InfernoCrossing
Water water everywhere...no joke, it IS everywhere!
Super Mario Sunshine is a really debatable game. There are those that think of it as a "revolutionary step for Mario", and then there are those that think of it as "the fall of the Mario era". To be completely honest here, both of those sayings are actually right. This game is a great game. But then, a lot of it is a little cliche to be exact. There a lot of minor flaws to be dealt with and can only be fatal to those that are serious gamers.
The story, as it always does in Mario games, revolves around the main hero, Mario. This time around, though, Mario should've been relaxing. But, he won't be getting anything but action for now. When the Airstrip Peach's plane was supposed to land on is covered with goo, Mario quickly befriends the the ingenious FLUDD (Flash Liquid Ultra Dousing Device) and cleans up the place. Bad news, Mario, you're convicted of a crime! Actually, Mario didn't commit the crime, "Mario" commited the crime. By that, I mean that Mario has arrived at a bad time. A stranger that looks completely like Mario (although the second Mario is silvery, blue, and almost transparent) is wreaking havoc among the single-cell brained residents of Isle Delfino.
This is where YOU (and by you, I mean you playing as Mario) come in to save the day. You have to clean up the mess and pollution that's covering the entire island. You also have to find a way to track down and capture the real perpetrator. Only by doing so, can you actually free yourself from the island and the chains of forced labor. Although, just like most Mario games, Peach has been kidnapped, and you have to find her again. She really needs better bodyguards, doesn't she?
Sadly, Mario is powerless to do anything about this. What needs to be done, is that he need to collect shiny items called Shine Sprites. These are the main source of light for the Pinatas and Nokis that inhabit the island. The light was majorly drained after the Shine Gate in the Plaza was kicked in the knee with pollution. You have to collect these and open up the Shine Gate to save Peach, along with the residents of the Island. Pretty cliche to be honest.
The graphics in this game shine a LOT more than the actual plot. The story of the game revolved around two major graphics, water and pollution. In order to make it look vivid, the graphic designers had to put a lot of work into it. The pollution varies, mostly because the creators probably didn't want only one color for gamers to clean up. One type of muck is just a bland black or dark brown. This isn't the most popular type however. The most commonly used type of pollution is filled with colors and it looks like it's moving like water. In fact, the colors are so vivid that it looks like the pollution you're cleaning up is candy, although it really isn't.
The water graphics in this game are actually pretty fluid. They almost look real that it's pretty convincing. You can also occasionally manage to get some globs of water to actually shoot at the screen, although it doesn't stay there. Although the water looks awesome and all, it's quality can not really make up for it's vast quantity in the game (heed my review title). Almost everywhere you go, you encounter some amount of water that it'll make you pretty sick. That's a major flaw in this game.
The music in this game is pretty mediocre. I'm not saying that it's bad, it's just mediocre. It does have it's good parts though. One thing that I always liked about Nintendo games is that they always fitted the theme of an area with the correct kind of music. They continued that "tradition", I suppose, in this game. They matched a certain fun-filled area with an exciting and jumpy tune. There's also a tune in the hidden stages that will be really familiar to really hardcore Mario fans out there.
The sound in this game is only slightly better than that of the music. From water spraying to jumping on things that looks like Goombas, but aren't, the sound has something to provide to everyone. When you squirt water out of FLUDD, you get something that sounds like water being forced through a narrow tube with a lot of force.
Another big step that Nintendo made an attempt at doing is voice-acting. Actually, it's not that bad. Most characters sound like they're supposed to. Do not get your hopes up though, I know what you're thinking. You think since Nintendo has implemented voice acting that Mario is finally gonna have a voice to speak with, right? Well, Mario has as much talk in him as a desert has trains-in other words, very little. The only part that dictates that Mario can talk is the brief scene near the beginning when Mario is talking with Toadsworth about what to do, but that's about it. You still get his traditional jumping sounds though. When you are almost out of health, Mario will start sounding exhausted. He will make an odd noise whenever you make him perform an action, such as jumping, diving, or sliding. Remember though, I've warned you about those noises, so when your health bar is running low, find some coins or grab an Ultra Shroom before your parents come in and see you.
The gameplay here is almost the same as most other Mario games, so I'll break this section down into several parts, starting with the most basic things to know. One basic thing to watch out for is Mario's health bar. It's that sun in the top right corner of your screen. Whenever Mario gets hurt, a bar of health, a ray of light represents a bar of health, is lost. In order to regain your energy, you have to collect either coins, blue coins, red coins, or Ultra Shrooms. Regular Yellow coins heal one bar of health. Ultra Shrooms fully heal your health. Blue coins heal you by two points. Red coins are only available in certain levels and they heal one bar of health.
There are also things you can collect on the island, other than Shine Sprites of course. Blue coins can be used to buy Shine Sprites, but they are relatively hard to find, since they are hidden among several different areas. They can be easy pickings, or hard as heck to find. Another thing you can collect are lives to use. There are two ways to get lives, collecting 50 coins, and collecting Ultra Shrooms. In each level, there are several coins to collect, and once you hit 50 coins, you get a life. Hidden throughout Isle Delfino are Ultra Shrooms. These are seriously hard to find. The only way to find one is to look very carefully at your surroundings or to randomly bump into them. You can also earn them by collecting fruit for Piantas.
The epic wait is over, for the Yoshi has made a triumphant return in this game. After completing a set number of stages, you get the Yoshi Egg, but only after a small battle for it. In order to get the Yoshi to come out, you have to give it fruit. The type of fruit you give to your Yoshi will determine it's color, and you can always feed it again afterwards to change it's color. Ironically, the fruit in the market area is arranged by what color it will turn your Yoshi. It makes it that much easier to handle your Yoshi to it's full extent. You'll be able to ride Yoshi and reach unimaginable heights with this little dinosaur guy. His abilities will also make your adventures a little easier, or tougher, depending on how you use or abuse Yoshi's powers. Squirting Yoshi's juice will turn the enemy into a platform that will move according to what color your Yoshi is, for a moment though. Certain animals will also turn into coins if Yoshi licks them.
Regardless of whether you are a hardcore Mario fan, or just starting up the series with this game, this game is a great staple to your collection of Gamecube games. I guarantee that this game will at least give you a week of excitement, or at least five days. There's a lot to do around Isle Delfino. You just have to look behind all of it's flaws. If you can't get behind the flaws, then find another way around it so you can enjoy what this game has to offer you.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Super Mario Sunshine (US, 08/25/02)
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