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Gamecube Reviews: Super Mario Sunshine


Super Mario Sunshine Screenshots

The Final Say!

Super Mario Sunshine - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 26 October 2002
Review Score: 9.6/10 
Distributor: Nintendo

"The King of the platformers is back!"

The Italian plumber known and loved the whole world over is back in his latest adventure, and the first on the Nintendo GameCube console: Super Mario Sunshine! And whilst I may not be the first to tell you, this game runs in extremely serious contention for one of the best platforming titles you'll have played for some time.


Super Mario Sunshine Features

  • 1 Player
  • Memory Card (Uses 7 Blocks)
  • Dolby Surround Pro Logic II
  • Skill Level - Beginner to Advanced
  • Game Type: Platform/Adventure
  • Progressive Scan Option


Mario and the Princess are taking some well deserved downtime off on the glorious island paradise of Isle Delfino, the main city of which turns out to be a hub for parts all over the island. The backgrounds and settings of the island are spectacular and for the most part are beautifully detailed and fully worthy of being in a Mario title. It always seems that Nintendo pulls out all stops for a Mario game and every one of them has it's own particular lustre.



There's only one problem with the island; the residents are miserable and they only have one person to blame: Mario! It seems that there has been someone who looks almost the same as Mario getting about Delfino spraying graffiti and goo all over the place, vandalising all the folk hold dear and also hiding their main source of light and power, the Shine Sprites.


After a particularly brief kangaroo court it is determined that Mario must clean up the island and recover the Shine Sprites. And of course, find the real culprit behind all the damage. The people of Delfino arm Mario with a water jetpack/cannon and thus begins in earnest Super Mario Sunshine.


The water cannon is a character in it's own right having the name of FLUDD and being a partly sentient apparatus that will advise Mario as he makes his way through the game.

FLUDD has a couple of key uses, those being a hover pack and water cannon which can be toggled by pressing X. The pack does have a tank which will run out and also FLUDD cannot be utilised until the water runs out. It is a timed affair and you can see the status of your current squirt by the colours shown on the tank. FLUDD will allow Mario to access areas that by himself he couldn't dream of and by jumping as high as you can and then using the hover function is brilliant. Water is the name of the game and your chief ally against all enemies. Luckily for the most part it is in abundance because you certainly need it.

Visually the game is an absolute feast for the eyes with bright colours and gorgeous shapes. The draw distance on the title lets you see from one end of the island to the other and it was only then that a slight texture problem was visible. When either testing the limits of the island by swimming out as far as you could or close to one of the cliff walls, the vine laden rock faces left a bit to be desired and were actually surprising to see considering the quality of everything else.

This was a very minor point however and the rest of the game is sheer eye candy that will have you entranced. Mario's animations are nothing short of perfect and he is a delight to control. The main point of view of the game is controlled by the player using the C stick however after a short learning period, it is easy to master.

The water and ocean on Super Mario Sunshine is nothing short of spectacular and hands down is the very best water I have ever seen on a video game. There is nothing that makes you think that it isn't real the way it eddies and swells and reacts to objects. Not even the brilliant water in Wave Race: Bluestorm can hold up to this H2O! Even real time reflections are visible in splashes of water and mirrored objects that will do nothing short of make a gamer gasp with delight.

The paint and goo taking over the island moves and swells with a life of it's own. The animations on it and the ghostly paint creatures that attack Mario are spectacular. Essentially I cannot find anything to downright criticise about this title in so far how it plays and looks.

Audio in the game is also magical with all sorts of effects in place to give that sense of realism within a cartoon world. Music is all the old school tunes but they do seem a little bit dated in this clearly next generation title. I think performing the tunes through instruments available to islanders would have been the icing on the cake so to speak. A point of reference as to how this can be carried out is in Luigi's Mansion when the haunted instruments play the Mario theme and it sounds absolutely excellent.

Then there's all the little attention to detail touches that still amaze me after playing it all this time. Mario gets dirty by fighting the paint monsters and cleaning up graffiti, with paint smearing his clothes and face. Once this occurs, take Mario for a swim. Amazingly the water around him will go cloudy as the paint washes off. Or for something different, spin him around and watch the paint go flying. Another neat trick is to use FLUDD as a cannon and spin as you shoot. Water will 'hit' the front of the screen and is delightful to witness.

The title is pleasantly long with over 25 hours of game time and even more if you persist in finding all the Shine Sprites and other treats and secrets. Yoshi is back and playable for the first time in a long time as well. With all the classic moves available to Mario from his previous adventures such as the wall jump  and bottom smash, players will delight in every facet of this stellar game. It's my heartfelt belief that this game is a system seller.

To summarise: This game is a must have title and every owner of a GameCube who doesn't own it is doing themselves an injustice. Get Super Mario Sunshine today! It is wonderful!

- Tory Favro

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com