Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64 was one of those games that rocked gamers. it put Mario into a 3D world for the second time (Super Mario RPG counts, right?). But the experience was endless, and masterful. Ever since Super Mario 64, gamers have wanted another 3D fix of Mario platforming. And Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario's creator delivered that to Nintendo's next generation console, GameCube. As of right now, any doubts you may have can be put to rest, right? WRONG. Super Mario Sunshine isn't perfect, but it's flaws are outweighed by its strengths. In this review, gameplay soars above all.
Super Mario Sunshine looks a lot like Super Mario 64, except that the worlds are a lot bigger and more colorful than before. The game is also a lot smoother, and who can ignore how great the water effects look? The water and the paint, any liquid effects, are wonderfully crafted in this game, it's unbelievable. The lighting and how bright the game looks is also a strong feature for Super Mario Sunshine.
However, the graphics system isn't perfect. The game looks more like a high end N64 games without the jaggies. That isn't bad, but one can easily tell this game was started on the N64, much like Eternal Darkness. The textures are OK, but they're really not the best textures the GameCube can do. It would have been nice to see some Sonic Adventure-type textures in the game, but I suppose the game's meant to be a little simplistic and colorful.
Luckily Miyamoto's crew managed to overcome the decidedly N64-ish graphics with large worlds and very good character models. Mario looks detailed, and so does Princess Peach and Chancellor, as well as the piranha plants and little squid that appear in the game. However, some polygon models just the bushes that appear throughout the game could have definitely been better. The stiff, life-less bushes look like they were ripped straight out of Super Mario 64.
But in the end, the theme of Super Mario Sunshine's graphics play out well. The game is Mario, and the graphics, despite being a little on the downside, represernt the Mario style well.
Super Mario Sunshine's gameplay is a lot different from Super Mario 64's gameplay. Never have I seen a direct sequel be so different from the last. Super Mario Bros. to Super Mario Bros. 2 Japan (note: not Super Mario Advance) comes to mind on how a sequel can be like the predecessor. But Super Mario Sunshine plays so differently that you might have trouble adjusting if you have gotten so used to Super Mario 64. The new feature is the Water Pack. It can be used to defeat all kinds of enemies in the game. Mario can't punch or kick creatures anymore, so his Water Pack will have to do the deed. It adds innovation to the way Mario goes places, too. The jet pack can bring him across chasms.
Luckily, Miyamoto kept some Super Mario 64 elements in, such as pounding, wall jumping, SHINE collecting and paint worlds. Mario is out to collect SHINE SPRITES, which are like the stars from Super Mario 64. He's also out to clean up Delfino Isle. The worlds Mario end up entering are similar in fashion to Super Mario 64 but the goals are different, and barely anything from Super Mario 64 has been reused.
In addition to the Water Pack are some courses where Mario must overcome obstacles to get the SHINE at the end. They are a lot like the Bowser levels from Super Mario 64, except they appear much more frequently. The slides from Super Mario 64 have returned, except that now, they're much more difficult than before. It can take you quite awhile to get through some of the slides and obstacles.
The difficulty of the game is also apparently early in the game. Not only will you definitely end up turning the game off in anger, you might even end up breaking the game disc. The game is tough, especially in the beginning of the game. If you thought Super Mario 64 was pie, wait until the jellyfish get you in this game. It gets a lot harder in the second half, requiring the gamer to have a lot of patience.
The biggest woe of gameplay, though not a big one, is the poor camera. The camera rivals Sonic Adventure 2: Battle in being so poor and not well thought out. Luckily we can rotate the camera but sometimes too much zooming in is required. it order to have the best camera experience, you can't be too close or too far from Mario, but sometimes in high areas, the camera's can be awful. Luckily when Mario's behind curtains to sails, his shadow can be seen, which helps fixes a few of the issues but it doesn't perfect it much.
Overall, Super Mario Sunshine doesn't have many woes when it comes to gameplay. Despite having a sloppy camera system, the game is a masterpiece when it comes to pure gaming, and perfects the Mario formula even further.
I always give sound a 10, and Super Mario Sunshine is no exception. Sound-wise, it reflects the Mario theme. The style of music from Super Mario 64 returns in Super Mario Sunshine. The voice acting, is mediocre at best but it's not a big deal. The toads can be annoying, but any non-toad character has good voice acting, especially the judge and the DA (district attorney AKA prosecutor (SP)). The chancellor has a great voice, as well. Sound-wise, the game's solid and we'll leave it at that.
Luckily, more buttons allows for more versatility that what Super Mario 64 offered. The controls are well thought how and show how much the controller would suit Nintendo games more than other games. The controller layout is logical. A is to jump, or swim when moving the Control Stick. The camera moves at whim unless a building is in the way, and the R and L triggers are responsive. It's basically Super Mario 64's control layout on the GameCube controller, while adding extra actions for the extra gameplay in Super Mario Sunshine. The only bad part is that when Mario is swimming, he can have trouble swimming down to the bottom of an ocean body, or getting back up, but that really isn't stopping the game from having solid, near-perfect control.
Replay Value 9.2
Who wouldn't want to replay Mario? The game is so fun to play that replaying the game for nostalgic purposes can be really enjoyable. Some stories can be completed in different ways each time, that it's the only way to fully enjoy the Shine Get (tm) experience. It doesn't have as much replay value as say, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle but Super Mario Sunshine is a lot more fun to play, so replaying some missions aren't a bad idea.
The story of Super Mario Sunshine is a lot deeper than Super Mario World or Super Mario 64 (though not as deep as Super Mario RPG or Paper Mario). Supposedly after being saved from King Boo by Luigi, Mario went on a vacation to Isle Delfino with Princess Peach and a bunch of toads. Upon arrival, Mario sees paint on the runway of the plane and grabs a Water Pack to clean it up. He's then arrested (!!!) and sentenced to cleaning Delfino Island because of a suspect who looks like Mario. His Water Packs tells him of a SHINE he found on the runway and how it restores light to Delfino. While cleaning the paint at one location, the imposter arrives and takes Princess Peach. Mario catches up to the imposter and frees Peach. The imposter creates a paint world like what Bowser did in Super Mario 64, and Mario journeys to find the SHINES to restore light back into the Isle.
Pretty complicated, huh? Not really, but at least Miyamoto dumped the ''kidnapped Peach'' thing that he used in 5 Mario games already. The storyline is fairly deep for a Mario game, and shows that Miyamoto was listening!
Super Mario Sunshine is definitely the game you all bought a GameCube for. It's simply a great sequel to have in your Mario collection, and will be for a long time.
Super Mario Sunshine: Miyamoto promised, and delivered!