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Super Mario Sunshine

Developer:
Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Players: Single

Additions: 
Force Feedback

ESRB Rating: EveryoneESRB Information

Overall Rating9.3 / 10

Nintendo GameCube was the first video game console launched worldwide by Nintendo without the support of a Mario game. With the launch of Super Mario Sunshine, Nintendo will begin the most aggressive assault it's ever mounted to win back its position the video game industry. At this year's Electronics Entertainment Expo, Nintendo introduced Game Giants - a reference to their strongest franchises - as their focal strategy to dominating this year's holiday season. Super Mario Sunshine will be the first to the forefront, followed by Star Fox Adventures, Metroid Prime, and the Legend of Zelda.

In Super Mario Sunshine, entirely new game elements are combined with classic Mario gameplay to create one of the most unique and enjoyable Mario adventures yet. The storyline of Super Mario Sunshine is much different than previous games in the series. The adventure begins when Mario and Peach decide to take a vacation to the beautiful Dolphic Island. When the couple arrives on the island, they notice ugly scribble marks covering the walls throughout the community. What's worse, the person responsible for the scribbling has disguised himself to look just like Mario. Falsely accused by the locals, Mario decides to investigate the situation. Armed with a new water-pumping backpack, Mario climbs trees, wall jumps off buildings, hangs from gates, walks on on tightropes, and swims through coral reefs on his quest to reveal the identity of the true villain.

Sunshine's controls are easy to pick up and very responsive. The GameCube controller was practically designed for this game. Mario's classic jumps have returned and a new hover spin jump was added, which can be executed by spinning the analog stick 360 and pressing A. While most everything else should be straightforward to anyone who has played Mario 64, the backpack functions do take a little bit of explaining. The R button spray's Mario's backpack and refills it when pressed under water. Meanwhile, X will toggle the backpack between its spray and hover functions.

Jump

Speak, Grab, Slide

Select Pump Function

Camera Controls

Ground Pound

Spray & Direct Water

Sidestep

Spin Jump


The truly defining aspect of Super Mario Sunshine's is unquestionably Mario's new water backpack, named F.L.U.D.D. The idea for Mario's water backpack came from Yoshiaki Koizumi, Director of Super Mario Sunshine. Like the special suits and hats of earlier Mario games, the inventive devise adds an entirely new dynamic to Mario's adventure and allows for many new gameplay elements. The backpack can be toggled to spray a stream of water in any direction or shoot downward to propel Mario into the air. Mario can use both backpack functions to clear sludge and defeat enemies. Enabling Mario to hover for extended lengths, the pack also greatly increases Mario's mobility. Later in the game, additional nozzles can be found, giving Mario the ability to perform incredibly high jumps and propel himself around levels. Players will also have to worry about conserving water and finding locations to refill Mario's backpack.


"When I submitted the basic proposal for the game to Mr. Miyamoto, I had already come up with the water-pistol idea. I tried to explain how the analog stick could make players feel the touch of a water pistol... What I really wanted to reproduce with this new game were the feelings we had in our childhoods when we were playing. The water pistol idea came from this effort. I wanted players to feel the coldness of water. I wanted players to engage in mischief, such as watering other characters or playing with mud." - Yoshiaki Koizumi


After an eleven year absence, Mario's close friend Yoshi finally returns in Super Mario Sunshine. Yoshi speeds along Mario's quest and even adds additional depth to the game's gameplay. Like the meter on Mario's backpack, Yoshi now carries a juice meter that gradually runs out as Mario rides him. The meter can be replenished by feeding him fruit. Yoshi can even throw up fruit punch for some humorous ends.

Sunshine's controls are easy to pick up and very responsive. The basic system is derived from Super Mario 64 and the button layout is near flawless. In many respects, GameCube's controller almost seems like it was designed for this game. Mario's transition into three dimensions brought with it some difficulties first seen in Mario 64. The camera system in particular is still somewhat of an obstacle and is perhaps the game's only significant flaw. While game designers wanted to give players near autonomous control over the camera system, the system's occasional failure to auto-correct can be very frustrating. 

Mario's water backpack serves to resolve at least one control issue by improving the gamer's ability to manipulate Mario as he jumps from one platform to another. Miyamoto explains, "Making precise movements, such as jumping, are not easy in 3D games... Hovering contributes to the smooth play." Because the game's designers felt the water backpack could make certain levels too easy to navigate, use of the tool is limited in some areas of the game.

Graphically, Super Mario Sunshine is somewhat varied. At times the game can be less than impressive. However, Miyamoto created Mario's environment to been one of fantasy and imagination so any expectation that the game's appearance should have rivaled the likes of Star Fox Adventures would be unfair. This is not to say that Super Mario Sunshine's graphics aren't beautiful. The game's colorful worlds have a life of their own and are incredibly fun to explore. From any point in a level, Mario can see structures and animated characters clear to the horizon. Additionally, the real-time lighting effects in the game are nothing short of spectacular. Keep an eye out for free moving fully-reflective surfaces. The sludge, water, and heat wave effects are also beautifully designed and very entertaining. 

Overall, Super Mario Sunshine can be viewed as Mario 64 taken to the next level in every possible respect. The new environments of Dolphic Island in addition to Mario's water backpack create an entirely new feel to the Mario experience.


"Thanks for saving us Mario, but our princess is in another castle."


Super Mario Sunshine may not be Mario's only adventure on GameCube though. According to Nintendo, Mario could be returning for a second time around sooner than you might expect. When designing Super Mario Sunshine, Nintendo established a new GameCube development system that permits for significantly reduced game project times. According to Miyamoto, once the system was created, Super Mario Sunshine took only a year and a half to develop. In a recent interview Miyamoto expressed great interest in developing another Super Mario game for GameCube and commented that key designers of the Mario series have been divided into several teams, "in order to introduce Mario series games with less lag time between them."

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Restore the power of Shine to keep the island clean.


Wash away island mess to restore the community to its pristine condition.


Perform a number of different jumps, bounce off walls, run, slide, climb, and fly


Visit Yoshi, Toad and a host of other friends as Mario encounters a collection of enemies bent on foiling his efforts to restore the island.


IGN Cube:

"After spending innumerable hours with the new platform-based adventure... Mario Sunshine is simply the most entertaining and well-done 3D platformer we've ever played. It's not perfect by any means, but fun-factor rules all, and by our gauge Nintendo delivers up one of its best games in years..."

9.4


Gamers.com:
"Sunshine is a thoroughbred classic through and through, and anyone with the slightest inclination will be putting their $50 in the right hands when they pick it up. It has more flair, more variety, and more sheer fun than just about anything else you could play, on any platform..."

10!


Game Spot:
"The Mario series has almost always been nothing short of incredible. If you've been playing video games for even a few years and have tried to come up with a list of the best games ever made, chances are you placed at least two or three Mario games high on that list..."

8.0


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August 26, 2002


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