Super Mario Sunshine
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Super Mario Sunshine is a 2002 3D platformer set in the Mario series released on July 19, 2002 developed and published by Nintendo for the GameCube. It is the second 3D game in the Super Mario franchise, following Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64 in 1996. It was re-released on Super Mario 3D All-Stars, along with Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy, for the Nintendo Switch on September 18, 2020.
Mario, Peach, and several Toads go on a vacation to Isle Delfino, a tropical resort island shaped like a dolphin. Upon arriving, however, they find the whole island has been vandalized with a strange paint-like goop which caused the island's source of power, the Shine Sprites, to get scattered all over the place.
Mario obtains a powerful water spraying device named F.L.U.D.D. which he can use to clean the goop, however the resident Piantas blame Mario for the mess and force him to clean all the goop. Mario soon realizes that there's a "Shadow Mario" who is responsible for the goop and incriminating him. Mario embarks on a quest to recover the Shine Sprites, clean Isle Delfino, and capture his impersonator in order to clear his reputation.
Why It Rocks
- It is the most story driven 3D Mario game, with a fully developed plot beyond "Save Peach" (That being said, this still is the main goal of this game).
- It is also the only 3D Mario game with full voice acting.
- Bowser Jr. makes his debut in the series.
- Much like Super Mario 64, levels are big open areas with multiple objectives that take Mario to different sections of the worlds.
- The controls and camera are significantly improved from Super Mario 64, while also adding some new moves for Mario.
- The new main mechanic, F.L.U.D.D., greatly expands Mario's mobility and is used very efficiently with the level design. It has four nozzles:
- Some missions involve doing challenging platforming courses without using F.L.U.D.D., which makes great use of Mario's acrobatic mobility and ensures the player won't become over-reliant on F.L.U.D.D.
- Since the game takes place on a distant island far away from the Mushroom Kingdom, all the enemies in the game are very unique and not the typical Goombas and Koopas.
- Even though the frame rate never goes above 30 FPS, the graphics are outstanding for the time, with the main highlight being the water graphics and distance ripple.
- Many creative and fun boss battles.
- Yoshi returns and functions similarly to Super Mario World.
- Getting a 100% completion on this game is incredibly frustrating due to some missions being either poorly designed like the Pachinko course, or have close to zero margin for error. This isn't helped by needing to find all 240 Blue Coins, some of which are locked to specific missions without any indication and to often have very cryptic methods to find them.
- All you get for getting every Shine Sprite are a postcard, a new costume, and the screen darkens, which is really disappointing, given how frustrating it can be to complete the game.
- Courses that suck and/or have sucky mechanics: The Pachinko course is one of the worst ideas for a level in the series, being almost as bad as Tubular from Super Mario World. As mentioned above, it is poorly designed, and the physics are awful. You need to perfectly time your brakes on F.L.U.D.D to grab many of the eight coins and even the Shine Sprite.
- Much like the first 3D game, you need to collect 100 coins in one of the eight missions to obtain a secret Shine Sprite for that level, but some missions in that level won't have that many coins, so you must be cautious, or else you have to start all over again.
- In addition, Luigi is nowhere to be seen, nor is he mentioned, like in the previous 3D game.
- The game is very glitchy. In fact, there's a showcase that's almost an hour long to show you how glitchy the game is.
- The Piantas are unlikable at the beginning, because they all accused Mario of contaminating Delfino Plaza, even though all of the graffiti came before he even arrived at the island, and Mario doesn't entirely appear blue unlike the real criminal.
- Yoshi's gameplay is limited and frustrating since he isn't particularly resistant and dissolves quickly if he touches water. What also make this a pain is the fact that Yoshi only lasts 5 minutes and has to eat fruit to last longer, but if he doesn't eat anything in 5 minutes, he'll dissolve.
- Awful final boss against Bowser and Bowser Jr. as the battle is ridiculously easy and the concept is beyond stupid.
- Corona Mountain is easily the worst level in the game as it has an outrageous amount of instant kill traps.
- You can't pause the game while Mario is in mid-air and can only do so whenever he's on the ground.
- For the 3D All-Stars remake's bad qualities, see here.
Super Mario Sunshine received widespread critical acclaim and is the 3rd best-selling game for the Nintendo GameCube, selling about 5.9 million copies as of December 31, 2009.