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Super Mario Sunshine

スーパーマリオサンシャイン

Developer / Publisher: Nintendo
19 July 2002
Super Mario Sunshine [スーパーマリオサンシャイン] - cover art
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2,306 Ratings / 3 Reviews
#476 All-time
#18 for 2002
Mario and Peach take a vacation to the tropical paradise of Isle Delfino, but when they arrive they find Mario has been framed for vandalism by a mysterious impersonator. Mario then must utilize his high-tech hose, F.L.U.D.D., to clean up the island and clear his name.
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Out of the three great 3D Mario games of the olden days when videogames companies cared to make great games under the threat of not getting their investments back (since that's all they, the men in suits that buy and sell companies just for returns, care about) the less loved one is Super Mario Sunshine, and yet, despite its flaws, keeps it fun and challenging.

Released in 2002, Sunshine was thrown into the world in a time where the turn-of-the-century capabilities of videogame consoles made it possible for a very smooth, technical and precise handling of the games never seen before, And don't get me wrong, Nintendo has always been a very professional company when it comes to movement since the beginning, and while the 64 did have some impressive gameplay (specially in games like F-Zero X, Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario 64), it's within the Gamecube that you will find the most nuanced, balanced, metriculously worked movement physics, and following their predecesors, F-Zero GX, Melee and Sunshine became the peak of gameplay within their respective series. In F-Zero's case, it became such a perfect experience, so immaculate, that the series went into My Bloody Valentine post-Loveless mode and effectively closed doors because what else could Nintendo do after it? Not feasable for investors, not exciting for the creators. All of this is to say that, for better or for worse, Sunshine IS the most technical game of the series, and I gotta say, what a fucking crisp experience. I've already described games like SM64 and Melee as "Hot knife in a bread of butter", and this game fits the description entirely. While a lot of people missed the crouching and all the sorts of crouch-jumping that came with it (like the legendary Backwards Long Jump), Sunshine makes it up with all sorts of new movement, both naked and with the water gun: spinning jumps, short hops, sliding, floating, rocketing forwards and upwards, improved wall jumping vía sliding on them. No praise is enough to how good this game plays, and it plays this way by design as part of the gamebuilding ethos Nintendo had up until that point (and sadly wouldn't stand for long).

But gameplay is just the nitty gritty, and that's half the game. The other half belongs to the game itself running through the code: The meat, the meal, the thing that nutures us. In this adventure, Mario goes on vacation and it gets spoiled so he has to save the day in the tropical island of Delfino. As per course of the Mario franchise, the argument of the play here is just a vehicle to justify the gameplay; in this case, the before-established star collect-a-thon through a central hub. Nothing too hard or deep, a lot of cartoonish comic relief a-lá Looney Tunes. (Again, this is all very in touch with to the new possibilities the Gamecube could afford: Iconic on its own, colorful, vibrant.) Nothing too special that could make cry like Galaxy, nothing as instantly classic as 64 was to get burned in my memory forever. Just a funny story that will make you laugh if you're not an Ebenezer Scrooge. But that's not really the reason this game is the least liked of the trio.

Super Mario Sunshine is soured by a series of choices that hampers the game. The first, glaring, obvious mistake Sunshine took, was to make almost every star (I will call them stars and not shines, this is my review, sue me) mission-dependant instead of stage-dependant (compare this with 64 where the majority of the stars were readily available from most missions, except where that would create a problem); add to this that these stars are locked by prior missions and getting the last star of each stage becomes quite the exhausting ordeal. And and exhausting ordeal it is, since this relentless game won't treat you softly and won't go mellow on you. The missions of no-fludd maneuvering are cruel torture that will crush your soun to smithereens if you don't have the determination to keep up despite failing countless times, despite making you sweat, despite making you mad, despite making you feel it's unfair. There's few places where it IS unfair, I won't deny (those throwing Piantas for fucks sake...), but besides those few unruly, infuriating cases, the game is fair and if you failed is because you just not were not putting your 100% in it. That's the truth. With the same hand that it mocks you with every "So Bad!", it rewards you with the well deserved star as proof of your feat. In that sense, Sunshine feels like the bigger accomplishment of the three. 120 stars here weight more than the 120 stars in 64 and it is certainly heavier than the cakewalk 120 of Galaxy. The great problem with how restrictive Sunshine is, like a horse on a straight line, is that it won't move to the sides unless it goes full stop, something of a boner-killer of a game if you ask me. I think that's the greatest burden of this game. In spite of it all, it's still one of the best 3D platformers ever.
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Title
If the premise of a summer vacation-themed mainline Mario game sounds bizarre to you, you’re not alone. For some reason, the launch of the Gamecube marked a slight experimental age for Nintendo as they catapulted their mascots in unorthodox directions after keeping things relatively straightforward on the N64. Their bold decisions drew a sizable bit of ire from fans still enraptured after the significant splash Nintendo made in the first 3D era. They wanted more of what was offered on the N64 but with better graphics, and they threw up in their mouths when Nintendo refused to accede to their expectations. Nintendo’s flagship series usually only represent a console generation with one title, and the company delivered its uncompromising creations to their fanbase with the same blunt directness of a disgruntled cafeteria worker serving food. The disappointed reactions to The Wind Waker is the more notable example, but fans also weren’t pleased with Super Mario Sunshine. If Nintendo were willing to piss off Zelda fans with the warmer cel-shaded aesthetic of the Wind Waker, then their Italian gold-winning stallion was not immune from being put through the test chamber either. Fans eventually came to adore The Wind Waker after the initial upset dissipated in time, but Super Mario Sunshine has always been somewhat of an acquired taste. Besides being bewildered by its odd premise, most people see Super Mario Sunshine as a sophomore slump; a rough spot between Super Mario 64 and every subsequent 3D Mario game released afterwards. I might be blinded by nostalgia, but I’m of the opinion that Super Mario Sunshine is not an awkward roadbump in 3D Mario’s evolution but an integral game in improving the 3D Mario formula.

I suppose what initially upset people most about Super Mario Sunshine is setting the game away from Mario’s regular stomping grounds. Super Mario is a franchise marked by familiarity, and deviating so far from the Mushroom Kingdom will naturally make some fans weary. Nintendo created a new tropical playground for Mario to galavant about in Super Mario World, but then backpedaled by claiming that Yoshi’s Island was an island territory owned by the Mushroom Kingdom set off the mainland shore. Mario’s fans eagerly look forward to seeing how gaming’s legendary crown land improves with the graphical progress of every subsequent entry, especially since it looked so coarse and lumpy in Super Mario 64. Nintendo however felt it better to give Mario’s vast, hilly homeland a well-deserved break to explore new territory. Sunny Isle Delfino is not only a vacation destination for Mario and company, but a vacation for the player after exhausting the typical Mushroom Kingdom setting. While this island is not the same koopa-infested, quasi-psychedelic commonwealth with a plethora of geographical terrains, the vacation resort theme still captures the light-hearted vibrancy that makes Mario so alluring. People often venture out to these kinds of places on their vacations because the sun-drenched shores exude a sense of breezy frivolity, something just as applicable with the accessible Super Mario franchise. Super Mario has always felt like a ray of sunshine, and now the franchise offers a setting that overtly revels in nothing but jaunty warmth.

Of course, the game wouldn’t be enticing in the slightest if it merely simulated Mario on his vacation. This isn’t Nintendo’s take on the abysmal, mind-numbing Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure with Mario at the helm. As carefree as Mario’s venture to Isle Delfino was intended to be, he is swiftly reminded that rest and relaxation are never on his itinerary. Mario is swiftly accosted by the Isle Delfino police force as soon as he sets foot on the island. Mario has been falsely accused of vandalizing the island by littering it with a sticky, iridescent goop that may or not be noxious to the island’s denizens or have a detrimental influence on the environment. Nevertheless, Mario wrongfully gets the book thrown at him and is sentenced to clean up his supposed mess with a high-powered AI waterpack called F.L.U.D.D. Until Mario meets his community service quota, he will not be able to leave the island. The real perpetrator of the crime is “Shadow Mario”, an uncanny doppelganger colored in a translucent deep blue. Mario attempts to track him down to prove his innocence, but the phantom clone decides to pull an obligatory power Mario series power move and kidnap Princess Peach. As silly and forced as the initial source of conflict is, anything is preferable to the most tired of Mario plots that Super Mario Sunshine quickly devolves into. Not even the sheer will to modify Mario’s typical attributes in this entry could keep Nintendo from burrowing back into their coziest of comfort zones.

The opening cutscene also could argue that too much ambition might be Super Mario Sunshine’s downfall. Hearing every character's speaking dialogue in the opening cutscene is sure to grab everyone’s attention and raise some eyebrows. Voice acting is not new to the Super Mario series. Princess Peach had a few spoken lines of dialogue in Super Mario 64, and who could forget Charles Martinet’s expressive grunts, hoots, and slightly racist warbles as Mario? In Super Mario Sunshine, the extent of voice work is amplified to the point where every character in the opening cutscene utters a competent line of dialogue in a cinematic fashion. The level of voice work is probably more shocking in retrospect. More voice work was a logical step to 3D Mario’s evolution, because Super Mario Sunshine presents a clear reason as to why it never progressed past this point. Text dialogue in mainline Mario games is simple to a fault. In a series that insists on exhausting the same plot in each entry, a few lines of straightforward text is all the game needs to at least set the scene. Super Mario Sunshine’s problem is that delivering this curt dialogue vocally sounds hilariously amateurish as if the script was written by a fourth grader and delivered by a voice cast that sounds like children doing impressions of adults. The voice work being exclusive to cutscenes would often be criticized for inconsistency, but I’m thankful that the rest of the game regresses back to text accompanied by some vocal sounds for the characters. The voice acting here is a testament to the fact that some video game series shouldn’t have spoken dialogue for the sake of progress for the medium.

Super Mario Sunshine also doesn’t seem very stimulating considering its premise. What was Nintendo smoking when they thought that their next mainline Mario title should involve him doing high-stakes janitorial work? If I didn’t know any better, I’d probably be revulsed at first glance, but do not be misled by starting impressions. Super Mario Sunshine is cut from the same cloth of the 3D collectathon platformer ilk that Super Mario 64 established. Isle Delfino is separated into seven unique levels with the hub of Delfino Plaza serving as a reposeful middle ground between them. Each level has eight objectives that will reward the player with the core collectible that must be heavily accumulated to progress through the game. To fit the tropical theme, the series star icon has been shifted into a sun-shaped “shine sprite” which carries the same value. 3D platformer fans can rejoice that Super Mario Sunshine is another branch in the line of Super Mario 64’s offspring and that the sludge Mario must wash away only serves as an inconvenient obstacle in Mario completing his objectives. While Super Mario Sunshine might sound exactly like Super Mario 64 on a mechanical basis despite its quirks, the game deviates slightly in its direction. Instead of stumbling upon the main collectables by exploring the stages, the titled shine sprites in Super Mario Sunshine are acquired in numerical order. Shine Sprite #1 of the level acts as the first “episode” and every subsequent episode continues a loose narrative of how the area becomes cleaner due to Mario’s influence. Opening the level even gives the player a vague overview of what their objective is and where it is located. Bianco Hills is being terrorized by a giant, flamboyant, untethered, speedo-wearing Piranha Plant named Petey Piranha who Mario fights twice to expunge him from the quaint village. The haunted hotel that overlooks Sirena Beach is open to Mario indefinitely after erecting it in the level’s first episode and cleansing Noki Bay’s toxic waters is an ongoing arc in its respective level. One might argue that this linear approach to the levels is restrictive and streamlined, but the progression works with the game’s narrative. Each area gets gradually cleaner as the player collects the shine sprites, meaning Mario has completed his sentence-driven service. Completing a more proportioned task also better compliments the boot-out system, something jarring from Super Mario 64 that Super Mario Sunshine continues to employ.

I always marvel in disbelief at the fact that the Gamecube was only one console generation after the N64. 3D graphics evolved past the growing pains of endearing amateurishness to a standard of believability in a measly five years. The transition between the fifth and sixth console generations is the largest leap of graphical progress that gaming has and will ever see. Many fifth generation franchises that continued into the sixth generation were noticeably more refined in their sequels, but none of them highlighted a contrast so starkly like Super Mario 64 and Sunshine. Super Mario 64 was primitive even compared to all of it’s 64-bit contemporaries, the oldest and ugliest out of the rest of the ugly ducklings. The revelatory transformation of this foul-looking fowl wasn’t the surprise, but how radically it happened and in the short amount of time that it did. Rudimentary edges that made the foundational polygons all the more visible in Super Mario 64 have been sanded off to the point of silky, buttery smoothness. Everything in the backgrounds from the tall bell towers in Delfino Plaza, the countryside homes of Bianco Hills, to the scalable palm trees of Pianta Village are discernible even from the furthest points away. Objects in the foreground like various fruits or those manholes with shine sprites painted on them no longer require squinting and or the use of one’s imagination to effectively determine what they could be either. Crashing water from the beaches flows and ripples to better simulate its movement in real life and enemies seem more vigorous and imposing. Mario and friends went from looking like a child drew and modeled them to resembling a professional artist's rendition. Super Mario Sunshine is the first Mario game that resembles a fully realized rendition of what fans visualized Mario and his world for several years, and it only took the second 3D generation to make it a reality. Isle Delfino is a gorgeous resort that uses the higher graphical fidelity to effectively convey not only that colorful, light-hearted atmosphere of being on vacation, but what the Mario series exudes in general. Not since Super Mario World 2 on the SNES has the series been this effervescent.

It’s no secret that I was unsatisfied with how rigid and unresponsive Mario’s controls were in Super Mario 64. The game could really look like a microwaved claymation Christmas special all it wants, but I draw the line at Mario controlling like a paralyzed 1960’s android. Mario’s acrobatics in Super Mario 64 were ambitiously varied, but using felt far too stilted with the primeval 3D controls. Only one generation later, Mario executes the same moveset with the grace of a ballerina. Mario can still soar to extraordinary heights upon three consecutively timed jumps, but with a better sense of trajectory as to not misstep with overwhelming velocity. His super backflip can no longer be done by crouching, but leaping backward after building momentum feels second nature now, with an additional spin move in mid-air the player can do by playing with the control stick. Wall jumping no longer requires pinpoint precision and the game is more lenient with penalizing the player with bumping Mario’s dome on platforms. Punching and kicking are no longer a part of Mario’s offensive means, but the more natural jumping controls diminishes the necessity to use them. Mario’s ground-pounding move makes its gilded return as Mario’s ass makes more violent shockwaves on the shores of Isle Delfino than it ever did in his homeland. A new trick Mario learned for his vacation was the slide move, something used similarly to the roll move in 3D Zelda games that the player will most likely use constantly to increase their momentum. Mario looks like a mental patient constantly leaping on his crotch, but doing so feels so liberating. The shackles that Super Mario 64 put on Mario’s standard mobility were a shame considering Mario was the one who revolutionized video game controls. Super Mario Sunshine evolves the chubby plumber’s moveset established by Super Mario 64 so drastically that he’s never felt more comfortable and capable, not even in any of his 2D outings. The player will feel inclined to bounce around with Mario and feel as gleeful as he does.

Not only is F.L.U.D.D. Mario’s tool for power washing, the jet-powered backpack also compliments Mario’s improved portability. The standard nozzle on the pack will shoot water upward with the player having the ability to change its direction and trajectory to aim, but not its angle. When Mario needs to squirt something quickly with a little less accuracy, the player can lightly tap the button to eject water in lighter spurts, which is what the player will be doing to deal with most enemies and goop directly in front of them on the ground. The base nozzle is mainly used for cleaning and offensive purposes despite the fact that it can turn the field into a slip and slide, but F.L.U.D.D. is equipped with three other alternate nozzles to further highlight the capabilities of the device. The hover nozzle is available once Mario receives the waterpack and is in my opinion the most useful of the secondary nozzles. Once Mario is airborne, the nozzle will propel Mario over in the air for a brief period of time by shooting two spouts of water at the ground, either to maintain height or cross over a gap. Not only does this nozzle grant Mario greater traversal distance, but it will also aid in course correcting the player if they make a mistake with platforming. The other two alternate nozzles are eventually unlocked by finding their respective boxes in the field. The rocket nozzle will build up water and shoot Mario upward to staggering heights upon climax. The turbo nozzle acts as a speed booster whose wicked propulsion will accelerate Mario across the water like a makeshift jetski or create a powerful enough force to break through blocked off doorways. Unlike the hover nozzle, I only find the other two nozzles useful on certain occasions. After using the other two nozzles for the one situation, it would’ve been nice to have every nozzle ready in Mario’s arsenal after using them for the first time. Some may argue that juggling through four different nozzles via the X button would be a pain, but the inconvenience of finding a crate with the hover nozzle after using the others proves to be far more vexing. Besides that one grievance, F.L.U.D.D. and his wide utility are a welcome addition to the Mario franchise, for it greatly expands on the fun factor of Mario’s already aerodynamic range of movement. Plus, he limits his vocal input on the field to a minimum unlike some of Link’s partners.

Super Mario Sunshine also gets a familiar visitor to the island that I think most fans will appreciate. Yoshi’s minimal presence in Super Mario 64 as a completionist easter egg is one of the most vocal complaints that even diehard fans of the game share, so Super Mario Sunshine rectified this with giving everyone’s favorite green sidekick in Mario (fuck Luigi, I guess) more screentime. After catching Shadow Mario with a Yoshi egg in the hub, the egg will hatch the spry, puffy-cheeked dinosaur. As per usual, the Yoshi’s stomach is rumbling and he must devour everything in sight like a hungry black hole. Besides grappling in enemies with his whip-like tongue, the Yoshi’s found in Super Mario Sunshine must subsist off of an appetite of various fruits found on the island, lest he die of scurvy or something. Pressing the button usually reserved for F.L.U.D.D. while riding on the Yoshi will make it spit a jetstream of juice as long and violent as blasting water with F.L.U.D.D. Yoshi’s juice comes in three different colors depending on the last fruit he consumed, but it all does the same thing. Like the F.L.U.D.D. nozzles, Yoshi is only useful in certain circumstances. Missions that include the adorable, multicolored beast usually involve vomiting juice on fish to transform them into platforms or dissolving a pulpy growth obscuring a passageway. Yoshi sure isn’t intended to accentuate Mario’s range of movement because his flutter kick feels uncomfortably restrained. It also doesn’t help that in a game surrounded by water, Yoshi will disintegrate when he comes in contact with it like he’s the Wicked Witch of the West. Most fans see the inclusion of Yoshi as a mark of an exceptional Mario title, but his presence in Super Mario Sunshine is more of a hassle than a perk. The sunny, tropical setting of Isle Delfino should fit Yoshi like a glove, but Yoshi’s awkwardness and haphazard utility makes him seem like a fish out of water here.

But what is Super Mario Sunshine if not an instance of a stranger in a strange land? As unfamiliar as Isle Delfino is to Mario and every fan of the franchise, the island’s more concise and concrete design makes this vacation destination more comfortable. Super Mario 64’s hub was set in the Mushroom Kingdom, but can we say for sure that any of the various paintings acting as the levels were teleporting Mario to locations situated just around the corner? Most of Super Mario 64’s levels were playgrounds that had familiar attributes, but were suspended in an ethereal oblivion that obscured any surroundings. Isle Delfino, on the other hand, is mapped out accordingly, and I’m not referring to the crudely drawn map in the pause menu. Mario warps to each area via a passageway in the wonderfully detailed Delfino Plaza hub, but the player can at least marginally discern where the level is located in relation to everywhere else on the island. The ferris wheel in Pinna Park is seen clear as day from Bianco Hills, and the Serena Beach hotel is so close to Pinna Park that it seems feasible to swim over to it. Isle Delfino is much more of a realized world than any iteration of the Mushroom Kingdom. Isle Delfino would make for a fine open world if only it didn’t conflict with the episodic progression of each level. I was always impressed at how the developers managed to construct a smattering of different levels under a specific theme without making the game boring and formulaic. Repeating a beach level with both Gelato Beach and Serena Beach may point to exhausting the constraints of the theme, but both settings exude a different aura and offer completely different missions (and it helps that the focal point of Serena Beach is the hotel in the center for most of the missions). Missions where Mario uncovers a secret passageway where he must do some linear platforming to get to a shine sprite at the end may arguably ruin the consistency, but I choose to see them as portals to more surreal, incomprehensible dimensions like Homer in that one Treehouse of Horror episode. Isle Delfino is the first time Mario engrosses the player with the setting, a cohesive world that greatly achieves its intended atmosphere.

Ironically for a game whose setting presents itself as gleefully tranquil, Super Mario Sunshine is the most difficult 3D Mario game. Despite all of the refinement the developers made to Mario’s movement with the added crutch of F.L.U.D.D., it does not make for a smoother Mario experience. I commented that the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario 64 felt like it was greased up like a slip-and-slide, causing Mario to trip and tumble to his death on numerous occasions, but now I’m convinced that Mario needs to invest in more adhesive-friendly shoes. Mario is still as clumsy as ever, but it only matters here in certain instances like the secret area challenges or the sparsely-spaced giant mushrooms underneath Pianta Village. Water surrounds the resort and acts as a safety net for whenever Mario missteps and careens to the bottom. This is why more platforming-centric levels like Ricco Harbor and Noki Bay involve ascending tall cliffs for a steep penalty, but starting again from the drink is only a mere inconvenience. Instead of being subject to a constant barrage of slapstick deaths, Super Mario Sunshine is more calculating with its punishments. Some of the episodes across every level involve some of the hardest tasks Mario has ever had to accomplish. The bloopers Mario surfs on in the red coin mission of Ricco Harbor are perilously fast, and one tiny collision will kill Mario on impact even after he’s collected every red coin. In Gelato Beach, Mario must roll a mammoth-sized watermelon down a hill and across a beach full of ravenous Cataquacks who will pop the overgrown fruit like a balloon and make Mario retrieve the watermelon from its origin point. A secret-themed level in Pianta Village involves navigating the chasms in between the blocks of ground via being chucked by the burly dopey Pianta natives. Unless the player possesses both pinpoint accuracy and a PHD in physics, the dopey islanders will heave Mario to oblivion. Hidden shine sprites around Isle Delfino like the poorly designed Pachinko machine and ruthless lilypad section will disintegrate the spirits of players as quickly as the leaf does in the toxic stream. Super Mario 64 was inherently unfair due to being unrefined, but the more deliberate difficulty seen in these episodes exposes the developers as cruel sadists.

You want to know what makes these levels especially sadistic? Most of them are required to finish the game. Super Mario Sunshine forsakes the cumulative total of main collectables needed for progress and forces the player to experience every episode of each area up until the seventh episode involving chasing down Shadow Mario and spraying him like a shower in the county jail. One of the greatest reliefs of Super Mario 64, or most other 3D platformers, is that the player has a choice of which areas to explore while ignoring the less savory ones as long as their amount of that collectible meets a quota by the end. Super Mario Sunshine’s streamlined methods show conspicuous holes that raise many issues. What incentive do I have to play the secret levels or collect the blue coins if only certain sprites count towards unlocking the game’s final level? Why should I waste my time with the eighth episode of an area when completing the seventh episode was all I needed? Shouldn’t each of the same collectible be of equal value? Up until a certain point in the game, more of the game does unlock after certain milestones. Multiples of five shine sprites will unlock a new level until the player reaches ten sprites when a cannon becomes available to blast Mario to Pinna Park. The first episode reveals that Shadow Mario is Bowser’s son Bowser JR, the obvious favorite of the Koopa King’s children considering he shares his father’s name, is being manipulated by Bowser to capture Peach under the guise that Peach is his mother. This interaction turns into a heated Jerry Springer moment where Peach merely ponders this revelation instead of denying it, and Mario gets so angry that he power sprays with F.L.U.D.D. her like the whore she is (only kidding about that last part). After this seminal scene, the game’s progression flatlines and the player must find the remaining areas via curiosity, breaking the game’s overall pacing. Forced progression with this type of game contradicts the initiative of the collectathon platformer and is the main inferior aspect to Super Mario Sunshine compared to Super Mario 64.

It’s difficult to state whether or not Super Mario Sunshine improves on boss battles either. Raising the bar from Super Mario 64’s stale, repetitive bouts is not a hard task, but I’m not confident in calling most of Super Mario Sunshine’s duels “boss battles” by traditional definitions. Petey Piranha and King Boo provide the standard 3D platformer fight of waiting for a weak point to exploit three times, but the others are oddly executed. The electrifying Phantamanta that eclipses the hotel in Serena Beach divides into smaller, sprightly versions when sprayed, and the fight ends when every speck of the wispy ray scattered around the beach is hosed down. Gooper Blooper’s tentacles can be brutally severed by Mario, but only pulling on his mouth in the center to the point of snapping will defeat him, which proves to be an easier loophole in fighting him. Bowser’s robotic visage at Pinna Park has to be shot down with rockets while riding a rollercoaster, and the eel that causes Noki Bay to become sickly doesn’t attempt to eat Mario while he cleans his rotten teeth. The final fight against Bowser doesn’t even involve physical contact like pulling his tail, but toppling over the giant, suspended bathtub he’s soaking himself in with rocket-boosted ass crashes at the four corners of its foundation. I appreciate the ingenuity of these encounters, but they are so unconventional that they lack the impact that a typical boss battle tends to have.

Summer vacation sucks, or at least that’s my clever tagline for Super Mario Sunshine. Surprisingly, a game involving Mario cleaning up sticky sullage on an unfamiliar island after being framed for a crime he didn’t commit doesn’t suck. As odd as Super Mario Sunshine appears, it still emanates the pervasive charm of the Super Mario series. Isle Delfino is as lively and captivating as the classic Mario setting we’re all familiar with and is the closest a Mario setting has come to coherent world-building, a vital step in progress for level design in a Mario game. Mario as a character literally makes leaps in progress by feeling as fluid as the water that jets out of his mechanical backpack buddy and finally looks like we’ve all imagined him as a realistic human being. As much as Super Mario Sunshine attempts to separate itself from Super Mario 64, I can’t help but compare the two based on how radically the former builds on the latter’s foundation. 3D Mario’s footing that Super Mario 64 invented is reinvigorated to a point of not only competency but to a degree of excellency. Super Mario Sunshine’s creative ambition may have proved to be too big for its britches at certain points, but besides a few egregiously broken challenges, Super Mario Sunshine's differences preserve its intrigue. It’s funny to me that the irregular Super Mario Sunshine is a far more exemplary 3D Mario title than the game that translated all of Mario’s familiar hallmarks into 3D, but that’s the beauty of a sequel.
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Erockthestrange 2017-07-21T19:40:48Z
2017-07-21T19:40:48Z
9.0
3
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Super Mario Sunshine achieved the impossible by turning 64's spectacular failures into rather frustrating episodes, dedicating one too many missions to pure platforming challenges (coupled with a more punishing lives system) without the movement and camera precision to back it up. Its real legacy - however, lies in the vibrant summer resort backdrop and beefed-up boss fights.
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Blah_Blee 2021-06-30T16:22:46Z
2021-06-30T16:22:46Z
5.5 /10
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The ultimate 3D Mario experience. Super Mario Sunshine was a staple of my childhood and still to this day, it is the game I judge new 3D Mario titles too. Maybe it was the fact that this was the launch title for an entirely brand new system that was miles away graphically from the previous Mario entry that colored me to this irrational conclusion, but the colors, the atmosphere, the nostalgia. Its funny how something can be ingrained in your memory, ill forever have the smell of onions from my moms cooking, wafting into the living room from the kitchen, in my mind whenever I hear the opening notes and see the wipe transition to Delfino Plaza when booting up the game. Something about those two stimulants, one separate from the other, can bring you back to a moment in time.

Game play wise Mario is just as bouncy and athletic (if not more so) as he was on the N64, but now he is equipped with a versatile hydro cannon/Jet backpack. F.L.U.D.D. will never not be a controversial addition to Mario's historic items, but what the game so painfully demonstrates with the rare sections where you are stripped of him, he is easily missed. Honestly, gimmick or not, it is an interesting and fun twist on what we expect from Mario Items. To counter balance the fact that Mario is both a world class Olympic level athlete equipped with a variable jet pack, Nintendo took the logical step in removing FLUDD from several stages to show off Mario in all his greasy plumber glory. These platforming stages are probably the most annoying thing in the game and I honestly wish they were optional, instead of instrumental, in progressing in the the game. Aside from that annoying fact, this games world is so fun to play in, and even after 20 years it amazes how well the graphics still hold up as well.
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_tumbleweed_ 2022-01-05T04:52:06Z
2022-01-05T04:52:06Z
4.0
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Great moveset/visuals. Everything else is pretty poor.
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polyestergiant 2021-09-06T16:23:56Z
2021-09-06T16:23:56Z
2.5
1
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Está longe de ser um jogo mediano ou indiferente. A criatividade do level design, característica da série, está presente aqui. Tem um quê bizarro interessante, e a trilha sonora embala tudo muito bem.

Mas o que tem de pontos positivos, tem de falhas técnicas. Me irritei mais do que me diverti com esse jogo. E que ideia dublar um Mario, hein…?
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gabrielctps 2021-08-04T04:31:06Z
2021-08-04T04:31:06Z
3.5
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Catalog

Cognizant_Koala スーパーマリオサンシャイン 2024-05-27T12:39:39Z
2024-05-27T12:39:39Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
TheChomper スーパーマリオサンシャイン 2024-05-26T21:21:29Z
2024-05-26T21:21:29Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
kunamon100 スーパーマリオサンシャイン 2024-05-26T13:33:28Z
2024-05-26T13:33:28Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 スーパーマリオサンシャイン 2024-05-23T18:22:28Z
2024-05-23T18:22:28Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
CEPHALOPOX Super Mario Sunshine 2024-05-23T07:19:39Z
Gamecube • CA
2024-05-23T07:19:39Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
niallquinn スーパーマリオサンシャイン 2024-05-20T21:11:37Z
2024-05-20T21:11:37Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Innerexperience スーパーマリオサンシャイン 2024-05-20T16:54:41Z
2024-05-20T16:54:41Z
2.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
LilHooty スーパーマリオサンシャイン 2024-05-18T22:24:48Z
2024-05-18T22:24:48Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
fav
SynnGD スーパーマリオサンシャイン 2024-05-18T06:12:31Z
2024-05-18T06:12:31Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Charliebillek スーパーマリオサンシャイン 2024-05-16T15:19:17Z
2024-05-16T15:19:17Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
scoterinaia スーパーマリオサンシャイン 2024-05-11T06:26:38Z
2024-05-11T06:26:38Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
darkmetaknight スーパーマリオサンシャイン 2024-05-11T01:33:38Z
2024-05-11T01:33:38Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • Super Mario Sunshine
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Comments

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  • Previous comments (81) Loading...
  • kaifmo31 2024-03-16 16:28:30.379409+00
    i was dreading the pachinko stage leading up to it but i got lucky and beat it in my first try lol
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  • ultraaguy1 2024-03-26 03:59:42.521278+00
    The only 3d mario I have not played/beat yet. Wanted to get a GameCube for this and other games but their so damn expensive rn
    reply
    • thm_yrk12 2024-05-09 04:02:33.31427+00
      get a wii so you can play gamecube and wii games
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  • ElVareludo 2024-04-04 00:06:43.471761+00
    Honestly very worth playing just because of the awesome moveset and controls. However, there's so many shit design decisions on this... I wonder if they were under the influence while making some of the levels.
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  • LuraEternal 2024-04-21 17:52:06.229504+00
    Better than 64 and Galaxy sorry
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  • idkpokeit 2024-04-24 19:38:05.91604+00
    Better than 64 and Galaxy [2]
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  • moralreef 2024-04-26 19:53:26.81156+00
    this game is ass, how tf you guys have this at 3.80
    reply
    • warioman 2024-05-19 19:12:09.564303+00
      vibes
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  • Magic8Ball 2024-05-18 02:59:25.410832+00
    best 3d platformer movement. amazing setting. most "original" Mario game and my favorite
    reply
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  • blokrenblossbroms 2024-05-22 00:48:26.596351+00
    proto-vaporwave, apparently.
    reply
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