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Super Mario Sunshine... A great game with a stupid name. Tim 
Posted by: Tim at 7:24 PM EST on 9/8/2002
File Under: Games -> GameCube -> Quickview

Ah, Super Mario Sunshine. Why couldn't Nintendo of America give Mario's latest (and possibly greatest) adventure a decent title for the American market? Sorry, NOA, but a lot of American gamers don't go for the cutesy image. And what the hell was with the game's commercial*? I wanted to stab myself after I saw it... In the eyes. Repeatedly. They need to take a page out of Nintendo of Japan's book** and learn themselves some marketing.

Anyway, below the sickening marketing surface lies yet another absolutely wonderful Shigeru Miyamoto creation. Yes, the FMVs are horribly compressed. Yes, the voice acting is absolutely disgusting. Yes, the non-playable characters are terribly designed. Yes, the textures could use a little more detail. But you know what? None of this even matters, because this game is downright fun to play.

At first, I was extremely leery of the new addition of Mario's waterpack. I thought Mario was perfectly fun without anything of the sort, and I liked collecting the caps in Mario 64. Why did we need this new addition, which looks like it would be more annoying than fun? Well, after about 20 minutes with the game, I was a total convert. The waterpack is brilliantly integrated into the game and is just plain fun to mess around with, anyway. In fact, once you get used to the waterpack, you really miss it on the stages where it's stolen from you, and you have to go forth without a pack...

Ah, do those packless levels ever have some serious old-school platforming going on! They have that incredible "God damn, THIS IS HARD AS HELL! DIE, NINTENDO, DI... Oh, wait. I just beat the level. YES, FINALLY! THAT WAS FUN!" charm. They're so frustrating and take so many tries, but when you finally complete them, they're some of the most rewarding experiences in the game. The levels have that "Just one more try!" quality to them, and just as you're about to give up, you beat them. It's twitch game design at its finest.

Anyway, my only genuine complaint about the game is that I wish there wasn't so much tedious coin collecting necessary to get all 120 Shines. Granted, you don't have to get all the Shines to beat the game, but still. It'd be nice to be able to complete it without all the tedium of collecting 100 coins in every level, plus 240 Blue coins, and numerous "Collect all the Red coins before the time runs out" tasks. Oh well.

Oh, and one last thing... If you think the camera sucks, you're a fool. It's not like Mario 64 where you can just let the camera control itself. In Mario Sunshine, controlling the camera is just as much a part of the game as controlling Mario - you need to actively monitor it. This allows for an incredible level of control once you get the hang of it. In fact, I've taken to simply holding up on the analog stick and using the camera stick to control Mario's direction, much like you would do in a third-person shooter, like SOCOM on the PS2.

Initial Vibe: VERY positive. This game is not perfect, but I'll be damned if it isn't the most fun I've had playing games in a long time. Look past the sugar-coated exterior, and you'll find some of the most solid play-mechanics ever.

*431 KB, RealPlayer
**4.15 MB, MPEG

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