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downs: What?! You no like-a da plumba?

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Super Mario Sunshine Review (GC)
game: Super Mario Sunshine
five star
posted by: Jason Frank
publisher: Nintendo
developer: Nintendo EAD
ESRB rating: E (Everyone)
date posted: 09:10 AM Mon Sep 23rd, 2002
last revision: 01:02 PM Thu Nov 17th, 2005

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I\'ve had Super Mario Sunshine in my possession almost two weeks now. And over those two weeks, everyone\'s favorite plumber has commanded more of my attention than almost any other aspect of my life. My family, my job, and even the novel I\'ve been working on have all been placed on the backburner while I focus on getting as many shine sprites as possible. It is with incredible difficulty that I pull myself away from this game to write this review. In fact, I\'ve recently imposed a ban on myself from playing this game for the next couple of days so that I can actually spend some time with my family and address some of the bills that have been piling up.

One of the things that I\'ve learned playing Super Mario Sunshine these past few days is that the brief time I spent with the game at E3 just wasn\'t enough to do this game justice. Even though I loved what I saw out there in LA, I had no idea of the breadth of the game. I\'ve logged a lot of hours with the game and I feel like I\'ve only scratched the surface of what is available. But I also feel like I\'ve played enough to give this game my complete and unconditional endorsement. Super Mario Sunshine is the Nintendo game we\'ve been waiting for since Mario 64. Had Nintendo been able to come out with just a few more games like this at the Gamecube launch, I think that they would have had a much more significant market share than they currently enjoy.

I\'ve heard a few criticisms about the rather thin story elements of Super Mario Sunshine. Funny thing is that I can\'t remember any of those criticisms with the original Super Mario, or even Mario 64. Mario has never been about complex narratives (as that ill fated Bob Hoskins/ John Leguizamo project will attest. Can you believe that Dennis Hopper agreed to do that movie after he was sober?). There are plenty of games on the market that will cater to those who want stories, but if you\'re looking for random challenges and a lot of coins to pick up, Super Mario Sunshine is platform perfection.

As I stated earlier in the review, the game starts off by getting you adept at using the water canon. Some Mario imposter is defaming our plumber\'s good name, and Mario needs to clean up the mess that\'s left behind (I have to admit that I\'m a bit of a sucker for the pro-environmental slant of the game). Besides helping you to clean up the graffiti all over town, your water pack also works as a hover pack allowing you to cross great distances with ease. After some time cleaning up, you get to delve into Mario\'s other skills like jumping and sliding. Peppered throughout the game are some \'classic\' Mario levels where he is robbed of his jet pack and has to fend for himself with no more than he had against Donkey Kong. The music on these levels will have you grinning from ear to ear.

Mario Sunshine is one of those games that gives you a sense of accomplishment whenever you complete a level or get a shine. It makes you work to figure out how to beat the various bosses, but you never have to work so hard that you feel like you are working. With a vast arsenal of moves at Mario\'s disposal there is usually more than one way to get from A to B.

This is the sequel to Mario 64 that should have come out a long time ago. Any issues that you might have had with that game have been addressed in full. The biggest problem with Mario 64 was the camera work. Accessing those annoying yellow buttons on the upper right hand corner of the 64 controller was haphazard at best. Assigning the camera work to the second analog stick works like a charm.

People looking for a revolutionary gaming experience should probably wait until Zelda or Metroid. Mario Sunshine is more of an exercise in refinement. If you enjoyed Mario 64, you\'ll love Mario Sunshine. Added to his jumps and pounds is a new water canon. After the first couple of goals I was worried that the game might be a little too canon-centric. Fortunately, after a bit of progress in the game the tasks become a nice balance of logic, stomping and cleaning up.

For those who don\'t think that this game is much of a graphical achievement, they simply haven\'t been looking at the details of the game. If you just take a minute to look at the textures that coat the water\'s surface, or the way the mud flows away from Mario\'s clothes when he enters a lake, you will be amazed and the amount of thought and care that has gone into every single aspect of the game. It\'s the details that tell you everything about this game\'s development.

The much maligned Gamecube is beginning to flex its muscles and gamers should take notice. There will be many people who purchase a Gamecube just to play Mario Sunshine. With Metroid, Starfox, and Zelda still on the horizon, the Gamecube looks to deliver the goods this year, much to the delight of gamers. It\'s becoming increasingly apparent that you don\'t want to be left out of the Gamecube experience.

For as much as I enjoyed Luigi\'s Mansion, the game felt rushed and rather shallow. I\'m sure Mario Sunshine could have probably been ready at the system launch, but at what cost? Miyamoto and crew saved the game until it was ready and then released it. Nintendo has gotten a lot of flack for pushing release dates back and making gamers wait, but when the product finally hits the shelves it always blows people away. Sure, I\'d love to have Metroid or Zelda in my hands right now, but I don\'t want to be wondering if the game could have been better if only they\'d had just a little more time. With Mario, I know that they took the time they needed-and it shows.