Summer’s here and what better time to talk about…my least favourite 3D Mario game. Shoot me if you want to but this was one game in the series that I favour the least but it’s not a bad game.
Super Mario Sunshine (スーパーマリオサンシャイン Sūpā Mario Sanshain), developed and published by Nintendo and was released in 2002, it’s the second game in the 3D Mario series. The Nintendo GameCube had the same results as the Wii U, a lack of games Nintendo gamers wanted, people didn’t like the design and the PlayStation 2 was destroying everything in it’s path.
Mario, Peach and her assistant Toadsworth and some Toads take a vacation at Isle Delfino (wait where’s Luigi? You poor sod, even you can’t catch a break). Upon arriving, trouble is already afoot as a villian named Shadow Mario has been vandalising the island with slimy paint and Mario is blamed for the chaos. In court he is sentenced to clean up the mess. But when Shadow Mario tries to take the princess in front of everyone, Mario is still forced to clean the mess.
The game world is set in Isle Delfino, you can interact with the townspeople, collect blue coins or just explore the island. To get to the levels you have to go to M graffiti and enter them. The objectives for each stage is as the same as Super Mario 64. There’s also collectables like Blue Coins and these can be exchanged for shine sprites, collect 100 normal coins for sprites and collect 120 shine sprites in levels to restore the island. Hey, Yoshi’s back. When you find eggs you can collect the suitable fruit and out pops a Yoshi, you can ride on it and attack by using…Yoshi spit juice? Gross. Though it dies when it touches water; which is weird considering the theme is water.
And there is the gimmick that…in my opinion ruins the experience; FLUDD (Flash Liquidizing Ultra Dousing Device), this enables you to spray water in many ways, you start with two default nozzles, Spray and Hover. Spray let’s you squirt water to clean the paint, the enemies and certain mechanics, while the hover nozzle simply let’s you hover for a short period of time, letting you cross gaps that not even jumps could pull off. Later in the game you unlock two new nozzles, though it replaces the Hover nozzle should you choose one of them, Rocket and Turbo. Rocket shoots Mario into the air to get to higher places and Turbo allows Mario to move at Sonic the Hedgehog speeds in any surface and break into certain places. You must have a full tub of water in your FLUDD, you can refill by going into rivers and fountains.
Now my opinion on the FLUDD might upset some fans…I don’t really like it, I don’t have a problem with this gimmick and is quite game-changing…with that said though, my only problem with this is that it’s in a Mario game. You see, I got used to Super Mario 64, a 3D Mario game with no gimmicks and you must use the almighty Mario skills to tackle challenging levels, I wanted to like FLUDD, but I didn’t enjoy it, it just doesn’t feel like a Mario game at times, it feels alienating to me. The cleaning can get repetitive, you have to stop sometimes to spray enemies to death, it’s a dull and sometimes frusrating experience.
I’m sorry, if you like the mechanics of FLUDD then I have no problem, all the more power to you but I really tried to like it but I just couldn’t. But, there are some areas where Shadow Mario steals FLUDD and you rely on traditional platforming mechanics; this is perfect, it’s challenging and I mean…unusually challenging but it’s a breath of fresh air. Oh and that Pachinko stage, as Johnny from SomeCallMeJohnny once said can “F@%$ RIGHT OFF”. The controls still has that Mario feel to it but with the FLUDD on your back it can get awkward at times but without the device controlling him is pretty good and it once again feels like a Mario game. The game design is vibrant and summer like, but the brightness can be overbearing for some. The music is…ok, there are some memorable ones, funny since Koji Kondo composed it along with Shinobu Tanaka, so Kondo’s music is much memorable, but the boss battle music composed by Tanaka is oddly one of my favourite boss music.
Overall, I don’t think it’s a bad game, it’s just not for me, I know some gamers call this a masterpiece, but I call this the black sheep of my experience of 3D Mario games. If the game had no FLUDD I would have enjoyed it more, oddly I have no problem with anything else (except for that Pachinko stage).
You can get it for the Nintendo GameCube.