Super Mario Sunshine Impressions
Review by: BeckerManEX (beckermanex@sm128c.com)

Editorial Posted: August 15, 2002

Last weekend I had a chance to sit down and play one of the first levels of Nintendoís latest, Super Mario Sunshine for the GameCube, and from my initial impressions I can honestly say that gold has been struck once again. While I will be presenting my in-depth review in the next couple of weeks, I will give some initial impressions of what I saw.

As many know Super Mario Sunshine takes on a tropical island where Mario has been falsely accused to spreading this brown muck all over the place, and while the game plays very similar to Super Mario 64, and looks very similar, you can tell this is the true migration, and evolution, of Mario.

The thing that surprised me most was how the new water-pack adds a whole new element to the game. With this strapped on Marioís back you are able to shoot a jet of water (beautifully rendered by the GameCubeís powerful ATI chip) to destroy enemies, clean up the muck, or disturb the local Non-Player Characters (NPCs). While the cannon will have multiple uses in the final game the demo version that I was able to play allowed you to shoot water as described above and hover for a limited amount of time using the water sprayers as a jet-pack. While most of Marioís moves are intact, such as the Sideways Jump, Triple Jump, etc., the water-pack allows for so many different puzzles that couldnít be accomplished in Super Mario 64.

Graphics are amazing, but not spectacular like you would expect. Those expecting Resident Evil graphical status are going to be surely disappointed, but as Iíve explained to everyone on the Message Boards, image is not everything, and for Mario games it doesnít matter what they look like, what matters is that they are fun to play. If graphics are of big importance to you, Super Mario Sunshine relies more on subtle effects like the water evaporating into the ground or the many different droplets coming off of the nozzle of your water-pack instead of flashy effects that spin the screen and such. Like I said, they arenít spectacular, but they are next generation.

Iím having a hard time to comment on the sound as the volume for the game was turned way down playing at Funcoland, but you can expect the same high-caliber score that we have found in all Mario games to this point. Also, expect a nice injection of tropical/reggae music to keep things light and uplifting in this tropical paradise.

What it all really comes down to is if the game is fun to play, and this is where Iím the most impressed. The level that I had a chance to demo made you journey up to a windmill where a piranha plant was spewing the muck all over the island below, you make your way up, cleaning a path in the process and dodging enemies while trying to rid the land of this evil. This mission, undoubtfully one of the first in the game, makes you use the water-pack to get a feel for what it can do. You have the classic Mario task of dodging rolling balls as they come down a steep incline, you destroy enemies, you do everything we have come accustom to do with Mario, but on a whole new system, and a whole new way of looking at the game.

Those who doubted Nintendo in the past for not making due on their promises with the GameCube will have some backtracking to do with their comments. Super Mario Sunshine, in the short time that I had to play it, impressed me beyond all means. I certainly canít wait to pick up my copy in two weeks.

As I walked out of the store I knew I would be having the time of my life when I received my game on the 26th of this month. So as I got into my car to drive away, I gently patted my pre-order slip concealed in my wallet and speed off knowing gaming goodness was just two weeks away, and the coming age of the GameCube has finally arrived.

-- BeckerManEX (beckermanex@sm128c.com)