Despite some problems Mario Sunshine is a fantastic platformer.
Pros: Some of the Gamecube's best graphics – The same incredible gameplay we’re used to albeit with a few changes – Great music – Still has a lot of the classic Mario charm.
Cons: The camera can be very annoying – Voice acting is awful.
Super Mario Sunshine is the successor to the highly acclaimed and innovative Super Mario 64, but this one it's not innovative in any way, yet it's extremely fun and it's a must for any Mario fan.
The game starts with Mario and Peach taking a vacation in the tropical paradise of , but as soon as they arrive hell breaks loose. Apparently there's a Mario look alike creating havoc in the island and getting everything dirty with a paint-like goop, and Mario is sentenced to clean all the mess with a water cannon created by the professor E. Gadd (Luigi's Mansion) named FLUDD, as the story progresses Peach gets kidnapped yet again and you'll have to save her of course. It’s an overused story and it's incredibly simplistic and boring to say the least, but no points are taken from the game for that because after all Mario games have always been like that.
The gameplay uses the basic formula of Super Mario 64, you'll move around with the analog stick, control the camera with the C stick, use the R trigger to shoot water, enter a semi first person view with Y and change the nozzle with X. There are various types of nozzles in the game: one gives you a bust of speed, one is a rocket that will let you blast into the sky and the standard James Bond - like dual hover that let's you lift off into the air for short periods of time. The water cannon is a neat idea and it can be fun for a while but it wasn’t well executed and the game could live without it.
The game uses the same basic design of SM64 for the objectives and goals. There are different worlds divided in eight stages each, some of the objectives can be as dull as going to one place and kill the enemies while others include secret areas that work as an obstacle course of some sort, they are really fun (and a bit frustrating) but in the end they end up being one of the best parts of the game, specially because they bring that classic platformer style that makes Mario so good. That being said other objectives can be pretty dull and boring, such as having to find a Yoshi in a motel, those feel uninspired but they are few and far between.
Environments are quite beautiful too, the levels are wonderfully created and are really big but not to the point where Sunshine should be considered an open world game, yet you could loose hours of your time exploring the levels.
The music is also impressive; the old tunes are combined with some new ones to create a tropical soundtrack which really fits the game; my personal favorites are the and songs. However the voice acting is ridiculously awful with the exception of Mario who only does his trademark Yipee!! And Wahoo!!! The rest is lame, especially Peach's voice, it's just annoying.
One of the game's most annoying problems is the camera which you control with the C stick, just because it's very hard to keep it in the right place. It won't get you killed much times, but it can make you fall from a platform and have to start over again, which leads to some frustrating moments. And when you are stuck between walls you'll only be able to see Mario's silhouette and by "only" i mean only, you can't watch anything but his shadow, making this incredibly annoying at times.
Graphics in Sunshine are superb, the whole island looks incredibly detailed, the characters animate well and the signature colourful worlds we’re used to see in the franchise. The “paint- like goop” that I explained before looks absolutely fantastic. The lightning is just as good and this is the best use of the lens flare in any game i’ve played. But this game stands out in the water effects, they are some of the gamecube, the water is realistic, crystalline and looks gorgeous. So inviting you'll just want to dive and swim; ahh the cold, refreshing water. The graphics might not be the on par with Resident Evil 4, but they are definitely one of the best on the Cube.
Mario Sunshine could’ve been better; yes it’s not as innovative as the ones that came before it and yes the camera and voice acting are terribly annoying and hold it back from being a “perfect” Mario game. But it’s best to see it for what it is instead of what it could’ve been and it is a great platformer that keeps the same Mario charm and could please any fan of the genre.