Developer: Nintendo EAD
Submitted by: Steven Jackson
Whenever greatest game lists are written, it is common for at least one (in some cases even two) Super Mario games to make an appearance. Yet, one Super Mario game, rarely ever makes the cut, and is unfairly sandwiched between “Super Mario 64” and “Super Mario Galaxy”. That game is of course, “Super Mario Sunshine” which is by far, the most overlooked and underappreciated Super Mario game in history.
“Super Mario Sunshine” is, in my mind, the most original Super Mario game in the franchise. After being incarcerated for supposedly covering the beautiful isle of Delfino in graffiti goo, Mario has to clean up the town (and his name) to restore peace back to the land of the Pianta people and reclaim the precious Shine Sprites. To help Mario on his quest for freedom, he is joined by FLUDD; a talking water nozzle pump cannon, who cleans the gooey graffiti, with a number of different attachments.
Naturally, as with all Super Mario games, the culprits turn out to be Bowser and his clan of minions, who once again are trying to steal the Princess, only for Mario to save her. The plot is insanely weird, albeit farcical, but it is a kind departure from the frequently simple Princess saving, which has become the Mario series trademark.
But this is not why I have such a fondness for “Super Mario Sunshine”. Instead, it is down to the game’s beautiful environments and level design, which show a sun-soaked tropical paradise, and a pleasant counteraction to the ‘traditional’ Mushroom Kingdom. Plus, the game has got a brilliant soundtrack, bringing each of the different levels vibrantly to life. Graphically, the game is smooth and a pleasure to look at. The water effects are mesmerising and the game is probably the most colourful of all the games in the franchise.
In terms of the gameplay, the game’s controls are very responsive and the difficulty is just right, not too hard and not too easy. Furthermore, the fact that the gameplay consists collecting Shine Sprites (120 to be exact) there is tons of replay value to find each one.
In conclusion, “Super Mario Sunshine” is everything I like in video-games. It is a fun, original experience, which takes from its predecessors, yet influences its successors. The game is an aesthetic masterpiece, combining beautifully crafted environments, with a deep memorable soundtrack, and a vibrant colour pallet straight out of a comic book. And while “Super Mario Sunshine” did not revolutionise the game industry or even make sales records, it is the definitive platformer for the Gamecube, and a testament to the franchise as a whole. This game has it all.