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Super Mario Sunshine

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Super Mario Sunshine
Super mario sunshine.jpg
North American box art depicting Mario
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Yoshiaki Koizumi
Kenta Usui
Producer(s) Shigeru Miyamoto
Takashi Tezuka
Programmer(s) Koichi Hayashida
Writer(s) Makoto Wada
Composer(s) Koji Kondo
Shinobu Tanaka
Series Super Mario
Platform(s) GameCube
Release
  • JP: July 19, 2002
  • US: August 26, 2002
  • CAN: September 14, 2002
  • EU: October 4, 2002
  • AU: October 11, 2002
Genre(s) Platformer, action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Super Mario Sunshine[a] is a platform game developed and published by Nintendo for the GameCube. It was first released in Japan on July 19, 2002, and was later released in North America, Europe and Australia. It is the second Super Mario 3D platformer in the series overall, following Super Mario 64 in 1996.

The game takes place on the tropical Isle Delfino, where Mario, Toadsworth, Princess Peach and five Toads are taking a vacation. A villain resembling Mario, known as Shadow Mario, vandalizes the island with graffiti and Mario gets blamed for the mess. Mario is ordered to clean up Isle Delfino, using a device called the Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device (F.L.U.D.D.), while saving Princess Peach from Shadow Mario.

Super Mario Sunshine received critical acclaim, with reviewers praising the game's graphics, Mario's array of moves, and the addition of FLUDD as a mechanic, though some critics criticized the game's camera control. The game sold over five million copies worldwide by 2006, and is the third best-selling GameCube game of all time. The game was rereleased in the Player's Choice range in 2003.

Gameplay[edit]

Mario using the Hover Nozzle

Super Mario Sunshine shares many similar gameplay elements with its predecessor, Super Mario 64, while introducing various new gameplay features. Players control Mario as he tries to obtain 120 Shine Sprites in order to bring light back to Isle Delfino and prove his innocence after Bowser Jr. (disguised as Mario) steals the Shine Sprites and covers the island in toxic slime. Players start off in the hub world of Isle Delfino and access various worlds via portals which become available as the game progresses. Similar to collecting Stars in Super Mario 64, players obtain Shine Sprites by clearing various objectives given to Mario upon entering each stage, with more objectives unlocked in each level after clearing an existing one.[1][2] There are also various hidden areas and challenges across Isle Delfino where more Shine Sprites can be obtained. Throughout the game, players may also find Blue Coins, which can be exchanged for more Shine Sprites in the boathouse in Delfino Plaza.[3]

In this game, Mario is joined by a robotic backpack named FLUDD (Flash Liquidizing Ultra Dousing Device), which uses the power of water to clean away goop and help Mario reach new places. Mario starts with two default nozzles for FLUDD, Squirt and Hover, which he can quickly switch between. The Squirt nozzle lets Mario spray a stream of water which he can use to clean sludge, attack enemies, and activate certain mechanisms. The Hover nozzle lets Mario hover in the air for a short period of time, allowing him to cross large gaps while simultaneously spraying things directly below him. As the game progresses, Mario unlocks two additional nozzles for FLUDD which can be substituted with the Hover nozzle: the Rocket nozzle, which shoots Mario high up into the air; and the Turbo nozzle, which moves Mario at high speeds, allowing him to run across water and break into certain areas. Each of FLUDD's nozzles use water from its reserves, which can be refilled via water sources such as rivers or fountains. There are also some areas where FLUDD is taken away from Mario, forcing him to rely on his natural platforming abilities.[4] At certain points in the game, Mario may come across an egg which hatches into a Yoshi after being brought a fruit he asks for. Yoshi can be ridden upon and can attack by spitting juice, which can clear certain obstacles that water cannot. Yoshi can also use his tongue to eat enemies or other pieces of fruit which change his color, depending on the type of fruit. Yoshi will disappear if he runs out of juice or falls into deep water. Juice can be replenished by eating more fruit.[5]

Plot[edit]

The game takes place on the tropical resort of Isle Delfino, which is shaped like a dolphin and comprises ten primary locations. The island is mainly inhabited by the races of the Piantas and Nokis.[6] Delfino Plaza is Isle Delfino's largest city and the game's main hub.

Mario sets out for Isle Delfino for a vacation with Princess Peach, her long-time steward Toadsworth, and several other Toads. Upon a rough plane landing at the island's airstrip, they find that the once-pristine island has been polluted and plastered with graffiti. As a result of this pollution, sun-shaped objects called "Shine Sprites", the island's sources of power, have disappeared, and the island is covered in a perpetual shadow. To help with cleaning the airstrip, Mario finds a Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device or F.L.U.D.D., a powerful water cannon which is toted like a backpack and is created by Professor E. Gadd. Mario defeats a giant slime covered Piranha Plant and restores the airstrip, but he is subsequently arrested by two Pianta police officers who accuse him of vandalizing Isle Delfino with graffiti, despite the fact that he has only just arrived. He is put on trial, which turns out to be a mere kangaroo court where the judge immediately finds Mario guilty and orders him to clean up the graffiti and recover the Shine Sprites, in spite of Princess Peach's objection to the ruling. He is forbidden from leaving the island until he does so. The next day, after spending the night in a cell, Mario begins his adventure to find a way to clear his name and locate the real criminal, while restoring tranquility and order to Isle Delfino.[7]

The culprit seen spreading the graffiti is a shadowy figure known as "Shadow Mario" because he resembles Mario. Shadow Mario wields a magic paintbrush that he uses to create the graffiti, including portals that lead to other parts of Isle Delfino. When Shadow Mario kidnaps Princess Peach, Mario follows them towards Pinna Island, home of Isle Delfino's theme park. There, Mario encounters Mecha Bowser, a gigantic Bowser robot that shoots Bullet Bills and is being controlled by Shadow Mario. Mario defeats Mecha Bowser by firing water rockets at it while riding a roller coaster. It is then revealed that Shadow Mario's real identity is Bowser Jr., the son of Bowser. Like FLUDD, Bowser Jr.'s paintbrush was also created by E. Gadd.[8] Bowser Jr. turns the remains of Mecha Bowser into a hot air balloon and escapes again with Princess Peach, having been told by Bowser that Peach is his mother. He is last seen heading for Corona Mountain, a volcano where Bowser is holding a family vacation of his own. After Mario beats Bowser Jr. in all nine areas, a flood falls upon Delfino Plaza, opening up a cave that leads into Corona Mountain. Mario enters the volcano, and after getting through the inner cave, reaches Bowser and Bowser Jr., who are sitting in a hot tub in the sky. Mario defeats them by flipping over the hot tub, thus rescuing the princess but causing them to fall from the sky. Bowser and Bowser Jr. land on a platform in the ocean, while Mario and the princess land safely on a small island. However, FLUDD becomes damaged during the landing. The Shine Gate's power is restored and the Toads repair FLUDD shortly afterward and Mario, Princess Peach and the others resume their vacation.[9] Meanwhile, Bowser admits to his son that Princess Peach was not really his mother—but Bowser Jr. responds that he already knows and that he would like to battle Mario again when he is older, making his father proud.[10]

After the credits, if the player has collected less than all 120 shine sprites, a picture shows Il Piantissimo, a sprinter that Mario raced during the game, finding the brush that Bowser Jr. used to vandalize Isle Delfino. However, if the player has collected all 120 shine sprites, a picture of the entire cast with the words "Have a relaxing vacation" is displayed instead.

Development[edit]

A sequel to Super Mario 64 had been in the works for several years; the cancelled games Super Mario 64 2 and Super Mario 128 were some ideas Nintendo had for a direct sequel.[11] Super Mario Sunshine was first shown at Nintendo Space World 2001.[12] The game was later shown again at E3 2002.[13]

The game was the first lead directing role for Nintendo designer Yoshiaki Koizumi following a ten-year-long apprenticeship working on various other games.[14] In an interview about the development of Super Mario Sunshine with Koizumi along with Kenta Usui and producer Takashi Tezuka, it was mentioned that the game's development began with the idea of gameplay involving a water pump.[15] However, at first the developers thought that the world was too daringly out of character with Mario. Therefore, they tried using a man-type character, but thought this was too odd and that "if there was a man next to Mario, there is a sense of incongruity."[15] There were ten candidates for possible water nozzles, and FLUDD was chosen because of fitting in the game's setting, despite it not being one of the favorites.[15] They also stated that several Yoshi features were omitted, such as Yoshi vomiting water fed to him.[15]

Koji Kondo and Shinobu Tanaka composed the score to Super Mario Sunshine.[16] The soundtrack features various arrangements of classic Mario tunes, including the underground music and the main stage music from the original Super Mario Bros.[17]

Voice cast[edit]

Super Mario Sunshine features many of the usual voice actors for the various Nintendo characters. This is the only Mario game which features full English voice acting in cutscenes (excluding the Japanese voice actors or in other countries). Charles Martinet voices Mario, Jen Taylor voices Princess Peach and Toad.

Release[edit]

Super Mario Sunshine was released in Japan on July 19th, 2002.[18] It was later released in the United States on August 26th of that year. A Nintendo GameCube bundle containing the game along with a GameCube console was released in North America on October 14th, 2002.[19]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 92% [20]
Metacritic 92/100 [21]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com A[22]
AllGame 3.5/5 stars[23]
CVG 10/10[24]
Edge 9/10[25]
EGM 9.5/10[26]
Eurogamer 9/10[27]
Famitsu 37/40[28]
Game Informer 9.75/10[29]
GamePro 5/5 stars
Game Revolution A-
GameSpot 8/10[30]
GameSpy 5/5 stars[31]
GamesRadar+ 4.5/5 stars
IGN 9.4/10[32]
Nintendo Life 9/10[33]
Nintendo Power 10/10[34]
Thunderbolt 9/10

Super Mario Sunshine was critically acclaimed by game critics. IGN praised the addition of the water backpack for improving the gameplay,[32] and GameSpy commented on the "wide variety of moves and the beautifully constructed environments".[31] The game received a perfect score from Nintendo Power, who commended the "superb graphics, excellent music, clever layouts, funny cinema scenes and ingenious puzzles".[34]

GamePro also gave Super Mario Sunshine a perfect score, stating that the game was "a masterpiece of superior game design, infinite gameplay variety, creativity, and life."[2] The American-based publication Game Informer said that the game is arguably "the best Mario game to date."[29] Computer and Video Games also mentioned the game is "better than Super Mario 64."[24] The game placed 46th in Official Nintendo Magazine's 100 greatest Nintendo games of all time.[35] Allgame gave a lower review, stating that "During the six-year span between Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, platform games have become more epic, more interactive, and prettier. Yet the core element of collecting items in a world divided into sub-sections has been left unchanged. So it comes with a modicum of disappointment that Super Mario Sunshine doesn't shake up the genre with a number of new and fresh ideas other than the usual enhancements expected from a sequel."[23]

Some reviewers were critical towards certain aspects of the game. GameSpot's Jeff Gerstmann criticized the various additions, including FLUDD (the water backpack) and Yoshi, calling them "mere gimmicks." He also complained about the camera system.[30] Gerstmann felt that the game seemed somewhat unpolished and rushed, a sentiment shared by Matt Wales of Computer and Video Games.[36]

Sales[edit]

Super Mario Sunshine sold 400,000 copies in Japan within four days.[37] In the United States, the game sold 350,000 copies within its first 10 days of release, surpassing launch sales of both the PlayStation 2's Grand Theft Auto III and the Xbox's Halo as well as Nintendo's own Super Mario 64, and boosting hardware sales of the GameCube.[38] It also sold 175,000 units in Europe within a week of its release.[39] By October 2002, the game had sold 624,240 units in Japan.[40] In 2002, Super Mario Sunshine was the tenth best-selling game in the United States according to the NPD Group.[41] It was re-released in 2003 as part of the Player's Choice line, a selection of games with high sales sold for a reduced price.[42] By July 2006, it had sold 2.5 million copies and earned $85 million in the United States alone. Next Generation ranked it as the ninth highest-selling game launched for the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube between January 2000 and July 2006 in that country.[43] As of June 2006, Super Mario Sunshine has sold 5.5 million copies worldwide.[44]

According to Satoru Iwata in a press conference a year after Super Mario Sunshine's release, the game's sales had failed to live up to the company's expectations.[14]

Legacy[edit]

Super Mario Sunshine introduced several elements which were carried over to subsequent Mario games. Many of the characters introduced in this game have been staples in the series ever since: Petey Piranha, Cataquacks and most notably Bowser Jr. who has been one of Mario's archrivals ever since this initial encounter. Many of the bosses from this game and Luigi's Mansion appeared in multiple Mario spin-offs that were to follow on the GameCube, such as the unlockable Petey Piranha and King Boo in Mario Kart: Double Dash and the four unlockable characters in Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour.[45]

Super Mario Sunshine was the first game in the Mario series to introduce the Shine Sprites, which have appeared in later Mario games such as Mario Kart DS and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. It was also the debut of Bowser Jr., who has since become a recurring character and has appeared in several other games such as New Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. U, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2,[46][47] and in later Mario spin-off and sports games.[48] The recurring character Petey Piranha, known as Boss Packun (ボスパックン) in Japan, was also introduced,[49] who has later appeared in a large number of Mario games.

The game was the first 3D Super Mario game which included the ability to ride Yoshi.[5] This feature reappeared in Super Mario Galaxy 2 where the Twisty Trials Galaxy in World S is another recurring theme from Super Mario Sunshine, based on one of the missions "The Secret of Ricco Tower".[50]

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario uses FLUDD as a new special move that does no damage, but pushes opponents away.[51] Brawl also has the fighting stage Delfino Plaza, a replica of Isle Delfino's capital city, with a platform carrying the fighters to any location of the stage on occasion. The original background music of Delfino Plaza occasionally plays on the stage, as well as the BGM for Ricco Harbor. The game also features several stickers based on artwork from Super Mario Sunshine. Most of these features were retained in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and the Delfino Plaza was retained in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Bowser Jr. himself debuted as a new playable fighter in the game, and utilizes his Magic Paintbrush and Shadow Mario form from Super Mario Sunshine in his Final Smash.

The game was cited by Nintendo as a direct inspiration for 2017's Super Mario Odyssey, which returned to the nonlinear sandbox gameplay featured in Sunshine.[52]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ スーパーマリオサンシャイン (Sūpā Mario Sanshain) in Japanese

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Tboy. "Super Mario Sunshine review". GamersHell.com. Retrieved November 22, 2007. 
  4. ^ Super Mario Sunshine instruction booklet. Nintendo. 2002. pp. 20–23. 
  5. ^ a b Super Mario Sunshine instruction booklet. Nintendo. 2002. pp. 25–26. 
  6. ^ Super Mario Sunshine instruction booklet. Nintendo. 2002. p. 6. 
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