Super Mario Sunshine
Description official descriptions
Mario, Princess Peach, Toadsworth, and Toad have come to Isle Delfino for some relaxation. Upon arrival, however, they discover the island has been polluted causing its energy source, the Shine Sprites, to disappear. The culprit is similar in appearance to Mario, who is blamed for the mess, so the portly plumber is forced to clean up the island. Mario is given an invention called FLUDD (a backpack with several water nozzles) to help him clean up graffiti and mud and capture the real villain. Gameplay features a combination of action and puzzle solving, with numerous stages and multiple episodes to each stage, and plenty of hidden secrets and surprises.
- スーパーマリオサンシャイン - Japanese spelling
- 슈퍼 마리오 썬샤인 - Korean spelling
Credits (GameCube version)
100 People (76 developers, 24 thanks) · View all
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Average score: 87% (based on 68 ratings)
Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 129 ratings with 7 reviews)
Nostalgia was sparked for me while I was cleaning an old Gamecube controller of mine. An incident involving a mix of laughter and hot chocolate being ejected from my adolescent self’s nose left it sticky and unusable for about a decade. While I was meticulously cleaning the gamepad inside and out, I found myself wandering the dusty depths of my memory, plucking choice images of some of my favourite games. Though thoughts of Rogue Squadron 2 and F-Zero GX were at first competing for my attention, I came to the realization that I never actually completed Super Mario Sunshine. It hadn’t clicked for me in my youth, and while I made it very near the end – the final boss’s front doorstep, no less – I lacked the motivation to actually cap the game off with a victory.
So I picked it off my shelf and started up a new file and was soon to discover that I couldn’t really remember much about the game. Some of the images lined up with my memory, but the game’s progression through the various worlds, and even many of the mechanics, had all been filed away in the trash bin of my mind. Rarely have I ever been given a chance to actually re-experience a game from my youth, so I certainly wasn’t about to pass up the chance.
The game’s framework is set up in a series of cutscenes that provide a stark reminder of why voice acting should be kept to an extreme minimum in Mario games. Mario has been framed for spreading graffiti around the resort hotspot of Isle Delfino and is forced to clean up the mess left by his dark doppelganger using F.L.U.D.D., a device that spews both water and tutorials in a number of inventive ways. The one I got the most usage from was the hover nozzle, but it’s also fun ripping around with the booster, and the rocket is great for getting to high places.
Aside from the added water pack, gameplay is extremely similar to Mario 64. You’re placed in a hub world and must travel to various lands to collect Shine Sprites and return sunlight to the tropical paradise. Most of Mario’s moves from its N64 predecessor have returned with some new ones added and some others removed to accommodate F.L.U.D.D.’s repertoire.
The biggest difference between the two games isn’t actually Mario’s new backwear; it’s the cohesiveness. Mario 64 was very abstract, so all the tasks were largely unrelated, but Sunshine is much more grounded and most of the challenge revolves around cleaning up the mess left by Shadow Mario. It vastly changes the feel of the game. Most of the challenges faced are explained by NPC’s, and most shines and blue coins are obtained by helping them. Levels are based around places that feel more natural, such as a theme park or hotel, and since the platforming had to be adjusted with this in mind, it feels less mechanically straightforward. This unfortunately winds up hurting the game in a number of ways.
Still, the cohesive world does have its advantages. The scenery is often very striking, with the spooky hotel bathed in the red of the setting sun, and a tribal village surrounded by trees and mushrooms that glow in the night like a black velvet painting under ultraviolet light. It also allows there to be a bit more story development, but that’s largely squandered (probably for the best). Levels feel smaller, but there’s a lot more incentive to explore the nooks and crannies. Delfino’s inhabitants have a lot to say, and while it’s rarely interesting, it does make the world feel like somewhere people actually live, rather than a cluster of isolated lands. This is highlighted by the ability to view other destinations on the island by looking off in the distance, making the island feel like a singular world.
Mario Sunshine seems like the odd one out when you look at the core Mario series, and it’s for more reasons than just its bizarre inclusion of fully voiced cutscenes. The series has always involved adventure in far off and wondrous places that are incredibly abstract in their design, but Isle Delfino is a pretty grounded resort town filled with inhabitants who have petty problems for you to solve, and this is the root of the game’s major problem. It’s an interesting and unique departure for the Mario series to have it so grounded, but it’s also rather mundane, and this permeates a lot of the design.
The most problematic deficiency is in the challenges presented. While there’s a lot of carryover from Mario 64, such as dealing with boss problems or collecting a set number of red coins, there’s also a great deal of what feels a lot like janitorial work. The worlds simply aren’t built like Mario 64’s, and so there’s less that actually challenges control proficiency and more that challenge patience. For example, in each world there is a shine you obtain by chasing down Shadow Mario and spraying him with enough water. However, there is no limit on how long you have to finish him off, nor does he recover any health by avoiding your jet. This means it’s only a matter of time and patience before enough shots are finally landed on him and he goes down. There’s no challenge to it, it’s not thoughtfully designed or even fun, and you have to do it once in every single world.
It’s also a bit of a cop-out that 24 of the shines need to be bought for ten blue coins each. There’s 240 in total hidden throughout each of the worlds (about 30 in each), but there’s no way to view how many remain in each world. This reduces a portion of the game to nothing more than a grand scavenger hunt, and considering there’s already the red coin challenges carried over from Mario 64, it’s entirely lazy and unnecessary. This is part of the reason why I decided not to pursue collecting all 120 sprites. The coins are entirely optional, luckily, since the only requirement for completing the game is beating Shadow Mario in each of the worlds.
Even the challenges that strictly have you reaching a certain area are complicated by thoughtless design. I often found myself the victim of tasks that required several long and tricky steps that had to be repeated when I failed. One such section required obtaining food for a Yoshi from a machine and using it to freeze enemies and climb a series of platforms. Each time I fell into the water I had to start the whole lengthy and tedious sequence over again. Every once and a while, the game gives no mercy. It can aggravate.
Lastly, where the hell is Luigi? So, what, he gets to star in Luigi’s Mansion, but he doesn’t even make an appearance in Mario Sunshine? Snubbed, just like in Mario 64. Unforgivable.
The Bottom Line
During the time I was initially enamoured with Super Mario Sunshine and delighted to have the chance to re-experience it from what felt like scratch, I pledged myself to collect every Shine Sprite in the game. Eventually, reality set it and I realized I just wasn’t enjoying it enough to go that far, and considering I went the completionist route for the Mario Galaxy games and more than once for Mario 64, that’s all I feel I really need to say. Super Mario Sunshine is certainly a GOOD game, one that I was glued to for a few straight evenings; it’s just a pretty weak entry in the core Mario series. It’s a fairly unique entry, but at the same time it’s less polished and more mundane. Don’t get me wrong, I totally recommend it, but if you skip it and go straight for the Super Mario Galaxy games, I can definitely understand.
GameCube · by Adzuken (836) · 2015
The thing that standed out the most were the graphics and the wide variety of colors. The graphics were very detailed (especially the water in the harbor level). The colors were eye-popping and a upgrade from Mario 64.
The 2 things I didn't like were the music and the voice text. The music was corny and boring like in the other Mario games. Plus, the music overshadowed the voices in the game. Peach's voice was scrambled and the Toads just made funny noises.
The Bottom Line
You feel like you got your money's worth with this game. If you like Mario games or games with a mixture of humor and seriousness, you should buy this game.
GameCube · by Exodia85 (2147) · 2003
What did I like about Super Mario Sunshine? Pretty much everything. Graphics: LOVED them! Music: Catchy music. Not bad at all. Gameplay: Awesome Gameplay! Plot/Storyline: It's cool. I loved nearly everything about Super Mario Sunshine.
What I DIDN'T like about this game. That's a tough question. I think the only thing I hated about Super Mario Sunshine are some of the voices. Peach's voice REALLY annoyed me.
The Bottom Line
This is probably the best Mario game ever made (next to Super Mario Bros. 3)! You MUST buy this game if you love Mario! I give this game a 10 out of 10!
GameCube · by Dark Cloud (31) · 2003
1001 Video Games
Super Mario Sunshine appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
There is a major glitch in the game that allows you to access a sub world, sometimes called the "Blue Hell". The game physics are dropped down (meaning, for example, you can move around normally underwater, but if you jump it will revert to normal) and you can access many areas with little or no effort, particularly the Yoshi fruit boats.
In the Japanese version of Super Mario Sunshine, "Isle Delfino" is known as "Dolphic Island". When a player retrieves a Shine Sprite, the "message" says "Shine Get!" instead of the English "Shine!" Also, despite being developed in Japan, the Japanese version is all in English with Japanese subtitles.
- This game is set on a tropical island named Isle Delfino. "Delfino" is Italian for "Dolphin", which was Gamecube's prototype's name. Also, there are some words written in Italian around the game, like "Benvenuto" ("welcome"), etc.
- There's a reference to the Beatles in this game. There is a yellow submarine on the Ricco Harbor stage.
- In the attic of the Hotel Delfino, the janitor complains about the ghosts, wishing someone would come and "suck them up in a vacuum cleaner". This is a reference to another Gamecube title, Luigi's Mansion, where Luigi did indeed suck up ghosts in a vacuum cleaner.
- When you first find FLUDD, look in the lower left corner to view scenes from previous Mario games, including Super Mario Bros., Super Mario World, and Super Mario 64.
- 2002 – Best GameCube Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
- 2002– Best GameCube Dexterity Game of the Year
- 2002 – Best GameCube Dexterity Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
Related Sites +
Super Mario Sunshine
Nintendo's Official Site.
- MobyGames ID: 7178
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Servo.
Game added August 28th, 2002. Last modified November 5th, 2023.