Must-Have Mario

Rise and Shine! Summer might be long gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still take a trip to the beach. Enter Mario Sunshine, the first game starring Nintendo’s mascot in nearly six years. Being the huge Mario fan that I am, naturally when I heard about Mario Sunshine for the Nintendo GameCube, I didn’t hesitate to put it at the top of my birthday list. I have to say after playing Mario Sunshine, it looked and played much like to Mario 64. But was it as fun to play as the previous Mario adventure?

The story begins with Mario, Peach and her mushroom compatriots traveling via plane to the beautiful Isle Delfino for a little vacation. Upon landing, the crew learns that a man disguised as Mario has been polluting the entire island with a mysterious goop and wreaking havoc everywhere. Luckily, Mario quickly happens to find a water cannon called F.L.U.D.D. sent to him by Professor E. Gadd (The same E. Gadd who built Luigi’s Poltergeist 3000.) With F.L.U.D.D. strapped to his back, Mario is given the task of cleaning up all the goop on Isle Delfino and recovering the magical Shine Sprites that were stolen and have covered the island in darkness. At the same time, Mario’s got to track down the mysterious polluter who’s been posing as him or he faces a long sentence in the Isle Delfino jail.

Mario still has patented jump techniques to help him out, but your biggest ally in Mario Sunshine, by far, is your water cannon F.L.U.D.D. You can use it to kill enemies, uncover secrets and, most importantly, wash off goop that the imposter Mario left behind. You can also use the cannon to hover in the air briefly, dash at super speed and jump really high by accessing different water nozzles that you’ll find periodically.

The premise of Mario Sunshine is fairly simple. There are various levels, each at a different locale and containing several episodes in which your ultimate goal is to collect a Shine Sprite in each episode. Isle Delfino acts as a hub where you can go to any level, at any time, pending its accessiblity. (Sound familiar?) Boss battles are more plentiful than in Mario 64 and the levels get harder much faster. In addition, Yoshi’s back, but this time he actually plays an active role in the game. There are a lot of levels and secrets that he can find for secrets you that Mario by himself wouldn’t be able to find.

Overall, Mario Sunshine is a game of jumping, spraying and fun puzzle-solving that will keep you busy for a very long time. It puts Luigi’s Mansion to shame. The environments are massive, the music is composed in classic Mario style and there are plenty of secrets to discover.

I could find very little wrong with this game. The camera is troublesome sometimes and the graphics, while not bad, do little to show off the true power of the GameCube.

Other than that, Mario Sunshine is pretty close to a perfect game. It’s a must-buy for all GameCube owners.