I recently played “Super Mario Sunshine” yet again. In this game, Mario and Princess Peach go on vacation to Isle Delfino, but lo and behold, there is trouble. Strange, goopy graffiti has been found all over the island, and the Shine Sprites have fled, causing much of the island to be covered in, well, not quite as much sunshine as usual. Worse yet, Mario has been mistaken for the one who’s doing all the vandalizing, a character we later learn to be Shadow Mario. (Even though Shadow Mario is all blue. I guess the island’s resident Piantas aren’t too bright.) So like usual, because Peach sure as heck isn’t going to get off her royal butt and do something for once, it’s up to Mario to clean the graffiti off the island and get the Shine Sprites back.
Luckily, Mario has FLUDD to help him, a device that shoots water, has a hover nozzle for…hovering, and has various other features that you unlock later in the game, like the rocket nozzle. This is very useful for cleaning up graffiti, hovering to places farther than Mario can jump normally, squirting enemies. And for spraying people just to make them unhappy.
As expected, the entire game takes place on Isle Delfino, and so all the levels are island-themed. There’s the harbor, the beach, the fancy hotel. I guess you can say there isn’t as much variety in this game’s levels as other “Mario” games, but I like it. It’s relaxing. Like a little vacation in a game. I love running around on Gelato Beach (when those stupid Cataquacks leave me be). Climbing around the cliffs of beautiful Noki Bay. Looking at the sunset outside of Hotel Delfino, then going inside said hotel and sneaking into people’s rooms because Mario’s a bit of a peeping tom that way. It’s just fun.
Most of the time. The game can also be quite difficult and frustrating. Especially when it comes to these levels that are not island-themed, but are purely platformer-based. There are these dreadful “secret” levels that take place in this big area of nothingness, and you have to cross all these platforms and stuff. Without FLUDD. It can be quite difficult and is the bane of my existence. (Well, except for that one thing with Yoshi, which I’ll get to.) And those areas just plain creep me out.
My other problem is that I don’t like the story. Sorry if I spoil some things, but it needs to be mentioned. Needs to be. Skip this paragraph if you don’t want spoilers. There eventually is this thing where Bowser Jr. shows up and says that he kidnapped Peach because she’s his mom, and she seems to believe it. Really, Peach? I think you would know if you were the mother of one of Bowser’s kids. You don’t just find out one day that you’re the mother of a giant turtle thing’s kid. There are so many horrific events I won’t get into that she would certainly remember if that was the truth. That scene was just plain silly.
But, it certainly isn’t a bad game. Stories have never been that great in “Mario” games. Everything else in this game makes up for the strange story. The game is a lot of fun. It also has very nice graphics for the Cube, I think. And that water. Lovely. And I want to live in Delfino Plaza. It’s such a pleasant place. And another thing is that I like how in different areas, you can see other locations. Like you can see Ricco Harbor from Bianco Hills and such, and for some reason, I always like that in games. I don’t know why, but I always have. I guess it makes the locations feel more real when you can see where the places are in relation to each other. I don’t know. All I know is it pleases this bird.
It’s also worth mentioning that Yoshi appears in the game later on, which is mostly fun. You have to bring the right fruit to the Yoshi egg to make him hatch, and then Mario can sit on poor Yoshi to his heart’s content. And then you can go around making Yoshi squirt fruit juice out of his mouth, which is rather bizarre, unsanitary, and a bit ill-mannered. And when the juice is orange, it’s a bit gross…. While I like using Yoshi, one thing is quite annoying. Yoshi can’t go in the water, which can be a problem when the game takes place on an island in the middle of the sea. This resulted in what I believe to be the worst Shine Sprite in the game ever. It was in Delfino Plaza. Yoshi had to wait for these boats, then, ride it to the next boat, but Yoshi’s jumping isn’t good, so you can guess what happened. It filled me with rage like no other Shine Sprite ever did.
But, despite that one Shine Sprite and those creepy “secret” areas, I like this game very much. In fact, I think I like it the most of all my “Super Mario” games (not including “Paper Mario”). I didn’t realize how much I really like this game until now. For one thing, I like that FLUDD’s hover nozzle kind of gives you more control over Mario’s jumping. You don’t have to be so perfect because that hover ability lets you still reach safety if you jump a little wrong. I’ve always been bad with Mario’s jumping, but FLUDD gives you a bit more security. You make me feel safe, FLUDD.
And another thing. I like that the locations are…normal. Y’know, worlds in “Super Mario 64” were strange. That big lava place. That area where you change the water level. They often weren’t like normal places. “Super Mario Galaxy” was really weird. All kinds of floating, random places. Some levels were normal, most were weird. “Super Mario Sunshine” has a town, a beach, an amusement park. Normal. I can’t even describe the levels of “64” or “Galaxy” in one word because they were, not normal. I don’t know if the duck makes sense, but I like that about this game. It makes this game stand out from the others for me.
But, anyway, I like this game a lot. Other than the story, it’s great. And it’s a challenge, which is nice. I would like to mention that I was able to get all 120 Shine Sprites a couple of times. I almost didn’t make it this time. I searched everywhere for one final Blue Coin (ten buys you a Shine Sprite). I searched for hours, then, finally found it hidden in the sands of Gelato Beach. I celebrated when I found the thing. Victory for the duck! I deserve some baklava! Now somebody make me some!
Super Mario Duckshine