Super Mario Sunshine (2002) Review

Super Mario Sunshine is a 3D platfomer for the Nintendo Gamecube, it was directed by Yoshiaki Koizumi and Kenta Usui with producer credits for both Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka

Mario, Princess Peach and Toadsworth are all flying to the luxurious Island of Isle Delfino for some summer fun, relaxation and a well needed vacation after Mario’s past adventures.

Unfortunately a Mario impostor has covered the entire island in toxic slime and due to this Mario is mistaken for the criminal resulting in him being thrown into prison. Luckily he had previously picked up one of Professor E-Gadd’s inventions FLUDD, FLUDD is a water propelling device which has multiples functions and is able to remove the slime, Mario is eventually released and told that he must clean the entire Island before he can leave, this gives him plenty of opportunities to figure out who framed him and explore the entirety of Isle Delfino.

In the game you will travel to different areas of the Island which each hold a number of Shine Sprites (This games stars).

In order to receive these Shine Sprites you will have to complete various tasks ranging from basics such as collecting red coins and more complex tasks such as fighting ghosts, riding yoshi’s and even riding roller coasters !!

My favourite Shines in the game are from the second world you can access, there are two missions here where you can ride on squids to go fast across the water, this is really fun and not too difficult to control once you get the hang of things.

Another game play style worth mentioning here is when the game takes the FLUDD away, this goes back to basic Mario game play and its very challenging because you are now used to using FLUDD for practically everything, I can see some gamer’s being very frustrated with these sections because they are both difficult and visually differing to the rest of the game but personally for myself these are some of the highlights of Mario Sunshine.

Speaking of the worlds they are each so differently designed that I want to briefly discuss my thoughts on them.

The Hub World has its own Shine Sprites which you can collect as you unlock new peripherals for your FLUDD, the main layout is actually really good and minus two Sprites which are a pain to collect it had little flaws, the only issue I have is the awful plachinko mini game and the red coin mission which is requires you to navigate a Yoshi to an island using boats which you have no control over.

The first world you enter is Bianco Hills a really summery area that is powered by windmills and ruled by ferocious pirana plants. I really like this area its genuinely really well designed and a great place to get used to using Mario’s jumping mechanics and it also teaches the player the basics of FLUDD.

Next up is Ricco Harbor a water based level which requires players to quickly adapt to using FLUDD in order to explore the stage,I like this level but I do feel its really unfair at times especially so early on in the game, I love riding the squids but I hate the wind that knocks you off of the towers which are already challenging to balance on.

Gelato Beach is one of my least favourite areas of the game, it can be very creative when it comes to using water to control the sand and I also enjoy the general atmosphere of the level, the stage was not very well designed for the Shine Sprites it holds, examples of awful design would be the much hated sand bird stage and rolling the water melon, while the sand bird is a stage hidden within the Beach it is still extremely frustrating and does not work well with the games genuinely slippery control and the water melon mission is just ridiculously difficult as one hit and it get destroyed and the level is crawling with unfair enemy placements.

Pinna Park is easily the best part of the game, its a theme park which is really fun to explore and is one of the best areas to climb up really high to get some good views and appreciation for the game design. I love this part and I have no complaints.

Sienna Beach is an odd name considering that you hardly spend anytime in the beach part of the level and mostly explore an old hotel, the hotel is a pretty cool area its a little boring considering that most of it is locked from the player but what we do get is great, I really love finding the secret rooms and the Casino is a memorable part due to that really crazy fight with King Boo.

An area I always forget about before each play through of Sunshine is Noki Bay, this is another water based area and I don’t know why I never remember this because its one of my favourite places to visit. It is a really challenging level because when you first enter the entire water area is poisoned and will kill Mario fairly quickly, the level is very small but has some great details such as the use of seashells as decoration and buildings, there are a lot of well hidden secrets to find and the stage is designed in a way that makes it really fun to explore with little frustration, I love the colours used, there is a lot of dark blues and purples and other darker colours that each blend really well together and build great immersion.

Pinata Village is the final area before you head to the Volcano to fight Bowser, I hate this level because it is really boring, there is nothing special about it and while I think its interesting that it was developed with players being able to explore both the village and its underside the entire layout is just basic and nothing really stands out, I would argue that even the Shine Sprites here are not great, the only one I enjoy is when you have to drag the giant chain chomp into the hot springs but apart from that nothing else is memorable for me.

While exploring all of the Island you will primarily be using FLUDD who has four functions, shooting water, hovering, blasting water to move Mario at rapid speeds and the rocket allowing Mario to propel himself into the sky, these are all really easy to use but you will be mainly using the hover which is the most useful as it can come in handy to allow you to make tricky jumps.

Yoshi’s can be ridden in the game but they are hardly ever needed a very unusual choice was for them to spit out juice from their mouths, this juice can be used to remove a specific type of slime that can not be destroyed otherwise.

At this point we have covered most of the game but the last thing I want to touch on is the blue coins, these are hidden all over the game and the primary function is to sell them for more Shine Sprites, people do complain that these make up a large chunk of the Sprites in the game and is just lazy I think its done in a way that works well enough but I would be lying if I didn’t slightly agree with the statement.

The game may be a little flawed but you have to admit that the soundtrack is fantastic, its very simple I wont deny that, it even repeats music but with a different style and instruments but its done in such a clever and discreet way that it just works, the music fits perfectly and helps you get immersed in the really silly world of Isle Delfino.

So I know I have complained a fair bit here but I do feel this game is far from perfect, It’s buggy and the controls are not as great as they usually are and for the most part it feels unfinished but there must be something great about this game because I have replayed it every Summer since 2002. I think what this game does well is that it genuinely feels like a vacation, its so silly and charming that its hard not to put a smile on your face and I think for a lot people its nostalgic, it definitely is for me I got this game when it came out and I’ ve grown up with it since I was seven years old, back then I would have told you that this is one of the best Mario games ever made but now that I’m older and I review video games for a living I can see that its far from being a masterpiece for reasons I have stated previously. It’s a game that I would say is half amazing and half mediocre its a little bit of a mess but is also really fun, Mario Sunshine is probably the most difficult game in the series to rate because its hard to look past how much fun it is but then as reviewers we must look into It’s problems and it has a fair few so I think its only fair to give it a 6.5/10 and just enjoy for what it is, not the best Mario game but a great way to start the summer.

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Donkey Kong Country (1994) Review

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Donkey Kong Country is a 2.5D plat-former that was developed by Rare Ware for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the game came to be after Rare Ware played around with silicon graphics. It was the first game in the Donkey Kong Franchise to not be directed by Shigeru Miyamoto however he was involved with the games development.

 

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The plot of the game is explained over four pages of the games original manual, the plot is very well written and is a humorous but atmospheric way to get players in the best mood for the game to come, to briefly break the plot down Diddy Kong was guarding Donkey Kongs Banana Horde when he was attacked by a group of King K Rool’s Kremlings before being stuffed into a barrel, the next morning after noticing Diddy’s absence and the lack of Banana’s in his collection Donkey Kong runs into the Jungle to rescue his nephew Diddy and get his Banana’s back.

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The game is an action plat-former where you play as both of the Monkeys, this also allows 2 player simultaneous game-play. In levels players can collect banana’s and Kong letters to earn more lives.

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There are various animal friends hidden in some levels which allow the monkeys to easily take out tougher enemies and find secret passages, another use of animals in the game is when you collect three matching golden animal statues,  this will open a bonus area where you can quickly add larger quantities of lives.

The two main monkeys each play the same but have different strengths Diddy Kong is lighter than Donkey Kong and is better at getting through tight spaces, Donkey Kong is much larger and a little slower but his extra weight allows him to take out armoured enemies with ease.

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There are many different types of levels in the game and all of them are very well made, the two that stood out the most to me were the water levels and the mine carts.

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These are in my opinion the most challenging in the game both require quick reactions and well timed movements, I normally hate water levels in games but I really like these ones they have great atmospheric music and they don’t tire out your thumb as much as over games water stages do, if you ride the fish you can actually go through most of these stages without any repetitive tapping as well.

I like the mine cart stages because they give off quite an adrenaline rush due to the high speeds that you travel on the mine cart and the fast reactions you need to survive, these stages leave you feeling very satisfied when you finally manage to beat them.

The only other stages that really stand out in this game are the light stages where you need to keep turning on lights to see your way through the levels, there are only a few of these but they are very difficult.

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Between worlds you can pay visits to Cranky Kong who will both insult you and also provide you hints on secrets in some of the stages.

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The boss fights are not very inspired, they all get hurt the same way and apart from one or two of them they are not that memorable, this is not including the final boss which is great.

Click to access CLV-P-SAALE.pdf

Click to access CLV-P-SAALE.pdf

The games soundtrack is one of the most beloved video game soundtracks of all time, the music is extremely well done and fits the tone and atmosphere of the game perfectly. It uses various nature sounds and music styles to make the music fit perfectly into the jungle environment and its hard to give it justice in words alone but composers David Wise and Eveline Fisher made most of the music for the game and deserve their place in video game history.

Donkey Kong Country is an amazing game, it is known to be one of the best games on the Super Nintendo and you can see why, I would argue that it isn’t perfect though one thing that bugged me was that they mapped the roll move with the same button as sprint and this caused me to roll off of edges more times than necessary and I found some areas hard to see properly due to the realism in the visuals. Don’t get me wrong the graphics are really impressive and they suit the game very well I just wish at times they were a little bit brighter, apart from these two things the game is flawless, it controls well, looks and sounds beautiful and is overall one of the best video games of all time 9.4/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Donkey Kong Country for the SNES

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