Super Mario Sunshine might not have received the critical acclaim of its predecessor Super Mario 64, but it’s still fondly remembered by fans. Launching on October 4th 2002, this quintessential GameCube game was first released 15 years ago.
Breaking away from the usual Bowser kidnaps Peach cliché, Super Mario Sunshine has one the series’ more “unique” storylines. After being framed by the mysterious Shadow Mario, the plumber is arrested and forced into community service. Seriously. And it only gets weirder, as Mario is equipped with a talking water-spraying backpack named F.L.U.D.D. Even though the plumber does venture into space in his next outing, Nintendo still haven’t matched the weirdness of Sunshine‘s story.
It’s not just the story that’s unique either, as each of Sunshine’s levels is based on a different aspect of going on holiday. There’s the haunted Hotel Delfino, the sandy Gelato Beach and even the rollercoaster-filled Pinna Park. Compared to the generic desert, lava and forest settings seen in typical Mario games, it’s really a breath of fresh air. This tropical theme is continued in the music, Sunshine‘s soundtrack featuring some of the franchise’s most memorable laid back tunes. It was even advertised using I’m Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves, a perfect choice if you ask me.
It’s certainly a black sheep, but Sunshine deserves to be celebrated for daring to break the mould. Ditching many of the established Mario cliches was a bold move by Nintendo, especially since the GameCube was massively under-performing in sales at the time. Even though it was released in October, it’s a game that will make you feel like you’ve just stepped in from the beach.
Remind yourself of this eclectic classic by checking out the footage below: