"On a tropical island far from the Mushroom Kingdom, among a people enchanted by sunshine, Mario has taken a break from the hopping, the bopping, and saving the princess to take a well deserved vacation... or so he thinks."
Super Mario Sunshine was released in 2002. It's the only Mario platformer for the Nintendo GameCube.Everyone's favorite portly plumber, Princess Peach, five Toads (Red, Green, Yellow, Blue, and Purple) and Toadsworth go on a vacation. When they arrive at scenic Isle Delfino, they find that the place has been polluted and plastered with graffiti. Additionally, the Shine Sprites that power the island have disappeared. The culprit is a guy who looks suspiciously like Mario. Everyone's favorite plumber is promptly arrested as he arrives, falsely accused of vandalizing the island. He is put on trial, found guilty, and ordered to clean up the graffiti and recover the Shine Sprites. To help with the cleaning, Mario uses a water/jetpack thing called FLUDD. Wacky hijinks ensue, Peach gets kidnapped again, and Bowser is behind it all (and he has a son to boot).Notably features voice-acted dialogue for all the main characters except Mario. Subsequent games in the main series have returned to dialogue boxes, along with voiced sound effects. Overall, this was the 3D Mario to break away from the "Mario formula" the most (tellingly, Goombas and regular Koopas are nowhere to be found, and Mario's nowhere near the Mushroom Kingdom).
And You Thought It Was a Game: The director of Pinna Park thinks that the boss fight between Mario and Mecha-Bowser is a staged event designed to lure in tourists.
Apathetic Citizens/It's Up to You: The residents of Delfino Plaza might just be the most useless beings in video game history. Not only are they unwilling to lift a finger to help recover the Shine Sprites or capture Shadow Mario, but at multiple points, there's a man running around on fire and nobody else seems motivated to try to help him. The man on fire doesn't even help HIMSELF. He runs back and forth endlessly along the same few feet of sidewalk, despite the fact that he's only a few yards away from a huge body of water.
The manager of Hotel Delfino sort of lampshades this. He asks Mario to get rid of Phantamanta and acknowledges that he doesn't even know who Mario is, just that he looks like someone who is very capable.
One particularly bad example — the citizens of Isle Delfino are in a lather because the Shine Sprites need collecting so they can brighten up the Plaza, yet a ton of said citizens, not the least of which being in the Plaza, already have Shine Sprites in their possession! But instead of just pooling them earlier, or giving them to Mario so the island can be brightened sooner, they putter around and make him collect blue coins for them or break crates or whatnot. The worst of these guys is the keeper of the blue coin Shine Sprites because he's got one-fifth of all the Shine Sprites in his possession, yet he requires ten blue coins each before he'll let any one of them out.
The one exception is a level where you have to traverse a series of platforms by getting Piantas to throw you to them. And even then, if you talk to them from the wrong angle, they'll throw you into the bottomless abyss, essentially murdering you.
Bilingual Bonus: Most of the location names have Italian words in them. For those curious...
Gelato: Ice creamnote technically a kind of ice cream
Pianta: Plantnote In the Japanese version, however, they're called "Monte", meaning "mountain". Their description on the map even calls them "the mountain people".
Il Piantissimo: ... The Very Plant, The Most Plant-iest... or "Very Pianta."
Noki: May be an alternate spelling of "gnocchi", a type of short pasta or for small potato dumplings of the same name. The Noki themselves are kind of round and lumpy, so they kind of look like gnocchi. In the Japanese version, Nokis are the Mare (sea) people.
Also there are signs around Delfino Plaza with the word "Benvenuto", or welcome.
Buffy Speak: On the airstrip at the beginning, after the Shine Sprite appears, one of Toads says "A shiny! It came out of the yucky!"
Camera Screw: It wasn't as bad as Super Mario 64 with this, in part due to the instantly-center-the-camera feature, but it had a bad tendency to let scenery elements get in the way of your view of Mario. Also, it was impossible to move the camera when you're right in a corner (save for the camera center feature).
Casino Park: "Casino Delfino" in Sirena Beach's Hotel Delfino is a little less wacky than most examples of this trope, but it's still an example.
Chekhov's Gun: Possibly the pad on the lighthouse roof. These are littered around the edges of the final boss arena and are used the same way; if you didn't do the one on the lighthouse, you might not have known immediately what to do. But then again, it doesn't appear in any place other than the two mentioned.
Convection Schmonvection: The final level has Mario traverse the insides of a volcano. By guiding a boat through the lava. A boat made of mud.
Cosmetic Award: The sunglasses and Shine Sprite shirt (before you beat the game, you just get the sunglasses after getting 30 Shine Sprites). The sunglasses aren't completely non-functional, as they turn down the game's brightness by a degree once it starts getting too bright. However, this doesn't affect gameplay in any way, unless the player just prefers a darker screen.
Deus ex Machina: The flooding of Delfino Plaza. Once you've cleared all the Shadow Mario challenges, out of nowhere, a flash flood from Corona Mountain submerges the coastal city in a half-dozen meters of water. What causes it is "record breaking rain fall", all of which happens off screen; it cleans up the city and satisfies the conditions for Mario to be set free after his arrest and being tasked with removing all the graffiti.
Dual Boss: Bowser breathes fire at you and tips the tub to splash you with hot water(?) quite often. You're also attacked by a barrage of Bullet Bills coming from his son's Submarine.
Dummied Out: Only in the original Japanese release does there exist text files for what seem to be a train station system, with a list of harbors leading to levels, even ones that aren't part of the final game at all. The text for what could be a messaging tree also includes buying tickets and stamps.
Easter Egg: One of the levels involves shrinking and getting into a glass bottle. By crawling into a hole in a wall and rotating the camera around, you can see a book behind the wall. It's the only one in the game and nobody knows what it's doing here. Supposedly the original point of the mission was to find the book of the guy who sent you into the bottle, but they later changed it to a red coin hunt, and they never bothered to remove the book model.
Escort Mission: That damn glitchy watermelon in Gelato Beach will make Cataquacks haunt your dreams.
Excuse Plot: Seemingly averted at first; the game has a legitimate reason for Mario to clean up the island, and each area has a noticeable subplot, but subverted later when the overarching plot is abandoned in favor of collecting the rest of the shines and saving Peach.
Frame-Up: Mario was framed for messing up Delfino Island by Bowser Jr. disguised as Shadow Mario.
Fun with Acronyms: FLUDD stands for Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device, and the Delfino Emergency Broadcast System is known as D.E.B.S.
Goofy Print Underwear: Electrokoopas are wearing pink underwear (or possibly pink swim trunks) under their shells.
Gosh Hornet: The beehives in certain levels are more dangerous than most of Shadow Mario's minions.
Gotta Catch Them All: You can reach Bowser with as few as 50note Technically 49, as it is possible to sequence break and skip the first Shine Sprite in Bianco Hills Shine Sprites; however, you can't just choose any 50 to go after. There is a mandatory path of missions you must complete, and any other Shines outside that path do nothing but boost your overall Shine Sprite count. Which means that over half the Shine Sprites in the game serve no other purpose than collecting them for 100% Completion.
Guide Dang It: The Blue Coins and Overworld Shine Sprite locations will not be immediately obvious. There are such gems as "Spray a random yellow bird", "Spray a random patch of ground", and "Spray water at the sun."
Horse of a Different Color: Yoshi, as usual. His color also affects the color of juice he spits, which has different effects as well. If he's out of juice he turns his iconic green color and spits water. And then distingrates in 5 seconds. He also turns green and disintigrates if he jumps into a body of water more than knee high. What kind of Yoshis do they breed on Isle Delfino?
Humongous Mecha: Mecha-Bowser. We've had mechanical Bowsers before, but this is the first bona-fide giant robot facsimile of the Koopa King.
Hypocritical Humor: In the cutscene before the final boss, Bowser will complain about Mario ruining his vacation, despite the fact that the he did that exact thing to Mario's.
There are many instances where Isle Delfino citizens can see Shadow Mario running around stealing things, leaving many a litre of goop in his wake; he is usually followed a few seconds later by the real Mario, the latter often stopping to scrub the former's mess. Yet the court's decision never gets reversed...
Some of the inhabitants have Shine Sprites that they give to to Mario when he completes a mission. Whether they're too stupid to hand over the Shines to the authorities, or they're willfully hoarding them and the authorities are too stupid to arrest them is for the viewer to decide.
Invisible Wall: There's one in the middle of the ocean which not keeps you not only from going out too far, but also from sequence breaking by selecting a mission in one area and then swimming directly to another. For instance, Delfino Plaza and Ricco Harbor are practically right on top of each other, but if you try to swim from one to the other, you'll almost make it, then smack right into the invisible wall and have to go back.
Kangaroo Court: Mario does not receive a defense attorney or witness testimony. He is arrested on the sole premise that his face is the same as the one on a poster. And the one objection he does receive is instantly overruled. Worse, that objection is from Princess Peach. You'd think that the word of royalty would be listened to... In the words of Chuggaaconroy:
Chuggaaconroy: There was no statement by the defense, no attorney appointed to the defense, no witnesses called, no evidence presented, nobody even bothered to notice that we literally got here 4 minutes and 34 seconds ago before we were arrested, and there wasn't even a jury!?!... This is more rigged than Saddam Hussein's trial!
Kill It with Water: Nearly everything in the game can be killed using FLUDD. Even your ride Yoshi isn't immune to water, unless you're in the Hotel Delfino getting the Shine Sprite that's in the pool room.
Levels Take Flight: Gelato Beach's "The Sandbird is Born" episode, which has Mario riding the titular bird through a cloud-filled course to collect red coins.
Long Song, Short Scene: "Deep Sea of Noki Bay". It's only heard in one level, the "Red Coin Fish in Noki Bay". And since that mission is entirely optional, many gamers won't hear it at all. And since it's underwater, you can't even sit back and listen to the music since Mario is constantly losing air.
No Cutscene Inventory Inertia: When you return to Delfino Plaza after defeating Bowser, an "X" graffiti can be seen on the side of one of the buildings, regardless of whether you cleaned it off in the course of the game.
Nostalgia Level: The FLUDD-less levels, which strip away all the gimmicks in favor of old-school platforming. The music and some of the backgrounds add to the nostalgic effect.
Nothing Is Scarier: If Eely-Mouth traps Mario in its mouth, FLUDD will say "It is dark...I feel fright...".
Palmtree Panic: Given the nature of the setting, there are quite a few worlds like this. Gelato Beach is probably the purest iteration of the trope in the game.
Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: Corona Mountain. The lava is actually Grimy Water that is colored yellow and orange. If Mario falls into it, there is a water splash and he instantly drowns and floats like a dead corpse.
Le Parkour: You can waste a lot of time just running, diving, sliding, and wall-jumping all around the hub or levels.
Playable Menu: The file select screen has Mario on a 2-D plane, with the files selected by hitting blocks. Mario can use all his regular platforming moves to play around the blocks.
Police Are Useless: The only time the Delfino Police attempt to do their jobs is when they arrest Mario — the wrong guy. The worst example of their uselessness comes near the beginning of the game when Shadow Mario attempts to capture Peach, and Mario has to chase him down. The police not only do nothing to stop the kidnapping, but they still refuse to acknowledge that Mario is not the real criminal even though the entire scene unfolds right in front of their eyes, and prefer to accuse him of slacking off.
Portal Picture: Most stages are reached by finding a large "M" painted by Shadow Mario that shows an animated image of the next area, spraying it until the goop covering the front is gone, and jumping next to the M. Mario will dissolve into the paint and wind up in the level depicted.
Save the Princess: Subverted: Once Shadow Mario is properly introduced, he'll attempt to get away with Peach. You chase him around town and force him to drop her, however. Peach will subsequently hang around Delfino Plaza, and you can even talk to her. But this is a Double Subversion. When you get ten Shine Sprites, she permanently gets kidnapped for the rest of the game, and she doesn't even return to Delfino Plaza when you clear the game, so Toadsworth and the Toads continue to worry about her.
Scenery Porn: Definitely one of the game's selling points. Especially when compared to the blocky, primitive polygons of Super Mario 64. The environments are rich and detailed, the lighting is excellent, and the rendering of the water is at least as good as in Galaxy. The pop-up (or "fade-in") is also remarkably good, except for some items like coins. The huge draw distance helps add to the game's cohesiveness; you can actually see other locations from different points on the island.
Schmuck Bait: If you reach the end of the poison canal lily pad ride without all the red coins, there's a warp pipe which you would think takes you back to the beginning of the level so you can try again. WRONG! It deposits you all the way back in Delfino Plaza... which means you have to do the long, tedious boat ride with Yoshi all over again just to get back to it. By contrast, if you just kill yourself, you can restart at the beginning of the lily pad course.
Sequence Breaking: Both intentional (triple-jump to wall-jump to FLUDD-hover combos get over some walls) and unintentional ("corner" wall jumps to levels that haven't been unlocked yet). Also, you can gain a lot of speed by pouring water on the ground and sliding on it, which saves a lot of time at the cost of maneuverability.
One can also get the second shine in Bianco Hills without obtaining the first one, if the player ignores the first shine and makes their way to the top of the windmill. Lampshaded by a nearby NPC.
Performing the Gelato Beach skip allows you to jump straight to the Shadow Mario shine for the level.
Robert Fludd was a 16th century mystic and scientist with interest in perpetual motion machines involving pumps, and how blood is pumped.
Check Il Piantissimo's face texture in the game's files, and you'll see he looks a lot like the Running Man.
Phantamanta is a reference to the end of The Shining, in which a shadowy manta-like shape issues from the hotel as it burns, before fragmenting and vanishing. The boss battle occurs near a hotel, like in that novel.
The whole Eely-Mouth bit about brushing your teeth. Yes, it's bad not to, but most people aren't A- A giant eel whose teeth have literally gone completely black, or B- someone whose act of not cleaning teeth pollutes a whole bay with purple acid.
Pianta Village has another one. Be kind to your pets, or else they'll turn red-hot and go on a rampage, covering the town with lava.
Stealth Pun: If you spray the WANTED: MARIO posters in the plaza, they'll give you coins. You're cleaning Mario's name.
Suddenly Voiced: As mentioned, this is the first and so far only Super Mario game to have extensive voice acting. Bowser in particular never had English dialogue (except in the cartoons) until now.
Sunny Sunflower Disposition: A chapter at Pinna Park gives you the mission to help the sunflowers outside the park. Completing the mission gives you a Shine. Also, if you water them, they give you Gold Coins, making them one of the main sources of coins for the 100-coins Shine of this level. note Provided you don't take the easy way of spraying all the Bullet Bills for coins in Episode 2.
Super Drowning Skills: Yoshi, unlike previous versions, can't swim and if you even so much as touch most bodies of water, he'll disappear. Apparently, this isn't really Yoshi, but a Yoshi made out of water-soluble paint. It's explained in the manual that the breed of Yoshis found on Isle Delfino cannot swim, but it still doesn't make a lot of sense. Specifically, any body of water deep enough for Mario to swim in. Shallow water is okay to walk in, but if it's deep enough to refill FLUDD (like the fountains in Delfino Plaza), and Mario jumps off, Yoshi still melts.
That Makes Me Feel Angry: "It is dark... I feel fright." Possibly justified, as this is probably the only way FLUDD has of expressing any kind of emotion.
Theme And Variations Soundtrack: Sorta. Listen very, very closely to the stage themes of the first few stages, and you'll realize each is a different arrangement of the same song.
Tightrope Walking: There are many tightropes which Mario can cross and bounce on. Mario may seem like he's always on the verge of falling while on the them, but it's impossible to fall unless you purposely jump off.
Timed Mission: Whenever you revisit one of the secret platforming levels with FLUDD, you can earn another Shine by completing a red coin challenge, which will always be timed. A few of the other levels are timed as well, such as "Scrubbing Sirena Beach" and "Piantas in Need".
Too Dumb to Live: The Pianta in Delfino Plaza who's on fire. Why doesn't he just run into the ocean? Happens again in Pianta Village. Right next to the village's creek.
Variable Mix: Riding Yoshi has this effect, as tradition dictates.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: It isn't cruelty, exactly, but you can have Mario be quite the bastard if you choose. You can run around Delfino Plaza stealing fruit from the vendors or messing up their displays, or simply go around dousing NPCs with water and jumping on them. They get upset, but they don't do anything to you. On the other hand, this is a surprisingly satisfying way to deal with characters who are rude to you.
It's hilarious when you spray Toadsworth: OH NO!! YAAH MAMA BLAH BLAH.
You can drown Yoshi.
You can use a body slide to actually spread the graffiti and swallow up some of the NPCs, or lure those cute little bubble creatures that come out of the goop to spread the stuff to clean areas (avoid them as they jump on you or it won't work). Go restart the game and have fun with it in Delfino Plaza, or go to the second Petey Piranha mission in Bianco Hills. Lots of potential at those spots.
Violation of Common Sense: One of the best moves for getting around quickly is to spray water at the ground, then dive at that spot. You'll keep drifting forward like you're on a wet slip-and-slide, still have limited directional control, and you'll just keep going until you jump out of it or run into something. That little patch of water sure goes a long way, even on sand, stone, you name it.
What the Hell, Player?: The guests in Hotel Delfino will complain about Mario barging into their rooms uninvited, and a Pianta woman will chastise Mario for his presence in the ladies' bathroom. Also, if you have a bunch of coins when you talk to the janitor in the attic, he'll call you a greedy little coin-grubber.
Worst News Judgement Ever: For some reason, Delfino Emergency Broadcast System deems an egg on a roof worthy of an emergency bulletin.
You Shouldn't Know This Already: Even if you know the trick for opening up the western ruins in Noki Bay, you will never be able to do so in episode 1... because Mario doesn't "learn" how to do it until episode 2. This applies even if you come back to episode 1 after completing episode 2.