Super Mario Sunshine and Super Monkey Ball 2...
A couple of weeks ago the postman rang the doorbell early on a Saturday morning. I rushed down in my trackie bottoms to be greeted by a smile from our postie and a nice bulging package hot from the States. And sure enough one quick autograph later I had Super Mario Sunshine and Super Monkey Ball 2 in my hot little paws. Naturally I texted Ade immediately (he was on hols in Spain) to tell him the good news. Like me he's a big Nintendo fan and it was he who introduced me to the delights on Super Monkey Ball some months back. We've scheduled some collective drooling time after next week.
Super Mario Sunshine is basically Mario 64 ("the best video game ever") with knobs on. And very nice knobs they are too: photo-realistic water, mist and smoke effects, a far more interesting AI and overall much smoother 3D rendering. The game follows the now traditional path of main game with entrances to sub-worlds to explore peppered with mini games to collect stars and coins. The basic premise is that Mario is accused to painting graffiti all over a holiday island resort and is put to work cleaning the place up. For this he has use of a water jet pack - effectively being the reverse of the vacuum pump in Luigi's Mansion. The jet pack allows him to clean, kill, hover, blast up and fly. And as you would expect the physics are spot on. It's great fun and genuinely funny in places. The baddies are suitably menacing and the goals, while easy to achieve, are plentiful enough to keep you coming back for more. Overall a near perfect platform game. If you have a Nintendo GameCube you must get Super Mario Sunshine when it's available. And if you don't have a Nintendo GameCube Super Mario Sunshine is reason enough to get one. Simple as that.
If you like Super Monkey Ball then (surprise, surprise) Super Monkey Ball 2 is more of the same. But that's no bad thing. Rolling monkeys around in giant glass balls may not sound like much fun but it's tricky, infuriating and totally addictive. There are heaps on new mini-games and party games too. Skin up and prepare for hours of fun. I've got more RSI from this game than any other - some testament to it's longevity.