Super Mario Sunshine

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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 new 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.

Tropes used in Super Mario Sunshine include:


  • Absentee Actor: As in Super Mario 64, Luigi doesn't appear or get mentioned at all.
    • Although a rumor did float around that if all of the Shine Sprites were collected, Luigi would be playable.
  • Air Vent Passageway: Even Mario has this: Sirena Beach's Hotel Delfino is a lot easier to get around thanks to its air vent system.
  • Always Sunset: It's always sunset whenever you visit Sirena Beach. The only way you can see it in the daytime is to go to the top of the Ferris wheel in Pinna Park and look out over the bay.
  • Amusement Park: Pinna Park.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The sunglasses and the Shine Sprite shirt; see Cosmetic Award.
  • 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.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Ground-pound Bowser's bathtub four times to defeat him and win the game.
  • 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 one point, 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 the manta ray 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, yet a ton of said citizens (though mainly the keeper of the blue coin shine sprites) 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 one exception is a level where you have to traverse a series of platforms by getting Piantas to throw you to them.
  • Asimov's Three Kinds of Science Fiction: The game falls under Adventure Science Fiction -- the paintbrush causes the problem, and the FLUDD is the solution to it.
  • Asteroids Monster: The manta ray shadow creature. One of the best moments.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Bowser is HUGE in the final battle.
  • Backpack Cannon: FLUDD
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Hotel Delfino on Sirena Beach.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Most of the location names have Italian words in them. For those curious...
    • Delfino: Dolphin
    • Bianco: White
    • Ricco: Rich
    • Gelato: Ice cream[1]
    • Pinna: Fin
    • Sirena: Mermaid
    • Pianta: Plant[2]
    • Corona: Crown
    • 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!"
  • Call Back: When FLUDD is scanning Mario, the camera switches to FLUDD's point of view. A small screen in the corner shows Mario in an underground area, Mario battling Iggy Koopa, and Mario fighting Bowser in the Dark World.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Nod: "Delfino" is Italian for "Dolphin", the development name of the Nintendo GameCube.
  • 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.
  • Criminal Doppelganger: The reason why Mario is sentenced to clean the entire island during his vacation.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Or "Damn You Programmers", what everyone said when they realized that the long jump from Super Mario 64 was gone, lost due to having to remap the controls to account for the presence of FLUDD.
    • In a similar situation, not many people know that Mario still has his backflip (hold down R all the way and press A). Even if it's described in the manual and in the game, many players don't pay attention to it, since crouching was removed. It's probably because most players prefer to run and squirt (hold down R slightly) instead of standing in place and squirting (hold down R all the way).
  • 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.
  • Disney Death: FLUDD.
  • Damsel in Distress: Princess Peach.
  • Dual Boss: Kinda. 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.
  • 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.
  • Escort Mission: That damn glitchy watermelon in Gelato Beach will make Cataquacks haunt your dreams.
  • Free Rotating Camera
  • Fungus Humongous: Can be found underneath Pianta Village.
  • Fundamentally Funny Fruit: Durians, which cannot be picked up, only kicked.
  • 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 50[3] 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.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Most of the place names in Delfino have an Italian component (including "Delfino" itself), and signs around Delfino Plaza say "Benvenuto".
    • Also, Mario sometimes says "Arrivederci" (Good-bye) when he dies.
  • Green Aesop: Oil spills are bad.
  • Green Hill Zone: Bianco Hills.
  • 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."
    • In defense of some of those, a Pianta in the level does mention that a secret can be found by "climbing to the highest point in the village and looking into the sun". In addition, Yoshi's tongue can one-shot the birds and homes in on them, eliminating the need to run around spraying everywhere.
  • Hard Levels Easy Bosses: Only a couple of boss fights in the game (chiefly, the manta) possess any real challenge.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Whenever Mario visits the sunglasses vendor after clearing the game, he can wear a Shine-Sprite-patterned shirt in addition to the glasses.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: The tutorial FLUDD gives you at the beginning of the game.
    • Partially justified in that the buttons could very well be on FLUDD.
  • Hell Hotel: Hotel Delfino, which is haunted by heat-stricken Boos.
  • Hijacked By Bowser
  • Horse of a Different Color: Yoshi, as usual. His color also affects the color of juice he spits, which has different effects as well.
  • Humongous Mecha: Mecha-Bowser. We've had mechanical and robotic Bowsers before, but this is the first bona-fide giant robot facsimile of the Koopa King.
  • Idiot Ball:
  • 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.
  • Item Get: With the help of Memetic Mutation, it provides both the image and is the Trope Namer.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Corona Mountain.
  • 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.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Bowser, Jr. claims Peach is his mother. He's wrong, of course.
  • MacGuffin: Shine Sprites.
  • Machine Monotone: FLUDD's voice.
  • Making a Splash: Thanks to FLUDD.
  • Mirror Boss: Both Shadow Mario and Il Piantissimo have the same moves as Mario when facing them.
  • Mind Screw: The secret levels where Shadow Mario takes FLUDD, if not just for the backgrounds.
  • Nintendo Hard: Several of the more challenging levels.
    • Get 100 coins on Gelato Beach.
    • The FLUDD-less platforming levels. Usually you can just keep trying as there is a life or two in each one, but it is still very difficult. Addictive though (and you can revisit these areas with FLUDD when you clear them).
      • Exception: One episode in Pianta Village involves navigating through a maze of goo, mushrooms, and the underside of the village just to get FLUDD back. You start FLUDD-less every time you play, regardless of how many times you've gotten the Shine Sprite.
      • "Secret of the Village Underside" in particular. "I'm a Chuckster!" will quickly grow into the most annoying sentence ever.
    • "The Red Coin Fish", the last episode of Noki Bay. Sure, the helmet makes it possible to stay underwater longer, but FLUDD's controls are more awkward than usual, and the fish made out of coins won't stop moving in great distances and scattering itself apart.
    • The game as a whole seems to ramp up the challenge a notch from Mario 64.
    • The Watermelon Festival: Mario needs to get a huge, glass-fragile watermelon to the restaurant at Gelato Beach to get a shine sprite. Hazards include walls, cataquacks, water, awful physics, and clipping issues.
    • Corona Mountain: Mario dies if he lands on a fire platform, spikes, or lava. Further exacerbated by the absence of a checkpoint and a wooden boat that somehow floats on lava but has awful controls and sinks instantly if it touches rock.
    • The hotel level with the electric stingray. To win, you have to degenerate it into 64 rays, and it leaves its electric goop everywhere.
  • 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.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Shadow Mario. Despite his totally blue color and watery texture (and the fact that his eyes occasionally go completely red), he is obviously Mario doing all that vandalism.
    • Take this a step further, Fake Mario is Junior covering his face with a bandanna with Mario's mustache drawn on it. There is no magic/science involved in the transformation, Junior is simply wearing a Paper-Thin Disguise that fools even the player when he wears it.
  • 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.
  • Racing Mini Game: The three races with Il Piantissimo.
  • Recurring Boss: Shadow Mario (a.k.a. Bowser Jr.)
    • Gooper Blooper is fought three times, and the only thing that changes is the battlefield.
    • The Piranha Plant made of goop has to be fought five times. The first three fights are identical, but the last two increase the difficulty by doubling the amount of damage you need to deal.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The sunflowers. Try spraying them. Aaaaawwwwwwwwww...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shall I Repeat That?: You're given the option to rehear both FLUDD's explanation of the gameplay mechanics and the backstory on the loss of the Shine Sprites. Very few people take advantage of this opportunity.
  • Shout-Out: The janitor in Hotel Delfino complains about all the ghosts and wonders why someone doesn't just come along and suck all of them up with a vacuum. "What, why you are you looking at me like that?"
    • The Ricco Harbor level has a yellow submarine.
    • It's not clear if it was deliberate, but Robert Fludd was a 16th century mystic and scientist with interest in perpetual motion machines involving pumps, and how blood is pumped.
  • Space Whale Aesop: 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.
  • Stop Helping Me!: FLUDD will frequently interrupt you to give extremely obvious advice. The best example is when you're fighting Gooper Blooper, when he'll tell you what to do even if you're already doing that very thing.
    • Thankfully, the advice is not too intrusive and can be easily ignored.
  • 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. [4]
  • Super Drowning Skills Sunshine: Yoshi, unlike previous versions, can't swim and if you even so much 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.
    • Interestingly, hacking the game to allow Yoshi to swim shows that he has his own swimming animations, Dummied Out, maybe?
  • The Tetris Effect: Try playing (and FAILING) at "Red Coins on the Water" (at Ricco Harbor) enough times, and you might start to see your own vision feeling like it's careening left and right the way the Surfing Blooper does if you're not gentle enough with the analog stick. This effect may persist even after you turn the game off and walk away.
  • 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.
  • 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!! YADA BLAH BLAH 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: Boats treat every liquid-like surface as water, even Corona Mountain's magma. Wait, what?
  • Wasted Song: "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.
  • Watching the Sunset: At the end, on Sirena Beach (where the sun always seems to be setting).
  • 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.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: Mario's FLUDD is used for nearly everything.
    • Up to Eleven with the blue coins; they're entirely optional and almost every single one is "pour water at X" where X ranges from things that are very clever to things that are... less so.
  • Who Dares?: "How dare you disturb my family vacation!"
  • Wingding Eyes: Mario gets hearts in his eyes during the opening sequence while thinking of all the good food the island has to offer.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Yoshi dies if you don't feed him enough fruit.
  • 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.
  1. technically a kind of ice cream
  2. In the Japanese version however, they're called "Monte", meaning "mountain". Their description on the map even calls them "the mountain people".
  3. Technically 49, as it is possible to sequence break and skip the first Shine Sprite in Bianco Hills.
  4. Provided you don't take the easy way of spraying all the Bullet Bills for coins in Episode 2.