This will be the newest generation game I’ve reviewed so far; I have a modicum of newer games to choose from and my daughter was hard-bent on playing this one. I bought this title when it first came out; my impressions of it were pretty high at the time. But, there’s 1 question that looms over this game:
Why do so many People hate it?
There are a lot of “it wasn’t that good” and “weakest of the Mario games” and “doesn’t compare to it’s immediate predecessor, Mario 64,” What I try to do in my own mind, for my own sake is compare it to everything else on that system, not everything that came before it because as many comparisons as you can make to a 64 bit game like Mario and say it’s inferior, it trumps a whole heaping ton of 64 bit games just due to it’s better quality graphics and game content because it’s more evolved.
So, I won’t devolve into all that talk; instead I just want to briefly cover what an expansive game this is: you have 7 levels with 8 sub-levels in each, as well as at least 2 special stages in each level. There’s a town you can perform tasks in as well. You are collecting Stars in this game, 120 to be exact; which I will say I topped my record of 99 stars back in the day to 103 now. I love the colors of this game; the worlds and the mechanics. I love using FLUDD, who also gets a lot of hate. FLUDD is a water gun Mario straps to his back to spray down enemies and sludge invading the tropical island you inhabit. It also allows you to fly for short periods, rocket ship yourself up to high cliffs and skid across long distances quickly. If you don’t master the maneuvers and capabilities of FLUDD, you are dead in the water (sorry, awful pun)
Let’s talk about another key aspect of this game: it’s hard as s***!!!! At least to me; the secret levels are just ridiculous; it’s pure Mario jumping through nearly impossible obstacles. What about some of the Star Mini-Challenges like the Pinball board or the Floating Leaf challenge? Just insane. There’s a million things to explore and even watching videos on how to beat certain sub-levels, I was still learning new skills. This time around, with my daughter’s support, I actually finished the game; a task I couldn’t accomplish in my younger days. It felt to good to get that red suspender -wearing monkey off my back all these years. And to know that at least in difficulty and pure insane imagination, this Mario game does not do it’s older brothers wrong. Where this will stack up in the litany of Gamecube releases I get to one day? Who knows
Playability/ Controls- 9 Graphics- 9.5 Music/Sound- 9.5 Replay Value- 8 Originality- 10 Final: 92%