I can still remember the way to Noki Bay. So much other stuff about Mario Sunshine has faded, but this remains clear, as if I last made the journey yesterday. You're in town and you head to the mosaic by the dolphin fountain. The air feels weird here, shimmering and expectant. You step onto the mosaic, and then what? Something is almost ready to happen. You spin the camera around until you catch it, the sun itself blazing in the sky. The screen goes white and then you're off.
It's this week's Eurogamer Show. Or is it...?
Ellie and her latest guest look back at a forgotten classic.
Playing host to classics like Pikmin, Luigi's Mansion, Super Mario Sunshine and Mario Kart: Double Dash (the best Mario Kart ever, in case you were wondering), the Nintendo Gamecube was a criminally underrated console. I adored mine, getting use out of it all the way through my teens and well into university.
Nintendo Switch will be able to play GameCube games via its Virtual Console service, three separate sources have confirmed to Eurogamer.
Everyone loves a mystery, don't they? I mean, why else would news about the discovery of Loch Ness Monster bones be trending on my Facebook feed right now?
HD remasters have continued to fill release schedules over the past couple of years, leaving many console owners feeling a bit of a remaster fatigue. Despite that, we still believe in them. While the likes of Saints Row 4: Re-Elected and Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition are obvious cash grabs, we feel that a high-quality remaster can serve not only to preserve classic games but also open them up to a new audience altogether. If there's one publisher that still has a lot of untapped potential in this field it has to be Nintendo. Going all the way back to Super Mario All-Stars on SNES, Nintendo's work on remastering projects has always been first-rate.
And yet, during the packed 2013 Autumn release schedule, exactly one such release slipped entirely under our radar - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. It's an interesting conversion of the original GameCube release that goes a bit further than your average remaster project; Nintendo EAD enhanced both the visuals and gameplay to refresh the game for a new audience while preserving what made it great to begin with. It was an exercise no doubt designed to familiarise the team with HD development in its preparation of a brand new Wii U Zelda title, but it highlights the potential in tackling more of its back catalogue. But just how good is Wind Waker HD as an example of what could be done, and what other projects would benefit from similar treatment?
Wind Waker HD isn't the first time Nintendo has returned to a classic Zelda game on a new platform; Ocarina of Time 3D was released more than two years prior with entirely revamped visuals in tow. However, with Wind Waker HD, EAD chose to stick with the original 3D meshes, instead using other means to improve the visuals. It starts with a crisp 1920x1080 output, something of a rarity on Wii U, combined with a post-process edge filter that does a reasonable job of keeping aliasing at bay.
Nintendo fans have managed to get GameCube classic Super Mario Sunshine running in a smooth 60 frames per second.
This week's Let's Replay features stand-up comedian and Nintendo fanboy Paul David Collins. He walks us through a level from Super Mario Sunshine, discussing the history of this GameCube classic and its lasting legacy. Meanwhile, Ellie waffles on about brothels.
11 years: that's how long it took Nintendo to top Super Mario 64 with Galaxy. For over a decade, this astonishing, genre-redefining game reigned supreme, towering above all its peers, an influence not only on every other 3D platformer but on every game with a three-dimensional world. How do you follow that?
Nintendo launched its fourth major home console 10 years ago today in Europe. A decade ago, the GameCube was born.
25 years, not one u-bend fixed.
Mario is an institution. How many videogame characters are
recognised ahead of Mickey Mouse? Just one. It's his instant
accessibility and the courageously groundbreaking design of his
Nintendo Publisher Nintendo Mario Sunshine (or Super Mario Sunshine as it will be known in the States) is, on a spiritual level at least, the sequel to the N64's defining videogame, Super Mario 64. Like virtually every other gamer who has ever clapped eyes on an N64, I could gush endlessly about SM64. And with Sunshine, it's finally time for the family dynasty to be put to the test once again. Can Mario deliver in the one genre he's ignored since his original 64-bit opener? Can Nintendo rule the 3D platformer once again? Back to the Grind The game begins with Mario and Princess Peach, fresh from thwarting the nefarious machinations of the evil Bowser, vacationing on a beautiful island in a remote location. The perpetually sunny island inhabited by friendly natives seemed like just the place to stick one's feet up. Unfortunately, things are never that simple for Mario. Somebody, disguised as our portly pipe-plunging Italian friend, has scribbled all over the walls, all over the island, and what's worse, the locals falsely accuse Mario of this heinous act and demand reparation. Not content with simply counting his losses and moving on, our daring adventurer sets off with his new water-pumping backpack to clean the whole mess up and unmask the true villain. But then, story never was all that important to Mario games. Since when has it ever consisted of much beyond rescuing the Princess and putting that overgrown terrapin back in his place? The genius of Shigeru Miyamoto's invention is in the gameplay, and apart from the usual task of collecting (sun) coins, budding plumbers will need to take out all of the phantom scribbler's work and any other mess besides using Mario's H20 cannon. His other activities look to be as varied and enjoyable as they were in SM64 - walking tightropes, jumping like a Crouching Tiger from wall to wall to reach the rooftops, and even playing football for some reason. If Nintendo can keep up a steady stream of varied tasks on a par with those in their first 3D platformer, but on a visual level far exceeding them, then I think it's reasonable to expect this to be successful. Speaking of graphics, Mario Sunshine's visual style is of course reminiscent of his 64-bit outing, but locations have changed to fit the island setting, with cobbled streets and sprawling outdoor environments with plenty of minutiae and an immense draw distance. Most of all the streets of Mario's holiday destination look warm - the whole scene has an iridescent glow to it as our hero basks in the summer sun wiping the sweat off his face with the back of his glove. The emphasis is definitely on 'cute', although Mario clearly benefits from a much higher polygon count and various other frills. If he has half the amusing little animations that his brother Luigi enjoyed in his Cube adventure this is going to look extremely impressive, and we are already promised extensive facial animations that display emotion. Knife-Edge Nintendo has taken a lot of criticism over its choice of screenshots to promote Mario Sunshine. Many of them are blurry, low-resolution affairs and frankly unimpressive, but then it's not like Nintendo to hype a game to kingdom come ahead of its release. Or in fact to release it within a reasonable time period. However, the cynic in me says these screenshots look fuzzy enough to have come from the N64 itself. Perhaps the big N wants Sunshine to be a pleasant surprise when they show it at E3 next month. Whatever the reason though, come rain or shine we can definitely expect this one to sell, even to the people currently slating every shot to issue forth from messrs Miyamoto and company. Nintendo's mantra for the GameCube seems to be 'shorter games, more often', and this is the one area in which Sunshine may come unstuck. Fans' dedication to an SM64-beater will be uncontrollable, and many people will simply sit down and play this without thinking of stopping - assuming this isn't the first bad Mario platformer ever made - which puts us in an awkward position. How would the world react to a full-price Mario game with less substance than its predecessors? If Nintendo is taking a more episodic approach this time around, it could spell trouble. Mario Sunshine is due for release in Japan on 19th July and in the States on 26th August. The game is not yet showing up on Nintendo's European release schedule, but we fully expect to see it in time for Christmas, unless they too plan to celebrate Christmas on some obscure day in March… - Super Mario Sunshine screenshots