Super Mario Sunshine brings Mario to the beautiful island of Delfino for some well-deserved relaxation, but Bowser and his cronies have more than just a few tricks up their sleeves to make Mario’s vacation a graffiti-laden nightmare. Upon landing, it becomes clear that Mario’s biggest concerns won’t be sunscreen and hydration — though it would be an awful idea to run out of water; trust me, you’ll need it.
Instead, Mario meets a myriad of monstrous bosses, and a devious Doppelganger bent on dragging Mario’s reputation through the mud by pinning graffiti charges on him. Some of Mario’s greatest adversaries return alongside new foes, who all have their hearts set on sending Mario to the shadow realm. It’s up to you and F.L.U.D.D., your trusty all-in-one gadget, to stop them.
9 Petey Piranha — The Flying Plant Menace
Bianco Hills may seem like a perfect verdant paradise with luscious greenery and crystal-clear flowing streams, until you notice a giant Piranha Plant spewing goop and slime everywhere. One of Mario’s old rivals, Petey Piranha returns for a set of two boss fights, with multiple phases for Mario to overcome.
You’ll first have to knock the flying Piranha Plant out of the air with some well-aimed sprays of water from F.L.U.D.D. This will send Petey plummeting to the grass, where you can ground pound his stomach until the fight concludes. While it may take a few tries to hit Petey, the fight should be over before you break a sweat.
8 Gooper Blooper — Hit The Nose
At first glance this boss encounter tries to pull a misdirection, as Gooper’s tentacles can each be pulled off, but don’t be fooled. The real target to pull on here is Gooper’s nose, which is plugged up with a giant cork. You’ll certainly want to keep an eye on those tentacles though, as each one flails around to disrupt Mario.
Luckily, Gooper isn’t very mobile, so you’ll want to clear out the goop surrounding the massive squid. It can be a major hindrance, causing Mario to slip and slide as you attempt to grab hold of the plugged nose. Once you pull the nose three times, Gooper Blooper will be launched across the sky Team Rocket-style, before disappearing into the distance.
7 Mecha Bowser — Roller Coasters & Rockets
If you’re terrified of rollercoasters, heights, or easily get dizzy, then this boss might just be the most difficult in the game. Even if none of those things are an issue, you’re still going to need some decent aim and exceptional concentration to topple this on-the-rails boss fight.
You’ll need to collect water rockets along the rollercoaster rail that F. L.U.D.D can launch at Mecha Bowser, eventually toppling this mechanized menace once three shots connect. Your reward is to never set foot on the rollercoaster ever again — probably the most relieving news you could receive after disabling this giant robot Bowser.
6 Wiggler — The Rampaging Caterpillar
This oversized caterpillar presides as the boss of Gelato Beach. Mario must defeat it over two levels: the first knocks Wiggler down from his sleeping perch, and the second is a direct conflict with Mario on the beach. Once Wiggler is enraged, he will charge at Mario, finally exposing his weakness: his belly.
In order to flip Wiggler over onto his back, you’ll need to carefully time hitting several Dune Buds with water in order to cause them to suddenly sprout up from beneath Wiggler. Follow this pattern and — much like Petey — Wiggler will fall after three ground pounds to the stomach.
5 Shadow Mario — Mario’s Evil Doppelganger
Shadow Mario is not a simple foe, as this mysterious entity possesses all of Mario’s abilities — including a refusal to give up easily. This boss remains a thorn in Mario’s side for much of the game, frequently forcing Mario to catch him as he runs across Delfino, leaving havoc in his wake.
Where there is a mess of goop and monsters, there is also Shadow Mario, lurking in the dark and baiting Mario to follow him. There are also several levels where Shadow Mario will appear and steal F.L.U.D.D from you, meaning that you’ll have to rely solely on Mario’s own abilities to deliver him to safety.
4 Phantamanta — A Million In One
For Super Mario Sunshine veterans, Phantamanta presents more of a test of will than skill as this boss fight can get out of hand quickly if you’re not careful. The giant Manta approaches Mario slowly, ramping up the intimidation factor as it appears to be a part of the ground itself, creeping like a shadow.
Once you start to spray Phantamanta with water is when the trouble really begins, as each hit will cause the giant creature to split off into dozens of smaller Phantamanta. Each must be destroyed one by one, until they cannot separate into smaller sections any further. This encounter can grow confusing and tedious if you lose track of the slippery shadows, so try to hit as many at once as you can before they all diverge in different directions.
3 King Boo — A Spicy Solution
King Boo’s fight is quite literally a game of chance. You’ll be running on a giant roulette wheel, as fruits and other items are dropped from the ceiling. Your task will be to spray Boo, then look out for a spicy red pepper to grab and toss into his hungry mouth — sending the poltergeist into a spicy food frenzy.
Boo becomes vulnerable as steam bellows out of his scorched mouth, signalling your moment to strike. You’ll need to hit Boo with any other fruit to damage him, and then repeat the pepper-fruit process three times. If you don’t get a pepper, you can move close to Boo, which will force him re-spin the wheel in the hope of getting what you need.
2 Giant Bowser — Mario’s Menace
Mario’s eternal rival finally rears his giant-horned head during the closing sequence of the game, once Mario safely navigates through the lava warming Bowser’s bath. Bowser accuses Mario of ruining his “family vacation” with Peach, and you’re forced to fight him.
This fight will require quick movement, awareness, and necessitates combining F.L.U.D.D’s abilities with Mario’s. You’ll need to rocket launch into the air and ground pound to break Bowser’s bath.With each segment gone, Bowser grows more and more enraged, and you’ll need to avoid slime from the bath, Bowser’s fire breath, and Bullet Bills fired at you by Bowser Jr. as you take down this final foe.
1 Eely-Mouth — Like Pulling Teeth
While Eely-Mouth won’t throw nearly as many obstacles at you as Bowser, this boss serves as a reminder that difficulty doesn’t always come from the enemy, but from the game’s design. Underwater levels in Mario games are notorious for making simple tasks much harder, and the Eely fight is no exception. Your ultimate goal is simple: to clean the plaque and gunk buildup off each of Eely’s disgustingly dirty teeth, but this is easier said than done.
If the air timer counting down isn’t enough to rattle you, then trying to control Mario’s movement and F.L.U.D.D’s spraying will surely send you into a tizzy. Mario’s underwater swimming is slow, and difficult to aim. You’ll be fighting against the current and the camera as you attempt to steer Mario in the right direction, while carefully hovering above Eely’s mouth so you can clean each tooth. After much fiddling, Eely will be defeated, but not before forcing you to endure an encounter that is as enjoyable as most visits to the dentist.