A group of modders have released the first major demo for Super Mario Eclipse (opens in new tab), a fan remake and expansion of the original Super Mario Sunshine.
Level Select, the mod team in question, describes Eclipse as "part beta restoration, part enhancement, part original mod, and all fan service", with new story content. The full game plans to include new missions, fully custom worlds, secret challenge courses, and an interconnected Isle Delfino map. They're also adding new playable characters like Luigi and Shadow Mario, plus new mechanics like super jumps and a magic paintbrush.
I spent a few minutes checking out the demo, and though it's definitely still a WIP, a lot of the little touches that make Mario Sunshine a love-it-or-leave-it GameCube classic are still there. Nothing beats floating through the air or sliding on your belly via the F.L.U.D.D. water hose.
I spotted a very peculiar bit of Mario history in the Eclipse demo as well. Originally, Sunshine was going to have a huge two-legged version of the Strollin' Stu called a "Tramplin' Stu." It was cut from the final game, but its file can still be found buried in the game's code. After running around for a bit, I turn around and witness this horrifying monstrosity sauntering towards me.
The demo has a hub with access to several recreations of Sunshine's levels, including Delfino Plaza and Ricco Harbor. There are also several new levels in the works, including a mountainous trail called Erto Rock, which gives you a bird's eye view of the whole island. There's even a strange Monkey Ball-themed level complete with obstacle courses.
Now it's a painful truth that Nintendo is notoriously litigious against fan projects. Level Select doesn't seem to be too worried about their work going to waste.
"Nintendo rarely strikes mods. It's fan games they're usually after", the Level Select YouTube account commented under the trailer.
You can download the demo via the Super Mario Eclipse Discord channel (opens in new tab), which also has instructions for downloading the GameCube emulator Dolphin (opens in new tab) and getting the demo working properly.