ready for some new-fangled, yet old-fangled Marioing!
by Colin Thames
17, 2006 - He's
been reincarnated in various forms and formats but
this time the Mario that we all know and love has
been resurrected in true classic, plaforming action
in the latest DS game, New Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. returns to Mario's roots. We haven't
seen a Mario game like this in over 15 years, and
even longer if you consider that the N64 version was
rendered in 3D. This version is a 2D side-scroller
but it does incorporate some excellent 3D graphics.
Mario is rendered in 3D as are many of the enemies
and environments, although you can't explore them
like you could in the N64 version.
from the first few seconds of play you can tell that
you're in for a good time. The game just reeks of
quality. It looks great, sounds like nostalgia, responds
brilliantly and is great fun - and that's just the
first minute of game play. You can tell that Nintendo
has done their homework on this game. It retains the
look and feel of the side-scrolling Super Mario Bros.
series but manages to update and upgrade it with new
moves, enemies, booby traps, puzzles, bonuses and
secrets so that you will always be mindful that you
are playing a new game and not some reheated rehash.
There are plenty of nods to its heritage, including
goombas, Koopas, question mark blocks and flagpole
jumping at the end of levels but these are classic
elements that I believe must be included to give us
a sense of familiarity. Maybe this wouldn't have worked
five or ten years ago, but enough time has passed
so that we don't perceive these elements as hackneyed.
today's games we tend to take the storylines too seriously,
when in reality the story can't fix a terrible game.
The Super Mario Bros. storyline is about as basic
as they come, and we don't really expect it to be
any different. Come to think of it, it doesn't need
to be any different. It's all laid out for us. Are
mission is to rescue to Princess from the clutches
of Bowser, in this case, Bowser Jr. He's kidnapped
her and taken her to the castle at the end of the
first level. Once you reach that castle, Bowser Jr.
takes Peaches to the next castle. This continues on
through numerous levels. There are eight worlds in
all, and an overhead map allows you to see all the
different levels in each world. It's quite easy to
get through the entire game since there are plenty
of power-ups and extra lives, but you'll miss out
on the whole experience if you just go barreling through
the levels without stopping to smell the piranha plants.
are a couple of hidden worlds to unlock. You should
explore all areas thoroughly to find all of the unlockables,
secrets, surprises and shortcuts. There is also the
added challenge of collecting coins. Not only will
you earn extra lives by collecting coins but there
are three huge coins in each level for you to locate.
This challenge isn't easy and I didn't find them all
yet but I'm intrigued to return to the levels where
I missed them. The replay value is tremendous if you
decide that you want to find everything in the game
and take part in all of the challenges.