Vaughn calls me up and says "I've got a DS and
a few games for you. Get over here and get working"
as if I don't do enough for that smart ass. But I've
wanted to get my hands on one of these babies since
I heard about it and thanks to my lack of funds right
now, a free DS sounded pretty good. I later discovered
that it wasn't even his DS, which meant it wasn't
mine to keep. So now he's a CHEAP, smart ass.
first game I fired up in this brand spanking new DS
was Super Mario DS. Super Mario 64 and I go waaaaaay
back and I was hot to get the adventure rolling again.
150 stars (30 more than the original) and 4 playable
characters is a dream come true, especially when you
consider that this game is a directors cut of one
of the best 3D plaftormers of all time.
me surprised when Yoshi was the first playable character.
Wasn't expecting that. I also wasn't expecting to
fumble around with the controls as much as I did for
the entire game, but did I EVER. No analog control
on the DS is like not putting a steering wheel in
a new vehicle. Nintendo just can't seem to do things
right lately, and this is a huge mistake in my opinion.
Why port a game that showed off Nintendos introduction
into analog 3D gaming back in 1996, to a system that
can't exactly handle it? You will have to rely on
the D-Pad, which does work, but doesn't ever feel
100% natural, because you'll have to hold down a button
to run and you won't get those itty bitty nuance moves
you could so easily execute with the N64 controllers
analog stick (and handy Z button I might add). You
can use Nintendo's patented thumb strap which you
wrap around the system, place your thumb on the touch
screen and then locate the center neutral position.
Moving your thumb with this strap on is supposed to
emulate true analog control and it does work, but
it feels like kack since you don't have a stick in
your hand to move. If you will remember correctly
some of those stars were damn hard to get on the N64.
Now imagine trying to get them with out analog input
on a screen much tinier than your TV. Seriously. Imagine
it. Do you think it's any easier now? DO YOU???!!!!
The only thing that will stop you from throwing this
system against the wall is the knowledge that you
can't afford to buy Vaughn a new one. At least that's
what stopped me. I'm not sure how you'll manage to
control yourself. I'm not saying some of you won't
get the hang of it. Impossible feats are certainly
possible. There are people out there who can write
the bible on a piece of rice. These are the folks
who will play Super Mario DS with a smile on their
face and post on the message boards that you "suck"
if you complain about it. Screw them. I have a life
to get back to, as lonely, pathetic and shallow as
overall selling point of Super Mario DS is the four
playable characters and in that sense, the game succeeds.
You will have to locate Mario, Luigi and Wario and
defeat a boss before they are playable (and I won't
be spoling that here - look on our code pages for
info). No doubt gamers will have their favorites and
I'm guessing it might not be the tried and true Mario
anymore. Yoshi's ability to eat enemies and poop out
an egg for tossing, changes the gameplay so much that
it feels like an entirely different game. Luigi's
higher jumping ability come in handy in certain places
as well too. Throughout the game you'll have to call
on the abilities of each character to get past certain
those pesky rabbits you had to catch in the first
game? They're baaaack. And a lot more of them this
time around. Catching rabbits unlocks minigames and
other goodies and once again, you'll pull your hair
out trying to find them and trying to catch them (hint:
they only appear in certain places for certain characters)
. Unfortunately no one but little old me wants to
call this exactly what it is: Useless busy work! It's
not fun catching these rabbits nor is the payoff all
that big. It's just another way Nintendo can add more
play value to the game so it seems like you're getting
more. You aren't.
so far, you can tell I'm not a fanboy overhyping this
game, right? In terms of pretty shiny graphics, SMDS
looks very nice, but it's not head and shoulders above
the N64 version. Thankfully the N64 blurriness is
gone and everything has been crisped up, but it isn't
a leap of graphic brilliance that Super Mario All-Stars
was over the original NES versions. The music is still
classic Mario and surprise, there are more voices,
but they don't say anything over the usual catchphrases
you've heard in Mario Power Tennis, Mario Kart etc.
Wi-Fi aspect of the multiplayer is cool, but I couldn't
locate 4 players to play with, so I had to settle
for Kyle who lives down the hall from me. I don't
know Kyle very well at all, but I noticed he had a
DS on the elevator so I asked him to join me in checking
out the multiplayer. He was a little wary at first
but he decided it was probably okay. Multiplayer doesn't
require two carts which is awesome and we discovered
absolutely no problems playing it together (we were
in separate rooms of the same apartment). If you have
a few DS owning friends, you'll dig this, but it would
have been cool if Nintendo had programmed some meatier
multiplayer games that required everyone to own a
will certainly get your moneys worth out of SMDS.
It features the longest play value out of any of the
launch games. Just keep in mind that your enjoyment
of this cart will be in direct proportion to how easily
you adapt to the less than stellar control scheme.
With analog control built into the DS, this game would
have been off the charts, but as it is I think a lot
of people who played the original will be shocked
to discover just how different it feels. I'd say rent
first if you can, but that's almost an impossibility
at this early stage of the game. Bottom line: Super
Mario DS is a great place to visit, but only those
with the patience of Job will get 150 stars and see
the game to the very end.