Reviews// Super Mario 64 DS

Here, give me a go

Posted 4 Dec 2004 07:25 by
Other styles of mini-game take a completely different approach, but similarly, prove the worth of the stylus/touch-screen combination. It seems that puzzle games and parlour games work perfectly, offering an instantly accessible and entirely logical method to operate them. Indeed, this is where Nintendo has the option to bust open that more mature market of ‘hipsters’. You could give a DS, loading up a game of ‘Wanted’ (a game similar to ‘Where’s Wally’ but featuring Luigi and pals), to someone who’d never played a video game before, and they’d have very little trouble in getting to grips with it. There are already widespread reports of non-gaming girlfriends and wives stealing the consoles from their other halves before falling victim to a revelatory addiction.

One major gripe with the way the mini-games are laid out, however, is the lack of detailed high-score entries. It does record your highest scores, but almost shamefully, it doesn’t allow the player to enter a name. Bearing in mind this is a launch title, and will be wedged in DS’s that are doing the rounds of classrooms and offices, with everyone wanting to stick their greasy paws all over your brand new bit of kit, that’s a real shame.

Overall though, it’s these mini-games that will make you glad you bought your DS; indeed, it’s a shame Wario Ware DS wasn’t ready in time for launch, as that could have made that same point about stylus style, just in a much more effective way: which would also have avoided the debate over the value of the re-used single player content. But as it stands, Super Mario 64 DS does a decent job with its ‘rec-room’ collection of mini-games: of which there are initially eight, growing closer to 30 as you find more key-holding bunnies within the game.

The main adventure itself is as good as Super Mario 64 on the N64, but that may not strike you as that big a deal. And although the introduction of Yoshi, Luigi and Wario as playable characters does offer a few new twists, it’s not really anything that significant. This change serves mainly to fool around with your memory of the N64 version, as there are now slightly different ways to get hold of certain stars. But unless you have a particularly poor memory, you’ll still get a persistent sense of deja-vu. It’s a nice enough memory to re-live though.

Another feature Nintendo is keen to exploit is the wireless connectivity, on which Super Mario 64 DS capitalises with a fairly straight-forward multi-player option. As European DS owners, however, we still don’t have a great many people to go up against. What we have experienced of the multiplayer mode, disappointingly, has been lacklustre. It’s simply a matter of beating your competitors in a rush to collect stars over fairly plain maps, and whilst this makes a good point of proving that you can have four-player battles using only one cart, it’s not a four-player battle you’ll be particularly bothered about training up to. As far as multi-player DS action goes, the emphasis has been placed firmly on the quite special looking Metroid Prime Hunters, an appetiser of which is thrown in with the console itself (at least for the US launch).
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