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New Super Mario Brothers

By Michael Waskiewicz

mikes@fortwaynereader.com

Fort Wayne Reader

2006-05-22


I love to watch a company when it’s firing on all cylinders. Apple, in particular, is one of those companies that has been fascinating to watch. While not the dominant force in modern computing, if you’ve watched the company over the past ten years, it has been the dominant “innovator” and can do no wrong.

Like Apple, Nintendo these days is doing everything right.

Fresh off the heels of their show-stealing E3, Nintendo has done a good job at convincing gamers that games are about fun, not eye-popping graphics. Maybe I’m a sucker, but I agree. They are called “games” after all. Nintendo has manifested this theory in their admittedly weaker but revolutionary next-gen system, the Wii, and their brilliant maturing handheld, the Nintendo DS.

The New Super Mario Bros. is an old-school platformer, much like the original that came out 20 years ago. It’s actually the first time in 14 years our little plumber friend has been in a true side-scrolling adventure. And you know what? It’s just as fun as I remember it. Of course it looks great, but this game is unadulterated fun. This game is Nintendo firing on all cylinders and is yet another reason to own a DS.

If you played the original when you were a kid, then you know how this game goes. You play the hero Mario and your mission is to rescue helpless Princess Peach from the clutches of the evil Bowser. If that sentence sounded cliché, that’s because the story is too. It’s frankly the recycled theme from practically every Mario game, but fortunately Nintendo also recycled the gameplay from the original. New Super Mario Bros. plays almost exactly like the original.

New Super Mario Bros. is comprised of a whopping 80+ incredibly well-designed and challenging levels. Each level has you running from left to right jumping on Goombas (not Italian mobsters) and Koopas, solving puzzles, collecting coins, finding secrets, and wreaking havoc with the simple goal of getting to the end. Sound too simple? It is, actually and it’s simplicity is why every gamer and non-gamer will like it.

In terms of graphics and audio, the New Super Mario Bros. is a 2D platformer in full 3D and it looks and sounds great. It won’t win awards for graphics, but the worlds are well-designed and colorful and there’s more than a few moments where you’ll say “Wow!” What’s important about the graphics and audio, however, is that it looks and sounds like a Mario game and is imbued with all the quirkiness you would expect.

Some days I look down at my PSP, that I now use to hold my office door open, and I wonder why I don’t play it more often. Then I remember that my DS and all of the games I own for it are just flat out more fun. The New Super Mario Bros. now holds the prominent position as my favorite DS game and it amazes me that Nintendo can make me feel like I was 13 again. Who wouldn’t want to take the “wayback machine” there?

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©2006 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.