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Not long ago I went ahead and gave my rundown of some Nintendo Wii games that are required for all owners of the system (and make for great gifts, too). Now it’s time to do the same with Nintendo’s other juggernaut, the scrappy little Nintendo DS. I received my DS during the first Christmas it was released but it wasn’t until the next November that I’d actually purchase a game for it. After that, man did the games get good. Here are 5 Must-Own Nintendo DS Games.
Mario Kart DS:
It took a powerful title to get me off my tail to pick up a game built specifically for the system, but Mario Kart DS caused brain pieces to spray from my ears and my eyes to splurt all over the screen. In other words, my mind was blown. Maybe…maybe less visual to just say it blew my mind. No matter.
Mario Kart has always been a great series, but the DS version added wireless multiplayer against anyone in the world. I made the mistake of playing only at night, so the typical opponents were Japanese gamers that chewed me up and spit me out due to their masterful snaking techniques (dang you snaking!), but just being able to play multiplayer Mario Kart was amazing.
Still, as a single player game there was tons to do and plenty of excellent tracks to play on. I’d go so far as to say this is the best Mario Kart game of the series. Every character gets a few special carts of their own and they really do look cool and play differently. I had already justified my DS ownership, but I had hardly begun.
Animal Crossing DS:
It might be a strange concept to grasp, but Animal Crossing is a game that is impossible to finish in a day. It’s also impossible to finish in a month. There is a very strong chance that you won’t be finished with the game after a year or two. Reason being is that the premise of the game revolves around your character moving to a small town and having to repay your debt to the raccoon that lent you your home. Sound weird? There’s some more.
To repay said raccoon, you must do tasks for the other villagers who are of course all animals. As you play, you will have a rhino ask you to retrieve a couch from a sheep, a cat will ask you for a new catchphrase, and a mouse will send you a letter or two, just to get you to send one back. You’ll also fish, hunt for bugs, dig fossils, and decorate your house as you go. It sounds insane, and it is, but as a whole the game turns out to be rather pleasing and extremely addicting. All of this takes place in current time, so if it’s 8 o’ clock in the real world, it’ll be 8 o’ clock in the game, too. Same goes for major holidays. Once a year and that’s it.
The best thing about the game is that the time you put into the game really shows. You’ll have characters that remember you and wonder where you’ve been, yo...
I started my Mario retrospective off yesterday by covering Mario’s 2D platforming career , taking him from the arcades through the more recent offering on the DS. I left off saying that I’d have to do a second part all about his 3D adventures, so that’s where we’re at for today. Here-a we go!
Super Mario 64:
Nintendo had a heavy burden on their hands when the N64 was announced. Suddenly, games were capable of more than 8 and 16-bit graphics. Everything was shifting towards polygons. Even more, platforming had to enter the realm of 3D if it was expected to survive. How could Nintendo ever rise to the challenge?
Enter Super Mario 64, a launch title with the N64, quite possibly the finest launch title to prove that, yes, this system was necessary, last proved with Super Mario World on the SNES and Super Mario Bros on the NES. Mario just had a knack for knowing the right things to do on every new console. But moving from 2D to 3D? How simple could that really be? Turns out extremely simple.
While Mario 64 certainly has some slip-ups, such as the awful reward for obtaining all 120 stars, the overall package is beyond solid. The gameplay, the real thing to judge it on, placed the 3D platforming bar higher than most games could clear on their first try, if ever. Fluid controls just made everything perfect. Mario was built without anything restricting his movements and adding a fairly simple camera only made the experience (mostly) easy going.
Naturally, Mario 64 wasn’t a complete walk through the park (cliché writing metaphor #76). It was brutally difficult at some times, especially the 100 coin challenges on each level. Those were just cruel at times, leaving you a mere coin or two away from the 100 but ruthlessly killing you like it took some sick pleasure from seeing you waste your time. Overall though, it’s a Must Play, and it’s easy to find on either the Virtual Console or Amazon for a price that’s reasonable for anyone .
Super Mario Sunshine:
The GameCube was announced and many people were wondering where Mario 128 was. Naturally, we as gamers thought the only possible title for the follow-up to Mario 64 could be Mario 128, because we’re just that blatantly stupid. Also, Nintendo made the mistake of showing a tech demo that included dozens of Marios on screen at once, leading people to believe that it was footage from the sequel.
While the GameCube didn’t launch with a true Mario game, it did get one within a year of release. Super Mario Sunshine came out to a willing crowd, but sadly, many of these diehards proved they didn’t have it in them anymore. And it all comes down to F.L.U.D.D.
See, the big gimmick with Suns...
We’re knee deep in my memories of Mario, and now that both the 2D platforming and 3D platforming aspects of Mario’s career are out of the way, I figured I’d give him a break and focus on some of the other stars Mario has made along the way. This part is all about the spin-offs. We’re talking Luigi, Yoshi, Wario, and Peach. So what did they do that was so great? Well, let’s take a look.
A lot of people were wondering what Nintendo’s next move after Super Mario World would be, and as usual, the next move wasn’t an expected one. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island came out for the SNES as a platformer, but the main character wasn’t really Mario, it was Yoshi. Mario was still there as a baby riding on Yoshi’s back, but he wasn’t necessarily a happy inclusion since whenever Yoshi was attacked, Mario would begin crying. Suddenly everyone learned to hate Mario, a feat that isn’t easy to accomplish.
Whining babies aside, Yoshi’s Island did its own thing, establishing Yoshi’s traits and abilities for years to come, such as his ability to shoot eggs, flutter for short distances, and perform a ground pound, a move that Mario wouldn’t even learn until Super Mario 64. But probably the best moment of Yoshi’s Island came at the end during the fight against Baby Bowser. The term “epic” gets thrown around constantly during video game discussions, but the final battle truly was. Go check this one out for the usual reasonable Amazon price .
Yoshi somewhat missed out when Mario 64 came out, being included only as that pitiful 100% completion reward, albeit unusable. He wouldn’t get his next big featuring until Yoshi’s Story, a game that was surprisingly looked over due to it’s more colorful nature and definite E rating. Still, you’ll have a hard time finding a better-looking game on the 64.
Gone was Mario, completely absent in Yoshi’s new adventure. Baby Bowser would make a return, but no Mario whatsoever. It was nice to be free of that shrill cry when hit by enemies, replaced instead with sounds of Yoshi nomming fruits left and right. While a typical playthrough of the game didn’t take very long and wasn’t all that hard, to unlock all 24 levels was just brutally difficult and only the best Yoshi players could manage the task. My wife, the Yoshi Master, did this without any trouble. Keep in mind, she’s also the only one of the two of us to have a 100% completion score in Yoshi’s Island, so I suppose not everyone is capable of something this challenging. Otherwise, the Virtual Console has this one as well as Amazon for around $10 .
The Wario Land Series:
Wario gets introduced as the villain of Super Mario Land 2, but after his defeat he next shows up as, of all things,...
Zelda fans tend to get a new game in the franchise about once a year, though they shift between console and handheld titles. Last year was the first time in ten years that a Zelda title wasn’t released, making it a very sad year for diehard followers. However, this year we are definitely getting a new Zelda game, but what is it and why should you care?
A “New” Zelda Title
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks follows the trends set in Phantom Hourglass by being on the DS, retaining the exact same graphical style, and controlling identical to its predecessor. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on how much you enjoyed Phantom Hourglass’ control scheme and art style.
All controls are managed via the touch screen, which takes some getting used to. You move Link around, you tap enemies for him to shoot with arrows, you draw out paths for him to throw a boomerang on, and you slash between Link and enemies to make him swing his sword.
Overall, yes, the controls work, but at the same time you’ll be wondering why you couldn’t just use the shoulder buttons to swing your sword like you want to. It’s a DS game so I get that it MUST implement touch screen controls, but it doesn’t feel right compared to what you’re used to with the series.
The story this time around is…well, we don’t know quite yet. The only things we’ve seen are cutscenes with Link driving a train around.
Yup, he’s a conductor this time, so you’ll get from one area to the next via an upgradeable and customizable train that follows a set of tracks that I assume are called the “Spirit Tracks.” So basically, take Phantom Hourglass, replace boats with trains, and you have Spirit Tracks.
It’s a Mystery To Us All
Dates: 10/23/2013 - 10/24/2013
King of Prussia, PA
King of Prussia, PA