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New Super Mario Bros. (NDS)

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New Super Mario Bros.
Game: New Super Mario Bros.
Platform: NDS
Genre: Platform/sidescrolling
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

I couldn’t find any decent screenshots that were of the final version and weren’t tagged by some other website. I don’t have the resources to take screenshots (except for photos of the device while running, but that doesn’t work) myself.

New Super Mario Bros. is one of those games that have this fairly authentic retro remake feel to it without feeling like a quick cash in at all. For anyone who has ever liked or loved Super Mario Bros. and has a Nintendo DS, this game is absolutely a must-have and for anyone who doesn’t know the old Super Mario Bros. games, because you’re too young to know them for instance and you do have a Nintendo DS, go get it, you won’t regret it.

Just like the old Super Mario Bros. games, this one is a sidescrolling platform jump & run game where you can crush your enemies under your feet. Straight forward, good looking and very entertaining while not being too hard and frustrating.

The story is just the same as with about all Super Mario games, the princess get’s captured by the badguy who takes her to his castle and you get to save her. Only this time, the badguy will travel from castle to castle untill he reaches the big main castle and you finally get to save her.

The good

Allright, this game is good, very good, let’s start with that. Great 3D graphics, great, authentic sounding, sound effects, great Mario style music and very typical Mario style levels that look better than ever before.

While the graphics may be 3D, the game itself is a flat as a piece of paper. 2D in all it’s glory. The 3D graphics just make it look better. The animations are looking really good and the game runs at a very stable framerate which never seems to drop at any point. Most of the enemies are already known from the previous Mario games like the Goomba and the Koopa-Troopa and those fishes, but there are also a number of new ones like a spider-like creature that slides on top of the water dropping bombs on your head and there are also “real” spiders that just appear from the top of the screen sliding down their wires and dropping onto the ground.

The levels feel very similar to the earlier Super Mario Bros. levels as they’re seen on the NES and SNES. This can ofcourse lead to people not liking them, but I do like them, in fact, I love them. The levels look great and play just like they should taking elements from all of the Super Mario Bros. games with an exception of Super Mario Bros. 2, which isn’t found in this game whatsoever.
The levels look the most like the ones from Super Mario World on the SNES. The ending resembles most to the very first Super Mario Bros. on the NES. You run up and jump onto the flagpole as high as you can to score as much points or even an extra life. After that, mario runs into the small castle behind it, just like he did in the first game.
The swimming levels also feel very much like the classic on the NES. Avoiding the fish and swimming to the other side as quickly as possible to not run out of time. However, there are now more different kinds of fish. The normal orange ones that just swim by, the greenones that will turn towards you and very big ones that will try to eat you as well as big versions of the orange and green ones.
Which brings me to another fun point of this game; because of the use of 3D models, it must have been very easy for the developers to create larger versions of the enemies. You have giant Goombas, giant fish, giant Koopa-Troopas and so on. Everything can be big in this game.

There is also something that this new Super Mario Bros. game has inherited from Super Mario Bros. 3; the checkpoints. Mostly when you’re about half way in a level you hear a little beeping/swooshing sound and you see a pole flying of Mario indicating that you have reached the checkpoint. You will start over here if you happen to die.

Ofcourse, like in all other Super Mario Bros. game, you die by touching enemies or falling off the level. You can get a mushroom to grow bigger and not die instantly when your touched. You’ll get tagged and shrink again. Besides that, you can get the well know fireflower to gain the ability to throw fireballs from your hands. When in that condition you can get tagged twice instead of once. When tagged you’ll first lose your fire throwing ability and then, when tagged again, you’ll shrink.
And ofcourse there is also the green mushroom that’ll give you an extra life.

However, there are also 3 new types of powerups in this version:

  1. Mega Mushroom
  2. Tiny Mushroom
  3. Koopa-Troopa shield

The Mega Mushroon will cause Mario to grow into a giant and giving him the ability to literally smash everything. You just walk on the ground and destroy everything you pass for a limited period of time. The more you smash, the greater your reward. You can gain points and extra lives by smashing as much as you can within the set time.

The Tiny Mushroom will make Mario really tiny, enabling him to reach places he could normally never reach, like tiny holes, and tiny pipes. Because of Mario reduced weight in this condition, he also falls down slower than normal enabling him to jump further and higher than normal. One downside is that you can’t get tagged while you’re tiny.

The Koopa-Troopa shield makes Mario faster and gives the ability to retract you arms, legs and head and just slide over the floor knocking over any enemies you encounter. Like with the fireflower, you can get tagged twice when you’re in this condition.

Whenever you’re either in fireflower or Koopa-Troopa mode you will gain a backup powerup if you pick one up. This one can be released by touching it on the touchscreen, for example, when you get tagged. This is also derived from Super Mario Bros. 3, with the exception of not having to choose it from the inventory.

Every level has 3 big golden coins hidden somewhere, when picked up, these can be used on the map to open alternative pathways or to access bonus games. In one bonusgame you can gain a backup powerup and in the other you can gain extra lives, lot’s of extra lives, so they are well worth the trouble of spending the coins on. Alternative pathways often offer you another level to play if you don’t like the default one, but they’re not necessarely easier.

Like in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, you have a map of the world where you walk from one level to another and also to the bonusgames. Allthough it’s not the most usefull addition ever made to the Super Mario games, it’s always fun to see how the world looks and what alternative paths you have.

The game also features a nice selection of minigames which are played using either the touchscreen or the Microphone. Not all of the minigames are equally entertaining, but some are really neat, like one where you have to roll the head of a snowman down a track making it grow due to the extra snow. You have to avoid rocks and penguins and reach the end of the track before the time runs out. The head accelerates by sliding the stylus from the bottom to the top of the touchscreen en you “steer” by going from the left to the right and vice versa.
Another very good one is the one where you have to make Yoshi float up to his flying boat avoiding flyguys (yes, those from Super Mario Bros. 2, didn’t I say that that one wasn’t coming back in this game whatsoever? Not in the main game anyway). You make Yoshi float up by blowing into the microphone.

The bad

It’s a shame that the minigames aren’t available during the main game itself. Only the small bonusgames. The minigames could have acted like bonus games as well where you could win extra lives or powerups.

The only part where the touchscreen is actively used is in the minigames, during the main game it’s only used to drop the backup powerup, which is a shame. This game barely uses the dual screen feature of the DS apart from the minigames. Also the micrphone isn’t used at all during the main game. I guess that’s why the minigames where included in the first place.

The difficulty level, allthough it’s not too easy in my opinion, lies quite a lot lower than in the older Super Mario Bros. games. Added to that you can get a rediculous amount of extra lives throughout the game, so you’ll actually never run out of those. If the game would have been slightly tougher, it would have been even better than it allready is.

The bottom line

Despite the fact that the special unique features of the NDS are barely used in this game, it’s still one of those games you cannot miss out on if you have a Nintendo DS, allthough I don’t think it’s really worth the trouble of getting one if you don’t have one.

Graphics: 10/10
Sound: 10/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Touchscreen: 2/10
Replay value: 7/10
Final score: 7,6/10


1 Comment »

  1. There is also something that this new Super Mario Bros. game has inherited from Super Mario Bros. 3; the checkpoints. Mostly when you’re about half way in a level you hear a little beeping/swooshing sound and you see a pole flying of Mario indicating that you have reached the checkpoint. You will start over here if you happen to die.

    If I recall correctly, the poles that you refer to were introduced by Super Mario World on the SNES. (ironically, Super Mario World is called Super Mario Bros IV in Japan). Super Mario Bros 3 did feature checkpoints, but (like SMB1) they were invisible to the player. (no poles or whatsoever) If you happened to reach the middle point of a level and then die shortly afterwards, you were returned to the middle of the level.

    Comment by Daniel De Matteis — 22 July 2006 @ 17:12000000

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