Ho, Ho, Ho! For this, the most somber of holiday seasons, our dear friends Nintendo have found have their nostalgic side. With their recent release of Super Mario Brothers Wii, and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks -- due out December 3 -- Nintendo has gone back to two originals that helped start it all.
This is not Mario and Luigi's debut on the Wii, however. The super-hero plumbers have appeared on previous titles such as Mario Kart Wii and Super Mario Galaxy. Their latest role for the Wii console pays tribute to original series that debuted over 20 years ago.
The first thing that's reminiscent about the new Mario is the control itself. No need to buy any attachments for this game, you just hold the Wii remote horizontally; using the directional pad on the left and the 1, 2 buttons on the right, just like the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
Nintendo didn't forget their convulsive aficionados that have to jerk the remote to death. When you shake the remote, it can help the characters jump higher or fly with some new power ups. The graphics of the game itself are two-dimensional, as opposed to the three-dimension game play that is almost standard on today's games. It doesn't steal from any of the game's excitement; in fact, it might even enhance it.
I've toyed with the idea of finding an old NES, Super Nintendo, or Sega Genesis on eBay to fill a void in myself for the old-school Mario or Sonic. This new Mario game takes concepts from versions on the Super Nintendo and applies them to new adventures for the Wii.
The game supports up to four players, playing as Mario, Luigi, Blue Toad, or Yellow Toad. Even the lovable Yoshii provides a helping hand to the quadruplets. For those who need their Zelda fix on-the-go, Link makes his return to the portable DS.
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This time, the green-clad, fantasy hero brought his entourage, and by entourage I mean one Phantom. This Phantom ain't no punk; aside from kicking ass and taking names, he helps Link navigate through dungeons and can carry him through fires and Lava.
Link even has a new set of wheels for this adventure. Although it's not exactly a Bat Mobile, Link's new train does come equipped with a canon to blow enemies out of the way. You can change speeds on the train or even go in reverse, which will help Link determine which track to take to avoid the many obstacles.
You control Link, the Phantom, and the train with the stylus pen and the touch screen, meaning you don't use the directional pad or the 1, 2 buttons on the DS.
Both the new Mario and Zelda titles bring a sense of familiarity to Nintendo's consoles. Though it won't match the intensity or hype surrounding other games being released by Xbox and Playstation, they will tickle the fancy of any gamer -- from the casual to the most advanced.