Friday, July 14, 2006; WE42
It has been a little more than 10 years since Mario has been in a true 2-D platformer, but the pudgy plumber is back to his roots in "New Super Mario Bros." for the handheld Nintendo DS.
The game is pretty much a remake of the first "Super Mario Bros." with a few alterations. First, the game is still 2-D, but Mario and his enemies look 3-D. This gives the game a style reminiscent of "Super Mario 64."
Another change is to the power-ups. Aside from the classic mushroom to grow "super" and the Fire Flower, three have been added. A mini mushroom allows Mario to become as tiny as a thumbprint. Once he becomes this size, he can walk on water, jump extremely high and enter small pipes to reach secret places. A shell allows Mario to have the powers of a "Koopa Troopa." The biggest one is the giant mushroom. Once Mario consumes one, for a limited time he becomes huge and tramples everything in sight. These are great additions, but they are scarce throughout the game, so you have to rely on the original power-ups to complete the game.
Both DS screens are put to good use. The top displays the main game, while the bottom shows the eight main worlds Mario must travel to save Princess Peach. The bottom also stores power-ups not in use. For example, if Mario is already "Fire Mario" and touches a Fire Flower, it will be stored for later use and, with the touch of the stylus, reappear in the game. Though more interaction with the stylus and bottom screen would be better, it's nice to know there are uses for them.
The game has loads of replay value. There are various mini games at the start-up screen, as well as a two-player battle mode that pits Mario and Luigi against each other to see who can collect the most stars within a set time.
It's just too bad that with all of this reimagining of a franchise, the story has remained unchanged. The "save the princess" idea is as old as Mario's career. Still, this game is a must-buy for DS owners.
-- Gregory McDougal
New Super Mario Bros. Everyone, Nintendo DS ($35) Nintendo