Saturday, May 27, 2006
I AM: ...
I WANT: ... candy.
I HATE: ... intolerance, prejudice and melted cheese.
I MISS: ... erable frequently. I also cannot spell miserable or construct a sentence correctly.
I FEAR: ... irreparable mental disintegration.
I HEAR: ... the distant sound of traffic.
I WONDER: ... whether 8.5million pounds is far too much money for Andy Johnson.
I REGRET: ... letting something slip through my fingers when it might never happen again.
I AM NOT: ... just a National Insurance Number!
I DANCE: ... never and will endeavour to keep it that way for the good of all mankind.
I SING: ... like Steve Lamaq would.
I SEE: ... pixels, lots of them.
I CRY: ... rarely.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: ... this indecisive. Or am I?
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: ... origami swans? I don't really understand the question...
I WRITE: ... quite scruffily and so try to stick to typing where possible.
I CONFUSE: ... David Starkey with Simon Schama.
I NEED: ... one sugar in my tea. I've tried without but find it undrinkable.
I SHOULD: ... drink more water.
I START: ... work too early.
I FINISH: ... work too late.
I won't tag anyone but if you want to do it then feel free. Go on, fill your boots.
Here are my thoughts, which I just posted on EuroGamer...
For ages, I have been on the fence about EuroGamer. Something never felt right. Too many conflicting writing styles, too many questionable remarks. But then a review like this hits you, and everything starts to make some sense. I could not agree with you more, Mr. Bramwell. Say, may I lovingly refer to you as "Tom"?
I've been enjoying - wait, scrap that - I've been *playing* New. Super Mario Bros. since it hit Stateside a couple of weeks back. (Incidentally, I would recommend JPN Games (jpngames.co.uk) for DS imports). I say "playing", because there wasn't an instant attraction. It wasn't the perfect fit that hype would have you believe. I may have been doing the game a slight injustice (by not giving it my undivided attention, for various reasons), but regardless - something didn't click. I was simply going through the motions.
After my initial run through - with the sole aim of reaching the pseudo end - things began to fall into place. It wasn't until I was charged with the challenge of exploring every nook and cranny, collecting each and every coin, and meticulously working through the many layers this game has to offer, that I realised this was everything it wanted to be. And as the game slowly draws to its final conclusion, all I want to do is play it again. Thank God for Luigi, eh? (Something I never thought I'd say).
Contrary to what some people would suggest, this is by no means an easy or a short game. It is seemingly as long as you want it to be. And the difficulty certainly ramps up nicely. Yes, you may indeed have eighty-three lives to your name… but an attempt to collect that one fiendishly-placed gold coin could easily dispose of half of them in an evening of joyful frustration. A word of advice: do not waste those goody huts. They are an invaluable source for those blasted mini-mushrooms, which you absolutely need more than you think. Love each one as if they were your last. Think Rolos.
There is this cold efficiency to tackling New. Super Mario Bros., and damn - it feels very, very good. You almost always know where you stand with this game, and perhaps the genius of it all is only truly appreciated as you near the end.
Okay, so the hidden worlds don't feel all that hidden. And yes, the generic world themes are slightly uninspired, drawing more from Super Princess Peach (and its approach to new gamers) than previous Mario platformers. The power-ups are far from innovative, but then - they are a lot of fun. Taking on Mario's gigantic form is heavenly. Brief and rare and unnecessary as it often is, smashing your way through the lovingly designed levels - tearing them apart to their very basic being - is disgustingly delicious. Hell, even purchasing those tacky touch-screen wallpapers is somewhat fun. 8-Bit Mario for the win!
In all honesty, as I hinted above, New. Super Mario Bros. didn't make the immediate impact I hoped it would. But as the game's attention to detail shines through, you'll begin to understand. It is this slow trickle of brilliance that keeps you coming back, wondering what you'll discover today.
One could level a number of criticisms - the three-second boss showdowns (I'm not joking - they're far too easy), music that isn't quite up to Super Mario World standard (only just, mind you) or a general look and feel that is simply too clean and too professional (for want of a better word) for its own good - but for every minor disappointment (and no, I don't agree that the save system is one of them), there is a truly memorable experience lurking down a warp pipe, or stuffed inside a question mark block.
Game of the year, thus far.
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