March 24th, 2006, 01:17 Posted By: wraggster
Source - IGN
The wait for New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS has been absolutely agonizing, but it's almost over as the game's getting closer to its mid-May launch in the US. Nintendo used the Game Developers Conference to show the gaming public a near final build of this highly-anticipated sequel, and after just five minutes with the game we're aching for more.
That's right, five minutes was all we were able to have with the game, as the Nintendo-hired boothbabes wrestled gamers to the ground and off the system before the players got too far into the adventure. So while we certainly enjoyed the manhandling, we'd rather continue playing this wonderful retro throwback.
New Super Mario Bros. definitely feels like a Super Mario Bros. game. The early levels are a good representation of the game design's direction, as the developers have kept with the look and play of the original Super Mario Bros. while adding a lot more of the character's abilities that he earned in games such as Super Mario 2, Super Mario 3, Super Mario World, and even Super Mario 64. Players can pick up and throw items like turtle shells, they can butt-stomp to crack open floors, they can wall jump to reach higher areas.
The level designs early in the game are clearly inspired by the original Super Mario Bros., right down to the hidden coin rooms down in specific green pipes that are laid out exactly like the original NES game. But it's not a complete throwback - we hit the castle's flagpole with the number 6 on the timer, and…no fireworks. Oh well.
The hybrid 2D/3D engine seems much more natural looking in the near final product than it did in our last hands on at the Electronic Entertainment Expo last year. The characters and enemies are all 3D elements plastered onto 2D tilesets, but they feel like they mesh together better than they did in last year's public build. The 3D characters mean more versatile, smoother animation - watch Mario grow to the size of the screen like he did in the original E3 2004 demo, but it's clear he's been cleaned up since then, as the programmers have learned more of the DS' visual tricks since that time. Although backgrounds are still 2D, they're also just as lively and detailed, with platforms tilting and swaying, bouncing and jolting after Mario lands on them.
The lower screen's display has changed slightly since the E3 2005 build, but it still plays the part of basic HUD data display. Players can see where they are on the map with a scaled down radar of the level and see how many giant coins they managed to snag out of the world they're currently in. The touch screen comes into play by giving players instant access to an extra power-up they've snagged along the way…much like Super Mario World on the Super NES.
And speaking of new abilities, we managed to stumble upon the game's blue turtle shell. Trigger this flying question mark block and you'll pop out this power-up that puts Mario inside the blue shell like a Koopa for added attack capabilities.
New Super Mario Bros. was recently delayed to May 15th, the week after the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Hopefully we'll be playing it well before then, because the version at GDC appeared to be in a complete status. We'll have more on the game as we get closer to its release date.
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