Review by heyitsme90

"Hey dad, what is this new GameBoy? IT'S NOT A GAMEBOY."

I do think everyone remembers the early years of the GameBoy(called GB for future references) line. 4 AA batteries, black and white graphics, looked like a brick and weighted about the same. Then, we saw the GB line evolve, from splitting the battery need in half and supporting color graphics to have the same raw power as a SNES. One day, the gentlemen at Nintendo decided to launch a new line of handhelds and rewrite gaming. This, my friends, is the Nintendo DS.

The Nintendo DS is the latest handheld from Nintendo, boasting late-N64 graphics, up to early Dreamcast ones. What is so different about the DS that it deserves a new lineup? This portable has two screens. The top one is a plain, old bread and butter screen, while the second one is touch sensitive. What does that mean? Well, that it's sensitive to touch.

A touch screen can be used to emulate analog control, serve as a menu, or display a map for adventure and racing games. Most importantly, it allows developers to be wild about the way their games can control. You can simulate mouse-like aiming for an FPS, rub the touch screen to accelerate in a racing game, or allow for an RTS game, simulating point and click. The possibilities are almost endless, and we might have genres of games we never expected on a handheld before.

Like I said before, the DS boasts post-N64 graphics, allowing 3D games to be done on the DS. The graphics are simply stunning, you'd never expect an handheld to have graphics like that. We can even see the advance of FMV cutscenes. Simply put, the DS has the raw processing power no member from the GB line has.

We all know Nintendo has a fetish for cartridges, and they are back again, with a funky new name. Called game cards, the games are roughly 1.5 cm x 1.5 cm, and about 5 mm wide. Look at them this way : they are so small that a baby could very well mistake them for food. And that's not good. They can hold up to 128 mb of files, which allows for games almost 2x as big as SM64. But it is time that Nintendo ditches cards and go on with CDs? After all, they cost a lot to produce, hold less data and they take longer to make. But unlike CDs, they can't be scratched, so I guess this is a plus.

Now the DS itself is a funky thing. It's silver-colored, shiny...and, well...shiny. It has a clamshell design, which protect the two screen from natural abuse. The DS isn't that big as it looks. It is around 10cm x 5cm, and it is 2 cm wide. It can easily fit in your pocket. The buttons have that click feeling, and they are bigger than the GBA buttons. We can also see the return of the D-Pad, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Anyway, the touch screen is here for analog control. It's Li-Ion battery powered, which means that you don't need batteries anymore, you can just hook to a wall and play. It comes with a thumbstrap to use your thumb instead of the stylus, 3 styluses and a Metroid Prime : Hunters demo.

The boot screen is pretty neat, with one minor complain : you need to reboot the system after changing everything. Well, since nothing should be changed once the DS is set, this isn't a big deal. The DS is backward compatible, meaning you can play GBA games, but no GB or GBC games. You can pretty much sell your old GBA and buy a new game with the money. The sound is neat, boasting stereo and is louder than the GBA.

Many says the launch is poor. Personally I don't see anything wrong with it. Almost all the games are solid, except maybe 2 which are pretty average. I highly recommend Mario 64 DS, Mr. Driller, Feel the Magic, Asphalt Urban or Ridge Racer. Those are all good games which should bring you loads of fun until March, where all the big guns release. The future looks very bright!

ALL IN ALL
Graphics : 9/10 (A little blurry, but still great)
Sound : 10/10 (Who can say no to stereo?)
Gameplay : 10/10 (Clever and innovative)
Design : 10/10 (Everyone loves clamshell)
Launch : 9.5/10 (A good launch, but nobody shares my opinion)

TOTAL : 48.5/50 = 97/100 = 9.7/10, rounded to 10.

*Sorry for grammatical errors, I'm French ^_^*

FINAL WORD : Outstanding.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/21/05


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