Review by davidstebbins

"The most innovative peice of gaming equipment since the NES."

Nintendo has always been about innovation. They invented the D-pad, face buttons, start and select buttons, the analog stick, and 3D graphics, but it wasn't since the NES that such innovation as the Nintendo DS was around.

The Nintendo DS, or Nintendo Dual Screen (for those of you who think it's "Developers' System," Nintendo changed it to Dual Screen when they announced the official name), was designed to combat Sony's Plastation Portable handheld gaming and media system. Ever since E3 2004 Nintendo had the whole world buzzing with hype, and boy did Nintendo deliver!

CONCEPT: 10/10: This is unbeleivably innovative. The second screen alone makes this game worth buying, but Nintendo threw in touch sensitivity and a microphone that can be integrated with the gameplay (not to be confused with PSP's mic, which is only for talking to your opponents). The touch screen is the most popular part of the DS. Third parties and Nintendo alike are using the touch screen. Feel the Magic: XY/XX, which is a love story game made by Sonic Team and published by the rest of Sega, uses the microphone AND the touch screen. Let's go through all the innovative features and their potential one by one.

Dual Screens-One on top of the other, the two screens can be used in a variety of ways. It's developers choice, but try this for starters: A player could stand two panels high, or have two perspectives on the same game, or one could be the main screen while the other is a constantly available map or menu.

Touch screen-Aside from dual screens, this is the most popular part about the DS (at least to developers. It's first most popular to gamers). Imagine the possibilities! In an FPS, you could just tap the screen where you want to fire, or in a Zelda-style game, you could just touch the item you want to use. the built-in feature called Pictochat uses the touch screen for input in a virtual keyboard OR writing and drawing in your own handwriting to communicate silently. The DS lacks and analog stick, but the touch screen could be used as a virtual analog stick! Another practical use for the touch screen is one used by Spiderman 2: Keeping a list of your attacks and just touch it to perform that action! You can also make virtual buttons for those astions you don't have a button for. For example, fighting games usually involve double button-pressing. With the touch screen, you could make a "button" for every double buttons that you would normally have to press. The touch screen is just tranversal.

Microphone-In the future (hopefully in the near future), you might simply have to tell your game what to do. You could say things like, "Run!" or. "Turn left!" or, "Fire!" Feel the Magic: XY/XX uses the microphone in an interesting way: Blowing to provide wind for a sail boat. The microphone is built in and you have to put your mouth to the DS in order to get heard by the mic, but Nintendo will soon fix that problem with a USB-type headset.

So you see, the DS is very innovative. I'd recommend this game just for these features alone, even if it weren't 3D.

GRAPHICS: 10/10: The DS isn't as graphical as the PSP, but it does have dual graphics engine capability. Both are programmable in 2D or 3D. Again, the choice is up to the developers. The 3D quality is just awsome. A good example is a demo that comes with the DS called Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt, which has just below Gamecube caliber. The resolution of the average game is just awsome. In fact, the most popular launch game, Super Mario 64 DS, is supposed to look similar to the N64 counterpart, but it's cleaner and has a higher resolution. The two screens are liquid crystal display, so the image is crisp and vivid.

SOUND: 10/10: The two speakers in the system transmit true stereo sound. This is a much higher quality than the GBA's and PSP's mono sound. The speakers can also produce vitual surround sound, which goes great with the LCD HD screens. The system also has a headphone jack, which is the only gripe I had about the GBSP. This means I can play into the night without my parents knowing! *Evil laugh*

GAMES: 10/10: This system has a LOT of third party support. The only company I can think of right off the bat who's not licensed with DS is Criterion, which sucks considering I'd like to see a Burnout DS. Even Electionic Arts is supporting the DS with their launch game Urbz: Sims in the City. The games that stand out in the sea of lame games are Super Mario 64 DS, Feel the Magic: XY/XX, Asphalt: Urban GT, and the EA game Urbz: Sims in the City that I mentioned above. This is a good selection, conidering that not a whole lot of games were released at launch, and NO games were online. The selection of games is great.

OVERALL: This is truly a system that can't be missed. Get it by all means necessary (unless it involves stealing) because this is a revolutionary system.

davidstebbins out!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/10/05

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