Review by Serenity

"Innovative handheld but with a lack of games"

The Nintendo DS is Nintendo's latest hand-held. After having mine for a while and playing various games I feel that its time to review this revolutionary new portable. The Nintendo DS features two LCD screens one on the top half of the system and the other one directly below it. The bottom screen is a touch screen which allows for a new innovative way to play games like never before. It also has a built in microphone that could allow you to play games by voice command to move your character around. It has a directional pad, a/b/y/x face buttons, and it has two L+R shoulder buttons. To provide protection the system's top screen folds down onto the bottom screen to close. Although it does not have a joy stick its touch screen can be used as one if you use the included wrist strap as one. Well enough of that, let's get on with my review for this unique hand-held.


This is a big plus for this system. Its built-in stereo speakers allow you to listen to your games loudly and clearly. It's so loud that I usually have my volume set at half of the systems full output potential. Some games even allow for a virtual surround sound that allows you to immerse yourself with the games environment.


Another terrific commodity to this hand-held is that it features a powerful processor which allows for 3-dimensional graphics never before seen in any previous portable. This system's graphics are more or less comparable with those of the Nintendo 64. The excellent graphics can be seen in the game Super Mario 64 DS, a remake of the hit game for the N64, which was released at the Nintendo DS's launch date. As time goes on we can expect developers to produce games with far superior graphics.


Another excellent addition to this portable is that it is extremely durably. With its top screen folded down it conceals and protects both of the systems screens and its entire buttons. You might think that because it uses a touch screen as means of control that you would be overwhelmed by scratches but the truth is that the touch screen is very difficult to scratch. I have had mine for several months now and I don't have a single scratch on it yet. Even though I have accidentally dropped it a few times the system is still perfect and has been working properly and has not malfunctioned.


What can I really say about this systems battery life other than the fact that it's excellent? On a four hour charge the DS allows you to play all your favorite games for about 10 hours. And to conserve energy it goes into sleep mode when you close the top screen down.


Although this may be Nintendo's most expensive portable to date it is well worth the money. At $150 (USA) you get the system, a wrist strap, 2 styli, and a Metroid Prime Hunters Demo Bundled in the package. Its game sell generally anywhere from $30-40 depending on if the game is first or third party software. In case you get a little careless and happen to lose styluses, AC adapters, etc. you can buy replacements at a fair price on Nintendo's website or at a retailer.

Here is where this system loses points drastically. The software currently available for this hand-held is about 15 games here in North America. Most of its available titles are either mini games or 2-dimensional games that do not take enough advantage of the system's full 3-D potential. Many excited gamers including myself have had to put up with a lot of great announced games that have been post-pond over and over again and have newly been announced to come out in several months when they were expected to be released in a few weeks.


Even though it currently has mediocre games available, just have a little patience and all the terrific games will eventually be released for your enjoyment. Besides if you absolute need more games there is always the ability to import games that are far from release in your region. This unique portable has excellent sound, graphics, durability, and battery life at a reasonable price and it is defiantly worth your investment.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/30/05

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