Review by KoolKirby

"They DS is gaining momentum, and it's not going to stop anytime soon."

Now that the dust has settled, it seems the Nintendo has come out on top once more with the Nintendo Dual Screen. Even with Nintendo's extremely slow start with even first party games, which is a first for Nintendo, the Dual Screen has proven it's worth, and has an even brighter future for it. It's even beat off the Playstation Portable in terms of overall sales and the rate of sales, and the Playstation Portable isn't doing so bad itself. No matter what you think about Nintendo's recent ideas, such as the Game Cube, the Game Boy Micro, and the Revolution, it does seem that Nintendo will always succeed in the portable part of the system race. They have already overthrown Sega, and it seems they are doing the same to Sony. But this review is not about the Dual Screen up against the Playstation Portable, so let's move on. And please be aware that I will from this point use the Nintendo Dual Screens full name in my review, I will not shorten it to DS, nor will I shorten any other systems I mention.

Graphics: 10/10
Before you tell me “You must be blind, the Playstation Portable has much better graphics then the Dual Screen”, I must mention that by graphics, I mean compared to previous Nintendo lines. I am not comparing them with the Playstation Portable at all; I do realize that the Playstation Portable does support superior graphics. The Game Boy Advance could safely be considered a powerful Super Nintendo, as the Game Boy Color was considered a powerful version of the Nintendo Entertainment System, and the Game Boy was a tad bit less powerful then a Nintendo Entertainment System. That would make the Dual Screen a Nintendo 64 if the pattern continued right? And that's just what it is, but it's a bit more powerful in terms of graphics too then the original. If you compare the Nintendo 64 version of Super Mario 64 and the Nintendo Dual Screen version, you will notice a large difference between the two. The Dual Screen is less jaggy, the textures are much better, and the frame rate stays consistent as well as the Nintendo 64.

Thus far however, most games have been either Game Boy Advance looking (SNES-esque you might say), or Playstation style Two-Dimensional (which I think is welcome, because the Playstation was almost an equal to the Nintendo 64 as the PS2 is an equal to Xbox and Game Cube), so it has been impossible to notice the Dual Screens full potential. Many upcoming games look very promising thankfully. Mario Kart: Dual Screen, Metroid Prime Hunters, and the recently released Nintendogs show this very well. That is not so say the two dimensional games are not welcome, games like Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow have proven that the DS is much more then your Game Boy Advance game, the graphics are as good if not greater then those of it's Playstation Counterpart Symphony of the Night. So all in all, I think the Nintendo Dual Screen has wonderful graphics, especially the Two-Dimensional games.

Sound: 7/10
I have to be honest; the Dual Screen could use some improvements in the Sound Department. Sure the speakers are pretty powerful and all, but they aren't always crystal clear, especially when doing voices and high quality music. It's much better then the Game Boy Advance, but it still could be improved. And there also is a small problem with the speakers when on low volume. In some games more then others, the speakers start to crackle at low volumes, I'm not sure if this hurts the system, but it's very annoying, and you therefore have to either increase the volume, or go volume less. Sometimes you're in a situation where the volume absolutely cannot be louder, and you're forced to play it mute, which is unfortunate. I love playing my games with the sound on, it takes away from my game when I can't play with sound. Thankfully there is a normal headphone jack, unlike how the Game Boy Advance SP did not have a regular conventional headphone jack. It gets the job done, and is a nice step up from the original Game Boy, and even the Game Boy Advance, but they could have worked it out a bit harder if you ask me.

Controls: 9/10
I love the Super Nintendo format that Nintendo Dual Screen went after, it is considered to be the best controller by many. The D-Pad isn't even has bad as everyone makes it out to be for three dimensional games. I'm fine with it. But of course, the main innovation of the Nintendo Dual Screen is the fact that it has a new Touch Screen. It really depends on how the developers use the touch screen, but from what I've seen so far, it's a brilliant addition to the handheld unit. One of my favorite Nintendo Dual Screen games, Wario Ware: Touched, uses the touch screen in numerous ways, poking, rubbing, drawing, slashing, moving, and more. The control was very precise and accurate, and really fun. It is a great device. Other games have used the touch screen to draw path ways for characters, for tracing/drawing symbols and emblems, and one of my favorite uses is for aiming. Games like Golden Eye Rogue Agent and Splinter Cell Chaos Theory have first person aspects where you use the stylus to aim, and it works perfectly. It makes the game very precise and accurate, and also a lot more fun. The official Nintendo stylus is pretty good, it won't scratch your screen, but it still does feel a bit cheap. You may want to go and get your own stylus; I have an electric blue one (from Pelican I believe) that matches my Electric Blue Dual Screen perfectly. It also has a nice little thumb pad thing that comes with the Nintendo Dual Screen which you can use instead of stylus, and it works well for many games, though it only hinders you for some.

Games: 10/10
Yes, the future was looking grim at the beginning of its life span, and seeing as has the Playstation Portable dominated at its launch, it seemed the Dual Screen had no chance of survival. But surprisingly, just when the Playstation Portable slowed down for the summer drought, it seemed that the Dual Screen picked up where it left off. Many great games such as Kirby Canvas Curse and Meteos, for example. Kirby was one of the first Adventure games using the use of the stylus heavily; you draw paths for Kirby, who is a ball in this game. And Meteos is a puzzle game made from the creator of Lumines, the big Playstation Portable puzzle game.

As the end of the summer drew an end, even more blockbuster games were released. Advance Wars: Dual Strike and Nintendogs came out on the same day, August 22nd, 2005. While both pertained to wildly different audiences, both are considered to be the best games to get for the system. Advance Wars: Dual Strike is turn based strategy game, which really emphasizes the strategy aspect, it definitely is for those who are good at video games (though some argue it's easier then some of the previous Advance Wars games, which I thought were also ridiculously challenging). And Nintendogs is a bit of a phenomenon, especially to the Japanese Market. It's a virtual dog simulator, unlike any before it. It probably only appeals to the casual gamer, and those who love dogs, but since it was marketed towards a different audience, it helped boost additional Dual Screen sales greatly. Even after that, the great games just keep flooding in. Lost in Blue, Trauma Center: Under the Knife, Phoenix Wright, and my personal favorite Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. Not all of these games push the limits of the Dual Screen graphically or anything, but with the exception of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, they are all innovative, fresh, and expand on the current market. Castlevania however, takes a more traditional game path, with a few DS added bonuses, but let's face it, we don't want to move away from old styled games completely, and Castlevania does this better then a lot of other games out there currently.

And let's not forget about what the future holds, although we can't guarantee that they will be good games, the information we have about them makes willing to bet they will be excellent. Mario Kart DS is just around the corner, which will be Nintendo's first online title, and what's more amazing is that the portable systems beat Nintendo's console systems to it (unless you count Game Cube and Phantasy Star Online, but those weren't made by Nintendo anyhow). Metroid Prime Hunters was sadly delayed, but it was also announced at the same time that it would have online multiplayer, which is a good trade if you ask me. And of course, Animal Crossing is looking great as ever, being able to visit other towns via Wifi is a very promising idea. But these games are just the tip of the Ice Burg, Final Fantasy 3 will be coming out, and apparently it will be in full 3D, just like FF7-10. Other then games like Crystal Chronicles; it will be the first 3D Final Fantasy game on a Nintendo System. There are too many more good games to even mention.

Overall: 9/10
Nintendo has done it once again. To be honest, if I were to have rated the Nintendo Dual Screen six months ago, I would have probably only scored it a six, or seven, and if it weren't for it's ability to play Game Boy Advance games, I might have scored it even lower. But it's amazing how quickly it is gaining momentum, and it's not losing any of it. Online is around the corner, which has been a dream of Nintendo fans for several years, and now with Wifi technology, it will be absolutely free, unless you don't have a Wifi hot spot. But you neighbors might, as might hotels, and even places like Starbucks. You are very likely near a source of Wifi, even if you don't have it yourself, you may not even have to leave your living room to get it.

Great product Nintendo, let's hope the Revolution goes as smoothly.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/17/05

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