Preview: New Super Mario Bros.

The Nintendo DS has the potential to have some truly blockbuster calibre games and yet unfortunately, the system has not played host to one as of yet. But that's all about to change in a really big way. At E3, Nintendo has opened the floodgates to a title wave of great and fun DS games and of these new games, none are more intriguing and exciting than New Super Mario Bros DS. With The DS's two screens, WiFi capabilities and N64 beating graphical potential, Mario fans will be in for a treat of epic proportions when this game makes it to store shelves.

Nintendo has been very tight lipped about this game, and for good reason. Its not every day that a game of this magnitude is in development, and with a decade passing since the last true 2D side scrolling Mario game has been released, they are still keeping the games details sketchy. However, they have not left us completely in the dark, and this is what we do know about the game.

Mario jumps for joy for his new game on the DS

For the first time ever in 2D Mario platform game history, a four player multiplayer mode will be included. The potential in this all new mode is very exciting and it will defiantly add to the replay factor of the game. The ability to play with three friends will only add to the excitement, originality and fun factor of this game. Also, the in game action takes place on both the top screen and bottom screen, switching screens depending on what part of the level you are playing. For example, when Mario goes down a pipe, the screen at the bottom will now have the game play action and the screen on the top will have a progress indicator and a hub containing various inventory items. Conversely, when Mario or Luigi are on the main world, the top screen is now used for game play and the bottom screen is used as a hub for inventory and game progress.

Players will be happy to learn that Mario and Luigi now have a better ability to really work together as a team, much more than in any of the side scrolling Mario Bros games of the past. Two gamers can play together at the same time to collect coins or fight together to defeat enemies by double attacking them; it seems that this game will have plenty of teamwork involved between the famous brothers. In some cases it looks like Mario and Luigi literally use each other's heads as spring boards to bounce off one another and reach great heights. I am looking forward to this teamwork aspect of Super Mario Bros DS, and from what I have seen; this game play element could be very fun and a nice change from the “wait your turn” Mario and Luigi multiplayer mode of Super Mario Bros 3.

Many many hours of play assured because of such obstacles. Only in Mario Bros.

Judging by what has been shown at this year E3, it is defiantly a safe bet to say that the production value in Super Mario Bros DS will be of the highest quality when it is released. Graphically speaking, the game looks to be much improved from the last time it was shown to the public. The game is much more colourful and its frame rate seems to flow along noticeably more smoothly when compared to media form last years E3. Also, the game itself appears to move very fast. The music and sounds are typical of any Mario Game and still seem to be early in development, so it's difficult to say how they will sound in the final version. But if the in game movies shown at this years E3 are any indication of the final sound effects and music, we can rest assured that Nintendo fans are in for a great sounding game when it is finally released on the DS.

The game play itself seems to be inspired mostly by the original Super Mario Bros game on the NES. The under water levels and outside levels are shaping up to be just great and these levels could seamlessly fit into the original NES games concepts, right down to Mario jumping at a flag pole at the end of a stage. Nintendo has also shown off desert levels that are definitely inspired by Super Mario Bros 2, but what has been shown of the game so far, appears to be focusing mostly on the original game for inspiration. That's defiantly not to suggest the game is a remake, because everything that Nintendo has shown concerning this game is completely new.

Poor Luigi, always left behind.

Along with the new levels also come all new abilities for Mario's return into the world of 2D. Wall bouncing, vine climbing and swinging, ground pounding, spin attack action and the ability to grow to gigantic size by contacting giant mushrooms are just some of the new abilities players will have at their disposal. As far as touch screen controls are concerned, the game seems to be suspiciously lacking in any usage of the stylus. Of course, this feature may still be in development for the final release and kept hidden for now, only time will tell, but there defiantly is the possibility of stylus controlled mini games similar to those in Super Mario 64 DS.

Mario has defiantly returned to his roots in this highly anticipated sequel to the original 2D Mario Bros games of yesteryear. And although Nintendo has now released more information at E3 about the game, it's a safe bet to say that Nintendo will be definitely keeping a few new levels, concepts and surprises for this great new DS game a secret until closer to the games launch. New Super Mario Bros has now become my most anticipated DS game yet. And after E3, I don't think I am alone in that opinion.

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