Nintendo has a lot of lucrative franchise characters at their disposal. I know this is a very obvious statement I’m making but its become clearer with each new console and handheld they release that capitalizing on these franchises is one of the most important and surest means for Nintendo to make back their money.
The Nintendo DS is over 10 years old now but this business model has been in place at Nintendo since the SNES days and was very obvious in the N64 era of the late 90s when they tried to capitalize on franchises by bringing them into the third dimension and throwing a “64” at the end of the title. With the DS, the desire to bring the well known titles and franchises to the touchscreen based handheld was important and these are just some of the examples of games I picked up new when the DS was released in order to feed my own nostalgia for the 80s.
- Konami Classics Series Arcade Hits – A beefed up version of the “Konami Classic Series” released on the GBA a few years prior. Included are the some of the same titles from that game such as “Time Pilot”, “Scramble”, “Rush n’ Attack”, and “Yie Ar Kung Fu” but also some notable games that weren’t on the original such as “Contra”, “Gradius”, “Track n’ Field”, and “Pooyan”. There are additional Konami games available on here that I had never heard of or played so their definition of a “classic” seems a little loose but in all, its a nice collection of Konami’s 80s efforts. Interesting side note, the game on here called “Horror Maze” is actually better known as “Tutankham”. I guess “Horror Maze” was Konami’s original title for the game and they wanted to revert back to it for some reason when releasing this compilation. B
- Mario Kart DS – Nintendo would really have to screw up to make a Mario Kart game that wasn’t fun. Thankfully, they did not screw this DS effort up in the slightest. “Mario Kart DS” does what every Mario Kart game up to this point had already done, which means you have hazard laden courses, weapons to help you jockey for position, interestingly laid out courses and all your favorite “Super Mario Bros.” characters. The DS’s dual screen is useful as one screen is dedicated to the overhead map allowing you to easily see where you are relative to your opponents and where you are on the course so you can plan your moves in advance. This is a must own DS title without a doubt. A
- Metroid Prime Pinball – The Metroid franchise made a triumphant return in the early 2000s with releases on both the Gamecube and the Gameboy Advance. It only made sense to utilize the Metroid name for a DS title as well but instead of a new handheld adventure to utilize the touchscreen, Nintendo gave us a pinball game. The two screens are used very effectively to provide the illusion of one long, continuous pinball table and it works. “Metroid Prime Pinball” is a very fun, fast paced pinball simulator with Metroid as it’s backdrop. The game even comes with a rumble pack that you insert into the GBA cartridge slot and gives you that extra sensory effect to really make you feel like you’re playing a true pinball machine. A-
- Tecmo Bowl Kickoff – “Tecmo Bowl” and “Tecmo Super Bowl” were two of my favorite NES games and I felt they made adequate leaps into the 16 bit era with the SNES and Genesis efforts. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this blast from the 2D football past in the Madden era when I bought it but nostalgia is a demanding bitch sometimes and the words “Tecmo” and “Bowl” strung together really made me long for simpler football gaming times. I should have been clued into this shell of its former glorious self when I realized there was no NFL license, no NFL players, and completely made up teams. The gameplay is somewhat reminiscent of Tecmo Super Bowl but without all the ease and seamlessness of playing and simulating games was before. There are too many little things that this game gets wrong for me to even begin to articulate but be warned, if you are expecting “Tecmo Super Bowl” on a 2000s era handheld, you are not going to be pleased. This completely unnecessary rehash does the storied franchise no favors and you’re better off playing these games on their original hardware. D-