Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games

It’s somewhat fortunate that Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games has already been released for the Wii. Not only does it mean that pointless diatribes about ex-nemeses Mario and Sonic appearing in the same game can be avoided, but also that a point of comparison is available when assessing the quality of the DS version.

In terms of graphics, sound, and presentation, everything is top notch for a DS game. The graphics are simply divine; once again showing that Sega knows how to get the most out of a system. The sound is impressive, especially the synthesised voices that have been squeezed into a tiny cartridge. And the presentation is everything you would expect from a fully-fledged console game. In this regard, Mario & Sonic is an impressive DS game.

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However, when stacked up next to the Wii version of the game, Mario & Sonic both exceeds the experience and also falls short of it. The DS version does, ironically, offer superior controls. Everything from sprinting to clay pigeon shooting feels far more responsive than the Wii version ever did.

There are also some extra features that have not been included in the Wii version of the game. These range from standard events such as the 10-meter dive to the “dream” events that make the most of the Mario and Sonic licenses.

With plenty to unlock, and with a control scheme that helps Mario & Sonic fall in line with such classics as Olympic Gold, the DS version almost fulfils its potential. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that such an experience ultimately lends itself to a party atmosphere – and the DS does not.

While it’s possible to play wirelessly with a single cartridge, and while the game offers online play, nothing compares to the carnage that occurs with multiple people in a room (often drunk) trying to fence off using a fat man and a pink hedgehog. There is something missed in the fact that multiplayer has to be co-ordinated.

Mario & Sonic isn’t a bad game at all. It offers some fun attractions with some tight controls – something the Wii version lacked. It also offers some of the best presentation available on a DS title. For those who are looking for a novelty distraction for bus rides or merely a piece of potential history, Mario & Sonic isn’t a bad purchase.

However, while the Wii version offers inferior controls, ultimately the console-TV multiplayer experience is something that the DS version cannot match. While the DS version is technically better, the Wii version offers more potential for spontaneous chaos and fun. If you own both consoles, the Wii version is definitely the way to go. However, if you only own a DS and you know a couple of good mates with Nintendo’s handheld as well, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games is definitely something worth experiencing.

"Better controls, but multiplayer is lacking."
- Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
Follow Own it? Rating: G   Difficulty: Easy   Learning Curve: 5 Min


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