Hands on with Nintendo DS

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Editor of Games Digest, Simon M, has had a good old grope with the Nintendo DS and has written all about the experience for us. He’s given it his seal of approval – but since there’s no official price or launch date for the UK yet, don’t get too excited just yet:

The great and the good of the games industry gathered last night to get their greedy paws on a Nintendo DS. We were in the scrum. The result? Games Digest has played Metroid Prime: Hunters, the first-person shooter, and Mario 64 DS, the retooled version of the N64 classic platform game.
Here’s what we thought…

At Los Angeles trade show E3 in May the DS looked and felt like a cheap kid’s toy. Now it looks and feels much more grown-up and cool. It has gadget wow factor. And the wireless multi-player gaming (and potentially online gaming) add to that. So the hardware’s impressive.

What about the software? Again, at E3, only six months ago, Metroid Prime: Hunters felt clunky, awkward and dire. The control system’s been worked on, the graphics improved and now the game feels great. Smooth, fast-moving first-person shooting. With a better-than-ever-before control system using the DS’s unique touch screen display. You touch the bottom screen and where you move the stylus dictates where you look on the top screen. It doesn’t sound it, but it is intuitive.

Mario 64 we’ve had less of a go yet. But again, what was awkward at E3 has come along in leaps and bounds (typically for Mario’s platform jumping play). This, possibly one of the greatest platform jumping games ever, looks to have been tweaked in all the right ways, leaving the core gameplay and levels superbly intact.

Nintendo often gets the hardcore gamers seal of approval for no reason other than they’re Nintendo. And they’re often applauded even while clearly cynically just milking their fanbase. But in this case, it looks more and more like Nintendo have a hit, and a deserved one.

Can’t wait to get your hands on one? The official launch date in the UK is set for "first quarter" 2005. Price and exact launch details due supposedly in January.

Simon M

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