Sean Colleli – Staff Writer
Top three from the first half of 2006
1. Metroid Prime: Hunters (DS) - If you’ve read my review, you probably know that I was almost euphoric over Metroid Prime: Hunters. And while I might have praised the game a little excessively, it was still a Metroid fan’s dream come true and an impressive accomplishment for Nintendo’s new development house, NST. The fact that such an involved solo adventure and a groundbreaking multiplayer were packed into that little cartridge really amazed me, control issues aside.
2. New! Super Mario Bros (DS)- . was a bit of a let down for me at first. I was expecting a Mario platformer that would change the industry, and what I got was simply not that. It took me a little while to realize that the point of New Mario Bros. was nostalgia—we hadn’t had a 2D Mario in 14 years, and fans wanted something familiar and comforting. Once that clicked, I loved the game, and was content to wait for my Mario revolution in the form of Galaxy on the Wii. New Super Mario Bros. is everything an old school Nintendo fan could ask for, although the Tanooki suit is absent.
3. Feel the Magic: XX/XY (DS)- When I first bought my DS, several smaller titles evaded my attention, one of them being Feel the Magic: XX/XY. Once I picked it up I was quickly endeared by Sega’s bizarre, charming little minigame collection, and thus I approached the sequel, The Rub Rabbits, with higher expectations. Rub Rabbits didn’t offer a whole lot of new content, but at least it was deeper, richer, and overall longer. The multiplayer was a nice passing distraction and the minigames had more substance, with only mild repetition. My only qualm was that many of the ideas felt half finished and underused.
4. Super Princess Peach (DS)- Say what you will about my masculinity, but I thoroughly enjoyed Super Princess Peach. It kept me occupied during the months-long wait for New Mario Bros, and even if it was ridiculously easy, it was still classic Nintendo platforming. The sizeable stock of extras, minigames and unlockables were a nice inclusion, and the ability to play as Peach and save Mario for once was a novel concept. It was a feel good game. So shoot me.
Worst two from the first half of 2006
X-Men: The Official Game (GameCube)- I really liked X-Men: The Last Stand, which made my disappointment with the tie-in game even bigger. X-Men: The Official Game had several good intentions (at least on the consoles) but it was too rushed to let any of them develop. Wolverine’s levels, which I hoped would be interesting this time, were reduced to a flat sequence of beat-em-ups. Iceman was cool to look at but ultimately disused and frustrating. Nightcrawler was the best part of the game, but his levels were too short and few, and even they got tedious at times. The final insult was low-tech cutscenes that robbed the A-list acting cast of their fire; Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman were reduced to talking cardboard cutouts. The whole package was a case of grossly unfulfilled potential.
X-Men: The Official Game (DS) - If the console version of X-Men was disappointing, then the DS port was painful. So many feasible concepts were sloppily implemented, when they could have worked with proper polish. Ugly graphics, broken gameplay, cramp-inducing controls, mediocre music…the DS version of X-Men was a textbook example of movie-licensed shovel ware.
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