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Friday, May 16, 2008

Review: Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games for Nintendo Wii

One of my favorite games growing up was Konami’s Track and Field (Video game originally was released in 1983) game for the original Nintendo release in 1985. I remember countless hours I spent playing the game with friends as we frantically tapped the “A” and “B” buttons on the old school controller so the athletes would run fast, jump higher, and leap farther. The events were different each time, and as long as you and your friends traded off winning – it kept you both going.

Konami's 1985 release of Track and Field for the Nintendo (NES)
Of course that all changed when the turbo pad came out, but you still at least had to have good timing to clear the hurdles or launch on the long jump and set those world records. But, who is keeping track?

Fond memories of that original game led me to purchase Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games – Beijing 2008. It also sounds like a lot of fun to play Olympic like games while the Summer Olympics are going on – just ask Ashley. That brings me to the last reason for the purchase – I knew it was a game that Ashley and I could play together, a big plus in my book.

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games - Beijing 2008 - Review
Once the game arrived from Amazon.com, I was just hoping it would hold up to the expectations I had of it based on my experience with the classic Konami Track and Field game.

The concept of the game is great – you can choose several different modes that include single events, challenge, and tournament modes in which you compete in various decathlon type events where several single events are strung together. As you compete in the various tournaments, additional events, trophies, and awards are made available to you. Plus, all of the games can be played with up to four players – assuming you have both enough Wii Remotes (Wiimotes) and Wii Nunchuks to accommodate.

You also have the opportunity to choose different characters or create you own. Many of the cast of characters that you have seen in various Mario Party and Mario Kart races are there – including some of my favorites – Mario, Sonic, and Knuckles. Each of the players are grouped into a specific category such as Power, All Around, Speed, or Skill – that have different values for their power, speed, skill, and stamina ratings. You should choose wisely based on the types of events you are performing or you can just go with an all around performer and forget about it. There is also the option to create or use your own Nintendo Mii if you want.

A lot of the standard Olympic type games are there – 100M sprint, 4x100M relay, 110M hurdles, 400M Hurdles, 100M swim, 4x100M relay, High Jump, Long Jump, Javelin, Hammer Throw, Fencing, Gymnastics (Vault and Trampoline), Rowing, Skeet Shooting, Pole Vault, Triple Jump, Archery, and Ping Pong. In addition a couple of “Dream” events are there including Dream Race and Dream Fencing, and Dream Ping-Pong – all where there are special maneuvers available to defeat your competition.

My favorites events have to the Javelin, Dream Ping-Pong, and Swimming events. They provide a lot excitement as well as physical activity. It is pretty common for people to be sore the next day if they have not played Wii events like these before when they come over to our house! The only event that I have not enjoyed is the archery event. It may just be because I stink at it – but even with that, I am not satisfied with how the controls operate for Archery. They are relatively loose and complicated, often leading to awful results.

But, even with one bad event Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games – Beijing 2008 is a must have game in my opinion. It is a game that you can play at anytime with anyone and not only have some good fun as well as a little bit of exercise. Perhaps not as much as Wii Fit, but every little bit helps!

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