|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SEGA||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 22, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
What's that, you ask? Well, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games has a fairly interesting -- though not overwhelming -- multiplayer mode, both locally and online. All of the events can be played with a friend or three, and playing against live human opponents is infinitely more fun than playing against computers.
The game sports download play, which is nice. Unfortunately, not all events are available via download play -- you'll need to find friends with their own copy of the game to play the full-fledged game multiplayer. The games are easy enough to pick up and play, and friends who've never even heard about the game can still have fun playing multiplayer with you. And while there's no actual online competition via the Nintendo WiFi Connection, you can send your event data to the online servers and see how you stack up against the best Olympians around the world. It's not as neat a feature as full-fledged online competition, which would have really been awesome considering the game's Olympic theme, but at least it's something, and the online leader board actually works quite well for this type of game.
Graphically, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games does not fail to impress. It's one of the nicer looking games on the system, and it's particularly impressive how smooth and crisp the game is when you take into account that this game is, after all, running on a fairly weak handheld system. The music is another story, however -- it's pretty standard video game music, if you know what I mean. That is to say, it's boring, forgettable, and doesn't much contribute to the overall quality of the game. Tell me, whatever happened to Fire Emblem-caliber music in a video game?!
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games does suffer from a few significant flaws, however. First off is one that may seem petty until you've actually played the game: this title takes a real toll on the well-being of your DS. Seriously. It's worse than Elite Beat Agents, actually (which had you tapping, rubbing, and spinning constantly), because most of the events are just going to have you rub the DS as fast as you can. I'm the type of person who cringes to think that my 130 dollar investment is being destroyed as I try to have fun, so this is a significant issue for me. Secondly is the fact that this title just isn't all that exciting, because a nearly identical version was released a few months ago. Sure, it's different from the Wii version, but really only in terms of the controls. I personally would have really liked some fleshed-out DS-specific content rather than the sort of filler that the DS version got as it's "exclusives," but there was no such luck.
If you're the type of person who loves to play mini-games, particularly enjoyed the first Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, or are a casual gamer who's looking for a fun, albeit easy and short-lived title, then you should definitely consider picking up a copy of Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. If you don't meet any of those criteria, however, then you may want to pass on this title and instead look for another game to spend your cash on -- might I suggest the new Advance Wars?
CCC Freelance Writer