|System: Wii||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: Nov. 6, 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|
by Adam Brown
What many have always believed to be the impossible has now transpired. After more than a decade of intense competition, Mario and Sonic appear to have become the best of friends. Putting their past differences aside, Nintendo and Sega's biggest characters can now compete side-by-side in this video game based on the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
If a Mario and Sonic game had been announced ten years, many would have feared it was a sign of the apocalypse. Now that Sega is out of the hardware business and has spent a few years making multiplatform titles, this previously unthinkable alliance has lost quite a bit of its possible impact. The spotlight on this title is dimmed even more by the announced inclusion of Sonic in the heavily anticipated Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Still, this is the mascot crossover that fans on both sides have been waiting a long time to witness, even if it is about the Olympics.
I know this may sound a little harsh but honestly, why is the game that has Mario and Sonic together for the first time about the Olympics? A 3D-adventure title would seem like a no-brainer, with some sort of 2D-platforming or RPG title following closely behind. Instead, we are limited to the ridiculous concept of well-known Nintendo and Sega characters battling it out in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I mean come on, with Mario's over-dependence on mushrooms and the fact that Sonic isn't human, I really don't think that they would pass the screening necessary to compete. With these slight issues aside, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games is a fairly interesting and fun title.
While it is initially difficult to see this game's characters side by side, the awkwardness quickly fades as you begin to realize just how well they mesh. The Sonic and Mario characters feel as natural together as peanut butter and jelly. They all share the same cartoony look that we have all come to expect from both of these franchises. Both Sonic and Mario camps are well represented with eight well-animated characters each. While most will instantly recognize all of the present Nintendo characters, some of the Sonic team is comprised of slightly more obscure characters. Still, if you are a big Sonic fan you will probably know most of them.
These sixteen characters are split into four categories consisting of all-around, technical, speed, and power. Each type of character will have basic strengths and weaknesses depending on which category they fall into. Unfortunately, most of your choices feel rather similar in the end. The only category that seems to create a real advantage for the player is speed. A character with a high speed will allow you to win many of the game's racing challenges, while not handicapping you when other skills are required. Since most of the events in the game reward you for speed, you will most likely depend heavily on these four characters. But if you can't decide which side of the rivalry to pick from or eventually grow tired of your choices, you can always compete with any of your Miis. This is a nice addition to see since most games seem to ignore these fun little avatars.