Wonderland Game
THE MIDNIGHT POST * December 2010
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Retro Remakes

Those of you that have a taste in “retro” video games (and we know many of you do) should be aware of the many retro remakes and updates that are available for the Nintendo DS platform. However, while some are wonderful updates of classic games that manage to retain the playability of the original while adding unique features, others are definite duds. Here are some to seek out and some to avoid:

New Super Mario Bros. is a throwback to the classic 2D Mario games. New Super Mario Bros. plays very similar to either Super Mario Bros. 3 (on the original Nintendo Entertainment System) or Super Mario World (on the Super Nintendo). The graphics are colourful, the challenges are plentiful, and - most importantly - the controls are wonderful. This is an excellent addition to the Super Mario series, and one of the best reviewed games for the DS platform.

For action fans, Contra 4 is another excellent update to a classic game. It retains the hallmarks of the earlier games (including the crazy set pieces and boss fights, as well as the enormously high difficulty level) and adds lots and lots of new locations to blast through. As an added bonus, the game contains some excellent unlockable material, including challenge modes and the original NES versions of Contra and Super C.

On the other hand, Rainbow Islands Revolutions is an update of a classic that really misses the mark. Rainbow Islands (the excellent but lesser known sequel to Bubble Bobble) would have been a perfect fit for the Nintendo DS dual screen, but instead of using the classic D-Pad controller, the developers decided to force the game to use the stylus controls only. And it just doesn't work very well. Controls are unresponsive and imprecise, leading to a frustrating game experience. Unfortunately, the original Bubble Bobble doesn't fare any better on the Nintendo DS.

Collections of classic games have become standard fare for modern platforms. These titles tend to promise authentic game experiences without the need to own classic hardware, but they can be a decidedly mixed bag. Namco Museum DS contains eight classic arcade games, including Pac-Man, Xevious, Galaxian, and the excellent multi-player Pac-Man VS. The emulation is very good and customizable hardware options make for a fun nostalgic experience, although the list of games is rather short. In comparison, Retro Atari Classics is an example of doing pretty much everything wrong. The game contains classics such as Pong, Asteroids, and Centipede in both emulated and "updated" versions. However, the classic versions are not well emulated, and the "updated" versions are - simply put - horrible. Avoid!

Finally, we often receive questions about the possibility of Wonderland games on the Nintendo DS (or other hardware, such as the iPhone). While this is not an option at this time, we always keep the possibility in mind for future releases.

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