Mario & Sonic at the Olympic GameslikePEGI3 Developer SEGA Publisher Nintendo Genre Party Platform Nintendo DS Release Out Now Mario and Sonic, two figures of the video game world which have always seemed to be rivals to each other. Back in the 90's the mention of Mario and Sonic being on talking terms would have been blasphemy, let alone them starring in a game with each other. Alas, at the end of 2007 and the start of 2008 those dreams/nightmares have come to fruition and we stand, marvelling and wondering just how this unlikely friendship will work.

The wait is over and the results are in. 50Hz Gamer's going to give you what's what about the long anticipated game; “Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games”. Although 50Hz Gamer has played both Wii and DS versions of this game, this review is centric to the Nintendo DS version of the game. There will be times in which the Wii version is referenced, however on balance, both games are very different to one another.

It's like SEGA's self respect... Shot down.
Mario and Sonic is basically another mini game video game based around the Olympics, which is made blatantly obvious. For the Nintendo DS version there are 8 events to participate in; Circuit, Swimming, Fencing, Archery, Shooting, Cycling, Ping Pong and Gymnastics. Some events, such as Circuit events have sub-sets including Sprint, Hurdles, Hammer Throw, Long jump, high jump and Javelin throw.

A lot of events which are similar to each other share common control traits, for example; Sprint and Hurdles both contain a lot of running, so you have to slide the stylus rapidly across the screen back and forth to gain speed. This is the same on the Nintendo Wii version of the game, which has similar traits in the form of rapidly moving the Wii Remote and Nunchuck up and down run.

I remember when it was called "Ping Pong".
In the interest of keeping this review down to what needs to be in, I will not go over every events control scheme. However, what you need to know about the control scheme is that it's easy to understand, very responsive – and for the most part, is not annoying.

Visuals, the game consists of a lot of visuals and for a Nintendo DS game, the graphical awe of this game is absolutely outstanding. There are a few niggling issues with some of the conflicting art styles used here and there around the game, for example; on the Data Load screen, you have a generic CGI rendered artwork of Mario, which looks all round and nice. On the other side of the screen, you have a blocky 3D model of Sonic which looks awful.

Mario to win: 1/99999
This wouldn't be a proper review of this game without me mentioning the multiplayer features in Mario and Sonic, they're good. Infact, the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii versions of the game are very good for big friends/family matches on cold, rainy days. Perfect for 2008, which so far has seen floods in Britain just a mere 3 weeks into it.

Multiplayer games consist of some single player events such as Archery, Sprints, Long Jump, but also include multiplayer only events such as Rowing (which plays like an on-sea variation of Mario Kart) and Basket Ball (Which includes the player throwing balls into hoops which move across the top screen). One draw-back is that multiplayer games have no explanation to them, so if you're playing with friends for the first time you're going to have to guess your way around them. There's also no pause... Now, when you're playing multiplayer games, you would like that pause option for longer games such as Archery for when your attention is needed else where.

Is Yoshi on a Clown bike or...
Praise seems very high for this game, and so it should be. The game is very good. A nice, solid product from SEGA, who have given us such terrible games in the past. There are a few flaws, however these aren't anything serious and do not deduct away from how great the game is. However, one thing... The single player is very bias. The CPU is either incredibly easy to beat or incredibly hard to defeat. This is the same for the Wii version, however the multiplayer side of Mario and Sonic on the Wii includes all the games, not just a few which are adjusted for multiplayer playing.

So overall, the game's great. It sounds good, it looks good and it plays good. If you're big on minigame collections, then Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games is the game for you. If you despise them, stay well clear, however if you forever play games with friends, have time to kill and one or more DS, you're good to go. Get or not to get? Get.