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New Super Mario Bros. Review (NDS)

New Super Mario Bros.

Bowser’s at it yet again, and this means Mario returns to the Mushroom Kingdom for yet another trek through eight levels of old-school gaming goodness in the “New Super Mario Bros.” for the Nintendo DS. The New Super Mario Bros. is the first new and original Super Mario platform title since 2002’s “Super Mario Sunshine.” The game also revisits its side-scrolling roots, which was last playable in 1995 with “Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island” for the Super Nintendo.

This new installment in the popular Nintendo franchise sees Princess Peach being kidnapped yet again. Mario embarks on an 80-level adventure, which is divided into the classic eight-world formula that was first introduced in the original Super Mario Bros. (SMB) in 1985. The levels are spread out on eight different maps (Plains, Desert, Tropical Island, Forest, Ice, Mountains, Sky and Bowser’s Lair), which are similar in both look and feel to the classic Mario titles.

The New Super Mario Bros. is one of the best-looking side-scrolling run and jump platformers. The game blends 3D characters and backdrops with classic 2D side-scrolling elements which creates a unique visual experience. The character animations are extraordinary and feature unsurpassed attention to detail (when it comes to video game animation of course). For example, you’ll actually see Mario crouch down as he’s entering a pipe from its side.

On the audio side, the game features familiar classic themes from the original titles. Everything from the music to the sound effects are reminiscent of the old-school SMB games. The game contains both new and retooled songs that fit the overall vibe of the series.

Mario also has a few new power-ups to work with. Our favourite plumber can now transform into Mega Mario, Mini Mario and Shell Mario, in addition to the familiar Super Mario and Fire Mario.

As Mega Mario, your character grows to a colossal size taking-up nearly half of the screen. For a limited amount of time, Mega Mario must smash his way through the level destroying everything in his way. Mini Mario is the total opposite of Mega Mario, in this form Mario can not only gain access to areas that were unaccessible as his regular self, but he can also jump higher and run on water. As Shell Mario, our main character can perform a shell dash to clear off enemies or hide in its shell to avoid enemy contact.

The New Super Mario Bros. has quite a bit of replay value. You’ll be revisiting levels in order to unlock all of the game’s bonuses and collect all Star Coins. The game also includes a multiplayer component called Mario Vs. Luigi, which can be played either through download or multi-card play. As a bonus, the game comes with all of the mini-games that were unlocakable in “Super Mario 64 DS”.

If you’re looking to pick-up a great Nintendo DS title, then look no further than the New Super Mario Bros. The game will instantly have you reminiscent about the golden age of gaming and how simple and entertaining video games used to be back in the day when side-scrolling titles were the craze. If you own a Nintendo DS, do yourself a favour and get the New Super Mario Bros. And if you don’t already own a Nintendo DS, then here’s your reason why you should get one.

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Charging Xbox 360 Accessories on the Fly

Microsoft recently released the “Xbox 360 Quick Charge Kit” for the console’s wireless controller. This is the second charging device released by the Redmond company since the launch of the Xbox 360 in November of last year.

In comparison to the “Play and Charge Kit,” the new accessory charges your wireless controller’s battery in mere hours. The Play and Charge Kit basically recharges your battery packs through a USB connection from your Xbox 360. Depending on what you were doing, the whole charging process could take up to several hours to recharge. The new Quick Charge Kit recharges your single Nickel-Metal Hydride battery pack within two hours, while two batteries take less than four hours to charge.

The Quick Charge Kit is independent of the Xbox 360 console and comes with its own AC adapter. You simply plug in the adapter in a power outlet and pop in a battery in one of the charger’s two charging bays. As soon as the cycle is complete, the unit automatically powers down. A green light will also light-up when the battery is fully charged.

A spare battery pack comes bundled with the Quick Charge Kit. The kit retails for $39.99 and is currently available at your favourite video game retailer. This is definitely a must-have accessory for Xbox 360 owners, and the best thing about it is that you won’t have any wires plugged into your console. Now that’s next-gen gaming.

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