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Down and Dirty Reviews: DS Reviews -- A - Z

"Welcome all DS users!" Sure, looking at two screens is great but it isn't much fun without the right games, eh? I'm here to help with a few reviews down below. All reviews are by StarSoldier unless noted. All reviews are by StarSoldier unless noted.

The overall scores are out of 100.

The graphics, sounds, and game play are out of 10.
SCORE  NAME


82
ADVANCE WARS: Days of Ruin (Nintendo/Intelligent Systems, 2007)

You can now play an Advance Wars game online finally and it works pretty good here too. Other then the new online feature and gritty story though it still feels like the same old turn based strategy game right down to the cartoonish artwork and lack of voice acting. I also hated how they took out the awesome War Room, you can't shop anymore, and there is no Hard Mode once you finished the main quest either even though these cool options were in the three previous AW titles. Despite all my whining here Days of Ruin is still very addictive and well worth picking up if you like the series.
*battery back up game
*Wi-Fi ready
For 1 to 4 players
Rated (E10) for Everyone over 10
graphics: 6
sound: 6
gameplay: 8

Find Advance Wars Days of Ruin on eBay here!


Videogames101's Game of the Year 2005
StarSoldier Game of the Month!
99
ADVANCE WARS DUAL STRIKE (Nintendo/Intelligent Systems, 2005)
Advance Wars 2 was one of my favourites on the Gameboy Advance but despite how good it was AW2 wasn't a huge leap over the original game (there was only one new vehicle for one thing!). Now here we have the third edition of this famous strategy series exclusively for the DS but is it just a minor upgrade or one juiced up sequel? Like the last title Advance Wars DS here is still a turned based tactical strategy game where you command your armies to push back the enemy. Although a lot of the game is the same, the big difference now is you can switch between two CO's so you can use their special ability to your advantage and it's even possible to team up for a powerful move called the Dual Strike. Moving the game to the DS also means you don't have to switch between menus because the top screen displays a lot of the game's stats. Advance Wars Dual Strike isn't a huge quantum leap over the last game but it is still insanely addictive and another home run for the DS.
*Battery back up game
For 1 to 4 players
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 7
sound: 4
gameplay: 10

Find Advance Wars Dual Strike on eBay here!

72 BOMBERMAN (Hudson Soft, 2005)
I guess people still love blowing stuff up because here is yet another Bomberman game. If you played one of these games before you know the deal; you help your little cute but deadly bomb dropping maniac to destroy anything that gets in the way but just make sure you're not in way either when it goes off. Fortunately this is great game to have on the DS because you can fight both your friends (soon to be enemies) and or computer controlled opponents. The one player game is still a little dry but if you love blowing your friends (oops, I mean blowing up your friends) then be sure to pick this cool Bomberman title up.
*Battery back up game
For 1 to 4 players
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 6
sound: 5
gameplay: 7

Find Bomberman on eBay here!

91 BRAIN AGE (Nintendo, 2006)
The tag of this special game here is; "Train your brain in just minutes a day!" Although the catch phase doesn't sound very extreme or fun for that matter, just play this unique interactive game and it just may surprise you. If you are actually worried how dumb your daily life is making you (it's hard not to feel stupid after watching a show like Entertainment Tonight or Lost for example) here's a great game that is actually custom made to exercise your old gray matter. In this card you do various timed challenges like colour matching, word memorization, math, reading and even the popular Japanese number game Suduko is all in here. Quick: what is 9 + 9!? Sure that was a real easy question but remember you are under the clock and you're writing better be right on or it won't read it too. The pressure on and that's how the game tests your wits. The game is a lot of fun but isn't perfect. Every event is on a timer here which is fine by me but sometimes the game doesn't always recognize my information and then I get a crappy score. For example: at first my 4's would always get mistaking for 9's, the game barely reads my g's, and for the last &*%^ing time that was BLUE you stupid little DS so even my spoken words don't always register! Another problem with the game is with the presentation. Despite a few problems here and there Brain Age has tons to offer and is still a lot of fun even though its 'gasp' educational. Thanks to the success of this game there have been a lot more types of this education entertainment like Big Brain Acamedy and there are even seperate Suduko-only games now available too.
*Battery back up game
For 1 to 4 players
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 2
sound: 2
gameplay: 8

Find Brain Age on eBay here!

77 BRAIN AGE 2: More training in minutes a day! (Nintendo, September 2007)

If you played the original Brain Age you won't notice too many improvements. Sure there are some new mini games but the presentation is as lame as ever with boring all white backgrounds and serious lack of music. I guess the simple look is used to help you concentrate on the tests but it still sucks because when I play games like these at the bar the digital girls may take their clothes off. In fairness the game is still only 20 bucks and there is so much packed in that tiny card. The Sudoku here is still one of the best video editions around thanks to the great touch screen interface and Virus Buster game can be very addictive. Overall the game is a great value for a title that helps you get smarter. Let's mail one out to Bush before he invades another country, eh?
*Battery back up game
For 1 to 4 players
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 1
sound: 1
gameplay: 8

Find Brain Age 2 on eBay here!

97 CASTLEVANIA: Dawn of Sorrow (Konami, October 4, 2005)
After a long wait we finally get another portable Castlevania game but the question is can it be as good or even better then the past editions? Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow is a direct sequel to the critically acclaimed Castlevania Aria of Sorrow and in that game Soma Cruz was suppose to be the resurrection of Count Dracula. Although he was able to break free from becoming the new dark lord, a year later (2036) Soma and his girlfriend Mina just got attacked by a evil cult member looking to kill him. Now Soma is risking everything to fight this evil cult. Like the past three Castlevania games for the Gameboy Advance this is a 2D action/role playing game meaning you fight enemies in real time while gaining experience points for each kill. The game is not only long and challenging but you can even play has different characters once the game is completed. This addictive game isn't only one of the greatest games for the DS but it is also one of the best games of 2005.
For 1 player only
Rated (T) for Teen
graphics: 8
sound: 9
gameplay: 10

Find Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow on eBay here!

74 CASTLEVANIA: Order of Ecclesia (Konami, 2008)

Here is the third Castlevania game for the DS and the game shows a lot of promise. First off you're playing as a hot chick ready to prevent the resurrection Count Dracula but she gets her memory erased by one of her college's. Now she's on a quest to find this man and get some revenge or at least some answers. The game still lets you level up, find new weapons and equipment just like before but now instead of exploring in one gigantic castle the whole time, you get to travel to other areas like a rundown prison yard or a dark cavern made out of bones. There are also some annoying fetch quests to go on after you rescue the town's people to help you get some much needed supplies because this is one hard game. The problem is the game may not be impossible but there is a extreme lack of food, potions, and armour in the beginning of the adventure and you don't move very fast either until you are late into the game. Order of Ecclesia is still fun but I like the previous DS Castlevanias better.
*Battery back up game
For 1 player only
Rated (T) for Teen
graphics: 7
sound: 8
gameplay: 8

Find Castlevania OE on eBay here!

81
CASTLEVANIA: Portrait of Ruin (Konami, 2006)
Much like the last Castlevania here on the DS Portrait of Ruin lets you try to destroy Count Dracula's castle by beating up minions, finding new weapons, and leveling up just like before. The difference now is you have to stop a crazy but powerful artist that sealed secrets away in his own paintings. Now you help a both young man and women on a mission to stop this guy. It's still a great action/RPG like before and it's cool that both characters have tag team moves and different abilities but the game play doesn't feel too unique anymore.
*Battery back up game
For 1 or 2 players
Rated (T) for Teen
graphics: 8
sound: 8
gameplay: 8

Find Castlevania Portrait of Ruin on eBay here!

71 DIDDY KONG RACING (Rare, 2007)

Yeah, the famous Nintendo 64 racer returns here on the DS but with a few changes. In the game Diddy Kong tries to help his friends that are being attacked from a evil pig wizard by competing in different races from karts, hover boats, and even aircrafts to win magic balloons and crap like that. Everything is the same but some of the characters like Conker and Banjo have been replaced and there are some new but highly annoying touch screen features as well which were more frustrating that fun. Still a fun racing game if you don't mind something sickeningly cute?
For 1 to 4 players
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 7
sound: 5
gameplay: 7

Find Diddy Kong Racing on eBay here!

83
DRAGON QUEST Rocket Slime (Square-Enix, 2006)

You know those tiny little slime creatures you usually fight in all those Dragon Warrior games? Well, one of those guys got his own game here in Rocket Slime believe it or not. In this strange action/role playing title you are trying to free all the slimes in your town that have been kidnapped by some evil ducks. You can extend your body to attack and your slime dude is pretty strong too because he can carry several items at once. You even use these items for special ammunition for giant tanks which is awesome. The game can be a bit too easy at times but it's still quite addictive.
*Battery back up game
For 1 or 2 players
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 7
sound: 6
gameplay: 9

Find Rocket Slime on eBay here!

70 FEEL The MAGIC XY/XX (Sega, 2004)

In this unique game you are this typical average guy that just fell in love with a girl he just meet. To impress her a group of strange bunny men (wtf?) help you get in a bunch of challenges to wow her over. The game is basically a collection of mini games that really take advantage of the DS's interactive bottom screen because you can brush, blow, type and more in these different games. Feel the Magic is short and some of the mini games are a bit tedious but the game is very original and is quite fun to play.
*Battery back up game
For 1 player only
Rated (T) for Teen
graphics: 8
sound: 7
gameplay: 6

Find Feel the Magic on eBay here!

86 MARIO KART DS (Nintendo, October 2005)
Every Nintendo system needs its own Mario Kart game and so here is the DS edition. There is no real story here, the game is still the same old cart racing game with cute Nintendo themed characters fighting to come out in first place. You can still use special weapons like turtle shells, banana peels, and the new ink shots against your rival drivers to help gain a edge but thanks to the DS's two screens you can see the game's map on the bottom screen. You can even go online with this game here if you have a WiFi hot spot. Mario Kart is still a lot of fun especially for multi-player battles but the series is starting to age a bit so the whole experience didn't feel too revolutionary.
*Battery back up game
For 1 to 16 players
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 8
sound: 7
gameplay: 8

Find Mario Kart on eBay here!

87 METEOS (Bandai, 2005)
Although on the surface Meteos here looks like every other match the colours puzzle out there, you really have to play this unique game first to truly understand it. As different pieces fall from the top of the screen you must line up the colours but instead of disappearing the colours launch up in the air (hopefully). If there are extra pieces on the colours you just matched then it may be possible to score combos for even bigger points so you can beat your friends more easily (again hopefully). Meteos is a little too unpredictable at times because the pieces just fall where ever they want but it has lots of modes and the game finally offers something different for DS owners.
*Battery back up game
For 1 to 4 players
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 7
sound: 6
gameplay: 7

Find Meteos on eBay here!

67 NANOSTRAY (Masjesto, 2005)
All right, another traditional shooter! I've been a fan of these types of games (like Raiden and Blazing Lazers) for years and now there is one of these forced scrolling shoot em ups here on the DS. Is this worth getting though? In Nanostray you pilot a very powerful starship through several dangerous but lush 3D environments. You can use four different weapons each with their own stronger but limited secondary attack. Unfortunately, you have to switch between these weapons using the touch screen and that can be very annoying since the game can get insanely difficult in a instant and you don't want to be messing around with some stupid screen while you are still under attack. Nanostray also not only sounds like a boring name but it comes with a very generic story (wait till you see the lame ending for this one). Can't we have one of these games have some hot babes in tight shirts or something to make it somewhat interesting? Despite these complaints I still like the intense action, solid graphics, and big bosses here so if you like these types of shooters you may like Nanostray as well.
*Battery back up game
For 1 player only
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 8
sound: 7
gameplay: 6

Find Nanostray on eBay here!

61 NANOSTRAY 2 (2008)
Here's a sequel I never thought I would see. Like the original this is a most a classic style 2D shoot 'em up but now the action takes place from both a horizontal and vertical perspective and your ship can use secondary weapons just like before. Sadly the whole game still feels rather generic thanks to a boring story line and lame looking enemy designs here. There are a lot of modes but Nanostray 2 doesn't bring anything new to the table.
For 1 or 2 players
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 7
sound: 6
gameplay: 6

Find Nanostray 2 on eBay here!


88 NEW SUPER MARIO BROS (Nintendo, May 19, 2006)
OK, the New Super Mario Bros. is a lot like every other action 2D platformer game you played over the years but chances those other games still weren't as good as this! The game has lots of cool and different power ups, it had tons of cool and challenging levels, and the game was the perfect mix of both action and adventure just like the original Nintendo Entertainment System classic. If you want to relive the glory days of the NES or you just want another great DS game then look no further then the awesome New Super Mario Bros!
*Battery back up game
For 1 to 4 players
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 8
sound: 8
gameplay: 8

Find New Super Mario Bros. on eBay here!

78 PHOENIX WRIGHT: Ace Attorney (Capcom, 2005)

Ever wanted to play a game where you're a lawyer? Well, that's what you are here and surprisingly the game is not too bad. In this weird but exciting text based game are a young man involved in a murder trial where his friend is the prime suspect. Later cases get even more intense as you have to investigate crime scenes and talk to others involved with the different trials as well. There are five cases here altogether and a useful Save anywhere feature but the linear path can be annoying since there is usually only one correct answer to use. The last case here even has cool touch screen features like dusting for finger prints and using special spray to find traces of blood. The game has no action at all so it isn't for everyone but the story is compelling and you gotta love how the old lady in here is called 'Wendy Oldbag', eh?
*Battery back up game
For 1 player only
Rated (T) for Teen
graphics: 7
sound: 7
gameplay: 7

Find Phoenix Wright on eBay here!


52 RETRO ATARI CLASSICS (Atari, 2005)

Wow! Everybody knows I love retro gaming and Atari had the great idea to have ten of their legends from the past with some updated visuals right here in one small little chip. The games in Retro Atari are: Asteroids, Breakout, Centipede, Gravitar, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Pong, Sprint, Tempest, and Warlords. It's great to see all these games back in action but some titles don't translate too well. Tempest for one is nearly impossible to control because you are now forced to use the DS's touch screen. The new art is nice and clear but it's also too hit or miss since most of it doesn't fit the games. Retro Atari is a good try to cash in on the classic gaming craze but overall this game fails to impress.
*Battery back up game
For 1 to 4 players
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 5
sound: 4
gameplay: 6

Find Retro Atari Classics on eBay here!

42 SPIDERMAN 2 (Activision, 2004)
Spiderman 2 was one of the biggest movies of 2004 so it is only natural that we would see a DS edition since it is on all the other consoles as well. Spiderman 2 DS is a 2D action platformer where you control the web swinging, wall climbing super heroes in his mission to protect New York City from criminals. Although the game comes with some impressive 3D backgrounds and some nice animation, Spiderman 2 is very tough to control and the boring fetch quests are about as much fun to play as eating nails or McDonald's . Spiderman 2 just isn't very fun to play.
*Battery back up game
For 1 player only
Rated (T) for Teen
graphics: 7
sound: 6
gameplay: 5

Find Spiderman 2 on eBay here!

35 SPRUNG (UBI Soft, 2004)
I really like the idea of this game! In Sprung you pick from either a young teenage guy or girl and you must help them go out on dates. You heard me right; this is a dating simulation! Something you don't usually see too often in the industry. Sadly although the game has some impressive artwork and animation, the only thing you do in the game is answer questions and that's pretty much it. I really wanted to like this game since it is suited for a more mature audience but overall Sprung just isn't really a game at all.
For 1 player only
Rated (T) for Teen
graphics: 7
sound: 4
gameplay: 1

Find Sprung on eBay here!

82 SUPER MARIO 64 DS (Nintendo, November 16, 2004)
To show off the power of the new DS here Nintendo remade their popular Super Mario 64 as a launch title; a 3D game that could never be done on that wussy older Gameboy Advance. The game isn't just a direct remake either because you can play as four different characters now instead of just plain old Mario. Sadly you start the game out as the lame Yoshi green dinosaur thing and then work your way to the much better Mario, Luigi, and Wario. There are also 150 stars to find instead of usual 120 so the game is a bit larger as well. For all the improvements to the game play doesn't change the fact the game can be tough to control on the super flat cross pad instead of the more 3D friendly Nintendo 64 controller. After a few tries you do get use to it and the game is still very fun to play and is a great title to have in the DS library.
*Battery back up game
For 1 to 4 players
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 8
sound: 7
gameplay: 8

Find Super Mario 64 on eBay here!