Nintendo: Last shipment of Super Mario All Stars is away

Nintendo has dispatched its final shipment of “Super Mario All-Stars,” a Wii re-release of the Super NES package that was itself a reissue of four Mario games, upgraded from 8-bit to 16-bit graphics.

The package includes “Super Mario Bros.,” the game’s Japanese sequel (known in the United States as “The Lost Levels”), “Super Mario Bros. 2 (issued as the Mario-less “Doki Doki Panic” in Japan) and “Super Mario Bros. 3.”

The package also includes a CD with music and sound effects from the Mario franchise and “Super Mario History,” a 32-page booklet on Nintendo’s signature series.

Review: GoldenEye 007 (Wii)

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Rare’s GoldenEye was a sharp reply to PCs of how exciting the FPS genre could be on a console – especially the N64 – in 1997. It also stands out as what is probably the only movie-based game to actually expand on its own material while being good at what it set out to do.

With those two things in mind, it’s easy to see how GoldenEye became such a influential legend, one that fans would even go so far as to bring the experience back to where the FPS began on PCs with mods recreating its famous levels with Half Life 2′s engine, Source.

Those same fans had also clamored for Nintendo to release the classic game on the Wii’s Virtual Console as a downloadable game only for the idea to die a slow and license litigated death.

And then developer, Eurocom, stunned everyone when they announced their own GoldenEye game built from the ground up as a re-imagined reboot. But far from being sacrilege, Eurocom’s remake is both an unmistakable homage and a fantastic FPS in its own right.
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Review: Metroid – Other M

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Samus Aran isn’t supposed to need anyone. Ever since she let her hair down decades ago in one of gaming’s watershed moments (“what? Samus is a girl?”), she has been the quiet and revered standard-bearer for strong, female lead characters. She needed no rescuing and wasn’t prone to inner monologues about stars, life or making people happy. She didn’t wish for love or try to counter her femininity by acting macho.

Basically, she was just damn good in that awesome, alien-killing armor of hers.

At least, that’s what I and others want to believe — some of this imagery, in a way, is our fault. With other female lead characters grunting, bouncing their chests and splattering bits of sex appeal on everyone’s screens, many fans who’ve known Samus since the original Metroid have crafted a mental ideal around her minimalist nature. With her cloudy past, abundance of weapons and gadgets and her reputation as a bonafide ass kicker, she’s almost like an intergalactic Batman.

And this is where Metroid: Other M becomes both a satisfying and confusing experience. The gameplay says one thing about this legendary heroine, while the storytelling says something completely different — and sad. Team Ninja succeeds in taking Samus to new action heights, but I can’t shake the feeling that the mystique that made Samus so appealing in the past has been damaged.
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Fans select Drew Brees for sacrifice

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New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will be the latest to test his fate against the Madden Cover gods, thanks to the results of first-ever online fan voting for the game’s next cover athlete for Madden ’11. Brees beat out Minnesota sack machine Jared Allen and Indianapolis wideout Reggie Wayne. If you remember, the famed “Madden Curse” decided to smite Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu following his joint appearance on the cover of Madden ’10 with Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Then again, Brees IS the QB for the Saints. Surely a Saint can negate the curse … right?

Among the game’s new features in its effort for a “simpler, quicker, deeper” experience, according to EA:

Simpler: Call plays like an NFL coach with ease using an all-new play-calling system, GameFlow, which executes an authentic, situational game plan for you.

Quicker: The new play-calling system will enable players to spend more time on the field and less in the playbook – completing games in half of the time.

Deeper: Madden NFL 11 is feature-rich, with improved animations and control options, enhanced online functionality, and new broadcast and audio presentation that delivers the NFL experience fans have come to expect.

BOOOOOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!

EA has revived a classic from the nineties for the Wii with the announcement that NBA Jam is coming out for it. Yes, THAT NBA Jam, the same one which came out in the arcades and consoles in ’93. The arcade version was known for its four way co-op and pit two-on-two teams against each other with helicopter slam dunks, face planting fouls, and catching the players’ basketball on fire if they were…on fire.

It even featured real NBA players, their mugs digitized and animated onscreen, and now that’s coming to the Wii in some kind of form. The official website is up with polls asking who players want to see in the game, but I’ll have to admit to being a little disappointed in not seeing anything for Mutant League Football. Maybe next time? For now, if you need a refresher course on what it might look like, you can catch footage of the original arcade version below.

What kind of Mickey Mouse game is this? Oh, wait …

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This morning, Disney announced that they were creating Disney Epic Mickey, an action platformer for the Wii that’s looking to give the vaunted mouse some new life. Mickey travels to a place called the Cartoon Wasteland — a place for Disney creations that have either retired or faded into obscurity. The caretaker of the wasteland is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who was Walt Disney’s first star … until Mickey came along. Naturally, this leads to issues when Mickey stumbles into the wasteland and ruins the land’s sense of balance. Now, it’s up to Mickey to provide damage control.

Here’s a snippet about gameplay from Disney:

Players use the Wii Remote to wield magical paint and thinner to re-shape the world around them. Paint’s creativity and thinner’s damaging effect give the player robust tools and empowers them to make choices about how they move through the world. Each player’s decisions to use paint, thinner or both dynamically changes the world with consequences that affect the environment, interactions with other characters, and even Mickey’s appearance and abilities.

The painting concept immediately brings me right to Okami, an outstanding game from Capcom where you had the ability to “paint” items into the scenery and watch them spring to life — for instance, if you painted a sun at night, you would immediately make it daytime.

Disney sent over some screens and art for the game, so you can see it after the jump. The game’s slated to drop in the fall of 2010.
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Review: Muramasa – The Demon Blade

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Muramasa: The Demon Blade is an art lesson disguised as an action game. If most of my schooling was this enjoyable and simple, I’d probably be more cultured.

The Nintendo Wii has become something of the local art house for video games, as designers compensate for the system’s lack of obnoxious graphic horsepower by putting out titles with a unique visual spin. Before Muramasa came MadWorld and No More Heroes, a pair of games that stood out as much for their creative look as much as the gameplay. Okami also earned a lot of praise for its artsy vibe.

Muramasa bobs and floats along the same artistic river, making the player feel as if they are performing within the confines of Japanese paintings rather than the standard levels one would see in most action games. Adding to the mystique is the fact that Muramasa functions as a classic side-scroller, which makes it instantly accessible to practically anyone who plays it. This approach also enables the player to immerse himself or herself in other elements, such as story.

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Wii Sports Resort: Review

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Even those who despise Nintendo’s little white box and it’s wacky waggle control system, have to agree that the original Wii Sports was a great title. It was easy to pick up, fun to play and even though it was an original IP, there was something about it that was very Nintendo. It was the game that defined the system and that demonstrated motion control as a viable way to play games, one that the other software giants have been desperately looking to emulate.

The problem with Wii Sports however was it’s brevity. All of the sports (with the exception of boxing) were indeed a lot of fun, but the game lacked depth and with the absence of online multiplayer the game (and in a lot of cases the system) ended up in the back of closets or pushed under the sofa to collect dust. With the release of Wii Sports Resort (with the 3rd best opening week sales of any Wii game in Japan) it looks like the system might be finding it’s way back into a lot of living rooms.

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Majesco: Cooking Mama is multi-platinum

Majesco announced today that the ridiculously cute Cooking Mama game franchise has sold more that 4 million units in the United States. You shouldn’t be surprised — a lovable character that asks you to “cook” stuff via the Wii Remote or DS touch-screen? Complete with actual recipes? Pseudo-teaching tool for the kitchen impaired? Makes sense, especially for all of the aspiring culinary wizards out there.