Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games Review
So, all the kids that just picked up gaming in the past generation or two may not fully understand just why this is such a significant game in the history of gaming. They won't understand the wars that went on in the 16 bit generations, with Sega's Blast Processing and ad campaign that stated that "They do What Nintendon't". For those of us that were gamers in this generation, no matter the side, we knew both of the big mascots. And boy, did we have fantasies about seeing them in a game together, whether they were friends or enemies. And now, anyone that has followed the Smash Brothers Brawl info knows that Sonic will be one of the new characters there. However, this won't be the first time the two characters appear together. That distinction gets placed on the shoulders of Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games.
Mario and sonic at the Olympic Games is, as the title makes obvious, an officially-branded Olympic Games setup featuring characters from the Mario and Sonic worlds. You're going to have a wide variety of popular Olympic games to choose from, including such staples as the 100 meter dash, the Long Jump and the Javelin throw. Each of these has some sort of Wiimote motion attached to it, which has become a staple of damn near any game to release on the system. There's also a pretty interesting Mission Mode.
So, then, the meat of the game would definitely be the events. Anyone who has ever watched the Olympics will recognize these. The 100 meter dash, for example, has you 'running' much like in the original Rayman Raving Rabbids game -- alternate moving the Wiimote and Nunchuk up and down to gain speed. Do it really fast to gain a lot of speed, but be careful that you don't do this for too long as your arms will be sore afterwards. Trust me on that.
Other events use this motion, too, but combine other timing-based elements. Take the Long Jump as an example. In this one, you 'run' up to the line by shaking the controller up and down, then your speed gets locked. After this, you perform a Wii Sports Golf-esque motion -- raise the controller up but not too hard. Get this right and time it well (right by the line) and you'll jump pretty far. Jerk the controller up too fast or jump too early, though, and you won't get nearly as much distance.
Then you have ones that don't even use a throwing motion. One of these is the hammer throw. For this one, you rotate the Wiimote in circles as fast as you can, then hit the B button to let go of the Hammer. If you let it go when you're facing directly down the middle of the white lines and are rotating fast, you'll get good distance. Another interesting one is the Trampoline game, where you'll be trying to do mid-air routines after a trampoline jump. What makes this mode interesting is that it combines timing (moving the Wiimote up right before you hit the Trampoline) and a DDR-style 'repeat the buttons' minigame, which gets more difficult as you perform more routines successfully.
I could go on and on forever about the minigames included in this package -- rest assured there is a wide variety in gameplay contained in this package, with combinations of simple motions being the focus. They're all pretty fun and easy to pick up on for the gamer and non gamer alike. Sure, you might fail at your first run through some of the games missions or circuit modes, but you'll catch on pretty fast.
To play in these modes, you'll pick a character of some kind. As stated earlier, these characters come from the Mario and Sonic worlds. You've got your Mario, Princess Peach, Yoshi and such from one side and then characters like Sonic, Tails and Robotnik/Eggman (depending on what you call him) on the other. Each of these characters will be slightly better at certain events, but this isn't going to make things unplayable if your buddy plays sonic and you play Bowser in a 100 meter dash. Also nice is that you can use Miis in the game, and the graphical style seems to really fit them well. They don't get the stats of the other characters, but this also helps because it provides a totally level playing field.
And really, having that level playing field is important to multi-player gaming. Even if it doesn't make much of a real difference, being able to avoid the imminent whining from your friends because you used Sonic in a race is nice. Multiplayer gaming is pretty much the biggest reason to get this title. If you're the type that bought the Wii because Wii Sports looked cool, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games is right up your alley -- it is, essentially, more quickly-played games that a casual gamer can get into very easily.
Of course, this also leads to the game's biggest flaw -- its price. Sure, there's a lot of fun to be had herel, I'll give you that. However, the game is a $50 game -- something that seems pretty off for the amount of content. Sure, there's more modes and the such, but this game feels like it should have been $39.99 or maybe even $34.99. this doesn't make the game bad or anything, but definitely is a glaring weak point.
Overall, I'd still recommend this game, despite its higher-than-expected price point. You'll still have a good bit of fun for your gaming dollar. While seeing Mario and Sonic together now isn't quite as big as it may have been even a few years ago, it will still help to sell this game. At the very least, rent this the next time you and your friends get together -- you'll have a blast for sure.