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Eight Nintendo DS demos
Any Japanese readers in the house?

Written : 08/16/05

Today, I hacked my Nintendo DS. ...As much as I like that shocked look on your face, no, not really. However, I did purchase a new wireless network kajigger so that I can download crap to it from my PC. And boy, does this little baby have some neat stuff coming out for it in the near future. Here's a bunch of tiny little reviews of the demos I played.

Jump Superstars:
The entire reason I did all this was because of this game. I heard it was like Super Smash Bros with manga characters, so I had to try it. I decided that importing it (It's never gonna be released here) would be a good idea, and so that's going down now. Anyway, I was on the GameFAQs researching it, and found this wonderful thread. Read about it if you like, I have a demo to review.
The Jump Superstars demo gives you two options: either play a tutorial or a Vs match. Tutorial is obviously just being taught to play, and since I don't know a lick of Japanese, I skipped right by. The Vs match pits you against one CPU opponent and if you beat him, you get to fight against three others. Gameplay is pretty simple, almost the same as Super Smash Bros. You can double jump, use a light attack, heavy attack and special attack, and block. The odd thing about the game is that you get a team of characters to fight with. You're stuck with a preselected "deck" in the demo, obviously. There are three characters you can actually fight with (battle characters), Naruto, Goku and Luffy. There are also a couple support characters who hop in for a single attack, and one help character who will restore some of your life. I have no idea who these three are, because I'm not that attuned to manga or anime. The object is to knock out your opponents, though it's usually by relieving them off all their stamina, rather than knocking them off the side ŕ la SSB. You can knock them off, but there's a white barricade around the stage that you'll have to break first. Overall, it's an excellent game, and I'm very glad I decided to import it. Can't wait till the full version gets here.

Famicom Wars DS:
Advance Wars DS, for those of you who are slow. This demo doesn't present much, but it does show off the most incredible development in the Wars series since... Advance Wars, I guess. Never played the old Wars games much. Anyhow, Nintendo's thrown in a whole new mode this time around, and it's REAL-TIME TANK DRIVING MADNESS!!! Sorry about the caps, but it's just awesome. First job is to choose your CO. It's the demo, so only the original Andy, Max, and Sami are available. You start off with so much money, and you can buy any combination of Mechs, Artilleries, Tanks, and Recons that you can afford. Then you're tossed into a series of battles against other COs to see how far you can get. The way it works is that you get to choose one of your units, and then drive it around in hopes of blasting all your enemy's units to dust. The coolness is not limited to only the real-time bit; you can also destroy mountains, capture buildings with any unit, heal by resting on one of your cities, and find assorted power-ups on the map. The catch is that any units you lose will be out of commission for the rest of the game. You can gain new units if you manage to get a good score (destroy everything). I made it past Andy, Sami, Flak, Lash and Adder. Hawke managed to down me after some strong resistance, and I imagine that he'd be the last match. Perhaps Sturm or the new Black Hole leader would have been after him. I don't know, and it's a little too hard at that point to actually win. There's also a link mode included, but I wasn't able to check that out before writing this, so I can't say what that's like. Either way, this new mode is enough to make my anticipation for Dual Strike grow exponentially.

Guru Guru Nagetto:
Guru Guru's a bit weird. And by "a bit" I mean "really". The game is like a strange little sprint-race/hammer-throw hybrid thing, but not. You've basically got this long playing field, and the first one to reach the end wins. Easy enough. The catch is that you're a witch tossing this little round animal thing to the end. There are a lot of options to choose, as far as throwing goes. Fist off, you can throw the animal normally, lob it into the air, or roll it like a bowling ball. After selecting your throw type, you have to power up your toss. This is accomplished by drawing circles on the touch screen to fill a power bar and then let it go to toss the poor animal as far as you can. Then, as he's flying about, you can tap a panel at the top of the screen to make him bounce over obstacles, or tap a second panel to make him do a Fireball Kirby-esqe dash attack. And then, while the other witches are throwing their animal-balls, you can poke the panels to make your little guy jump out of the way of an oncoming animal, or to bounce up and dash attack the other flying animals. It might take a couple tosses to figure out exactly what you're doing, but the touch screen interface does a pretty good job of helping you along, even if you're illiterate as far as Japanese goes. Another one we'll probably never see on this side of the world, but it's a neat title and I'd like to try out the full game.

Electroplankton:
I'll admit it, as much as I love Nintendo's innovative games and oddball stuff, I had no interest in Electroplankton. That was until I played the demo. Holy crap is it engaging. I mean, it's nothing more than tapping parts of the plankton's bodies to make beats and sounds to go along with the BGM loop, but hot damn I had a good time playing with this. The DJ inside of me has fallen in love with Electroplankton and while I didn't give a damn about it just this morning, I'm totally considering buying this when it's released. You only get to play with one kind of plankton in the demo, and there are like ten total, so there's gotta be a lot there to enjoy. The only drawback (to the demo at least) is that the plankton forget notes after a few loops, so if you find a beat you really like, you'll only get to hear it three or four times. But the fun is all in experimenting and just tapping random plankton bits to see how it'll sound. And to think, this could never have been conceived on anything but the DS... Go Nintendo.

Table Hockey Tech Demo:
We both know it, there's not a lot you can do to make table hockey more than table hockey. And sadly, it's a little bit more unwieldy with a stylus. Nintendo's demo game gives you a backup "shield" over your goal that'll absorb a single hit, but since I'm a very clumsy touch-table hockey player, every goal scored on me was of my own doing. I have won every game I played though. The graphics are rather pretty and it's got some great audio too.

Submarine Tech Demo:
Whoo! This is a lot of fun, and it's super-pretty too! The top screen displays a beautiful ocean while your touch screen functions as a radar and sub control panel. There's a lever for rising/diving and one that controls your speed. When you go to full speed, the captain shouts "Advance at full power!". In fact, he shouts a lot of stuff. It'd be a little more fun if you had to do the shouting yourself, but whatever. It's still cool. The sub is even loaded with a few torpedoes in case you don't want to avoid the mines and enemy ships. It's pretty challenging too, as you only have two minutes to get from the start to the finish, and there are plenty of perils along the way. But it a lot of fun, and I really hope they make a full game out of this or at least find a way to include this in some other game as an unlockable or something. Dive! Dive!

Trauma Center: Under The Knife:
This is a really interesting one. Mind you, one I never paid much attention to until I played it. The premise: You're a surgeon and you've gotta solve all these crazy medical problems whilst hospital drama unfolds around you. At least, that's what I think is going on. I can't read the Japanese, so I was making it all up as I went along. Anyhow, you're given two choices of operations. This first one is easy, and has you pulling shards of glass out of some dude's arm. It's easy because you get five minutes and the game will highlight pretty much exactly what you have to do. I passed it on my first try, and was immediately intrigued. After doing a sloppy job of stitching up the wound and bandaging it up, I realized that there was no way I'm not going to own this game the day it hits American shores. the second operation, however, didn't go so smoothly. I knew there was going to be trouble when I saw the problem was with the guy's heart, and I was only getting three minutes to fix him up. Next came the shocking realization that the game wasn't going to highlight what I was supposed to do. The other doctors were just going to give me advice from the sidelines. Unfortunately, the other doctors and I don't speak the same language. So my patient died. Three times. Then I gave up and did the arm surgery again. I love this game, and it's comforting to know that they've already got plans to bring it over to the West, so I won't have to import it. That would be horrendous, because you kinda need to be able to read the onscreen cues to play this game with any success.

Ganbare Goemon:
Ever played RAD for the Playstation 2? Well, I don't know if the entire game is like this demo, but that's the closest thing I can liken this to. The Goemon series has had giant robot fighting since the N64 game, at least (I never played the older ones long enough to know), and that's all this demo is. There's a trick though. You have to control Goemon and the robot at the same time. The buttons and d-pad will move Goemon around and make him jump, and commands on the touch screen will have to robot do as you wish. There are a couple kinds of punches, a block move, a couple special attacks, and a grab. I think there were a couple more commands, but I don't care enough to remember. So the point is obviously to smack down the opponent's robot before he K's you O. And yet another plot twist: if the robot gets too far away from Goemon, the connection breaks and you have to get them close together again. Also, a tremor may cause Goemon to drop his remote control and you'll have to run around to pick it up and then get back into range. Items on balloons will float by from time to time, obviously giving you power-ups and tilting the scales in your favour. It game is neat, that's for sure, but I got bored of RAD after a couple days, and this one is even a little slower-paced and lacks some of the cool stuff you could do in RAD. On the upside, it is easier to control. If there's more to the game, it could be good, but if it turns out to be just robot fighting, you'll get your fill with this demo alone.

There were a couple other demos, but I didn't play them since one is this educational thingy that it just soaked in text, so it would be impossible to play at all. The other was Meteos, and I already own that game, so I didn't even bother. The site also hosts a couple of special downloads offered at E3, one being a horribly compressed version of the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess trailer, and the other a very cool picture gallery of screens from the same game. The gallery's pictures are of excellent quality, and the background music is great and sounds like it may be the new overworld music.

If nothing else, I got to satiate my need for Jump Superstars, which should hold me until it arrives, but I also found a few gems I never would have looked twice at. I just hope that more demos will be made available in the future so that I can try out some new things that I might never have experienced otherwise. If you've got a DS (not that anyone that reads my site does), I highly suggest setting up a system so that you can give some of these games a whirl. The only downside being that you have to own a specific card, and you'll have to forfeit your network (uninstall your card's drivers and install the DS thing drivers) every time you set the DS link up. But since I don't have an access point yet, there is no network for this to interfere with, so yay.

~Ryan
E-Mail: Mr_Hotshot64v2[at]hotmail[dot]com

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