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A smashing update on the Mario franchise

June 27, 2006|by SEAN CLARK

There's nothing like rampaging through a horde of Goombas.

That is but one of the appeals in "New Super Mario Brothers" for the Nintendo DS, Mario's first new sidescrolling platformer in 16 years.

Personally, I think NSMB lives up to expectations as it returns to a retro feel of stomping Koopas, throwing fireballs, and knocking Bowser into lava. The graphics get a 9 out of 10. They're catchy, but not overworked, and smartly bring out the gameplay, which gets a 9.5.

Mario has a few new items - a mega-mushroom that makes Mario grow to monster proportions; a mini-mushroom that lets him go in small pipes, run on water, etc; and a blue Koopa shell that the mustachioed plumber can slide around in. The only flaw with the new items is that they are underused, except for the mega-mushroom.

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The music didn't meet the Mario criteria however, getting a 7.5. Replay is encouraged with tons of unlockable item houses: 8 out of 10.

All in all I give NSMB a 9. It's a great game, and one that's sure to keep you busy trying to find the best way to hit the top of the flagpole. Rated E for Everyone (6+)

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