With the Gemini sign on the Zodiac commencing on May 21, it seemed fitting to grace this week’s game section with two new interesting releases that represent the dual personalities of those born under the “twin sign.” Will you be an iron-plated warrior slashing away at horned demons or will you vie for less bloodshed bouncing atop colorful mushrooms, collecting blinking coins?
If you choose the latter, then you want to look into “New Super Mario Bros.” which was released in Korea and Japan last Thursday for the Nintendo DS platform. The tubby Italian mustachioed plumber with a lust for gold coins is off to save Princess Peach from her evil captors, Bowser and Bowser Jr.
The game is notable because it is the first two-dimensional Mario game in the classic Mario-adventure style since “Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins” was released for Nintendo’s Game Boy. Believe it or not, that was in 1992. Of course, there have been a sprinkle of Mario remakes since then, some of which were two-dimensional, but there was nothing that spoke to the game’s quest-ful nature.
The new game contains eight worlds, each with several levels, as in the original “Super Mario Bros.” Although there are many new game elements, players can still feel like they’ve been sent back to 1992, eating plump mushrooms, head-busting bricks and cracking secrets to find special stages and items. Players can also engage in a multiplayer mode as Mario and Luigi, playing on separate consoles that are linked wirelessly.
On an entirely different platform and with an entirely different look is “Soul of the Ultimate Nation,” or SUN, which was finally released (after several delays) last Wednesday. Downloading the client to one’s computer requires some patience, as well as a minimum 1 gigabyte of hard drive space, but then you get to play what Webzen calls “an online game with console-style playing features.” The online massively multiplayer role playing game (MMORPG) may be “just another release” in Korea, but to Webzen, the maker of the popular online game “Mu,” it will be the first of three MMORPG titles that it will launch in North America and Europe.
No cute 2D characters or tonky music here. Compared to previous online titles, SUN has impressive graphics and a nice soundtrack composed by Howard Shore, who worked on the Lord of the Rings series. It has single-player quests and multi-player battles, catering to both the lone and the community player. The quests were more for Western players, like World of Warcraft; Koreans, on the other hand, usually prefer the massive battles, so we’ll have to wait and see how this dual approach goes over with players here.
by Wohn Dong-hee