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Nintendo brings E3 to Toronto

June 26, 2009

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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It was like L.A. only no line-ups, no traffic jams and no long-winded speeches. It was just video games, video games and more video games.

Yeah, baby. That's what we like.

For those who couldn't make it down to E3 earlier this month or for those who did and just wanted to hack around some more, Nintendo Canada brought all of its E3 goodness to Toronto. Journalists were able give many of Nintendo's upcoming releases a test run and here were the highlights.

Super Mario BrothersSuper Mario Brothers Wii
Release Date: Holiday 2009

It is already a hit and it hasn't even hit store shelves yet. Vibrant and colourful, the game looks as charming as 'Super Mario Galaxy' did. I got to play four different levels: a grassy area, an undersea river, a mine of some sort and an arctic setting.

Standing on a raft riding on the river, the key seemed to be when to jump off the raft and when to leap back on as the river rose and fell. On the grassy area, I rode on a couple of Yoshis much like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo did tauntauns on the ice planet Hoth. Only the Rebellion and the tauntauns didn't have killer Yoshi tongues as weapons that swallowed anything in sight. Sweet.

The arctic level was coated with slippery ice in the most horrible places. I was able to don a special penguin suit that allowed me to throw ice balls and freeze enemies into blocks of ice. In the mine level, one character controlled a spotlight while the other collected items and whatnot.

In true co-op mode, you can revive characters, give them a boost to reach high places and carry each other. I only demoed the game with two players and at times, it was mayhem. One can only imagine what it would be like to have four players bouncing around the screen.

Wii Sports ResortWii Sports Resort
Release Date: July 26

A grandly expanded version of 'Wii Sports', 'Resort' includes a whole host of new outdoor games. If you like 'Wii Sports' (and frankly, who doesn't?) you are going to love this follow-up.

To start off with, the activities you have to choose from are: wakeboarding, swordplay, Frisbee, archery, basketball, table tennis, golf, bowling, canoeing, cycling, air sports and power cruising.

Swordplay or Kendo, you say? How could I pass that up? Besides 'Star Wars: Clone Wars: Lightsabre Duels' release for the Wii, this is the closest you will get to wielding your own lightsabre. Yep, another 'Star Wars' reference. Sue me. Clocking the A.I. in the head or knocking him back and off the platform with thrusts and sweeping chops was so cool. What was better than that though was choosing a "swarming" mode in which you alone must do battle with wave after wave of sword-wielding Miis. Those sweeping chops really do come in handy as with one slice you can cleave through numerous foes. Conan, be damned.

Cycling is not the peaceful ride you think it might be. Actually, it is more like the Tour de France gone mad. You peddle using the Wiimote and nunchuck, and steer with the joystick. Like real cycling, you must check your pace. Blister ahead without catching your breath will cause you to stall out and guzzle water while your opponents pass you. Cliff, volcanoes, boulders, other riders and all sorts of obstacles make life interesting especially if you miss that sharp turn and go right off a ledge Wile E. Coyote style. All in all, 'Wii Resort' looks to be another immense crowd pleaser.

The Legend of ZeldaThe Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!

Release Dates:
Zelda: TBA
Mario: Available now.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

I was fortunate enough to try out the exact E3 demo that was on the show floor. It was divided into three parts to show off three distinct parts of the game: exploring the dungeon, a boss battle and how to operate the Spirit Train.

The dungeon mode once again illustrated why 'Zelda' remains a fan favourite for so many years. Teaming up with a "Phantom Knight" that I controlled using the DS stylus, I hacked my way through hordes of worms and other creatures as I alternated between Zelda and the Knight. Ye old rust bucket did come in handy as he was impervious to fire and could walk right through it to activate buttons and floor plates that Zelda couldn't. By piggybacking him, Zelda could walk through the lava pits through the dungeon as well. It may sound kooky coming from a 40-year-old guy but seriously, driving the Spirit Train and firing its cannons at spiders and other baddies was enjoyable in a Thomas The Tank Goes Psycho kind of way.

Mario vs. Donkey KongMario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!

'Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!', a downloadable DSiWare game in which you have to guide toy Marios through puzzles and traps, is as much fun as the original released for the DS in 2006.  You can even create your own levels and send them to your pals over the Net. The game costs 800 Nintendo Points to download. Hours of fun await.



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