The Wii has had a bad time of it lately. Everyone’s waiting for Super Mario Galaxy to come along, and before that there hasn’t been a lot in the way of hardcore games that people under the age of 40 want to really play on the machine. We wouldn’t go so far as to say that Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games will change any of that current ‘party game’ perception, but that’s not to say that we didn’t have a damn good time playing it.
By ‘we’ I mean a good chunk of the online Sonic community; myself, Rory (Roareye Black), Adam ‘T-Bird’ Tuff, Lewis of Sonic Yoda fame along with Jess and Diogo from the SSMB were all invited to play the Nintendo and SEGA mash-up. Upon arrival our good chum Kevin laid bare a table full of refreshments while we all played various events as characters from the Mario and Sonic universes.
This was probably taken when I was sucking big time at the whole running thing. Need exercise.
The game itself is split into nine categories, with events being divided within these sections. For example, all the track and field games will be under Athletics, while swimming activities are to be found under Aquatics. We played a fair number of the available events, and here’s what we thought of them.
The 100m sprint is about the most well-known event of the game, and involves your favourite furry/portly characters legging it towards the finish line. Getting on your marks requires holding the B trigger down on the Wii Remote, and when the ‘GO’ signal is displayed, whacking the Remote and Nunchuk up and down alternately has you running for dear life. It’s something that requires a lot of energy at first, but after a few plays (and undoubtedly sucking, but that might just be Adam) you understand there’s a specific rhythm that will push you to victory. There are longer track courses as well, so those with indestructible arms and a sadistic bent might want to give the 800m a go as well.
In a similar fashion, the 100m Freestyle Swimming race requires exertion to the point of near-destruction when competitive attitudes rise to the challenge. Each character has a different style of swimming – Waluigi will perform the Butterfly by waving both Nunchuk and Wii Remote together in a uniformed fashion, while Sonic dons a life jacket and does ‘Underwater Running’. Cute. During a Community Contest I almost beat the opposition by almost suffocating myself under the chlorine; but you have to stop for air every so often otherwise you knacker your chances of getting a Gold. Which ended up putting me in last place. If there were air bubbles for Sonic instead I’d have probably done a bit better.
Eggman just looks so regal. Coming soon by SEGA and Nintendo – Robotnik’s Silver Jubilee (on Wii).
Archery and Skeet Shooting was more up my street, and of course Eggman had to be picked. Characters are split into heavyweights, speed, all-round and skill types, with different abilities coming in handy or failing them in each event. The good ol’ Doc was good with a weapon it seems, as I was kicking arse as little discs flew all over the place. It was almost as if Robotnik merely needed a scarf to complete his upper class blunderbuss-esque image.
Skeet Shooting is a lot like Duck Hunt really, where you have to aim and shoot plates using the Wii Remote. Before you begin, a heart meter appears beating a dot across the screen. You have to hit B at the right time to get the right heartbeat to approach the next set. If you time it wrong your aim gets considerably smaller, while correct timing gets you a massive target for the wins. Nobody told Adam about different characters’ heartbeats being different though, as Tails’ heartbeat was going incredibly fast, making it difficult to get the timing right.
Archery is a bit more involved, and has you using the Nunchuk and Remote in a Robin Hood fashion. Pull back on the Wii Remote to make your shot, and aim the Wii Remote and Nunchuk together carefully to make your attempt more accurate. I won at that too, because I am cool. Rory was having fun playing as Waluigi – I guess you have to make the most of your mistakes at least.