Farewell, DS: Part Two (by Carl B. and Robbie P.)
March 14, 2011, by Carl B. and Robbie P. - Nintendo released their dual screen portable, the Nintendo DS, on November 21, 2004, breaking away from the ultra-popular Gameboy series that made portable gaming a viable market. It has been over six years since the release of the DS, and since then, a plethora of great games have released on the platform. Carl B. and Robbie P. have put together a list of all the greatest games on the DS that will be released in a multi-part article the weeks leading up to the 3DS launch. Numbers 22 through 11 follow.
22. Super Scribblenauts
Sequel to the original Scribblenauts, Super Scribblenauts looks to improve certain areas that lacked during the original adventure. However, its premise remains the same; solve puzzles using different words from your vocabulary to create items that can be used to your advantage. Super Scribblenauts brings an improved control scheme to the table, which includes the use of the D-Pad to control the main character Maxwell, one of the few complaints of the first title. Not only does it improve its controls, but it now adds the ability to allow gamers to use adjectives. Adjectives allow us as gamers to add characteristics to the items that we create. An example may include a tiny invisible zombie. - Robbie P.
21. Kirby's Canvas Curse
Canvas Curse isn't your typical Kirby adventure. Instead of a 2D platforming adventure controlled with a D-Pad, Canvas Curse follows the story of Kirby trying to save dreamland, but in the process ends up becoming a limbless ball. Canvas Curse does away with the D-Pad and introduces a game completely controlled by the stylus, making it one of the first games on the Nintendo DS to accomplish this feat. Kirby is controlled by drawing a path for him to roll on, or by tapping him for abilities such as speed dashing and power-ups. Kirby is still able to acquire power-ups despite this being a different experience. It is often hailed for as the first best game on the Nintendo DS for its unique spin on traditional Kirby gameplay. The game is near impossible to find in stores and will likely be a rare game to find in the coming years. - Robbie P.
20. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Unwound Future is the third game in the Layton series chronologically and considered to be the best of the series, so far. Layton and Luke attend an event that demonstrates a time travel machine, and as one would expect the experiments goes haywire. Luke receives a letter from himself, 10 years into the future. Of course, Layton and Luke decide to do some time travelling and they struggle to understand why things happened the way they did in those 10 years. All in all, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is a standard Layton game. Solve puzzles to advance the story and help put together the pieces of the mystery. Overall, fans of the series wouldn't want to miss this game. - Robbie P.
19. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
Released on December 5, 2006, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin was the second Castlevania title to hit the DS, using the same engine and many of the gameplay mechanics that made Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow so successful. Portrait of Ruin takes place in 1944 Europe during the World War II era and follows two all-new characters to the Castlevania universe, Jonathan Morris and Charlotte Aulin. Portrait of Ruin is also the first Castlevania title to feature a cooperative multiplayer mode, and is the first handheld Castlevania game to have English voice-overs. - Carl B.
18. Final Fantasy IV
Growing up, Final Fantasy IV (or Final Fantasy II as it was then) was one of my favorite games on the Super NES. I didn't pay too much attention to the story when I was younger, but the game's world was so enthralling that I couldn't stop playing it for the longest time. Final Fantasy IV for DS, a remake of the SNES classic, thankfully maintains the great sense of adventure that the original game had, while making the story more engaging. Final Fantasy IV DS not only features heavily updated visuals, but cutscenes are also now fully voice acted. On the DS this is a great achievement, as it brings the handheld experience closer to the console experience. - Carl B.
17. Chrono Trigger
It's hard to love a direct port of a game with little to no new features, but that's exactly what Chrono Trigger on the DS is. Square-Enix ported the SNES masterpiece to Nintendo's handheld in late 2008, only giving it minor touch screen support. Even then, Chrono Trigger is a fantastic JRPG that holds of magnificently today. The story follows Crono, Marie, and Luca as they discover a rip in the time-space continuum, thus sending them centuries into the past. The trio is tasked with preventing an evil demon from conquering the world, and to do so, they must travel through many different periods in time, including the Stone Age and the post-apocalyptic future. - Carl B.
16. Metroid Prime: Hunters
When the DS first released, I spent more time playing the Metroid Prime: Hunters demo with my friends than I did any other game. I was extremely excited for the full game when it finally released, and luckily the multiplayer component of the game did not disappoint. The single player played more like an FPS than a Metroid game, the same two bosses were cycled throughout the entire adventure, and the environments were extremely limited. The multiplayer, both online and local, was a completely different story. Players could play as any of the many hunters they encountered in the single player, and each one had its own set of strengths and weaknesses. There were tons of maps – over 40 – to play on, and there was even a ranking system for online matches. No other online shooter for the DS ever surpassed the standards Metroid Prime: Hunters set up, and if wasn't for the game-ruining hackers, I'd still be playing it online to this day. - Carl B.
15. Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, & Platinum Versions
Pokemon fever continues on with Diamond/Pearl/Platinum. This time around, however, you are able to catch all 493 Pokemon, assuming you own each version of the game. Also, for the first time Pokemon Trainers were able to connect with each other through the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection for voice chat, trading and battling. Making the core reasons to own any Pokemon game even easier! Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum also introduces the Poketch, a wristwatch like device that would display a variety of info on the touch screen. Applications such as a clock and map were useful items that were of important use with the Poketch. Unchanged for the series is the plot, a young Pokemon trainer sets out to be the best and demolish each gym leader one by one. However, the plot has always been entertaining and should never stray too much from the original formula. - Robbie P.
14. The World Ends With You
The DS has more than enough RPGs to keep fans of the genre happy, but none of them are as unique as The World Ends With You. Released on April 22, 2008, The World Ends With You makes great use of both screens of the DS, as players control two separate characters throughout the experience. The story follows Neku and his companions as they play the "Game," a twisted competition created by Reapers that pits dead people in an alternate version of the Shibuya shopping district in Tokyo, Japan against one another with the ultimate prize being resurrection. - Carl B.
13. Shantae: Risky's Revenge
Fans of the Game Boy Color outing were clamoring for another entry to this series. They finally got that with Risky's Revenge in 2010. It surpasses the original Shantae in every way imaginable and features some of the best animation seen with 2D sprites. This is no surprise as WayForward Technologies developed the game, a company that has been parading 2D platforming back into our lives with Contra 4, A Boy and His Blob, and Batman: The Brave and The Bold, each game featuring amazing sprite animation. Shantae's hair attack makes its glorious return, and whipping enemies with your hair has never been more satisfying. Also, Shantae also has access to transformations which will no doubt make some areas easier to traverse. It is 1200 points on the DSiWare service, and fans of the series will want to download Shantae's second game. - Robbie P.
12. Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver Versions
Heart Gold and Soul Silver weren't new games in the Pokemon franchise, but rather remakes of the Game Boy Color games. It wasn't a straight port, however, as it was enhanced in a few ways. Players would still play through the original story, but this time with enhanced visuals that would match the power of the Nintendo DS. Also, Pokemon trainers would have the first Pokemon set in their party follow them throughout the journey. This is similar to Pokemon Yellow in which Pikachu would follow you everywhere. Coming bundled with the game was a device called the Pokewalker, a pedometer type device that could connect to the DS. Pokewalker pedometers could hold one Pokemon at a time which would in turn raise gain both experience and watts, an in game currency, for the gamer. Not only could you raise the level of your Pokemon, but its friendliness could also increase. It was a neat addition for the series and a nice incentive to buy the remake. - Robbie P.
11. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Phantom Hourglass was Link's first adventure on the Nintendo DS. It takes us back to the overhead view that we're familiar with from previous Zelda adventures. However it did it with Wind Waker cel-shading and 3D visuals. Not only did it borrow visuals (and sailing) from Wind Waker, it actually continues the story as its sequel. Phantom Hourglass uses several DS features to its advantage. Link is completely controlled with the stylus on the bottom screen; each one of Link's actions was mapped to the stylus, including using items and navigation. While some gamers would rather standard controls, I feel the touch screen scheme Nintendo developed worked very well for Zelda. Player's could draw the path Link would throw his boomerang, but they could also open the area's map and scribble down hints and places that needed to be remembered. Not all additions would be loved, as the Temple of the Ocean King would be quite controversial forcing players to navigate the temple multiple times throughout the journey. Overall, Phantom Hourglass is a Zelda adventure to its core and definitely one of the finest games to be released for the DS. - Robbie P.