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New Super Mario Bros.

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Has it really almost been 15 years since the last old-school Mario platformer? That would imply that an entire generation has yet to experience a brand new, wide open, side-scrolling wonder such as Nintendo perfected back in the '80s living room. Thankfully, we're about to get an updated taste of these simple pleasures with an all-new, classically themed, side-scrolling platformer set to ratchet back the innovation to NES days, while amping up the fun.

Forget the fully 3D Mario adventures of recent years. The classic left-to-right action exhibited in the original NES and SNES games is poised to return with nifty new 3D graphics, bigger, more vibrant worlds and a tantalizing two player mode. Mario and Luigi can finally double team Bowser and his pint-sized son via the DS' wireless play, though the details of the execution aren't yet clear. The promise of wireless tag-teaming should only bolster a formula that's already legendary.

The basic gameplay will stick to what Mario knows: run, jump, stomp. It's the little things that will set this adventure apart from the rest of his travels. It's hardly exploding barrels or ragdoll corpses, but simple effects have been applied to Mario's world, making it seem more alive. Objects will react to your weight, bending and stretching accordingly, and swinging across alarmingly frequent bottomless pits carries the same sense of momentum as you hop from rope to rope. Both favorite and forgotten enemies should be accounted for, including the smash-happy Thwomps and of course, the lowest on the Mario totem pole, the fungal Goombas. New power-ups are on the agenda as well. Mario can take a ride in a giant blue turtle shell or scarf down a mega mushroom that pumps him up to King Kong stature.

There's no solid release date yet, but when this does find its way into your DS you'll understand why so many gamers (and modern designers) spent hours, even days of their lives grabbing fire flowers and busting floating blocks with their heads. And you'll be able to do it with a friend in tow.

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