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Mario and Sonic at the Olympics

Developer: Sega | Publisher: Sega
Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 11/06/07 | Genre: Sports

marioandsonic.jpgIf you would have ever told me a few years ago that Mario and Sonic would team up in a videogame and it would be developed outside of Nintendo, I would have laughed at you. But no matter how unbelievable this is, it has happened. Although after spending time with Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, this title would have been better off as an idea and never seen the light of day.

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games is a collection of mini-games that plays out with 1 to 4 players over your Wii. Players can choose their favorite Nintendo and Sega characters from a wide variety of favorites or grab their Mii to compete in the over 20 mini-games. With a promising start, I began my Olympic career as I utilized my Mii against the CVGames staff choice of Yoshi. This battle ended with my arms tired and failing at practically everything I attempted.

The Mii integration seems like a really great idea but when your characters come into the game as weak and underpowered wimps--compared to the Nintendo and Sega superstars--playing as a Mii is only fun until you get your butt kicked from here to Beijing just in time for the real Olympic games. The second game I chose a real character and found the results much more pleasing.

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But don't think that playing Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games was fun even when I switched characters. Despite my desire and agonizing attempts at enjoying the game, I found that every mini-game was overly complicated, required more energy than a round of Wii Boxing, and caused frustration with inaccurate throws and cheating AI opponents. Seriously, when you have to study the instructions for each and every mini-game for more time than it lasts, you have a serious design flaw. But instead of going back to the drawing board and actually developing something playable, you figure it will just sell because (A) It is a Wii game and anything on the Wii is cool, (B) Mario and Sonic are super cool and everyone loves them, (C) Playing as your own Mii equals Dollar Bills, and (D) If people bought Mario Party 8 and all the other subpar trash on the Wii, why wouldn't they buy this? Do these Developers think we are stupid?

So what exactly happens when you play one of these mini-games? Unless you are a Rocket Scientist or have the patience to read through countless pages of explanation, you simply wave your warms around the screen like a madman and hope that you are succeed. Even if you do, it appears that the AI will somehow perform just slightly better than you although in most events you don't get to actually watch them. And exactly how much fun is waving your arms around with the Wii? Although it looks fun and might be for the first couple of rounds, as soon as you swing your arm out of socket, the fun ends. Seriously, why are so many Wii games designed around broken control schemes?

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Visually, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games looks really nice. In fact, if this game was something I could just look at on my TV or watch when I went into the store to pick up an actual good game, I wouldn't mind Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games., Unfortunately, Sega and Nintendo expect people to not only play this game but to pay money for the experience. In fact, I wouldn't play this game if they paid me!

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Nintendo and Sega should both be ashamed for what is a wasted opportunity to create a real Wii Sports killer. When the dust settles, all we are left with is one of the worst games of the year. I wouldn't wish this game on your worst enemy.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 12/12/07
ESRB Details: This is a sports game in which players select characters from the Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog franchises to compete in the Winter Olympic Games. Players can participate in conventional winter sports (ice hockey, skiing, and curling) or engage in more whimsical mini-games such as snowball fighting, collecting orbs in a colorful slide, and shooting turtle shells at opponents while hang gliding. The shells make realistic gunfire sounds, and there is a brief orange explosion when characters are hit.
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Screenshots for Mario and Sonic at the Olympics

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