Bulk Review: The First Ten Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Games

By François Chang

September 2, 2011

This review is not so much a review of the games itself, but actually how well they play on the Nintendo 3DS. The content of the games are all the same and left intact, so you can rest assured that nothing has changed for all you purists out there. All these games are close to 20 years old, and I felt that doing a review on each game individually would be a bit redundant since they have been unchanged. So instead, we’re going this route. =)

As you may already know, the first 10 out of 20 Nintendo 3DS Ambassador games are already out and they are all NES titles. They include the following games:

  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Balloon Fight
  • Ice Climber
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Metroid
  • NES Open Tournament Golf
  • Wrecking Crew
  • Zelda II – The Adventure of Link
  • Yoshi

The first thing you will notice, and that I mentioned before is that these games have been unchanged. That means that there is absolutely no 3D effects and the game is not even catered for the top screen’s widescreen ratio. That’s right, you have 2 bricks of black bordering the sides, which is the first thing I’m going to address. The screen looks tiny for games that were made to be played on a television screen. There is also no option to move the gameplay from the top screen to the bottom screen. What is good about the 3DS versions of these games is that it looks incredibly sharp, especially with the brightness setting on something higher than average. More sharp than you may think might I add.

The button layout of the 3DS is also not very NES friendly. The D-pad is the 3DS D-pad or circle pad, select is select, start is start, A is A, and B is B. You also cannot remap the buttons, so you’re stuck playing Super Mario Bros. with awkward controls. Even Super Mario All-Stars (released in 1993) was smart enough to realize that the four button layout for Super Mario games doesn’t work and gave the option to make the Y button what is normally the B button, and the B button what is normally the A button. These are also the controls for New Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo DS. What a shame — I can’t play Super Mario Bros. comfortably.

Although there is no such thing as an actual save file for these games, these Virtual Console games do have the same method of saving that its Wii counterpart had for games that never had save files, and that’s picking up where you left off. No matter if you shut the system off, went off to play another game or program, or haven’t played the game in a long time, Wrecking Crew will pick up from the last time you played it. When you boot up the title again, you’re given the option to resume the game or to reset. I have had the 3DS’ battery die completely and it still did it for me, so you don’t have to worry about getting very far in The Legend of Zelda then suddenly losing all your progress.

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Overall, I feel that this was the minimum they could have done with these titles. Options to adjust the screen or the buttons would have been very nice, but unfortunately they are no where to be found. For being special 3DS Ambassador Program members, I don’t feel very special with these re-releases of NES games.



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François Chang

Working on the DualShockers staff as both an editor and community manager since late 2009, François is absolutely no stranger to the videogame industry. He is a graduate from the City College of New York, and has his Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising. His next step is to obtain his Master's degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Before starting his career, François has been gaming since the age of 2 with Super Mario World, and he has never looked back since. Gaming may be his profession, but it has always been his passion.

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