November 20th, 2004, 04:45
Massive News and fantastic article about the worlds most wanted Console this Xmas, heres the news from Lik Sang (http://www.lik-sang.com/news.php?artc=3530&lsaid=219793) [br][br] The Grail has been delivered this Saturday morning and the whole Lik Sang is now in effervescence. The first batch of Nintendo DS systems has come in very limited amount and only a small share of the preorders (placed in March!!) are on their way to the luckiest hardcore gamers among you. Three much larger shipments are expected throughout the next weeks until the Japanese version arrives as well. [br][br]If you are thinking about ordering your Nintendo DS system over the weekend, please carefully read this. Shortage is ahead and it seems that the whole planet is running after the Nintendo DS![br][br]First Impressions and Hands-On Report[br][br]The box of the North American Nintendo DS is wearing English, Spanish and French languages, as it is distributed not only in the USA, but also in Canada and Mexico. When opened, it contains the powerful Nintendo DS with its stylus, the US power supply (if this plug does not fit with your country's outlets, this is what you need) its multi-lingual user manual, a hand-wrist thingy, a demo-cartridge of Metroid Prime Hunters and already a second replacement stylus, showing that Nintendo is ready for you to lose one or two at some point. There is also a "Register your Unit Now" card with greetings from NOA.[br][br]As explained in the user's manual, the hand-wrist must be attached to the back of the unit, and then rolled around your thumb. It has a little plastic part for you to touch the screen without leaving greasy fingerprints on it. The strap seems a little short to me, and I already foresee numerous third-party products popping up in the near future to deliver improved practical solutions to this problem.[br][br]It's definitely bulkier than GBAs or SPs, and it's also heavier in weight. It feels about the same as having a GameCube controller in your hands in mass, even though the shape is very different of course. I did not have the same sensation yet as when holding the so-called portable systems I was playing with in the late eighties-early nineties (Atari Lynx I & II, PC Engine GT, Nomad). The Nintendo DS offers four buttons for your right hand on the front part, with an additional select/start combo. On your left, the traditional D-Pad and the power button. On the top edge, you can find the power input, the L and R shoulder-buttons, the stylus compartment and the NDS cartridge slot. On the bottom edge, there is a volume dialer, the headphone jack and the GBA game slot. The battery lid is at the back side of the console.[br][br]When powered on for the first time, the Nintendo DS display some settings and tweakings screens to go through. Everything looks PDA-style there, far more advanced than on any video gaming handheld I've used so far. You enter your nickname, select your language (from six different tongues), enter the correct date and the current time, enter your birth date until you reach the windwowish screen asking you to "Re-Start" the system in order to take your new entries in account. Once you went through these quick and user-friendly steps (damn the stylus makes things fast and simple), you can power on your system again, this time to play games.[br][br]When starting the unit with a game inside, you still go through a menu screen. The top screen then shows you the clock and calendar, while the bottom screen offers you four options to click from: Play the Inserted NDS Game, play the inserted GBA game, use PictoChat or use the DS Download Play mode. Pictochat is the chat software mentioned everywhere already, in which you are drawing and writing your messages with the stylus, and then exchange them with your friends, using Wi-Fi technology.[br][br]After taking a quick look at this "community" feature, I went into the real action, splashing up the Metroid Prime Hunters playable demo. The action-packed first person shooter boasts great 3D animated graphics, and the gameplay is incredibly smooth and innovative. You use your thumb on the bottom touch screen to aim and look around (like with a mouse on PC), while the L and R shoulder buttons are the firing triggers. The D-Pad allows character movements (run, walk, side-stepping etc). Technically impressive too, the Metroid Prime Hunters Demo really shows off and demonstrates the power of the hardware. Interestingly, if you are closing your NDS by folding it in the middle of a game, it goes into sleep mode, pausing the software (like a Laptop). When you open it back, you are exactly at the point you left. If you do this with Super Mario 64 DS, Yoshi even says "bye". [br][br]I then went ahead and opened the plastic seal of a Mario 64 DS, plugging in the cartridge in the double-screen machine. While the top screen shows you the action, the bottom touch screen is used as a map, highlighting key points from times to times. The graphics looked sharper to me than on Nintendo 64, though the smaller screen is for sure helping giving them a seemingly better resolution. Still, the details and colors looked less "bright" to my eye than in the past, and slightly remastered since the good old N64 days. But then again, I'm maybe just high from the excitement of holding the DS in my hands.[br][br]Wireless Multiplayer Gaming[br][br]The Wireless mode of the Nintendo DS is really impressive. Whether you play VS mode with Mario 64 DS, or if you send messages to each other using Pictochat, the range goes as far as 10 to 30 meters, even passing through walls and doors. We expect kids to go wild with it during boring school sessions in the next couple of months. Not to mention the cheating tool it can become... Nintendo just opened itself another niche market. The technology used for wireless connectivity is IEEE 802.11b, which some of you might already know from Wireless home or office networks.[br][br]Accessories Compatibility Testing[br][br]As anticipated, GBA SP Multivolt AC Adapters, Car Adapters, USB Charger Cables or other Emergency Chargers all work fine with the Nintendo DS. This was in fact just check-tested to convince the skeptical minded people that the power plug from the NDS is really the same as the GBA SP connector. The good news of the day was the fact that the GBA Movie Player is also compatible with the new Nintendo bad boy. The display quality is really great and there is absolutely no problem whatsoever, it works like a charm, same as on any Gameboy Advance system.[br][br]If you cut away the two small plastic pieces of a standard GBA SP battery (see pictures), you can use it with your Nintendo DS. This is of course only recommended for people who know what they are doing, but this might solve your temporary power issues if you are waiting for some first party batteries to arrive, or if you already have a bunch of GBA SP batteries. With this piece of info the last power-related question importers had is now also answered. [br][br]Even the GBA Movie Player ($24.90) works great with the Nintendo DS, and looks damn good on the unit. Not only fits the new design of the GBA Movie Player to the Nintendo DS, also the display quality is brilliant on the better Nintendo DS screens. A nice option of the Nintendo DS is that you can move the GBA display to the bottom or top screen, whatever you prefer.[br][br]The Pictures Gallery, including the Guts (Internal-Shots) of the NDS[br][br]As usual, this Lik Sang review is illustrated through heaps of high resolution pictures of the systems, from all angles... and from inside! Lik Sang's tradition has been respected; we could not resist giving you one more of our popular "internal guts" picture sessions which it seems you all enjoy very much. Opening the Nintendo DS could be performed using the GBA Opening Tool, as the screws are the same as on previous Nintendo productions. [br][br]The selection of screenshots are massive, check out Lik Sang (http://www.lik-sang.com/news.php?artc=3530&lsaid=219793) for all of them.[br][br]Also Nintendo DS News (http://nintendo-ds.dcemu.co.uk/) has lots of news and more about the Nintendo DS.