Get Your Game Fix at ‘E For All’

The E for All expo, showcasing new video games, had a great first year. Konami was on hand with ‘Metal Gear Solid 4’ and Nintendo brought a playable ‘Super Smash Bros. Brawl’ to the public for the first time.
Most surprising was ‘Ghost Squad’ for Wii. What looked like a cheap, thrown-together game by Sega actually felt pretty darn comfortable. It plays like ‘Time Crisis 3,’ with the action taking a first-person perspective and the player controlling the action using the Wii Zapper. The Zapper has been derided as uncomfortable and cheap, but it actually feels quite comfortable. Though the graphics could use some work, it still feels very much like an arcade shooter, and the Zapper complements it well.
‘Rock Band’ was a huge disappointment. The guitar does not feel as comfortable as those in Activision’s ‘Guitar Hero’ series. It is on the cheap side and the buttons feel sloppy.
The game has essentially the same demands as ‘Guitar Hero’: hit the buttons when the beats pass by on the track. It also has a mic for the singer and its mechanics are akin to those of ‘Karaoke Revolution.’ The drums are the best addition because they require the player to balance between stepping on the pedal and singing the notes in tune, adding an extra dimension to playing the game.
Nintendo’s booth was by far the most robust. ‘Mario Galaxy’ was playable in a 10-minute timed demo. The controls recall classic Mario 3-D platforming from ‘Mario 64.’
The Wii remote is used not only to activate objects around Mario, but also for a new spin attack. For instance, players enter a new world by pointing the Wii Remote at the world’s entrance and dragging Mario in. The focus, though, is on diverse worlds. One of the complaints about ‘Mario Sunshine’ was that it felt like a spin-off because it forced the player to use a water pack for the entire game.
That won’t be a problem here. ‘Galaxy,’ as the name suggests, does not have a theme like the island motif of ‘Sunshine.’ Rather, players simply enter a creatively disjunctive set of themed worlds, including one that is ‘honeybee’ themed.
Three ‘Super Smash Bros. Brawl’ characters, Sonic, Meta Knight and Pit, were available to play at the time. Nintendo offered two play options in the demo: the Wii remote held on its side like NES controller and the classic controller, which is a update of the GameCube controller.
Sonic and the Wii Remote were disappointing due to the controls of the Wii, but this could have been because of the new control scheme.
Pit, played with the classic controller, was a blast, if a little weak, and Meta Knight’s moves were extremely short-range, but looked so visually appealing that he will likely become one of the most used characters.
The Wii remote’s lack of buttons makes it a tough sell for ‘Smash’ veterans, and the classic controller just does not feel as good as the GameCube controller. Once the game is out, though, the GameCube controller will be an option.