I've had quite a bit of fun with this one; aside from Wii Fit, it's a great exercise option, and fun too. Plus you could essentially beat up Mario with Sonic, what's not to like?
Okay, I know Brawl can do the same, although infinitely better, but without getting a time machine for Christmas, there was no way of playing it. Damned Nintendo.
Ah, I remember the buzz that this game created when it was revealed last year. Two of history's greatest gaming mascots, deadly rivals for years, appearing in the same game?! MADNESS.
And yet, it wasn't what gamers wanted/considered/fantasied about, instead of a Platformer combining the best elements of Mario Platforming and Sonic Speed, SEGA announced that it would be an Olympic Events game. LolWut?
In actuality though, it was a smart move to test the waters, so to speak. The games industry is well known for being the most unpredictable of places, who knew how consumers would have reacted to Nintendo's and SEGA's finest in a game together. Answer: 10 Million Wii and DS titles sold to the very day.
And the game turned not too bad anyway.
As you would expect from the setting, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games offers a number of standard track and field events, such as the 100 Metre Dash, 400 Metre Relay, High Jump, Pole Vault, Rowing, Trampoline, and Fencing, to name a few.
Ever since the game was first shown, players have wondered, 'How in the bowels of Hades can Mario beat Sonic in a Foot-race?' SEGA's stance was that in the classic 2D games, Sonic took a little while to get up to full speed, but that isn't much of an explanation. For this game, just assume that any of Mario's or Sonic's friends can pose a speed challenge to the Blue Blur.
And that leads onto another minor criticism I have, the two worlds of the characters aren't fully taken advantage of. I mean, aside from the 4 Dream events, which feature Racing, Table Tennis, Fencing and Sky-Diving, and the selection of Characters from both worlds, this is a regular Olympics game. Each regular event might as well use humans, for all the influence Mario and Sonic have on them. For Hammer Throw, why couldn't we chuck a Chain Chomp? For the Swimming Events (which Sega did take notice of properly, so Sonic has to wear a Life-Jacket), where are the Bloopers, Frog Suits and Loops? There was so much potential for SEGA to just go crazy with level design and features, and they didn't. (Even more so when you consider that there is an official Human-based Olympics game other than this one.)
Sure, we can use Miis as Human stand-ins, but that isn't much of a compromise.
Okay, enough ranting, so what are the events like to play?
Each event is placed into a specific group to choose from at the main menu, so 100 Metre Dash goes under Track events, as does Long Jump, Relay and most others.
The controls for each event in the same grouping are quite similar, so for instance, you'll be waving your arms about like a madman in the Running events, or swinging one arm like it's on fire for a Throwing event, and even making specific motions for the Swimming one. From what I've played (which is mainly all of it ), they work well, although there is somewhat of a learning curve, and some of it feels a little too random, particularly the arm-flailing.
The game looks crisp, clean, vibrant and colourful, not a visual masterpiece by any means, but functional enough.
Music is another missed opportunity. There are so many great themes from the worlds of Sonic and Mario, so where are they? (quick answer; Brawl)
What we have here instead is typical Olympics Fare, dull and bland. Voice-Work overall is fine, except for the ever-annoying Jason Griffith, who just isn't good enough for Sonic's role.
If you and a friend/friends can enjoy the game, you'll find quite a bit to do. The events can become very competitive, and there is always that desire for top scores (one that is exacerbated by the online Leader-boards). So, easy enough, if you like M & S (the game, not the store), you'll like it for a while.
Ten Million Sold isn't to be sniffed at, despite how average the title is (and as Sonic's first crossover, I desperately didn't want it to be). Still, let's keep hoping for that Platformer, eh?