42 All-Time Classics (Nintendo DS) Review

By John Boyle 30.09.2006

Review for 42 All-Time Classics on Nintendo DS

All access gaming, the Touch Generation brand and most of Nintendo's new drive towards all-inclusive gaming has certainly alienated a chunk of gamers who feel it's coming at the cost of the classic gaming Nintendo are famous for. So the announcement of 42 All-Time Classics was largely dismissed as nothing more than a cheap attempt at paying lip service to this notion, no better or worse than the various compendiums of a similar ilk which the GBA was treated to by various companies throughout it's lifespan. But is this the case or have Nintendo got themselves 42 sleeper hits now nestled in the DS back catalogue? Let's find out...

Ah 42, what an impressive number. The number that crops up most often in nature, in man made creations and is of course the meaning of life, the universe and...well...everything. It certainly bodes well for the latest addition to the "Touch Generations" brand, as it holds not 10, not 50 but 42 individual classic games for you to play on your DS...and all for a bargain price. Sounds decent but as we all know classic does not equal good gaming and even legendary games such as ludo and five-card draw are not immune to our reviews!

It just so happens that the two examples used above are two of the high points in what is definitely a mixed bag of games. There are four game modes on offer for you, namely free play, stamp, mission and multiplayer. Free play let's you play what you want when you want, ideal for that blast of Mahjong on the train. Stamp should really be termed "beginners" as that is what most people will play through once before hitting the other modes. You play through all the games earning stamps depending on your success, once you get 3 stamps in a level you move on. This is a pretty good way to get a feel for every game and it allows certain games to be played on free play, although sitting through some of the non time-limited or card-limited games can get incredibly boring. Mission mode is the real meat and bones of the single player; you get objectives for a certain game (e.g. win a game of five card draw with a royal flush) and you play until you get it. Some take real skill and frustration generally ensues as you battle to get through them, and completion gets you new player avatars for yourself so the "I must unlock" gaming gene kicks in pretty quickly.

Screenshot for 42 All-Time Classics on Nintendo DS

Finally is the undoubted selling point of the game and an interesting peek into next gen DS online games. Online play...with integrated Pictochat just to make the cake that bit sweeter. If you play against a random person you won't have this feature though, instead you get pre-set phrases that get automatically translated in a similar way to the online board games bundled with Windows XP. On the other hand if you play with someone on your friends list (or someone through the local LAN) you can use pictochat whilst playing. So disappointed your queen was taken in chess? You can finally express your disdain in the way god intended, call them a noob, tell them their mom is a slut, draw a wang...the ball is in your court. It's also the first online DS game to accept 8 players simultaneously in certain games. The actual online experience is pretty good with all the games working reasonably well, you will of course encounter the traditional woes associated with fake betting online (everyone going all in on ever hand etc etc) and occasionally you will get the impression that the poor deluded gamer on the other side doesn't grasp the finer aspects of Chinese checkers but get a decent friends list and you will get very addicted very quickly. At the moment there aren't a great deal of gamers out there though, so finding a game is very tricky. Of course this should get better once it hits the States and Canada and once the rest of Europe get buying.

Screenshot for 42 All-Time Classics on Nintendo DS

So what games will you get playing in these varied modes? Well you can find the full list here but needless to say pretty much every game is covered...it's just shame they are not always covered particularly well. Some work superbly, like the various card games and games like ludo still can be the ultimate argument starters they were in the days of yore. However some games are poorly implemented, and others should just have been left on the drawing board. One the big reasons people will buy this is for billiards and darts, simply speaking two of the most popular games in the country. However billiards is flawed in that the balls move like they are on ice and the entire method of striking the balls is baffling. You control direction and power with the stylus, so whilst drawing back to get power you are still capable of moving the direction. Cue (no pun intended) lots of poor shots or shots with zero power, and it could've been easily avoided. Why not just separate the aiming and power into two different sections, or assign power to a power bar? Darts also has a fundamental flaw, in that there is no aiming reticule. You just drag back, flick forward and hope for the best. We could be hard on this but it actually takes great skill to remove every ounce of skill from darts, somewhere Phil Taylor is crying thinking of how Nintendo bastardised his beloved sport/game.

Screenshot for 42 All-Time Classics on Nintendo DS

Of course within 42 games there are bound to be iffy games, it just feels like quite a few were clearly rushed whilst others had love poured into them. On one hand you have "balance", which is like a mix of Jenga and Buckaroo and has you dropping blocks on a set of scales in turn to keep it from tipping over. With two people this is like torture, with 4 people plus alcohol this is gaming at it's absolute purist as it is just simple, unadulterated fun. You also have the greatest gaming version of bowling ever created in there, it's just a shame that it'd take 20 perfect game conversions to make up for the shoddiness that is games like "Soda Shake" (in which you take turns shaking a bottle of soda, the aim is not to be the one who the soda shoots out on...yeah). Of course it is all down to personal preference and you will come away from playing this with a new favourite game (thanks to built in rule books you can learn to play a game in a matter of minutes) and you will get to experience games that are not that common over here. How about playing the card game that Nintendo manufactured way back in the early 1800's?

At the end of the day it comes down to whether you as a discerning gamer feels that 42-All Time Classics are worth your cash. 90% of these games are available on your PC or Mac through places like Yahoo Games and you will have a good 9-10 games in the collection that you will simply detest but at the end of the day this is theoretically endless gaming potential for under a tenner.

Screenshot for 42 All-Time Classics on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

This is the prime example of the Touch Generations working. Good gameplay along with online play and all for an affordable price. There are games you won't like, and will never play but the price is low and worth it for the gems in there. Perfect for car journeys and for poker tournaments with all your Internet friends.

Also known as

Clubhouse Games









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (10 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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