Addicited to this medication.
Within the numerous announcements made last Nintendo Direct was one that put a huge smile on my face. The return of Dr. Mario! Well, kind of. In keeping with the spirit of the Year of Luigi, the game has been relabeled as Dr. Luigi. It was produced in conjunction with Arika, which is awesome, because they always have the best adaptions of puzzle games (Tetris: The Grand Master, anyone?). I was excited to see how it was going to turn out.
The classic Dr. Mario mode is included, of course, under the appropriate title of "Retro Remedy." You can choose to use the classic virus colors (red, yellow, blue) or the new colors (yellow, pink, light blue). It's everything you remember, with speed settings, virus levels, etc.
Since it is the Year of Luigi, there is a mode titled "Operation L," in which pills fall two at a time in an "L" shape. It's a rather interesting play mechanic, and I'll have to play it more to fully get a reading on how I feel about it.
There's also an innovative mode called "Virus Buster," where you play on the GamePad and drag the pills to the proper placement via the stylus. I thought it would be rather gimmicky at first, but was pleasantly surprised at how fun it turned out. It also helps that multiple pills will eventually fall simultaneously, ramping up the challenge factor.
And then there's the greatest thing ever. Online Battle! Finally, I can play Dr. Mario against other people in a matter of seconds. You can play either Classic or Operation L mode against an opponent. I was very happy with the speed at which I was able to connect and battle against others. I sat for no more than ten seconds waiting. You can also play with a friend (but that will not affect your online rank). Upon winning/losing, you can choose to play again immediately, or search for a new opponent. Your number of wins are recorded, as well as a ranking score. I assume the score pairs you up with similarly ranked opponents. Naturally, being the first day, it's all over the place. I was destroying some people, but having my head handed to me by others. Time will even that out. You can also play any mode against the CPU, if you so desire.
There's also some new play mechanics that were not in the NES installment, which is the one I played the most. Pressing "Up" will make the current pill fall immediately to its destination. This half-second difference in getting the pill down makes all the difference in Online Battle. You can also have a "ghost image" of where the pill will land if you want.
It's not all sunshines and rainbows though. There were some things I thought could be improved, or just seemed lazy overall. The new virus design seems uninspired. The fact that the classic viruses are selectable shows that maybe even Nintendo knew they couldn't re-capture that magic design. Although even if you select the classic colors, the three large viruses on the left don't change appearance. Lazy.
I also would have appreciated some more music choices than simple re-arrangements of Fever and Chill. Yes, there were two new tracks available, but only if you played Operation L. What about some music from Dr. Mario 64? Hell, why not ask Hirokazu Tanaka if he wanted to do some new music? I know he's all, "I'm the president of Creatures, Inc.," but he is obviously still musically active. How about a story mode, Nintendo? I absolutely loved playing 4-Player Dr. Mario on the Nintendo 64. Why not now? "Virus Buster" from Dr. Mario Online Rx was awesome too, and a great multiplayer experience. Nintendo wants people to come together to play Wii U. Dr. Luigi is a simple, fun concept that everyone can play and understand. Capitalize on that, Nintendo!
|I'm sorry, that was a little bit harsh all at once like that.|
And since you're obviously not opposed to modifying existing iterations of past games, why not pull something similar to the NES Luigi Bros. stunt?
|THIS COULD HAVE BEEN.|
[UPDATE: Check it out! Somebody actually made an awesome ROM hack of Dr. Mario!]