Nov 6, 2007
All right, we're going to give this the benefit of the doubt. Because to review Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games properly, we'd have to invent a cloning machine, build it, feed ourselves in like photocopier paper, then distribute our army of clone-twins across the country to find out how many laughs (or tears) the game delivers at every party and family get-together in the country. And the problem is that we're too fat to fit inside the cloning machine.
All we know is that our deadline-addled little family - the one we can test without a PhD in cloneology - has been doing a lot of what you humans call laughing. We've been giggling at Dr. Eggman's gangly legs scissoring over hurdles; chuckling as a couple of our editors take things far too seriously during one-on-one fencing; and doubling-over at poor souls actually grunting in pain during the wrist-numbing 4x100m swim.
Perhaps we haven't had 80% of the fun involved - because we weren't playing in a living room filled with Pringles, Miniature Heroes, fizzy sodas and central heating. But we think you will.
Big plus point: the developers have worked their little Sonic socks off to make this a multiplayer-friendly Olympics. The nunchuk's optional for most events. There's a custom "Add Remote" screen that might help Sega avoid going to hell for the Banana Blitz abomination. And if you ignore the intimidating 11-page instruction screens and rely instead on the perfectly serviceable on-screen prompts, the game's properly granny-friendly - the buttons are barely used. Mario & Sonic is better in single-player than you might expect (as long as you've got an ambulance on standby for the more punishing tests). But it knows it's a party game at heart - and gets it right.