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Review: Need for Speed Most Wanted – Nintendo DS

by Nick Haywood on 20 December 2005, 13:24

Tags: Need for Speed Most Wanted, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), Xbox 360, PS3, Racing

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Need for Speed Most Wanted – Nintendo DS

Righty, so Electronic Arts have spammed Need For Speed: Most Wanted across every current format, so rather than go into the game’s mechanics with what you’ve got to do and all that jazz, we’ll just look at how the game plays on the DS. You can check out the PS2/PC version review for a full run down of what’s what in how the game differs from other NFS titles... let's just look at the DS version and it's little quirks...

Of course the DS has that magic little touch screen in the bottom half and for most of the game it just displays a course map with the positions of your opponents and your cars on it. Unlike Rayman there’s no option to use the touch screen for control of the car which is a shame as some form of analogue input for the steering would have been a boon but no, you’re stuck with the d-pad. The touch screen displays other info such as lap times and the outrun meter as well, but in use it’s so far off your sight line as to not be of all that much help as you have to glance down, away from the action on the top screen to see anything on it.

Having info on the bottom screen is less than helpful, especially given the speed at which you hurtle along the tracks. I’d say it was similar to driving a real car along a country road at 100 Mph and deciding to see of you could push the volume button on the stereo with your nose… Often, glancing down to see where you are on the track is a case of taking a gamble and hoping you’re not just before a hairpin. By all means use the bottom screen for info but how about a little portion of the map in the bottom left corner of the top screen?

Where the DS version does deviate from the others is in using the touch screen in certain situations to affect the gameplay. For example, if you end up with the cops on your tail, you can hit the touch screen when the ‘EVADE BUST’ message appears. You then get taken to a mini-game where you either take a lucky dip on some cards to win a ‘Get out of jail free’ card or a wheel spin game where you have to rev out the rear wheels to do a fast start away from the cops. You also get to use what the game calls a ‘Double Down’ mode through the touch screen where you can win extra points in an extra race with the police. So other than being able to draw your own decals to slap onto the car, the touch screen is essentially just being used as one big extra button.