Nintendo DS M-Rated Blitz

Esrb Mature

There are a total of six released M-rated Nintendo DS games: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, theresia, Ultimate Mortal Kombat, Dementium: The Ward, Touch the Dead, and Resident: Evil Deadly Silence (one more game, C.O.R.E. has been rated but not released yet). For over 1100 rated titles on the Nintendo DS, there are just six games considered Mature by the ESRB! That's about one half percent of all DS games. Kotaku has some theories on this, but I'm not really one to analyze the market or audiences - I'm one to play the dang games.

The following is going to be a 10 minute blitz of each of the six released M-rated games for the Nintendo DS, starting with the first released, Resident Evil: Deadly Silence, and finishing up with the recent Grand Theft Auto. I already had a friend review the first hour of Chinatown Wars, but a little overlap is okay. I'll say a few things about each game, play it for ten minutes, and then wrap each up with a few more notes about gameplay. I'll also decide if the first 10 minutes are worthy of the M-rating or not. Let's get this started.

This is also a taste of the new first hour review format. Less about numerical scores, more about what I liked and what I didn't. The reviews will be a bit more fleshed out next week as I have more room to roam. Enjoy.

Resident Evil: Deadly Silence

Resident: Evil Deadly Silence was released in early 2006 and was the first M-rated game on the Nintendo DS. This was almost a year and a half after the portable system was released! Deadly Silence is a port of the original Resident Evil, making it the seventh release of the game over ten years. It features two modes: Classic and Rebirth: Classic is a straight port, but Rebirth features some new puzzles that make use of the DS stylus and microphone. No need to say much else, here's the first ten minutes of Resident Evil: Deadly Silence.

Resident Evil: Deadly Silence
Resident Evil: Deadly Silence Cover
Platforms Nintendo DS, PlayStation, Windows, Saturn, GameCube, PSN, Wii
Genre REmade Again
MtAMinutes to Action 5
Buy from Amazon

Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)
00 - I select New Game and then Rebirth Mode and the game begins. Two difficulties: Normal or Hard, I'll go with Normal which stars Jill Valentine. July 1998, Raccoon Forest. Alpha Team is searching for the downed helicopter of Bravo Team.

01 - Bizarre murders have been going on, Bravo Team went to investigate, and disappeared. There's some full motion video of Alpha Team checking out the wreckage. It's all in black and white and doesn't even fill the screen.

02 - Oh no, some guy just got mauled by a zombie dog! Quick cuts of the dog's jaws and a man screaming... he's dead, Jim. The helicopter leaves our heroes behind as they run for the house. Man, this video looks awful. The dog roars as the narrator introduces the cast. Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton, Rebecca Chambers, and Albert Wesker. Resident Evil!

03 - This has been all corn so far, now we're in the mansion. Wow, this voice acting is so bad, I only have experience with the GameCube REmake which wasn't that bad... but these guys sound like they're reading the script for the very first time.

04 - Chris has been separated from the group, Jill and Barry are going to look for him while Wesker acts weird. They leave the foyer of the house and enter the dining room. There's a cleanly laid out map on the top screen and I can see Jill on the bottom. Oh no, tank controls! Barry and Jill decide to split up.

06 - Haha, I've killed my first zombie! I round a corner and a short cutscene plays of a zombie eating a person and then their head pops off! Ouch! I kill the zombie with four quick shots to the chest and investigate the body. It's Kenneth from Bravo Team. "Now he's become a mere shadow of his former self." Whenever I hear the name Kenneth I think of 30 Rock now.

07 - What? The zombie got back up again and this time I blew his head off! Nice. Three locked doors... not so nice. Jill goes to tell Barry about Kenneth and then another zombie shows up, Barry takes it out. Zombies bleed green blood?

09 - We decide to tell Wesker what's going on but he's disappeared from the main hall. Sneaky bastard, gotta find him.

10 - The game is stubbornly refusing me to leave the hall, there are so many doors though! You have to press A to go up and down stairs... I head back down and another cutscene between Jill and Barry kicks off, these guys need to stop talking to each other. It's killing me faster than the zombies. They decide to split up again, Barry is going to check the dining room... why? We just spent five minutes in there. The first ten minutes finish off with the classic line, "You, the master of unlocking."

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 5
Does it deserve the M-rating? If only for the one cutscene where you see the guys head come off and it's been half eaten. Everything else was very tame: green blood, black and white (and grainy) opening cutscene, awful cheese dialogue...
What did I like? Shooting the one zombie I encountered was fun I guess. Especially when I shot it in the head and it exploded.
What didn't I like? Bad controls where you have to pivot your player and press up to run forward are the worst. I know that this is a pretty straight port of a 12 year old game, but it would have been nice if at least Rebirth mode didn't feature the crappy tank controls.
Would I keep playing? Probably not, ignoring the fact that I own the GameCube REmake, this game seems like an almost straight port of the PSX original. I don't really consider that a good thing. It seems like Capcom might only be trying to pull on the nostalgia heartstrings to get fans to pick up this game for the third or fourth time.

Touch the Dead

Touch the Dead
Touch the Dead Cover
Platforms Nintendo DS
Genre Fast Paced Rail Shooter
MtAMinutes to Action 2
Buy from Amazon

Touch the Dead is unfortunately not a part of the popular House of the Dead series, but features almost the exact same kind of gameplay. It's a traditional arcade rail shooter and was released in mid 2007. I'm not exactly a big fan of these kind of games, though I had an awesome time playing The Typing of the Dead in a Japanese arcade. Here's the first ten minutes of Touch the Dead.

Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)
00 - I point my stylus at New Game and Touch the Dead begins. The game starts off showing me how to shoot, reload, use my crowbar, and select weapons. There's heavey metal music playing. Cutscenes show them transfering a prisoner. Chapter 1...

01 - The door to his cell opens up and it's his chance to escape! From a first person perspective I wander out of the room and into the hall. I'm immediately faced with a choice, left or right?

02 - I go right. The halls are empty, but look at that, there's a gun on the floor. I pick it up and the game guides me down a hallway. I take out the first set of four zombies... hmm... this is kind of tough. Reloading is a pain.

03 - Headshots seem effective at least.

04 - I've probably killed about 30 zombies so far, nothing too tough after the first encounter. There are a few fat zombies like the Boomers from Left 4 Dead... no exploding though. "BOOMER!"

06 - There's a few eery screams in the hallways but this is pretty run of the mill so far. Not even a single good guy I could accidentally shoot.

07 - The game tries to scare me by popping up a zombie right in my face, doesn't work! Hey, where are all the projectiles I'm supposed to be shooting too?

09 - Oh, I finally get hurt! I think I have something like 21 hits left until I die, does that make any sense? That's how I'm reading the interface at least.

10 - Well, there's just more and more bad guys to shoot, not much else to say.

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 2
Does it deserve the M-rating? So far, no. I don't really consider zombie violence a big deal and there is nothing explicit shown here. No blood, guys just kind of fall over when they die but sometimes their heads disappear if shot off.
What did I like? The action is pretty continuous, so I guess there's no boring moments.
What didn't I like? Generic enemies (regular zombie, fat zombie, and regular zombie dressed in guard uniform), bland environments, and reloading is a huge pain in the butt. You have to drag ammo from one side of the screen to the other, which takes a second or so, and then the reloading animation takes another two seconds.
Would I keep playing? Definitely not. This is an extremely lame attempt at a House of the Dead ripoff. No good guys to not shoot, no one to rescue, no projectiles to shoot away, just ambling zombies, over and over.

Dementium: The Ward

Dementium: The Ward
Dementium: The Ward Cover
Platforms Nintendo DS
Genre Scary Survival Horror
MtAMinutes to Action 7
Buy from Amazon

Dementium: The Ward is the DS's first traditional first-person shooter released on Halloweeen 2007 (spooky). Dementium takes place in a run down hospital that is frozen in time (okay, that is pretty creepy). The tagline on the box says: "This is Doom 3 meets Silent Hill. Be afraid." Does that mean I'll be battling pterodactyls with my trusty flashlight? I have to try and stay cheery because this game sounds downright creepy! Here's the first ten minutes of Dementium: The Ward.

Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)
00 - I click File A - Create Game and Dementium begins. I wake up, first person view in a dungy looking room. Your view is on the top screen and you use the stylus to look and the D-pad to move. On the bottom is the typical heartbeat lifeline, currently in green.

01 - Lightning is flashing and lighting up the rooms, this game looks pretty awesome. I find a notepad and key. The key opens the door in front of me.

02 - I'm out in the main hall of the hospital, some voice is deeply speaking over the intercom. I can barely see five feet in front of me.

03 - I follow a trail of blood into a room, the numbers 081399 is written on the wall... in blood.

04 - Oh crap... a short cutscene plays, it shows a huge, hulking beast walking away. In one hand he's dragging a huge meat cleaver, in the other, a woman - who is alive! Her eyes bug out when she sees me and the monster closes the door behind him.

05 - A flashlight! Now I know what they mean by Doom 3. I can finally understand what the man is saying, "this is an emergency, everyone must evacuate." I find a door that requires some numbers to open...

06 - Of course the numbers in blood pop the door open, and the alarm goes off! Will I see anyone else? I find my first weapon, a nightstick. I think that answers that.

07 - And there it is! Some skinny zombie like monster with a tentacle beast burst out of its chest. I whack it with the nightstick a few times and take its head off... but it's still coming after me! I knock him down for good.

09 - Another one attacks me out of nowhere, wow, this game is actually pretty scary! I find some health and my lifeline is back in the green.

10 - I find the roof, and Chapter 2 - The Rooftop begins. Wow, good time to stop!

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 7
Does it deserve the M-rating? Yes, there is a ton of blood smeared all over the walls and floor and while none of the zombies went down graphically, their character art was still pretty horrific. Oh, not to mention that monster carrying that woman away!
What did I like? Awesome atmosphere, great graphics, and it controlled really well. It played like how Hotel Dusk should have played.
What didn't I like? Not too much, this was actually a pretty fun and downright scary ten minutes of gaming! Having to switch between the flashlight and nightstick brings back nightmares of Doom 3, but the game designers did that for a reason and I can understand.
Would I keep playing? Haha! That is the question. If I was into scary games, I definitely would keep this in my DS until I finished it. Alas, I'm too much of a scaredy-cat to go on. I heartily recommend it though for fans of survival horror, check out Dementium: The Ward!

Ultimate Mortal Kombat

Ultimate Mortal Kombat
Ultimate Mortal Kombat Cover
Platforms Nintendo DS, SNES, Genesis, Saturn, GBA, XBLA, PS2
Genre Klassic Kombat
MtAMinutes to Action 1
Buy from Amazon

Ultimate Mortal Kombat is a port of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 which was released on a multitude of systems around 1995. The DS version, however, was released a few weeks after Dementium in November 2007. I used to own the game for the SNES (or was it just Mortal Kombat 3...?) and I remember fondly spending an afternoon with the one button fatality code to see everyone's fatality, brutality, and friendship (I don't think my version had animalities). I've never done a first hour of a fighting game, let alone just the first ten minutes, but here they are for Ultimate Mortal Kombat.

Before I even begin, I get the option of playing either Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 or Puzzle Kombat... I wonder what that is? I'll save it for a rainy day.

Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)
00 - I select Single Player and the game begins. There are already 19 fighters available, and it looks like three available to unlock. Unfortunately they don't have ninja-garbed Sub-Zero, only Sub-Zero showing his face. Ugh, I hope none of you ever played the Sub-Zero game, truly awful. I select Jade, she's a green ninja woman. My first battle is against Kitana, she beats me down pretty good but I get a few decent shots off.

01 - I uppercut her and she goes through the ceiling to a level above! Nice!

02 - I really like how they have all the available moves on the top screen, removes all that pointless guessing and button mashing. But even with all that knowledge, Kitana still beats me in three rounds.

03 - Where's Baraka? I want to play as him, guess I'll go with human Sub-Zero.

04 - All right, I beat Reptile in two rounds and try to pull off a fatality but mess up the combo, oh well. Sheng Tsung is next!

06 - Toasty! Freeze then uppercut is awesome, I'm pretty sure I pulled off the fatality correctly but maybe I was too far away.

07 - Ugh, Sheeva, this four-armed freak beat me down. She couldn't even properly fatality me.

09 - I pick Liu Kang and while he makes some funny kung-fu noises, he doesn't do much better against Sheeva.

10 - Awesome, Kung Lao with his Oddjob spiky hat takes down Sheeva easily, I like this guy, too bad the ten minutes are up.

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 1
Does it deserve the M-rating? Well, it is Mortal Kombat, but on the small screen all the blood is so tiny I'd almost say who cares. Of course, I didn't get to see any fatalities so yeah, it probably does.
What did I like? Classic Mortal Kombat gameplay, while not the best fighting game in the world, it still has some charm to it. I really liked how the moves were listed on the top screen, including all the fatalities and friendships. Thanks!
What didn't I like? Classic Mortal Kombat gameplay, it feels old and tired.
Would I keep playing? Sure, it's a portable fighter so you're guaranteed a pick up and play kind of game. I'll probably carry it around a bit and experience some nostalgia.

theresia

theresia
theresia Cover
Platforms Nintendo DS
Genre Uninvited Point and Click Horror
MtAMinutes to Action 10
Buy from Amazon

theresia is another survival horror for the DS, this time featuring a women with no eyes on the cover. I honestly know very little about this game except the official website has these two headlines: "Items for the win!" and "Two Stories of Twisted Love and Despair!" Only one of those deserves an exclamation point. theresia was released around Halloween of 2008, let's play the first ten minutes of this first-person horror.

Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)
00 - I pick New Game and theresia begins (yes, it's spelled like that everywhere). I get the choice of Dear Emile and back. Guess I'll choose Dear Emile. Some text... "do you think he was loved?" Red static flashes by and the top screen displays some pictures of a church while the bottom has more text.

01 - Seems like a mother and daughter are talking, maybe more people are invoved? Theresia, Maylee, and Emile so far. I'm kind of confused.

02 - The game's interface appears on the bottom screen, first person view again. The narrator doesn't seem to know where they are. She's holding a pendant with barbed wire wrapped around it... weird.

04 - Using the pendant gives me a hint about my situation, too bad it draws a little blood (is that bad?).

05 - theresia plays more like a point and click adventure than an action puzzler like Dementium. You pick the Eye icon and then click something to examine it. I examine a piece of paper, theresia is written on it.

06 - Ah, amnesia, the only thing she knows about herself is that she's a caucasian woman. Her words, not mine. I get a map and it appears on the top screen, looks like a big building.

08 - The first door I try is locked... the second, however, opens with ease and I leave the room I woke up in.

09 - Out in the hallway I can turn in the four cardinal directions, no free movement. The area in front of me flashes "Action!" Okay, it's just a pile of rubble blocking my way, no action here.

10 - WTF? Someone just threw a knife at me out of the darkness and it hit me! My character stands there and describes the pain, I thought I was just going to lose just like that. But she trudges on... didn't even lose any health. Uh... I guess that's the end of ten minutes of theresia.

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 10
Does it deserve the M-rating? Not really, besides the one short cutscene of a knife flying at me with some blood, this game could get away with a Teen rating, at least so far...
What did I like? Not too much, it's just really dull. I suppose it has some atmosphere - if you call lots of brown atmosphere.
What didn't I like? Slow moving gameplay, old-school dungeon crawling reminds me of playing Myst. Press forward to go forward a few steps, press right to turn right 90 degrees, etc.
Would I keep playing? Nah, I've played too many boring DS games, there's much better out there.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Cover
Platforms Nintendo DS
Genre Brilliant Top-Down Revisiting
MtAMinutes to Action 5
Buy from Amazon

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is a top-down action adventure game released this year in the uber-popular Grand Theft Auto series. My friend Grant wrote a guest first hour review for the game and loved it, but it looks like the first ten minutes will be story heavy. Well, plenty of opportunity for some handheld swearing to sneak through and give this game the M-rating it deserves, here's the first ten minutes of of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)
00 - I select the Empty Slot and Grand Theft Auto begins. A plane on the top screen, a man on the bottom talking. His father has been murdered, he was knee deep in cocaine and cheap women. This guy is angry and wants revenge. Beat heavy music is playing, it sounds pretty sweet.

01 - He has to deliver a sword to the family's patriarch in Liberty City. Guess his uncle is just as bad as his father was.

02 - The plane lands in Liberty City and a car pulls up, our man gets in: Huang Lee is his name. Crap, we're already getting shot at! A bullet grazes my temple!

03 - The title screen flashes by as we get a look at the city. It looks really awesome. Everything is bright and colorful and the graphics are sharp. You can really see Huang Lee bleeding out in the backseat. The driver and front seat passenger of the car think he's dead, they're also M-rated swearing a lot.

04 - The The top screen is still showing them drive around the city while the bottom has them arguing, doesn't look like they were supposed to kill him and they decide to just dump the body. Huang Lee is of course, still alive.

05 - Oh wow! They dump the car in the bay and I go down with the car. I have to tap the bottom screen to break the window, and I get control of Huang. Time to swim to shore.

06 - First task is to get a car and get to Uncle Kenny's. Well, there's one right there, I hop in and with a screwdriver jimmy the ignition and take control. The game flashes by the car controls.

07 - The top screen is thankfully showing a map of the city, including a yellow line directing me where to go. It's been a while since I've played GTA III so Liberty City is a bit unfamiliar...

08 - I run a red light and completely T-bone a copper! He doesn't seem to notice though and let's me go, I guess they're letting me off easy on my first drive.

09 - I enter Uncle Kenny's restaurant, everyone thinks I was killed. Oh crap, lost the sword along the way. My uncle was going to use it as a gift, now he'll lose face to the Triads.

10 - Huang is let loose again and I'm told to head to my apartment, it's not too far off and I get $50 for completing my first mission. Fun stuff so far, but that's the end of the first ten minutes of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 5
Does it deserve the M-rating: Yes, if nothing more for the swearing so far, though there is no voice acting, it's still pretty heavy on the f-word. And while there wasn't any blood except for Huang bleeding out of his head, I'm sure there's a lot more on the way.
What did I like: The music was really good! I heard three distinct songs and each one had me tapping my toes. I enjoyed the classic Chinese tune the most, Rockstar really shines at scores. The graphics were also excellent, a perfect isometric view for driving and running around town. I had no idea it would work this well on the small screen.
What didn't I like: So far, so good.
Would I keep playing: Definitely yes, I think I'll keep it in my DS as a matter of fact.

Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars

Overall

That was sixty quick minutes of the six M-rated games released on the Nintendo DS. Three of the games were first-person survival horrors but all played incredibly differently. Touch the Dead is a cheap House of the Dead rip-off, theresia is a snooze-pace point and click adventure, while Dementium: The Ward is the king of this bunch, as a fast paced, adventure shooter that really does seem like a mix of Doom 3 and Silent Hill.

The other three games are essentially small scale adaptations of their big brother counterparts. Resident Evil: Deadly Silence seems like an okay port of the ancient original, whereas Ultimate Mortal Kombat is actually a really good translation of the aging 2D fighter, and finally, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is an excellent top-down adventure.

Of course, all of these conclusions come from only ten minutes of playing each, but if I had to pick only one, it would definitely be Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. The game's presentation is simply top notch and knowing Rockstar's track record makes me feel pretty confident the rest of the game will be just as good. If I had to pick a second, it would be Dementium: The Ward... but I would only play it during the day, that game is freaky! I would nix Touch the Dead, theresia, and Resident Evil, they all seem so tired and done before. Ultimate Mortal Kombat seems like a nice distraction though.

All in all, the pickings of Mature rated games on the Nintendo DS are pretty thin, but there are a few gems. I'm not sure if the system has much hope for it in the future in terms of M-rated games, but if you're just interested in the "adult gaming" count when considering a system, then there's no point in bothering with the DS. However, if you do want innovative and fun games no matter what the rating, then this honestly is the handheld (or console) to buy.

Dementium The Ward Bloody Hospital

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