Posted by: Tha Square | May 28, 2008

Dr. Mario Online RX Review

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The doctor is in! After nearly three years since he was last seen, Dr. Mario is back with more germ fighting power than ever before in Dr. Mario Online RX! Write those pesky viruses a perscription for pain by dropping huge pills on their domes! Oh yeah, give ’em a taste of their own medicine! There are a few problems here and there, including some control issues in the “Virus Buster” portion of the game and the fact all random online games are confined to the 4th level, but there’s nothing to go screaming malpractice over. With the classic pill dropping gameplay everyone knows and loves along side a few new modes you may not expect, this outing may be just what the doctor ordered!

Its been several years since I last played a Dr. Mario game and I think it’s safe to say the gameplay has aged quite well. The pill droping action is just as fun as it has ever been; exterminate yellow, red, and blue germs that are housed in a glass jar by dropping like colored pills on them. It’s a simple concept that several games have tried to recapture.

There is also an option to go against the computer in a race to clear out all the viruses. If you’ve got a steady hand and a quick eye, you can do it in a snap! If you or the computer chains together a combo, then a few pill halves will drop from the opposition’s top delaying them and potentially blocking them from clearing a virus. There isn’t anything new in the Classic mode but that should come to no surprise since it’s… you know, “Classic”.

Then there’s the new Flash option. In this mode, you race your opponent to clear out specific, flashing viruses before they do. You’ll have to clear them out several layers to get to many of the bugs. It’s nothing too extraordinary, but it is still a frantic game that certainly shakes it up a bit. Also new to the Dr. Mario lineup are two new songs! “Cough”  and “Sneeze” don the musical lineup for your listening pleasure. You can also enlist your very own Mii to be the doctor on call and every time you complete a stage, a few of your saved Mii’s will pop up behind you! Bonus!

Even more exciting is the new Virus Buster party game where up to four people can play by controling the falling capsules with their Wii Remotes. Just aim at the capsule you want to control, grab hold of it with either the A or B button, and rotate with the opposing one. There are a few problems here that I doubt even Dr. Mario can remedy though. The playing area has been significantly downsized almost to a fourth of the single player area. With four people playing, not only will this mode go by quickly, but people are more likely to make mistakes I’d think. 

There’s also a problem with the controls; occasionally the pills that are being navigated by players will snap to the wrong portion of the play area. It can get pretty aggravating when you’re trying to phase out a few viruses but instead just get caught up trying to correct the mistakes you’ve made. Aside from those though, this mode is a pretty fun derivative of the game. Still this isn’t the one you’re likely to be playing most of the time.

Dr. Mario Online RX is the first WiiWare game to showcase two player online matches. Sure, Final Fantasy allowed you to purchase additional stuff online, but you couldn’t go to another person’s kingdom and carouse the town. In this game, you can go head to head with people from all around the world in either Classic or Flash modes. Virus Buster, however, had a cold and couldn’t make it to the lineup. So sorry.

Anyways, head online to battle friends or strangers. If you opt to play strangers from around the world, you won’t be able to set any options and all the games (at least that I’ve played) are confined to the 4th level; a bit of a disappointing difficulty level to say the least. However, your stats are tracked and displayed against all those who’ve bought the title.

If you play against a friend, you can adjust all the options. You can change the difficulty level, the speed the pills drop, and the music. You can also gift a friend you’ve added to your Wii’s address book a demo of the game. Though I’m not sure how in depth it is or how long it lasts, I do know your friend can go online and play others they’ve added.  The Online mode is a great addition and I’m certainly glad Nintendo allowed their game to use it.

All in all, Dr. Mario Online RX is a great puzzle game that should be a welcomed addition to any library. With Classic, Flash, Virus Buster, and Online modes, this certainly is one title that’s going to last for quite some time. I’d definitely recommend filling this prescription ASAP!

Graphics – 7 – Your Miis do play a role in the game as the doctor and the viruses has gotten a sprucing up, but other than that, nothing too special.

Audio – 7 – There are two new songs to listen to, “Cough” and “Sneeze” that you may enjoy. Otherwise, it’s been the same jingle for years… and I like it!

Gameplay– 9 – If you like retro puzzle games, you’ll love this game. The same ol’ pill droppin’, virus bustin’ gameplay that hasn’t changed in over a decade. Glorious!

Lasting Appeal – 9 – Along with the Classic and Multiplayer modes, there’s a new version of the game, Virus Buster, that allows four players to play at the same time. Oh, and Online Play!

Overall – 8 – It’s Dr. Mario at it’s best folks. Online play, new modes, Mii support, and a new additions to the music lineup, there’s definitely enough here to warrant a purchase. If you’re not swayed so easily, get a friend to demo it to you!

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