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Also on Mario 64

Not to rain on Paul's parade or anything, but I've raced into the lead with 125 stars now, 22 of which are castle secrets. All while spending more time with Superstar Saga and Another Code. Now it's just a case of tackling Tick Tock Clock and Rainbow Ride (I've got to credit Paul for collecting 100 coins on the former). Mario 64 on the Nintendo DS works very well -- I had some initial reservations about the controls, specifically the lack of an analogue stick on the handheld, but it's rarely a problem. Helpfully, Nintendo has littered a few extra barriers and ledges around the courses to compensate for the lack of precision control. Some areas of the game which you could speed through on the N64 demand a more careful approach on the DS: stopping still, shifting the camera angle and walking along cautiously.

Still, the game retains all the wonderful aspects of the original, such as the unbeatable feeling of achievement after you've mined a level of all it secrets and puzzles, and the propulsive gameplay that constantly throws new ideas and challenges at you. For those who haven't played the handheld version, the body of the game remains the same -- the castle structure, level design and most of the challenges. However, each level has an extra star, and there are 15 new castle secret stars to hunt down too. A few extra mini-worlds have been dropped in, taking inspiration from other Mario games such as Sunshine on the Gamecube.

Meanwhile, here at LXF Towers we're putting the finishing touches to issue 77, and starting to plan the following issue. LXF 78 will be full to the brim with stuff to do, so if you're looking to get more hands-on with Linux then grab a copy when it's out. Oh, but don't forget to buy 77 too :-) Lastly, the MikeFilterTron 2000 is currently scurrying around the Net for HotPicks apps, so if you've seen anything you'd like to see covered, drop me a line.

(Update: 141 stars now, and just two castle secrets to find!)

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