Honourable Mentions - DS

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin

  • Developer: Konami;
  • Publisher: Konami
  • DS Exclusive
  • Gamepage

Since most players have been disappointed by attempts at dragging Castlevania kicking and screaming into the third dimension, the handheld 2D games are the preferred branch of this franchise's family tree - and Portrait of Ruin continues a fine legacy. While it's not much of an improvement over Dawn of Sorrow, the game still has all of the extremely slick and well-designed mechanics we've come to expect from Castlevania, and the new two-character switching system adds a welcome new aspect to the game.

Final Fantasy III

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  • Developer: Square Enix / Matrix;
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • DS Exclusive
  • Gamepage

This is the first time that Final Fantasy III has been released in the west - and rather than simply dumping it onto the DS in its original 2D incarnation, Square Enix has updated it with beautiful CG movies, cute 3D graphics and a number of tweaks and alterations to the game formula. All the updates can't quite hide the age of the game, admittedly, but RPG fans will probably still enjoy this heavy makeover of an old friend.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates

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  • Developer: Square Enix;
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • DS Exclusive
  • Gamepage

Accompanying the release of a Crystal Chronicles title for the Wii is one for the DS - and once again, Square Enix seem determined to fix many of the problems which prevented more people from enjoying the GameCube original. The key issue - namely the fact that you needed to play the game with multiple people for it to actually be any fun - is set to be fixed by the addition of a solid single-player mode, but there'll still be multiplayer in the game using the local wi-fi capabilities of the DS. No online play has been announced, though.

Harvest Moon: The Island I Grew Up On

har
  • Developer: Marvelous Interactive;
  • Publisher: Rising Star
  • DS Exclusive
  • Gamepage

Two Harvest Moon titles are planned this year, as far as we can gather - the first is broadly the same as last year's Harvest Moon DS, but with a female central character. This second game is far more interesting; your family is stranded on an island and you must build and run a farm in order to eke out a living. Soon enough a town grows up around your farm, more citizens move in... Animal Crossing meets Harvest Moon, anyone? Sounds like all our countryside fantasies come true.

Lunar Knights: Vampire Hunters

lun
  • Developer: Kojima Productions;
  • Publisher: Konami
  • DS Exclusive
  • Gamepage

Arguably the silliest title we've seen on the upcoming release schedules for the DS (and that's really saying something), Lunar Knights is the follow-up to Hideo Kojima's ambitious title Boktai, which used a sunlight sensor as a core part of its vampire-battling gameplay. In this game, the sun sensor is gone (and probably not much lamented, frankly) - instead you battle the vampiric hordes either as a swordsman or a gunslinger, and then... Er... Load the vampire boss into your Casket Rocket and pilot it into the stratosphere to expose it to strong sunlight at the edge of Earth's atmosphere! Crikey. If you really did like the sunlight sensor, though, Kojima says you'll be able to plug in your old GBA cart and play with that to give yourself some extra advantages in the game.

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About the author

Rob Fahey

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

More articles by Rob Fahey