NY Comic Con: Rough up your touch screen with New International Track & Field DS

Konami had a pretty decent showing at New York Comic Con, with a huge booth showcasing everything from Metal Gear Online to the latest in their Karaoke Revolution series. Tucked away in the corner, however, was an update of a piece of my thumb-blistering past, New International Track and Field

Set to hit stores sometime this year, this star-studded Nintendo DS title updates the button mashing classic with a more stylish look, and a slew of new events. In the NY Comic Con demo, everything from weightlifting to the 100-meter dash was available to play, with each event pitting me against classic Konami characters like Evil Rose from Rumble Roses and Sparkster from Rocket Knight Adventures. The look is bright and colorful, and the UDON-designed super-deformed classic and original characters give the game a light-hearted, comical feel. 

My embarrassing hands-on impressions can be found after the jump.

Control-wise, New International Track and Field replaces the impossible-without-a-turbo-button button mashing controls and replaces them with an equally as difficult touch interface. After picking Yoko — one of the game’s original, punk rock female characters — I had a pretty tough time competing against CPU characters in the 100 Meter Dash. This particular game involved rubbing the DS stylus across the screen on an arrow track, but regardless of how fast or how accurate I seemed to be, I simply couldn’t keep up.

“No f**king way are we getting this game,” my wife said to me, concerned for the condition of our own handheld, as she watched me go crazy on the DS touch screen with the stylus. “I don’t care how it good it is.”

The Long Jump had a similar control scheme, only you were required to tap and hold a target at the right time to the angle of your leap. Having to pull off and touch an on-screen target after wildly stroking the DS touch screen is not only difficult, but seemed next to impossible … for me. After fouling out anywhere between five and twenty times, I was eventually making baby leaps. My wife, on the other hand, was having no problem going to town on a DS that wasn’t her own, and found much success, dwarfing my leaps my nearly double. 

Perhaps the tough time I was having with New International Track and Field is entirely related to user error (read: I suck). The game is apparently based more on rhythm than lighting-fast stylus speed. So I’m willing to give it another try when the game ships later this year; there’s so much being packed into the game, including online modes and a relatively deep single player experience.

There’s no firm North American (or Japanese release date) for the title, but word is that Europe is set to get the game this June. You just might want to considering buying a screen protector first.

Nick Chester