First a history lesson: The Great Giana Sisters was originally released for Amiga, Atari and other systems back in 1987. The Giana sister jumps on enemies, breaks rocks with her head and with the help of a power-up she turns into a "punk" and gains the ability to throw fireballs. Heard it before? Of course you have, since the game was a totally shameless copy of Super Mario Bros.
The tag line in the UK was even "the brothers are history", which made Nintendo see red and send an army of lawyers to crush the game, the publisher and the developers. The sisters disappeared from the shelves and today the original game is a highly valued collectors' item.
If you, like most of us, don't feel like spending a lot of money to play the game, you can now play The Great Giana Sisters DS instead. It's an updated version of the sisters' adventures that mixed old and brand new material. The game has been circulating for a while, and now it's seeing a larger release - funny enough it's thanks to Nintendo that after many years finally approved the game.
According to today's standard The Great Giana Sisters DS is a pretty simple affair. It's a platformer that could easily be mistaken for Super Mario Bros, at least on the surface: when it comes to level design, the developers have a long way to go before even getting close to the Italian plumbers. Some moving platforms, some nasty drops and some touch screen support. It's nice, but not very complicated. The levels are bite-sized, and in most cases you can run through them in 20 seconds. It's incredibly easy from start to end, and it suits handheld format.
The production value is not very high, the graphics are painted in pixels that could have come from a game to Gameboy Advance. It doesn't mean the game isn't charming, because it is. It's filled with color, it's childish and functional all the way through.
The soundtrack, signed Chris Hülsbeck, is still awesome - especially for them that value the SID-chip higher than any electric guitar or Moog synthesizers. In a way, you can just leave your MP3-player at home and just carry your DS around with you; the music can make anyone, even those that didn't play the original game, nostalgic. That, and you get a decent platformer at the same time.