Hands OnThe Legend of Stafi

Nintendo's latest platform hero is a smiling starfish. Find out more about Stafi's undersea adventure in our hands-on report.

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Nintendo may be making big plans for its next handheld system, but with great-looking games like The Legend of Stafi waiting in the wings for the company's existing hardware, the wait for the Game Boy Advance won't be a lonely one.

Stafi is a starfish with two eyes and a big, smiling face in the middle. Think about what the Carl's Jr. logo would look like if it were running and swimming around in a platform game, and you'll be on the right track. Stafi can swim around at high speeds, walk and run on the ground, glide through the air, and execute a viscous spinning star attack that can break blocks and any enemies that get in Stafi's way.

While the game pulls several pages from the "how to make a Game Boy platform game" pamphlet, the underwater aspect of the game really adds a lot of interesting twists to the gameplay. Also, some of the levels are filled with doors, making them seem downright maze-like at times, rather than just commanding you to swim to the right until you get to the level's boss.

Graphically, The Legend of Stafi is bursting with character, from the crab with a pot for a shell to the crazy, googly-eyed clam that shows from time to time to drop a little knowledge. Stafi is animated pretty well, and the game is nice and colorful.

Aside from the obvious objective of finishing every level, there are coins scattered all over the place, and your coins are turned into points at the end of each level. Collecting a certain number of points seems to offer some sort of bonus or upgrade, but since each Game Boy was reset every five minutes, it was nearly impossible to earn enough points at Space World.

The version of Legend of Stafi shown at Space World still had a few pre-production items in place, such as a debug menu, but the game seemed just about complete. It will appear on Japanese shelves this December.

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