24. Nov, 2003 20:28 (HKT)

iQue - More pictures, more videos packed into our exclusive report. See all the games in action.

Nintendo's China only console released - The iQue hits the street of Hong Kong (inofficially). We took the opportunity to check out the console and produce some media to get you into the picture. Not much was known in the west about this console - also it's only available in China and though as much as Hong Kong belongs to China the console will not be released here.

The iQue comes in a small box - comparable to a PSone box nowadays. It includes the iQue console itself (the controller), one power adaptor 220V, the connection cable (custom socket - video, audio & power), one memory card, a Dr. Mario cover, manual and warranty card. The memory card is readily inserted into the controller; the memory card also is 'locked' to a unique console - using the memory card from another controller just brings you up with an error message.

The installation of the unit goes in a few seconds. Just connect the power outlet to the combo-plug and plug this one on the back on the console - voila. After powering on, you see the iQue opening animation and then you'll have two choices - either go to the games menu or you can check on the save game status. If you go to the games menu, you have a choices of 5 games available. Depending of software you have purchased you either have games in full or in demo mode. All 5 games are always present however. In our example shot we had all versions full but only Wave Race limited to one hours' play.

Without much surprise, from each of the games we had a look at (Mario, Wavereace, Zelda - Ocarina of Time, Starfox, Dr. Mario) only one (Dr. Mario) seems to be a new game. All the others are quite the same as their N64 counterparts. Just the language, understandable for the Chinese market, has been changed to Simplified Chinese. Voices in several games haven been translated, like Mario and Starfox.

The controller has quite good shape and the size, interesting though, not too small. I would say, for small kid's hands it would be too big but we had none available to really test it out :) Just they fit very good in an adult's hand so that's we saying. The console is not too heavy considering it's inner parts and allows comfortable playing but still heavier than a Game Cube pad for instance. Putting all required cables (AV + power) into one combo socket saves you from having two cables running from the machine. The power/reset button is recessed so you would not really touch it accidentally. The action buttons are quite a bit raised and easy to hit. The shoulder buttons are easy to reach too. Just... The console gets very warm when in operation. We have not seen any problems arising from this, but it's very noticable.

The console itself operates silent. There's no space for a fan anyway. Each game, if started for the first time, takes some time to load. After you have loaded it once, it starts up quicker, until, we assume, you play another game for a longer time and it messes up with the consoles memory. Or, you unplug the cable, that would most likely also require you to have to wait when next loading the game.

Loading times are quite long for Zelda (approx 1 minute) and are otherwise quite short. No wonder, being Zelda a 256MBit game on N64 compared over the much smaller sized other games. Speaking of Mario and Wave Race at least.

The games itself do offer the same fun as they did 6 years ago. Well, probably that's the catch. They are old but then that's the reason for having a lower cost console and being able to offer the games at top notch prices. For you fellow importers it actually is not much difference if buying the machine with all games full version or not - the price difference is not really noticable. Also, and that probably weighs more, there would be no easy way to get the demo versions unlocked to final versions!

We have prepared videos from all games that are on the market right now.

  • Zelda Intro I (approx. 2.6MB)
  • Zelda Intro II (approx. 14MB)
  • Mario (approx. 13MB)
  • Dr. Mario(approx. 4.5MB)
  • Starfox(approx. 23MB)

    The iQue Game Console with the listed 5 games in full version is available at US$119 only and ready to ship within 24 hours. Orders are certainly more than welcome.

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