maanantai 16. elokuuta 2010

REVIEW - Mario Kart 64 (1996)

Genre(s): Racing
Released: 1996
Available on: N64, Virtual Console
Developer(s): Nintendo
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Players: 1-4

The year of Nintendo 64’s launch saw many of the company’s earlier gems work their way back into the spotlight as a “64” version. Mario was first brought back as a 3D version of his old self in the glorious platformer Super Mario 64, several months later it was time to resurrect a 1992 racing classic. Welcome to the updated Mario Kart!

Multiplayer pwnage

Charles Martinet :
Mario / Luigi / Wario
Leslie Swan : Peach
Isaac Marshall : Toad / Yoshi / Bowser / Donkey Kong

The courses, the surroundings and the framerate represent some of the best graphics the N64 could offer. Familiar locations from Super Mario 64 are all around, and rendered a bit more carefully. However, the 2D ACM characters and items look very, very strange, the sort of cardboard cutouts we already saw in Mario 64. They just don’t belong. Comparing Mario Kart 64’s graphics to the original game, how great that one looked when it came out, I’d say the game is a big disappointment graphically. However, it pays back with designs that could have never been realized in the old days. The music is surprisingly composed by Kenta Nagata instead of Koji Kondo, but he borrows from Mr. Kondo’s material quite a lot and the material’s quite good. The characters’ voices are simply hilarious.

Instruction manual for badasses: move the
cursor to the bottom right corner of the screen

Playability? Halle-fuckin’-lujah; does that answer your question? This game is pure bliss for anyone into humorous, animated racing games, I mean the kind in which you really do everything in your power to win. Believe it or not, the gameplay hasn’t changed at all! There are only system-specific tweaks, and changes in level design. We have walls, lifts, HUGE chasms to jump across and more track-specific obstacles. We still have eight drivers to choose from; Donkey Kong Jr. is updated to his current form made famous by the Donkey Kong Country series, and Koopa Troopa is replaced with Wario. I still play as Bowser and no-one else. Why? Because I’m badass.

The weapons are still here, and there’s just about the same amount of different ones, however some of them have been replaced with something else. Every item and weapon in this game is quite practical. My favourite’s the ? Mine, which looks just like the diamonds you collect to gain weapons and items, and therefore attracts poor, ignorant bastards. Hilarious in multiplayer, I’ll tell you – HILARIOUS! The weapon trigger is the Z button, which is great since it doesn’t take any of your attention way from the race and/or lower your speed. The same goes for jumping, it’s executed with top buttons instead of anything that would force you to slow down or completely hit the brakes.

Heading out to the highway
Speaking of multiplayer... this game happens to be one of the finest multiplayer titles of all time. One of Nintendo 64’s finest feats was that it made a 4-player game easy. You didn’t have to buy expensive add-ons to play with three of your friends, you could just buy a couple of additional controllers and plug them right in. Me and two of my friends used to play Battle Mode for hours and hours and eventually, DAYS, back when the game came out. Yup, it’s the very same Battle Mode that ruled in the first game, here it rules even more. All of the modes are basically the same – Grand Prix, Time Trial and Battle. Match Race is now called Versus Mode. Once again, the difficulty and speed of your vehicle is determined by horsepower. Once you’re done with all CC classes, you are given the chance to attempt one more difficulty level dubbed Extra, which comprises of mirror versions of the cup’s courses. The cups are the same: Mushroom, Fire Flower, Star and Special, only the courses are different. There are 16 different courses in the game, plus their mirror versions. Because the A.I. is notably better than that of the first one, you should have fun even in single player mode for quite some time. Of course, playing alone doesn’t hold one single piece of crap to the multiplayer modes the game has in store. The Battle Mode is LEGEND!

High speed dirt
I really have to address all those purists who think that the original game was and is better. You obviously haven’t played this version’s Battle Mode against your friends enough... or, you did, and always lost. The original Super Mario Kart is a great game, it really is. I understand some people call this a simple 64-bit update instead of a truly new, innovative game, ‘cause an update is exactly what it is... an update to an excellent game. What do you get when you update excellence and manage not to fuck it all up along the way? You get some of more of that sweet excellence. Definitely one of N64’s finest games.

Graphics : 8.5
Sound : 9.0
Playability : 9.3
Challenge : 8.8
Overall : 9.1


GameRankings: 86.85% (N64)

Nintendo Power ranks Mario Kart 64 #53 on their list of the Top 200 Nintendo Games of All Time.

The game was originally meant to be named Super Mario Kart R, but it was produced at the same time as Sega’s Sonic R racing game for the Sega Saturn, so the name was changed.

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