Look, I’m not going to tell you some long, drawn-out story about why this game
is awesome. I’m jut going to state right here that this game is awesome. Also,
this game cheats like hell. But it cheats in such a way that somehow makes it AWESOME.
If you’ve played video at all, you know Mario Kart is one of the funnest games ever
played “pre-party style”. As in, a bunch of people come over before you go out drinking,
and next thing you know you’re cursing the mother of the person who used the lightning bolt
on your ass. The Nintendo 64 version was everything I would want in a game that would make
my wife hate me. Somehow, possibly using voodoo magic and trickle-down economics, Nintendo
managed to capture nearly everything the previous game was about and somehow make it BETTER.
Keep in mind that I wasn’t asking for ANYTHING better. I would have been happy with the same
game but newer graphics and maybe a few new racers. What we, the world, received however was
a game so great that I crapped my pants when I saw it. Yep, i did.
What’s so great? All new race tracks for one. Several of them are very unimaginative, but as
a collection they really shine (especially once you get into Special Cup tracks). As before,
there’s your “driving-on-city-street-with-traffic-coming-at-you” level. The Mario/Peach levels
are not as great as they could be, but good enough for some cart-to-cart battling. The Yoshi level
is damn hard at high speeds while being very fun (it has a few shortcuts that you need perfect
placement and several mushrooms to get to). My favorite non-Special Cup track would have to be
the Donkey Kong one. It’s tough at high speeds, and there’s a ton of places to make your
opponents go soaring off cliffs with a well-placed shell.
The racers also get a nice upgrade. You start with 16 playable characters, which are bumped up
to 20 once you unlock luminaries such as King Boo and the Fire Plant. So far I’ve unlocked Toad
and Toadette only, but anyone who’s played N64 MarioKart with me knows that the only racer I ever
need is Toad. He rocks. The way the 2 racer kart works is tough to understand at first, but within
a few races its fairly easy and you’ll be swinging you’re racers in and out of the drivers seat with
ease. The weapons are upgraded from the previous release as well, with new weaopns mixed in with updates
to old ones. One problem: they got rid of the 3 red shells weapon as being available to all racers (I
think only the koopa racer can use it now). Each racer has his or her own Special weapon that they can
use if they pick up a Special weapon icon. Some racers’ specials are so much better than the others. In
particular, I’ve found that Bowser and the Baby Mario/Luigi’s Specials are super-powered when compared to
regular Mario/Luigi and regular koopa/flying koopa.
What’s not so great? This is a VERY small complaint, but when you go to power slide now, instead of doing
a little hop into the slide your kart just goes right into it. It was great to be able to jump over things
that were coming at you in the old version. I miss that very much. But the number one thing on my list is
the way that you can anhililate the kart in front of, it will flip up into the air, you’lll be zooming up to
overtake his position, and he’ll land and shoot off into the distance in one motion. When YOU get hit by a shell,
however, it takes forever for your kart to flip and then you start the “speed up” process all over again.
Essentially, all enemy karts have top acceleration if they’re the “pre-selected winners” of that cup (you
MK players out there know what I mean). It is only infuriating when you played a real tough 150cc Special Cup
and just when you’re about to win to take the lead in points, you shoot Bowser with a red shell 100 yards in front
of the finish line and he lands and takes off like a rocket (even though he supposedly has the slowest acceleration
in the game). You DID you’re part, you hit that fucker in the ass with a shell. But in a desperate attempt to piss
you off, the game decides to fuck you right back.
The above issues are hardly reason to not play this game though. It. Is. Awesome. It completely upholds the
idea of a “pre-drinking game”, and it throws in some great new ideas to the mix (2 players per kart, new weapons,
and ENORMOUS tracks). When you play me, you best bring the blue sparks, bitch.