Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mario Kart 64

Let'sa GO!!!!!
Review By SMB
Mario Kart is the most fun racing game I have ever had the privilege of playing (to death). It is arguably the best game on the Nintendo 64. I think this, Perfect Dark, and Banjo-Kazooie are. You need strategy to win in this game. The battle modes should have been a standard for all racers to come. Unfortunately, very few listened. This game continues to amaze me 15+ years after it was released. If I had to choose this or Diddy Kong Racing, I would choose this, and soon you will know why. But, I think that the best battle racing game would be a combination of these two, and I'll explain what I mean throughout this review, which I think will be my longest ever. I know it will be my longest ever.

GAMEPLAY: Gameplay consists of two main elements. A Gran Turismo-esque racing game, and a Goldeneye 007 style attacking game. These two elements are melded together. Everything is done with the press of a button. You go, break, pause, and fire your weapon, all with the press of a button. There are sixteen tracks, all that offer something different than the others. There are four battle arenas, which held my interest longer than the tracks, just because the battle mode offers the most complex gameplay in Mario Kart 64. You need to know where your opponents are at all times. You always need to have some weapons. And, you always need to find a way to sneak up on your opponents. And, in the small levels, that can be very difficult. I wish the multi-player levels were a little larger though.

GRAPHICS: The graphics problem with Mario 64 has been fixed. There is no choppiness whatsoever. The frame rate is great for the early Nintendo 64. There is absolutely no slowdown. Nintendo's Mario Kart 64 was a graphical masterpiece then, and it still is a graphical masterpiece now. I do not understand something though. The graphics are better than most of the stuff out there on the Nintendo 64 right now. Is this what the deal will be with Soul Calibur? 

Probably, yes. Mario Kart 64's graphics are cartoonish, but beautiful. I especially like the lighting in the tunnels, and how the characters look when you are chasing a pack of them. I think Wario or Toad look the coolest, and the best, when you are doing this. I mean riding their bumper. Hopefully, you will never do that in real life. That would be bad. I did not tell you too. Diddy Kong Racing's graphics are not that big of an improvement over this game.

MUSIC: I really like the music in this game. It all seems like the classic Mario tunes, yet all of the songs are different. Whoever made this music at Nintendo, must be really, really, good. The music will always be interesting because it is always different, yet the same. You will notice this, if you already have not, while you have been playing the game for a while. Usually you cannot recognize it at first. But maybe you can, now that you know what you are looking (hearing) for. My favorite song is the song on Toad's Turnpike. 

I just like it's beat, and absolutely everything else about this great song. Do not listen to headphones while playing this game. We'll call him Billy to protect the guilty. I will refer to Billy later so remember his name. Anyway, Billy did not listen to the game's spectacular music, he put on his headphones, and turned a Mariah Carey song on so loud, it made my dog jump when she hit a high note. The rest of us playing (it was in a Battle Arena) proceeded to steal Billy's headphones. This was in June of 1997. We did not forgive him and give them back until May of 2000. This last part about the stealing is not true, but we still got really mad at Billy (not his real name) anyway. And he never apologized!

CONTROLS: Everything about this game, control wise, is simple. You can pick it up and get right into the thick of things. Firing weapons is easy, also. Especially the homing ones. Just kidding. Laying out the bananas in a line horizontally across is a better strategy than plopping them one by one or in a line vertically. It looks a lot cooler, too! Power slides, and other special moves give the game sort of an easy to learn, difficult to master feel. The physics actually seem quite realistic, but they manage to be over the top enough to still seem unrealistic. 

That is a good thing. If you do not understand that sentence that is OK. I am not sure if I even do. I confuse myself sometimes. What I think I am trying to say is that the controls are realistic, but not too realistic to get in the way of the fact that this is a cartoonish, unrealistic, battle racing game. And now I just made it sound like it did not like this game! Well, I do! Do not let that sentence fool you. I love this game. Before Perfect Dark came out I used to play this in multiplayer matches the most, even more than Goldeneye 007. Well, now Mario Kart, along with every other multiplayer game, has been put on hold to make way for Joanna and company.

FUN: That is right everyone! I finally get to talk about multiplayer! The races are nice, when you are going against each other. Toad's Turnpike is an especially good multiplayer race. The battle arenas are what makes this game what it is. My favorite levels are the ones you cannot fall off and lose a balloon in. So the 4-colored stack of blocks one, and the many tiered one. I am sorry. I leant this game to a friend and I cannot seem to remember the level's names. I hope you all can decode what I mean from my fairly vague description of them. This game is still a fun 1-player game, even though there is not a lot to unlock. But it really shines in multiplayer.

REPLAYABLE: This game has one of the highest replay values ever recorded. You will still be playing the Battle Mode for all eternity. The one player game is deep enough to keep up hooked. Unfortunately, there is not much to unlock. But, you will be playing this game years after you purchase Mario Kart 64

CHALLENGE: There is nothing that is very challenging here, but there is nothing easy either. All of the races can be mastered quite easily with practice. Some of the races are harder than others, but the AI does not really improve. The multiplayer will offer the greatest challenge if your friends and family members are any good.

OVERALL: This game shines through the over saturated Nintendo 64 racing market like a candle in the dark. A diamond in the rough. An excellent racing game in the Nintendo 64 Sea filled to the brim with only mediocre ones. A catch worth catching. Here is where I will explain how I want a combination of the two for a spectacular sequel. I may have too many ideas for all of our good though:

#1. Keep both character lineups, combine them, and add many more characters, like Link (karts would always know who they were shooting, since they could see is pointed green hat), Samus (her armor may get in the way of her steering ability), Captain Falcon (he is a natural racer), Fox McCloud (he does have a helmet, in case he wipes out), Squirtle (It would be funny seeing Pokemon drive karts! Do you not think so?), Kirby (Kirby would be pretty funny to see drive himself. Considering he does not have legs!), Ness (use the baseball bat on the gas pedal!), and everyone else (many, many characters) that I forgot. Have nearly 100 characters. Maybe even more It would give the game nearly limitless replay value in the 1-player mode. The game already has limitless multiplayer replay value, so the game would just have limitless value, I guess.

#2. Only have karts in the main races. For battle arenas, it would be fun to have some of them with hovercrafts, some of them with airplanes, and some of them with karts. But, have all of the races in the game be karts.

#3. Use Mario Kart's weapons. I like Mario Kart's weaponry system. I like not knowing what I will get to destroy the opponents with. It creates suspense, which is fun for you, and if you are in multiplayer, the people you are chasing. I know we all have said many times ''Oh no! Do not let Billy get a homing shell, do not let Billy get a homing shell, do not let Billy get a homing shell....''

#4. Do not have ways you can loose balloons in battle arenas. How cheap is it to hit a banana, spin out, lose a balloon, and spin into a lava pit and loose another one.

#5. Keep the overworld. It creates a nice diversion from a long day of racing, you can go for a sort of country drive.

#6. Let us have all of the races at the beginning, and do not make us open them up. That is a pain. And give us many, many more races than the 16 we were given. We want hundreds. And last, but not least,


#7. I do not know why I want this, but make there be a Game Boy Color version as well. Use the Transfer Pak to download your racers into that version. There, in the Game Boy Color version, after winning a certain amount of races, you get a power-up point. You can use that to upgrade your car in some way, perhaps the turning or the brakes. Then you can upload the car into the console version, and play away. Or Nintendo could just add this feature to the Nintendo 64, or Dolphin version.

Seeing this game with all of my suggestions realized, on the Dolphin, would be just too perfect. I am getting tears in my eye just thinking about it. But anyway, this is my favorite racing game of all time, and it is one of the 3 best games on the Nintendo 64. It could be the best. That is still up in the air, for me.
NAME: MARIO KART 64
SYSTEM: Nintendo 64

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