Ok, quite possibly one of the FUNNEST
games I've ever played in my life, just the title alone is enough to warp me back to my youth, and how much of my dumbass spare time I killed
playing this game for hours on end until I finally got sick
of it. It's truly one of the most addictive games in creation and one of the best Mario franchise 'spinoffs' they've ever produced. The premise is very simple, the creators of the franchise simply took all the beloved characters of the Mario games, gave them go-karts, and the purpose is to race to win a tournament and the trophy that goes along with the final stage. You'd think that such a simple premise would become monotonous
after a while but I'm telling you - you'd be surprised.
The graphics may seem somewhat dated by today's standards but they were pleasing to the eye at the time, the music is catchy, inventive, and never once wears on the nerves like some game music out there. It keeps with the rhythm of the stages. But the aspect that holds up to scrutiny that warrants mentioning right off the bat is the control
, the control is 'tight' and perfect in every way shape and form. Although there tends to be certain characters that have rather stagnant
offensive in terms of 'speed' during the races, but that just creates conflict and adds further incentive to try and win, but don't worry - those particular characters that I allude to that have a hard time keeping up, they more than make up for it in other ways along the way, you'll see what I mean. There's a lil' bit of "Twisted Metal" anarchy to these races which really makes the game sound more correctly as something like Super Mario bumper-cars
, and this is truly where the most fun aspects of the game begin to spring forth. Part of what made the game so addictive (and I can't stress that description enough)
was that there was a certain degree of cleverness
that was required to pass it. All throughout the game the characters are allotted to pass over squares and booster arrows and jumps, the boosters allow the character to shoot at rocket speed for a short while to be allotted to pass the guy infront of you when you're in dire need of it, and the squares are where you get the special items that you can take with you and use at the most opportune time. So setting it a bit above most regular racing games, strategy
plays a key role in winning the game as around every corner your opponents are constantly plotting to 'bump off the competition' in you and you need to be willing to do the same. So the key is, you always have to be thinking ahead
, almost like a chess match. You can set all sorts of different traps or gain special abilities to thwart them. Probably one of the funnest was setting a banana peel for racers to slide over out of control. But beware
when you go to play it you have to learn to 'shoot' the banana off in the distance, otherwise slow down
before you set it cause one of the most irritating things you could possibly do to yourself during the race (warranting an Angry Video Game Nerd psychotic rant) is when - and me and my bro have done this too many times to admit to a specific number, is when one slips over their own banana peel right after setting it. -It takes forever to pick up the same speed you had before and catch up to everyone. Luckily, racers are given the opportunity to jump over certain set traps - which makes it all the more fun to try and set them just as their going by so they can't avoid it. This works even more effectively in the death matches where in two player mode, it's basically just all the characters on a selected stage, winner take all! Although by far, by far, the most killer
items to use in a death match and the ones you wanna try and get if you stand a hope in hell of surviving, is the shells. Green shells bounce off everything and they're annoying as shit and you have to constantly by looking out the corner of your eye to make sure you don't get hit by one cause 'trust me' - those little bastards can sneak up on you, I don't care how skilled you are! -But by far the most destructive
ones to use are the Red Shells and whenever you see somebody with one - run!
Those things are designed to hit their targets no matter what, up to a certain point, it takes some practiced maneuvering to dodge and out run them, but it's absolute tits
to be able to use them on other opponents when you get one yourself. My god, the sense of power
that comes over you when you know you're holding one and about to use it can be positively 'orgasmic'! -The worst of all the abilities are the stars, cause they're tricky to acquire so you only get to feel lucky every so often, but if you're going up 'against' someone who has one and is using it, avoid them like the Plague in a race cause this can lead to some definite road rage
when they bump into you. -Another totally fun one are the ghosts, they make you invisible and it's always so cool and spooky to be able to drive around and have nobody know you're about to nail them with a shell - especially in two player mode cause there you're able to see yourself in the other player's window and it's so trippy to know
that you're right behind the other player but they can't really detect you unless they're paying attention, or you yourself can get 'disoriented' if you're sitting there staring at yourself in the other window and not paying attention to what's happening to you in your own window.
The stages all have their up sides and their down sides, some more so than others in the respective qualities. For instance, the dirt stage absolutely drives me bat shit crazy and urges me to heave the machine out the window whenever I'm forced to play it cause the players can often get rather aggressive and will hog the road, forcing you off the curve onto the dirt terrain where you experience definite slow down
at the hands of that damn rocky surface. -And one of the most tricky by far has got to be ice stages cause not only do you have to watch your control cause you can easily
spin and lose your sense of direction, but there's also blocks of ice that will either force you to pace yourself going through a narrow passage that all the players are trying to squeeze, or try and get around this predicament by breaking the ice with projectiles so you can use your 'own' route. -All in all, I will say that there are a comfortable
amount of stages to be had. Just enough to keep you coming back for more - gets to be a bit redundant once you've worn out you copy as much as me and my bro did when we had ours (what do I mean had
- we still have it) as you've played through the same stages over and over again until they are become predictable. But there's a healthy enough variety to keep the player satisfied so their experience never becomes too stiff or stale. Truly a game that stand the test of time and one that I hope holds up to expectations in the updated version I heard they released. -But for me, nothing will quite replaced this treasured piece of my past and just how riveting and 'groundbreaking' this game truly was. I'm certain game designers will try their hardest to top
this game any way they can, but I feel it is worth putting my two cents in that "it's the control that makes the game fun, not the variety!" That's something only a fan like me will truly understand...