Review by KiddyKong2
I remember hearing about this game being in development since the DS came out. I was looking very forward to it; one of the reasons I bought a DS in the first place. The day of its release, I snagged myself a copy before school. I just couldn't believe I bought Mario Kart DS. It was a long day at school, but I managed to get through. I finally came home, got my DS, and opened up the Mario Kart DS case. Taking the cartridge out made mt heart beat fast. Before I inserted the cartridge, I was struck with happiness that I thought would stay with me for a long time. And I was wrong.
As far as graphics go, I don't see much wrong here. Dry Bones and Wario are smooth, compared to the other characters, while some of them are downright awful. Let's take Donkey Kong, for example. The end of his elbow is so blocky, it's shaped like a wizard's hat. Bowser is downright blocky, you'd think he was on an 8-bit hand-held compared to the 64+ bits of the DS. The rest of the characters are normal 3D figures. Not only characters, but most of the surroundings are really blurry and blocky. When you pass signs during some of the street courses, you have to stop in order to read them fully. And even when you're not moving, it's blurry. The available cars have the worst graphics I've ever seen on a Mario Kart game, literally. Donkey Kong's Rambi Rider is very poor-structured, and Mario's B Dasher's is really bad-looking. Bowser's Hurricane has the worst graphics I've seen in this game, and I've seen bad. I also see graphic problems is Dry Bones's Banisher, though, not as bad as the Hurricane. It probably was hit with a hurricane, hence the name. Overall, the courses are very well done. The graphics in Waluigi Pinball are amazing, and the special effects are just a plus. Airship Fortress has extremely wonderful graphics. Last, but SURELY not least, the frame rate. I have NO problems with it at all.
Music: 8/10, Sound: 1/10
Most of the music was refreshing to hear, such as the soundtracks featured in Peach Gardens, Shroom Ridge, and Yoshi Falls. Other levels' music, like DK Pass, Luigi's Mansion, and Bowser's Castle can get annoying and repetitive. The Nintendo Wi-Fi Lobby soundtrack repeats itself every 30 seconds, and not only that, but it's just a dull piano melody. Aside from that, almost every new course has its own music. Mario Circuit and Figure 8 Circuit share the same music, as well as Waluigi Pinball and Wario Stadium. But that's it. By my personal taste, the rest of the music is okay, nothing too memorable.
Now... one of the things that pissed me off the most about this game is the SOUND EFFECTS. I HATED THEM. You know why? They LITERALLY gave me a migraine.... you'd wonder, what sort of effects would be so terrible someone literally gets a head pounding ache? You should hear the engine. It NEVER stops at all. Not only that, but it's really loud, and it's given me a headache in the past. You'd think that it wouldn't be a problem, but it is. In my opinion, there should at least be a sound mode where you can lower, raise, or even disable sound effects. The engine is only one of the sound effect flaws I've noticed in this game. For example, the characters' voices. Waluigi doesn't even sound like Waluigi, but like regular Luigi. When you confirm Donkey Kong, he sounds like Scooby Doo. Again, this is what they literally sound like. You'd think that the characters would sound like themselves, but nope. Each character only has about 3 different sound effects each, each happening at the stupidest times. When one kart passes another, the character in it would make a short victory grunt. And with it being Mario Kart, there's bound to be other karts passing each other all the time.
Speaking of passing each other all time, there's a little technique called Snaking, getting multiple power-boosts in a row to accelerate extremely fast. It's rather easy to perform, but it does take a lot of practice to master it. In my opinion, it takes away from the fun. And isn't that the main reason to get a Mario Kart game? About 35% of on-line Mario Kart DS players snake, and that ruins the fun for someone who doesn't know how to. Also, the people who have most of the world records use snaking to their advantage, getting laps that are about 10-20 seconds faster than a normal player's lap. Aside from snaking, the new Battle Mode isn't what I had expected. Sure, it's 8 players, but it's not as good as it sounds. You start off with one balloon, and in order to inflate more, you have to blow into the Nintendo DS's mic slot. Yes, you heard right, how much dumber can Battle Mode get? Two words: Tart Top. The worst Battle Mode course EVER. I'll explain it. Your on top of a giant strawberry cake, in which the item boxes are up in the sky. To reach them, you have to go off a giant ramp. Even then, your chances of getting one are 70%, as the kart can miss, and 3 out of 10 times, it does. There is 6 battle courses in all, 2 of them coming from old Mario Karts. (Block fort from the Nintendo 64 version, and Pipe Plaza from the Gamecube) The newer courses consist of a giant Nintendo DS, a mansion, a beach area, and a giant cake *shudders* The Battle Mode in all is so boring, and I've played it with 5 other DS players (all had the game) Let's go to the world's favorite part about the game: On-line play. The new on-line play pisses me off. I expected a lot more, and Nintendo thinks its okay to add mediocre on-line play. Basically, you just set up your controls, connect to Wi-Fi, and it choose a mode. You can choose from either Regional, Worldwide, Rivals, and Friends. It sets you up RANDOMLY. Even when you go on friends, it sets you with a random friend, and that's if they're currently on, besides that. After your opponent has been chosen, you get to chose from 20 different courses, and not the good courses either. Fan favorite Waluigi Pinball isn't available. And Battle Mode isn't allowed online. If you think that is bad, too much on-line play lowers your battery life, and not just temporarily. I forgot to mention, in Mario Kart DS, you could create your own emblems, 32 by 32 pixels, with up to 15 colors. Emblems appear next to your name in multi-player/on-line races, and it appears on your kart. You can change your emblem as much as you want, and it can be whatever you want. I almost forgot to mention: There are 4 new characters in Mario Kart DS: Daisy, Dry Bones, Waluigi, and R.O.B., a robot originally designed as an add-on the NES. All in all, while gameplay has some good parts, it mostly isn't good. And I admit; when I first played the game, I loved it. Then I started noticing the flaws it contains.
Story: I don't even think there is a story, let alone a good one, so I'll just not include it in the final review.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 01/30/06
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