Review by HeLG3N 3X

"This is a REAL review from a 15+ year gamer, don't trust the others."

To start off, I'm a veteran gamer (well actually I still play them.) Nothing that comes out has been impressing me, but when I got a DS with Dawn of Sorrow (and totally raping that game,) I decided it was time to get a new game for my DS.

I've always loved Mario Kart since it came out for SNES, I got it the same day it released which was some time in the early 90's. Mario Kart has always been a great game for multiplayer in terms of the true way: with friends, REAL friends.

I used to play Mario Kart for SNES almost every day for like 3 years, and know the full experience of wha to come by when another Mario Kart game comes out. I've also played the other versions, and know differences and what not, but I won't really get into that in this review, as this review is mostly to be focused on the game BEING review, which is Mario Kart DS for the Nintendo DS.

Now this new DS version has this online multiplayer, which, oh wow, I hate it! Now on to the review.

Graphics (7/10): Now I been seeing people on the other reviews saying this game has better graphics than even the N64 version... They're sadly mistaken, WAY OFF.
To be quite honest, they actualy removes various objects from the N64 versions stages, from what 've heard, and it bothers some of us older games who've played and loved the N64 version. The graphics are cute, and colorful as in all Mario games. The graphics aren't bad, but they aren't so great either, nothing mind-blowing. The sprites could have been a lot better, but the game moves at a smooth 60FPS from what I've seen, which is always a delight in gaming. (More is better too.)

Sound (7/10): Again, I have to say that someone else in their review said that the sound was superior to the N64's... I wouldn't exactly say that, hearing it fro the DS's tiny-but-awesome speakers, but I highly doubt the sound is better. In earlier games tracks, the songs sound really dumbed down, and there's some sounds that are totally different. A lot of the songs sound MIDI-ish infact, but that doesn't mean the songs aren't good, but just the usual common weird Mario type music, mostly folk-type tunes to be exact. The sound effects are nothing too special, they could have did a lot better on the voices, and should have actually added more voices to make the game feel more hectic, and give you a feel that you/someone else is actually causing some destruction.

Gameplay (5/10): Here we go, first of all, I really like the drifting and nitro boost technique here, but it's kind of hard to execute. Sometimes turning could be a task, even if you use a character with good handling, but this is to the newer players, so be advised. There's various gameplay modes, my personal favorite being battle mode (which should totally be online,).

I\ve noticed many people comparing this one to the SNES version, when infact it should be compared to the N64 version since that was the most newest version, besides the GBA version (which isn't bad, but graphics fall out next to this one.) If you're looking for that same type of control in which you had in the SNES version though, don't worry, it's still here, with just a little bit more. It's the online mode that changes everything though, because now you can race people from all over the world, or all over your country... you decide, but the online mode isn't what an online mode of a game should be, because it's extremely tacky and overly simplistic, but I'll get into that a little later.

I want to jump right into the Grand Prix mode, which is basically the mode you play and win to unlock secrets. First of all, the 50cc mode is incredibly easy, you can get a high rank with anyone on in 50cc. 50cc is basically a taste of what to expect when you pick the higher modes of gameplay.

100cc: It starts getting a little complicated, but not by much, other than the AI being as cheesy as possible, but not over the top cheese.

150cc: You might as well sell the game now, because this mode is beatable, but is extremely frustrating, as the AI completely cheats the whole time, and has overwhelming speeds. You'd be wondering why Toad is double lapping you, and he's not even that fast... I mean if the AI can do crap like that, why even have stats in the first place? It doesn't make sense.

Online: The online mode is SO BORING if you ask me, first of all you cannot chat whatsoever... like wow, big deal there's kids playing it online and they want to protect them, don't they have a care for the people who might like to chat a little? All they had to do was make an age sign-up on their site or on the actual DS when you sign up for the first time, and boom, everyone is happy, but no. Then I'm pretty sure a lot of people (like 80% to be precise) cheat, because I could not even bump into a wall, or mess up once, but be double lapped? It makes no sense, I even used shortcuts, golden mushrooms ETC, still no cigar. There's a technique online called "snaking," which is when you keep using the nitro boost technique, so you can get quite annoyed by seeing this technique getting used online, because it's basically an infinite boost.

Me personally, I didn't get that feel of back when I was playing the old version, and it's not because it WASN'T the old version and because it was new, but it just didn't give me that hype I got when the SNES version came out. It was even exciting just 1 on 1 with a friend (which is how we usually played it.) It seems that not since it's online, like now YOU HAVE TO get online to play because you're like "ohh, it's online, I can race other people!" But how fun is it to race someone, when you can't even communicate with them? I really sometimes just want to say "Ohhh, I left your ass in the dust. my dude!" Totally kills the original experience, blah.

Replay (9/10): There's quite a lot of replay, and if you're getting this game to play online, I'd recommend actually getting everything you possibly can in the one player mode, because it can seriously enhance your gameplay experience on Wi-Fi.

Overall: If the AI wasn't horrible, the online mode was more organized and had more modes, and various cheesy things in this game could be fixed, this would probably be the best game like this in it's class, but there's just too many things that could aggravate a normal gamer, or someone who likes a really GOOD game, like me. Many will disagree with me, but the game to many is an eye-candy in itself, and some may really like it's easy controls and colorful appearence, but it's really not that great of a game. Get Castlevania if you're a true hardcore gamer, and want something with a great story, but enough of that for now.

Rent this game if possible, I have had eough of it after a week, and want my money back to be quite honest.

Pros:

-Good game for beginners of DS, or beginners of online gaming for DS
-Easy to control for beginners
-Great time killer for you, and another friend with a DS if possible
-Has many of the older maps from previous games
-It's Mario Kart.... on a handheld! (Excluding the GBA one.)

Cons:

-Online mode contains many cheaters
-Cannot chat online
-AI is extremely annoying on higher difficulties
-Game relies on luck too much when playing the AI on higher levels
-Stats almost mean nothing in this game
-So colorful, it can cause extreme eye-strain

Final Score (6/10)
I really had a lot of fun with this when I first got it, and thought this was one of the funnest games I've played on the go, and also thought it was cool because I could play it with my friend by sending it to him, but it got really boring and repetitive after just an hour or two of play. If the AI wasn't based on luck and required more actual skill and reaction, it would be a much better game. If the online mode was more interactive and had other modes, I'd be much happier.

I love you Nintendo, since I was 7 years old, but I think it's time to stop using the annoying AI that us older gamers still have nightmares about, also got to make a nice online game with a better interface, and consider some of the more mature gamers, every now and then.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 07/13/06


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