Review by crazyforkillua
"Racing at the speed of light"
Mario Kart DS is definitely the best Mario Kart game to date, and arguably one of the best DS games made to date as well. There have been new added modes such as Mission Mode, VS Mode, and of course, everyone's favorite, Nintendo Wifi Connection (In simple terms, online play). Every DS owner should buy Mario Kart DS (or MKDS for short) just as any GCN owner should have Super Smash Bros. Melee and every N64 owner should have Super Mario 64. Mario Kart DS was the first Nintendo DS game to have online play using Wifi.
Gameplay: The gameplay in MKDS is wonderful. It is the heart and soul of MKDS. The controls are so simple that a baby could learn them. The A button is how you accelerate. You hold it down so you try to receive your maximum speed. The B button is your brakes. You press B to slow down a bit. If you get stuck in a tight corner and have to pull out, then hold B and you will go in reverse so you can drive out. The L or X button is to use your items. Items are a big factor in MKDS and they help with the fun factor because they always are different each time you play. The R button is to short hop and to drift. To short hop, all you have to do is press the R button and let go. If you want to drift, just hold the R button down and you will start to drift. Drifting is a big factor in MKDS as well. It leads to power boosts and power boosts can lead to snaking. To achieve a power boost, all you have to do is go back and forth on the D-pad going from left to right and you should see blue sparks. Blue sparks tells you that you're halfway done with achieving your mini turbo or power boost. Do it again, and you should go faster, like you had a little boost. This is called a power boost or mini turbo. I won't get into snaking because there are whole guides about them. The bottom touch screen is to view the course. If you want to switch maps to see the whole track or just where you are, then either hit the Y button, or touch the touch screen itself. I told you the controls were easy. The new courses are great. There are 16 new courses, separated into the Nitro cups and some old tracks such as Baby Park (GCN), Frappe Snowland (N64), and Peach's Circuit (GBA) return! They are separated in the Retro Cups. MKDS's gameplay is simple fantastic. MKDS can be very challenging to newcomers in the series. If they play on 150cc (which is the hardest difficulty, beside Mirror Mode) they will be sure to lose. You have an option of picking between 3 difficulties in the beginning of Grand Prix. You can choose from 50cc (easy), 100cc (normal), and 150cc (Hard). Many races are very fast paced. Thanks to the diverse items in the game, it makes it very intense. A blue shell at the right time could destroy you can make you lose. A very good example of item gameplay is that the farther place you are from 1st, you get better items. Some items can only be attainable when you're in a certain place. The Bullet Bill and Lightening can only be attained when you're in 6th-8th place.
Graphics: MKDS probably has the best graphics on the Nintendo DS. They look absolutely amazing and to top it off, they look better than the MK64 graphics. You can still see pixels on characters like Yoshi, it's fine because it is a handheld, and not a primary console. The graphics on Mario Kart DS really show how powerful the DS is, and what it can produce. Nintendo's newest handheld has better graphics then their last gen-system, Nintendo 64.
Sound: MKDS has great music as well. I love who each track has its own original tune to it and it makes each track more diverse. Even when you're searching for a game on wifi, they have a little music tune that plays. The ringing of the wifi searching sometimes gets in the way and makes it harder to hear the music though. Credit goes to Shinobu Tanaka for creating such great music we listen to when we play. The sound effects are pretty good too. When the blue shell is making its way to you, you hear a soundwave which indicates the oncoming shell. When you get hit by red and green shells, it sounds like a cracking noise. When you slip on a banana, you hear the character make a noise and a skid noise as well. The voice acting in MKDS isn't that big. The only really big part the VAs come in is in the beginning when you pick your character, because they say their name then.
Replayability: This game came out in November, and I've been playing it ever since. I continue to love this game and I am still getting better at it. If you get bored of just racing on Grand Prix, then you can try a new mode like Mission mode. Mission mode has 6 different levels (a 7th can be unlocked) and each level has 8 missions and then a boss fight. It is very fun, and some are actually pretty challenging. When you're done with Mission mode, you can play Vs mode, it get some training in. Time Trials are fun as well, even if they aren't new to the series. In Time Trial, you try to get as low time as possible for completing the laps. It takes a very long time to beat this game to 100%. I mean, getting all 3 stars on Grand Prix mode is very hard, and then getting 3 stars on all the missions make it even harder. Did I forget that you have to beat all of the staff ghosts too? Plus, even if you do beat it to 100%, you can challenge other people online to test your skills or you can race friends.
Multiplayer: The multiplayer in MKDS is great and very fun. You can play wirelessly against people who also have the MKDS game, or against people who do not have it. When playing people who have the MKDS cartridge, you can play on all courses and each player can pick his/her own character and whatever kart they desire. When you're playing against another person who does not have the MKDS game, then you can only play in the first 8 courses. You can only play in the Mushroom Cup courses and the Shell Cup. Also, the player who does not own MKDS, cannot pick his own character and kart. He will be given a default character, Shyguy, and a normal kart. You can play 2 modes on Multiplayer. The 2 modes are Vs Mode and Battle Mode. Vs Mode is the same as always, you race against your friends. You have the option of including CPUs and you can set them to whatever difficulty you want (easy, medium, or hard) and you can also set the speed (50cc, 100cc, or 150cc). You can also set teams so if somebody from your team wins, your team gets the points. Battle Mode consists of 2 choices, Balloon Battle or Shine Runners. Balloon Battle is the classic battle mode except with a different twist. Instead of having 3 balloons, you have 5. But you start out with 1 balloon. To get more balloons, you either have to hold the select button, or you could blow into your microphone. The maximum amount of balloons you can hold at any given time is 3. You have to attack your opponents with items to make them lose all their balloons. The one who is still standing at the end of the match is the winner and is awarded with one point. Shine Runners is different from the Shine game in Double Dash. Instead of having one Shine Sprite and holding it for a certain amount of time, you need to collect the sprites. After a given time, the people who have the least amount of Shines are eliminated. This goes on until there is one person remaining.
Online: Nintendo has done a fine job of producing online play for MKDS. To play MKDS online, you will need 1 of 2 things. You will need a wireless router that supports wifi, or you need a USB wifi connector. If you don't have either of these things, you can go to certain places such as McDonalds and use their wifi because they are a wifi hotspot site. When you connect on Wifi for MKDS, you can have the option of picking what to search under. You can search for friends that are also searching under friends (you know when a friend of yours is searching because a blue icon symbol appears). You can search under regional, which is that you can play people from over you country. You can play under Rivals which is that you can play people who have a similar record as yours. And you can Race under Worldwide, which is that you can race anybody from anywhere. This is the first online project that Nintendo has worked on and it's great! The gameplay online is great. Sure it lags sometimes, but it's actually very good for Nintendo's first wifi game. Again, the gameplay is very fast paced and the items make each race very intense. There is only one bad thing about the online play. That is the lack of courses. Some courses were not included to be put into online play. Nintendo's reasoning for not putting some courses online is that they would have too much lag playing online. You know, if you get 3 stars in every Grand Prix cup, you can have 3 stars next to your name online, showing that you accomplished such a task. The same goes for getting 1 and 2 stars on every Grand Prix cup.
This game is great and every DS owner should buy it. Mario Kart DS is the DS game we have been waiting for! This is hands down one of the best DS games so far and it's defiantly is the best MKDS game to date. Mario Kart games are not like the classic racing games. The items in the game make it special and it makes it much easier for people who are bad at regular racings games. This is highly recommended to any Mario fan, Nintendo fan, racing fan, and/or DS fan.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/01/06
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