Review by Speed
"The Best of a Classic Series"
At first glance of Nintendo releasing another handheld I did not know what to do with myself. Of course, I bought it on the first day. But what games should I get with it..That was my re-occurring dilemma until I happened to spot it. All the commercials had advertised it until nothing left was the complex code. All of the reviewers gave it 5/5 and 10/10. The propaganda had boosted this game until their was nothing left to do. That game, is Mario Kart DS.
Graphics - 9.5/10 The graphics are not as bad as one might think. The tracks, karts, players, and items are all in 3D and are beautifully done. The way the Dual Screen utilizes the graphics is another plus as not only can you see the live play going on on the top screen but if you look at the bottom screen you can see the top down view of the players (Shown as a head icon of the character). Touching then screen changes the mode into a full blown screen of the map to really let you know what is going on with the places. Graphics on this game overall are not a down-side at all. They really add to the effect of realism and give you that "in your seat" that Mario Kart has always offered since the Super Nintendo. From the naked streets to the paved white lines on the ground, you will feel like Bowser's breath is steadily increasing on the back of your kart as you race around ferocious tracks to reach the end.
Sound - 9.8/10 Their is really no con to the sound but nothing is perfect. Their is always room for improvement no matter what the situation maybe. The sound in this game is spectacular however. Whether you are drifting on a 20-second sprint, you are shooting a green shell from your kart, or you are crashing into an obstacle on the left side of the screen the sound is pretty much dead on. The music as well gives you that old skool Mario Kart element that most of us Nintendo fans are used to. Sound will always be a big huge to the Mario Kart genre that entices you to want to play match after match.
Controls - 10/10 Now this is why I love Mario Kart so much (besides Gameplay of course) is the controls. They do not get any simpler then this. You move with the control pad. You accelerate with A. You brake with B. A fetus could play Mario Kart and beat the game no problem. Now, the new additions to the game is of course the power sliding. I do not know if everybody can master this skill but once you do, you are pretty much unstoppable in sorts. Once you can master the power sliding, you can then master "Snaking". Now, as most of us know snaking is the coined term of F-Zero. Some say it is cheating in the Wi-Fi world we have come to know and love but others state it is just another strategy of playing. Whatever y9ou pick is your choice. Mario Kart DS utilizes the power sliding to give people the extra power boost once orange/red flames come from under your kart by simultaneously pushing the control pad left + right. All in all, the controls are very similar to all Mario Karts out their and you will have no problem getting the learning curve.
Gameplay - 10/10 ..What is their to say about this beautiful, glorious gameplay? Let us start with the Grand Prix. Of course, no Mario Kart would be complete without the immensely fun, yet tedious, gameplay of the Grand Prixs. What makes this one so unique is that the more races you do successfully the more rewards you can receive. Their are 36 Karts in total with the addition of some new races such as Dry Bones and R.O.B. They have even took it to another level and, to make it less boring, changed the title screen up every time you get further into the Grand Prix and I must say, the last one is pretty cool looking. The tracks consist of everyone from all of the Mario Karts. They are even titled to what system of Mario Kart they came from. For example, one is titled "N64 Frappe Snowland". It is nice to know that old games are not left out to die. A wonderful tradition that Nintendo always seems to hold on to.
The Time Trial mode is different this time around. Thanks to the utilization of Friend Codes you can send your "Ghost" and even receive "Ghosts" from other people so that you can verse their Time Trials and show them who is really the boss. This brings head-to-head competition to the next level. Their is even "Staff Data" that you can verse and beat the Staff of Nintendo's time to unlock more things but I will not spoil that for you. Time Trial is also another mode that you can use to your advantage to advance your skill in the game so that when you take that head on competition on the Wi-Fi, you will not be left out.
Multiplayer has took a step up as well. Their are a couple of mini-games you can play against computers and up to 8 people in a group. Thanks to this wonderful game and handheld, you can play Mario Kart DS with someone who does not even have the game. This is called Single-Card play. This is a broke gramers dream. The mini-games are Balloon Battle and Shine Runners. The object of Balloon Battle is to burst your opponents balloons with items. Thanks to the DS, you can even blow into the Microphone in your DS to blow your balloons back up. The object of Shine Runners is to collect more Shines then anyone else. You can even steal someone else's Shines. Verse mode is even crazier as you can play up to 8 people on this one to and let me tell you, with the right people and right skill that can get hectic!
Last but not least are the Missions. This is a wonderful new addition to the Mario Kart series. It consists of a set of missions up to Level 6 with 8 missions in all. But getting at least a star overall grade in each level unlocks the..well, I will let you find that out on your own. The missions are a perfect place to hone your skills and pass the time. The missions become very random the more you do it and the more you advance in so be prepared to show what you are truly made up once you get farther down. A lot of the mission force you to do "different" moves and things depending on the situation in order to beat it. That is why the missions are so wonderful in this game. So you see, they are not just missions, they are like little, mini tutorials for you to do to help out that starting player.
Of course, no one can overlook the all powerful, Wi-Fi. That is the money ticket of Mario Kart DS. As I did, most people get this game just to play it online. Not all of us can afford wireless internet routers and that is fine but for the lot of us who can, we are in heaven. You can race up to 4 opponents from all over the world..now that is interaction. At the end of 4 races your points are calculated and the winner is shown. On the records menu, located on the Main menu of the game, you can even see your record against other people you have versed separately if you have them as a friend.
Overall - 9.9/10 Although not perfect it is so close. With its innovative gameplay, tons of tracks, and major action, this game is a huge addition to any true gamers' library. Their is so much to do in this game and so much to explore that I promise you, you will be kept busy while playing this game. Their is hardly any time for you to just sit around and think, unless you have the game paused or at the Main Menu of course.
So, their you have it. A review to one of the most powerful, fun games on the Nintendo DS. While reading this review I know your mouth was watering and you had the urge to go find your moms purse to count up the necessary money needed to buy the game. Do not worry, this game is all over the place and you will get your fill of fun in no time. Their is so much to do and so much to see that most have claimed this to be the best Mario Kart of all time. But do not take my word for it, check it out for yourself. Whether you are old player of Mario Kart, like most of us, or you just happened to start real late into the series by playing this one first, I guarantee that if you like fun tracks, intense racer action, and Nintendo in general, you will not be disappointed.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/09/07
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