Review by ReZips

"The game all Mario Kart fans have secretly cried over for years"


Mario Kart DS is a rare game. Yes, the word rare is thrown around a lot. Oddly enough, Rare the company created Diddy Kong Racing, a game the mimicked Mario Kart 64 on the Nintendo 64. But Mario Kart DS is a rare game because of what it has done. Not only is it a great game (which I will get into later) but it is also something many people like to call a “killer app” or a game that defined a console at the beginning of its life. It is a game that pulls over people with little or no interest in a console just because of how good it is. Halo did that for Xbox, Grand Theft Auto did it for PS2, and Ocarina of Time did it for the N64. Mario Kart DS is the newest entry in that long list of games. But why? Well, that involves a little history.

Mario Kart is an odd series. It is known as one of the best multiplayer games and racing games of all time. Yet each individual game lacks one thing or another. Whether it be graphics, a sense of speed, or the fact that they added 2 people to one kart, none of the games ever felt complete…until now.

Mario Kart DS takes full advantage of the Nintendo DS and its capabilities. The graphics are top notch, better than Mario Kart 64, a game many feel would have trumped MKDS in graphics. The touch screen comes to use in 2 ways. You can select characters, settings, races and so on with the screen, but you can also use it as a map. This is invaluable as it allows you to see shells and other objects coming up to you. Zoom out and you've got a full view of the course. I find myself glancing down there more than I thought because of how effective it really is. The microphone is used during battle mode where a player must inflate his or her balloons during the race. This adds an extra element of strategy to the game.

Mario Kart fans will also rejoice over two retro things added to this wonderful game. The first is the bringing back of the original power slide. I personally loved doing the power slide in Mario Kart 64, and now on the DS it is back in all it's glory. The second feature seals the deal for this game. The developers have brought back 16 of our favorite levels from Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, and Mario Kart: Double Dash. Some of the favorites are Hanging gardens from MK:SC, Baby Park from MK:DD, and Moo Moo Farm from MK64. These levels are brought back in full graphical glory from the 16-bit levels to the beautiful GCN levels, everything is as it was.

Mario Kart also includes everyone's favorite multiplayer mode, Battle Mode. What makes this battle mode is that not only are 8 players playing at once, but there are 5 balloons. Each player starts out with just 1 balloon, and it is their decision if they want to race with that one balloon, or stop and blow into the microphone and blow up 2 more balloons. Also included are many old favorites in Battle Mode history, including everyone's favorite Battle Mode level, Block Fort. Oh, and did I mention that, for the first time, Battle Mode can be played in single player? That's right, you can finally face bots in Battle Mode and help tune up your skills.

Don't get the impression that this is strictly a retro game, oh no. There are two Grand Pres, a retro one and a new one. The new one features 16 completely new levels to the Mario Kart series. They are all fun and exciting and enjoyable.

There are also some new editions added to this game. One is a new mode with challenges where one must complete certain mundane tasks, such as driving through 5 tires in a row, or racing around a course backwards. These help tune your skills and can also be fun. After completed 8 of these, you enter a boss battle, where you must complete a specific task to move on.

And, of course, there is internet. This is the first Nintendo game to go online with the Nintendo DS, and it allows for up to 4 players online from anywhere in the world as long as you have a hotspot.

Finally, there is the racing multiplayer. 8 person LAN games are the must-do for this game, as well as the fact that 8 players can race via only one cartridge!

Mario Kart DS is an amazing game, and one that NO DS owner should be without. Not owning this game is deprivation to the DS.

Graphics: 10/10
Amazing. That is the only way to put it. The Nintendo DS could pull off some pretty nice visuals, but it wasn't until this game that they were really shown in full force. Beautiful 3D characters and levels, lush colors, and more.

Sound: 9/10
Mario Kart games are notorious for their cheery music, but why not? The music fits the game nicely, and all the classic skids, hops, zooms, and characters laughing are back.

Gameplay: 10/10
Wow. This game is fun. FUN. There are few words in the English language that can describe how fun this game is. In fact, I am at a loss for words trying to describe to you how fun it is.

Replayability: 10/10
This isn't even funny. 8 person LAN games, 32 tracks, 50+ missions, Battle Mode, Time Trials, unlockable characters, internet play, and more. This game will keep your DS on for many months to come.

Rent or Buy?
You have no soul if you do not buy this game.

Final Thought:
You know what, in the time it has taken you to read this, you could have bought the game. Stop reading. BUY THE GAME.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/18/05


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