Review by nintensionDS

"NINTENDO WIFI, we hail you"

:::: POINT BY POINT BREAK-DOWN BELOW::::

Well, there's been a lot said about Nintendo's online service attempts. Anyone remember the Gamecube going online?

If you're one of the few that do, then you're probably about as ecstatic as a kid on Christmas. Or you're already living in the light of the XBOX and PS2's online services. The truth is that Nintendo's online plans have literally flopped from the start. No one ever took Nintendo's online plan seriously and without any sort of form... the GCN online plans failed leaving Nintendo in a very unattractive OFFLINE contender.

Welcome to the dawn of a new generation in gaming. The new outlet for new gaming concepts even though a bit experimental and somewhat gimmicky is the NINTENDO DS. That's not to say the system is a gimmick or anything but there just hasn't been enough reason to use the touch screen for anything truly captivating outside of the beloved and wonderful Nintendogs. Nintendo has yet to truly break into the ONLINE mode and the people are tense as the Videogame industry begins turning truly stagnant.

Alas! A supreme light that shows there is hope in the middle of the storm. With Mario Kart DS, we see something that builds on a classic formula. Every Mario Kart game has attempted to change the formula, mixing it up and making it into something completely different than the last. The only thing is that there was hardly any effort to actually PERFECT the ever so successful series.

In the SNES version, there was a STRONG effort in making the game into something truly memorable. It was quick-pick up and play action with a lot of courses (despite being random variations of each other). There was a strong sense of playful difficult fun! Mario Kart 64 decided to take the idea and form it into a 3-D standard with some truly memorable tracks with visuals and sound that wow-ed the masses. The only thing wrong with it... was that it felt somewhat empty when compared to the original for unknown reasons. With Mario Kart Double Dash for the Gamecube, you had a game that had smooth visuals, so-so music and gameplay mechanics that were lacking when compared to the predecessors. The courses were short and empty despite a couple stand out jaw droppers.

What Mario Kart DS does... is PERFECT formula that has lacked in some aspect throughout each new generation of the kart-racing series.

VISUALS: Solid 9

The visuals follow the standards of MARIO KART and that means bright, colorful and exciting looking courses that are candy to the eye. The character models aren't pretty in still shots found on the web, but actually playing the game, you notice those jaggies are about as visible as dust on your screen. They're there but it's such a tiny detail or distraction, that the overall beauty of the game in its entirety stands out more.

SOUND: Smooth 9

The music has always been great in this series. It's always rich with memorable music and sound effects. The character voices lack quality and therefore sound annoying after awhile. This is the first game that I have truly utilized my DS headphones for as should any of you for at least the first couple rounds.

GAMEPLAY/CONTROL: Perfect 10

The gameplay is simply breath-taking. It's exciting from the moment you hit the road and lasts to the very end of the actual Game card's life cycle. There isn't a moment that the excitement lets up and the tactical execution of the weapons system is perfect. There are a few new additions to the item list which help make the game to be even more exciting!

Tracks are also very plentiful and not only will you find new crazed beasts to take on that are the best in the series, but you'll also be able to test the waters of previous Mario Kart tracks. The music and original design of each course is preserved and improved upon... It's too bad they didn't have a better track list from those games.

Controlling your character is fun and intense! There's a ton of tricks at your disposal making for a vast array of ways to win. Like I said, this is a "best of "game that perfects the MK formula and only the best control scheme is present here. Now, not only is there racing, there are also several modes available to the single player. There is the famous BATTLE MODE, which has a few new tricks up its sleeve including actual computer controller bots! There's TIME ATTACK, and VS mode which have returned this season for the fun! Also included is a new mission option that is INCREDIBLE! It almost reminds me of a Mario Kart version of the Super Smash Bros. Melee mission system. It's intense and tricky at the same time!

Overall, the gameplay could not be any better.

MULTIPLAYER: Exhilarating 9

There are 2 versions of the multiplayer mode. There's the DS to DS way which involves players physically being near each other and connecting wirelessly. You can play the game if only one person has the game and each have a DS, but you're stranded in terms of options. You can't choose anyone other than SHY GUY and the course selection is small. Obviously, if there is someone with the actual MKDS game, then more options are left open to the players.

Thankfully, God has awoken Nintendo from its offline slumber and has now entered the ring with a whopper of a multiplayer game! It's simple, easy and GREAT FUN to use. The only thing you need is a wireless internet connection found via hotspots or a home networked wireless router.

There could have been some improvements for trying to track down your friends, but for what the system offers... it's just what we need! Maybe next time, there will be an online battle mode! OH REVOLUTION, WE SOLUTE YOU!

REPLAYABILITY: Working 8

Replayability is definitely there despite some lack of rewards! You play the games modes and are handsomely rewarded in Grand Prix.. Meanwhile, completing the other modes is more of an option for wasting time as there is nothing to gain from beating them. I found out the hard way when trying to beat all 32 courses in a VS match... There is however, a ranking system which involves a player attempting to get a coveted three star rating that helps affect their credibility when facing online opponents. Aside from that, there is the online mode which works beautifully and has me coming back for more everyday!

ALL AND ALL: SUPREME 9

While not a perfect game, it is a perfect MARIO KART and if anyone has played at least one Mario Kart, they will know the caliber at which this one plays at. Expect long hours and tons of DS recharges as this game never lets up... EMBRACE YOUR NEW ADDICTION! (PS-what? This is the must own handheld game of the year for the must own handheld system of the year! ...Though those puppies were surely close runners up... oyyy) What are you waiting for? Go.. shoo shoo.. Buy buy buy... bye!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/29/05


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