Review by Sharkshooter

"A great setup but totally unfair AI"

Before I start, let me begin by saying this score is based on playing the game SOLO. If you are able to hook up to the Internet, it make this game much more worth buying.

Graphics - 10/10
Alright, I'm going to jump right into it. The graphics are good for a hand-held game; you are not going to be disappointed. Sure, the game cube courses had to suffer some changes (I will get to that later.) but overall the graphics are very impressive.

Sound - 10/10
The sound, as expected from a first party Nintendo game, is great. It's obvious that effort was put into giving each track a unique song. They're not annoying enough to have to turn your sound off (but with the various sound effects of "oohs" "ahhs" "yaaays" and crashes/explosions, other people might ask you to!); the music fits the tracks well.

Tracks - 9/10
I felt this had to have its own section. The tracks, overall, are great. The new tracks felt very good and used original ideas (the airship based level, for example) and are very fun. It was very cool that they included four tracks from each previous Mario Kart game (SNES, N64, GBA, and CGN versions); however, the game cube tracks suffered
both graphically and physically (in Mushroom Bridge, for example, you can no longer drive up the sides of the bridge.)

Gameplay - 1/10
The way you actually play is alright. Driving feels good, drifting is easy enough once you get used to it, and using items is easy enough. However, this is not where the gameplay fails. The gameplay fails in the bottom-of-the-bucket AI system. This is how it works; each COM character is given a place beforehand (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th...) and will get that place EVERY TIME unless you pass them up. You end up only racing that best COM player, with the rest of them being in your way. Now, this is not as apparent in 50cc mode, but 50cc mode goes so slow that you'll literally fall asleep. 100 cc is a little worse, but 150cc mode is absolutely horrible: the AI cheats. A lot. Lets say Mario is supposed to get 1st place. If you pass him up, Mario somehow gets the ability to go twice as fast as he is supposed to be able to go by the game's rules. I suppose they do this so you don't stay in 1st and get bored...BUT IT IS VERY HARD TO STAY IN 1ST THIS WAY. It's not just the 1st COM-it's every single one. They all go faster than possible, turn corners tighter than possible, and will perfectly block any red or green turtleshell that might come to hit them from behind. You have to make NO mistakes to win the later races in 150cc; one hit from a red turtleshell, or one hit from a banana, and you have lost. The three laps you get does NOT give you enough time to get back up to 1st; and getting anything other than 1st is going to severely hinder you from winning the rest of the GP. It doesn't help that anyone can get the blue turtleshell item, immediatly targetting the racer in 1st, and basically dropping him out the race for good.

Online - 8/10
The online mode is very fun, since you don't have to worry about cheating AI players. Playing against other humans is very entertaining, and if you can somehow get your DS to hook up to a router, it makes the game worth buying. However since 90% of the people who get this game either don't have a router or will never get the thing to hook up, it doesn't apply to this game's score.

Unlocks - 4/10
The unlocks are good unlocks, don't get me wrong; many, many karts, three new characters, and mirror mode. However, having to beat every. single. GP. with a gold trophy, including every single GP on every single cc class, INCLUDING 50cc with its mind-numbing slowness, is almost not worth it. The car's stats don't matter much either in the long run.

Extras - 3/10
The mission mode is a complete throw-out. Each mission is either very hard, very easy, or very frustrating. The bosses are the only reason you would maybe force yourself through it. The battle mode is fun-only against other humans. Having to blow your balloons up is just another gimmick to use the DS's microphone. The battle arenas are very good, with some of the best taken from previous games and some good new additions. Again, very fun against other humans.

Overall - 3/10
This is not an average of the scores; gameplay, in my opinion, is the most important thing about a game-since that's what you do, play it. This game falls very short in the gameplay division. If you are thinking of buying another DS title, look past all the claims that this is the best game on the DS, because it is not. You should be inclined to look elsewhere, because this game does not deliver-unless you are able to play over the Internet. In this case, the game shines, but this is its only purpose.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 01/16/06


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