Review by neothe0ne

"Double Trouble is not fun"

Mario Kart Double Dash... this must have been one of the most looked-foward-to Nintendo games. The GameCube was FINALLY getting its Mario racing title! I bought it without a second's hesitation and learned, a week later, what an utter waste I'd made of fifty hard-earned dollars. Plus the fact that I was greeted by a wailing Baby Mario upon boot of the game....

The controls of MKDD are good, at least. A is still accelerate, B is still brake, and now holding B is reverse. Z lets you switch characters, which can be important to gameplay. Using items and using the superslide are the same, and the superslide is now actually useful. The controls are responsive and I never felt like they were sluggish or insecure. It's nice to know that the controls of this game, at least, are not flawed.

How long did Nintendo develop this game? The gameplay is TERRIBLE. Before the start of a game, you need to choose 2 characters. There are light-weight, normal weight, and heavy-weight characters, and the characters affect what karts you can choose from. At the start of the race, you have your early/secret boost for accelerating at the right time before you're supposed to. The problem with the game is immediately apparent, especially if you're playing as a lightweight character: it's way too easy to get knocked around, knocked sideways, or even flipped upside-down and then after a delay flip right side up unnaturally. Now, if you survive the start of a GP, you'll experience "boost" ramps that don't help very much, overlapping tracks that can have you run into people far in front of you or far behind you, and cheap special items that you immediately want so you'll start switching characters. That's the first course of the first cup, plus or minus a few retries. As you progress through the game, you don't see all that much change in style, layout, secrets, shortcuts, or anything. Sure, it might look different, but in concept and (probably) game code it's exactly the same. It's like Nintendo decided that MK64's best feature was Luigi's Course (the first one) and decided to remix it a bit for almost every track. In fact, I can only think of one shortcut in the entire game, on Yoshi's island stage, which is nearly impossible to get to. Nothing like Koopa Troopa Beach in MK64, or the glitch-cuts of Sherbert Land, Wario Stadium, and Rainbow Road. But then again, come to think of it, you can't fall for very long in this game. If you somehow manage to fall of a track, which Nintendo tried very hard to not let you do (try running up a speed boost ramp over a pit, ramming against a friend), the screen almost immediately goes black and you get dropped onto the track pretty quickly. Also nothing like in MK64's Rainbow Road, where you can fall until h*ll freezes over before being picked up and dropped off.. or get an extremely rare and very victorious shortcut. Once you complete a course, you get points as always. However, the points spread is VERY different than in MK64. First gets +10, down to +8.. to +1 and then 0. Therefore, a perfect score in a cup is 40 points. But what motivation do you have to try for perfect? You don't get anything extra. All you should try to do is beat the closest computer team, or you'll go insane and do more harm to your GameCube than you want.

Oh yeah, remember the Spiny Shell from MK64? It'll fly off and automatically hit first place, or hit the person directly in front of you on the last lap? Okay, once the Spiny Shell explodes, it gives off this HUGE shock wave that generally covers the entire path. It's like Nintendo intended the shell explosion to hit everyone near first place, sparing no one mercy. And guess what happens if you're first place and you get a Spiny? Fire it off, and it'll immediately drop behind you, and it'll blow itself up on you!

If for some reason you decide that co-op is the right choice for you and your friend, get ready for the biggest dissapointment of your life. You're seriously better off not playing at all, unless you're either a team dictator or a team leech. One person controls the front character (driver), the other controls the back character (item user). If the driver is competent, he'll run into double-block items, and he'll usually have an item to use. He also drives. The other character does absolutely nothing, except the occasional tap of the controller when an item is obtained. To switch places, unilateral Z-pressing must be done. So, in the end, most of our co-op games were spent with two people grabbing at two drivers' controllers while the computers raced ahead. Co-op is the worst chore I've ever encountered, and it should have been removed from the game long before launch.

The Battle mode of Mario Kart is the reason why most people buy and enjoy the game. Well, I've got news for you, it's not that much fun. In Battle, the character restraints are gone. All the characters can get all of the items now. Weight still plays a part in karts and other gameplay factors, though. Now, where to go: there are only 6 stages to choose from. There's a faint shadow of a Block Fort (it's only one story, and doesn't have any bridges), a stage with teleporting pipes that can be fun to play catch in, and the brand-new, innovative, fun TILT-A-KART!! Tilt-A-Kart is the only reason why I haven't tossed this game yet. This stage tilts, so if you stop driving you start sliding, and the items slide too. The only downside of this stage is that it only has single-block items, so you can't get 2 at once. However, there are obvious gameplay flaws here too. The Mushroom has been totally revamped from before, and it's super cheap, which removes the balance of the game. Remember in MK64, when you ran into somebody at a high speed, they lost a balloon? Well, now you STEAL a balloon! So you can have more than 10 lives in a normal balloon battle. Everything else is the same, hit them with a shell, banana, anything, they lose a life. Well, not everything: the bombs are gone!!! Now, if you lose and 2+ humans are left, you just sit there. No more kama kazee fun... a "Shine Thief" and "Bomb Blast" are the other two modes besides classic balloon battle. If you hold the "Shine" for 45 seconds, you win. If you get hit, you drop it and someone else gets it. Can be fun.. for a little bit. Bomb Blast is more like it, though. Everytime you get an item block, you get a bomb instead of an item. You need to get 4 blasts on someone else to win. If you get blasted, you lose points. The leading player in both of these modes, if the game is close to ending, is always highlighted.

The music of this game is pretty good. The music sounds bright and cheerful, but after you have to replay stages a lot, the music can get on your nerves since it's so bright and you're not having a bright time with the game. Bowser's Castle theme sounds Bowser-like, with the deep and dark feeling of lava and Koopas. The jungle-themed stage is once again just a collection of annoying sound effects that barely qualifies as a song. Other than that, I can't recall any music that stood out.

The graphics are pretty good. The graphics of MKDD is generally bright and cheery, and very colorful. Maybe it's because the stages look fake, when many of them try to be realistic, but the graphics don't really fit in this game. In any case, the best looking and most fun stages to play on are probably Rainbow Road for racing and Tilt-A-Kart for battles. (both happen to be rainbow-colorful and original) It didn't take all that long before I realized how bad this game was, and GameCube can do much better in both music and graphics than this.

If you were a hardcore Super Mario Kart and/or Mario Kart 64 fan, there isn't much here for you to like. The gameplay doesn't even feel like it did in SMK or MK64, especially with the lack of a jump. I don't know how a gamer would view it if they haven't played its prequels, but I utterly detest this game. I seriously reconnected my N64, nudged over the edge by the lures of Mario Kart 64, GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Zelda OoT, and other various games that are superior to their GameCube descendants. It's bad enough that GameCube has already sunk so low, but this is proof that Nintendo is losing its touch.

Pros:
Lots more characters
Lots of karts to be chosen from
2 characters per kart
Character-unique items
3 classes of characters/karts with stats
2 new battle modes
GP courses contain less traps in Multiplayer than in Singleplayer
Tilt-A-Kart rocks!
Completely revamped pawnage with Mushrooming into someone else

Cons:
Completely revamped pawnage with Mushrooming into someone else
Pick any 2 characters, they're exactly the same in everything but skin
Pick 2 karts, chances are they're exactly the same too (at least the difference is so miniscule that you won't notice in game)
Hardly any secrets/shortcuts
Insanely rigged under certain circumstances
Co-op ends up being a struggle for the controller with the driver
Only one innovative & fun battle stage (that's tilt-a-kart)
GP courses are straightforward and boring
Which #@*$ thought up All Cup Tour???!
All Cup Tour takes 40+ minutes to complete and then save
Only a gold unlocks items, silver and bronze do nothing
Still lacks a real 4-player GP
Multiplayer gets boring fast, and single player isn't even worth a replay
Jump is gone
Lightning-caused flattening is gone
The 3-shell shield is gone
Bombs in battle mode are gone
Okay, can somebody PLEASE explain to me what Nintendo did to the Spiny Shell?
The fun is gone; this is a chore, right?

"They took out all strategy and racing and turned it into a "hang back and kill everyone at the last second" game." - GTGD


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 01/07/05, Updated 07/01/05


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