Review by xcamel24
"Porting the Classics: Mario Kart 64 style"
In 1997, Mario Kart 64 was released, the same year other hit games were, like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Final Fantasy 7, and others. But unlike the two most previously listed games, this game doesn't hold up in today's standards quite as well.
Note: I'm reviewing this game based on as if it were released today as a brand new game, not as if I was in 1997 again.
The graphics obviously are going to suffer a great deal because of the age of this game, and this game's graphics don't age perfectly. The character models for the carts are not very detailed and don't really make many animations. The levels however are nicely colored and look pretty decent even today. But this game in no way shape or form stretched the limits of the N64, and it shows here today.
Usually I rate a games story line, but Mario Kart doesn't have one. Therefore I won't factor this in the review.
Game Play: 8/10
This is what holds the game up by today's standards. The game is still pretty fun, and has some of the most unique tracks in the Mario Kart realm. Also, one thing that you can love about Mario Kart 64 is the game engine. Unlike Double Dash and Mario Kart DS, this game isn't broken. You can't abuse the powersliding, and the items aren't incredible. There are some weakpoints, such as randomly getting good items near the lead, for instance, even in first place you stand a chance of getting Stars and even Lightning. This game has some great battle tracks, including the popular "Block Fort" which was made a battle stage in Mario Kart DS. One other draw back however- if you were looking forward to saving your ghosts and racing against them, those thoughts had best be forgotten, as Nintendo decided against emulating the memory pack.
Re-play factor: 8/10
After you finish beating all the GP cups and mirror mode, there is plenty of fun to be had with multi-player, 2 players can race together in the GP, or you can race 4 player VS and Battle modes. Unfortunately, in 3 and 4 player modes, there is no game music, (which is in the original game.)
The game's music by today's standards isn't anything incredible, but it is fun-loving in nature. The N64 isn't known for its exceptional sound quality, and this game is no exception. There are only 16 tracks, and some tracks still are used multiple times, which makes the developers look lazy. On the bright side of that, most of the songs are catchy, not enough to make you want to listen to the song outside of game play, but its not terrible. Sounds are great and there are plenty of "boings" and "crashes" to make the game feel fun in general.
This game warms up pretty good, and gets hard fast. Even if you master powersliding, which isn't too tough, the computers have a "1 player catch up", where if you get far in the lead, the game will give them boosts to catch you. So you will probably spend most of your race battling for the lead, which adds a nice difficulty factor. The downside to that is for the most part you won't be able to race away very far from the CPU before they catch you. This game is very well balanced, even the characters like Bowser and Wario can still win against a Toad or Yoshi, while in later Mario Kart games those characters usually have great troubles keeping up with the lighter carts.
All in all Mario Kart 64 is great entertainment with friends and has some of the more unique tracks in the Mario Kart series. If you want some old school nostalgia, like Mario Kart, or need a game to play 4 player with your buddies, for 10 bucks Mario Kart 64 shouldn't serve you wrong. Anyone else may be disappointed with it though.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/05/07
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