Review by Blackmage_241

"Mario Kart DS, 1 word: brilliant"

The Mario Kart series not only went completely away from the norm of racing, it created a completely new genre. We all loved the original Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64 captivated us all, Mario Kart Double Dash gave us a new breed of Kart racing, and now, we have Mario Kart DS. Which has done none other than kept up the brilliance of the Mario Kart reputation

Gameplay: 10/10 Again, if you loved the original Mario Kart 64, you're going to love the Gameplay of Mario Kart DS. You will have your choice of 8 characters at the beginning. Mario, Luigi, Peach, Wario, Yoshi, Boswer, Toad, and DK will be your choice of starting characters. After you've done some playing, you can unlock Dry Bones, Waluigi, Daisy, and the strange character R.O.B. Along with the characters, you will also have a choice of karts, only seen in Double Dash. After a while, you can unlock more karts for each character, for a grand total of 36. You will have your choice of 32 beautifully designed tracks. Not only that, but 16 of those tracks are from past games. From Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart Advance, even Mario Kart Double Dash! All of them have had some of our favorite tracks remade into the DS. Along with the 16 retro tracks, there are also 16 new tracks that take you to known locations like Luigi's Mansion, Delfino Square, and more. Also, you have a few new items. Among the classics that you saw from Mario Kart Double Dash (excluding the specials) you have new items. The Bob-omb, which is pretty hard to use, and deadly if used wrong. The Blooper, which can be useful at times, but usually you and your buddies get smart enough to look at the map screen. And, the greatest one yet, the Bullet Bill. This item will transform your kart into a bullet bill, rocket off through the track, and pulverise anything in its way. If you ask me, that's one pretty frickin awesome ability, even if it only lasts for 5 maybe 6 seconds. The game rounds it all off with 5 single player modes: Grand Prix, where you can race off against computer players for trophies, Time Trial, where you can set new records, race your ghosts, or race unlockable and much more difficult staff ghosts, VS, in here, if you're just itching for a quick race or two, the game will set up a few CPU's for you and you can have some quick and easy fun. Battle: where you can either fight to pop opponents balloons or spar over the gleaming shine sprites. Mission Mode: This is a new type of mode for the MK series. In here, you will have to complete numerous missions and you will be judged accordingly to how well you did.

Control: 10. Excellent control. The control and simplicity of the function of each button is great. It doesn't take to long before you're power sliding and turbo boosting (very important in this game) all over the place. Some karts have better control and drift ability than others, but that's just the kart. On the bottom screen is a map, it can either be giant or very small and show you each little detail. Thankfully, if you want a different map display, all it requires is a touch of the screen and BOOM! You're there. So I'd say the control of MKDS is incredible because the simplicity, ability to keep your kart under an easy control, and ease of item usage and other stuff available to MKDS.

Sound: 10. Again, another excellent score for this category. Have you ever been in first place and feel like you can hear the whoosh of the blue shell as it comes to annihilate you? I know its not something we want to hear, but eventually, we all have. The new stereo capability of the DS is great for MKDS because now the sounds feel so much more lively and they feel close to you. The Nintendo team did an excellent job capturing all sounds. From the revving of your engine, the squeal of your breaks, the skidding of your power slides, and the classic sounds from all of the Nintendo characters. Something cool I noticed was the sound of the kart's horns. Each one is unique; like Yoshi's kart's horn makes the gold old fashioned yoshi " ree rer" sound. Plus, even with the new items, the sounds stay consistent and well defined. Music stays at the brilliance you can expect from the Mario Kart series and the retro courses still retain their background tunes in all their glory.

Graphics: 10. For a DS these graphics are great! It feels like you're back sitting on your bean bag chair with a bowl of Doritos next to you playing Mario Kart 64 on your TV in your small childhood room. Or maybe that's just me! The awesome range of color on this game shows how much went into this project. The dimension of each character is great for a portable system, along with their karts. Each of the SNES and GBA courses have been reborn for the DS which means better graphics. The GCN courses have been dropped down a bit, but if you're like me, you won't care at all.

Multiplayer: 10. Ah, now we see something we haven't seen in a portable Nintendo system: Internet connection. Now if you don't have a friend over and you still feel like kicking the crap out of an actual person, you can just connect to a wireless router or Nintendo Wi-fi USB connector. Take it from me, buy the USB connector. It is much easier to set up for the DS and it costs a lot less unless eBay is your store. Even though a few levels have been excluded from your choices on internet play, it still rocks. You will race against 1-3 other people over 4 tracks to see who can get the most points. I heard many complaints about how you should be able to connect to 7 other people. Well, if you think about it, each time you just begin to connect, it takes a while to find 3 people sometimes, let alone 7. Plus, it still retains the fun of single player. But you need to get one thing through your head before you play; you are probably not the best player on earth. Especially if you're like me and run into a NOA staff member while connecting. When you unlock staff ghosts, you will see Nintendo, a star, and a bunch of Japanese characters. I found one of those people. That sucked;those staff members are pros at this so don't be ashamed to lose to anyone. Trust me, having a good win-lose ratio for me is having about ten more losses than wins. Cause a loss is in most cases 3rd or 4th, and in some cases 2nd. And the friend code ability allows you to enter in a friend's, or someone's online like here, friend code. This doesn't help to much on MKDS, because unless you have like 20 pages of friends, the odds of any of them being on get slim. The only downside to Wifi is the disability to chat. But when you're racing, are you really gonna take the time to right something down while driving?!?
Along with the Wifi, you also have the option of playing Download play like in the old DS games. There is little difference in single play and this mode of multiplayer. You can battle, race a vs match, etc. You just can't play a Grand Prix match. But that would get really complicated anyway, so again, if you're like me, you won't care.

Replay ability: 11! How can you top internet access and the ability to connect to every MKDS owner on the planet? Replay ability for this is phenomenal just for internet access. Because there are hundreds upon thousands of opponents out there waiting to play you.

Overall: 10/10, beautifully made new installment of the Mario Kart series.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/30/06

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