Review by ShockeeperEZZ

"Mommy, Mommy!! I want a go-kart just like theirs!"

Mario Kart 64…a classic of the far too underrated Nintendo 64. People refer to Nindento 64 as “Kid-tendo”, since a lot of games seem to be aimed at kids. But so what? They're just games. Doesn't everyone have a child-like side? Or are they too intermixed with first person shooting games with lots of blood and people dying or racing games with cool, realistic cars and driving? Not all games have to be realistic and “mature”…they're games. I do like a lot of the more realistic shooting and racing games, but I don't use them to look down on games that could be interpreted more as a kid game.

So, on that note…Welcome to Mario Kart.

So yes, this is a cart-racing game, and really one of the first. It's predecessor, Super Mario Kart, what a great game for its time. It was neat because it was one of the first games to use popular characters from previous games and put them all into one in a new situation. The gameplay on the SNES game is pretty primitive, and the variety of tracks kinda gets old, so I don't think much of it now. Looking back at Mario Kart 64, it's a good game in ways and a bad game in a couple ways. I should start with the good points to it.

The game's most enjoyable purpose and function is the multi-player mode. It's a great game for people to play who are not much of gamers, because it's easy to figure out, it's overall optimistic (a flaw to some, as it appears to be childlike), and it's overall fun to play. The 16 tracks themselves vary in setting, such as on the beach, in the snow, in Bowser's castle, and in a giant stadium. If you get tired of racing each other, you can select the Battle mode, which sets you up in a symmetrical course that isn't a racetrack, but more like an arena. Here you can duke it out with each other, using the Mario-game-themed items found in the racing mode. So yeah, the multi-player mode is lots of fun for all ages, and is great to play with your friends that aren't serious gamers.

The graphics are also pretty good. Some of the levels are really cool, although not very detailed. The character graphics also aren't very interesting, but they're pretty accurate. The control is pretty easy, but it takes a little time to get used to and good at.

As far as the bad things, there are a couple of little things, but the major thing that I noticed and have cursed at the game for is that unfairness of the computer players. The difficulty of the characters is appropriate for the three classes of carts: 50cc = Easy, 100cc = Medium, and 150cc = Hard. However, interpret the three difficulties as: easy (but why are they always on my tail), much harder than medium, and what the hell!? Hard. The AI have built in this huge handicap ratio, making it impossible to get way out ahead of the opponents on any difficulty. The different classes only determine the speed of all the carts, and the amount of crap the opponents give you. In the easy mode, you're usually able to arrive in 1st place and stay there, as long as you don't hit any obstacles or make a mistake. The problem is that there will always be 2 computer players riding side by side on your tail, shooting multiple items at you that you never saw them grab. When one of the opponents gets hit by an item or obstacle, they fall behind, and sometimes lose several ranks. But, that same racer that got knocked back somehow gets a dose of speed or caffeine or something, because you see them race past all the players they were passed by and are right back on tail again. The same goes true in the latter two modes/classes, but they're even more menacing, and one gets way ahead of you, you never see them again. It's an incredible frustrating concept, and it makes you wonder why the hell it's like that. It makes you wonder if there was much testing put into the game.

Another disappointment you may relate to is the lack of variety. You may not notice it right away, but you'll probably get tired of it in time. Also, you have 8 characters to choose from, but they hardly have any differences on the courses, except for their weight differences (Wario, DK and Bowser are heavyweights, Mario and Luigi are middleweights, and Yoshi, Peach, and Toad are lightweights). There are no real speed, acceleration or traction differences.

So that's all I have to say about this game. It's worth having for the sake of a multi-player game, but I don't play it on my own, personally. It just gets to be kinda ridiculous with how unfair the computer players are. Still overall, a decent game.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 02/23/09

Game Release: Mario Kart 64 (US, 02/10/97)

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