Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Mario Kart 64

Welcome to my first review. I plan to make more reviews as I get better. Until then, enjoy.

Mario Kart 64 is the second game in the Mario Kart series and was originally released on the Nintendo 64. It is an overall classic and should be tried out for different reasons. While it does have pros and cons, it's still an overall fun experience.

Before I go on, it should be easy to explain. Mario Kart 64 is a kart racing game where your goal is to win 1st place in four cups, Mushroom, Flower, Star and Special. In each cup is four courses making an overall sixteen courses to enjoy.

Like already mentioned, Mario Kart 64 is a racing game where you try to be the best in racing go-karts through sixteen racecourses. The courses themselves are quite colorful, interesting and a blast to play on. The game is made up into a single player and multi player mode. In single, you can race against computer players in Grand Prix mode (which requires practice and at times luck). During races, you get certain items that are meant to help you gain first place. These include mushrooms to help you gain speed (though it may not feel like it), various Koopa shells to throw at your competition, banana peels to annoy your competition, and many more. You must race through the four courses in one of the four cups and win as many races as possible. But that is only in one of three difficulties. 50cc is pretty much is beginners, 100cc is the for anyone that is used to the game and 150cc is harder and more advanced. There is also a harder unlockable difficulty but I wish not to spoil it. The next mode in single player is Time Trial, which you basically try to race against the clock and try to beat your current time. It also can be used to practice for courses that you may want to practice on.

Multi player is a more filled mode. Two to four players can play so this game is fun to play with friends, siblings, or anybody that wants to. Grand Prix mode is in this mode, only you have two race against your friends and computers. Versus mode is where you race only against your friends, which is more fun. Like Grand Prix, you grab items and throw them at your friends. The only difference is that small cars called Bomb Cars infest the stages for a little extra difficulty. Also, you get to chose a lone stage instead of having to race a whole cup. The final mode is Battle, where you battle your friends in arena-like courses. Each player starts with three balloons tied to their karts. You must throw shells or place bananas in their paths in order for a balloon to pop. When all three balloons are gone, you lose. If you are playing with more than two players, anyone that loses all their balloons before only two karts are left will turn into Bomb Cars, which they can drive into anyone they chose, blow up, and cause that person to lose a balloon, which makes ironic revenge.

The controls are fairly confusing and a little hard to use at first, but it doesn't deem the game unplayable and only requires adjusting. While on the subject on controls, please compare how the controls are used on the original Nintendo 64 controller and on the Wii Classic Controller.

Nintendo 64 controller

Wii Classic Controller (also can be seen as Classic Controller Pro layout)
One problem with these two controllers, though, is that the Classic Controller does not have a memory card slot. The Nintendo 64 controller has a slot in which a certain memory card was to be placed. Using this card, the game would save ghost data. This is the data of your best times in Time Trials, which you can race to help you attempt to beat your time or just race for fun. Here is one of the memory cards below.
This card is placed into the port on the back of the Nintendo 64 controller.  Because there's no such thing on the Classic Controller, that means trouble.
Because there is no memory card, the game reads it as if a memory card is not inserted. That means that it is completely impossible to save ghosts. While this does not bother me, many people may wish to do so if they have played any future Mario Kart titles before this one.

This one is a little mixed, while the courses themselves are well done for a Nintendo 64 game, the racers appear to be nothing but flat sheets of pixels that are barely animate. It's a shame to see comparing it to other Nintendo 64 games that use polygons for such things.

When compared there is a big gap between Mario in Mario Kart 64 (above) and Super Mario 64 (below). As you can see, the Mario above is fairly pixilated and definitely looks like a print on paper, while the Mario below looks more three dimensional and uses more movement. Overall, yes the graphics used to design the courses are rather nice, but the racers' designs are pretty poor.

The music is fairly catchy, fun and interesting to listen to. Each course has a very fun and catchy tune to go with it. The title screen and menu music is fairly fun too. Voice acting is well recorded and easily heard, though it may get annoying and a little awkward after you hear it for a while. When playing and hearing the racers scream like kids for a while, especially if you're caught in a group of racers using items or running into hazards, it may get a little annoying.

With a fun idea of racing, throwing items and duking it out with friends, Mario Kart 64 is a great game and a recommendation for Virtual Console. While it does suffer from a few things thrown around, it is nothing that will render the whole game useless. It's strong multi player is a joy that can be used to eliminate boredom with a few friends. If you plan to download it on your Wii, I would highly recommend so. It costs the usual Nintendo 64 Virtual Console price, which is 1000 Wii Points. Overall, this game has proved it's worthy.

Gamplay- 5
Graphics- 4
Music- 5
Voices- 3

Overall- 9.2

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