Product Type: Nintendo Nintendo 64 games
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The Ultimate Multiplayer Game
Mario Kart 64 (N64)
Member Name: hamm_sandwich
Mario Kart 64 (N64)
Advantages: Pure Nintendo Magic
Disadvantages: No AI Opponents In 3 Or 4 Player Modes
Thanks to the wonders of the Virtual Console on my Nintendo Wii, i've been able to rediscover various gems from days gone by, the most recent of which has been Mario Kart 64, originally released back in 1997 for the Nintendo 64 console and available now as a download purchase on the VC for 1,000 Wii Points which is equal to seven pounds when bought through your Wii console.
As a huge fan of Mario Kart and of retro Nintendo generally, the Virtual Console has been an utter joy. Unlike XBOX Live Arcade where games are often reimagined or remixed for download purposes, Nintendo look to give you the original game undiluted which is great for purists and in Mario Kart 64 we have the epitome of this ethos. The game has been tidied up slightly. The notoriously soft visuals from N64 games have been put into better focus and the colour feels like it's had a nice injection of the famous Nintendo vibrancy which means you won't need those rose tinted spectacles to enjoy it.
For me, Mario Kart 64 has always held the title of the second best Mario Kart title but that is down to the brilliance of the original Super Mario Kart rather than any deficiency here. 64 introduced wider and much longer tracks compared to SMK that feels a little strange at first but has proven to be the template for all subsequent Kart outings.
Even though the tracks are vast they don't lack in imagination and are varied in terrain and location from ice caps to desert to outer space. Each of the sixteen selectable tracks are all hugely different and that's something that no racers from this time can boast as the likes of Ridge Racer which was released a little over a year before had only one selectable track which you could drive forwards or.... backwards...
Like all Mario Kart games the single player game is fine but not long lived. It's the multiplayer side of things that has kept people coming back for almost fifteen years and few games can match the sheer fun that MK64 delivers when you have four players around a tv shoulder to shoulder and the cutesy graphics and sound effects belies a fiercely competitive battlefield on track.
I don't think the battle mode is quite as good as it could be and certainly not as good as the multiplayer grand prix mode but that might just be because i'm not too good at it which is often known to cloud my judgment.. The character roster is slightly different from the original Mario Kart with the ever popular Wario stepping in for Koopa Troopa and Donkey Kong Junior making way for the real thing but the dynamics remain the same with groups of heavier drivers with a higher top speed like Bowser and DK, good accelerators such as Peach and Yoshi as well as good all rounders Mario and Luigi making up the grid.
As a download there really is nothing negative to say about Mario Kart 64. Other great titles like Mario 64 or older Zelda games have been superseded by newer versions on more modern consoles but Mario Kart 64 remains a champion in its genre with pretenders like Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing failing to emulate the magic that Nintendo did so long ago on inferior hardware.
Summary: Welcome to Mario Kart!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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