Product Type: Nintendo Nintendo 64 games
Newest Review: ... in their 30's like me or one of the 'new breed' xBox Live generation, every game fan should have played this game at least once in their ... more
Fun, fast, simple pleasure
Mario Kart 64 (N64)
Member Name: Dakarkon
Mario Kart 64 (N64)
Advantages: Light-hearted, accessible, for all ages, competitive
We all know it and love it. Mario Kart 64 is one of many excellent N64 games and is a faithful update on the original Super Mario Kart on the SNES.
First released in the UK in 1997, the same year as the N64 console, this is a timeless multiplayer classic for up to 4 players.
There are 16 race tracks in total and 8 characters to choose from, all of whom have slightly different characteristics which I think are based on their size and weight. For example; Toad is tiny and as such is faster than most other characters, but on the downside, he can get smashed out of the way by a fast moving Bowser or other large character.
The tracks are spread over 4 different tournaments: the mushroom cup (50cc), the flower cup (100cc), the star cup (150cc) and the special cup (which has the craziest tracks).
There are four game modes, Grand Prix, Battle, Time Trial and Versus, however you will most likely find yourself (and your friends) on Grand Prix or Battle mode. There is also an unlockable fifth game mode called Extra, which just means mirror-mode - where the tracks are reversed. This Extra mode is awesome on certain maps like Toad's Turnpike where you can race your buddies whilst facing oncoming traffic!
As with Super Mario Kart there are a variety of weapons at your disposal to make life harder for your opponents on the track including old favourites like banana skins, green shells and good old faithful red shells which heat seek and never let you down, well ok, sometimes they do.
The control you have over your kart is perfect. It's a smooth ride and the cart is very responsive to the control stick and once you get a bit of practice you'll master power-sliding round corners and braking just after hitting a banana-skin to negate its effect. The tracks are full of obstacles and hazards as well as boosts, weapons and short-cuts to keep it interesting.
Battle mode deserves a few words of its own. There is no racing here, only 4 battle arenas for 2-4 players to fight it out with the weapons normally found on the racetrack. Each kart has 3 balloons tied to it and one is popped each time you are hit with any of the weapons. When there are 3 or 4 of you playing, the first player to lose all his balloons turns into a bomb on kart-wheels and gets the pleasure of helping sway the match by driving into one of the remaining players and exploding.
My brother and I sometimes used to sit on top of the forts on the Battle mode 'Block Fort' arena and agree to be peaceable for a while whilst we both pumped as many green shells as we could out into the arena below. Once the level was suitably saturated with fast-moving, deadly shells, battle would commence, just to make it extra interesting. Stupid, I know, but hey, that's what we did : )
Back to the present though, I still play Mario Kart with my mates and it is as infinitely entertaining as it is good humoured.
Summary: An excellent game on a great console. As much fun today as it was in 1997.
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