GBA Review: Mario Kart: Super Circuit
Review by: Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)

Game Info

 System: Game Boy Advance
 ESRB: Everyone
 Genre: Racing
 # of Players: 1-4
 Size: 32 Megabits
 Developer: Nintendo
 Publisher: Nintendo

 Game Save: Yes
 Multi-Pak Link: Yes
 Single-Pak Link: Yes

 Release Date:
 US: Aug 27, 2001
 EU: Sep 12, 2001

Screenshots:

Screenshot

Screenshot

Screenshot

Final Score:
9.0/10

Reviewed on: September 9, 2001

It's pretty safe to say that Mario Kart is one of Nintendo's most successful game franchises. That's not a surprise really, as this game takes racing, makes it simple, fun, and simply addicting. There's no violence in it either, so even the kiddies can enjoy this title.

The point of Mario Kart, well...is to race with "go karts" using your favourite Mario characters, and see who can come up on top. The entire team is here on this portable racing game, which includes Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Peach, Toad, Wario, Donkey Kong, and Bowser. And of course, using items to change make a huge impact on the race, most of the items found in Mario Kart 64 can be found in MKSC, from Triple Shells to Stars to Mushrooms.

There are also tracks o' plenty. Included with Mario Kart: Super Circuit are 20 brand-new spanking race tracks, split up into 5 different cups. But wait, there's more, hidden in the game are 20 more tracks, which are exactly as those found in the SNES Super Mario Kart. Throw in a couple of battle mode courses, and you'll be laughing.

Several single-player game modes can be found in Mario Kart: Super Circuit. You can have a regular Grand Prix (against 7 computer racers in 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc), Time Trial, and Quick Run. In Time Trial you are basically racing against time, and see if you can beat your own records, you can even save "ghosts" of your racing too, and see if you can beat yourself, which is one of life's biggest challenges, in this and just about everything. Quick Run is really a practice mode and you can race on any opened course against the computer racers, it's a nice addition to the game, if you don't have time to play an entire GP. For multiplayer gaming, you can play Battle Mode, VS, or Grand Prix (for 2 players only), for these modes. There's also a single-pak option too, where there are the first 4 SNES tracks to play, and each player uses a differently-coloured Yoshi, so it's a battle of skill. There is a little slowdown in the single-pak gaming though is isn't that big of a problem, it's annoying sometimes.

The coins have made a return to Mario Kart: Super Circuit. They've made a huge return, number wise. You'll find about 20 to 50 coins on each regular racetrack. The more coins you have, the faster your kart will go. You'll lose coins if you bump into another racer, get hit by an item, or get "picked up" by Lakitu if you fall off the circuit. If you get bumped when you have no coins, you'll spin out. The coins you get throughout a GP will be counted, and at the end if you reach certain requirements, you can open up the SNES classic courses.

It is quite stunning to see graphics like Mario Kart: Super Circuit on the Game Boy Advance. The game sprites, the racers themselves look identical or almost identical to the characters in Mario Kart 64, they're kind of like 3D sprites. The animation is nice and smooth. Throw in some pseudo-3D tracks (which are all flat), and some neat themed backgrounds, voila, you've got one hell of a game.

The neat little sound effects also add in to the game, or maybe not. Once again, all the characters have their irritating voices and comments once again. From Bowser's roar, to Mario's "Let's-a-go!" to Yoshi's stomp-like sound. The differently themed tracks also have their own music to them. The Mario Circuit tracks have happy music, and tracks like Bowser's Castle have dark gloomy music, pretty much the ordinary. On the SNES tracks, the music is remixed from Super Mario Kart, sounding more in-depth, and adds in a "cool" factor.

Controls are a little bit "loose" if you are used to playing Mario Kart 64 or Super Mario Kart. Because of this, it is much easier to spin out and harder to make turns, especially sharp ones. After playing a few races, you'll probably get used to the new controls.

Final Comments

Mario Kart: Super Circuit has so much in it, and it's a wonderful racing game. But it also does one thing that many other GBA games don't, and that is it provides "gaming on the go". There are so many things that Mario Kart: Super Circuit does right, and this is one indeed one of the best, if not the best game on the Game Boy Advance.

-- Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)

Bottom Line: Mario Kart takes the checkered flag once again.