GBA Review: Mario Kart: Super Circuit
Review by: TW (tw@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:

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Final Score:
9.0/10

Reviewed on: March 1, 2002

Mario Kart: Super Circuit is the third installment in the highly popular Mario Kart series, which was originally released in 1992 on the Super Nintendo, and followed by the good Mario Kart 64 in 1997. Now Nintendo have bought the third installment to the series, Mario Kart Super Circuit to Game Boy Advance.

Some people may think this is a direct port of the Super NES version, but it plainly isn't, with nice new sporting menus different to both SMK and MK64, making use of the GBA's excellent 2D hardware. What MKSC does is use a similar 2D course system to SMK (even though made much larger thanks to the GBA's sprite scaling, unlike SNES), but use the 'psuedo-3D' sprites directly from the N64 edition. Also the courses are based on many different Mario environments here, not just SMW as in SMK. But saying this, the 20 SNES courses are apparently in there also, I haven't got them yet though.

The system layout is identical to MK64s, with 3 'cc' categories (50-150) but this time, 5 cups in each. Also there is your "Free run" and "Time Trial" options in there too. All the characters are the same as the N64 version, unfortunately no more surprises, or return of SMK characters such as Kamek. Also the characters have voices like in the N64 edition thanks to the GBA's superior (over GBC) sound processor. The courses aren't as nice looking as MK64, since they are not 3D (duh), but are streets ahead of the primitive SNES courses from the original game. The backgrounds look excellent also, they are always different and have a complete full-round view.

On the races, the N64's item boxes make a return, and from the Super NES version we have the coins, which makes you faster, and this time you get a 'Rank' score at the end of each cup, allowing you to improve your rank each time you play a cup, which is another added challenge. On another note, and the Big fish makes a return appearance when you are on the podium, too - even though it is not quite at the 3D Toadstool Castle from SM64/MK64. Another nice feature is the "Ghost", once again from Mario Kart 64, which I think is a first on a handheld racing game, where you race your previous self (a "ghost") to get a better time than before.

On the sound side there are some nice Mario-esque tunes, none really familiar as I can remember from MK64, but maybe the Classic courses have the original music. Mario and co. do their voices once again as in the N64 version, probably ported straight over. It feels like a Mario Kart game, and that is the thing, unlike F-Zero Maximum Velocity, which lacked the feel of the previous F-Zero's with its unfamiliar music.

Final Comments

Mario Kart Super Circuit is a fine game, and not a simple port unlike Super Mario Advance was. It's liable to keep you going for hours, since at first the controls are hard to master, and the handling is more like the SNES edition than the N64 edition with the lack of the Analog stick. In all, Mario Kart Super Circuit is a great game to carry the GBA system.

-- TW (tw@sm128c.com)

Bottom Line: An excellent new addition to the series. Definitely worth buying.