N64 Review: Mario Kart 64
Review by: TW (tw@sm128c.com)

Game Info

 System: N64
 ESRB: Everyone
 Genre: Racing
 # of Players: 1-4
 Size: 96 Megabits
 Developer: Nintendo
 Publisher: Nintendo

 Controller Pak: Yes
 Rumble Pak: No
 Transfer Pak: No

 Release Date:
 US: Feb 12, 1997
 EU: Jun 12, 1997
 JP: Dec 14, 1996

Screenshots:

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Final Score:
8.7/10

Mario Kart 64 is an excellent update of the SNES game Super Mario Kart. Mario amd pals are back (with Donkey Kong instead of MagiKoopa) and are up for more races driving cool go-karts around 20 tracks. The game is now in full 3D, and even though it looks a bit old now, in a 1997 standard, it still stands out.

The game is set out like F-Zero X, if you've played that, with four cups (Mushroom, Flower, Star and Special) with three CC levels on each (50, 100 and 150). There are four tracks in each level. The multiplayer mode has four extra courses (Big Donut, Block Fort, Double Deck and Skyscraper) in the 'OK' battle modes. In two-player you can have a Mario GP as well as Battle and Normal VS. Mode.

Visually, it's great, but most of the 16 one-player courses are design masterpieces (apart from the eye-numbing Rainbow Road), with the better ones being Mario Raceway, Wario Stadium and Kalamari Desert, and the best have to be Koopa Beach and Royal Raceway, some of the finest seen in any racing game, even better than the slightly-better Diddy Kong Racing. The Characters aren't that well 3D-rendered, but in all, the graphics would get an A.

The One-player GP mode is too easy though; and you would have completed all the cups and CC's within a few days, at the most two weeks if you are new to gaming. The Special Cup is a bit more of a challenge, with the nightmare-giving Yoshi Valley with all it's pits and crevaces evrywhere, and Banshee Boardwalk with the missing barriers; sending you plunging into oblivion if you go through one... After you complete all the cups on 150cc, you get the 'Extra' mode; which is like 150cc with all the tracks and courses backwards.

Fortunately; the time trial mode is excellent, dispensing the powerups and showing off the precise handling of the carts - mostly the corner turbo, which shoots you round the corner really fast, gaining a speed boost as you drag the cart round the round the bend. Longevity also stands out a lot in MK64, you'll find yourself playing the one-plsyer tracks long after you've beaten them. multiplayer is super fun.

Sound is another great factor; most of the course background music is excellent, with catchy tunes which go with the course. A favourite would be Koopa Troopa Beach, and Luigi/Mario/Royal Raceway. Kalamari Desert is a bit of a let-down though. The kart sounds are authentic, and the speech of the Characters.

Mario Kart is everything a great racing game should be, with cool multiplayer and cool tracks. It's a great classic, and if you see it anywhere cheap, it's advisable to have a go. It's not quite as good as Diddy Kong Racing, but it tries hard. A good choice.

-- TW (tw@sm128c.com)

Bottom Line: Mario Kart 64 will last you ages, give you incredible fun and entertainment, especially if you've got four controllers.