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Mario Kart – Weee!

May 22, 2008

So, I picked up Mario Kart for the Wii a few weeks ago, and other than a short stint of me showing Mario & Sonic Olympics to my brother-in-law on the weekend, it hasn’t been taken out of the console.

I quite enjoy the Wii and the games I have for it; Wii Sports, Wii Play, the aforementioned Mario & Sonic Olympics and now Mario Kart. I think I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Mario Kart is the best video game ever created in the history of mankind. Not since those monkeys saw the black obelisk marking a significant jump in the development of man has such a leap been made. Mario Kart is to gaming what water is to survival – essential. If you have a Wii but don’t own Mario Kart, go out and buy it now. If you don’t own a Wii, get out there and buy one simply to play Mario Kart. It’s also believed that Mario Kart Wii cures the common cold. No, I’m not kidding.

The game allows for solo races in the typical way – the Grand Prix takes you through three difficulty levels, eight collections of tracks each, each collection contains four tracks. To unlock new characters and new vehicles, you need to do the Grand Prix. There are also the Time Trials, Versus races (simply a single track race for the win), and Battle Modes – a coin collecting mode and a balloon-busting last-man-standing mode in which you can play individually or as a team. These modes all allow for up to four players in split-screen format.

For those familiar with the N64 version of this game, the weapons are familiar and nothing new. Red homing shells, green dumb-fire shells, banana peels and time bombs are all par for the course. When you are hit by a weapon, the one you are carrying is dropped on the track for others to deal with. A great tactic? Drop a fake power-up cube right behind a real one. It’s tough to see and when someone grabs the pick-up cube they slam into your trap, losing precious time as well as the weapon they just picked up. <insert Dr. Evil laugh here>

Where MK really shines, in my opinion, is in the internet multiplayer races. You can register your friend’s MK number to race with them directly in private races, or you can join in on group races with up to 12 people from around your region or around the world. A few days back I had a four-player race with two people from the UK and a person from France (I came in second behind one of the Brits). There are also Tournament races in which you vie for points and bragging rights. These are groups of races where you gain and lose tournament points based on your placing – in a 12-player race those who place 6th and below lose points, while those above 6th gain points.

One of my beefs is that while in a private room with a friend, you can only chat with pre-written little sayings like “You’re fast!” and “Here I am!” and “Let’s take a 3 minute break!”. You cannot send your own messages à la the Wii messaging system. Even the ability to send short two line blurbs would be nice.

So yeah, Mario Kart Wii really shines and is proof for me that not only was the Wii a good purchase, but that the WiFi Connect function isn’t a lost cause.


From → Console Games

One Comment
  1. Peirce permalink

    On Mario Kart, I’m simply Matt, # 3093-7470-0853

    No call signs for this unit as I look upon the wii as a pure family system. Anyways, hope to see some other licence’s posted here so we can organise a few races and battles!


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