This week, Nintendo re-released the original Super Mario Kart on the Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console. The game is currently on sale for 800 Nintendo Points. Everyone remembers this classic game but is it worth the 800 points to play the Super Nintendo version?
Super Mario Kart puts you in the go-kart of several characters of the Mario universe including Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and more. Each racer has a distinct advantage and disadvantage. For example, Yoshi is the fastest racer while Bowser has the best handling.
Your goal is to race your racer around each distinctive track that takes a scene from classic stages throughout the Mario games. Each track has its own quirks and features. Win enough of the races and you’ll win a circuit. You can choose three different circuits with up to three difficulties and a special fourth circuit that can also be unlocked.
Each course also has items to pick up which allows for special actions. Green shells allows you to launch the shell as a missile toward the car in front of you while a red shell locks homes into the car ahead. Other power ups include a mushroom speed boost, the star for temporary invincibility and various other power ups.
The presentation is antiquated but still holds up well, especially to SNES fans. The graphics are colorful and the racers are well animated. The sounds are ported perfectly from the original game. All of the music and sound effects are there, and they bring back a great deal of nostalgia.
The controls are tight and in my opinion, the best part of the game. The controls are simple with a button for the gas, brake, and item to use. The controls are perfect on the Wii’s Classic remote as it is the SNES remote with some extra joysticks.
As for the actual gameplay, it is a bit sophomoric. Winning races on the easiest skill level is a joke once you learn to get off the gas during turns. In the higher difficulties you are forced to not make a single mistake. One mistake can cost you a race and winning the entire circuit because the racers almost always finish in the same order. Still, the nostalgia of the game makes it fun and an overall good experience to play.
While Super Mario Kart was a great game fifteen years ago, technology and the Virtual Console have passed it by. It’s not a terrible download for 800 points but the Nintendo 64 version of the game is also available on the Virtual Console for 1000 points. In my opinion, the N64 version holds up better and has more gameplay modes, making it the better buy for just 200 more points. The N64 version is probably superior to it in every way with the exception of controls as the SNES version is the model of Virtual Console perfection. It basically comes down to preference when it comes to downloading which Mario Kart you want. If you’re an N64 person, Mario Kart 64 may be your choice, but if you like SNES, you’ll want the original Mario Kart.
Game review by Anthony Lifrieri.
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