Super Mario Kart (Super Nintendo) Review

By Karn Spydar Lee Bianco 07.09.2003

Review for Super Mario Kart on Super Nintendo

Well, where do we start? This is the game that stands out for so many reasons, it's hard to know where to begin, but for the sake of this review we will try our best. So why don't we start at the beginning.

So you've whipped out your SNES, you've plugged in the cables, held together with some tape because the ends have frayed, and you've given the underneath of your cartridge a good blow, and inserted it through that little whole in the top covered by a 2 grey flaps of plastic. You're holding that ever so familiar controller in one hand and then you press the power switch on with the other. The screen stops making the sound of the ocean gone crazy, and the screen go's black. Followed by a little white logo that says NINTENDO, which is accompanied by a small chime of a coin, that you've heard so many times before. Your heart flutters, a tear appears in the corner of your eye, and you haven't even started playing yet!

Once you're on the title screen, (if you can make it that far without wailing tears of joy all over your electronic equipment) you can choose between one and two player mode, we'll start off with the one player mode. Once selected you get a choice of either Grand Prix or Time Trial. If you choose Grand Prix you will then choose what cc class you want, then it's on to the character selection screen. The following characters are available; Mario, Peach, Bowser, Koopa, Luigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong and Toad. Like the other games in the Mario Kart series which character you choose will affect how you play the game. For example Mario is the average player, with good all round statistics, whereas Toad has increased speed but lowered protection and Bowser has lower speed but higher protection. This adds a touch of strategy to the game.

Screenshot for Super Mario Kart on Super Nintendo

So you've chosen your character, now let's get down to some racing. Choose the Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup or Star Cup, which are all made up of their own individual tracks. The race (like any decent racer), starts off with a three second countdown before you start, if timed correctly it is possible to get an extra boost of speed, but is something that requires some practise. The object of the game is, (as always) to finish first place, doing so awards you the most amount of points. The person at the end of the Cup with the most points wins the tournament. However, it just wouldn't be a Mario game if it was that simple, there are a variety of weapons and moves at your disposal to help you take the lead. By driving over a question mark square automatically awards you with a random weapon, which can then be activated by a quick press of the A button. The rest of the controls are also devilishly simple, B is the acceleration, and Y is the break, while both the shoulder buttons L and R allow your cart to perform a small jump, to help avoid attacks and obstacles.

Screenshot for Super Mario Kart on Super Nintendo

The Graphics were absolutely sublime in there time, using paralaxing backgrounds to create a 3D affect the world had never seen anything like it, (at least nothing so impressively done like it) before. Each character is as instantly recognisable in their 2D sprite from as they are now in games such as of Mario Sunshine, Super Smash Bros Melee and the like. Although dated nowadays, the game is never a pain on the old eye socket, and if you played it 'back in the day', then you will instantly be taken back, and you will find that your enjoying yourself just as much as were ten years ago.

The gameplay is so perfect, that some believe it has yet to be bettered, making this a game you'll fins yourself coming back to after years and years. The fact that is so simple does not mean it's easy by any stretch of the imagination. Becoming a master of the game is a very challenging task indeed, and those who do manage it are often highly respected by other gamers. The game is massive as well, if you manage to complete the Grand Prix, with all the cups on all the different classes, you've barely scratched the surface of where the game stands out. Time Trial mode is great for going back through levels, either to learn the tracks off by heart for competing in the Grand Prix, or for increasing your skill for some great multiplayer action.

Screenshot for Super Mario Kart on Super Nintendo

So you've got a mate around who wants some racing action, so what to do eh? Well for starters you could play through the Grand Prix mode, competing with not only the computer controlled characters, but also your best mate as well! If that doesn't take your fancy how about trying your hand at going head to head against your friend to really test your skills to the limit, this is when knowing the tracks off by heart can really help to put your friend to shame. However possibly the most fun you can have with a friend is blasting them as best you can in the Battle mode. Here you can choose between four different battle courses, in which, you are pitted against another player. To start off with, both of you will have three balloons floating around you, the objective of the game is to pick up weapons from around the arena and try to hit your opponent. Every time someone receives a hit they loose a balloon, when all the balloons are gone, that player looses and you get to choose whether you want to; change course/driver, retry or quit altogether.

Now this may all sound very familiar, but you have to take into account that this was the FIRST Mario Kart game, that obviously influenced not only its sequels, but most other 'unrealistic' racers everywhere. Also the way everything blends together with that 'Nintendo Difference' is very apparent. Which is why its imitators never get worshiped like this game is. Take Crash Team Racing for example, very similar idea, but pales in comparison to this shining beauty.

Screenshot for Super Mario Kart on Super Nintendo

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

It's the original ultimate racer, it has everything you could ever want then adds some more and that all important 'Nintendo difference'. It's hard to express in words how perfect this game is, you really MUST play it right NOW.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (15 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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