Mario Kart DS - game review

Date: 2006-01-10 11:58:00
The review was based on the NDS version.

Who doesn't know the legendary character of Mario? I don't think any valued gamer has heard of the mustachioed plumber who once won the hearts of C64 owners, and then other major platforms. We helped him overcome stages full of traps and hostile beasts, fight tennis duels and even play pinball. However, this is a thing of the past, his fathers from Nintendo decided to refresh the famous name a bit and move Mario to the realities of arcade kart racing. And yes, they did it two years ago, but not as brilliantly as in the case of the item in question. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mario Kart awaits you !

The menu is nice, clear and what is important - it can be fully operated with the Stylus. There are a lot of single-player modes, which does not mean that the creators could not attempt a slightly larger selection of mini-games. Unfortunately, the microphone will not be used throughout the game, not to mention other interesting solutions that took place in Another Code, for example . Although it is a different genre - DS is a platform famous primarily for its unconventional solutions, so the requirements must be sufficiently high.

Multiplayer looks very attractive, thanks to the possibility of competing with other Mario Kart owners without leaving your home. The whole picture in multiplayer spoils a detail that you may not like. Well, waiting for opponents is relatively long. The culprit is probably a poor search engine creating too many simultaneous connections and thus severing those almost established. Maybe this is not a significant drawback, but I must admit that sometimes such monotonous waiting gets on the nerves. Most of the next productions will undoubtedly support WFC, so Nintendo has a chance to improve the badly programmed network code.

Of course, Mario Kart is also a competition between people not necessarily thousands of kilometers away. I mean the standard (for portable consoles) multiplayer, it does not lack anything, and in addition as many as seven (WFC = max. 4 people including each other) people can play on the server set up by the host without a cartridge inserted in the slot.

The number of configuration options is not impressive. First of all, I regret the inability to disable interface elements. This one is quite good, but I can't distract myself from the square that draws the bonus.

I like what we see on the lower screen much more. As a standard, there is an approximate piece of the track, including other interactive details. There was also a list of opponents and a slightly more distant throw of the route, which helps us to say how much advantage we achieved. An interesting addition is help in the form of information about the currently owned power-up in the hands of another kart driver. Advanced multiplayer players should remember to pay attention to this little hint.

Let me put it straight - the multiplayer drew me much more than the single player mode. What can I say - apart from the aforementioned disadvantages, it is wonderful. Constant competition with flesh and blood players is great fun, no matter what position we end up on. This was a bit missing in the single, so after turning on the console, I much prefer to kill myself a bit, find a few companions and fight an exciting duel on one of the tracks.

Is Mario Kart then worth its price if our goal is only to play alone? The answer is no! The game is very enjoyable, although it lacks the flash that the mode that classifies our achievements on the Internet can boast of. The reason is not the poor AI of the opponents, wide tracks or a moderate feeling of speed (no worries, in the case of this production these are not disadvantages!). As for my taste, the reason is the loss of the specific atmosphere that accompanies the game on handheld with the inhabitants of different continents of our globe. AI presents a relatively passive attitude compared to our aggressive actions. As a result, the lonely player has no incentive to play the role of heroes-giants, as the benefits of aggressive driving are slim. Still, it's fun to play.

Let me explain the basic thing - Mario Kart is purely arcade. This is not the type of racing that constantly counts the mistakes made, but relies on luck and the correct use of numerous bonuses. Here we do not fall into uncontrolled skidding (at most we procure them ourselves), we do not demolish the vehicle, and we do not even know the speed at which we are driving. We're just having a great time and trying to beat the opponent. It may sound trivial, but it works great in practice!

There are many methods to neutralize the opponent or improve our car. There are turbo boosters, murderous mushrooms looking for the closest rival, ghosts dirtying the screen of another player (contrary to appearances, an effective gadget!), And even an extremely effective bonus that turns us into a living projectile! It's hard not to get the impression that there is a lot of it. There are no fewer types of karts, and I would say that their number will satisfy everyone. Mario drives Dasher, the great gorilla Rambi Rider and Princess Peach Royal. It is worth noting that each character can choose one of two cars that do not differ significantly. Each of the vehicles determines six coefficients: speed, acceleration, weight, torsion, effectiveness of objects and slippage. Personally, I usually sit at the helm of Dasher Mario, because his statistics are very even, and the use of bonuses brings many profits.

I address a separate praise to the route designers. Importantly, there are really a lot of them, more than twenty! All varied, colorful and full of shortcuts - nothing more, nothing less.

The graphics are of a similar quality to that of Super Mario 64 DS , which means "very good". Each element has been made with great care. Most of all, the models of karts and characters are liked, although in places it would be useful to apply a bit more polygons. The routes mentioned in the previous paragraph are also impressive - the artists deserve loud applause!

There is no fault with the sound setting, although the musician may get bored after some time, but before it happens, you can make it louder. Malcontents will complain anyway that it's too sweet, only for kids. I really liked the detail - while completing the last lap the music becomes more intense and motivates us to drive even better. Such seemingly insignificant elements bolster the final evaluation of the game.

I have to say this - Mario Kart DS is great! For more than a week, I have been firing the console non-stop and fighting another duels with virtual or live players. I don't feel any weariness, on the contrary - my appetite is constantly increasing. I have no doubts that this review looks like a conglomerate of praise and admiration. It is not a coincidence. Mario Kart is a game that may not be revolutionary, but how addictive, and it can boast great graphics and sound. Nintendo has been creating the product in question long and carefully, so the effects are as they should be.

Szymon "SirGoldi" Błaszczyk

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