Tuesday, June 11, 2013

N64 Week: Mario Kart N64

Hey there gamers and back to N64 Week and thought we would tackle another beloved multi-player game.  One that has been in almost every collection and I myself had to search for another copy for more than 2 years.  A head to head competition via race or and out and out combat for blood.  Rather balloons actually.    So grab your controller, squabble for first player and get ready for the match.  This is Mario Kart N64.

Yer goin down Mario!

Welcome to Mario Kart!!

Created in 1996 via Japan and it was released in North America and Europe in 1997 this go kart game boasts four different forms of game play: Grand Prix, Time Trial, Versus and Battle.  Grand Prix mode allows one or two people to compete against the computer players in a cup that takes place from four different courses with three laps each.  At the end of each race points are doled out after race is completed.  The difficulty level is measured by engine size 50, 100, or 150 cc (cubic centimenter).   Time Trial allows players to improve on their existing records per courses.  The players’ start their run with three mushrooms with give speed bursts to rip around the track. Lastly Versus mode gives two to four players to race around a single level with obstacles, hiding areas and weapons on standby.   This multi-player portion of the game is a last man standing.  Each player attacks the other with Koopa shells red, blue and green, bananas, upside down icons as traps and lastly a flower for temporary invincibility. 

Itsa me!

Every level or track is a variant of levels from all the Mario based games Nintendo and Super Nintendo and due to the breaking ground in 3D tracks got changes in elevation, bridges, walls and pits.  IGN and GamePro gave Mario Kart N64 at a solid 87% in Game Rankings.

Pfftt! Kong dust!

Mario Kart N64 has eight different characters for the players to use.  Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Bowser which appeared the first Super Mario Kart and lastly the two new to series Wario and Donkey Kong.   Characters are divided into three weight classes: Lightweights (karts with high acceleration and lower top speed), Heavyweights (top heavy, low acceleration but a high top speed) and Middleweights (a perfect balance of both acceleration and top speed

And now a few tips and hints for the game to assist your play a bit better.   For example: the Grand Prix and Time Trial can get a burst of acceleration prior the third light. Hold down the after just before the third light and you will fly past the competition.    To use either red or green shells use the Z button to save that shell at the ready and toggle the analog stick down and launch the it with Z to fire it behind you as a trip up. 

The popularity of this game gave kids lunchboxes, bed sheets, posters and even action figures.  

Toy Biz created a Series one including Mario, Bowser and Yoshi.  Series two offered Ghost Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong and Wario.    While many feel this game has aged poorly and admittedly the graphics are lesser by today’s standards I still hold a place in my heart for it and I know many of my friends would agree.