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 Mario Kart - Wii

Nintendo's "Mario Kart" series isn't exactly a youngin' y'know, the franchise has been around 15 years now. Wow has it really been 15 years since we threw down our first banana peel, or tossed our first turtle shell to the bumper of a competitors go-kart? Take that Yoshi!

Well now "Mario Kart" has rolled in on the Wii. And for many who love the series that would be enough, but let me have my girliegamer say while I have you're full undivided attention.

"Mario Kart" is a tough game to review. All past five versions (six if you include the arcade edition) has something that made them instantly familiar and comfortable. I think this is because the franchise is built on memories. Your favorite "Mario Kart" isn't the one with the best tracks or the best controls per se, it's the one that you look back on and fondly remember how much you and your friends had the most fun playing. Ahh, deep! (Wipes tear)

Moving on... hmm, now where shall we start? The Wii Wheel seems like a good place to begin considering it's the first thing you'll see before diving into Mario Kart's huge box. That's right folks, the game comes with a Wii wheel straight out of the box... nice! The wheel is a round plastic shell that you simply click your controller into to simulate a real steering wheel. I was a little skeptical about how responsive it would be ( I mean c'mon, it's a free add-on!) But it really works! Well done Nintendo! The wheel responds quickly to sharp turns but also allows gentle steering at high speeds.And the best part is it's super easy to pick up and play so beginners can compete against seasoned drivers, and no one is left in the dust!

The Good

There's a solid number of courses here, including 16 new ones and 16 returning classics from past Mario Karts. All of the courses are fantastic. But Coconuts Mall and Snowboard Cross are my favorites because they are chock full jumps and shortcuts. MK has a whopping 24 characters,( plus your Mii, once unlocked that is, for racing.)

And now for the first time ever, players have the choice of racing with either karts or motorbikes! Bikes and karts not only look different but they feel different as well. Karts give you better drifting, but bikes have the ability to do pop-a- wheelies at any time for a sweet boost. Bikes can make much tighter turns as well, but they are easier to knock around and harder to control.

Want more good news? "Mario Kart" for the Wii also has online play this time around. The bad news is just feels so...impersonal. Okay, so this is the Wii's fault, not the game's, but it's still worth mentioning. Final word on this subject, if ever a Nintendo game needed voice-chat, it's this one! There I got it out of my system! I’ll just leave it at that.

If you're worried that these changes have somehow changed the classic Mario Kart formula for the worse, do not fear. This is classic "Mario Kart" at it's finest. The changes mentioned in this review are small and do not mess up what the series is all about: racing with an arsenal of wacky items at your disposal.
Graphically speaking, the game looks fantastic, everything from the characters to the courses are bright and colorful. The sound effects in the game are okay with the usual noises heard in racing games such as roaring engines and such.

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The Bad

For the most part, the Wii version of Kart delivers the same ol' Mario Kart experience you've come to expect from any game with the words "Mario" and "Kart" in its title.

And now I'd like to discuss an age-old annoyance that I've had with any Mario series ("Mario Party", "Mario Kart") and that is the A.I advantage! For example, it doesn’t matter how far out in front you are or how well you’re following the racing line, the A.I. manages to catch up, often overtaking you if you manage to get yourself blue-shelled. Also, the closer you are to1st place, the less useful your items are. If you’re in 1st place, expect bananas and green shells. Last place? How about a Bullet Bill or a Super-Mega Mushroom? Some would say that this makes the races more interesting, and it does to a certain extent but it still would be nice if the A.I. weren't so darn aggressive every once in awhile.

Also, the items in this game are more powerful than any of the items from the past. The blue shell, red shell, and bananas are all here but with them comes the dreaded Bullet Bill, and the Super Shroom.

That being said, as fun as Mario Kart Wii can be, it really is the same old thing we've played again and again. It's still a blast to play with others, you'll still love rushing from 6th place to 1st at the very last minute, and you'll still curse like a sailor when you drop from 1st to 8th. You should definitely buy this game (oh, like you haven’t already!)

Now go create some memories!

Get Mario Kart Wii Here

Graphics A
Sound B
Pickup & Play A
Overall Fun B

Posted by oxyjen on May 11, 2008


1 Comment(s):

On May 12, 2008, mindchamber said:
good review and I agree with everything stated, the wheel is a nice addition to the game, even if its a bit gimmicky. and if everyone used it it would be a fair race for the most part.


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