I refuse to explain what Mario Kart to anyone. There's a decent chance the series is older than YOU, the person reading this thread. Yes, that should make the rest of us feel very, very old. But seriously: google it if you have no idea what I'm talking about.
If you feeling nostalgic, then here is my disgustingly biased synopsis of each game in the series.
Super Mario Kart
SNES (Available on Wii/Wii U Virtual Console)
The game that kicked off a subgenre of racing games. Dazzle at those Mode 7 graphics! The original may be hard for some people to transition to, as it's more racer than throw-shit-at-people. You typically get one item per lap, and item blocks do not regenerate, and this means some neat stuff like hidden item blocks that are off the beaten path but may give you an edge...so long as you get to it first. Some people really prefer this to all others, but it really depends on what you're looking for in a Mario Kart game. Only goes to two-players, though.Play It?
I feel like everyone should give this one a spin. Holds up decently well.Mario Kart 64
N64 (Available on Wii Virtual Console)
Mario Kart 64 changed things. First, the game is in glorious 3D (with sprites for racers/items) which made for larger and more complex tracks. Items are now in the regenerating boxes that have been the standard ever since, and they are liberally peppered throughout the track instead of just at the start. It also introduced "holding" items, giving you a free item spot and allowing one to use shells and bananas as a shield. Also introduced the infamous mini-boost from turns, giving us sparks in a variety of colors. TThe game's battle mode seems to be held in higher regard than actual racing, due to the well-crafted arenas and items. Block Fort for life!Play It?
Mario Kart 64 defined a lot of the standards for the series, and I think that alone merits a play.Mario Kart: Super Circuit
GBA (Available on 3DS Virtual Console ONLY as part of the Ambassador program)
Super Circuit is like a weird fusion of the first two games: you got the Mode 7 style and features like coins, but you also have the more frequent items. A lot of people consider this to be a hidden gem of the series, with solid track design and a feel that satisfies die-hards of the first game. It's also the first game to feature "Retro" cups with tracks from older games (in this case they're all from Super Mario Kart), effectively doubling the track selection. Has four-player versus, but good luck finding three other people with copies of this AND link cables.Play It?
If you don't mind single-player Mario Kart, it's a weird blend that works.Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Gamecube (Disc can be played on Wii)
Double Dash!! changed a lot of things to the series, but it also established the standards set by 64. You pick TWO racers now (the only game in the series to let you do this), and each can hold an item for use. However, unlike 64 you cannot "hold" an item behind you and a character can lose items if you take a hard hit. This is also where the Blue Shell become the devil incarnate, gaining the ability to fly and blowing up on impact. This is also the first game to feature Kart Selection with their own stats, and is unique for being the only game in the series to have character-specific items (Mario/Luigi have fireballs, Peach/Daisy have the heart, etc). The game also featured "co-op" play, allowing two players to one kart, with one driving and the other using items and both working together for mini-boosts.Play It?
My favorite in the series so far. I love the feel and item balance here, and it's not terribly difficult to get a copy even a decade later.Mario Kart DS
Nintendo DS (Cart can be played on 3DS)
This game got a lot of praise for excellent track design, balanced items, and adding the much-awaited feature of online play. Formally adds the retro cups with a collection of tracks from every previous title in the series, and continues with selecting both characters and karts for stats. The game is rather infamous for "snaking," where mini-boosts could be used even on straight paths to gain a ton of speed. This effectively shattered the players into pro and anti snaking camps, and it made online a bit harder to get into since one game could feature people snaking and the other would have people clueless about the technique.Play It?
Considered one of the best in the series, I recommend it. However, official online multiplayer no longer works.Mario Kart Wii
Wii (Disc can be played on Wii U)
Wii continued the tradition of building on the previous entries, this adds 12 players to the races as opposed to the traditional eight, and allows players to perform simple tricks while in the air to gain a boost. Motorcycles are an option alongside karts, and they trade mini-boost power for the ability to pop a wheelie for boosted speed at the cost of steering. This proved to be fairly unbalanced, but at least snaking was formally squashed in this version with revamped mini-boost controls. Wii also had its own online version, making improvements over what the DS offered. Also introduced alternate motion controls to steer the kart, a feature that would continue to not be used by anyone in games after this.Play It?
Pretty dang bad. Twelve racers fucked with how players got items, so it meant a lot of lightning bolts, blue shells, and then horrible new items like the POW block that also affected every racer. Basically you got hit with a storm of unavoidable bullshit. An awful mess that is best forgotten. Also official online multiplayer has been discontinued.Mario Kart 7
3DSDoes not have Waluigi in the roster, and thus is the worst in the series
Going to numbered sequels for the first ever just...because
, I like to think of 7 as unfucking all the bullshit heaped on Mario Kart from the Wii version. Bikes are gone, and the gimmick now is that karts can go underwater or sprout a parachute and glide through the air. This opened some alternate paths in courses, and overall was a solid entry if not revolutionary compared to others. Oh, and you can steer with gyroscope controls (no you won't). Noteworthy for having really good online play, which is still available! Play it!Play It?
WHAT DID I JUST SAY?GP Series
2005, 2007, 2013
Because I know one of you will bring it up to be a smartass: yes, there have been Mario Kart arcade titles, but they are not part of the main series. They have actually all gotten releases outside of Japan, but it's likely none of you have played these considering the arcade attendance of places like North America. They have mechanics, items, and characters unique to the series, including Pac-Man as a racer since Namco helped develop the games. If you pass by a local arcade one day, then maybe duck inside and see if they have one of these playing.
Number eight in the series, and the first to be in sweet high definition. This entry runs at a hot 60fps at 720p (30fps in split-screen multiplayer) and features all the standard modes you love and hate. This also includes a slick online mode that is more or less the best the series has has ever seen. Join us, won't you?New Characters
- The Kooplings (Seriously, all of them!)
- Baby Rosalina (...)
- Pink Gold Peach (oh, fuck off)
- Link (DLC 1)
- Tanooki Mario (DLC 1)
- Cat Peach (DLC 1)
- Villager (both genders) (DLC 2)
- Isabelle (DLC 2)
- Dry Bowser (DLC 2)
Also, purchasing both DLC packs will unlock multiple colors for Yoshi and Shy Guy.
Items this time are different. You cannot hold an item behind you or deploy it to free up an item spot, which means you cannot grab an item while something like the triple red shells are active. You still get the protection from triple shells and such, but you have to use them up to get a new item.New Items
- Boomerang Flower - Allows you to fire a boomerang three times. It goes out a moderate distance and then heads back towards you, hitting anyone during the trip.
- Piranha Plant - Temporarily places a potted piranha plant in front of you kart, which intermittently lunges forward and bites. It will automatically home in on players within range of it, and each lunge will give you a small boost of speed regardless of whether or not the plant bit anything.
- Crazy Eight - Gives you eight orbiting items. Looks like it can be anything from Starman to Coins.
- Super Horn - Fires a soundwave in a modest radius around your kart, knocking out any nearby drivers and destroying any incoming shells or other item. Yes, even the blue shell.
- Fake Item Block
- Green Shell (and Triple)
- Red Shell (and Triple)
- Mushroom (and Triple, which orbit your kart)
- Golden Mushroom
- Banana (and Triple, which orbit kart instead of trailing)
- Fire Flower
- Bullet Bill
- and yes, the Spiny "Blue" Shell
- Moo Moo Meadows (Wii)
- Mario Circuit (GBA)
- Cheap Cheap Beach (DS)
- Toad's Turnpike (N64)
- Dry Dry Desert (GCN)
- Donut Plains 3 (SNES)
- Royal Raceway (N64)
- DK Jungle (3DS)
- Wario Stadium (DS)
- Sherbet Land (GCN)
- Music Park (3DS)
- Yoshi Valley (N64)
- Tick Tock Clock (DS)
- Pirahna Plant Slide (3DS)
- Grumble Volcano (Wii)
- Rainbow Road (N64)
SNES: 1 Track
N64: 4 Tracks
GBA: 1 Track
GCN: 2 Tracks
DS: 3 Tracks
Wii: 2 Tracks
3DS: 3 TracksDLC Retro TracksDLC 1
- Yoshi's Circuit (GCN)
- Wario's Gold Mine (Wii)
- Rainbow Road (SNES)
Nuts and Bolts
- Baby Park (GCN)
- Cheese Land (GBA)
- Neo Bowser City (3DS)
- Ribbon Road (GBA)
So Mario Kart 8 is numbered for good reason, as it really builds on 7's air/land/sea stuff and throws anti-gravity into the mix. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to get a lot of air and glide for a short period, and likewise there are underwater sections in several tracks (and it seems like retro courses have been modified even more than in 7 to allow for this). The anti-gravity segments you've probably seen: going upside, sideways and all over. At first blush this seems like a gimmicky thing that doesn't really add much to the game. However, there are subtle mechanics at play that really change things up. Besides the BIG OBVIOUS anti-gravity set pieces on each track, there are subtle, optional areas where anti-gravity gives you more options. Sometimes you can ride on a wall to avoid a player with dangerous orbitals or maybe go underwater for extra coins. In other words, anti-gravity has had a major impact on track design, and people who had played it are really digging it.
There's smaller, but still relevant, things like bumping into another player during anti-gravity to earn a speed boost. Older features like tricks, mini-turbos, slipstream, coins and so on have been included to allow for maximum speed. Kart customization is back, and previews are saying it's bigger than ever with more pieces than 7. There's also the return of bikes, which are faster on turns but slower than karts on straightaways. Kart customization is back, with about 52 parts divvied up over three areas of your kart: body, wheels, and glider. These offer flexibility in how your kart/bike performs, and there are a few more parts available via various DLC.
The gamepad is more or less used like the second screen in 7 or DS, and you can use the gyroscope for steering if gimmicky controls turn your crank. I imagine pro controller and wiimote + nunchuck are compatible, and you can PROBABLY slap a wiimote in the Wii Wheel and play that way if you are just that dedicated for motion controls. Like Wii and 7, I'm sure you'll get a golden wheel slapped on your account if you suffer through enough matches with the motion controls. Oh, and no off-screen player for local versus. It's just four player split-screen. Don't ask me why they couldn't do something Sega did no problem with Sonic All-Star Racing.
Another new feature is the fourth engine class: 200cc, a super fast mode that depends good control and use of braking to get around sharp turns.DLC
Mario Kart has DLC! Like...real
DLC with new content and stuff for you to buy. No, you are not hallucinating, although I too hear the choking rage of Hiroshi Yamauchi's dark spirit.Mercedes-Benz "DLC"Out Now!
This isn't so much DLC as it is a shameful advertising scheme, but it's three free vehicles based on Mercedes-Benz's line of vehicles. Just go online and download away if you feel like selling out.
DLC, you can also purchase both as a bundle for twelve bucks. If you get either DLC (or the bundle, it doesn't matter), then you get a bunch of new colors for Yoshi and Shy Guy right now!
Hooray for new content!
200cc is a special FREE addition to the game, and it introduces the fastest engine class Mario Kart has ever seen. This is the first time in the franchise's history that its exceeded the 150cc class, giving everyone a whole new racing experience.Multiplayer
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