Friday, February 28, 2003

Gamecube - Mario Kart Double Dash review

I don't mind what other people say about this title, perfect or not perfect, this is a must buy for Gamecube! It's been 5 years since I bought Mario Kart 64, and it's been a long wait if that. This game has a positive turn out because the tracks are wacky, but MK64 is known for it. One draw back is the music, but I'll get to this later. The game comes with 24 grand prix tracks, and 50cc, 100cc, 150cc. One questionable fact in the new mario kart is the player only gets to pick 12 tracks at the beginning. Only 12 tracks? While the original came with all tracks at the very beginning, and had 200cc (hardest difficulty) This by no means makes Double Dash any less difficult. The competition will give you a challenge. 50cc plays like 100cc in Mario Kart 64. 100cc plays like 150cc. And 150cc will play like 200cc. I'm sugessing that a game starring Mario is actually difficult for hardcore gamers. I mean at the very beginning.

Double Dash has the exact same features as Mario Kart 64. Although many gamers would agree, Mario Kart 64, which was probably the prefered racing game of any N64 game, didn't come as a bonus disk or unlockable feature in this game. I mean how hard can it possibly be? I'd just take the Mario Kart 64 ROM, and stick it on the mini-disk. The game disk has 1.6 GB. This did not happen of course. Rumor is that Nintendo is putting N64 classics on a game disk and releasing it. Okay, enough of the rumors. Double Dash is based on the same point system of Mario Kart 64. Okay, I'll explain:

If you get first in a race, you get 8 points. Second place 6 points. Third Place 5 points. Fourth Place 4 points. Win the races and you earn vehicles (like the Waluigi Racer), extra characters (like Toad) and tracks (like the Special Cup.) If you don't see the Rainbow track (seen in N64 as Rainbow Road), don't have a fit, it comes apart of Special Cup, once you've earned it.

This game is colorful, the character models look generic, but it's not suppose to have the shiny, shadow look. I mean if you take all Mario games, they are very clean, but feature Super Mario 64 style graphics. I can't say it any simpular. Ever since Super Mario 64 was a mega hit, Nintendo just stuck with the graphics style. They wouldn't make a cell shaded Mario Kart. (AKA: Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.) A interesting fact is Hal Labitories, the developer of Super Smash Bros. Melee, made all the characters more shaded then usual. This lead to make gamers believe that all future Nintendo games would indeed follow the same formula. Although it would be nice if this were true, I believe Nintendo wanted the New Mario Kart game to be the way that most people expected it would be. No details were released at until mid-July 2003, but everyone knew that it would look a lot like Mario Kart 64 in High Res. It would be nice if Nintendo added extra polygons to the characters.

The game has this good feel, and makes it easily the top Nintendo game for Christmas last year. It is better than it's predecessor, I wished though, the game didn't use some content from Super Mario Sunshine. Super Mario 64 was clearly better designed than Sunshine, and it would be like that. Although, Nintendo fans don't know what's behind the highly classified game in the works, dumbed Super Mario128, and if it's going to feature the same level design as Super Mario 64. And if Luigi will join Mario in 2 player mode or at least be a unlockable character first featured in the 1985 game, undeniably the best NES game ever which made Mario and Luigi immortal stars, Super Mario Bros.

Double Dash comes with four average Battle Mode maps. They aren't bad, but they could of been more. Clearly, Nintendo was more interested in making Grand Prix mode better than average, so other "minigames" got a little simular. The bottom line is that I believe the Super Mario 64 (if you've placed the game) were better. Why Nintendo did you get rid of the maze idea, that was an in-genius idea I thought featured both in Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64? So many features in Double Dash rely on Grand Prix mode including Multiplayer, Time Attack, and Mirror mode. Hell, it's still fun, it comes with 5 cups. No Mario Kart 64 fan would expect anything less in the main game.

The graphics, this game isn't the prettiest game on Nintendo. It's kinda showing its age already. This isn't the games fault, it's just as game consoles improved, the older games just look more pixely. This is what some gamers call "The Cube Factor." The older consoles were based on sprites while the new consoles are 3D and use polygon. The cube factor goes stands against the newer games because it leaves out the classic formula that either made the game a hit or a lackluster in the past. Why do people still play NES? The cube factor draws them in. Games long ago that were as beautiful as they were simple. Back when all games were 2D. I believe the older games were sometimes better because they didn't use a joystick. The d-pad, and a couple buttons were all gamers needed to play the game. Not since characters can move in 360 degree radius they need a 360 degree stick to accompany it. Thus with a 2D layout, level design can be focused in 2D, camera angles are not a factor although some gamers say Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Super Mario 64, Goldeneye, and Grand Thief Auto 3, and Vice City were perfectly executed the camera. Camera angles aren't considered a big issue in racing titles because the camera is always behind the car, and it follows the same pattern in every lap. Same case with First Person Shooters. The camera is your eyes, and doesn't need to follow the character at a trillion possible bad angles. The graphics are prettier then any Playstation 2 game. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is coming to Gamecube, so gamers can't say can't say Metal Gear Solid 2 has better graphics. Gamecubes graphics are usually superior to Playstation 2 even if it's just a small ammount. Which do you think has crisper higher resolution graphics, Final Fantasy X or Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles? I am not ripping on PS2 at all since I own one, but sometimes I just get this feeling that Mario Kart Double Dash 'higher resolution' graphics beats any Playstation 2 game on the market . Okay except for Grand Thief Auto, which looks better than many Gamecube game ports that also are for Playstation 2. Bottom line, I think this game looks better then 97% of PS2 games. PS2 gamers, you know you'll just say how superior Playstation 3 looks to Gamecube. And I know this because it's also going to look better then Xbox. But PS3 will also nudge graphics of many PS2 up like PS2 has done with PSone games. Tell me that great games like Gran Tranismo 2 and Final Fantasy 7 look upgraded on PS2.

To conclude my review I give Mario Kart an average of 4.5 out of 5.0. The game works pretty well on the Gamecube controller. The controls are precise, and tightly adjusted. I happen to play this game often, and it's still fun after you beat it. (I haven't beaten it yet, but I will someday. This game will be a #1 pick in my Gamecube collection so I'll be playing this game long after Gamecube's predecessor is on the market.)

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