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Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo 64)

87
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
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5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  kbmb (399)
Written on  :  Jan 02, 2003
Platform  :  Nintendo 64

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Summary

Feels like a more pretty, but slower version of Mario Kart.

The Good

Hey, is that Mario Kart? No way, dude! It's Mario Kart 64!

I should begin by saying that I once owned a Super Nintendo, and the only game I owned was Mario Kart. It was my all-time favorite game (well, at the time) and my friends and I would play it for hours on end. When we got bored with just racing, we'd play erm... "house". We'd pick a place in the level to declare our kingdom, and place a banana peel on it. Then we would leave our kingdom and attempt to "take" each other's peels. It was like a really weird capture the flag.

Ahem. We were only nine years old, I should point out. Maybe nine. Maybe older? I forget. Somewhere around that age.

But anyway, when the Nintendo 64 came out, I knew Mario Kart 64 would be there somewhere. It had to be. It had to come out, with its glorious 3D graphics and ten times the fun Mario Kart was.

Did Mario Kart 64 deliver? Well, in some ways. The graphics are, unquestionably, better. 3D this time around, with some neato course tricks. Like jumping over the river in one level and stuff. And, like in Mario Kart, there were levels that brought on the essence of the "home world" of some of the characters who were racing.

Four player multiplayer! Woweezowee!

New weapons! Whee!

The Bad

I once saw a video of "Mario Kart 2", which showed awesome graphics and a level in which took place entirely in one of those green pipes. The video featured the ability to drive up the walls of the pipe and down different passageways, into water, down waterfalls...it was sheer beauty, all taking place within one of those infamous blue pipes.

What the hell was that video anyway? Probably a hoax or something, because I never heard of it again.

Well, you can imagine my sheer disappointment when MK64 neither did not have those AWESOME graphics, not the pipe level, and certainly not the speeds of the video I saw. Instead, I got this nice-graphics-but-not-that-nice game, with very slow kart speeds and no awesome pipe level. In fact, most of the levels suck. Sure, they're 3D, and we're not stuck within its bounds by odd looking square blocks, but MK64 lost the charm it had with Mario Kart. It was just a prettier, but slower version of the classic.

Also, this was the first time I heard Princess Toadstool called "Peach". When the hell did that happen? Until that point, I always thought "Peach" was some odd sexual innuendo for Princess Toadstool.

The weapons were similar, with some improvements, but at the same time there were some disappointments. Like the fact that you couldn't drop bananas behind you. What gives? And some of the level design just plain sucks.

The Bottom Line

Mario Kart 64 is just a prettier, slower version of the original Mario Kart. It lacks the charm and replayability that made the first one such a classic. And the karts are disturbingly slow. Boo!