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atari mania
Written by  :  MagFram (43)
Written on  :  May 04, 2005
Rating  :  3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars

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Summary

Multiplayer fun, but not the game it could have been

The Good

1. Multiplayer races are interesting with the double-dash feature.

2. More weapons in races than previous Mario Karts make multiplayer more fun.

3. To me, the game moves exactly the way a karter should. That is, the "speed" of the game is just right at 150cc: not too slow to bore you, not too fast to make you feel like your finish is ultimately left to chance.

4. The graphics, music, FX, animations around different tracks, etc are especially nice. I feel like most, if not all, of the tracks belong in the so-called Mario universe. Nothing seems forced, too "cartoony," or "kiddy," whatever that means.

5. I'm not sure how necessary it is, but the volume of racers and karts available to select is a nice touch, especially for younger gamers (who most times are just interested in driving the kart that looks like Yoshi's head).

6. This game is friendly for all ages. This compliment doesn't hold much water with those in the "core" gamer demographic, but it's worth mentioning. Little kids can have as much fun with this as adults, so it's good for family multiplayer fun.

The Bad

I don't know about the "behind the scenes" info on the game, but I feel like this game was either produced too quickly or was cut short in the middle of development to get it to market. Here are some reasons for this perspective, some subtle, others more noticeable. But I think they're all valid points that indicate the game could (and may have been planned to) be much more:

1. 16 tracks aren't enough. Don't ask why. You know it's true. You give me a bajillion karts and racers (including hidden karts galore), which out-number those of previous MKs by many, many times, but you give me the same number of tracks as MK64? You don't even hide a single track? That's inconsistent--meaningfully inconsistent, I think.

2. From the main menu, I can't start a "quick race" like I can in many other kart/racers out on other platforms. It's not really much more work for the developer to make this a possibility.

3. Similarly, from the pause menu, my options are limited to continue or quit. Where's the restart option from earlier MKs?

4. Some karts with certain drivers (Petey) are hard to see over. Why am I not allowed to change the camera angle, or even look behind me, as I could in previous MKs? Again, this lack of basic functionality is telling.

5. I also don't care for the fact that if you want 4P in a grand prix race, you've got to do it with 2P to a kart. I know this is expecting too much, and maybe doing 4P in individual karts during a GP isn't physically possible for the Cube. That's okay. But I would have liked to have seen improvements in the 4-on-4 race mode. As it is, it is exactly the same mode it was in MK64.

6. I don't want to write any more reasons--though there are more--because I don't want to give the impression the negatives outweigh the positives. They don't. With many other companies, this is par for the course, but with Nintendo... Well, let's just say I expect better of them. Not in an unfair way, I just hold them to the standard they set with other amazing games, especially many of those in the Mario platform and karting series.

The Bottom Line

I'm very disappointed in the game as a critical gamer, but as a karting addict, I play this game more than any other on my GameCube. From the perspective of replay value and multiplayer fun, this game should be in any GameCube library.

Critical gamers should also check this game out for the sake of imagining what could have been. To me, this game is a great lesson in being able to see what isn't there. It's pretty obvious that somebody, somewhere in Nintendo had larger designs for Double Dash that, for whatever reason, weren't allowed to come to be. C'est la vie.

atari missile command