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North America Details

Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: April 27, 2008
Genre: Driving/Racing
Players: Single Player, Multiplayer (varies)
ESRB: Everyone

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Game Review

May 21 2008 03:00 AM
Mario Kart began a long time ago and has been placed among some of the really entertaining and fun games of all time. This game, Mario Kart Wii, is no different.

Gameplay: Mario Kart Wii basically supplies you with a few Mario characters, some nice vehicles that have advantages and disadvantages, and basically leaves the driving up to you. If you’re in Grand Prix mode, you’ll choose a specific Cup from the four starting ones that have already been unlocked for you (after gaining trophies on these, the other four Cups will be unlocked). Each Cup is made up of four races on really creative levels, both new (such as Wario’s Gold Mine), and some that you might remember from previous games (such as Mario Circuit from the Nintendo 64). Basically, the trophy you earn on a Cup (Gold, Silver, Bronze) is based solely on a points system.

For example, if you take the checkered flag in first, you’ll earn 15 points, second will get you 13, and so on… until last place which won’t earn you anything. So the game calculates the finishing position of all drivers and adds up their points after the fourth race. If you place in the top three in points, you’ll get a nice cut scene of you and the other two winners racing along and into a crowd of awaiting fans where you will receive your Gold, Silver, or Bronze trophy.

If you place out of the top three, you don’t get a celebration, instead you watch the other three from a hillside. Pretty simple right? Let’s move on. There’s also a Time Attack mode, where you can choose any track you’ve already unlocked and race for your best time on it. Versus mode is the same thing as Grand Prix, but with only one race, not four. Battle mode is a whole other story. It’s pretty much the same as previous battle sequences.

There’s a Balloon war, and Coin Runners. The Balloon war basically groups you and others into two teams, and you must grab your items and attack your opponents in order to loosen one of their balloons and pop it. For every one you pop, you get a point. The team with the most points at end takes it home. Coin Runners is based on the same concept, but this time you are collecting coins randomly scattered around Battle stages. If you manage to hit one of your opponents with an item, they will lose about half of their coins, allowing you to steal them. Just like the Grand Prix, there are both new and classic Battle stages included in Mario Kart Wii.

Graphics: Mario Kart Wii is really impressive when it comes to graphics. New stages are filled with colors and details, and more classic stages are mapped out almost exactly, even maintaining their pixel detail. Very great visuals, characters and karts alike have good detail to them. I think Nintendo did an ace job in this section.

Sound: Not as good as previous games, I think. I usually expect nice tingly tracks from Mario games, but this time around, I don’t think that was achieved. The main menu music is kind of drab; it’s like techno. However, the in-game music is a little better, it actually does have that familiar ring to it. Also sound files from the classic stages were actually implemented right back in throughout this game, giving the classic stages more of that retro feel to them. I really enjoyed that part. Character voices are pretty comical. Hearing your character mock opponents as you pass them really makes you feel good inside. Average job on the sound.

Control: One of the newest and coolest features introduced into the Mario Kart franchise is the Wii Wheel. I must admit, I had very bad doubts about the control problem of the wheel if your sensor bar wasn’t placed just right. Surprisingly though, the Wheel is very accurate and provided absolutely no problems to me as long as I’ve had it. I love the concept, and the perfection of the control made me very happy. A+ job here. Let me talk about the vehicles themselves for a while. Karts aren’t as responsive as the Bikes, which are another new feature to the Mario Kart franchise. You’ll find them much easier to control and drift with, while they may be a little slow.

If you’re fairly new to the Mario Kart series, I seriously suggest you start on 50cc. Me and my pride decided to just go on and skip to 100cc, and we got the hell beaten out of us. The Wii Wheel will take some getting used to. Basically, first get a feel of how much steer gets you far, then work on your fancy driving skills. It should get comfortable after a few days, I suspect you’ll get through 50cc and 100cc rather quickly. Did you notice I didn’t include 150cc in there? Right, let me tell you a few things about 150cc. Basically, it’s hell, hell personalized just for you, literally. I’ve had very bad experiences with it. Check it out, mind you, this all happened within ONE race. So I was riding along in first place and I was just about to finish my second lap. And suddenly, I hear the all-too familiar whistle of TEH BLU SHELLZ, better known as the “Spiky Shell.” So, I take it, I’m pretty far from the second place guy. Then the warning of an incoming red shell begins to sound as I’m midway through my final lap. Apparently, they keep catching up.

Right when I got back on my wheels, Luigi flattens me like a pancake with the Mega Mushroom item (makes you big and allows you to squash people). So I’m flattened for about five seconds and I puff back up, currently in fifth. Suddenly, someone (I think it was Bowser) just storms through me with the Star item, and once again, I’m stalled in the air. I was just about to hit the finish line in eight, when Baby Mario and his Bullet Bill item once again killed me off, and everyone behind me zooms past, conveniently leaving the last place position for me. It wasn’t just that time either. Every single race, the computers seem to leave their dirtiest tricks until the last lap to finish you off...it’s horrible! In short, 150cc doesn’t make you feel like a super car driver, it makes you feel like a lame shopping-cart pusher. I mean, challenge is great and all, but that’s just going overboard.

Fun: Mario Kart Wii is definitely the game to get if you’re looking for a fun and entertaining racer. It has many fun qualities and lots of replay value. I would highly recommend this game to anyone, either a hardcore Mario Karter, or a new rookie to the Mario Kart series. It’s really fast-paced and action-filled. Definitely a must-buy.

Online Play: 12 Karters from around the world on one track. That’s the perfect recipe for online lag, right? Apparently not in Mario Kart Wii. Mario Kart Wii does a great job of handling online play. As long as I’ve had this game, I have never experienced lag. I think online play, which allows you to play in either Battle or Normal racing, is very exciting and entertaining, probably more than playing the game itself. You actually match yourself up against really great drivers in online play. Also, there is a Ranking system. Depending on what position you earn in a race, or how many coins you collect, or how many balloon you popped, you earn lots of points that are added to your ranking. Careful though, poor performances can also subtract from your Ranking as well, so make sure you do your best!

Overall, this is great game for all Wii owners. I highly recommend Mario Kart Wii to anyone. The gameplay is very entertaining,

the new Wii Wheel adds to your experience, and there is more than enough challenge in this Mario Kart, sometimes more than you can handle!

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