The StarSoldier


Artist touch: The CG art shows a lot of marketable characters and a good scent of speed but no weapons. 49.99 well spend. Cover art rating: 8/10
Month it won:
February 2007

(Nintendo, January 1997)
Special note: This was the first full four player game for the Nintendo 64.

Introduction and Story:

It took awhile but Nintendo finally released the big sequel to the Super Nintendo (or SNES) classic Super Mario Kart on the slightly more powerful Nintendo 64 console. Now Mario and his less popular friends finally get out of rehab and can start racing again in full 3D this time. The big question is though: is Mario Kart 64 worth getting for it's new weapons, mult-player maps, and more or is this just like Nintendo sequels like Yoshi's Story and totally suck super monkey balls?

Controls and Game Play:

The game lets you pick from some of your favourite Nintendo characters, each one differs in speed and power. The 8 characters are the returning Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Yoshi, and Bowser plus Donkey Kong and the evil Wario make their debut here. Sadly Koopa Troopa and Donkey Kong Jr. are still in prison so they have been fired from Mario Kart here. No big deal but I thought I would point that out.

The bigger, stronger, or fatter characters like Bowser, Donkey Kong, and Wario have faster engines but have slower acceleration while smaller characters like Toad, Peach, and Yoshi (hate him!) are just the opposite and have quick acceleration but poor top speed. Mario and Luigi are balanced characters with both good speed and good acceleration but not excellent so they are kind of boring. Of course you're going to need a good character on the different new tracks here that range from rally tracks made out of chocolate to busy city intersections with real traffic that get in the way. The courses are also a lot bigger in size compared to the original Super Mario Kart and you only have to complete three laps instead of five so we're not here forever at least.

What made Mario Kart different from other racers, and thus, making it a big hit in the first place was the cool items you were able to get on the tracks during a race. Who could forget about the Red Turtle shells that homed in on your unlucky opponent or the Banana peals that make lose control? You're going to need all the firepower you can get because this is not a very forgiving game especially if you bump up the computer Artificial Intelligence here. OK, it sucks that the Feather power up (the super jump) is gone in this version but I like how the game can now give you three Turtle Shells instead of one for example.

Graphics and Sounds:

Perhaps the biggest jump for Mario Kart here is the true move to 3D now. It's hard not to notice all the different hills and tunnels that would have been impossible on a 16-bit console and now there is no split screen graphics in the one player games which I like anyway. I won't say the visuals are perfect though. The sprite based characters themselves are actually not done in polygons like in the rest of game and look out of place plus a lot of the stages here are a bit too big but don't offer a lot of detail and colour especially on the ground. Other then that it still looks really good for a N64 game.

The graphics are not only impressive but I even liked the game's music too. There are several different, well produced soundtracks that fit both the racing and Super Mario themes and there are some voice samples in there too. Although they sounds pretty good, the voices do get on the nerves after awhile since the characters just say the same junk over and over. Overall the sound here is still pretty good but you don't mind childish stuff too much?

The Bottomline:


Although some gamers may be disappointed that Mario Kart 64 does take away some features of the SNES game, there is no denying the sequel here is a blast to play. There is a lot variety playing the one player game because you can either try to get the gold metals in the Grand Prixs or just go for the best times in the Time Trials. Mario Kart 64 even lets you save for best times and your previous patterns (or Ghost Save) to a Controller Pak so you can study the tracks even more religiously instead of going out on dates. Unfortunately you can't save these multiple ghost files on the Wii version so there is a reason to stick with the N64 original but other then that both are virtually identical.

As good as that is the game is especially fun in the new 2 to 4 multi-player modes where you can either race for first place or just fight it out in the battle arenas so there is always a good excuse to hook this up a party. It sure beats playing Monopoly, eh? Mario Karts controls here are solid, the graphics look amazing, the sound is there, and the weapons rock. It's still a pretty fun racing game much like the Super Nintendo original but with more stuff and less drunk driving Koopa Troopas.



*Battery back up game
*Controller Pak compatible
*1000 points to download on the Wii

overall rating: 85/100
Find Mario Kart 64 on eBay here!

For 1 to 4 players
Rated (K-A) for Kids to Adults

graphics: 8/10
sound: 8/10
gameplay: 8/10
replay: 9/10

(Ryan Genno) 2007

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