Review by RoyCohen11

Reviewed: 02/13/06

What a racing game should be

I was highly anticipating Mario Kart for my DS, it had online capabilities, it was one of my favorite racing series and a bunch of my friends where going to have it also. This is one of my first online Nintendo game and hopefully soon to be more. Anything that has the word Mario and Kart in it gets my attention.
Game Play 10/10

I had all of my favorite characters, including Mario (well duh), Toad, Princess Peach and Bowser, It has 32 tracks that include some new and some old. Just playing some of the old stages from SNES brings back a lot of nostalgia. There are 4 different Grand Prix modes, 50cc, 100cc, 150cc and finally 150cc mirror. You will be ranked on what place you are in, if you are doing very well you will get one to three stars, if you do horribly you get the lowest ranking which is an E. If you are a veteran you would definitely try to get 150cc as fast as possible. 50cc and 100cc is a little bit too easy for me. Once you finish all the courses, you will be able to attack some online opponents who aren't anything to joke about.
There are also Missions which let you pick from a multitude of hard and easy challenges. The missions range from driving through a course backwards to trying to knock out goombas. This provides a lot more game time and provides more replay ability since you gaming gurus would want to get three stars on everything possible.

Next up is Battle Mode; it incorporates you built in microphone and lets you play against the computers whilst previous versions wouldn’t let you. There are two modes, first one is Balloon Battle. Balloon Battle is very intense, you race around for items as you bump try to knock and/or hit opponents trying to pop there balloons. This is very challenging on the bigger courses. Next is Shine Runners, it has the same concept as Balloon Battle but you run around trying to collect Shine Sprites. If you are hit, some of your sprites are out of your possession and other opponents may take them if you don’t.

Last but not least are VS and Time Trials. In VS, you can battle opponents on any track you wish and any difficulty you wish. It is fun as you challenge yourself to opponents. You may wish to do the extremely easy 50cc mode to blow off some steam or try 150cc as you race to the finish line. In Time Trials, you can race against a ghost which is a ghost that you race against. Nintendo already has some ghosts on there that are really challenging or you can make one yourself. Just this alone gives me infinite amount of hours more of game play.

There is just one more aspect about game play, the online. This has been my favorite experience by Nintendo in a long time. There are four modes online you can play. Regional, worldwide, rivals and friends. Regional allows you to play anyone in whatever area you live in. I use this most often right next to worldwide. Next, is worldwide, this lets you play anyone in world that is searching along with you at the moment. Sometimes this mode just lags me and my opponents to the point where it is unbearable. Next is rivals, I'm guessing that Nintendo has a something that determines your skill based on Wins and losses, This is the most challenging because you get to race against people on your skill level. Last is friends, you get something called a friend code which is a 12 digit number that allows you and your friend to play together if you and him have a set time to play. I think Nintendo should have done more work because the friend code can be a pain at times.

Even though you only get 20 of the 32 tracks and you can not drag items it is tacking away some of the fun but still leaving a lot to play with. I would have also recommended that you have online tournaments and you can chat in a lobby or something like that. Nintendo still has a lot to go and I hope they saw their mistakes. Overall, I would have rated online 7/10. It needs a lot more work as I said before. I would have waited 4 more months just so the online would give me more capabilities. Also, this just turns a lot of people off since some of them do not have routers and do not want to spend extra money just to get every ounce of game play out of this game. There should have just been an attachment where it sends out wireless signals but only costs about 5-10 dollars or include it with Mario Kart DS.

Graphics- 7/10
These are comparable to the N64 counterpart. This is one of the better graphically enhanced games on the DS out right now. When you use the items, you don't expect eye candy, but that is what they give you. They have really outdone themselves on the new tracks, they look great. They even touched up on the tracks from the previous Mario Karts. This is a very well detailed game but sometimes the graphics are a little blocky.

Music- 9/10
Just what I like, not very fancy but gets your adrenaline when you pass the finish line to the third lap where the music suddenly gets a lot faster then normal. I also like it when you hit an enemy with an item you make a sound noting that it definitely did hit. It helps because sometimes when a red shell hits a wall you know that you need to catch up. Your character also makes a noise when you pass someone. When you use an item it makes a very distinctive sound that you know an item is coming, whether it is a blue shell, red shell, or green shell or any of the other items, you will know it is coming. Overall, the music is what makes them game right next to Mario.

Controls- 10/10
Even though my thumbs hurt after a long session it is a good control plan. A for accelerate, R for jumping/ drifting and B for stopping and L for dropping items. Pretty much like every other Mario Kart before this one. Just a note, you should keep your thumb on the thumb pad and apply pressure so that you do not have to move your thumb everywhere causing more pain.

Replay ability- 10/10
If there were no online modes then I would rate this much lower. In 2 years from now, people will still be playing this actively I bet. Even if you don't have any access to online you can always try and perfect your game with 3 stars on everything which is a very hard accomplishment.

Rent or buy?
Definitely buy unless you dislike Mario Kart, otherwise buy all the way. Only reason not to buy is so you can check out the online. This is one of the must buys for the Nintendo DS out and will be for a while.

Overall- 10/10
I would highly recommend this game to anyone from five to ninety nine years old. This game is one of the best Mario Karts I have played and this is coming from a guy who has played all of them. The music goes great along with the tracks; it really gets your adrenaline pumping. The game play is just incredible, I would play this all day if my batteries would not die on me which seems to be happening a lot lately. This is what I was hoping for, a killer DS game that I would rather play then some of my consoles. Online gets me disappointed but I enjoy it. I just dislike any one that plays this game and lags a lot, I then force myself to disconnect. I can't choose my friends I want to play or chat with them. This is a perfect game for me and should be for you to.

Peace out

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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