Mario Kart Double Dash GameCube Review

Spend Your Cash On Double Dash??

It’s the game most of us have been waiting for this since the GameCube was announced, hell it’s the game some of us have been wait for it since 1996 after the slight disappointment that was Mario Kart 64! Well now the waiting is over, Mario Kart: DD! is out, now the questions start to surface. Is it as good as the SNES original? Does it fix The N64 Versions Problems? WHERE IS TOAD??? Hopefully this review will answer some of your questions.

With the such high standards the Mario Kart series demands any developer would have a hard job trying to better the perfection that was set by the original, but as you will be happy to hear Nintendo do one hell of a job, and they bring us one hell of a good game. It takes some aspects of both previous games, throws away most the bad bits and molds them into a game that is worthy to bare the Mario Kart name, This version contains brand new characters, brand new tracks, brand new music but the one area the remains largely unchanged is the gameplay, and why should the change it, The Mario kart formula is as close to perfection that anyone can get. Any major changes would ruin the game and the karting experience, but fear not a few minor changes have been made and most of which add to the experience and they make Mario Kart e here I am sure you will be happy to hear that god-awful “rubber-band AI” has been completely removed, most races should now thankfully be won or lost of your skill level, with them dreaded cheating computer now a thing of the past.

Graphics

The tracks are no longer the bland boring sleep inducing tracks that where featured in MK64, there is always something happing, there is always something happening. For examples on Yoshi’s Island (probably the most active track in the game) you will notice helicopter in the sky to a flock of seagull fly from a tunnel piranha plants snapping away at passing drivers and a cruise ship sailing away in the distance, other tracks throw up obstacles such as a stone bower that will spit fire at you and you will even see Goombas walking across the road, just waiting for you to drive into them. IT goes without saying that the trackside animated is a huge step up since the previous game. It not only the animation that has improved but the tracks themselves have drastically improved to from the twisting maze of corners on DK Mountain and Rainbow road, To the simple Oval shape that is baby park each track has there own challenge and personality. the only track I found boring after a while was Dry Dry Desert but one bad egg in Fifteen ain’t bad! Is It?

Gameplay

The first thing you will notice on boot up will be the inclusion of two characters per cart. One drives, the other fires the weapons and controls the power-ups. At first this may seem as nothing but a gimmick but after a few laps you will find it does add to gameplay. The biggest change has been that there is now two slots for power-up. After some more inspection you will notice a bit of tactics are need to pick a winning racing team, Mario and Luigi will probably be the best for newcomers to the series, but once you have learned the ropes there are lots of different combination waiting for you to experience, after a hour you should be settled on who is you favorite and you should keep with them till you have completed the game, or until you unlock some of the secret characters.

All the options that you would expect to see in a Mario Kart game are open from the start. 50cc, 100cc, or 150cc and time trial mode are all there. As you win gold cups on the different track the unlockable reveal themselves to you the unlockable include secret karts, secret characters and a brand new cup. Nintendo has opted to change the control system slightly, it definitely seems “tighter” now, you feel in direct control of the kart, it seems to have more in common with the original SNES game than it does with the N64 incarnation. The hop has been taken out of the powerslide, this has nil impact on the playability, after the first cup you should have forgot the hop feature was ever there in previous games. You can also no longer hold a item behind you to block an incoming shell, you have to time the block, All this leads to more attacking based game played which in my opinion is a good way for the series to go.

What about multi-player I hear you cry, after all it is what at least 75% bought Mario Kart for, the joy of popping your mates last balloon with a lone green shell, as your yelling “eat that” at the top of your voice, the sheer joy of this cannot be surpassed by any other game. This version of Mario Kart brings a few new multi-player features with it, which includes the much talked about LAN mode which I will talk about later. Aside of playing the normal straightforward races, which include playing GP in co-op mode, you also have balloon battle, shine thief, and bob-omb blast (plus a few unlockables which I am not going to spoil on you right now) Now about the LAN. You can play with up to eight players using the GameCube’s broadband adapter. But sadly Nintendo has decided to go with a “Bare-Bone” LAN mode leaving out some important features which will annoy some which. You cannot choose characters or karts (a character’s are assigned randomly), one other flaw is the lack of a results table after one race you’re bumped out to the LAN menu again. So if you playing “best of 10” you have to you’re your results on paper. It’s best to think of LAN as a added extra, it could have been done better but it takes nothing away from the magic that is already there. And that magic is there in abundance.

Sound

The sound aspect is above and beyond any other game in the Mario Kart series, the characters utter there catchphrases upon winning a race, Toads “I Am The Best” still been on of my favorites, different finishing positions means different catchphrases which is a good addition, It seems like Nintendo did a lot of work on getting the voice samples correct as each voice and the words they speak suit the character very well. The Soundtrack has that traditional Mario feeling but with each track influencing it own theme, for example the snow covered sherbet land track is accompanied with an up-tempo Christmassy beat, while the fantastic rainbow road track has a more magical theme to accompany it. You will remember a lot of the in-game sound effects from Mario’s platforming outings including Mario64 and Sunshine, these all work well to bring the game to life and add a lot to the atmosphere.

Overall

Why an 8.7 you may ask, well in all honesty it technically is still the same game as the 1992 version. Yes, I know they have added 2 players per kart and tweaked a bit here a there and added a few features! But is this enough?….To some people and I will include myself in this, it is, I can honestly say I will be playing Mario Kart well into next year and far beyond. But I think Nintendo could have done better, in what area you may ask? I honestly don’t know but I am sure if they tried they could have brought a little but more to the table. They are the “Kings Of Innovation” aren’t they???

8.7 out of 10

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