Mario Kart 64 review by Tyson
After recently replaying Mario Kart 64 I found that the single player portion hasnít aged well over the years but the multiplayer portion still holds up to this day. I recommend picking this up as a rental when you have group of friends coming over and want to have a great night playing the Nintendo 64.
Mario Kart 64 takes what Super Mario Kart created and expands on it. You still pick a Mario themed character then race through modes like Grand Prix, Time Trial, or battle it out in various multiplayer modes. Going through the Grand Prix mode you can go various speed settings from 50cc, 100cc, or 150cc. Each speed setting does seem to be more challenging then the last. Modes like the multiplayer are a blast to play since you can now have up to 4 players playing. Racing or battling with 3 other people is just crazy fun and it shows off why the Nintendo 64 is such a great console.
Going back and replaying through the Grand Prix in the single player mode I found myself not having very much fun. Nearly all of the issues I have can be contributed to how the AI is designed. No matter what CC speed setting you chose the AI is always on your tail and this just gets frustrating. You can race a perfect race up until the last little bit and get screwed because of it. I also found it stupid that the AI will also slow down if you get to far behind as well. Itís like the designers didnít want you to do well but then didnít want you to do badly as well. Such a terrible way to design a racing game.
The items in Mario Kart 64 range from awesome to terrible. Many of the items from Super Mario Kart return but a few new items and item variations have been added in. One of the new items is the Blue Shell which homes in and attacks the player who is in the lead. This item is one of the worst addtions to the Mario Kart franchise. There is nothing worse to be having a great race and then getting screwed by the Blue Shell. One thing that really frustrates me with the items is that the better position you are in during the race the more useless items you get. Mainly geting banana peels and green shells when you are in first place get so boring. Sure on the other hand if you make a mistake and get into a worse position then items like speed boosting mushrooms or the shrink everyone else lighting cloud do help you catch up. Still I just wish that the items could of been balanced a bit better.
Mario Kart 64s best area has to be its course design. Each of the 16 racing and 4 battle courses are well deisgned and fun to race on. I liked how each course had its own theme like Sherbet Land which is an ice course with penguins sliding around. Courses like Wario Stadium and Rainbow Road are impressive with how long each lap can take. Battle courses like the Block Fort is a blast to play in with its different height based areas. I also want to mention that I like how many of the courses have shortcuts that you can take. Some shortcuts require certian items like a mushroom, like in Koopa Troopa Beach, granted some shortcuts are more exploits then actual shortcuts but it is nice to use them when you are playing against the AI players.
I think that the Nintendo 64 controller holds up fairly well for Mario Kart 64. Using the analog to steer and using buttons to accelerate, brake, or use items work well. I did like using the Z button to use my items since it felt natural in some way.
I was never hugely impressed graphically with Mario Kart 64 even back when the game launched. I do like the design and draw distance of the courses but the sprite work on the characters and items donít really look that great and stand out in a bad way for me.
I enjoyed the sound effects and music in Mario Kart 64. I liked the background music used in the courses and having the various Mario characters say things here and there was nice to hear.