Customer Review

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure, unadulterated fun. A classic in the making., 25 Nov 2003
This review is from: Mario Kart: Double Dash! (GameCube) (Video Game)
I was expecting a lot from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! It sounds incredibly sad, but Mario Kart 64 represents one of the defining characteristics of my early twenties. Many, many, many hours were spent playing multiplayer Mushroom Cup Grand Prix and to this day, my Nintendo 64 is often hooked up and Mario Kart 64 enjoyed as if I’d bought it last week.
There has been no other game until now that has inpsired so much emotion, bad language, frustration and elation than Nintendo’s masterpiece.
One of the worst console mistakes I ever made was swapping my N64 for a Playstation. Fortunately, Sony’s souless, over hyped grey monstrosity met a fiery death in my car when it exploded and I reinvested in Nintendo’s ill fated but brilliant N64 earlier this year.
So, I have been eagerly awaiting Mario Kart Double Dash!! since the summer and I have now had the chance to play it properly. I have to confess that one hour into the game, I was slightly disappointed.
I’ve always liked Nintendo’s game presentation - neat, very simple and crisp. There’s nothing I hate more than complicated menus which clutter the screen and delay the start of the game. MK:DD is clean and simple, just as I wanted.
When the game starts, the visuals were exactly what you would expect - bright, typically Nintendo and just right for the game. The animation and detail on the drivers is the best aspect - the way Koopa Troop juggles his 3 red shells, for example is fantastic. Some of the background visuals aren’t so impressive, but you simply don’t notice.
The music, again, is typically Nintendo - unbelievably catchy and the sort of tunes that you will find yourself whistling for months.
Then we come to the way it plays. This is where my initial disappointment arose. There was something I just didn’t like about the way the karts handled and felt - I didn’t feel in control, it was like I was just a passive bystander watching mayhem unfold in front of me.
Still, I carried on playing and this feeling lasted for about an hour. After that, when I started to get to grips with the corners, and began executing perfect powerslides round tight bends and pipping other karts on the line, it started to feel right. I can’t explain why, but from that point on, the game has just got better and better.
The powersliding technique gives a rally-feel and takes genuine skill and timing to execute successfully. Trying to powerslide round a tight bend, whilst dodging banana skins and giant shells and at the same time unleashing your own weapons and defending yourself againt competitors weapons is extremely demanding and extraordinarily entertaining.
There are numerous touches and improvements, but the most obvious and important one is the two charcters per kart aspect. In itself, it doesn’t radically alter the way the game plays, but it creates more depth. You can now play co-operative, for example, with one player driving and the other controlling the player in the back, dishing out weapons and helping the execution of powerslides.
I could go on for pages and pages about all the tiny improvements and changes, but I implore you to play the game and find out for yourself. All you need to know is that criticism levelled at MK64 has been addressed in this version - more thought has gone into the tracks, which are tighter, shorter and far more interesting; the AI is much better, and very hard to beat; there are now more unlockable aspects and finally, one player mode is now much more of a challenge and worth a look.
The bottom line is that MK:DD is purely and simply, fun. There is no multiplayer game at the moment that even comes close in terms of pure, unadulterated entertainment and even fewer games can keep you captivated till 4.30am. It’s too early to say, but I think it is as good, as the legendary Super Mario Kart on the SNES and definitely an improvement on MK64.
With a market saturated by average first person shooters, movie tie-ins, the same sports games released year in-year out and an obsession with realistic graphics, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is a refreshing change. I know I’ll be playing if for years to come.
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