The stunning 3D world of Super Mario 64 - but in a racing game.
Cheery music and amusing sound effects.
Packed with stuff, and the four-player split-screen mode would be impossible outside the N64. Crap PAL conversion though.
The courses aren't varied enough, but master the controls and it's a much finer prospect.
Months of racing fun packed into a cart the size of a crab.
Mario Kart is one of those games that's tricky for me to objectively look at, because I've played it a lot, and even relatively recently. There were hours of good times playing hired copies with my brothers and friends as a kid.
Anyhoo, boot it up! Wait, hold on, why are characters all prerendered sprites? This a bad sign! I suppose the reason is: The Framerate. However it's really quite disappointing the amount of blatent 2D that is present in these early N64 games. I can't say it looks toooo shabby though.
One of the first things I notice (every time another kart passes or is passed by me) is that all the karts sound like mosquitos... maybe thats realistic? I'm not a real-life kart afficionado myself, it's a little distracting to be constantly buzzed by insects though.
On the topic of sound effects, all the voices are great! Nintendo ought to have given all the other developers lessons on how to do it, because it just sounds right, which is something no-one else seems to have got the hang of at this point in time.
The graphics are fairly simple, but there's some impressive stuff going on, like the live billboard TV on one track, and the different screen elements slickly sliding on and off the screen between races. Presentation is top notch.
As for the racing itself, it's as fun as ever. Whacking your opponents with a red shell and hearing their lamentations of defeat fade into the distance behind is a very satisfying thing. As is pulling off a flawless powerslide, and hitting a ramp at just the right angle to go flying off the end. And the golden toadstool! The joy of maniacal boosting is only let down by the occasional cheek of a cheating opponent who will effortlessly pass by while I'm 15 boosts in!?! Fucking Luigi and Peach are the worst, no matter what I do I'm only seconds away from seeing one or both of them glide past me as though I'm stuck in 3rd gear. I just need a lightening bolt to wipe the smug look off their dirty cheating faces.
Hey, what the?! They re-used the castle from Mario 64!!