[Review] Super Mario Kart

Published on February 23rd, 2014

Super Mario Kart hit Europe in the fourth Quarter, (October), of 1992. Following from the grand success that was Super Mario World that same year (which was thought to be by many the greatest game of all time), Nintendo had the idea of combining eight characters all together from the Super Mario universe, into a go-kart racing game. Ironically enough at the time, it was believed to not be a competent idea, as even Nintendo fans did not think Nintendo would create a fantastic kart racing title set in the world of Super Mario. How sadly mistaken those people were!



Super Mario Kart starts the player off with the 50cc Class (being the difficulty for novice beginners); to progress through the game players must clear all races obtaining the gold cup in all races in all three classes, 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc class (which is the most challenging difficulty). The 150cc class cups can be especially challenging for first time racing players with not much experience with racing games. The final cup being the 150cc Class Special cup race can be very challenging; the player must stay fully focused throughout the entire cup in these races at this level (nothing really gets more difficult at this stage when using a star during a race through Rainbow Road).
Super Mario Kart had spawned the Kart racing genre; it had been one of the first racing titles by Nintendo having a 3D perspective, presented brilliantly with the capability of the Mode 7 graphics of Nintendo SNES’ system. The Mode 7 plane is clearly shown; every detail and every reference from Super Mario World can be seen cleanly (such as the Monty Mole enemies jumping at you). Nintendo had wisely chosen a similar view to that of the Outrun series; with the sprites passing through, and not moving around the screen as can occur with glitches. Every colour, every tone and hue is showcased finely, whether it`s the darker waters in Vanilla Lake, or the calmer more casual ocean the of the Koopa beach tracks. Each one of these details in Super Mario Kart truly gave the spark of the imaginative, bright and colourful world of the Super Mario universe. Super Mario World veterans will immediately recognise the lands of the Choco Island for example from Super Mario World (world 6).The controls are not exactly the same as other Nintendo racing titles in general, the “B” button used to accelerate your character’s go kart is not the “A” button. This one small difference can be the one possible challenge in getting perfectly acquainted with the controls, veterans of the series can forget this. Aside from this nit-pick the controls feel right at home. The left and right button is used to drift to the left and to the right; one would imagine that had Super Mario Kart been released during the heyday of the Nintendo Entertainment System the player would be required to use the “A” button to make the kart hop and drift, thankfully though this is not the case at all with the controls of the game. Every character handles differently depending on which is chosen depends on the karts acceleration, traction, top speed and drifting. Every jingle in the game`s soundtrack goes well with each character, Bowser`s jingle for example has a rock music feel which portrays his villainous dragon ways. Players will find themselves remembering and humming all eight. The beautiful soundtrack will keep the player engaged and even at times can tempt the player to focus more on each tracks theme rather than the race.


The A.I is very accurate in firing weapons at you, and is known to cheat, which is why it may turn some players off. During the 150cc class characters will hop over red shells.
Unfortunately depending on your experience with racing games you may find yourself speeding through every cup with the gold, as the original Super Mario Kart did not have any mirror cups, so the replay value lies in the time trial and 2-player modes. Unlike Nintendo`s launch title racer F-Zero, Super Mario Kart just doesn’t have the same longevity, F-Zero is a meaner challenge as the controls require adjusting and above all the vehicle can blow up. The series did not start off with a significant item which is now referred to as the “Blue Shell from hell “so younger players may ironically urge for this item when playing through the original.


With the anticipation of Mario Kart 8, due to be released in May, players can live or re-relive the original via the Wii Shop Channel and the e-shop through the Wii U (in japan only) before the eighth title races through the finish line into the Wii U. Even to this day after 21 years since the original release Super Mario Kart is being played competitively through regular time trial competitions held in France. Super Mario Kart will forever be remembered as Nintendo`s legendary Mario racer which blew Sega`s Sonic Drift away and of course began the genre of kart racing games. With so many other imitators such as: Crash Team Racing, Disney`s Magical Racing Tour, Speed Freaks to name just a few, every one of these kart racing titles owe a debt to Super Mario Kart.


System released on: Super Nintendo
Year of release: JP: August 27th 1992
US: 1st September 1992
UK/EUR: October 1992

Wii virtual console release: JP: 9TH June 2009
US: 23RD November 2009
UK/EUR: 2nd April 2010

Wii U Virtual Console release: 19th June 2013 (Japan only)
Developed by: Nintendo EAD


Guest article provided by the mysterious James C, let him know what you think by leaving a comment.


All images courtesy of Nintendo


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