previews\ May 18, 2005 at 8:00 pm

Mario Kart

Nintendo’s press conference revealed their plans to bring Mario Kart DS online. Exciting news, but the verdict was still out. Will this game be as good as the GameCube version? It definitely won’t look as good – GameCube is too powerful. And it won’t control the same since there’s no analog stick on the DS.

Valid concerns, but this series started on the SNES. Was there really the need to be concerned of its impressiveness?

After racing a few laps, it was obvious that there wasn’t.

Mario Kart DS is going to blow the competition out of the water. You won’t believe how solid the frame rate is and how smooth the graphics are. The multiplayer features are the best part. We couldn’t test the online features just yet, but we were able to race wirelessly.

It all began like a heartless movie. I started at seventh place and stayed there for almost an entire lap. Donkey Kong isn’t my favorite racer, having great strength but lacking in speed and cornering. His strength wasn’t helpful when a zillion shells are hitting him in the back.

It got a little better…then it got worse. My opponents (all seven of them) were avid players. When I finally reached third place, the crowd jumped me like they’d jump a rockstar who didn’t have proper security at a concert. Except in my case they weren’t after my celebrity status – they were after my blood.

Thus far we know that all the traditional Mario Kart racers – Toad, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Peach, etc. – will be playable. Will there be any hidden characters? We’ll have to wait for the final game to get that answer. The number of tracks hasn’t been finalized either, but there should be at least 8 (hopefully 16).

I ended up losing the race, but walked away extremely happy. Tournaments were being held to encourage people to play, but just between you and me, I don’t need cool toys to draw me in (the winner received a mini radio-controlled Mario Kart). I’ll gladly take them, but I don’t need them.

Before I leave you to anticipate the game’s eventual release, I must tell you that at Nintendo’s booth, there was nothing but happy, smiling faces. When Mario is there and in playable form, no one can frown. No one.


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