Friday, August 1, 2008

The Wheels on Mario's Kart Go...

Red shells--check. Bananas--word up. Tropical islands, castles, haunted mansions, and battle modes--fo' sho'. All the joys of Mario Kart for Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and Gamecube have been faithfully transported over to the Wii. This time, however, you get to use a steering wheel.

The game (I think) comes with two plastic steering wheel cases that you connect the Wii controller to, which helps to bring this animated and imaginary racing experience to life (or..closer to life). I found that sometimes the steering could be overly sensitive or sluggish, but you'll be too engrossed in trying to blast Wario's face off with three red shells to care.

The big change that came with the Gamecube version of Mario Kart and that carries over to this edition is the amount of intensity in the racing experience. There is almost never a time when you aren't shooting someone/being shot at, making quick turns to avoid a pit or getting a chance box, or laughing (probably all three simultaneously). The game is gracious to you when you fall behind in a race (giving you the best weapons/boosts to help you catch up), and the race leader is never safe (the spiny shell is back, a favorite of those in 11th and 12th place).

The tracks themselves are always a pleasure to look at and race on. There are never too many challenging turns or pitfalls in a track--that would make it too much like a racing game and there would be no need for weapons. Yet, there are always enough track surprises (jumps, changing environments from lap to lap, Goombas in the middle of the road) that force you to race smart or face coming in last. A few tracks are brought back from the Nintendo 64 days, so those who are a little behind the times (me) can still fight on familiar ground.

I don't own a Wii. I only played this game for about 30 minutes. But I liked it, and I recommend it.

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