Mario Kart - Super Circuits
Having played Mario Kart for the N64 first, it was hard for me to imagine a 16-bit version of a Mario Kart game. It seemed rather simple to me, and I thought it would be interesting to see how it would fair. I had the GBA game on my 3DS as a reward for getting the console early, so I might as well play that. I can't say I was expecting much, though.
The story....Mario, racing, trophy, 'nuff said. There is no story, which is probably for the best. If there was, it'll most probably be something like "Car Land" from the Super Mario Bros. Super Show or something like that, but I digress. As the game opens up, you are welcomed with a rockin' tune which would be the last thing I would expect from a Mario game. You can choose from the title to go single player, multi player, or exchange ghosts from time trail. It was nice to see that you could challenge your friends to how fast you were in a certain track. Now-a-days, you can do that in Mario Kart 7 via street pass with anyone, making it easier to get a challenge. Man, we've come a long way since then.
You get a choice of three game modes. The Mario GP, which is the Grand Prix of the game, allowing you to play in three difficulties (displayed as CC's, 50, 100 and 150) and choose from four different cups, with a secret fifth cup that just sits there, refusing to let you race in it untill you get a gold tropthy in every cup in that CC. It's a nice feature to have every track have it's little own preview with pieces of art instead of showing a segment of the track. This leaves mystery and curiousity to make you want to race in every one of them to see what they are like.
Then there is time trail mode, which let you race on your own to get the fastest time possible. You start with a triple mushroom in every race. You can press select to choose what ghosts are displayed when you are racing (the ghosts via exchange and the ones created yourself). Then there is a "quick run", which allows you to play a certain track with a character of your choice. This can be good to practice on tracks you struggle on, although the name "quick run" implies that you choose a random character witha random stage just to get in the race really quickly.
You can choose between eight characters. These range from Mario to Luigi and from Bowser to......TOAD!!!! WHAt are you doing here? Great, he's in this game as well.....I hate Toad. In every Mario Kart game I've played, he's always ther real smug one that hogs first place and acts like everything he does in a race is planned, even by the stuff that isn't him. He always seems to make it in a race, even when there are more than 12 characters, he's always there.....but maybe in this game, he isn't. Anyway, each character has a different weight, top speed and turning abilities. The more weight the character has, the harder is it to turn, but the easier is it to knock other racers out of the way and into lakes or off the edge. they have a low top speed, though. On the other hand, a character could be very light weight, have good steering and a nice top speed, but can easily be knocked into someplace you don't to be.
The game is a little off putting to me, and the only reason is the drifting. I press R to take a drift turn, and it doesn't work like the future Mario Kart games (or the past one if your talking Mario Kart 64). I can't seem to get a boost, nor move in the opposite direction to prolong my drift till I get the boost, as I just go the other way. I therefore don't try to drift unless it's a sharp corner to turn. The controls otherwise are pretty smooth, if not a little sensitive for my liking. You will notice that there are coins littered all around the track. If you run over these, you will collect them, and in turn, make you go faster. Boy, i would like a car that whatever money I drive over, I will collect it. That would probably cost me more money than I would gain from the loose change of the road, come to think of it...
If you get his by things on the track, you lose some coins. If you are hit by enemy items, you lose some coinds, even if you get hit by the drivers, you lose some coins. What is this? Ghost Busters for the NES during the driving stages where you have to pay for the damage someone else did? Anyway, these coins add up at the end of a Mario GP, and you are given a rank depending on you coins. I think if you are able to collect every coin (52) in a track, then you get an "A" or an "S" or something. But this is one thing I wouldn't obess over.
The music is pretty good. It's suiting to the track at hand, and quite amusingly, sometimes seems to forget that it's a racing game. It really does seem that the music suggests we're taking the beach as an urban track out of the blue for the sake of a Grand Prix. The graphics are very pleasing to the eyes. They pay good attention to detail both in the background and in the track itself. You might even get some spare time to look at the background at some points in the race.
Overall, I give this game an 8.4/10 It's a fun little game to play. The CPU is some what lacking, but hits hard if your in the center of it all. Combined with the music graphics and controls, the game is quite enjoyable, and really is a pick up and play classic. I would like to see the Super Nintendo version, accrually.