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Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Review

Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: November 18, 2003 Also On: None

Let’s face it, the only reason why you purchased a GCN was for Nintendo franchises. Whether the franchise is Mario, Donkey Kong (yet to be released), Zelda, Star Fox, Metroid, F-Zero, or Mario Kart, Nintendo seems to always have magical titles. That magic wore off a bit after playing games like Kirby Air Ride, but the power that Nintendo possesses on gamers and reviewers alike is amazing. Could gaming possibly exist without such fantastic franchises?

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Another thing that we need to face is this, I am a busy guy; I run this site, have school work, meet with family and friends, eat, watch the news, get involved in politics, and play games. The limited amount of time that I have playing games is around two hours, on an average day, which must be used wisely. I sometimes have a difficult time rating games and thus give them correct game play ratings by how long they actually kept me focused on the game and nothing else. For instance, if I can play the game and write the game’s review at the same time, there’s something wrong and the rating will be affected accordingly. While I can’t play Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and write the review at the same time, I found it hard to stay focused on playing that and nothing else, considering I have had to review so many other great games. Sure, I could play MK: DD with a friend for hours, but without one, it just isn’t as fun. However, before you come to the conclusion that my review is likely to not be too praiseful of MK: DD, you might be wrong.

MK: DD allows you to play with up to 4 human players or up to 16 players with LAN. Two players (or more) can play the grand prix (vs. or co-op), versus, or battle. One player only has two options, grand prix or time trials, both of which will keep you busy for a few hours. As in the previous installments, there are three difficulties in Grand Prix, 50cc (easy), 100cc (medium), and 150cc (hard).

In total, there are 16 different characters to choose from, including Mario, Luigi, Daisy, Peach, Diddy Kong, and more. Surprisingly enough though, there is no Toad, what’s up with that? Every character belongs to a class; light, medium, and heavy. Each character has their own special item (i.e. Mario has a fireball, Donkey Kong has a giant banana, etc.).

Each kart class has its own different characteristics. Light karts have good acceleration, but low top speeds. If you go off the course, you won’t lose much speed either. Medium karts have average acceleration and top speeds. Heavy karts have poor acceleration with great top speeds. Heavy karts will send light and medium karts off the track if they ram into them, however, they lose a lot of speed when they go off of the course.

Each kart has two players, with one as the driver and the other as a shooter. Using the Z button, you can switch between driver and shooter. Depending on what class your character belongs to will always determine what karts you may use. Here’s a simple equation for you to use:

heavy + heavy = heavy
heavy + light = heavy
heavy + medium = heavy
medium + medium = medium
medium + light = medium
light + light = light

There are a total of three cups, with four courses in each of the cups. If you can beat the final cup (Star Cup) on 150cc, you unlock a hidden cup, called the Special Cup. Just to give you an idea of what kind of courses are within MK: DD, here are a few of the course’s names: Peach Beach (which is similar to the city in Super Mario Sunshine), Baby Park (a theme-park race track), Daisy Cruiser (while this isn’t the Disney Cruise Line, it is the next best thing), DK Mountain (a mountain raceway dedicated to the gorilla that put Nintendo on the map), Wario Colosseum (a giant ball-like race track), Bowser’s Castle (Mario’s arch-nemesis’ home), and of course the Rainbow Road (a remake of sorts from the N64 version, but much improved). I haven’t played the N64 version in about 3 years, but I believe this game’s point system has changed from Mario Kart 64, however, I’m not sure. The point system goes like this: 1st (10), 2nd (8), 3rd (6), 4th (4), 5th (3), 6th (2), 7th (1), and 8th (0).

The graphics system in Double Dash seems like a refined version of the Super Mario Sunshine engine, with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker’s water effects. The karts all look great and feel appropriate for each character (e.g. Baby Mario uses a baby carriage). Each course is interactive with various ramps, tramps (sand traps, that is), speed boost pads, vehicles (in some city levels), and in-level characters that can attack you.

Many of you are reading this, wondering if this is the “Game of the Year� title that it has been anticipated as. While I can’t give it that much credit, Double Dash has proven to be extremely solid, fun, and enjoyable for both long and short periods of time. Is Double Dash worth buying a GCN for? Probably not, but with its $79.99 price at Wal-Mart and large line-up of quality titles, including Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, Eternal Darkness, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, F-Zero GX, and more, GCN is the system to purchase this holiday season and Double Dash is the GCN game to own.

Graphics: 10
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.4
Written by Kyle Review Guide