Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Reader Review
(By the way this review is written with the assumption that you've played some Mario Kart before)
Ah Mario Kart: Double Dash!! A game that holds a very special place in my heart. Now that isn't something that I expect you the reader to care much about so I shall explain.
Firstly I should say I've never written one of these reviews before and by god I thought I never would. However, after purchasing and playing the new DS version and reading many of the reviews about said version I thought it was time I did. Now most DS reviews you will find start with some sort of abuse directed towards Double Dash and conclude with how fantastic MKDS is (due to its refining of all things Mario Kart into the most comprehensive Mario Kart yet). While there is no denying MKDS is a great game, Double Dash is the King Kong of Mario Karts. Read on dear reader...
Double Dash is not without its faults. 16 tracks is perhaps on the light side, and in fairness Rainbow Road may aswell be a non track because only the experts will find enjoyment in that 5 minute psychadellic shit storm. The single player experience probably wont keep you going for years to come (unless you're a time trialing machine) and the old MK favourite, elastic AI is back to make you want to smash Princess Peach and Daisy's faces into a giant Bowser shell. But these can all be avoided with the beauty of Multi-Player racing, and that's what this review is all about.
Now I'm no battle expert, I've played that side of the game and for me the thrills just aren't there. As previously mentioned Grand prix gets old fast. There are only two ways to play this game: Time Trials. Or 150cc Vs. MKDD is a game with depths that few people will ever realise or reach. The game poses as a childish jaunt but is in truth an adreniline fuelled death ride. Scoff all you like at my claims dear reader, but true they are!
Depth number one: The Power Slide.
First things first. In reading the Eurogamer review I noticed the reviewer mention people complain about the lack of speed. If you're playing Double Dash well, this is easily the fastest Mario Kart out there. I've played all Mario Kart games but none have a better power slide than that of Double Dash. Double Dashes slide is a thing of beauty. Watching an experienced player slip and slide, weaving through corners, boosting maybe 100 times in a race is something for the rookies to be in awe of. (If you dont believe me, go check out some of the videos of the Double Dash time triallers doing their thing on the internet. It'll open your eyes). Yes Racing in Double Dash is about getting the right racing line, but its also about squeezing as many powerslides in while on that line. On a corner? Yes boost, but do it as many times as possible while still hugging that corner. On a straight? Who cares! Boost! When racing with two or three other players of equal ability, all frantically boosting along the straights to the finish line the sweat will drip from your brow. (By the way, as a word of advice, use the Barrel Train, its a powersliding monster).
Depth number two: The weapons.
Personally I feel there's only one way to race on Double Dash!! and thats with weapons turned up to frantic. Yes it adds a little more luck to precedings, but it's also crazy fun. Now I feel I'm constantly learning new things with the weapons in Double Dash after playing probably more than a thousand hours of multi player. Where to begin. Well there's the ability to dodge in this game. A red shell is no guarantee'd hit and a good player can avoid one with a well timed swing of the cars butt. Even blue shells can be dodged with a well timed release of a powerslide boost (something that I once never thought possible). Infact, the ability to dodge all of these things are the reason Double Dash is in my opinion the greatest Mario Kart ever. Winning a race is almost entirely in your hands. Want to win? Then dodge everything fired at you. Dodging three blue shells in a race and going on to win is one the most satisfying multiplayer experiences ever.
Then there are the tactics. Use a lightning just as a blue shell hits and not only can first not avoid the blue shell they'll also be turned backwards. Use a blue shell to coincide with first place going over bumps so they cant dodge it. Shoot red shells in specific locations to make them almost unavoidable. Shoot red shells with the right timing to slow an opponent down more than any other weapon can and then powerslide through them to send them hurtling into the sea. The abuse will begin to fly! Get a blue shell and then back yourself to get into first. As a result noone else will be able to get a blue shell and you can race a relaxed race. Become a big banana expert and it can be the greatest weapon in the game. And there's so much more!
Almost everything in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! racing is governed by skill. And for me thats what makes it a great game. There are few games I feel I have such control over. I love Pro Evo, but I feel if I do the same thing twice in a row the result will be different. In Mario Kart: Double Dash!! if you want to win then you've got to have the skill to seize it and slap any one who challenges in the face with a giant banana skin.
For longevity and fun and frolics (which is the title of this review after all) there can only be one score.
P.S. Chompy Chain is perhaps the games biggest flaw and is unfortunately an unavoidable nuissance if you're playing the game with four people all in the smallest karts (how the hell did you not spot the bugs in that weapon nintendo?). But ho hum.
10 / 10