Mario Kart DS Reader Review
A lot has changed in the 13 years since the original Mario Kart came out on the old Super NES.
We now have Mario exploring a full on 3D world, we have Samus with her first-person view point - But Mario Kart seems reluctant to make any big leaps in terms of gameplay and the 13 years haven't been kind.
It's loveable, its charming and you feel instantly at home - but many of the faults dating right back to the original on the SNES still haven't been addressed.
My biggest critism is that it's probably the worst example of cheating AI i've seen in a good few years, GT4 may follow lines, and Project Gotham may like to send you spinning around with nothing more than a nudge but nothing comes close to the non-existant AI of Donky Kong and his crettins.
They follow a line and they pick up random power-ups as they go along, only, as everybody knows - they are not random at all. The further back you are the beter these power ups get, and because of how stupidly, stupidly overpowered these power-ups have become over the years, you might as well not bother racing for the first two laps, as any effort you put into trying to get a good distance ahead will be wiped out when that little bugger in 8th place fires a blue shell at you.
The single player mode is a novelty, you can complete 50cc and 100cc without even looking at the top screen, and 150cc comes down to pure luck. I managed to complete the single player mode (golds in everything including the mirror modes) in 2 days, just by hanging around near last place until the final lap, collecting the three red shells it gives me for being 'pish' and then overtaking and shelling my way into first place before the line.
The biggest innovation in the DS version is that of online play, which is essentally a crippled version of the single player mode. You still have a decent number of tracks to select from but not being able to hold items behind your cart, and taking out some of the larger weapons makes the game unbalanced, and it suffers from the same "rubber band" power-up system as the single player, so you can't really take it seriously as the winner is almost always down to luck.
That's not to say it isnt enjoyable online, but when it's something we've all been waiting so long for - it's a shame Nintendo couldn't go to the effort to implement a proper online system with a universal friends list and online status, even an after game text chat would of been enough for me to mark this up a point or two.
It's a good laugh in short bursts, but as a racing game - it's rubbish.
5 / 10