Multiplayer racing on the N64 at it's best.

User Rating: 8.6 | Mario Kart 64 N64
Super Mario Kart was one of the most popular games on the Super Nintendo system, and arguably the best racer of its time. Next up? Mario Kart 64. This game features 16 courses, 8 characters, and a variety of in-game items. The object of the game? Finish 3 laps before the other characters. Did I mention there's everything from banana peels to trip your opponent, to lightning bolts to shrink them? This game, just like most Nintendo games, makes it simple for you to find what you want to do. You choose the number of players, then the type of game. No options, and only a small data screen to sidetrack you. The menus are very appealing, and although they have that Mario kiddy feel, they still work well to make you feel like you're about to play a racing game. The graphics in Mario Kart are very good for its time. Each character looks great, and are easily distinguishable with the bright colours synonymous, of Nintendo. Shadows of each racer are found in both single-player and multiplayer modes, adding a little realism into the mix. Some courses, like Toad's Turnpike, really shine graphically, while others don't. The environments and backgrounds look a little choppy and bland time to time, but overall, there isn't too much to be disappointed with in the graphics department. You might find yourself a little disappointed with the sound though. If you go in expecting random Nintendo character phrases over and over, you'll get what you expect. Characters will make noises when one of their items hits another character, when they win the race, and other occurrences during the race. The sound is disappointing, but who really goes into a racing game expecting much more than a loud engine? The gameplay in Mario Kart 64 is amazing. The best part of the game is the sense that the race isn't over, until the finish line is crossed. Even if you're in last place with one lap to go, it's more than enough time to catch up to the leaders. The further back you go, the more powerful item (which are received when a character drives through blocks on the course) they receive. In single-player, this can seem like cheating, when computer players catch up very, very fast at the end of the race. This isn't as much of a problem in multiplayer, as the competition at the end of the race adds more fun. Different courses are far better than others. There are some great courses in the game (ex. Toad's Turnpike, Bowser's Castle, Rainbow Road) and some boring courses (Moo Moo Farm, Mario Raceway). The selection of courses is very good, and the fun courses are greater in number than the boring ones. If you were expecting a great single-player game, prepare to be disappointed. The single-player part of Mario Kart 64 is, simply put, not fun. There are no unlockables except mirror mode, which is the exact same courses, just reversed. Racing by yourself and taking out random characters just doesn't give a feel of accomplishment that you might feel it should. There are four levels of difficulty (50cc, 100cc, 150cc and mirror), each with the same four cups. To complete the game, a Gold Cup must be won in each set of four races. The best parts of Mario Kart 64 are easily the multiplayer modes. Two players can play together in the same championship, going for the Gold Cup. It gives players a choice between helping their friend get onto the podium, or hitting them with a shell before they can cross the finish line. Three or four players can play together with no computer racers, in a single race. The place where most will spend their time is in the battle mode. This mode allows you to drive freely around four different courses, while picking up items and attempting to take out opponent cars. Each car originally has three balloons attached to it. When a car is hit with an item, or falls off an edge, it loses a balloon. Last person standing with a balloon wins. A great feature added in turns players who have lost into moving bombs, giving them a chance to get revenge on another player. There are two very different parts to Mario Kart 64, single-player and multiplayer. If you're looking for a single-player experience, I suggest you still give it a try, even though there are better choices. For those looking for a multiplayer racing game, look no further, Mario Kart 64 is for you.