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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Best Mario Kart Game to date

Author: Dave (dctcool) from Gold Coast Australia
7 January 2006

No I am serious this game makes Double Dash, and MK64 look like pre-school games, Nintendo have finally learned their lesson on previous MK game, with major improvements including:

Better CPU AI (both karts and shells)

Great new tracks (Waluigi pinball is frigging awesome)

Old tracks form the older MK games (like Moo Moo Farm, that was a cool track)

Single Player Battle mode which means you can now play against BOTS in the battle mode, you have no idea how long I have waited for that.

The new tracks in the game are quite a treat, there are many popular tracks in the game (eg: Cheep Cheep beach, Waluigi pinball, DK pass, Tick Tock clock, and new versions of Wario Stadium, Bowsers Castle and Rainbow road).

And the use of two screen with the DS is great while using your main screen to see forward, your lower screen acts as a top down view which can be used really nicely for firing shells and banana peals backwards.

Also Items that were taken away in Double Dash have been brought back into the game, The first and most obvious one being the Boo (which allows you to steal other players items), as well as the triple shells and now the triple banana peals, whats even more great is that you can once again hold items behind you which you couldn't do in DD, and the triple shells once again spin around your kart.

There are also new items, like the Blooper: which shoots oil onto your screen, and slows down computer karts. and the Bullet Bill, which is like Chain Chomp (from DD), but you transform into the Bull and is easier to control.

Battle is great too, if not better than ever, you can have up to 8 players in battle, and they also brought back Block Fort, the best battle stage EVER.

There is a slight downside to the game, the choice of some of the retro track were pretty lame: (c'mon Mushroom Bridge?)

But aside from that, its one of the best games ever,

If you haven't got the game: GO OUT AND BUY IT NOW YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR MISSING

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A great game for the Nintendo DS

Author: patrick_dunne (wingkon@comcast.net) from United States
8 January 2006

Mario Kart DS is part of the Mario Kart series: a series where the characters in the Mario games race each other. There have been a few Mario Kart Games previously out there: A great one on the Ninentdo 64, and another that seems slightly copied for the Gameboy Advance. Oh, and there was also another for the Gamecube. This one beats them all.

Mario Kart DS provides us with all the characters we have remembered from the old games. It also has all the tracks bundled into what is called The Retro Grand Prix. It also has a series of new tracks to race on in The Nitro Grand Prix. Also, every character has gotten more detail added onto them. In some of the old ones, the characters were simple, they only has power and speed. In this one, you choose which character you want by their drifting ability, chance of getting good items, acceleration, handling and more. If that isn't enough, there are a few new characters to unlock. In short: the characters and tracks have increased in quality and quantity.

There are a bit more new things, such as new items, new multi-player game play, new multi-player maps, a new racing technique, and even some missions.

The new items include the deadly blue shell (which attacks the player in front), the squid (which squirts ink on an opponent), and the golden mushroom (unlimited turbo boosts for a limited time.) Note: Some of these may have been included in the previous versions.

The multi-player game play allows you to compete against your friends in not only racing, but other modes too! You can do balloon battles, in which you and your friend use items to kill each other. (I think this was in the older ones.) You can also do Shine Sprite Battles, where you and an opponent compete to get as many Shine Sprites as you can.

The racing technique adds some more complexity to the normal game play. Once again, this was probably in the Gamecube version-I'm just not sure. Anyways, when turning corners, you can hold R and press left and right simultaneously, and then release the buttons to get a small speed boost. Oh, and you can choose to throw items either forward or backward.

The missions are cool. What you have is a menu screen that allows you to choose from many different missions, each with an individual goal. But, most of them are repeated, and you will find yourself re-playing the same thing, except more difficult the second time through.

But, what separates Mario Kart DS from other racing games is the variation. No, the missions aren't varied, but the game play oftentimes is. Each level contains numerous obstacles, which will slow you down if you hit them. They can also contain speed boosts, which give you a little boost. Many contain sharp turns, which requires drifting to easily get past. If the tracks weren't hard enough, other players will try to hit you with items, making the course even more difficult. But, don't worry, you can do the same thing to them. The option of whether throwing your item forward or backward helps a lot when competing. Of course, there is also the matter of controls and other things that will change the outcome of the race.

The variation of the game is the strong point, but it does have a weak spot. Even if the game is new, it seems to get repetitive. With no actual goal, or bosses to beat, or anything like that, you will find yourself replaying the same old tracks and racing the same old characters. The only thing that resembles levels are the missions, which soon get tedious too. After repeating the same old things over and over again, you will soon get bored. I wish it would offer some mini-games or something.

The controls are a bit hard too. Pressing on the Control Pad soon hurts your thumb, and turning in circles (sometimes required for missions) is rather difficult. With the luxury of the soft analog stick against your thumb, the controls in this game fail in comparison.

It does have it's flaws, but it is enjoyable. If you liked the originals, you will like this. If you were a die-hard fan of the originals, you will love and adore this.

8/10

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Easily the best Mario Kart game and a fantastic return to the form shown in the SNES and messed up by the other versions

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
13 February 2006

Having seen this title listed as one of the best video games of 2005 by The Times, I decided that, despite not liking the N64 version or Double Dash I would take the risk and buy it. Of course this meant also buying a DS but I managed to get it as a pack and in a sale so I convinced myself it was a bargain! Luckily for me this is easily the best Mario Kart game since the original hit the SNES. The concept is the same as ever with a series of cups to compete in, with four races making up each cup and three speed classes to allow the game to grow with your ability.

The immediate first strength of the game is the amount of races to take part in. There are four main cups with a total of 16 new tracks but what was a great surprise was the addition of the retro cups, which were another four cups with a track from each version of the game (SNES, N64, Gameboy and Gamecube) making up the four races within each. This makes 32 tracks to race on as well as having the ability to play the "classic" tracks that I remember from years ago. Of course they were never going to please everyone and some of the choices of retro courses were a bit weak and other ones that I would have considered indispensable have been overlooked! However it is a very good idea and it adds value to the game that goes beyond just increasing the number of races. The new tracks are impressive, fun and imaginative; they are loaded with good visuals but not to the point where they dominate the screen and make the race harder.

The main improvement though is the gameplay, which was spot-on in the SNES but was flawed for every version I've played up till this one. If you drive a great race you can put distance between you and the other characters, unlike the N64 where the characters would just stick on your tail no matter what you did. This doesn't mean it is easy because often it is a challenge but the impact of the items also helps – no longer does a shell hit mean you are out of the race because the spin is not terminal and you can continue; plus the impact is fair across all the characters so it isn't just you getting hammered. The versus option is a nice way to practice the courses against opponents without playing a grand prix each time. The time trials are the same but the ghost data seemed easier to get at.

The battle was a great part of the SNES version but I thought the other versions took the skill out of it. Here some of the arenas are unhelpfully open but generally they are good. Of course what really makes the battles work is the ability to play against the computer, not to mention the number of characters in the arenas at one time. I hated the "blow the balloons up" idea but at least the select button does the same. The spread of characters is good and the option of different carts makes them a bit more variable so that I no longer felt that the advantage was to get the middle of the road cart and avoid the very light or very heavy characters. The function to play against other DS consoles is a good idea but I haven't tried it out so I can't comment.

Overall this is a great game that is a welcome return to form for the Mario Kart game. The buttons on the DS are a little small perhaps and everyone will have a classic track that didn't make it into the retro cups but generally everything else is an improvement and for my money it is more than enough of an excuse to buy a DS.

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