#818 Mario Kart Wii

Posted: 18th January 2011 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , , ,

20th game played so far


Genre: Racing
Platform: Wii
Year of Release: 2008
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

Earlier we kinda made a pledge that if there was a series then we would cover them from the first game on the 1001 list… we may not have mentioned it on here but such a promise was made to ourselves. Such ideals really do get thrown out of the window when you have relatives over who are itching to play titles from your gaming collection. Not that I’m complaining, I really do love this game.

The Mario Kart franchise started life back in 1992 when released on the SNES (yes we will be covering it) and has since become one of the most successful series of racing games ever released. This current incarnation sees it move onto the Wii and as such embrace the Wii motion technology. Every addition of the game was packed with a Wii Wheel which meant you could control how your car steered by turning the wheel itself (next thing will be the Wii Motion Accelerator pedals…maybe). If  this wasn’t for you then there was always the option of using an old Gamecube remote or the Wii Remote in conjunction with the nunchuck controller.

Our Playthrough

This has become known as one of the essential multiplayer games. In this vein we played this game with Jeroen’s brother as well as over the internet with our friend Mike. I would say that we’ll try out every character… but when you get settled into a racer you love it’s very hard to shift (hooray for King Boo!)

Our Thoughts

Wow, how much racing has changed; I remember playing Mario Kart on the SNES, looked worse and was quite a bit simpler. My first attempt at a racing game was an arcade version of Sega Rally Championship. Will we be covering that? Yes, game 299. Fantastic, this time it won’t take my mum’s 50ps! Awwww… that can’t have been pleasant for her.

She always preferred the Point Blank machine. I am not surprised somehow (excuse me, I need to move out of the way before physical violence is enacted) Haha, just throw another bloody blue shell at me if you want to see true violence being enacted on your person. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I am going to beat you which happens on special occasions. True, but it’s not entirely unheard of either. Yea, then again I have had probably 100 times more hours spent on it compared with you, no exaggeration. It made me miss the fun times I had with the housemates.

That makes any win worth celebrating, apart from when it’s been at the hands of the really strange AI which is really the only downside of this game. It’s been complained about by everyone who has played it that the AI in the game doesn’t act consistently and sometimes ‘cheats’. Like how suddenly in a space of 4 seconds you get red-shelled, inked, blue-shelled and then struck by lightning.

It can get rather overwhelming, and seems to be a lot of ‘all or nothing’. You can go a race without seeing anything, or have a race where you’re beaten on left, right and centre. It’s worse when suddenly your blue-shelled at the finish line… and yet when you are sitting in 3rd place for the entire last lap all you get is bananas. To be fair, part of that is based on the items you get (with default settings) being based on your position in the race. It’s worth wondering whether that applies to AI players, though.

The slight unevenness can make you feel like you are playing against human opponents even in single player mode. It certainly does, and it becomes quite a tough game, unexpectedly so at times. The difficulty curve almost becomes a vertical line when you get to certain courses (Rainbow Road being an obvious ones and the revival of Ghost Valley 2 from the SNES version).

 

Why don’t they ever fall off the course? I think it’s because the world is against you personally.

The SNES tracks (and it’s worth noting half the courses are remakes from earlier games) are relatively hard anything, due to their harsh turns and small layouts that are quite a change from the faster tracks with gentler curves new to the game or from other games. The oil slicks on Mario Circuit 3 are a real bitch. Absolutely, and a number of 180 degree turns that they are always in. Those are usually supplemented by Boost Pads where you can do jumps of off to get an extra speed boost. Yes, making the turns harder but allowing you to maintain speed as long as you don’t run into anything, very true.

Needless to say though, this is one fantastic racing game. Absolutely, and one of the more interesting things that set this game apart are the controls (that is to say, the Wii Wheel). I love using the Wii Wheel for this, somehow it feels like a more relaxing method to play a game… yet it’s more difficult. It probably gives the least feedback of how you’re steering, with the control stick normally providing this; you don’t know how far you’re actually turning, and are likely to overcompensate or steer too little and so are more likely to drive into a Chain Chomp. It’s especially lethal in stages like the aforementioned Rainbow Road. Still, it’s an interesting addition to a good racing game series and worth playing as its latest instalment.

 

The motion control aspect really does make it deserve a place on the list, as will the 3d aspect of the upcoming Mario Kart 3DS. I cannot wait for that handheld to arrive!

Final Thoughts

A very playable racing game, from a series that started off nice and got better. It’s fun and looks good. The controls are getting, better, with the Wii Wheel being a great addition. While the game can be frustrating, the AI makes the game as tough at times as playing with people sitting next to you… even though the taunting possible when playing with real people is far more worth it.

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