#221 Super Mario Kart

Posted: 15th August 2015 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

448th played so far


Genre: Racing
Platform: SNES
Year of Release: 1992
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo

It feels like it’s time for something fun! Well, most of these games are, but the Mario Kart series always offers that bit extra. We played the direct successor of this game, Mario Kart 64, a long time ago and Mario Kart Wii was one of the first games we played for the blog. More recently we also played Mario Kart WiiU together a lot.

The series started with Super Mario Kart on the SNES, and I still remember playing it from a long time ago. It was good then, and great for multiplayer. Let’s see whether it has held up though…

Our Thoughts

Going into this, I was worried about the controls. One of the less pleasant things I recall about Super Mario Kart – reflected in some sequels’ throwback track, but adjusted in others – are the turns. Presumably due to the nature of the graphics system, large parts of the tracks run at 90 degree angles to each other. It’s presumably a memory-saving device or to work with the fancy semi-3D rotation used, but they make for some awkward bends that felt difficult to pull of.

Replaying the game though, it isn’t that bad. There’s a few tricky turns, but my added Mario Kart experience makes it a bit easier to get around it – some drifting and adjusting your speed makes a bunch of them easier to make. There are still some 180 degrees turns, which get more annoying, but overall the game feels incredibly playable.

It helps that a lot of the important elements are in play already, even with some of the oddities still there – coin collecting went out soon after, but the bonus items are mostly already there. Oil spills also seem more common than they were later.

The graphics are the biggest thing that make the game look dated. Although there are a few different track graphics, they are reused more across levels (some tilesets have four or five tracks associated with them) and are mostly fairly flat compared to the 3D modelled tracks of later games. There is still a lot of variety in tracks, but visually it can be a bit more samey. Even so, the mode 7 rotations add quite a bit to it, adding a lot of depth to the tracks that seem impressive for the SNES.

Final Thoughts

I suppose this is something we should be expecting from a Mario series game anyway, but considering the impact its successors made (even amongst less hardcore gamers – Mario Kart Wii feels like something everyone played), the fact that it holds up as well amongst its competitors says a lot of good things about Super Mario Kart. I’m actually tempted to replay it again and try to go for a proper play now.