Monday, May 26, 2014

Mario Kart Memories, pt. 3 - Mario Kart Super Circuit (GBA)

This is part three of a feature on the history of Mario Kart. Today's selection is Mario Kart Super Circuit for the Game Boy Advance.

Mario Kart Super Circuit was Nintendo's first attempt at a portable Mario Kart. Long story short, they did not disappoint. Since the Game Boy Advance was similar to the SNES in terms of graphical power, Nintendo decided to create a Mario Kart in the same style as Super Mario Kart (SNES). So while the game plays in 3D, there are no hills and valleys.

To add value to the game, Nintendo included every SNES Mario Kart track as a bonus. The game features a whopping 40 tracks, a number that may never be beaten (unless we get the option of creating custom tracks).

The game featured multiplayer via link cable. Plus, if you had friends that did not own the game, you could still play a few select tracks via download play, which was a very innovative feature at the time (to be honest, it's still a great feature. More games need download play).

First Played: You see, I grew up in a very small town. But, having recently acquired blazing-fast 14 baud dial-up, I was able to read that Nintendo was working on a new Mario Kart game that was like the SNES version, and included every SNES track. I became very excited, and I marked my calendar for the release date.

The problem was that I lived in a very small town, and the only way to get the game was to either drive 90 miles, or buy it online. I did not want to wait 3-5 business days to play this game. Luckily, one of my friends was heading into town, so I gave him the money for the game. Knowing it was multiplayer, I also told him I'd give him $10 if he bought a GBA and this game. He didn't bite. His loss.

Well, he logged onto MSN Messenger a night or two later and told me he was back and that he had left the game in his car and left the doors unlocked. I ran (literally) to his house right then and grabbed the game and ran back. He lived close, so I was there and back in ten minutes. Not knowing I had been there, he asked when I was coming. I told him I was already playing the game. He was surprised at how fast I was. He probably shouldn't have been, considering I was raised on F-Zero and Sonic games.

That night, I put on my headphones, turned out the lights, and played it for hours. I played every track at least once before I went to bed. It was a grand old time, and I continued to play it for months. Even now, I pull it out every six months or so and give it a good run-through.

When Nintendo dropped the price of the 3DS, they gave early adopters a handful of GBA and NES games on 3DS Virtual Console. One of these was Mario Kart Super Circuit, which is not available on Virtual Console any other way. So take that, weirdos.

Best TrackSnow Land - Winter-themed Mario Kart tracks have typically been among the best in the series. Snow Land is no exception. There are a number of shortcuts hidden among the snowdrifts (some of which can be seen on the map on the right). Instead of oil slicks, you have icy spots that make you spin out. Plus, like the Vanilla Lake (SNES) levels, there are places where the ice is broken, so you have to take care not to fall through. Plus, throw in a few penguins and exploding snowmen and you're good to go. It takes many of the elements of the SNES and N64 snow levels and crams them into a small space. Plus, the music is awesome (although, that can be said of the whole game).

Best New ItemStationary Red Shell - While Mario Kart Super Circuit has no new items, some of them have new features. For example, if you have a single red shell, instead of launching it backwards, you can place it on the track behind you. It then waits for someone to get near it. If someone gets too close, BAM! Death by red shell. It's a unique twist on a classic item. It kind of reminds me of the Proximity Mines from Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, except with less blood and shrapnel. Some blood and shrapnel, just less.

(Mario Kart Super Circuit is not yet available on Virtual Console, however it was given to early adopters of the 3DS as part of the 3DS Ambassador Program)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like an awesome one!! :) I would probably hit each and every red shell. I'm pretty good at running into things on any Mario Kart, lol :)