Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mario Kart Memories, pt. 5 - Mario Kart DS (NDS)

This is part five of a feature on the history of Mario Kart. Let's move on to the second portable Mario Kart, and the fifth overall: Mario Kart DS.

Despite being the fifth edition, Mario Kart DS is a Mario Kart of firsts. It is the first Mario Kart to include a series of Retro GPs that feature selected tracks from all previous Mario Kart games. Mario Circuit 1 (SNES), Frappe Snowland (N64), Sky Garden (GBA), and Baby Park (GCN) are all available, along with several other old-school tracks. It's a now-classic Mario Kart tradition that will probably continue forever.

Mario Kart DS is also the first Mario Kart to feature online play. You could play against people in your region, or against anyone in the entire world. Or, grab some friends and play against each other over the internet. You could even design your own custom logo for your kart to show off to people.

In addition, Mario Kart DS featured a Mission Mode, which has strangely been absent from the series ever since. In it, you would complete various challenges, such a finish a section of a track in a specified time, or hit crabs with turtle shells, or various other racing tasks. It even featured boss battles, with enemies from past Mario games, such as the Chief Chilly, an ice version of the wrecking ball/bull boss from Mario 64.

Mario Kart DS also featured a single-player versus mode where you can set the computer difficulty and kart speed separately, along with being able to select which tracks you play, and how many tracks you play. At the end of the match, the person with the most points wins. It's nice to be able to race using fast karts without always playing against cheating CPU players (although, the difficulty is reasonable compared to previous Mario Kart games).

First Played: This game came out around the time I had a steady job, meaning I had money to spend on video games, so I could buy games right when they were released. I bought this game the week it came out and  played the crap out of it. I even went online and won my first four races. The ridiculous number of races I lost after that night is irrelevant. Because I won my first four races. No one does that except for all kinds of people.

Shortly after I bought the game, I was in cousin's car as he drove on some snowy roads. His car broke down, so we were stranded while we waited for a lift. Luckily, I had Mario Kart DS, so I stayed warm with the joy of beating stupid computer players. So it was actually an enjoyable time for me, and I think about it whenever I pass that spot in the road. My cousin was not so happy. He complained about how some people parked nearby had Wendy's and they wouldn't share it with us (because why wouldn't strangers offer him fast food for no reason when he doesn't ask?)

Best TrackWaluigi Pinball - Waluigi has always gotten a bad rap from stupid people who are not me, so it's nice to see him get his own track, and a really good one, to boot. You travel around on a giant pinball table, avoiding giant metal balls and everything. It's a fantastic idea that makes it one of the best Mario Kart tracks of all time. In fact, this theme of Waluigi Pinball has leaked into other games. Mario Sports Mix featured a Waluigi Pinball arena, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl has the music from this track available for use in the Stage Editor. One of these days, Nintendo is just going to have to break down and make a proper Waluigi Pinball game. You could even have this track as one of the tables, and tiny Mario Kart racers could litter the track as you try to smash them. Actually, that's a really good idea. Get on it, Nintendo!

Best New ItemBullet Bill - Now an iconic last-place item, the Bullet Bill is a wonderful gift if you are losing. It turns the player into a Bullet Bill and travels automatically along the course, taking out everyone in its path. How long it lasts depends on how far behind you are. Sometimes, if you are way behind, it will last for nearly ten seconds and you still won't catch up. But if you're lucky, you could be in 7th or 8th and then suddenly find your at near the head of the pack. One of the all-time best ideas for an item, if you ask me.

(Mario Kart DS is still available at stores everywhere. It can be played on the Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS and 2DS.)


Anonymous said...

What a fun game! I like you pinball game idea, totally awesome :D

Anonymous said...