10 Problems With Mario Kart
By Chris Derosa Sunday, 29 Jun 2008

I’m sure we all know the Mario Kart series by now. It’s considered to have some of the most entertaining multiplayer experiences we could ever have. And when the DS incarnation took the series online, it seemed unstoppable and even more addictive beyond belief. But there was always something that bugged me. The games were fun, but they never felt…right. Even as experimental as the series has been (from special items in Double Dash to the rise of snaking in DS), they never seemed to perfect the formula that the original SNES game set the proper foundation for. We should also know that Nintendo tends to never shake their franchises up too much, especially when they’re as popular as Mario Kart has been. However in my opinion there’s a good amount of issues, that I decided to condense into a list of top ten points, which bog the games down. If these could be improved, it might help escalate the series from the best of its genre to the best of its generation. 10. Who’s On What? It’s nice to choose which character and vehicle fit you best. But there seems to be way too many characters considering they don’t make much of a difference in the end. And some unlockable vehicles are flat out useless with barely a single redeeming stat. This isn’t a fighting game. The worst stats usually get the most losses, no matter how you play it. Maybe it’s time to include winning custom parts that allow you to tweak stats without being allowed to overpower it, and even try giving the characters unique abilities again. 9. Boosts One mushroom is ok. Three mushrooms helps fine. A golden mushroom is almost too over the top. Now involve those with drifting boosts after every turn, ziplines going into other ziplines, jump ramps, and now the fact that you can perform tricks to get another boost every time you pull one off. Holy nitrous, that’s a lot of boosting. Better keep up, or else you’ll fall behind fast and far. The elimination of snaking helped, but the problem of “who can boost the most” contests still exists. 8. Multiplayer What happened to Battle Mode? The Wii version features teams, unlimited balloons, and a time limit. It kind of sucks now. Like, really sucks. There hasn’t been an enjoyable Battle Mode since the 64 version, in my opinion. There has to be a way to fix this, but I can’t think of any way to save it from the pool of mediocrity that it’s been swimming around in for a while now. I can say however that the new mode, Coin Runner, is not a good sign of things to come. I also wish that 2 player GP runs were still possible, and maybe even with online co-op. 7. Online Play People will always cheat, there’s no escaping that. However, I wish there were more options in the online features than Nintendo made available. The new point system is ok, but it can be frustrating to lose 100+ points and then have to win 5 or more matches to get all of those back. How about getting to have races amongst your own skill level? How about penalizing those that always pick the same tracks (you lose 10 points for picking Rainbow Road twice in a row, generic cialis then 20 for picking it three times, and so on)? How about not kicking everyone off and giving them losses when someone else disconnects? Maybe even have monthly standings with Wins/Losses like Mario Strikers Charged had. There’s so much more that they could do with it, and maybe they’ll realize how to make online play a more welcoming experience in the future. I wouldn’t hold my breath for voice chat, though. 6. Computer AI One thing to always remember is that these games never give in. You can be ahead by a mile and you could still falter when the last lap hits. All thanks to the computer’s miraculous way to get a blue shell when you least want them to. Considering how harder it’s been to get items like that in multiplayer play, cheap generic viagra I would say that the AI shouldn’t be so lucky every time you face them. It makes the 150 CC races all the more frustrating, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier as the series moves on. 5. Mirror Cups and Mirror Tracks There’s no need for these whatsoever. I don’t think anyone can seriously like the Mirror tracks. If they feel the need to include them in the single player campaign, I’ll pray that they at least cut them from the online portion. For a game that’s supposedly playable for anyone, the Mirror tracks sure as hell eliminate that prospect. 4. Items What makes Mario Kart so entertaining and addictive is the presence of weapons that help you catch up or maintain your lead. But some items just aren’t helpful at all. We don’t like getting the blooper, no one falls for the fake item blocks anymore, and the new thunder cloud is just terrible (although a nice idea in theory). While the POW block and big mushroom are good steps forward, any more newer items should try and be useful while also being fair. Sounds like a tough order to fill, but I know it’s possible. 3. Courses It’s nice to have simple courses at the beginning of the game, but let’s face it. Those course get boring fast. Then some later courses have too much going on with obstacles, pitfalls, and ziplines every other second. Some courses have the perfect balance, and I wish more could change a thing or two to fit in. The tons of shortcuts don’t help much, either. Also, the many retro stages that are chosen to be in the newer games just aren’t that fun. Let the fans decide what should be brought back, or at least do you stay hard after taking viagra half of them. 2. Balance OK, OK…some people will say that the best will win most of the time, or that the best item usage will prevail. But what about those http://genericviagra-edtreatment.com/ times when everything comes down on you like a hailstorm of bricks (or blue shells, if you will)? It might be fine once or twice in a while when you come across some bad luck…but with the newer games it seems to happen in every other race. There’s a lot of elements to blame for this, and far too many for me to list in here. I can name one of the more troubling issues, however, and that’s the addition of 4 more racers to make 12 total in a race. It’s an impressive feat from a technical standpoint, but it also means more lightning bolts and blue shells for you to be on the receiving end of. 1. The Exclusion Of The Feather The fact that so many useless items still exist while the feather was eliminated after the first game is just plain silly. I remember a time when the feather was essential for shortcuts, dodging shells, and even jumping opponents. I know I’m not the only one that misses this. It was the perfect item of skill and finesse that you just don’t see in these games anymore. If I knew that an online petition for the feather’s revival would be a success, I would make one on the spot. One can only hope that this wonderful hopping tool will make a triumphant return in the next installment. So there you go. One might say that taking these issues out would affect things too much and destroy what makes these games unique. However I find that the chaotic nature of the game can remain intact even after the viagra for premature ejaculation proper tweaks are made, and it can stand strong as a fun filled racer. I can only hope that some of my qualms will be resolved sooner rather than later, but for now I guess I’ll keep playing and screaming every time I get pushed off a cliff in the final lap after getting hit by that third red shell. *sigh*…Well at least it hasn’t turned into Mario Party…yet.

9 Responses to “10 Problems With Mario Kart”

  1. Charlie Goodrich Says:

    Well done Chris! I agree with almost everything above, and I feel it has led to a disappointing Wii game. I do like most of the tracks on Mario Kart Wii though. I thought they were a lot of fun and well designed. However, what happened to Rainbow Road? This use to be a zenith in the series. The last Rainbow Road I thought was epic was on the N64. Since then the series has regressed.

  2. Andrew Raub Says:

    Let me just say that I LOVE mirror courses.

  3. Zach Patterson Says:

    i’ve been putting it off for over a month now, but this really makes me not want the wii version now. totally agree on most points though.

    mirror courses are a terrible way to artificially extend the life of the game. the computer continues to be cheap. there NEEDS to be some customization. the classic courses most often are boring (spice them up a little! come on…), etc. it really needs a bit of an overhaul.

  4. Zach Patterson Says:

    also, excellent use of a headinhands.

  5. jer Says:

    When I first saw this I instantly went into rebuttal mode and was about to start grumbling something about over-analyzing a great casual game, but I’m actually on the same page as you for a lot of these points. I think most of these issues are pretty minor but I definitely agree with you on the boosts and the lack of any good battle modes.

    One thing the wii version definitely did right is to let you choose how complex you want your experience to be. I’ve been playing this a lot with casual and non gamers and it’s been great since they can choose a kart on automatic and still be competitive against me while I rock my bike on manual.

    Zach, if you like kart (and I know you do, baby) I wouldn’t let this discourage you too much from getting it.

  6. Andrew Raub Says:

    Let me reiterate: I LOVE mirror courses. I think every racing game should have mirror courses.

    Also, regarding the boosting. I think this area is fine as is. One mushroom is really only good for a quick boost through some grass or cutting off a turn. Three is good for extended usage, and I don’t think is too out of hand. Golden mushrooms last a bit long, I think, but still aren’t too bad. All of these are balanced by the fact that when you have a mushroom, you can’t get any other items. Yeah, those three mushrooms might let you hit a shortcut or two, but you’re not gonna have any defensive items when a slew of red shells comes your way.

    In terms of actual course boosting, I think it’s good course design to be able to be boosting as much as possible, either through turns or the zips. In traditional racing games, you have to learn the course(s) and know when to brake, where the apex of the turns are, and so on for optimal times. Mario Kart isn’t a sim racing game, but I think a little more emphasis on actual good racing technique is a fine thing. Course boosts and the zips give incentive to learn the course, and give an edge for good driving to combat item luck.

    I pretty much agree on everything else though, but I will say that I think the Mushroom cup courses on the Wii are some of the best Mushroom Cup courses in the series (they still aren’t as fun as the harder ones, but more fun than some of the earlier Mushroom Cup races).

  7. atchley Says:

    I did not like this game. “Steering” with the Wiimote was a pain in the ass.

  8. weener Says:

    Steering with the Wiimote sucks so much ass that I bought classic controllers just for this game. Makes it a whooole lot more fun.

  9. jer Says:

    Whaaa? I think the wiimote/nunchuck controls work perfectly. I might even like them more than gamecube or n64 controls. Using just the wiimote to steer can be fun too if you’re looking for something more challenging.

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