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In 2001, Intelligent Systems and Nintendo decided it was time to bring the popular kart racing franchise to the handheld console of the Game Boy Advance. Returning to the style of Super Mario Kart, would Super Circuit rev up the action and pull away from the pack? This Mario Kart Super Circuit review pulls away from the competition.
Mario Kart Super Circuit Plot:
As it has been with the last two entries in the Mario Kart franchise, this is just kart racing. Win the race, avoid dangerous obstacles and weapons from other racers on your way to claim the cup series!
Mario Kart Super Circuit Gameplay:
I had eight racers to choose from in my Mario Kart Super Circuit review. The same racers return from Mario Kart 64 including the same classes that they represent. Mario and Luigi are the middleweights, balanced all-around but masters of none. Bowser, Donkey Kong, and Wario are the heavyweights, tough to knock around and fly by the competition with their top speed. Yoshi, Peach, and Toad are the lightweights who steer well and accelerate quicker than any other class.
Like I have in the previous two games, I chose to play as Mario during my Mario Kart Super Circuit review as I like balance in my racing. You’ll have the option of selecting your racing class with 50 CC (easy), 100 CC (medium), and 150 CC (hard). In Mario Kart 64, I didn’t notice a difference between easy and medium but in Mario Kart Super Circuit they fixed that issue. I played on 50 CC for my Mario Kart Super Circuit review and was thrilled that the programmers got rid of the stupid rubber band effect between first and second place. In Mario Kart 64, no matter how many boosts or weapons you used, you were never more than a few feet ahead of second place and vice versa. Mario Kart Super Circuit fixes that huge annoyance for me. When I picked up boosts or hit another racer with a shell, they fell behind me and stayed behind until I screwed up. Finishing first wasn’t a white-knuckled event until the end. There were races that I won by five seconds, there were races that I won by ten seconds and of course, there were races that I won by the front of my kart. Being able to pull away from the pack was a huge welcome from the one-second victories that earned me so many cups in Mario Kart 64.
Mario Kart Super Circuit does suffer from the graphical limitations of the Game Boy Advance. It returns to the sprite style of the Super Nintendo version, and that’s not a good thing. It hurt my eyes staring at the flat track and karts zooming around. For whatever reason, I just don’t care for the graphics and prefer the 3D version of Mario Kart 64. What I did like was the beautiful backgrounds and skylines of the tracks on the courses. Princess Peach’s castle looks great as you zoom by it and I loved seeing the pirate ship in the ocean sailing around. Even more, I loved how some of the large objects in the background interacted with the race itself. The ship I just mentioned launched cannonballs at racers as we whizzed by and there was a volcano that shot fiery chunks of lava onto the course.
Collecting of coins returned to the third edition of Mario Kart. In the original, the coins sped up your kart as you maxed out at ten. During my Mario Kart Super Circuit review, the coins acted as more of a bonus system that increases the score of your rank at the end of the cup. The more coins you collect, the better your rank.
In racing at 50 CC, the game wants you to win. Whenever I found myself in second place, I was gifted three red shells almost two out of three times. I’m not complaining, I just noticed that the game was generous in giving me very useful weapons. Mario Kart Super Circuit stands out in how many tracks it packs into the game. You’ll play four cups plus a special one after you unlock it. Each cup offers four unique tracks. I found that the Sky Garden was my favorite track to race on during my Mario Kart Super Circuit review. There are 40 courses to unlock, and you’ll be able to race on every course from the original Super Mario Kart giving Super Circuit a huge boost to replayability.
Aside from the Grand Prix cup mode, you race in time trials and an arcade mode. If you have friends (I don’t) you can link up and race with up to four players and compete in the battle mode.
My wife had Mario Kart Super Circuit growing up. She’s played it a ton and my guess is she’d probably run circles around me in it if we played it together. I didn’t play this game until I met her so I don’t have any nostalgia for it like she probably does.
Mario Kart Super Circuit Review Score:
The Mario Kart series is loved by so many gamers and I think it’s because casual players can pick it up and play it right away. I haven’t fallen in love with any of the games yet but I keep waiting for the series to rev up. Mario Kart Super Circuit offers a huge buffet of tracks to race on but the flatness of the tracks turned me off during my Mario Kart Super Circuit review. There are no hills, bumps, or dips, and focusing on the track so much to make sure I’m not running over and dangers made my eyes strain on graphics that I don’t care for. It’s a fun game to play but surprisingly I’d rather play Mario Kart 64 just so I’m not straining my eyes. I have an inkling that the next game on the GameCube will be the Mario Kart that gets me excited. Until then…
Mario Kart: Super Circuit scores a 7.5 out of 10.
What would you write in your Mario Kart Super Circuit review? Do you have Mario Kart Super Circuit? Who did you race with? What is your favorite track? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!