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Mario Kart: Double Dash

Mario Kart: Double Dash has been hyped as the number one GameCube game of the past Christmas holidays. The competition from other games is fierce but will Mario and his companions live up to the hype or will the game succumb to the high expectations? Find out in this review.

Mario Kart: Double Dash (MK:DD from now on) is the fourth episode in the well-known Mario Kart series. The series began with Super Mario Kart on the SNES, followed by Mario Kart 64 on the Nintendo 64 console. Last year the world’s most famous plumber appeared in MK: Super Circuit for Game Boy Advance, one of the most successful titels for the handheld.

When you start the game for the first time, you’ll be impressed by the amusing and hectic intro-movie in which you see all of the famous Nintendo characters race and battle for first place. It’s something you’ll also be doing a lot in this game. The main menu gives you the choice to play alone or with up to 4 players on 1 console.
The Single Player mode consists of 2 different game types: Time Trial or Grand Prix mode. Grand Prix is by far the most interesting when playing alone. You get to choose between 3 cups (more are unlockable) and 3 different difficulties (50cc, 100cc and 150cc). There are 4 races per cup and after each cup you get points according to your results. The team with the most points after 4 races wins.
Yes I wrote team because you don’t play with one, but with 2 characters in one vehicle. The character in the back fires the weapons, while the one in front drives the kart.

The arsenal that is at our disposal is quite different from your everyday first-person shooter. No pistols, shotguns or bazooka’s this time but turtle shields, banana’s and mushrooms to blow your opponent to smithereens! Mwuhaha!
Each character also has his or her own personal special weapon. Mario and Luigi have fireballs at their disposal, while Bowser and Bowser Jr. carry the feared huge spike-shield. More than enough firepower to give the others a firm beating.
Besides unique weapons everyone also has a unique verhicle, some are available from the start while others only become available after winning some cups. Because all cars look cool you’ll keep on playing till you’ve unlocked everything.

The game controls are very well chosen and everyone should get the hang of it after half an hour of game time. You steer the kart with the analog stick, put the pedal to the metal with the A-button, brake with B and use your weapon(s) with the X-or Y buttons. You can also do a powerslide by pressing the shoulder buttons. A powerslide is very useful while turning since you don’t lose speed. Just watch out you don’t spin out of control.

Undoubtably the very best thing about MK:DD is its unforgettable multiplayer mode. You can choose to race against each other or 2 vs 2. This second mode is one of the coolest ever invented, every player just has 1 character and 2 people ride together in a single kart.
The Battle mode also has the words “pure fun” written all over it. No worrying about getting first place, you just drive around in one of several arena’s and blow your opponents to pieces.
When you and your friends have several Cubes with Broadband Adapters and multiple TV’s, you can link them and play via LAN. I have not yet tested this part since I do not own a Broadband Adapter myself.

The graphics in MK:DD are superb. Very rich colours, detailed textures and very well designed tracks make this one othe most beautiful games currently available. Some people may complain that it all just looks “kiddy” but this game is not meant to have stunningly realistic environments. Everything looks very nice and the colourful surroundings fit in perfectly.
The sound effects in this game are also very nice, the engines make realisic noises and the voices of the different characters will make you laugh out loud.
Unfortunately the music is not as good as the rest of the game. They’re all very cheerful songs but after a while the music starts to get on your nerves. A minor flaw.

Mario Kart: Double Dash is a hit. No doubt about that. The game will definitely keep you busy in the cold and boring winter nights and when you invite some of your friends you’ll have one hell of a time with the incredible multiplayer mode. The graphics and sound effects are also top-notch. Too bad the music gets annoying after a while. The single player mode also isn’t too lenghty, but the replay-value is excellent. A must-have for every GC-owner!

Our Score:
related game: Mario Kart: Double Dash
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