Has Mario Kart lost its style?

Oct 30, 2007

Sometimes a game comes along that makes you sit up and think 'that's awesome'. When that happens, a sequel is inevitable. But some aspects are revised in the name of 'progress' and step away from the original, ever so slightly. Problem is, with every advance, the early magic that made us think it was awesome in the first place is often lost in translation.

These are some massive franchises that strayed from their own brilliant path and turned into something else. They may still be great (so don't think we're slating them when they're obviously still sweet), they're just not the games they used to be.

Mario Kart
OK, OK, we can already hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth. We agree, the gameplay of Mario Kart is essentially the same it's always been and it rocks. But there are some things we hate about the direction it's taken since that incredible SNES debut. The first game, for instance, had only go-karts on the track. The colours were bold, the sprites hand-drawn and full of character, the weapons system perfectly balanced and so much fun. Then it went 3D...

Now there's traffic on some tracks we have to avoid? Big blocky traffic models in a city that looks like a kid's playset? Magic waning. We don't want oncoming cars. We don't want 'vintage' vehicles for Mario to drive. It's called Mario Kart, after all - we want low-slung go-karts with fat, black rubber tyres on them. Oh, and little puffs of exhaust smoke. That's all it's ever needed. Seriously - what's more fun than a go-kart? Clue: Not a baby pram. The new Mario Karts are great, but having played and loved the SNES original as kids, we have to say that special 'something' is missing. We really hope the Wii game recaptures it...

Above: Traffic andbaby prams? Diluting the karting formula does the same to the game