The Top 7... Mario spin-offs

Painter, doctor, savior - Mario excels at them all

1 - Mario Kart DS (DS)

Was there even any doubt about this?

Mario Kart is the most revered of all Mario spin-offs. Each release ushers in a new wave of brilliant course design, catchy music and devilishly addictive multiplayer. We thought about going old school and giving the top spot to the very first game for creating a gaming phenomenon, but there's no denying it: Mario Kart DS is the best of the best.

First, online races make it immensely replayable. Yes, there are several aspects we don't care for (no online battle, tracks missing, rampant snaking), but that never once stopped us from logging on for a quick race or two... or 10. Local multiplayer is even better, ridding us of the Link Cable-addled Super Circuit once and for all.

Offline, the game's 16 tracks are some of the most creative in the series. If that's not enough, there's a collection of 16 more tracks from previous Kart games, making this a one-stop-shop for the entire franchise. There's just no need to mess with anything else - unless Mario Kart Wii manages to outperform early next year.

When you factor in the game's mission mode, emblem editor and exclusive characters, there's simply no argument for any other game in the series. We love them all, and were part of countless MK64 tournaments back in the day, but MKDS leaves all other competitors in the dust.

Did we leave something out? Honor a game you think is crap? Head intothis story's threadand sound off.

For more Top 7 goodness,head to ourTop 7 Compendium.

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