Has Nintendo broken Mario Kart?

Oct. 12, 2007

Call us Mario Kart purists, but we started becoming unhappy with the direction of Nintendo's racing series as soon as the karts stopped being karts and started being miniature racing cars.

The last home console instalment, Double Dash, was arguably the worst in the series and we mostly put that down to the fact that it didn't feel like the Mario Kart we know and love.

The colorful GameCube version lost all sensation of carving a perfect corner and clipping centimetres off your racing line. Instead the karts were replaced with massive motors that felt heavy and bulky compared to the SNES and N64 classics.

Now, surpassing even our initial disappointment upon seeing the return of the bulky motorcars in the first screens of the Wii version, Nintendo has revealed that the next Wii instalment will also feature Motorcycles. In Mario Kart.

Are we the only ones who die a little inside from the sight of Mario doing a wheelie? Just like we did with Project Gotham Racing 4?

Now we're all for breathing a bit of fresh air into an ageing franchise, but as Halo 3 proves; if it ain't broke don't fix it. Let's face it; unless Nintendo cops-out and makes the two-wheeled vehicles re-skinned karts they're going to play completely differently to the traditional Mario Kart. And after the disappointing dual-driver action of the last game we don't think a shake-up is something Nintendo can pull off here.

Mario Kart DS was a fantastic addition to the series. It left the classic formula alone and focussed on the fun, balance and racing aspects, while adding online races - something we actually want.

We reckon Nintendo should take a pointer from Mario Kart DS and leave the classic formula alone, focussing on interesting and fun motion control mechanics rather than lobbing in a gimmicky racing wheel - which let's face it we're never going to use.

The addition of stunts we think could go either way. Flips and spins certainly look like a blast to pull off with their over-the-top physics, but it all depends on how they impact gameplay.

Either way, we can't see them being any more game-shaking than power slides, which Mike J rinses on every corner to boost amile in front of the chasing pack.

And of course 12-player online matches, if executed properly, will be fantastic. Let's just hope it's actually Mario Kart by the time Nintendo finishes tinkering with it.

Courtesy of CVG