Hello and welcome to a new series of reviews where I will be covering an entire series as whole instead of each individual game, the reason I have chosen to do this for some game series is because I do not feel the need to go back and review each individual title as the reviews would all be quite similar due to the game style of the series.
Instead I will be giving a quick explanation of each game and discussing major changes throughout the games releases and I am planning on updating this review as the newer titles come out.
We will be kicking off this new series of reviews with my one of my favourite racing game series of all time Mario Kart.
To sum Mario Kart up it is a racing series where you must drive across various creative race tracks while using items to help you win the race by bashing, blowing up and causing obstacles for the other players.
The series began on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System with Super Mario Kart.
In Super Mario Kart you could play as eight racers Mario, Princess Peach, Bowser, a Koopa, Luigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong Junior or Toad and each racer had different strengths and weaknesses.
The game uses the Mode 7 technology allowing the developers to rotate and scale background layers allowing a more unique and exciting experience.
The game had two game modes the first was Grand Prix which is a standard racing mode where the player will have to finish one of three cups each holding various creative racetracks,there are three difficulty levels 50cc, 100cc and 150cc although the last one needs to be unlocked by finishing the cups on 100cc first.
The final mode is battle mode where you must collect items and throw them at your enemy popping their balloons before they pop yours, its basic but fun.
After a cancelled Virtual Boy title we got Mario Kart 64 for the Nintendo 64
3D is the biggest change here and it looks and feels great, other smaller changes include swapping the Koopa and Donkey Kong Jr with Donkey Kong and Wario, adding time trials and allowing the ability of four players on one system.
Mario Kart Super Circuit was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2001, it is the first of the of handheld titles and has the same roster of characters as the previous entry in the series, the developers added a new mode which allows players to race using customised rules but other than that is essentially a better looking version of Super Mario Kart with the Mario Kart 64 content.
In the Game Cube game players need to choose two characters to play as, as well as choosing one of the many karts (The karts available depends on the calculated weight of your chosen characters), this Mario Kart has 20 playable characters which are as follows Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Yoshi, Birdo, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Toad, Toadette, Koopa, Parakoopa. Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Bowser, Bowser Junior, Wario, Waluigi, Petey Piranha and King Boo.
After doing research I found out that this was Toadettes first appearance in a video game which is pretty cool.
For the first and only time in the series two players can play simultaneously in Grand Prix with one player driving and the other player throwing the items.
As well as balloon battle, battle mode has two new game types one where you need to try to hold onto a shine sprite and the player who holds on the longest wins, and another where you must throw stacks of bob bombs at the other players in order to pop the opponents balloons.
The game also included lan play allowing you to use an adaptor to connect up to eight Game Cubes which would allow up to 16 players to play at one time.
Mario Kart DS was the second handheld game in the series and was the first to use dual screens.
Mario Kart DS added the possibility of playing online over the Nintendo Wifi Connection, I used this back when it first came out and the results were ok with little issues
A brand new mission mode was added in this game giving it the best Mario Kart content yet after various missions you would have to beat one of many boss fights and all of them were a lot of fun.
Unfortunately Mission Mode never made a return to the series.
After two fairly amazing arcade games which I may cover another day we got the first game in the series to use motion controls with Mario Kart Wii.
Mario Kart Wii added a fair bit of new gameplay to the series including four gameplay styles which were a single Wiimote, a Wiimote and Nunchuck, motion controls using the Wii sensor bar and a Mario Kart Wii steering wheel.
Players can now also ride motorbikes and peform tricks when going over ramps and you could now also play as both Princess Rosalina and Dry Bowser.
Mario Kart Wii added a new battle mode called coin runners, players must collect coins, using items to cause their opponents to drop the coins they have collected, who ever has the most coins when time runs out wins.
Mario Kart 7 is the third handheld title in the series and is where some more of the major changes in the series took place.
As with all of the games Mario Kart 7 adds new items however one unique feature is the lucky seven item which allows you to hold all of the items at once.
New Characters have been added to the series including Metal Mario, Queen Bee, Wiggler and Lakitu
On each track the player can collect a maximum of ten coins allowing them to unlock new car parts which they can use to build their vehicles.
New ways to play have been added including gliding through the air and driving underwater in your vehicles.
Mario Kart 7 added the ability to have a first person view while you race
It should be noted that some of the race tracks are from Wii sports and Wii sports resort making this the first Mario game to include major additions from other game series.
after another Arcade game we got Mario Kart 8 and this entry of the series added Anti Gravity to the tracks allowing players to drive on walls and go upside down, you can also bump into bumpers to give your self short boosts.
This entry to the series was the first to offer paid DLC, the DLC offered two new cups and Link from the Legend of Zelda as well as Isabelle and the villager from Animal Crossing as playable characters, as a small change you can now also change colours for Yoshi and Shy Guy.
Pink Gold Peach, the Koopalings and Baby Rosalina have also been added as playable characters as part of the base game.
For some unknown reason battle tracks were removed and instead players had to use regular tracks which made battle mode not feel very special and it was also quite slow.
Mario Kart 8 was re-released for the Nintendo Switch here all of the DLC came with the base game, Splatoon characters were added to the roster and they finally fixed the battle mode by re-adding arena battles.
Mario Kart tour is a sorry excuse for a Mario Kart game, it is the ninth instalment in the series and is the first to hit mobile phones as its platform.
The game plays quite well for a mobile game and with its shorter race tracks which only have two laps it makes it a good game to pass short amounts of time.
The issue with the game is the overall cost, it is filled with micro-transactions making players wait long lengths of time to save up in game currency to buy racers and karts or they can use their own money which is a lot faster, a system where you can pay real money to randomly unlock characters, items and karts was added on top of this and the worst part is that you need to hope to have certain character and kart combinations to be awarded stars for winning the Grand Prix something you gained for pure skill in the previous games.
I think its both quite sad and disgusting that a company like Nintendo would sink this low when they could have made a real Mario Kart 9 and still made millions.
Mario Kart Home Circuit was released in 2020 and is what I would consider to be the first official spin off game in the series, It has racers using physical toys which they can control directly from their Nintendo Switch video game systems and are able to even create their own physical circuits to race on.
I haven’t got much space in my home so I haven’t played this one and to be honest I don’t really like clutter of toys to life type of games so I likely wouldn’t play it but that’s not say it isn’t any good, I am sure it has a lot of fans.
And that is where we are so far with the Mario Kart series, I love Mario Kart for all its fun and competitive game-play, its a favourite game to play at parties and with friends, I cant wait to play the next game in the series what ever that may be and until then we will enjoy what we have so far.
I hope you enjoyed this different type of article, I really enjoyed making it and I am hoping to do more of these in the future, what series would you like to see me cover in an article of this style?
Thank-you for joining me in this look at changes throughout this ever expanding game series.
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