Super Mario Kart for the SNES is the first and some would say STILL the greatest in what started the Mario Kart racing franchise. It was my first SNES game and I still find it dear.
Gameplay is great. Pick a racer, a circuit with it's own challenging tracks and race for the finish. Pick up power ups to race ahead of the competition or shoot them down. Get the best placing for more points and after 5 rounds the best placing gets the gold. Mario and Luigi are the happy mediums, Princess Toadstool and Yoshi are quick off the gun but hard to steer. Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr have slow speed but once they get going start flying. Toad and Koopa Troopa have slow speed but smooth handling. Theres two of each driving style for even matches so you can play against a friend and thats when the game really picks up the pace as you can work together or against each other to try and win.
Tracks include the dirt trails of the Donut Plains with it's gophers and lakes. The Ghost Houses have pitfalls and dissapearing walls. Vanilla Lake has a slippery track with deep snow and the Mario Circuit among others is good ol' asphalt. Many other tracks and they're own hazards abound.
Other modes include a Match Race with your friend so that it's one on one on a given track. Time Trial takes you on a one player jaunt around a track to get the best time. Battle Mode puts you and a friend on an enclosed track to pick up weapons and play cat and mouse together. 3 hits on your opponent is a win. Later games would improve on these aspects and it would be great to have Battle Mode against the computer but at least the mode is there.
The graphics are great. Bright, colorful and taking full advantage of the SNES's color palate and the Mode 7 scrolling in the back for driving the karts is great.
Sounds are very Mario. Tracks for racing are taken from Super Mario World in many places and are remastered and improved. Sound effects are cute but affective. Record scratches and woobing noises for the engines to even starman music for picking up star power ups and the Yoshi Saddle sound for his egg attacks.
Super Mario Kart kicked off a sub series for Mario that still continues to this day. It's appeared on the 64, DS, Cube and Wii and there are people out there will STILL stay with this entry. Us old timers know the story and were around from the start and damn it WE CAN STILL DRIVE!! At least on go karts.
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