Super Mario Kart
Super Mario Kart is a 1992 racing video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game console. The first game of the Mario Kart series, it was launched in Japan on August 27, 1992, in North America on September 1, 1992, and in Europe on January 21, 1993.
Why It Rocks
- Eight characters to choose from, Mario, Luigi, Toad, Yoshi, Bowser, Princess Peach, Koopa Troopa, and Donkey Kong Jr.
- It's the first game where you can fully play as Yoshi and Koopa Troopa.
- Innovative presentation.
- The game has 20 race courses and 4 battle courses, the former being divided in four cups.
- There 8 different tracks with different terrain (from sand to ice) and hazards (from thwomps to lava): Mario Circuit, Vanilla Lake, Donut Plains, Bowser's Castle, Ghost Valley, Choco Island, Koopa Beach, and Rainbow Road.
- Rainbow Road would become a traditional track in each Mario Kart game known as the hardest track in each entry.
- Great soundtrack.
- The game has three multiplayer modes.
- Mario GP: Plays just like the single-player version, but with one less computer-controlled driver. In order to proceed to the next track, only one player must rank in the top four. The first player will receive a Game Over if they rank out three times, and the other player continues alone.
- Match Race (later known as VS. Mode): Pits the two players in a one-on-one race on any track.
- Battle Mode: Two players choose from four battle arenas specially designed for Battle Mode and try to pop the three balloons surrounding the other player (representing their lives) by hitting them with items such as Koopa shells or banana peels. The last player with at least one balloon wins.
- There's a Time Trial Mode where the player must race through one track of his/her own choice, with the racer of its choice, in an attempt to set a record for the best lap or overall course time. All the items are taken out in this mode, and so the times achieved rely solely on driving skills. If the driving session is perfect (no falling, spin out or off-road), the ghost can eventually reappear on following sessions, allowing the player to further improve his/her driving skills.
- Introduced randomized items. Unlike the other racing games of its time, this game uses items from the Mario universe to make the gameplay more intense and chaotic, something that would also inspire other mascot kart racers. There are 9 items:
- Banana: Can be dropped on the track, or thrown in front of the driver. Any racers who run into it will spin out (unless using a Star or Boo). It can also be dragged behind the player to block Koopa shells coming from behind.
- Coins: Coins are found on track and in item boxes. They slightly increase the speed of a kart and give you a Coin.
- Feather: Allows the player to make a big jump, and provides it the ability to perform several shortcuts by jumping over walls or empty gaps.
- Boo: This item allows a racer to turn invisible temporarily and steal an opposing player's item.
- Green Shell: A green shell can be thrown either forwards or backward at other racers and makes them spin out if hit.
- Red Shell: This shell homes in on the player directly ahead.
- Thunderbolt: Best and rarest item in the game, it shrinks every other player on the track. When shrunk, racers are vulnerable and can be crushed by others. Racers return to normal at the order of ranking they had when the lightning struck, reversed.
- Mushroom: Gives the player a short, single-speed boost similar to zippers, that can be used to cut through terrain, gain seconds, or be used upon jump bars for very big jumps.
- Star: As in every Mario game, stars make players temporarily invincible. They can't be harmed or slowed down in any way except falling, run faster and make others spin out on contact.
- The Feather is so useless that it didn't return until Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and only in Battle Mode.
- Drifting is an absolute chore compared to later entries, and performing mini-turbos are rather difficult. And you absolutely must drift or you'll spin out. Ironically, nitrous does not appear out of karts' exhaust pipes if a mini-turbo is performed.
- The Vanilla Lake tracks have extremely annoying ice blocks.
- Unlike the later Mario Kart games, the AI per character only use one item: Mario and Luigi use the Invincibility Star, Peach and Toad only use the Poison Mushroom, Yoshi uses Yoshi Eggs, Bowser uses Fireballs, Donkey Kong Jr. uses Banana Peels, and Koopa Troopa uses Green Shells (but thrown similar to Banana Peels). On the other hand, these particular items: the Poison Mushroom, Yoshi Egg, and FIreball are not available for the players to use.
- The Poison Mushrooms intended to shrink racers down to half their size behave similar to the Super Mushrooms if racers run into them while small.
- As mentioned, only the CPUs can use the egg, fireball, and the poison mushroom for no reason.
- Out of all the Mario Kart games, this game has the worst roster. Even though it's the first game, there's only 8 characters and DK Jr. is here instead of Donkey Kong.
- DK Jr. was a confusing character choice over Donkey Kong, though, this can be somewhat excused, as the game was released a few years before Donkey Kong Country, which would introduce the modern iteration of Donkey Kong that would appear in the later Mario Kart games.
- On that note, this is the ONLY Mario Kart game with DK Jr.
Super Mario Kart received critical acclaim and proved to be a commercial success; it received a Player's Choice release after selling one million copies and went on to sell 8.76 million copies worldwide, becoming the fourth best-selling game ever for the SNES. In Japan, it was a multi-million seller in 1992, and sold a total of 3.82 million in Japan.
This game has been credited with inventing the "kart racing" subgenre of video gaming and soon after its release several other developers attempted to duplicate its success.