The Mario Kart series has always had a spot in Mario fans’ hearts. It’s, without a doubt, one of their favorite Mario spin-offs. After all, if it didn’t sell, wouldn’t Nintendo stop making those? I mean, this and Mario Party are the spin-offs with the most installments. I must admit that, in general, I like the Mario Kart series, too; whenever I got to play Mario Kart Super Circuit, or Double Dash, when I was visiting friends, I would jump on the occasion. The Mario Kart series is fun, regardless of the defects. In fact, you will probably find me very unfair in this review… But you know what? You’ll only understand if I explain it. So, let’s start this review, shall we?
|Bowser's gonna ram into his own Rocky Wrench!|
|In last place? The Bullet Bill Express is|
there to help you.
EVERYONE who has played a Mario Kart game has a story of how CPU characters royally screwed them up and stole the victory right under their noses. Ask anyone. “Have you ever played a Mario Kart game?” “If so, got any sort of bad experiences with it?” Go ahead. Try it. Every gamer who answers yes to the first question will answer yes to the second.
|Couldn't fimd a good picture of thius screen|
with all the cups unlocked. Sorry.
You know how this works. Eight characters participate in a Cup, and race on four courses. At the end of each course, the racers get a score based on the order they crossed the Finish line. After the final course, the character in first place gets everything, those in second and third place get a bit of recognition, and everyone else doesn’t get a damn thing. It’s also only when you’re in first place that you unlock anything. Second place? Hah! You get jack squat! Screw you, go back to the menu and try again! I don’t care how hopeless it is, TRY AGAIN!
|Is a trophy really worth all the trouble?|
|We've got the Ghost of Racing Past, does that mean there's a|
Ghost of Racing Present and a Ghost of Racing Future?
(But you can still see them here, so you can still try to beat them…)
Now let’s say you want to play a single course, but you still want to have opponents and items. But no Cup, because they annoy you, or worse even, they make you want to strangle your Nintendo DS to death. (Don’t ask me how to do that, I’m not crazy enough to know. Ask your local psychiatric hospital resident.)
|One step away from Up. In Shrine Runners,|
I'm gonna reach for the stars...
So, here I am, to the last 1-Player Mode: Missions. Call it Story Mode if you want, but it’s not really that. There is no “plot” to talk about, just a string of missions to complete, without context or setting. A total of seven “levels” to speak of, with eight regular missions and a Boss mission to complete, for a total of 63 missions to complete. Me? I never completed the Mission Mode. You could say I am, therefore, unfit to review this section of the game… You know what? I don’t give a damn.
Just imagine I’m getting out of my slightly exaggerated character for this site. Out with the awkward Nicolas who screams too much, who gets mad a bit too often… What you’re about to hear now is the honest Nicolas. You see, my philosophy on video games is simple: Anyone can play. Given some time, anyone can learn to play a game. Being good at it? It takes time and effort. Not everyone can do it. But everyone can play. No matter how complicated, no matter how long it takes, anyone can play. It's fair. Likewise, I believe no game should be so difficult that it is impossible, or nigh-impossible, to beat. Sure, there’s always going to be the ones who play for that kind of challenge, and I respect that. There will always be bonus bosses, extra quests, special dungeons, for those who want something beyond a plot. That’s fine too. However, the obligatory stuff should be difficult, challenging, but not nigh-impossible.
My pet peeves, when it comes to video games, have been made clear in the past two years: Having to rely too much on luck kills a game for me. You may think it's a thing I made up for my character on this site; nope, I really have some of the worst luck out there when it comes to video games. I don’t like when a game is difficult to an extreme, to such a point that it’s almost impossible to beat (and here, I’m putting aside everything that isn’t necessary to beat the game). Third, when the computer cheats like a bastard, and it’s very clearly cheating, even doing things impossible for human players, that’s another big no-no for me. A last one: I hate controls that hurt the fingers (especially if those controls are for a special move, or they become necessary after a point in the game). Mario Kart DS manages to accumulate all four. These are the main reasons why this game annoys me so much. Remember this paragraph and the preceding one. I’ll go back to them soon. Okay, back to the “character” Nicolas.
-Drive through many numbered gates in the right order;
-Destroy an amount of things on the road, or kill an amount of enemies;
-Do something… in reverse;
-Beat another character, either a racer or a boss, on a course;
-In the case of a boss: Hit it a number of times.
|King Boo, another "boss" in the game.|
|Picture here: One of the worst things I've|
ever seen in a video game.
Not Yoshi. The technique he's using.
Except, you see, the power-slide is a tough technique to learn, and it’s even more difficult to master. What’s more, past a certain point in the game, ALL THE CPUS CAN USE IT, and as you may have guessed, being AI, they don’t have the physical limitations of human beings. What’s more, this technique FUCKING HURTS my fingers when I use it repeatedly. Let’s see… a technique abused by CPUs (one of my no-nos), one that is difficult to learn that pretty much becomes vital anyway (another no-no), and it hurts (another no-no). WE GOT A JACKPOT, FOLKS! Remember that I had FOUR no-nos, with only one of them not showing yet. It’s coming…
In Level 6 of Mission Mode, there’s a mission where you must race around a Yoshi-shaped race track, and you must cross the Finish line – and do FOURTEEN Power-slides until then – in a minute. To date, I have NEVER been able to do it. I tried countless times, and I never succeeded. Either A) I couldn’t do 14 Power-slides in time, or B) I couldn’t do 14 Power-slides, but I still reached the Finish line, ending in a failure, or C) I could do 14 Power-slides but I couldn’t reach the Finish line. I have N.E.V.E.R. beaten this mission, and as a result, I have never reached Level 7 of Mission Mode. A GAME TOO INSANELY HARD FOR THE PLAYER IS MY FOURTH NO-NO.
“What about the luck?” you ask. It’s true that my bad luck, a jinx if there ever was one put on my person, is not affecting the current power-sliding mission. But it’s present everywhere else in the game, since the opponents are all too happy to use items to screw you over even when you’re not in first place, or they use and abuse power-sliding. Therefore, it counts.
Look, I am not saying Mario Kart DS sucks. Unlike major awful games I’ve reviewed, it’s actually decent, even good, so you won’t hear me say the ever-popular expressions “piece of shit” or “horrible game” when I’m discussing it. However, the fact that this game has pressed all of my buttons (minus shovelware, of course) makes it one of my least favorite games, ever. And my thoughts about it can be summed up as this:
FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT F-Oh… Um… Uh….
I… I think I’ll be back this Monday. I seriously need to take a break, for the sake of my happiness, and possibly my sanity. See you Monday.