Mario Kart 64
  • Console: Nintendo 64
  • Release Date: 1997
  • Joe's Status: Completed

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Mario Kart 64

by Retro Joe ( JoesRetroGaming)

Mario Kart 64 was a landmark title for the Nintendo 64. As the second entry into the series, it was the direct sequel to the massively popular Super Mario Kart on the SNES, and became the N64’s second best selling title of all time.

According to Wikipedia (since I’m too lazy to retype this) Mario Kart 64 introduced the following:

Mario Kart 64 introduces 3D graphics, 4-player racing, slipstreaming, Wario and Donkey Kong, and seven new items: the Fake Item Box, Triple Red Shell, Triple Green Shell, Triple Mushroom, Banana Bunch, Golden Mushroom, and the infamous Blue Shell. In addition to the three Grand Prix engine classes, Mirror Mode is introduced (tracks are flipped laterally) in 100cc.

Honestly, over the years, these games meld together in my brain, but you can see where a great deal of influence on later iterations comes from. In fact, you can pick up this game and pretty much play it to the degree of any other Mario Kart game – that’s how familiar the mechanics and game play are tightly wound.

Quite the achievement for only the second game in the series!

This one, in particular, just feels right from the jump. The 3D graphics were new to all gamers at the time, with everything jumping to the realm. Four player split-screen was commonplace, as people crowded around a TV to play many of the multiplayer offerings the N64 had. Plus, the three-pronged controller featured an analog stick and the z-trigger underneath, which still to this day feels so perfect despite an odd-looking layout.

In-game, you can expect the same cheap, cheating computer opponents that have always plagued Mario Kart games! The items noted above, some still around, some now a memory, will have you living in nostalgia.

And if you’ve kept up on the series, most of the game’s tracks have reappeared – some more than once – in later iterations. This once again points out MK’s jump to 3D and how the base game formula, while not being altered too much in sequels, remains strong.

For retro gamers, Mario Kart 64 is a must-have in your library. Everyone from the little kid to grandma can pick it up and play. The fun level is through the charts, especially with friends – and while its simplistic in nature, it’s also difficult to truly master.

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