Nintendo Reviews Rating:
Age 6+
Posted: June 7th, 2004
By: Webmaster-Josh
Mario Kart has always been the most fun of all racing series. Mario Kart: Double Dash is no exception. There are new
characters, and new features. Does this make the experience great overall? Check out the full review!

Kenta Nagata, the composer from Mario Kart 64, does a great job thinking of upbeat and crazy tunes suitable for this kind
of racing. The style of music seems similar to Mario Kart 64, but every tune is still original. Most are used again for
different levels, but it all seems appropriate. The music doesn't seem to dominate over the sound effects as it seemed to do
in Mario Kart 64, but this could be partially due to the Dolby Pro Logic 2. Adding Dolby is a great addition, by the way. It
really allows us to hear everything going on.
The sound effects aren't too great. They are just simple little sounds that just get us by. The spiny shell sounds like the
shifting sands of Dry Dry Desert, so sometimes you can't tell which is which. The new items do add a couple new sounds,
and like most multiplayer games, although you hear the sounds of other players, it does seem natural, and your ears
should ignore it. Well, unless you hear a spiny shell. Of course, you shouldn't be screen-looking either. That's where
sounds help.
The voices are a great addition. Although, you will hear some repeated, there's so much, that you won't get annoyed.
Besides, there are lots of drivers with tons of creative voice acting. It's hard to confuse voices with others, even the new
characters. Every voice is unique. There could have been some improvements, but most of us will be satisfied with this.

The control scheme is slightly worse than that of Mario Kart 64. You can still control as well, but it seems as if some
features were left out. There is no camera control; although you probably will never think you want it, it would still be nice
to have. To help with this problem, objects like shells or fast objects coming behind you are circumscribed and centered at
the bottom of your screen. Some expert players may think this is cheap because beginners can escape, but this even helps
experts, especially since you cannot see behind you. Besides, you can always glance at the map to see positions.
Speaking of that, you used to have to toggle between speedometer, map and other things shown on the screen. Now, it's all
there, and it's just the right size to see. Navigating through menus is very fast and simple, unlike F-Zero GX which forces
you to restart a race just to get the option of quitting the race. There's even a random option, which is very convenient for
those who want variety. Although there is no control on the camera, still, it's never a problem.
What has changed is the jump ability. Once again it's not needed, just something cool so you can jump over bananas on
the course. This was funny to see in battle modes as well, and now it's not here. However, this is very minor, as there is so
much more variety, you won't miss having the ability to jump with your kart. Players will also find that power drifts are
much more important than before. It seemed as if items and luck were the deciding factor in races years ago. While power
drifting is key to winning Grand Prixs, you can still enjoy shooting tons of items in multiplayer, as that is the logical way to
beat your foes then. Overall, what's old is gone, and what's new is great. You won't miss the old control scheme after you
get used to this.

The graphics were expectedly improved over the older 3D rendition. Not only are the
characters well designed, they look great in high resolution. Progressive Scan is nice, but
you don't need it. The framerate stays in pace even in high-heated multiplayer matches. This
is definitely a big plus over Mario Kart 64's slow framerate. The framerate alone is a good
enough reason to play this game!
The environments aren't extremely detailed, but it does the job. Everything seems
discernible, and nothing is ever misleading. One thing that may be a bit weird is the fake
item box. It is hard to see from far away, but you do have enough time to dodge it as you get
closer. No other items seem to have a problem. The lighting effects are great, if sparse. It's
basically just fire and the sun, but it still looks presentable. The extra effects like steam, and
snow really show well. These may not be outstanding, but still worthy of a great Nintendo
Gamecube title.

The replay value is closely similar to that of Mario Kart 64. I mean, 16 courses, 4 battle courses, 8 characters...oh
wait...there's more? There are actually 20 characters now, and 6 battle courses. There are still 16 race courses, but that
doesn't matter. The cool thing about this is how you unlock things if you place first on any engine size and any cup, you'll
almost always unlock something like a new kart, battle course, or even pairs of new players.
Speaking of karts, that's another beauty of this game. There are different karts to choose from. Whether you want to
sport a new look, or different acceleration and top speed, the karts definitely add more thought into choosing your
characters and more incentive to play the Grand Prixs. There are some karts that have identical statistics, but different
look. There's almost no car that is worse than another; it just depends on if you are better with acceleration or speed.
Another cool addition are the special items. There are plenty of regular items, like green shells, and bananas, but there's
also a load of special items, like triple shells for Koopa and Paratroopa, Chain Chomp for Baby Mario, and Baby Luigi, etc.
These special items also amount to who you want to choose for your two characters.
Lastly, there are so many cool ways to play with friends. Mario Kart: Double Dash has the best multiplayer I've seen since
Super Smash Bros. Melee. What you expect is there, like balloon battles and versus races, but Nintendo went the extra
mile to add in some extra features. There's cooperative mode, where two players can ride in one kart. Instead of driving
and placing items, those jobs are split, making each player equally important for winning. Since it can be hard to
cooperate, you even get a bonus attack; the back rider can use this to side punch a driver beside you. It's dirty, but hey,
that's a plus to having two people. There is two-player Grand Prix, but with cooperative drivers, you can make that
four-player Grand Prix. There's also an All Cup Tour, if you feel like playing every level in the game! There's even two
new battle modes. Shine Thief is like capture the flag, but you have to hold onto it for a certain amount of time. When
time's up, the player holding it wins. The other mode is Bob-Omb Blast, a fast frantic way to battle. This is more fun than
it sounds
Once you unlock everything, it's still fun to play Time Trials by yourself, or even some Grand Prix. Since the game
remembers your highest score, you can play again and beat it! And unlike before, ghosts only take 5 blocks. That's 10
times less than before, thanks to better programming! Of course, this game is at its best when there's other players. And
when you have more than four, you can do a system linkup and have eight players play! This is the first LAN game.
Although most won't have all the resources necessary to do this, it's great for those who do. Overall, this game has plenty
to keep you busy!

At first, I was disappointed with this game. I felt bad discovering no jump ability and some items missing like Boo. You
also can't hold items, as in hold shells behind you for somebody to run over. But I quickly got over it. Mario Kart 64 was
great, and Mario Kart: Double Dash improves by adding new elements. The major element is the double character karts. It
would seem confusing at first to hear that you have to control two characters, but it's not hard at all. When you're playing
by yourself, you race and use items just like before. The second person will do that, but you still do it with one controller
and no trouble. You can also hold two items at once. Each player can hold one, and then the game automatically switches
drivers so that you can use both. It doesn't matter who's driving; it won't affect your kart's performance. You can
continually switch at your preference.
If there's one disappointment, it's the battles. They are worse than before. Balloon battles used to be all I played with
friends. Block Fort was just a classic level. Now the battle levels are significantly smaller, and only Luigi's Mansion has
more than one floor. This makes the action more fast, but maybe too fast. The old way was much more fun. The good thing
is that the Shine Thief and especially Bob-Omb Blast make up for this loss. Bob-Omb Blast is now the battle mode of
choice for most players. What's lost in battles is gained in the races. The races are actually more fun now. Multiplayer
races weren't that much fun before, but now they are the highlight of multiplayer modes in this game. The music still
plays even with four players, and the graphics keep up to pace.
What really impresses me is that although there wasn't a huge effort, everything about this game is awesome. The track
designs are just as long as before, with several twists and surprises. Races are never the same twice. The difficulty is
average, and maybe a little easy, but at least AI makes sense. Before, players behind you in Grand Prixs would suddenly
catch up to you in five seconds, and then be racing right behind you. The racers now seem to always be at the right place
on the track, so it doesn't feel like they're cheating. What's always been great is the item handicap. Players in last get
better items to help them move up. You can even set how crazy the items are, like basic, normal and frantic. You can even
turn them off for a clean race. You can even choose number of laps! Mario Kart: Double Dash is definitely one of the best
racing games ever, because of so much improvements. It's also one of the best games of 2003. Mario Kart: Double Dash
also sports some of the best multiplayer modes since SSBM. This is a must-have game!





Final Words

The long wait was definitely worth it. Mario Kart: Double Dash is simply another classic, that many won't be able to play
because they're too tied up with other consoles. If you can break loose from Halo for five minutes, you'll find an incredible
amount of multiplayer here! Although multiplayer modes are the highlight, the single player mode is actually worth
playing. We've seen this design from Mario Kart 64, but this game improves so much. The new feel and amount of replay
is already worth the price. This will surely be a memorable game even in the future.