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Gameboy Advance Reviews: MarioKart Super Circuit 


Mario Kart Super Circuit Screenshots


The Final Say!

MarioKart Super Circuit - reviewed by Rick T
Review Date: 10 March 2002
Review Score: 10/10 
Japanese Import

Back in the early 1990's Nintendo unwittingly released a game that went on to not only become a classic, but also spawned a massive amount of copycat titles that, like so many other Nintendo titles other companies try to copy, have never eclipsed the genius of the original.

Super Mariokart for the Super Famicom/NES still defines the mascot based go kart racing game genre, nearly a decade after it was released. Its only now that the latest incarnation of the series has come to Nintendo's powerful little portable that it could truly be called the ultimate kart racing game. Lending itself far more to the Super Mariokart game model than the Mariokart 64 title, not only in looks but playability is what really sets Super Circuit up for being a top notch title. 

The controls have been slightly enhanced from the original, and it seems more like the true sequel to Super Mariokart than the Nintendo64 iteration was, maybe its a bit of nostalgia, but i also think the uncluttered mode 7 based tracks keep the racing pure, more so than the 3D tracks in Mariokart 64 which although still a wonderful game, never quite managed to best Super Mariokart in playability. 



The roster of characters brings back all the characters from Mariokart 64, defining the stereotypical driving skills break down, from light characters with high acceleration but low top speed, to the all rounders and then to the heaviest characters with the highest top speeds but low acceleration. One of the best things returned from the original Mariokart is the use of coins for increasing your top speed. They are collected as you race around the track and gradually increase your top speed but are also taken away when you are hit or have a collision, they add a great deal to the game for beating best times and also for unlocking some nifty extras. 

Super Circuit plays like "every" other mascot cart racer, but it does i t exceedingly well, and to my mind, better than other game currently available, regardless of hardware performance differences between home and portable consoles. The vast number of tracks alone (including all the maps from the SNES/SFC original) are unmatched in any other cart racer, but when you figure in all the other racing modes and all the multiplayer options, you really see how much depth and value this game has. As far as an advertisement for the link up capabilities of the Gameboy Advance goes, Super Circuit shows just how much fun and pure gaming brilliance a portable system can produce. Even with the one cart link up the game plays flawlessly, albeit on a small selection of tracks. 

With a cart in each GBA linked up, however, you can play the entire Grand Prix series as well as the intensely fun and competitive battle mode. This is easily one of the best multiplayer game experiences I have had the pleasure of playing and is infinitely replayable. Graphically and sonically Super Circuit demonstrates just how beautiful GBA games can look when programmed properly. Vivid, bright colours, detailed character sprites with smooth animation and exceptionally designed courses, complemented with remixed Nintendo classic tunes and very crisp sound effects, there's even some nice clear speech samples. The quality of the GBA's TFT screen is really brought out on this game, more so than any other title I have played on the system so far, colours are always crisp and never blur and the display is always rock solid. If you own a Gameboy Advance then you really must own this game.

I believe its a system seller in its own right, having not only the attributes to make a great portable game, but also a great game, period, regardless of hardware system. Just as the original Gameboy had the greatest version of the greatest puzzle game in Tetris, so to does the Gameboy Advance in kart racing games. Super Circuit has something for everyone, you rarely get this type of depth and value in a $100 console title, to have it all on a tiny $60 GBA cartridge is really something very special indeed.

- Rick T

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com