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Mario Kart Retrospective - Part 3

by: David Sanchez ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

Having established a huge fan base of Nintendo home console and handheld owners, Mario Kart ventured into arcades and appeared on Nintendo's popular handheld, the DS. How would these entries stack up compared to their predecessors?

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    Mario Kart Enters New Territory

    Bullet Bill is one of the newer items in Mario Kart, having made its debut in Mario Kart DS.  

    By 2005 Mario Kart had appeared on home consoles and on a handheld. There was really only one more place for the series to venture: arcades. 2005 saw two new Mario Kart titles in the form of Mario Kart Arcade GP and Mario Kart DS. How would fans react to the arcade iteration of Mario Kart? And how would the second handheld Mario Kart outing fare?

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    Mario Kart Arcade GP

    Mario Kart Arcade GP  

    Longtime fans of the series were surprised to find out about an arcade Mario Kart game. They were also surprised to discover that playing Mario Kart Arcade GP was quite pricey. The game featured interesting tracks, an all-star cast of racers (Pac-Man characters joined Mario and co. as this game was a joint venture with Namco Bandai), and fun controls that used a steering wheel, an accelerate pedal, and a brake pedal. Sadly, the $2 price tag per game quickly burned holes in the wallets of those who got hooked.

    Mario Kart Arcade GP was a fun experience, but due to its heavy price, it garnered a lot of criticism. It’s a shame it’s so expensive to play, because Mario Kart Arcade GP is truly a special game, and seeing Mario in arcades is definitely something that harks back to the days of retro gaming.

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    Mario Kart DS

    Mario Kart DS  

    One Mario Kart game that did offer a lot of lasting value for its price was Mario Kart DS. The game featured a large roster of characters, different vehicles to choose from, online play (a first for the series), and an increased difficulty. In addition to all of that, Mario Kart DS cemented itself as one of the best Mario Kart games of all time by offering some of the greatest track design in the series.

    To this day, Mario Kart DS remains a fun kart racing title. It has easily outshined its predecessor, Mario Kart Wii, in more ways than one. It’s still unknown whether another game as great as Mario Kart DS will launch for the series. But gamers who have never played this title would do well to snag themselves a copy. Even five years after its release, Mario Kart DS remains on top.

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    Mario Kart Retrospective: Treading Unfamiliar Ground, Returning to Handheld

    With entries on Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo GameCube, the Mario Kart franchise was left with very few territories to explore. The series ventured onto the Nintendo DS and provided one of the greatest experiences in Mario Kart history. Even today, some argue that this title is one of the best Mario Kart games ever released. Sadly, Mario Kart Arcade GP was a bit too pricey to garner the fan base that other games in the franchise did.

    What would the future hold for Mario Kart? 2007 saw the return of Mario Kart to arcades as well as an entry on the Wii. Would these games elevate the series to new heights?