finally beat the special cup (just 100cc, sadly) of super mario kart. i’m not a big fan of racers in general, and i had mixed feelings about the game. a significant chunk of my ambivalence may be due to my lack of fully mastering the power slide which i’d only really used on the occasional hairpin turns. but after viewing some of the many videos on youtube it seems to be a much more essential technique at the higher levels than i’d thought, esp. w/ mario who was the character i was using. since i wasn’t constantly power sliding, the central use of weapons seemed to add a significant element of chance, in a way that was a bit frustrating when i compared it to a game like f-zero GX.
anyway, this was the first time i’d really sat down and played any of the mario kart games. from what i’ve read the series seems to have a reputation for having unfair computer-controlled opponents. i’ll have to wait and see about the others, but at first i felt that in this iteration the computer-controlled characters did seem to have the advantage in that they have unlimited weapons, not to mention abilities that seem impossible, e.g. almost immediately recovering from getting hit by a shell or suddenly catching up from being last. after playing for awhile, though, the computer’s advantages didn’t seem too unbalanced to me since they don’t get to use weapons during the first lap and their actions are all fairly predictable. psychologically, though, it does seem like a questionable game design to have the opponents’ abilities be so different from the player’s, something i think other entries in the series has remedied to some extent. another complaint i seem to hear a lot is that the players near last place get better items than those near the head of the pack, but i found this to be a good way to help even things out a bit and help you recover if you make a mistake.
after getting schooled by special cup 100cc (@#$%!in’ rainbow road!!!1!) i’m not even going to try to get into 150cc at the moment. but all in all despite not becoming a fan of the series overall i had a decent time playing this game, with the mix of fun and annoyance that i’ve come to expect (and kind of hate) from racing games in general. i have a stack of them accumulated, though, so i’ll prob. try another one before too long. oh, and let’s not forget the enduring legacy of this game, the original mario kart, which has had its a score of emulators. not surprising, seeing as it’s another game produced by the venerable miyamoto.
but for now, get karted with some mario kart links:
– PDF of instruction manual at replacementdocs.com. has info on power sliding, character stats, and collecting coins.
– course maps at snesmaps.com
– pretty decent FAQ
– youtube is full of videos, but this one of bowser on rainbow road is pretty cool. talk about power sliding!
– entry at strategywiki
– entry at wikipedia
– hard-core group of competitive mario kart racers online