Mario Kart DS Preview - The Next Level

Game Profile

System:
Nintendo DS
Release date:
TBD
Publisher:
Nintendo
Developer:
Nintendo
Players:
1 - 4
Genre:
Racing
ESRB:
RP

Mario Kart DS

High-speed kart madness makes finally makes its DS debut.

Preview by (Email)
June 11th 2005
 

Due to an oversight on my part, we neglected to include some of Edward's personal E3 gallery of Mario Kart DS shots. (Sorry Ed!) These screens are definitely a lot more significant then the crop of standard PR shots out there since our collection confirms the inclusion of the famous Retro Cup featuring memorable tracks from the SNES, N64, GameCube, and Game Boy Advance. (And while this seems somewhat arrogant, if you find these shots elsewhere, please note that we're the original source responsible for those shots! Out of respect for our aformentioned, hard-working editor, please show some courtesy and credit us accordingly.)

We've also thrown in some tasty in-game videos of Mario Kart DS. Another is on the way... Enjoy!

··· Chris Scantleberry

Media Download:
Mario Kart E3 Video Trailer 1 (2.04MB, .avi Format)
Mario Kart E3 Video Trailer 2 (8.98MB, .avi Format)

Last Updated: 6/09/05

Mario Kart DS represents a great return to form for the series in my book, because the E3 demo looked and played much like Mario Kart 64, my favorite Kart of them all. Back are the abilities to jump and drag shells, which was gone in the series' last outing, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! for GameCube. The lineup of kart drivers is the same as 64's, and there's just one driver per kart again. And that's the way it oughta be!

So how does Mario Kart DS take advantage of the DS's extra touchscreen? Well...it doesn't really, but that's okay! The racing action takes place on the top screen, with the bottom touchscreen functioning as an overhead map of the race course. While the game features zero stylus involvement and really doesn't need to have a second screen, I found it helped my driving strategy to be able to see where every other racer was in relation to me, as well as what item they were carrying. It's always nice to know if you have a second place racer nipping at the heels with a red shell, for instance. So the DS actually does bring a subtle new twist to the Mario Kart series, and it's a worthwhile one.

Mario Kart DS is going to feature wireless online play, and supposedly it won't even require that everyone have a game cartridge. I bet the pre-game wireless download times for those without the cart will be a bitch, though. I just hope that it is a truly online game, and not just wireless play over a local area. Will this finally be the game that realizes my dream of playing Kart with my old high school buddies across the country? It's about damn time!

Kart DS controls pretty much the way Mario Kart games always have, with an additional function on the Y button for map controls. Powerslides feel great, and you can wiggle the d-pad back and forth to get a turbo boost around the corners as usual. The framerate was consistently fluid, and I thought the sense of speed was pretty high for a kart game. The graphics are appealing and clean in the traditonal style of the series, looking about N64 quality or a touch above it. The DS serves well as a pick up and play "kart" controller; I jumped right into a round of Mario Circuit and had no problem getting first!

Media Download:
Wario peels rubber across Mario Circuit


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