Mario Kart Super Circuit
Platform:  Game Boy Advance
Players:  1-4 (when linked)

    Back in the 16 Bit days of Nintendo there was an outpouring of kart racing games.  Primarily this was due to a graphics setting called Mode-7, flat terrain that could scroll in any direction, with sprite drawn graphics moving along the virtual world.  Super Nintendo games such as Pilotwings and F-Zero used Mode-7 scaling to create faux 3-D environments.  Kart racing was low to the ground, so it seemed perfect for this graphics mode.  Even though many other games took advantage (or disadvantage in some cases) of this, racing games of the day were the primary genre of choice.  The best of all the kart racing games was Super Mario Kart and that fun transfers wonderfully onto the small screen with Mario Kart Super Circuit on the GBA.

Description:  Around the time of the launch of the Super Nintendo a little cartoony racing game came along with familiar characters from the world of Nintendo, past and present.  It's balance of easy play elements, clean graphics, and endless fun made it one of the most memorable Super Nintendo games.  With the release of the GBA, Mario and his crew return to burn up the speedway once again.  There are the basic play modes from the SNES and N64 versions:  Grand Prix, Time Trial, and Quick Run.  There are also the traditional 2-4 player modes, Match Race and Battle that can be accessed via a GBA link cable.  Super Circuit supports up to four players on one cartridge, but your play options are limited.  Only four courses are available and each player must use Yoshi.  If each player has a copy of the game then all tracks, characters, and options are open for multiplayer games quite similar to F-Zero Maximum Velocity.  Twenty new tracks are included as well as an option for expert drivers to unlock the original Super Nintendo courses. (e-mail me if you can't figure out how to get them)

Sound:  Mario Kart Super Circuit is dead on with the sound effects of the N64 version.  Each character has their own outbursts for different situations.  In addition, each character has multiple things they will say based on if their being shot at, shooting at someone, jumping, spinning out, passing you or being passed.  All voices are clear and represented in the faithful Nintendo tradition.  Music is dead on to the Super Nintendo version, right down to the original tracks.  With a decent pair of headphones Super Circuit sounds exactly like Super Mario Kart.

Play Control:  The same standard layout as the SNES version is kept intact.  Acceleration and breaking are controlled by the face buttons while shooting and jumping are mapped to the shoulder buttons.  Control is tight and very responsive.  The only thing that I find different than the SNES Mario Kart is that sliding through a long turn doesn't spin you out as it once did, instead it gives you a small speed boost.  This makes going through multiple tight turns far too easy compared to the balance and finesse it took back on the Super Nintendo.

Replay:  With all the play modes of the original and tons of options to unlock, game play is as unlimited as the original.  The battle and multiplayer grand prix are timeless and are that is the reason the Mario Kart franchise remains intact today, the games are a complete blast, especially with a group of friends.

Final Verdict:  Classic gaming fun with pocket sized portability, you can't go wrong.  There is another kart game on the GBA, Konami Krazy Racers, that moves a bit faster.  While Mario Kart Super Circuit may not race along quite as fast, what it lacks in speed it gains in multiplayer options.  Mario Kart is also $10 less than Konami Krazy Racers.  The best bet is to get them both since they are both fun kart racers, yet both unique games.  What it comes down to is Mario Kart Super Circuit is a must buy for Game Boy Advance owners.

Written on 09-26-01 by David,
Last amended 04-13-06 by David,

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