This Game Boy Advance
sequel to classic Nintendo
games Super Mario Kart
and Mario Kart 64
combines the best elements of the earlier games in the series and tosses some of the weaknesses to produce an all-around enjoyable title worthy of the Mario Kart
name. It was released in summer 2001 and quickly became one of the GBA's blockbusters.
Mario Kart Super Circuit (known as Mario Kart Advance in Japan) is more directly related to its Super NES cousin. It uses Mode 7 techniques to provide the classic racing feel of Super Mario Kart, however it uses the 3D rendered drivers from Mario Kart 64. Koopa Troopa has once again been left on the sidelines, replaced once more by Wario. The other drivers from the series - Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Donkey Kong, and Toad - all return for more driving excitement. Each characters has their specific strengths and weaknesses, all of which are displayed on the Character Select screen. Of course, all characters have their own vocal exclamations that have become standard to the Mario series of games. The game also includes 20 all new courses (such as "Ribbon Road" and "Cheese Land") plus, as a hidden surprise for the skilled player, all 20 of the Super Mario Kart courses are available for GP mode, time trial, Quick Run (a single race on the track of your choice against the other racers, just for fun), and match racing for a grand total of 40 courses. The usual 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc modes are also included, upping the challenge accordingly. The Japanese version features an extra mode that allows the GBA to link-up over the phone to allow players to race each other online.
The classic items have returned for use during the race, and like in Mario Kart 64 the item blocks regenerate after each use. The items available are...
- Green Shell - fires a green Koopa shell either forward or backward. Also comes in groups of three that form a protective shield.
- Red Shell - fires a red Koopa shell that homes in on the racer ahead of you. It can also be layed on the track as a hazard. Also comes in groups of three that form a protective shield.
- Banana Peel - Can be layed on the track as a hazard or tossed ahead.
- Boo Buddy - This ghost steals an item and sticks another helpless player with a Boo Buddy that steals their coins for a few seconds.
- Blue Shell - A spiked Koopa shell that zeroes in on the racer in first place.
- Mushroom - Provides a quick speed burst.
- Lightning Bolt - Zaps all other racers and shrinks them, slowing them down and making it possible to run them over.
Note that the Feather
is not included, making some of the old shortcuts from the Super Mario Kart
courses inaccessible even though they still exist on the track.
One new element to the series is that the game keeps track of how many coins you collect on the track. That's right, the coins from Super Mario Kart are back, and while they also increase your speed as they did before, collecting over 100 coins on each course will unlock the Super Mario Kart tracks. Furthermore, your overall racing ability is charted, earning you a rating at the conclusion of each GP match.
Multiplayer mode is available as always, and it is possible to multiplay using just one cartridge and two GBAs. Doing so will force both players to use Yoshi. If two cartridges and two GBAs are available then all the characters are available for use, plus Battle Mode, where the object is to pop the other player's balloons, also becomes ready to go. Players can also exchange ghosts (that is, a recording of a past race) when linked up.
Mario Kart Super Circuit is a grand addition to the Mario Kart legacy and stands on its own four wheels very well. It's still new so it's easy to find at the usual retail outlets. Fans of the original Mario Kart games should not pass this one up. See you next race!
Playing the game