Mario Kart: Double Dash

a game by Nintendo
Platform: GameCube
Editor Rating: 7.5/10, based on 2 reviews
User Rating: 7.6/10 - 9 votes
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See also: Mario Games, Mario Kart Games

THE BASICS:

It's Mario Kart tag-team style, with one character behind the wheel and the second chucking turtle shells, banana peels, and whatever else comes along courtesy of those spinning, question-marked power-up containers. You can switch drivers right on the fly, and since both characters can hold an item, there's a whole new layer of depth to the combatracing metagame we all know and...sniff...love.

HOW WAS IT?

Very good, thanks, especially when hooked up to other Cubes for LAN play (you can connect up to eight systems via broadband adapters and hubs). After selecting a pair of racers (there are 16 total), you pick one of three karts. In the version I played, some karts are available only to certain characters, and all have somewhat different handling. Aside from the usual roster of power-ups from earlier Mario Kart games, there are character-specific special items like an enormous Chain Chomp, which is perfect for clearing the road ahead. As for the racing, it was a little slower than expected-- even in the 150cc class--although that could be because the brief time I had on the stick wasn't enough to figure out how to get a boost using the powerslide. There's gotta be a way.

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Game Reviews

It's me Mario. OK, not really, but I've got that bizarre phrase going through my head Ad Nauseam in a really bad Italian accent thanks to hours of time sitting in front of Nintendo's latest addictive game - Mario Kart Double Dash. Like those that came before it, Double Dash is a fun little racing game chock-full of tons of Nintendo trademark creativity and fun.

In the game you drive one of 21 stock go-carts as one of the colorful characters from a plethora of Nintendo classic games as you race and bash your way around colorful and fanciful tracks. Although Double Dash is heads above the original Mario Kart, fully utilizing the GameCube's graphics and audio muscle power, it doesn't really bring a lot of change to the venerable racer. But no change isn't always a bad thing.

The game still has you sliding around well-constructed tracks trying to out pace the likes of Donkey Kong and Wario. Control is still very tight in the game, with some, like the sliding turn, receiving a major overhaul to make racing a lot smoother.

The other major addition to Double Dash is the inclusion of a second character on each cart. When you start a game you get to pick two characters with which to race. Each one has their own special power-ups, activated when you pick up power-up cubes during a race. This also means that you can now hold two power-ups at a time. The way this works is that one character drives while the other hangs onto the back tossing things at your opponents with the push of a button. The extra character can also steal items when you start smacking into each other in a race. When you push the Z button, or what I like to call the mini shoulder, your characters switch places.

The tracks in Double Dash are just as fun as the original, going far to capture the essence of Nintendo play with colorful fully animated backgrounds that can actually reach out and grab you when you race by. Each of the maps are themed around a different character in the game, my favorite is the Daisy Cruiser which has you racing through a cruise ship dodging coasting table and inviting swimming pools as you try to beat out your opponent.

Unfortunately it won't be long until you've burned through all of the single player levels and you turn to the multiplayer mode to fill your time. Multiplayer is fun, but should have been a lot more fun. You can play against or with friends in Double Dash. When you play cooperatively you and a friend take one cart with one of you driving and the other attacking opponents. If both of you hit the Z at the same time you switch positions. Although this is fun, it isn't very rewarding for the non-driving player. The competitive multiplayer is a bit more fun, but playing on a split or quad-split screen is just distracting and while the game supports multiple GameCube's it does it in such a mediocre way it's almost more annoying than fun.

I know I've tended to grumble a bit about the shelf life of Double Dash, but that's just because I like it so very much and wish there was more to do once I made it through the 16 tracks. Buy this game, enjoy it and then sell it for the latest and greatest from the Big N.

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