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Let me just start off by saying that I never owned a SNES, so i had to wait till middle school to play Mario Kart 64 when it was all the rage. Long story short, i enjoyed it immensely... and still do.
Racing games have always been one of my favorite genres, but I'm pretty picky with them. So far I've played the Crusin' Series (which IMO Crusin' World is the better of them), the WipeOut series (the 1st & 3rd ones for PSX are my favorite), and even the Sonic Drift series (2nd game surpasses the 1st by far). i was never really too fond of the other ones... even the racing machines at the arcades never gave me a satisfying feeling afterwards... Sega Rally Championship, those Daytona racing games, Grand Tourismo (SP?)... they all seemed "too generic' for my taste. I guess the reasons why only a select few stand out more is because they tried a different approach and it worked. Crusin' World for having semi-realistic scenes (seriously, the New York stage... thats a real highway in Queens and it looks exactly like that) plus different types of vehicles (police car, double-decker bus, semi truck, ect...). WipeOut for using fucking anti-gravity jet planes racing along eye-catching scenaries with the best techno music ive ever heard back then in the mid/late 90's. Sonic Drift for... well, having Sonic characters race in Sonic's World... whats not to like about that, lol?
Which brings me to Mario Kart... its practically like Sonic Drift except replace "sonic's world' with "Mario's World". And with every game they release for every different system, they are always adding something new, but it's never anything DRASTIC (like how SEGA went from Drift to R in the Sega Saturn era... fun game IMO, regardless of what other Sonic fans say). However, with this latest installment, there's so much content on here, I don't even know where to begin.
i guess I'll start off with the more noticeable feature... Kart Customization. No longer do you have to use & look at the same car for every character. You can give them the old-skool pipe frame kart, or even stick different characters in other character's karts (like have peach drive Wario's Bruiser, or have Koppa Trooper drive Yoshi's Egg car). You can also customize the wheels and gliders (for the long jump sections of the game). This gives the player more freedom to get creative with their favorite character, and it doesn't force people to stick with one or two characters only just because their faster (I'M LOOKING AT YOU TOAD AND YOSHI!!!!). Each part either increases or decreases a stat of the vehicle. It can either decrease speed but make accell and handeling much better, or increase speed and make off-road paths easier to take. The possibilities are endless.
Ever since the 3DS came out, i think it's safe to say that part of it's point of existing is to connect people with other people... mainly with its StreetPass function... since now you can zap ghost data to other people and attempt to beat their fastest time. i say "attempt" because you'll always wind up going against one fucker that knows every single trick and shortcut in the game no matter how crappy their kart is. Seriously, it took me about a month after i got the game to realize that Maple Tree actually has a shortcut RIGHT at the start of the starting line cause some dude kept getting ahead of me even though he was pretty far behind me... and that course was on Mario kart Wii. You'll also notice this in the online multiplayer function, which is the other great thing about the game. You can even join a community (which oddly enough, well known names like IGN is one of the default communities in the game).
i won't go into details about anything else considering that if you've played the previous Mario kart games, you'll know what to expect. For those of you that have yet to touch any of the Mario kart games, then I'd suggest you stop living under whatever rock you're hibernating under and go get the game(s). Add me as a friend too if you want, I'm always up for some races.
P.S. This is what I use (see pic)