Hi everyone. Today, I’m talking about Mario Kart Super Circuit. This blog post is an overview about my thoughts on it and how I think it impacted the series. I know you don’t really see any reviews about this game on certain platforms so I decided to make one for the entire community.
Mario Kart Super Circuit was that one game in the series that a lot of people strongly disliked but resonated with some others, like me. I remember as a kid it was the first game my brother and I ever got. Well, technically it was my brother’s game, but I played a fair amount of it which would then proceed to be a childhood memory that would stay with me forever.
This game was released in 2001 for the Game Boy Advance and is known as Mario Kart Advance in Japan. This was the first game in the series that was a handheld, unlike Super Mario Kart for the SNES and Mario Kart 64 for the Nintendo 64. This would allow people to play this anywhere such as the mall, at work, the lake, the beach, the airport and possibly in the shower. I’m just kidding about the last one.
Despite being the first handheld version of Mario Kart, it introduced a few things that would continue to be adapted into later games. A lot of people who review this say that “It feels like Super Mario Kart, but it feels more like Mario Kart 64”. I agree with that because of the layout and the character design. Although this is the first game in the series to be played on a handheld, this was the one that a lot of people would tend to forget about.
I don’t think I would play this on a regular basis like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It was designed by Intelligent Systems, so maybe it would be different if Nintendo had designed it themselves. We would have to investigate.
The game offers three game modes. There is the Grand Prix or “Mario GP”, which is expected in a Mario Kart game. We also have Time Trials, in which you can race on a track of your preference to get the fastest score, and last but not least there is Quick Run, which allows you to race on a single track of your choice.
You can configure the settings on the menu screen with the Select button, which everyone finds convenient. It has 50cc, 100cc and 150cc modes like every other Mario Kart game. All the characters from Mario Kart 64 make up the roster for Super Circuit, but this roster includes the “RANDOM” option. However, I would have preferred a 9th character rather than a random choice.
According to the front web page search on MarioWiki, Waluigi is unlockable by getting gold in all cups including the extra tracks, but it’s not true. First off, he wasn’t in the previous Mario Karts and secondly, his first appearance was in Mario Tennis in 2000, which was before the release of this game.
Enough ranting about Waluigi let’s get to the other stuff now. Super Circuit has 40 tracks in total if you include the extra tracks, and it has 10 cups in total. Starting with the mushroom cup, the flower cup, the lightning cup, the star cup and the special cup. The other five cups have the same name but start with the word “Extra”. Each cup has four tracks.
Time to get into why people hate this game. One complaint about this game that comes from a lot of people is that the mechanics and controls are bad. The control layout is acceptable for what you’d get at the time. However, the mechanics are poor. Drifting in Super Circuit isn’t my favourite thing to do. When you try to drift, you skid a bit further and when the characters steer, it seems kind of weird. If you ask me, I say this drifting is for more skilled players.
It would probably work better if you connected the game to the Game Boy Player for the GameCube because you’d be able to play with a controller. Those are my major concerns about the mechanics.
The item boxes float off the ground as cubes, which would be seen in the later games. In Super Mario Kart, the item boxes were embedded into the ground and you would drive over them to collect them but in Mario Kart 64, they’re distorted diamonds with a question mark.
I don’t think the songs for each track were memorable except for Snow Land. Once I played that, it got stuck in my head. Super Circuit was the first Mario Kart in the series that would introduce retro tracks, a feature that would continue to be seen in the later Mario Karts, which consisted of all the SNES tracks as the retro tracks.
You receive the Extra Tracks after playing the regular tracks. You start off by playing the Mushroom Cup, the Flower Cup, the Lightning Cup and the Star Cup, unlocking the Special Cup. After doing that, you have to go back to whatever cc you were on and play all the cups again, keeping in mind that you must collect 100 coins or over.
The power ups were good, but it didn’t include the feather. You can also collect coins and this affects your speed. If you get hit by a shell or run into something, you will lose coins. Once you have one coin left, the coin counter continuously starts beeping.
If they had added some Mario Kart 64 tracks, this would probably affect the feel of the game. The graphics are acceptable in my opinion. Super Mario Kart was 2D and Mario Kart 64 was 3D. I wouldn’t say this game is fully 2D as it inherits some aspects of 2D and 3D graphics.
GBA Rainbow Road in this game appears to be the hardest due to all the sharp turns, angles and don’t get me started on that speed panel ramp thing. I think this track would be more suitable for the ones looking for some skill-based gameplay. But it’s fine if you want to play this game just to have a good time.
I like how everyone probably noticed Kamek casually hovering around on a broomstick in Bowser Castle 3.
It even has a 2-Player Mode which offers two different game modes. There’s Mario GP as usual, VS Race and Battle Mode, in which you use the power ups to pop your opponent’s balloons. That’s right they didn’t have coin runners! Now of course, you need a link cable in order to play multiplayer. You could even hook up the link cables to play with up to four players. Super Circuit offers two multiplayer modes. Single-Pak and Multi-Pak.
Everyone playing would each have to have their own copy of the game for better gameplay. If you were a kid growing up in the early 2000s, you probably owned this game. This would be a good game to play with your brother but maybe not with your significant other, which later games like Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe addressed. It had four battle courses called, Battle Course 1, Battle Course 2, Battle Course 3 and Battle Course 4.
Single-Pak is very different. Only one person had to have a copy of the game and there were only four playable tracks, which were from Super Mario Kart and required for everyone to play as Yoshi automatically due to the memory limitations. The music for the track selection in Single-Pak did sound quite groovy! It does have a cool loading screen am I right?
Also don’t disconnect during Multi-Pak Link gameplay because then this happens.
Lastly, there was Ghost Exchange which allowed you to exchange your Time Trial results with a friend. I haven’t used this mode so all I see is the screen below.
This wraps up my opinions on this game. I wish it had more memory so that it could have other features which I assume didn’t make the cut during the process of making Super Circuit. If it was possible, they could’ve fixed the mechanics but if not, it’s okay. I don’t think it’s too necessary to play today, but it’s fine if you want to experience a retro game. If you feel like playing Mario Kart Super Circuit after reading this blog, by all means go ahead and have some fun with it. That’s all I have time for today and I shall see you in my next entry.