Platform: Nintendo DS
Developed by Nintendo
Published by Nintendo
Players: Up to 8
The next step in Mario's popular racer the Mario Kart series is Mario Kart DS which utilises online play for the first time so you can go head to head with gamers in other countries with ease!
There are a variety of single player grand prix options available giving a total of 32 different races, many of which are not initially available and will need to be unlocked by beating the earlier cups/races.
Of the grand-prix tracks, there are more than a few that you'll recognise from past Mario games such as Mario Kart 64, and the SNES version of the game but there are also four brand new tracks. The classic difficulty modes of 50cc, 100cc and 150cc have been maintained in Mario Kart DS.
To begin with you get to choose between eight classic Nintendo characters, but as you progress through the game there are a lot of new characters to unlock. Each racer has their own set of stats some are faster than others, some will corner better, and some will accelerate quicker - these are all things to take into account when choosing your character.
Not only are there new tracks and characters, there some imaginative new powerups too including the new Bullet Bill power-up, when a player gets this they transform into a Bullet Bill and for a brief time the computer takes control of your player and quickly aids you in catching up with and overtaking your opponents. Also, remember the Blooper squids from Mario's past? They're back and this time not as an enemy but a power up
that if used properly can get ink all over the players ahead of you's screen - its not easy to drive with a windscreen covered in ink... the final new addition to the power ups is bob-omb, another classic Mario enemy reintroduced as a powerup - this is self explanatory, you can launch it ahead of yourself, and like most bombs.. it explodes!
Aside from the classic grand-prix modes there has also been a new mode introduced whereby the player must complete a number of tasks within certain time limits to succeed. There's all sorts of new challenges adding yet another element to an already great racer such as driving around circuits backwards, hitting every boost while taking corners and much more. At the end of each set of tasks you'll get a "boss" fight, which must be beaten before doing the next group of tasks - this may involve a 1 on 1 race against the 'boss' of that set of tasks!
Undeniably though the Main advancement from its predecessors is the outstanding multiplayer capabilities of the game.
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