This game seemed like a classic even when it first came out. A blend of racing skill and weapon strategy that most games have yet to top off.
There are 3 humans and 5 animals in the game; The Princess, Luigi, Toad, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Koopa, Bowser, and Mario (Mario is an animal around the Princess). I think the characters chosen couldn't have been more fitting, whereas future racers such as Diddy Kong racing have about 2 characters that gamers were familiar with before ever playing the game.
Most of the racers are unique and have noticeable attributes such as Yoshi and the Princess having the best acceleration and Bowser and Donkey Kong having the best top speed and bumping ability. Some characters are better than other's (such as Bowser and Donkey Kong being the top), but none are clearly out-matched, making the game fun for all, but also allowing some good strategy (which makes up the game).
As for the other half of the game, the weapons, there are plenty too choose from and none make the game way too easy, which is a problem Super Mario Kart 64 had. You can choose from a green shell that shoots straight, a red shell that heat seeks opponents, a mushroom that gives you a great boost in speed, a feather that is useful for shortcuts, a banana which can be dropped (probably the least useful), a starman which yields it's user invincibility, and the most useful, the lighting bolt, which shrinks all the enemies down and thus slowing them (although the CPU Mario and Luigi can still use invincibility).
With that much said, there are 4 cups in the game (one that is hidden) and each cup has 5 races, all of which are unique. All are enjoyable and will keep you guessing what is coming next.
Now that I've basically summed up what to expect in the game, I'll rate it's aspects:
Gameplay: 8/10 - The only reason this isn't a ten is because the turning can be difficult at times, but then again it adds to the challenge factor. Most people prefer to tap the brakes or release the accelerator while turning, but I know from much experience the power sliding with the L and R buttons is the best way to turn.
Sound: 8/10 - The sound isn't bad, but it's not that memorable, but that's not much of a problem. Can't really dwell much more on this topic.
Originality: 10/10 - Not the first racer/shooter game out there, but one of them. Especially since it involved a famous character (Mario) and had stages that you appeared similar to that in super mario world.
Replay: 10/10 - this takes the cake, there are so many things you can do in this game that it's scary. Once you beat the game on 100 class, try out 150, you'll definitely be in for a challenge when you try something like the special cup. When that gets old (and that won't for awhile), try out 150 class while playing small. I don't remember the code off the top of my head, but you can find it on one of the FAQs in this category. When all of that gets old, 2 player battle mode will keep things fresh. Trust me, this game won't get old for a LONG time.
Overall, this game has to be one of the most fun racing games of today even. It beats out current competitors like Crusin', Diddy Kong Racing, and San Fran Rush 2049 because although they dominate in graphics, this game just is flat out more fun. Get the ROM or better yet, get the game if you see it for cheap.