Tag: Snes

150 SNES games reviewed #30: Super Mario Kart

Super Mario Kart – what can I say about it that you won’t all have heard a million times?

I cant even build anticipation by trying to hold my opinion back until the end and starting this review by talking facts and figures. So let’s just start by saying I love this game and work from there.

Mario Kart was developed by Nintendo EAD it came out in 1992 in the US and Japan and 1993 in Europe. It went on to sell nine million copies worldwide. This figure in the end made it the third best selling SNES game overall. If you add this on to all of the sales it has made digitally with its release on both the Wii and Wii U Virtual Consoles then you start to realise what a golden egg laying goose this game has been for Nintendo.

Nowadays everyone knows what Mario Kart is and the announcement of a new version is met with an onslaught of happiness, sales jumps for the platform it’s coming to and a media frenzy. It wasn’t always quite like this as far as I can remember though. When people first got wind of the original Mario Kart the responses were more on the lines of what the heck is Nintendo doing? Sure Mario had been used for tiny cameos in Nintendo sports related titles and such but a babyish looking car racing game, ‘What were they thinking?’ was the sort of question I remember being asked by other kids at school. There was a genuine belief by some that Nintendo had lost the plot. Yet not one kid could manage to keep this opinion after they had played it. A lot of the guys at school did that thing guys at school always seemed to do when presented with something that proved there initial opinion wrong, they denied ever having said a bad word, they claimed that they had been Nintendo’s biggest supporter all along and knew that Mario Kart would be an all time classic from its inception.

Super Mario Kart received positive reviews across the board no one seemed to have a negative word to say about it. Apart from Sega that is, who tried to use it in their adverts to show Nintendo to be some kind of slow, old-fashioned baby toy compared to their sleek, fire-breathing Mega Drive (the advert were Mario Kart is running on the side of an old caravan. This now seems crazy because Mario Kart is not a slow game).

Mario Kart is often credited with creating the cart racing genre. More than this though it was the game that gave people a sense of confidence that Nintendo could achieve anything they tried after the first Mario Kart game. If Nintendo had told you they were making Mario’s Bungee Jump Massacre you would just nod and go: “They know what they are doing.”

For those of you who haven’t played the original Mario Kart, the young and hermits, I will quickly talk a little about the game itself. In Super Mario Kart the player takes control of one of eight Mario characters, each with different qualities – high top speed, good acceleration, great handling. All of them are basically equal but lend themselves to certain play-styles. In the single player mode players can race against computer controlled characters in multi-race tournaments trying to win the gold, silver or bronze cups. There are power-ups found on the track, you pick up flashing boxes which then give you one of several power-ups – a red shell which acts like a heat seeking missile, a banana skin which causes anyone who drives over it to skid out, etc. The screen is always split in two with one half showing you racing and the other showing a map. The graphics are not necessarily amazing for the time, they are however colourful and full of character. This is not just some carting game with Mario and co thrown in it, you actually feel like you’re driving through the Mario game lands and this is one of the game’s greatest advantages. The music is brilliant, you can hear noises related to your driving – the car engine, the tyres skidding – but they are always nice little background touches never interfering with the great music that plays.

I just cant fault this game. The SNES version is still brilliant. I wasn’t going to review this game so early on but recently I brought my third copy of this game. I got a Japanese cart for £5 loose and ever since the day I got it I have put it in to my machine and had 20 minutes on it every single day. Some games age badly but this is still brilliant and I feel sure I could put this in the slot 20 years down the line and still feel the need to play it, for this reason I can not help but give it 10 out of 10.

If you want Mario Kart the news is good in that It is still available on both the Wii U and Wii Virtual Consoles and is well worth the cash. With a bit of effort you should be able to get a PAL cart of this for about £17 or a boxed copy for around £40. It’s super popular but it sold by the shed load so there’s no shortage of copies.

BONUS CONTENT: Super Mario Kart R

Having played Mario Kart to death both on the SNES and all of the other future systems it has appeared on I realised there had been a few Mario Kart mods over the years but one of them in particular kept appearing on eBay and other selling sites actually on cartridge. The mod/game in question is called Mario Kart R. With this learned I got myself a ROM file of it and put it on my Super Everdrive. Now normally I have not reviewed games on the SNES which I don’t own officially licensed copies of but seeing as this was a ROM hack I thought what the heck. Overall I enjoyed playing it and I would say that if you are a fan of the original and would like to play a little more of something like that then give it a bash. Here is my YouTube video review for your viewing pleasure.

150 SNES games reviewed #29: The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse was the best known character in the whole world, but back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, Mario was just about everywhere – and not just in his video games.

He had his own cartoon series, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, and then it spiraled from there to the point he had his own action figures, stuffed toys, shirts, candy, and even a breakfast cereal. At one point in time you couldn’t do anything without seeing Mario.

On the other side, Mickey Mouse in comparison wasn’t seen as much. Sure he was on t-shirts and at Disneyland but he wasn’t quite as up front and in your face as he had been. Television channels tended to air the more modern Disney cartoons of the time such as DuckTales, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, TailSpin, Darkwing Duck, and such.

Disney teamed up with Capcom and brought a fair few titles to the NES, most of which are considered classics, such as DuckTales. Disney’s relationship with Capcom didn’t end with the NES though. Eventually the union brought us the game I am going to talk about today The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse (known in Japan as Mickey’s Magical Adventure).

The game is a bright, colourful platformer with the player taking on the role of Mickey. It’s part of a trilogy released by Capcom although we Europeans only got two out of three games (in fact, Japan was the only territory to see the third one, at least until they got GBA remakes). You move in the same sort of fashion as in most typical platform games, and you can defeat enemies  by jumping on them but you can also attack them by grabbing blocks and other stunned enemies spinning them around in Mickey’s hands and then using them as a projectile.

One of the gameplay features this game is most known for is the ability to find new outfits for Mickey, which give him different special abilities. For example, you get to play as firefighter Mickey who can use his hose. Sometimes this feeds into puzzles as well as being an option for attack. For example you might have to put out a fire to progress. It reminds me of the Mega Drive title Kid Chameleon, which seeing as I love that game is not a bad comparison at all.

The graphics are great, full of colour and character. The sound is cheery and matches the overall feel of the game. The controls are good – I don’t think they are quite Mario good, but they certainly more than do the job. When it comes to complaints some people would bring up the fact that The Magical Quest is quite an easy game, but that’s understandable since it stars Mickey Mouse. Capcom clearly knew a lot of kids would be playing this, so if it was Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels-hard it would have just led to mass complaints and screaming children. It’s not completely unchallenging, there are a few skills and basic patterns to learn and it’s kind of nice to find a game which focuses on the fun and doesn’t penalise you for anything. You have unlimited continues, when you die you start again with a full set of hearts and don’t lose any of your coins.

If you like fun platform games I would urge you to try this game. It’s a brilliantly uncomplicated slice of fun. It might be a little easy, and it might be a touch short – in fact, its length is the only real thing keeping me from giving it a huge score. All things considered I think I need to give this game a 7.5 out of 10.

If you’re after the game I tend to see it going for around £10 for the cart, although big warnings have to be given about the fact that the second one is rarer, and if you want to play the third SNES one you’re going to need to go down the import route. One way around this is to go for the Game Boy Advance remakes. They are more or less the same games with a few extras thrown in and they might be a little cheaper and easier to get your hands on (Plus you can get a European version of number three for the GBA).

150 SNES games reviewed #28: Ryan Giggs Champions World Class Soccer

Ryan Giggs Champions World Class Soccer was the game I played a little last night as well as early this morning. It is obviously a football (soccer) game and it was released on the SNES as well as the Mega Drive. It was developed by Park Place Productions and published by Acclaim.

You might not have heard of Park Place Productions largely because they were a bit of a bright light that burnt out very quickly. They were founded in 1989 and in 1993 they had become the largest independent developer of computer games. They had  130 developers making 45 games for 14 different publishers. At the end of December 1993 the company collapsed spectacularly. Basically they didn’t hit some targets they had been set by publishers and as a result of this they were denied payments, pulled out of contracts and literally left Park Place Productions up the creek without a paddle.

The first thing to note is that the whole Ryan Giggs thing is a bit of a con. The UK release featured a picture of the player on the game box and the cartridge label but any real connection to the guy or inclusion of his name ends there. The German version featured a player famous to them Sepp Maier, and the French featured a team likely to interest them, Paris Saint-Germain. None of the three have anything to do with the game beyond the box art and cartridge label though so from now on sod Giggs I will be referring to this as Champions World Class Soccer (or CWC Soccer if I get lazy).

Modes of play included in the game are the standard type, exhibition match and tournament mode. There are the obvious options to turn certain things off and mess with how long the matches last etc but nothing out of the ordinary.

The game’s presentation is pretty decent. There is a TV announcer talking about the match before it starts – talking as in text along the bottom of the screen, but the text is pretty cool. It mentions which team you are and what is good or bad about you. For example I got something on the lines of the following for my first match: “England have always been good at defence but there shooting record is a little unpredictable”. The in game graphics are pretty much the bog standard average football game graphics from this point in time so I don’t have a lot to say about them, they don’t make or break the game.

I like the fact that there is a big blue star around the character you are in control of. It is very easy to know who you are and then there is a button which seems to exist just to help you do little tricks either dribbling the ball around your feet, turning backwards for a second or shooting forward quickly – well, quickly for this game. Unfortunately this is the point at which my review has to get a little bit sour I am afraid that personally I feel that the gameplay is bad. The game is slow, both passing and shooting are hard and frustrating to the point you’ll soon find yourself turning the air blue. Sometimes it takes a few seconds for your character to become properly attached to the ball like you do in most football games. You will have ran on to the ball and it just wont end up under your control so you’ll be running backwards and forwards hoping it attaches to you and then a computer controlled player will just run straight up and claim it with no problem or pause in proceedings.

In my opinion this game is the worst SNES football game I have played so far. I like the TV start, I like the fact it makes it obvious who you are but I don’t really like the controls or the gameplay. It also didn’t give me my any of my demands such as great goal scoring animations or a voice shouting “Goal!”. I would give this game four out of 10 . It’s not unplayable but there are much better games out there for your cash. If you decide that you simply need this game to live the good point is it will cost you only £4 or £5 to buy it online and get it posted to you.

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