Author Topic: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart  (Read 20943 times)

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Offline gypsyOtoko

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My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« on: July 08, 2009, 12:58:40 AM »
http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/blogArt.cfm?artid=19000

  So, I moved in with one of my friends the other day. Naturally the first thing I did after getting my bed set up was hook up the Wii to his awesome Sony Bravia (TM) television.    


Having it hooked up and ready to go, I was thinking about putting some more time into Wii Sports Resort and putting out some more impressions for our readers. However, I soon found out that my roommate used to play a lot of Mario Kart back in the day, so in no time we had that familiar Mario Kart music blasting from the TV speakers.    


Well, I expect you guys all know how it goes - you put Mario Kart in, and the next thing you know you've been racing against your friends and the computer for five hours and haven't moved from the spot you settled in to after selecting the Wii Disc Channel.    


While I was playing the game, I thought to myself, "The track designs for Mario Kart Wii are pretty solid. Definitely up there with some of the best." Personally, my favorite Mario Kart tracks are found in Mario Kart DS. What really makes me enjoy the DS tracks in Mario Kart DS is the fact that itÂ’s clear their designers *actually played Mario at some point*. What I'm getting at is that a lot of those tracks have good, solid references to past Mario games.    


My favorite track, hands down, is the one on Bowser's Airship. First and foremost, IT'S ON BOWSER'S FREAKIN' AIRSHIP. I've beaten SMB3 more times than most games I've owned, so having that imagery pop up in Mario Kart DS really makes it feel authentic - like a Mario game.    


On the other end of the spectrum is- Mario Kart Double Dash. Seriously, who in God's name thought it would be really Mario-like to throw in a 'Baby Theme Park' track? Where, in any of the Mario games, was there a Mario theme park? Was it Yoshi's Island? Was that some special level I never got to? (Pah - preposterous. I've seen every level there is to see in that series.)    


And, while it may seem like sacrilege to some, by the logic I've stated above, I'm also not a big fan of the N64 tracks. Moo Moo Farm? Sure, if it was Zelda Kart maybe I could see them putting in a Lon Lon Ranch track, but I have yet to see a cow in a Mario platformer.    


Anyhow, having thought of this, I just wanted to get opinions from everyone else. What order do you guys all rate the Mario Kart games in term of track design? What do base your opinions on? Is there anything in particular that you like about a certain track?    


Finally - just for the heck of it, I'm posting a picture of a new drink that was recently released in Japan - Shiso Pepsi. I found this stuff at the convenience store and thought 'Wait... do what now?'. I thought you guys might enjoy seeing some of the zaniness that makes this country so magical.    


OH, and to my fellow Americans - Happy Belated Independence Day. Since I was  nowhere near a grill on the fourth, I hope you all had a burger and a dog for me.    


M


Offline Enner

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2009, 02:57:39 AM »
But the baby tracks is one of the craziest tracks! Shells, bombs, and bananas everywhere!

Offline Mop it up

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2009, 03:09:20 AM »
Oddly enough, I'd rate them in almost chronological order:

Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart Double Dash!!
Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart Advance
Super Mario Kart

Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart Double Dash!! have the most inspired tracks with unique elements like springy mushrooms, cannons, etc. Mario Kart 64 was alright, but it's obvious it was their first foray into the third dimension as a lot of tracks are still fairly flat. Mario Kart Advance and Super Mario Kart are both pretty dull and boring.

I've never played the DS Mario Kart so I have just the 4-track sample in Mario Kart Wii to judge it. Delfino Square is pretty fun, I enjoy that one. Desert Hills might be good if it didn't have so many places to take shortcuts with mushrooms. Peach Gardens is flat and uneventful, and Yoshi Falls is the absolute worst track I have ever seen.

In the case of Mario Kart Wii, most of the retro tracks are pretty bland and boring, especially because of the new physics.

Offline broodwars

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2009, 03:11:22 AM »
There was a theme park in Mario Sunshine, the 3rd or 4th world if I remember right.  But yeah, I can't think of a single good track in Double-dash that wasn't taken from an earlier Mario Kart game.

As for Mario Kart DS, easily my favorite levels are Bowser's Airship and Waluigi Pinball.  I was very surprised when neither of those tracks (if I remember right) made it into Mario Kart Wii.  Well, I guess Nintendo had to save some good levels for the next Mario Kart, because heaven forbid they actually make a Mario Kart game with 32 new and creative tracks.

Anyone else notice a distinct lack of true shortcuts in these latest Mario Karts, though?  I remember in Mario Kart 64 that it was a pretty damn big deal if you got a mushroom when you were on that first Koopa Beach stage, because you could just shoot yourself into a huge shortcut off that big ramp with it.  You don't see that anymore, as it's instead a lot of little shortcuts for shaving off a few seconds here and there.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 03:13:08 AM by broodwars »
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Offline Mop it up

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2009, 03:16:31 AM »
Anyone else notice a distinct lack of true shortcuts in these latest Mario Karts, though?  I remember in Mario Kart 64 that it was a pretty damn big deal if you got a mushroom when you were on that first Koopa Beach stage, because you could just shoot yourself into a huge shortcut off that big ramp with it.  You don't see that anymore, as it's instead a lot of little shortcuts for shaving off a few seconds here and there.
Perhaps they wanted to make it a bit more fair?

Offline broodwars

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2009, 03:26:44 AM »
Anyone else notice a distinct lack of true shortcuts in these latest Mario Karts, though?  I remember in Mario Kart 64 that it was a pretty damn big deal if you got a mushroom when you were on that first Koopa Beach stage, because you could just shoot yourself into a huge shortcut off that big ramp with it.  You don't see that anymore, as it's instead a lot of little shortcuts for shaving off a few seconds here and there.
Perhaps they wanted to make it a bit more fair?

Considering the old-style shortcuts could even better allow people in the back of the pack to catch up to those ahead of them, I don't really buy that.  That may justify the horror that is the Blue Shell, but shortcuts?  No, that just doesn't sound right.
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Offline Mop it up

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2009, 03:32:11 AM »
Being able to skip half the track with a mushroom is way more cheap than the blue shell or bullet ever will be. Mushrooms are far more common and appear in the top ranks, that's too much ground to allow the second-place person to gain.

Offline broodwars

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2009, 03:33:47 AM »
Being able to skip half the track with a mushroom is way more cheap than the blue shell or bullet ever will be. Mushrooms are far more common and appear in the top ranks, that's too much ground to allow the second-place person to gain.

Hmm...perhaps.  It just makes it feel in the modern Mario Kart games that there's no point to exploring the tracks because there's little to nothing to actually find.  I miss that aspect of Mario Kart.

Besides, those shortcuts often had a huge risk/reward aspect to them.  If you pulled them off, they helped you a lot but if you screwed them up they really hurt you.  That's what I thought balanced it out.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2009, 03:35:49 AM by broodwars »
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Offline gypsyOtoko

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2009, 06:28:23 AM »
Hey guys, thanks for the replies!

@Enner, Broodwar: I will concede that the Baby Park track is indeed pretty fun since it's simple and allows for some pretty crazy fighting with items. And, as Broodwar pointed out, there was indeed a theme park in Mario Sunshine! I totally forgot about that. For some reason I've kinda blocked out memories of that game. I guess since I'm an old fart it's the retro style stages with the scat-flavored SMB theme that I remember the best.

@Broodwarss, Mop_It_Up: Everyone is certain allowed to have their own opinion regarding short cuts. I myself enjoy the idea of short cuts because it's one of those things where if you know the game really well, you can take advantage of it. I, myself, wouldn't consider that cheap because you have to know what you're doing to pull that off. But again, everyone's allowed to think differently. ^^

Blue shells on the other hand are the bane of my existence. Little bastards. >_<; Though, to be fair, they really mix it up. It's just the biggest pain when you're near the finish line and then BOOM, you're dropped to last place because of a last minute blue shell.

Offline RABicle

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2009, 07:04:19 AM »
You're having a go at Daisy Cruiser and Baby Theme Park?

FAR AND AWAY the most bizarre Mario Kart tracks with nothing to do with the games were produced from Super Circuit. I mean let's see. Cloud Garden? Ribbon Road? I'm naming these off my head here. I recall one track was set ina  land full of cheese.
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Offline GK

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2009, 07:17:44 AM »
For me I still think the best tracks were in the original. None of the later Bowser Castles has been able to top the ones in Super Mario Kart in my opinion.

My second if we're going solely by track design has to be Mario Kart DS. Although most of my favorite tracks aren't available on wi-fi(was really hoping MKWii would bring THOSE back to fix this), Delfino Square's tight turns between those houses rock & they were a snaker's kryptonite on DS. Same could be said about Peach Garden's turns.

Bronze goes out to Mario Kart Wii. Anyone here that's raced with me on wi-fi probably already have an idea on what are my favorites.

Then there's Mario Kart: Double Dash!! As poorly as I race on Mushroom City, I always want to go back. Odd eh?

After that it's Mario Kart 64. I mean come on, Yoshi Valley had you racing through a maze. Win points.

Mario Kart Super Circuit's tracks were eh ok I guess. Not all that memorable though.
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Offline AV

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2009, 12:43:29 PM »
whats with the product placement ?

and those odd pictures of family guy and girls that have nothing in common with the topic ?

Offline A Straight Up Trippin' Balls Forum User

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2009, 02:02:28 PM »
SMK was Mario racing in its pristine form. The rest of them have some annoying flaw or another.

Offline Mop it up

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2009, 08:21:26 PM »
Blue shells on the other hand are the bane of my existence. Little bastards. >_<; Though, to be fair, they really mix it up. It's just the biggest pain when you're near the finish line and then BOOM, you're dropped to last place because of a last minute blue shell.
Unfortunately the blue shell is a necessary evil. With the amount of items flying around it isn't so difficult for someone to escape from the pack and zoom so far ahead as to be uncatchable. The blue shell prevents that from happening.
I'm more annoyed when I get a blue shell than I am when I get hit by one, because it doesn't often help the person who used it. Mario Kart 64 has the best blue shell because it has a chance of hitting others on its way to first, and it can also be dragged along to block an unlimited number of shells.

Offline yoshi1001

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2009, 08:50:24 PM »
Unfortunately the blue shell is a necessary evil. With the amount of items flying around it isn't so difficult for someone to escape from the pack and zoom so far ahead as to be uncatchable. The blue shell prevents that from happening.

That is one failing of Diddy Kong Racing. If the CPUs don't do a good job competing, you can be left in an unwinnable position for those Silver Coin Challenges.

The "2-D" Mario Karts never had the greatest track designs, even when translated to 3-D in DS and Wii, though they seemed great backin the day.
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Offline broodwars

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2009, 11:52:52 PM »
Blue shells on the other hand are the bane of my existence. Little bastards. >_<; Though, to be fair, they really mix it up. It's just the biggest pain when you're near the finish line and then BOOM, you're dropped to last place because of a last minute blue shell.
Unfortunately the blue shell is a necessary evil. With the amount of items flying around it isn't so difficult for someone to escape from the pack and zoom so far ahead as to be uncatchable. The blue shell prevents that from happening.
I'm more annoyed when I get a blue shell than I am when I get hit by one, because it doesn't often help the person who used it. Mario Kart 64 has the best blue shell because it has a chance of hitting others on its way to first, and it can also be dragged along to block an unlimited number of shells.

Indeed, I didn't mind the Blue Shell all that much until they decided to make it hover over the track until it reached the leader and then drop and explode with a pretty massive blast radius.  You could at least theoretically defend against the Blue Shell in MK64 with a properly timed Green or Red Shell release.
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Offline UncleBob

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2009, 01:16:57 AM »
No love for the Mario Kart Arcade tracks? :)
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Offline BwrJim!

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2009, 01:43:53 AM »
Ahhh Mario Kart,  they have all had their good and bad of course, but I would have to say I am addicted to the rainbow road courses.   See, i love drifting and in the rainbow road on the wii, I tear it up without the shortcuts.   but to the unititiated, there are tons of shortcuts in MKwii, but i still prefer the drifting.. too addictive.

Mario Kart Wii and DS are tied in the same place for me.  I do miss the bowser ship the most and the ship cruiser too, and the pinball..
Then Mario Kart 64, loved that game.. (also my first becuase frankly, the flat levels suck a$$ in my opinion. they are easy and so on and just plain)
Then Mario Kart DD, my wife and me on the same kart..  better watch it...   DD had great levels too ya know.. like DK mountain.

Levels I miss..   Cocoa from MK64.. any stage where giant cereal falls down to destroy.. oh so schweet.

sooooo, if ya wanna race.. better watch it on the curves.. i can rip em up.

Favorite Shortcut thats not a glitch in MK Wii?  i cant rememebr the level, but its full of dirt and you can blast over the lake or whatever and then blast again off of an island to cut off a bunch of space..  very risky though for me.   but i agree, the risk is balanced.   rememeber the RR in 64 right at the start.. hit it, great miss it.. not so great.
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Offline TheBlackCat

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2009, 04:00:34 PM »
I personally think Mario Kart Wii has the best collection of tracks, even if you limit it only to the new tracks.  However, the original had some of my favorite tracks.  In particular one of the ghost houses (not the one translated to the Wii) was excellent, probably my favorite.  I would say all of the games had their share of great levels.

My ranking would probably be:
Wii
GC
SNES
N64

As for levels that are re-made for each game, may favorites are:
Bowser's castle: Wii
Peach's castle/mario raceway: N64
Luigi circuit: GC
Rainbow road: GC
Beach: SNES
Highway: Wii

I do think the original still had the best battle mode courses, though.  Although the Wii's new battle mode courses are probably the second best.

As for the blue shell, I don't like weapons where there is no possibility of escape.  Every weapon should have some slim chance of being avoiding or minimized.  For instance if you hit the breaks at the exact right moment the blue shell might miss you.  The blue shell is just too powerful of a weapon as it is currently set up.  That is why I like the new POW weapon, if you are good enough and careful you can largely dodge it (although you still lose your items), but doing so is risky.

I do like long shortcuts, but only if they are difficult and/or risky to carry out.  For instance if they require perfectly timing a jump or power slide to avoid a pit like in the Wii/SNES ghost house or the GC bowser's castle, require a particular item to get through like a mushroom to boost over dirt or a pit, or are just risky like the other SNES ghost house (which had a one tile-wide path bypassing half the level but had a pit on either side the entire way) or the Wii DK skiing level (where you can power slide over a pit to skip a turn).  It can't be too cheap, it should require skill and/or luck to pull it off. 
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Offline GK

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2009, 04:37:39 PM »
That Ghost Valley short cut has to be the greatest short cut of all time. Well when pulled off successfully anyway.
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Offline RABicle

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2009, 02:47:37 AM »
One of the most incredible shortcuts I could pull off from the SNES one was on Bowser's Castle 1. On the straight with the boosts, you go wide where there is only one boost, hit it and turn hard left using a feather. You should easily make it to the 4th straight (the first set of jumps) but if you are super lucky you can land on one of the jumps and get flung to the second set of jumps.
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Offline GK

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2009, 08:31:09 AM »
I miss how powerful the Mushroom boost used to be. I swear, the boost becomes less & less noticeable with every new game. When combined with the bumpers you went soaring, sometimes off course completely in SMK
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Offline ShyGuy

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2009, 01:54:51 PM »
who is gypsyOtoko?

Offline BeautifulShy

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2009, 01:59:09 PM »
who is gypsyOtoko?
He is the Japan Corespondent.
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Offline DAaaMan64

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Re: My Thoughts on the Tracks in Mario Kart
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2009, 02:43:27 PM »
I miss how powerful the Mushroom boost used to be. I swear, the boost becomes less & less noticeable with every new game. When combined with the bumpers you went soaring, sometimes off course completely in SMK

I feel like the green shells have been pretty shitty since the N64 game. Back when it was much more possible to strategically aim them. Maybe thats just me.
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