So The Pang Man Returns!
This Time Our Man For ALL Video Games Seasons Looks At One Of Games Freezer’s Favourite Games of ALL TIME and Gives His Insight Into How The Latest Version Could Regain Its Crown As
"The Greatest Multiplayer Racer EVER!"
Once You’ve Read This We Guarantee That:
You Will Want To Immediately Play Mario Kart
You Will Come Up With Your Own Ideas For Future Features
You Will Fall Back In Love With Battle Mode!
So without further ado, we hand you over to PANG MAN
It was a driving game but with split screen multiplayer and weapons!
Everything about it was amazing, from the catchy music, the recognizable characters (Yoshi!), the colourful graphics to the excellent track designs (especially Bowser castle and Ghost Valley).
They even got the weapons right.
Many racing games around the time had poorly designed weapons so you couldn’t tell what was what. But with Mario Kart it was so simple – Red shells were heat seekers, Star for invincibility, Mushrooms are speed boosts etc.
The driving mechanics were great. Controls were tight and responsive and the characters were fairly well balanced.
Most importantly it was fun! Endlessly replayable and inventive, it was one of the best games around!
But it didn’t stop there. Let’s talk about the awesome Battle mode.
Who would have thought you could be so protective of 3 balloons!
Yes Battle mode was and still is awesome!
Every game was complemented by laughter, cries of frustration and joy.
Who can forget trying to ram someone whilst using an Invincibility Star or amazingly using a banana skin to successfully floor your opponent?
Or firing green shells in tight corridors and flukely/skillfully hitting your enemy via a ricochet (without killing yourself!) Or dodging a shell using a feather?
I loved Mario Kart so much I would spend hours reading the latest news or gossip on the next version and eagerly counted down the days to the release date.
In fact I have bought every subsequent Nintendo console just to be able to play that console’s version of the game.
However, although I have enjoyed every Mario Kart subsequent to the original, my expectations have never quite been met. Maybe because my fondness of the 1st version was so high or maybe much like the iphone the latest version never has as much innovation as one would hope for.
With that in mind, over the years I have thought of all the things that would make the perfect Mario Kart game. So here goes (from least to most desired features):
20) Move Away From The Standard 3 Lap Courses Occasionally
I think Sega did a great job of making a kart game that for once didn’t feel like a poor mans Mario Kart clone.
That game was Sonic All Star Racing Transformed. Changing the environment each lap made the game feel fresh and less repetitive.
I am not saying Mario Kart should copy this for all its tracks but occasionally it would be a nice surprise to keep us on our toes!
It would also be cool to have some tracks with 5 laps or maybe have 1 lap for a really long well designed course.
19) More Destructible Items / Arenas
The tracks in Mario Kart tend be damage proof for the most part.
I enjoy driving games where you can destroy/interact with the environment, so why not have barricades, vehicles, buildings, signs, displays, walls and structures that can be damaged or broken.
This could add a tactical element to the game, for example debris from a vehicle you smashed through with an invincibility star could block the path for other vehicles
18) Improved Motion Controls
It was a good idea to have the option to be able to use the motion controller (with the optional steering wheel peripheral) to race in Mario Kart Wii, but unfortunately it was poorly executed.
Control was loose and over-steering was common.
In a new version of the game I would expect tighter more responsive controls to improve the experience.
17) Improve The “Non-Karting” Vehicles
The newest versions of Mario Kart have Motorbikes and Gliding sections.
Although I was initially excited when these features were added- I have been disappointed with the results.
To me they feel gimmicky and don’t add to the experience
16) Introduce New Power Ups
Again it would be cool to have maybe the ability to drop spike strips.
Or have a power up that would unleash a circular energy wave which would hit anything around you within a 10m radius.
Or how about a magnet that you would have to lock on an opponent manually and would pull you towards them, if you could manage to hold the lock for 2 seconds?
Or a water hose which you could aim at people to push them off course or into obstacles!
Or the cherry power up from Super Mario 3D World –which would create multiple duplicate versions of your kart so your opponents wouldn’t know which one to hit!
15) Bring Back The Ghost Power Up
This power up made you invisible so you could sneakily overtake an opponent as well as steal power ups, so using it at the right time was crucial.
Stealing a lightning power up would always lead to someone crying “Noooo!!!”
14) Bring Back The Feather Power Up
Who remembers the original SNES advert on TV?
“jump the corner, cut the barrier!”
For me using the Feather to jump gaps or corners in the track, to get to shortcuts or to avoid incoming shells was part of the fun.
13) Have More Difficult Tracks
The beauty of the original rainbow Road was its lack of barriers and narrow track.
It took real skill to navigate at full speed.
Let’s have more tracks like that for the experienced players –just imagine 20 players trying to get through a really long narrow ledge with drops either side at the start of a race!
There would be casualties galore. The larger Karts (Bowser, Donkey Kong) could muscle other players off the ledge so it would be a tactical battle for lighter characters (Toad, Peach etc) to decide whether to hang back, get a power up beforehand (e.g. an invincibility Star to then cause maximum carnage) or to try to use skill to dangerously sneak around the narrowest of track space!
12) Introduce New Track Types
We all love Mario Circuit and Ghost Valley and Bowser castle but we have all seen them many many times!
It would be good to have some new environments that we have not seen before.
Maybe a futuristic track (F Zero inspired perhaps?)
or a Theme park with a rollercoaster track and a hall of mirrors showing hundreds of reflections of all characters.
Or how about a Nintendoland course or a Dinosaur safari?
The possibilities are endless!
11) Customisable Cups
Playing through Star cup and Flower cup etc is always enjoyable but sometimes 4 tracks per cup is not enough.
Why not have the ability to mix and match all tracks into your own cup?
Say 20 of the best tracks and a challenge to your friends to see if they have the skill to be consistent enough to win the league!
10) Crown The Champion!
In Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U, the leader (in terms of points) has a symbolic crown placed on the head of their character.
This allows the other players to target that player, in order to get ahead and to know where to focus their efforts. It would be great to copy this feature into Mario Kart, such that the leading kart would have a crown on their characters head during the race.
The “King” would have bragging rights whilst the others could gang up on the king to knock him or her from the throne!
9) Keep Koopa Troopa!
On the original version of Super Mario Kart on the SNES, my favourite characters were Toad and Koopa Troopa.
For some reason the later has been dropped from most iterations since then. Why?
I have no idea. He is in the Wii version at least so let’s ensure that he stays on so I can relive those glory days!
8) Give Us A Decent Rainbow Road!
Is it me or has virtually every version of Rainbow Road since the original been rubbish.
The original had the perfect level of difficulty (no barriers, narrow track, Thwomps, cool colour scheme, great music) whilst all other versions were either too boring or went on forever! (and I mean forever!).
7) Increase The Number Of CPU Players
Racing games tend to be more fun the more competitors there are, so why not have 20 player+ races, rather than limiting it to 12?
6) Make Mario Kart A 5 Player Local Multiplayer Game
If you combine the 4 player split screen with the additional screen on the Wii U gamepad, then there is no reason why a 5 player mode can’t be added
(much like Sonic Transformed All star racing)!
More players =more fun!
5) Get Rid Of Blue Shells! (Games Freezer’s #1 Request!)
I feel the newer versions of Mario Kart, although still great fun, cater more for the casual players.
Giving the best power ups to the worse players means anyone can win, but to me this is not always a good thing.
Sometimes it can be extremely frustrating to lose having led for most of the race just because of a few blue shells.
4) Have The Ability To Turn Certain Power Ups Off And On
This links into my previous point.
Some will argue that they like the Blue Shells and Bullet Bills and other particularly strong power ups, as it gives everyone a chance and prevents weaker players getting left out/behind.
So if this is the case, then why not have the option to turn off (or on) Blue Shells or other power ups in VS mode or Grand Prix mode?
Remember how good Goldeneye on the N64 was with Golden Gun mode?
If you could customize the selection of power ups you could create a shell only power up mode (only green and red shells) or an Invincibility power up mode.
3) Add A Track Creation Mode! (This Would Be Awesome!)
This has been on my wish list for a while.
I always love playing the new tracks and retro tracks, in both normal and mirror modes.
But if you play the game a lot –these can feel a bit repetitive.
For anyone who has played Modnation Racers on the PS3, some of the best tracks were created by ordinary players, so why not bring that to the Mario Kart universe!
The sky would be the limit! If you want an underground track or a rollercoaster track- then build it yourself!
If you want a Walking Dead inspired zombie graveyard track, then make it happen!
Then make these fan made tracks accessible for everyone to download!
2. Bring Back The Skill In Drifting!
I debated about putting this as number 1 for a while! I feel a huge sense of satisfaction in older versions of Mario Kart, when I am able to successfully execute multiple drifts to catch up on say Wailuigi Stadium
For me it adds an additional element of skill to the race.
Personally I hate the new versions where you just hold down the R button on a corner and automatically receive a boost.
For me winning a racing game should not depend solely on powers ups but on tactics and skill.
On the other hand there are people who hate drifting as they feel it leads to players just “snaking” all the way round the track, so to compromise a refined version of drifting would need to be created to prevent this.
1. Give Us The Awesome Battle Mode We Deserve! (A-Men To That!)
This is number 1 on my list!
Battle mode on the original Mario Kart was sublime –great fun and brilliantly designed tracks.
It was so much fun that almost as many hours were spent on this mode as actual racing.
Dodging attacks and evading your opponents was truly a tactical experience.
Unfortunately other versions of Battle mode on other Mario Karts have been a mixed bag.
Some arenas were so complex or large that it felt like you were driving by yourself. Even if you spotted someone –you would never be able to find them in such a big maze. We deserve better!
Please go back to basics –keep it simple -smaller well designed arenas will enable Battle mode to thrive.
Then make it 5 player local multiplayer (or more for online multiplayer!) and add an ability to design your own arenas!
(Games Freezer Says: We’d also go so far as to say add in a Battle Mode Custom League Feature whereby you could create your very own Battle Mode League with friends on Local Multiplayer or Online Multiplayer. It could be a round robin competition or even a Cup Knock Out Competition! In The league format you could have balloon difference so as you are rewarded in the league for having more balloons left at the end of a bout! $UPER COOL! )
Pang Man's Final Note:
I know Mario Kart Wii U is out in May 2014 and the trailer suggests the ability to drive on walls/ceilings -which should be cool! Let’s see if they incorporate any of the ideas above once the game is out! Thanks for listening!"