Super Mario Kart proved that Mario spinoffs, if made well-enough could be highly successful. This game alone, according to Wikipedia, sold eight million copies worldwide. Not to mention that Super Mario Kart laid the foundation for all other Mario Kart games and Mario spinoffs outside the platforming genre.
Title: Super Mario Kart
Console: Super Nintendo
Release Date: 09/01/92
My Ranking: #34
When I first heard about this game I was confused. Mario in a racing game? Doesn't Mario usually involve jumping on goombas and going into pipes? Mario is awesome though, I thought, so I asked for this game for my birthday.
I then discovered that this racing game was INTENSE. Crazy tracks with pipes in the middle of the road and bowser levels filled with thwomps and lava. Tight turns, weird animations and items like shells and mushrooms? The Nintendo crew stayed true to the essence of Mario and made a somehow made a fun and competitive racing game.
Super Mario Kart, in my opinion, is also the hardest in the entire series. Try playing Special Cup on 150cc and you'll most likely end up crying. If you somehow make it to Rainbow Road, you'll be lucky if you place in the top 4 to pass because you'll keep getting knocked off by every other racer in the game bombarding you with items. Rainbow Road was evil in Super Mario Kart because there were some crazy turns and absolutely no borders on any parts of the stage.
Super Mario Kart- Rainbow Road in 1
Playing the Grand Prix mode with a friend though is more dynamic than you would think. Since the game is so incredibly difficult to get a gold on 150cc, you end up having to work cooperatively with your friend in order to stay ahead of the pack. However, towards the final lap, I also betray my friends right before the finish line (if I'm not in first), and steal the win right under their noses. Mwa ha ha ha.
Super Mario Kart is also the only game in the series to have five laps in every level. Five laps would seem crazy for other games in the series since the boards are very long. In Super Mario Kart, the courses are very compact and the game forces you to master the few tricky turns in under five laps in order to get first place.
I think the best part about Super Mario Kart, however, is the balance of items. No annoying blue shells or broken Bullet Bills like in other installments in the Mario Kart series. Red shells wouldn't even follow the course to their target, so you had to be able to see your opponent in order to hit them. So while the items were fun and helpful, they didn't exactly make or break the game. A better skilled driver would most likely win a contest. A racing game should reward you for skill, not for luck.
The battle mode was also a lot of fun. The only problem with the balloon-style battle mode however, is that Super Mario Kart only supported two players at once. Facing one-on-one in a battle area felt a little bland since you only need to focus on one person. Mario Kart 64's battle mode was much more dynamic with four players; you never felt safe knowing three targets could be potentially targeting you.
I initially bought (well, asked my mom) Super Mario Kart for the brand name of "Mario." Needless to say, Super Mario Kart exceeded my expectations. Whenever friends came over, they wanted to play Super Mario Kart. The popularity of this game lasted among my friends for at least four years, simply because it was so much fun. If you like racing games, especially Mario Kart games, and you haven't played this one, I highly suggest you pick this one up; it's one of the best in the entire series.
My Top 52:
#52 --- Star Fox 64 (N64)
#51 --- Kirby's Adventure (NES)
#50 --- Roller Coaster Tycoon (PC)
#49 --- Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)
#48 --- Metroid Prime (GC)
#47 --- Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
#46 --- Bomberman 64 (N64)
#45 --- Guitar Hero II (PS2)
#44 --- Super Street Fighter II (GEN)
#43 --- Pokemon Puzzle League (N64)
#42 --- Soul Calibur II (GC)
#41 --- Gears of War (Xbox 360)*
#40 --- Elite Beat Agents (DS)
#39 --- Call of Duty 4 (PS3)
#38 --- Super Metroid (SNES)
#37 --- The Orange Box (PS3)*
#36 --- Metal Gear Solid (PS)
#35 --- Doom (PC)
#34 --- Super Mario Kart (SNES)