Mario Kart Wii Preview
Mario Kart Wii box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Nintendo 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Nintendo 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: April 27, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
I see a red hat just
around the corner!

by Maria Montoro

March 21, 2008 - People couldn't even sleep the night before Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out, so I'm sure on April 27th (April 11th for Europe) Nintendo's biggest fans won't get a very good night sleep either. Ever since it was announced at E3 of last year, people have been fantasizing and dreaming of what the new Mario Kart will be. Soon the wait will be over, and we'll all be able to get our hands on the game and the Wii Wheel, learn new tricks, beat our friends, and even pull wheelies! It turns out the new Mario Kart won't only sport cool new karts but also motorcycles. But you probably already knew that by now.

Mario Kart Wii screenshot

The game will have Grand Prix mode once again. The difference this time around is the 50cc tourney will be reserved for karts, while the 100cc will be just for bikes, and the 150cc will allow both in the competition. The other game modes will also sound familiar. There's Time Trial, Vs. Mode, and…Battle Mode! I don't know how much you guys love this mode, but it's one of my favorites because it allows for a nice change of pace after wild kart racing competition. The Battle Mode in Mario Kart Wii includes ten levels, five of which you might have played on already if you've played the series from the beginning. Battle Course 4 from SNES, Battle Course 3 from GBA, Skyscraper from Nintendo 64, and the more recent Twilight House from DS and Cookie Land from GameCube's Double Dash are the retro stages. The brand new additions include Delfino Pier (seen in Super Mario Sunshine), Block Plaza, Funky Stadium, Chain Chomp Wheel, and Thwomp Desert. I have to express my disappointment for the loss of Luigi's Mansion stage, which I thought was the best of all in Mario Kart: Double Dash. Sneaking around corners, throwing bombs from the top level, rushing through the corridors…the stage was large and the possibilities were endless! However, I'm sure the new stages and even some of the old ones will be just as much fun.

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Standard racing modes will also have some repeating stages, along with several new designs. The game will have 32 racing tracks in total. The retro tracks are the old Ghost Valley 2 from SNES, Sherbet Land and Mario Raceway from N64, Shy Guy Beach from GBA, Peach Beach and Waluigi Stadium from the GameCube, and Yoshi Falls and Delfino Square from the DS. There are more we don't know about yet, so we'll have to wait and see when the game comes out. The new stages will remind you of what we've seen throughout the 16 years the Mario Kart franchise has been around. However, they all look like lots of fun, especially Toad's Factory, where you drive through mud, conveyor belts, and more. Moo Moo Meadows also grabbed my attention; the cows won't hesitate to go across the bucolical serpent paths you ride on, getting right on your way! In Mushroom Gorge you'll have plenty of opportunities to get off the path and pull tricks on top of the colorful mushrooms.

Mario Kart Wii screenshot

Mario Kart Wii will also have what most of you were hoping for: Online Mode! Now we can not only race against friends at home, but we can also relive the good times with those who are far away. Up to 12 players can compete online in MK Wii. Some eager individuals created the famous "Warp Pipe" years ago, in order to play Mario Kart: Double Dash online. However, it didn't work well for everyone, although it was a great attempt. Luckily, Nintendo has finally put the time and effort to let us all compete through Nintendo Wi-Fi, which is a huge step for the series, just like it's been for SSB Brawl. For a while it was rumored that Mario Kart Wii would also feature voice chat. However, it seems like after all they'll leave us with mere text chat, which is fine when you play against people you don't know, but will be missed when playing against your good old friends who live far away. Bummer!

The most important thing in the MK series is the useful power-ups. So what precious items will be available in Mario Kart Wii? It seems like the green and red shells will make a comeback but not without the spiky blue shell! The Spiny Shell, which has ruined so many triumphs, is here to hurt your feelings all over again. Chain Chomp is gone. Players won't be able to rule the asphalt the same way with Baby Mario or Baby Luigi anymore (Devastating!). Instead, there will be more bananas, bob-oms, lightning, stars, turbo mushrooms, and newer items like Blooper (seen on the DS), which handicaps your vision with ink. New additions include the irritating POW block, which stops everyone completely for a second or two, the Lightning Cloud, which will speed you up before shrinking you down, and the Mega Mushroom, which turns you into a giant so you can cause complete mayhem for a few seconds.

Mario Kart Wii screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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