Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mario Kart 64
|Mario Kart 64|
|Release date:||February 10, 1997|
|Game modes:||Single player, multiplayer|
|ESRB rating:||Everyone (E)|
Mario Kart 64 is a racing video game for the Nintendo 64 game system for up to four players. It is the sequel to Super Mario Kart for the SNES. Players take control of characters from the Super Mario Bros. video game series and race around a variety of tracks while using several weapons including items that make the racers speed increase, turtle-shell projectiles and slippery banana peels. The game was developed and published by Nintendo and released on February 10, 1997. Music for the game was composed by Koji Kondo, who has also composed scores for many Nintendo games.
Notable differences between Mario Kart 64 and Super Mario Kart
- The graphics have been significantly upgraded.
- Each track now requires 3 laps instead of 5 (but the tracks are much longer).
- Tracks are now in complete 3D, with hills, slopes, bumps and jumps.
- Two characters, Koopa Troopa and Donkey Kong Junior, have been replaced with Wario and Donkey Kong.
- The Jump Feather has been replaced with a button allowing infinite jumps
- Coins have been removed.
- Several weapons were added including: a banana bunch, triple mushroom, golden mushroom, triple green shells, triple red shells, fake item bomb, spiked blue shell.
- In the opinion of some players, the difficulty is slightly greater.
Modes of gameplay
Mario Grand Prix (GP)
In the one or two player mode, players race in a group of eight (one or two human players and six or seven computer players) around a series of four courses per cup. A player selects one of the four cups at the beginning of the game as well as a difficulty level.
A single-player mode. A player may play any course in any cup. In time trial, the player is given a triple mushroom item, and the kart has a 100cc engine. The top five best course times and the best lap time are recorded on the cartridge, and the aim is for the player to beat their own records. Completing a race often results in a ghost appearing on the player's next attempt - the ghost is the route taken for the best time that the player has completed in their current session, and can be saved on a controller pak for later use.
There are several online communities dedicated to keeping track of time trial records, and some are still as active as ever, many years after the game's release.
In this game for two, three or four players, players can race head-to-head against their friends without computer players. Players need not play an entire cup, but select individual courses to play. Players also select the difficulty level.
In this game for two, three or four players, players compete in one of four arenas filled with items. Players have three balloons attached to their go-carts and lose them when they are spun-out by either being hit by a player in a higher weight class or spun out with an item. In three and four player modes, players that have lost all of their balloons come back once as a bomb that can move around to crash with another player and thus remove one balloon. The winner is the last one with balloons left.
- Big Donut - a very large annular track, with lava in the center and four walls serving as temporary cover. Shells work best in this level, so long as the opponent is not across the lava gap.
- Block Fort - a square court with four square three-story towers. Towers are uniquely colored, and there are slopes leading up to the highest tiers, and bridges leading to neighboring towers. Bananas and fake item boxes are useful here, as the bridges and slopes are very narrow. Shells work best on the bottom floor.
- Double Deck - a four-story maze with plenty of walls and many places to hide from shells.
- Skyscraper - a small round course atop a skyscraper, with many treacherous gaps. Games in this level are usually short, because it is both easy to fall off, and there is nowhere to hide. Since players always respawn in a fixed location after falling off, camping is a common practice - the opponent can wait at the set-down point with shells in tow, and quickly dispose of the final two balloons for victory.
In Mario GP, players can choose between four difficulty levels of game play. These levels include:
- 50cc - Easy (fairly slow-paced)
- 100cc - Intermediate (medium speed)
- 150cc - Difficult (fast-paced, and occasionally the AI cheats by letting computer characters drive far faster than you can)
- Extra - Same as 100cc, but all courses are mirror images of themselves. All left turns become right turns and vice versa. You can unlock Extra mode by winning 1st place (a gold cup) on all four cups in 150cc mode.
There are eight characters to race with in this game divided into three weight classes.
Small and fast, these characters have high acceleration and high top speeds, but can suffer from being spun-out in collisions with heavier characters. They are the opposites of the heavyweights. These three characters are the undisputed favourites for Time Trials because of their speed, but neither seems to have an advantage over the other two.
These are supposedly good all-around characters, but are rarely used. They are said to have no advantages nor disadvantages. They can make lightweights spin-out in collisions, but can be spun out in a collision with a heavyweight. Some experimenting can show that their acceleration is just-as-bad as heavyweights.
Bulky and looming, these characters can be easier to handle for newer players, and possess the ability to spin-out middleweights and lightweights in collisions. They have terrible acceleration and a slightly lower top speed, so they are rarely used in Time Trials. However, they are a favourite for many Battle Mode players.
Items can be acquired by hitting an items block, a multicolored cube with a question mark in it. Items can be used by pushing Z on the controller.
- Green Shell (Single) - A simple projectile. Travels in a straight line and bounces off of walls. Makes a person who touches it explode. You can hold a green shell behind you for protection against red shells. You can also fire it off backwards which is much safer than firing it off forwards where, depending on the track, you'll often just end up shooting yourself.
- Green Shell (Three) - Three green shells orbit the driver until each of them is fired away. When fired, they act as single green shells do. While orbiting, they act as a shield that deflects any other attacks; however, each attack deflected takes away one shell.
- Red Shell (Single) - An intelligent projectile. It locks onto the person one position in front of the player and attempts to crash into them. Watch out though as the red shells fly out in front and then, if the player who was in front of you slips back, the red shell will turn back and may hit you on route to the target player. Red shells are also a good way of clearing out fake diamonds, banannas etc. You can trail a red shell behind you, in the manner of a bananna or green shell, but they will always fire off forwards. red shells often hit the edges of the tracks and kill themselves, so be careful where you fire them.
- Red Shell (Three) - Three red shells orbit the driver until each of them is fired away. When fired, they act as single red shells do. They act as a shield in the same manner as three green shells.
- Spikey Blue Shell - Targets the player in first place and hits as many people along the way as it can, but only if the intervening players get in the way. You can trail a blue shell behind you and then any players you hit while holding it are in trouble. Blue shells, like red shells, fly off and follow their own guided logic, tending to follow the exact middle of the track, except for corners where they can meander a bit. Like red shells, blue shells that impact in the edges of the track self terminate.
Bananas and Bombs
- Banana - These can be laid on the track. They cause players to spin out. You can trail a single bananna and throw them forwards with limited accuracy. If you hit a bananna you can press the green 'b' button and if you are quick enough a small musical note will appear out of your head and you are saved. You lose some speed but that's better than spinning out.
- Banana Bunch - A group of five bananas trail a player until they are released. When released they act as normal bananas do, but while in a chain behind a player then can be used to spin out a player that is following too closely.
- Fake-item Bomb - These resemble item boxes, but when touched cause a driver to lose all speed and fly exploding into the air.
- Mushroom (Regular) - Increases the drivers speed to 80 km/h (top speed is usually 60 km/h) for a few seconds.
- Mushroom (Triple) - Allows a driver to use a mushroom three times.
- Mushroom (Golden) - Allows a driver to use an infinite amount of mushrooms for a short, fixed amount of time.
- Star - Makes a player invincible to attacks and increases speed. If a player collides with someone with a star active it will cause them to explode into the air.
- Ghost - Steals a random weapon from some other player and makes the driver invisible to other drivers for several seconds.
- Lightning - Causes all other players to spin out of control and become small. As a consequence of their diminished size, players move slowly. This state lasts for several seconds during which the user can flatten other drivers by colliding with their miniature form.
The Cups & Courses
A fairly simple cup. It is not terribly difficult to win. The courses in this cup are:
- Luigi Raceway
- Moo Moo Farm
- Koopa Troopa Beach
- Kalimari Desert
This is a cup of higher difficulty. It is more challenging than the Mushroom cup. The courses in this cup are:
- Toad's Turnpike
- Frappe Snowland
- Choco Mountain
- Mario Raceway
The star cup is even more challenging than the first two and has longer courses in most cases. The courses in this cup are:
- Wario Stadium
- Sherbet Land
- Royal Raceway
- Bowser's Castle
The special cup is the most challenging cup and can only be obtained once a player has won the Gold Cup (1st place) in the Mushroom, Flower and Star Cups at 150cc difficulty. The courses in this cup are:
- D.K.'s Jungle Parkway
- Yoshi Valley
- Banshee Boardwalk
- Rainbow Road
- Luigi Raceway - After leaving the tunnel, aim a few bricks to the right of where the brick wall meets the gray wall. Use a mushroom as you leave the road, and press R as you hit the little hill to bounce over the wall.
- Luigi Raceway - This harder shortcut can be done instead of the previous shortcut to save up to about 3 more seconds. As you leave the tunnel, do a mini turbo into the sand on the left. If you hit the correct spot, you'll bounce. Press R as you land from the bounce, and you'll make a second bounce and go over the gray wall. There are 2 spots you can hit for this to work. The faster, but harder spot is slightly before the end of the first white line after the tunnel, and the second spot is a few kartlengths after the end of that line.
- Kalamari Desert - Before the second railroad crossing, go to the left into the sand. After the part where you go downhill and then uphill, use a mushroom and aim towards part of the opposite side of the valley just next to the train tracks. Press R as you hit the bump, and you'll bounce over the train tracks and back on the road.
- Toad's Turnpike - Do a left facing slide when the race starts, and hop into the fence on the left a little before the part where the roads overlap. You'll land on the fence and get stuck. When Lakitu puts you down, start holding A a little before you touch the road so you accelerate faster, and turn right towards the fence. For a short time after being put down, a glitch prevents you from getting stuck, so now if you hop into the fence, you'll go through it and land on the lower track (or in the water, in which case Lakitu will put you on the lower track if you were close). Don't pass try to cut the corner by going through the fence from as early a point as possible, because if you pass over the water as you go from the the upper track to the lower track, the next shortcut won't work.
- Toad's Turnpike - After doing the first shortcut without passing over the water, an even better shortcut becomes possible on the succeeding laps. Hop into the fence on the right shortly after crossing the finish line, and Lakitu will put you on the lower track.
- Frappe Snowland - When the race starts, turn around and go back to the bridge. Now drive (or hop) from the bridge to the snow on the side of the road (left side is faster, but harder), without the kart ever being completely on the road in front of the bridge. Drive forward and off to the side, and get stuck in the snow after crossing the finish line. Lakitu will put you back on the bridge or on the spot where the road meets the bridge, and you'll have skipped a lap.
- Frappe Snowland - This shortcut is useful for getting fast lap times, but not course times. First go to the end of lap 1. Drive into the snow on the left side of the road and get stuck, and Lakitu will put you down shortly before the finish line. AB spin to the left and use a mushroom. Because of the glitch discussed earlier, you'll be able to pass farther into the snow without getting stuck. Aim towards slightly to the right of the peak of the hill, and hop and turn to the left from the hill. Cross the line in the air just after hopping off the hill, and Lakitu will put you down just before the end of the lap.
- Choco Mountain - When you reach the hill about halfway through the lap, do a mini turbo into the wall on the left at or slightly before the top of the hill. Hop as you hit the wall, and you'll bounce over the mountain.
- Choco Mountain - A few kartlengths after the finish line, face left and use a mushroom. Hop as you hit the wall, and you'll bounce high and land on top of the wall. Lakitu will put you down in the tunnel.
- Mario Raceway - When you get to the part with the left turn that leads to the mushroom, drive towards the highest point of the edge of the road instead of following the road. Aim perpendicular to the edge and use a mushroom. Hop and turn to the right at the last possible moment, and you'll jump over the wall to the right of the wall that meets it.
- Wario Stadium - When the race starts, drive into the wall on the left at the first small hill, and press R as you hit the wall to bounce over it. Turn around and bounce back over the wall again by pressing R as you hit it. Make sure that you pass to the right of the finish line pole as you go over the wall, but not too far right or you'll land on the wall.
Prequels and sequels
Mario Kart 64 does not stand alone. There are several other associated games making Mario Kart 64 just one element in the greater Mario Kart series.
Other games in the Kart-genre
- Diddy Kong Racing - (Nintendo 64)
- Crash Team Racing (PlayStation)
- Crash Nitro Kart (GameCube/Game Boy Advance/PlayStation 2/Xbox)
- Konami Krazy Racers (Game Boy Advance)
- Banjo-Pilot (Game Boy Advance)
- Mario Kart 64's Rainbow Road track also appeared in F-Zero X as the first track in the Joker Cup.
Voice actors and their characters
- Isaac Marshall: Toad, Yoshi, Bowser, Donkey Kong
- Charles Martinet: Mario, Luigi, Wario
- Leslie Swan : Princess Peach
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