Recently I have been feeling nostalgic. I have, on several occasions, found myself thinking back to my early teens and to a time before the release of the ‘Next Gen’ consoles that we all love and spend way too much time on still to this very day. I am a proud Xbox 360 player and have been for some years now, but before that time the only console that you would have found in my house carried the name ‘Nintendo’ somewhere upon it. That was until the Wii but that is a completely different article entirely.
In my youth you would have been hard pressed to find a single occasion in which my hands weren’t grasped around a variant of the gameboy (the SP being my all time favourite handheld device) or gripped so tightly to a consoles controller that my knuckles had gone past the stage of being white and were just protruding out of my hands. One console in particular blew my tiny twelve year old mind and showed me what delights there are in officially announcing yourself as a gamer.
The year was 2002.
The console was a Nintendo Gamecube.
Skip forward 10 years and, as I stated above, I am feeling nostalgic. So whilst visiting family on Christmas Day I spent a good hour in the garage surrounded by cobwebs and memories in search for the machine that had dominated my teenage years. Having only been packed away due to moving house I soon found the small square box buried beneath the unused christmas decorations and some spare bedding, that had more holes in it than the plot to a certain game franchise that I will not mention for fear of angry gamers posting furious and misspelt comments to this article.
I found my old collection of games, packed them into the box with my purple nostalgia machine and waited until I was back home after the holidays to plug my little box bag into the electricity grid.
I scanned my collection of games and, picking one at random, placed the ever so tiny disc into the Gamecube’s tray and delighted in seeing the little cube dance around on screen before flumping down to form the logo of the console.
I was once again twelve. My mind was filled with nothing other than the game and the console on which I was about to play. No worries of girls, money, washing up, responsibility, nothing. It was bliss.
After a marathon session of a certain game a realisation hit me… Along with a red shell. ‘Mario Kart Double Dash’ is by far the BEST Mario Kart game that has been released. Please hold your angry comments until the end of the article and let me explain.
Mario Kart first arrived into existence in 1992 with the fantastic ‘Super Mario Kart’ for the Super Nintendo. Since then another six games have been released in the series, one every time Nintendo release a new handheld / console. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of the Mario Kart series and, having owned most of the games, can safely say that each has its own individual aspect that make it a good game when compared to its siblings.
However my earlier statement still stands, Mario Kart Double Dash is the best Mario Kart game, and it is for this one reason… The cooperative play.
OK, I’ll give you a few minutes to disagree. We all have our opinions and this is mine, so please bear that in mind when commenting once you have finished reading the article.
Anyway where was I? Oh yes the cooperative play. Please also note that I did not use the word Multiplayer. The term Multiplayer has changed in the last few years with the invention of Xbox Live and the Playstation Network. Where it used to mean a few select people sitting in a dark room with each other playing a game has now transformed into hundreds of people slaughtering each other around the world via the internet. It is not often that a good game (and I stress the word good) comes along that has a decent cooperative playing mode. The only games that allow this that I can currently think of involve guns and death and a loosely put together plot which allows a lot of guns and death to occur. If you have any good cooperative games that are not like this please tell me and I will most likely agree with you.
But the cooperative mode of Double Dash was an invention which has, very sadly, been removed from the Mario Kart franchise. The one feature of the game which is not present in any incarnation before or since was the idea of having two interchangeable riders per Kart. This allows the player a nice choice as they decide which duo they are most proficient with. (I personably love Baby Luigi and Kooper as I think Baby Mario is a bit self centered) But this aspect also continued over into the cooperative play as two players could each choose a character and then get onto the same kart.
And here ladies and gentlemen is when Double Dash becomes great.
Whilst driving around the amount of communication that is needed between the players in order to drive, collect power ups and fire at other players is brilliant.
Teamwork as it is meant to be.
None of this “you go this way to kill him” or “you fly the helicopter and I’ll shoot” no, just constant communication between teammates as you alternate between driving and launching power ups. All to watch the indigenous life forms of Isle Delfino give you a little hula dance as you ride in the golden chariot towards your trophy.
Yes there are a lack of characters and courses, yes you can complete the entire game within 45 minutes, yes Mario Kart 7 is in 3D but none of these matter. The lack of characters is made up by the huge amount of choice you have in deciding which character goes with which. So what if you complete the game quickly, I never tire of zooming off the edge of Rainbow Road after a very misplaced use of a mushroom and Mario Kart 7? Well no offense but it is a little bit too much like Diddy Kong Racing for my liking. But much like my earlier comment about the Wii that is another article for another time.
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