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Mario Kart: Super Circuit review (GBA)

Mario Kart for the first time takes on handheld gaming in the form of Mario Kart: Super Circuit for the Game Boy Advance. The 3rd installment has made the jump from console to handheld, as well as retaining the classic features we all have come to know and love.

With the high standard of games in the series, Mario Kart: Super Circuit was released with a lot of high expectations. There may have been some uncertainty over the fact that it broke the chain of console Mario Kart games. Either way, Mario Kart: Super Circuit was released and brought the series into an entirely different realm.

For a first attempt at a handheld Mario Kart game, Super Circuit is decent. There's many good things about the game, but there's also some negative things found in the game, as expected with many first attempts.

Let's start out with the good. The obvious positive factor is that it is indeed a true Mario Kart game. Fans wouldn't expect anything less. The racing is very nice and is very reminiscent of previous Mario Kart titles. It could have been fine-tuned slightly more to take care of minor details, but again, it's a first attempt, so let's give Nintendo some leeway.

Another good thing is the character selection. As standard in the Mario Kart series, each different character has his or her own attributes which affect the way the character is capable of racing. That holds true in Super Circuit, seeing as many of the attributes play a heavy role in racing. There is a good selection of characters as well.

Another nice feature is classic tracks. Mario Kart: Super Circuit combines new school with old school - all of the tracks from Super Mario Kart can be found in this game. Of course, they are altered a bit, and they do need to be unlocked. It's still nice to have them though - it adds a lot of hours to gameplay and it adds a lot of time for replaying the game as well.

The new tracks are nice as well, though some of them are kind of...blah. They're not the greatest, but they get the job done. A few are very nicely done, but those are found few and far between. Those tracks that are good stand out in the entire series, but that may only amount to two or three tracks.

Graphically, the game excels with a crisp and clean look. All the characters have a nice rendered touch to them, and the course look phenomenal. There is a lot of color and vividness put into the game, some of which overkills the tracks a little. However, that is not present that often throughout the game.

With all the good comes the bad, and there's a fair share that goes around in Super Circuit. Let's start with those classic tracks. They were altered, but in a bad way. The music was completely changed, and the amount of laps and such was also taken out. The modern looks wasn't bad, but the classic looks would've been so much better.

Speaking of the music...well, it just isn't all that great. All the new music isn't very nice to listen to, with the exception of a few tracks. I found myself annoyed at some tracks, especially with the old classic tracks - all the old music was replaced with the new. The music could've used some more work, especially with the composition of the tracks.

The last major problem with the game is the difficulty of it. There's hardly any to be found. Most of the courses are very easy to navigate, and a lot of the shortcuts are obvious. The computer racers are very easy to beat, and better items seems to be easier to come by than in previous Mario Kart games. There isn't a whole lot of obstacles to get in the way either.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit is a decent game at best. It has ups, it has downs. The downs just are stressed more than the ups. It was a good first attempt, and it set the path for later handheld Mario Kart games to be developed

Overall Score: 7.6/10