The first Mario Kart game I owned was the original, Super Mario Kart. That was a very difficult and aggravating game, but it pioneered a lot of the elements of the franchise that we enjoy today. However, after Mario Kart 64 arrived on the scene it became the standard of which we would measure all subsequent iterations. Ever since that point each new sequel has tried to improve upon the last by implementing new characters, courses, weapons, and gameplay elements. They all have their own unique and wonderful attributes, but It seems like no matter what the programmers do they always fall short of their potential for building a Mario Kart fan's dream game. The level of criticisms from fans almost always outweigh the compliments. This isn't simply because the fans can never be pleased. Mario Kart is one of the best ideas in video game history and it can be restored to it's former glory with just a few simple changes.
This section is going to be the meat and potatoes of this article. After all, the characters are what set Mario Kart apart from your standard racing game. With that in mind I will give you the three most important rules for making a better Mario Kart.
1. Get rid of the babies.
2. Get rid of the babies.
3. Get rid of the [insert expletive here]'ing babies!!!
Seriously, everyone has their favorite neglected character that they want to appear in the next Mario Kart game. We've all felt the same frustration when the complete roster is finally revealed and our pick didn't make the cut. This is almost unavoidable as it is not conceivable at this point for them to include hundreds of racers in order to represent every aspect of the Mario Universe. What isn't necessary is for Nintendo to rub salt in our wounds by filling up valuable character spaces with baby versions of characters that are already in the game. Every fan of Mario Kart complains about this problem, yet everytime a new Mario Kart is released the programmers feel the need to add them. Mario Kart Wii is easily the worst offender yet with a count of FOUR
babies. The babies are not even the only worthless characters. Some other prominent examples would be Bowser Jr and Toadette. These character however, are not as completely offensive as the babies in that they do have minimal personalities, and as much as I hate to say it, they do have their fans. Still, there are countless other characters that are much more qualified for inclusion than those two.
Now that we have that out of the way, we can discuss who SHOULD be in the next game. Let's start with the current series regulars.
I think most readers of this website don't need me to explain why each of these characters obviously should be, and obviously will be in the next Mario Kart. So what about some of the less obvious characters that nevertheless deserve to be featured in the next game? Let's look at some rare appearances from the past games by characters that I would like to see return.
10.Donkey Kong Junior
Yeah I know exactly what some of you are going to say. Donkey Kong Junior grew up and became the regular Donkey while the first Donkey Kong got old and became Cranky. Well first of all, there are some holes in that theory, and Nintendo backpedals on the issue all the time. The real point is that I don't really care. I want to see old school Donkey Kong Junior again. I'm not saying we can't have Diddy Kong as well, but we definitely need Donkey Kong Junior. Also you should remember that Donkey Kong Junior did appear as a playable character in Mario Tennis 64 alongside the current Donkey Kong as well.
They can call him Kamek or they can make him a generic Magikoopa. Doesn't matter to me as long as he's in the game. Technically he's never been in an actual Mario Kart game, but you can clearly see from the screenshot I posted up here that he was in the beta for Super Mario Kart R, which eventually became Mario Kart 64. He was replaced by Donkey Kong, and I can understand the logic behind the change. Donkey Kong is a more iconic figure in the Mario universe, but Magikoopa has been patiently waiting ever since that fateful day. Therefore I say Magikoopa's time has come!
Some of you may not realize that Pac-man has been in Mario Kart. He was actually in two Mario Karts to be exact, Mario Kart Arcade GP and Mario Kart Arcade GP 2. Both of these games were produced by Namco, hence the cameo appearance. Unfortunately these two arcades haven't seen the light of day in most of the world, so Let's go ahead and give everyone else the chance to play as this groundbreaking video game mascot.
You simply can't take Pac-Man anywhere without having a ghost monster following closely behind.
Funky Kong was a pleasant surprise in Mario Kart Wii, and I can't think of any reason why he doesn't deserve to keep his position.
That's enough about who needs to return. What about the real dealbreaker? I'm talking about the new arrivals. Nintendo will either have happy gamers or angry flamers on their hands depending on the choices they make in this category, so they better choose wisely. Here are my suggestions.
Could anyone possibly think of any other neglected character more deserving of integration into Mario canon than this guy? They've already brought Birdo over from Doki Doki Panic, so there is no excuse for further exclusion of this character. Of all Mario's past enemies Mouser is the most unique and underrated. I mean he's a mouse that wears sunglasses and throws bombs at you. How cool is that? Also if you brought back Mouser you could also create a new version of Cheese Land where the Squeeks would attempt to sabotage all of the characters except for him. Of course if you did something like that, you would have to have at least one character specific level for every other racer as well. Mouser would probably be a Heavyweight, but he could also be a medium.
For some reason I always thought this guy's name was Mondo Mole. I'm not sure where I got that from, but whatever his name, he would make a great addition to the Mario Kart roster. Mega Mole is similar to Mouser in a lot of ways. They were both unique characters experimented with in one game, then promptly tossed aside. Mega Mole even looks like he could have fit into the Doki Doki Panic Universe. I bet these two go shopping together for new raybans all the time. Mega Mole's character specific course could function the same as Mouser's as well, except with Monty Moles instead of Squeeks. Mega Mole would obviously be a heavyweight.
Princesses, princesses everywhere. The Mario Universe is overflowing with princesses. Why do they have to invent another princess every time a new role pops up that calls for a humanoid female? Why not utilize the girl who has been there since the beginning. I'm talking about Pauline, the first Damsel-In-Distress that Mario ever rescued. She would provide some sorely needed variety in the female department. Pauline would definitely be a lightweight.
Speaking of female variety, here's someone that might make a good addition, given the fact that we are now using more and more characters from Donkey Kong Country. As far as the girls from Donkey Kong Country go, Candy is definitely more interesting than Dixie or Tiny. However, I would only want her included if they went with her design from Donkey Kong 64 that you can see in the provided screenshot. So far that has been the only Aesthetically pleasing design they have ever used for her. In that game they made her look very post-modern, and were even able to get around the fact that she was an anthropomorphic gorilla and somehow manage to convey the idea that she was sexually attractive. Candy would most likely be in the medium weight class.
Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages, I may not know what it means, but I do know that he is awesome. MIPS was never meant to exist as anything more than a beta element to test out certain gameplay functions, but the developement team loved the little dude so much they couldn't bring theirselves to erase him. Instead they hid him in Peach's basement, only to reveal himself once certain levels of progress were achieved throughout the game. These moments of discovery became memories of enchantment for those who played through Mario 64. He became such a sensation that a whole new slew of bunnies and starbunnies would follow in his footsteps. So let's give this wonderful character a chance to shine once more with his very own well deserved position in the Mario Kart roster. MIPS would of course be a lightweight.
That's 19 characters so far. Mario Kart Wii had 24. So who should fill up the last 5 positions? I'm going to leave that up to you the reader. Should we bring back Daisy and Diddy? Should we add In Tatanga and Geno? Let me know in the comments. List 5 characters that you would like to add to my roster.
Beside the characters, the courses you race on would be the next important thing. I have really enjoyed the retro cups in both the DS and the Wii versions of Mario Kart. Still, there are a few extra things I would like to add. The retro courses consist of the shell cup, the banana cup, the leaf cup, and the lightning cup. Here's a few suggestions for something new.
The Rainbow Cup
I think there should be a new set of courses that would contain every rainbow road from each previous game, even the two from Mario Kart arcade GP. Since there are eight in total they could even be perfectly divided into two cups, Rainbow Cup 1, and Rainbow Cup 2.
The Zero Cup
I would love for Nintendo to include some courses from the original F-Zero for the SNES. If you are thinking that the two games wouldn't mesh well together, keep in mind that they have already let the Blue Falcon into Mario Kart Wii, and there have been crossovers between the two games as early as F-Zero X for N64 which contained the Rainbow Road from Mario Kart 64. Obviously you would have to tweak the gamplay mechanics slighty to make it work. For instance, the energy orbs on the sides of the track would have to simply shrink you rather than drain your health meter that you don't have, and if you fell off of the sides Lakitu would have to fish you out since no one ever dies in Mario Kart. Here are my top picks for F-Zero tracks that I think should make the cut.
2.Port Town 1
4.White Land 2
Aside from that, the only other course they absolutely need to bring back is Maple Treeway. For real, that was the most awesome racetrack ever. They should also bring back at least one of the cow courses. Moo Moo Meadows is better than Moo Moo Farm except for the music, so if they only bring back Moo Moo Meadows then they should also bring back Yoshi Valley from N64 because it had the same music as Moo Moo Farm. Of course I wouldn't mind if they brought back both cow levels.
As far as new courses go I also think they should create at least one new cow level, and at least one new nighttime highway level. I actually had a funny idea for the highway level too. It could be a character specific level for Peach that has neon signs advertising things like Peach's Cream Soda, and billboards showing Peach modeling different fashions like her outfit from Super Mario Strikers. Also the non-playable cars, trucks and whatnot would try and swerve to avoid hitting Peach while at the same time they wouldn't care if they hit anyone else.
Another thing that would be cool to see that they have never done before would be a course set in the middle of a rainstorm. It could be a standard Luigi circuit except the weather would effect the physics of the course. You would have to do things like start your powerslide way earlier than normal, because the road would be so slippery. Also it could function as the character specific course for Luigi by every once in a while randomly striking any one player with lightning except for him.
The only other necessity as far as courses go is that they come up with something totally unexpected and unrelated to anything else, but this is the one area where I feel that Mario Kart never disappoints. From Dino Dino Jungle in Double Dash to Maple Treeway in Mario Kart Wii, you can definitely point to examples of fresh and innovative courses that popped up in almost every consecutive release. So in that area I would merely request that Nintendo keep up the good work.
Other Odds and Ends
It would be nice if Mario Kart had alternate costumes like Smash Bros has, especially now that Mario Kart is entering into the online arena. Alternate costumes would be a great way for users to express a little more individuality online. Speaking of online...
Get rid of the friend code garbage. 'nuff said
Bring back the feather. The feather was one of the most awesome items in any of the games. The only reason I can think of that they didn't bring it back was because they don't want people to cheat, and this brings up another point.
Lakitu needs to mind his own business[/align]
Just because I happened to find some shortcut that the developers didn't think of doesn't mean Lakitu needs to come and drag me back to the normal route. Players should be allowed more freedom for exploration of their environment. I wouldn't even mind having the ability to climb out of your kart and do a little platforming.
This was a cool feature in the DS version of Mario Kart. Let's see what it would be like on a home console.
short range attacks and taunts[/align]
I think every character should have there own taunt and their own short range attack. Both of these would only be used with the d pad when your character doesn't have an item. If you are right next to someone, then pressing the d pad in the direction of that character would allow you to attack them in a way similar to how the attacks in the game "Road Rash" work, except that each character would have their own unique weapon. If your character wasn't next to anyone, then pressing the d pad would make your character stand on their kart in whatever direction was pressed, and then do their own personal taunt.
Don't wait for the next generation[/align]
Finally I just want to say that there is no reason Nintendo should release only one Mario Kart for each console. Let's end that stupid tradition by releasing this next Mario Kart for the Wii.