Fan Translation: Mario Kart Advance) is a video game for the Game Boy Advance, and the third game in the Mario Kart series and also the first handheld Mario Kart game. It was one of the first video games released on the console. The game, like the previous games in the series had eight characters. Many publications stated that you are able to have Waluigi in the game, though this is in no way factual. The game also includes the popular Battle mode as well as the Grand Prix mode. There are no new items in the game, although classic favorites do return. Each character has their own specific stats such as weight, acceleration and so on.
Since the Game Boy Advance was neither designed for nor particularly capable of running true 3D environments, the game was technologically similar to its SNES forerunner. Although the tracks were more complex and environments far superior in appearance, the circuits were still completely flat, in contrast to Mario Kart 64. This did not prevent them from being entertaining, however. Indeed, the game even included all of the tracks from Super Mario Kart; considered an impressive bonus, even if some tracks had a few missing elements (such as the Thwomps in Rainbow Road). Single-cart link-up play was possible, but the tracks were limited and players were limited to differently-colored Yoshis. With multiple carts and a link cable 4-player games were possible, as on the Nintendo 64. This game is a racing game that combines the elements from the previous Mario Kart games, with the key feature of the Mario Kart series being the usage of items obtained from Item Boxes in order for the operator to gain an advantage over the opponents being retained; additionally, it contains all the courses from Super Mario Kart]]\\. Despite being the first handheld Mario Kart title, Mario Kart: Super Circuit allows up to four players to enjoy the game through the Game Link Cable, including a multiplayer mode where only one game cartridge is needed; however, the single cartridge-based multiplayer has heavy restrictions on the content available. Mario Kart: Super Circuit was first released on July 21, 2001 in Japan and eventually re-released on the 3DS's Virtual Console exclusively to Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors first in Oceania on December 15, 2011. Mario Kart: Super Circuit was re-released again on the Wii U's Virtual Console in North America first on November 13, 2014. Mario Kart: Super Circuit is the only Mario Kart to be developed by Intelligent Systems; the others (excluding the Mario Kart Arcade GP series and Mario Kart 8, which were developed by Namco, and Mario Kart 7, which was partially developed by Retro Studios) have been developed by Nintendo EAD. Additionally, this is the last Mario Kart game where the drivers are sprites rather than models.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit received critical acclaim. It scored an average of 91.54% based on 39 reviews in GameRankings and an average of 93 based on 24 reviews in Metacritic.
Craig Harris of IGN praised nearly all of the game's aspects and noted that the extra development time of the game can make it outstanding. He ended with, "It's a GBA game with very few flaws -- it's a shame that it didn't quite make the system launch, but the extra wait did the game wonders, and it shouldn't be missed." He gave the game a 9.5 out of 10. Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer gave the game a 9 out of 10. Though he criticized the lack of backlighting due to the Game Boy Advance system lacking it and the pick-up system of Lakitu, he praised the game for being a vast, improved "conversion" of Super Mario Kart onto the Game Boy Advance. He wrote, "It has everything a single player, or indeed a foursome of like-minded console gamers, could ever dream of, and all with the added benefit of extensive replayability. With Super Mario Advance 2 still a way off, Mario Kart Super Circuit is the killer app for GameBoy Advance as of now. Buy it." Joao Diniz Sanches of Pocket Gamer UK gave the game a 9 out of 10. He praised the game for being universally and immediately fun.
Ron DelVillano of Nintendo Life reviewed the ambassador version of Mario Kart: Super Circuit and gave the game a 7 out of 10. Though he noted the game's aging and that the multiplayer is removed in the 3DS ambassador version, he called the game fun and worthwhile to play with.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit is the fourth best selling game for the Game Boy Advance, selling 5.91 million copies worldwide, as of March 31, 2009.
Pre-release and unused content
Early Nintendo Power screenshots showed that the characters had different, "super-deformed" sprites of bigger heads contrasted by smaller karts. The game was planned to feature all 14 of the Mario Kart 64 items, but the Banana Bunch, Golden Mushroom, and Fake Item Box were removed for unknown reasons. The unfinished versions can be seen by using a GameShark code: the Banana Bunch is non-functional, the Golden Mushroom acts like a normal Mushroom but gives the ability to have infinite boosts even if no item is shown, and the Fake Item Box causes racers to spin out of control as with a Banana, instead of crash.
References to other games
Super Mario Kart - All previous race courses return with the hazards removed. Coins as a gameplay mechanic has been used in Mario Kart: Super Circuit as well. Part of the music used for Boo Lake/Broken Pier and Rainbow Road is a remix of the music from the Ghost Valley and Rainbow Road courses in Super Mario Kart.
Super Mario 64 - The theme for the Bowser Castle courses has a similar bassline to that of the Bowser battle theme in this game.
Mario Kart 64 - Many sprites and artwork in this game are based off the Mario Kart 64 ones, such as the karts, characters, and the character selection screen portraits. Losing characters in Mario Kart: Super Circuit in battle mode also turns into Bob-ombs, something that is similar to turning into Mini Bomb Kart. The selection of playable characters is exactly the same as in this game. Also, most voice clips (with the notable exception of Yoshi's) are reused from this game, specifically the Japanese version; Luigi, Peach, Wario, Toad, and the system voice's clips were not replaced with their Western versions when the game was localized for overseas release.
Mario Power Tennis - Lightning Cup returns as part of the Gimmick Masters section of this game's tournament mode. However, said cup goes by the name "Thunder Cup" in that game, whether in the English or Japanese version, as Lightning Cup has been usually called Thunder Cup in Japan.
Mario Kart DS - This game uses the ranking system of Mario Kart: Super Circuit. Also, four GBA tracks return in this game: Peach Circuit, Bowser Castle 2, Luigi Circuit, and Sky Garden. The Lightning Cup has been traditionally modified as one of the four retro cups, and Sky Garden appears in the Lightning Cup in both of the games, a first and only time for the series. The Quick Run concept has been reused and renamed as Vs. Mode. The idea of returning older courses originates from Mario Kart: Super Circuit.
Mario Kart 8/Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Mario Circuit returns as a retro course in this game and now features anti-gravity on the U-shaped section that has been inclined. Cheese Land and Ribbon Road return in Mario Kart 8 as retro courses in the second DLC pack, and come standard in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
This is the only Mario Kart game to use the Japanese voices in Mario Kart 64 and from the first two Mario Party games in the American version of the game.
The characters' speeds were meant to refer to their accelerations. Bowser's catchphrase in the manual is "There's nobody faster!".
This is the only Mario Kart game to classify Peach being lighter than Yoshi, while all other games classify that she's heavier than Yoshi.
This is also the only Mario Kart game to not introduce new playable characters.
This is the final Mario game where all of the Mario characters appear in their N64 Era artwork, which started with Super Mario 64.
This is one of the last few games (next to Mario Party 3, and to an extent Super Smash Bros. Melee) to have the Mario franchise use its N64-era art direction, which had been in place since Super Mario 64 in 1996.
This and Mario Kart: Double Dash!! are the only Mario Kart games to have a "random character" option.
This game was going to make use of the e-Reader at one point according to the European website for the game, however the section of the site intended to provide details on the e-Cards has nothing more than a "Coming Soon" notice.
This game was planned to release in mainland China by iQue, but left unreleased due to the huge scene of piracy in China at that time. The unreleased Chinese prototype received an ISBN, meaning it was approved for distribution despite the ban on video games from Chinese government.