Super Mario Kart (JP) (also called SMK) is the first game in the Mario Kart series. The game was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1992 and rereleased in 1996 as the Player's Choice. It was also released in Japan on June 9, 2009 in United States on November 23, 2009 and on April 2, 2010 in Europe and Australia as a Virtual Console title. It features a 1-player Grand Prix mode, a 2-player mode, a Time Trial mode, and even a Battle mode. There are plenty of items to use and courses to play, with a total of eight playable characters: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Koopa Troopa, Toad, Bowser, and Donkey Kong Jr.
Super Mario Kart is arguably one of the most influential video games of all time. It was notable at the time of it's release for it's use of the SNES's Mode 7 technology which gave the illusion of racing in a three-dimensional space. It's concept of a colorful cast of characters racing in miniature vehicles, and using weapons against their competitors, has served as the blueprint for countless racing games since, in the form of not only it's many sequels but also a huge number of imitators. Even the designers of futuristic anti-gravity racer Wipeout acknowledged Super Mario Kart, with its speed boost pads and weapons, as an influence.
GameplaySuper Mario Kart is a racing game that can be played with one or two players (the latter being split-screen), contrary to the other games in the series where at least four people can play (in Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii, 8 and 12 players can play at once, respectively). In single player mode, it will still be split-screen though the bottom will feature a map of the stage.
Before the player starts the race, he/she has to pick one of eight different characters, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Toad, Donkey Kong Jr., and Koopa Troopa. Afterwards, they have to pick one of four different cups with five courses in each. After each course, the player is rewarded a set amount of points; nine for first, six for second, three for third, and one for fourth. The top three characters with the most amount of points in the end of the five races wins. If the players get lower than fourth place, they have to retry the race (like Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit), costing one of the player's four karts. When no more karts remain, the mode is over.
In all, there are three levels of difficulty - 50cc, 100cc and 150cc, with each one resulting in faster karts and harder computer controlled characters.
There are a multitude of different items that help the player out, some being better than others. For example, the Koopa Troopa Shell and Bananas aren't the best items available, though others such as the Red Koopa Troopa Shell are capable of homing in on enemies and thus give those who get it a slight advantage. Each computer controlled character has their own special item that only they can use. For example, only the computer Yoshi can use Yoshi Eggs.
- A-Use items, stop Item Roulette
- B-Accelerate, Rocket Start
- Select-Switch view
- D Pad-Change option using the Menus/Steer
- X-Switch view (Single-player only)
- Banana Peel - Press A to lay it down behind the kart, or UP and A to throw it ahead of the kart. If any kart hits the banana, the driver will spin out.
- Mushroom - Using this will give the player a nice boost of speed, like a turbo.
- Green Shell - Press A to shoot it straight forward or DOWN and A to lay it down like a banana peel.
- Red Shell - The red shell will automatically target opponents (unlike the Green Shell, which just shoots forward).
- Coin - This item gives the player two coins. Coins make the kart move faster and won't spin out if it gets bumped.
- Feather - When the feather is used, the kart will do a high 360º jump. This is useful for avoiding shells in Battle Mode or using shortcuts in racing.
- Boo - This item temporary gives the player invisibility and invulnerability from most attacks. It also steals an opponent's item or weapon. (Note: This item is only available in Battle Mode)
- Lightning - When a Lightning Bolt is used, it will shrink all other drivers in the game, causing them to go slower.
- Star Power - The star gives the player invincibility from all attacks, increases speed, and if the player using the Star hits an opponent, they spin out.
This is a two player mode where players are given three balloons and are put in a square stage. Whoever loses all of their balloons loses the game. All of the items in the game can be used.
Super Mario Kart was born out of the idea of making a two-player racing game following F-Zero, which was exclusively single-player. The prototype initially only featured a generic "guy in overalls". The decision to include Mario characters and concepts was made three to four months in development, when the developers added Mario driving one of the karts because they were curious about how the game would look, and decided that it looked better. The battle mode was implemented because the developers thought it would be a good idea to include a form of one-on-one battles that didn't involving competing for ranks during the races.
Super Mario Kart was adapted into a Japan-only arcade game developed by Banpresto and Atlus called Super Mario Kart Dokidoki Race, released in 1994. It was the first Mario Kart game to be released for arcades, predating Mario Kart Arcade GP by eleven years. The playable characters are Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi and Bowser. The game requires a lot of yen to play and seems to operate on magnets to move the karts. The game also has a Cheep Cheep, Monty Mole, and Lakitu. There are five tracks in total, two in particular being the title screen music and Mario Circuit music. The latter track is sped up and has additional notes that play throughout the track as well as an ending note, while the former is slightly altered. A male announcer voice can also be heard throughout the gameplay. The other three tracks are a preparation track and two different victory themes. It was also the first Mario Kart game to only have 5 playable characters.
Pre-release and unused content
In addition to the above, a prototype cartridge of the game features several differences, such as the presence of animations on the podium screen when the player ranks 2nd or 3rd place, a music track for Vanilla Lake 1 that does not appear in the final build and a different Battle Course 3 set in Choco Island.
Super Mario Kart met with very favorable reviews. The game was placed 32nd in the 100th issue of Nintendo Power's "100 best Nintendo games of all time" in 1997. In the book, Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition for 2009, Super Mario Kart was placed as the #1 best console game. The game was placed 33rd in the 200th issue of GameInformer's "Top 200 Games of all Time" in December 2009. The game was awarded the Most Critically Acclaimed Mario Kart Game by Guinness Book of World Records Gamer's Edition 2009 - 2014.
Super Mario Kart is the 4th best selling game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, selling 8.76 million copies worldwide as of December 31, 2009.
References to other games
- Super Mario Bros. - Mario's theme is a remix of part of the overworld theme from this game.
- Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels - The computer-controlled Toad and Peach are able to throw Poison Mushrooms, which are not usable by the player.
- Super Mario World - Several sound effects from this game are reused. The music for the Ghost Valley and Bowser Castle courses are remixes of the music from the Ghost Houses and the final boss theme, respectively, in this game. Most of the races take place on Dinosaur Land. Also, sprites such as Lakitu's bear a resemblance to their Super Mario World sprite. The Cape Feather appears as a usable item.
References in later games
- Mario Kart 64 - The title music from Mario Kart 64 is a slower and elongated remix of the title music from Super Mario Kart. Also, part of Banshee Boardwalk's music is a remix of the music used for the Ghost Valley courses in Super Mario Kart.
- Mario Kart: Super Circuit - All twenty courses appeared in this game, but all of their track hazards have been removed, Item Boxes are at different places than where ? Panels laid and some tracks changed a little. The music for all tracks is redone for the Game Boy Advance. Also, part of the music for Boo Lake/Broken Pier and Rainbow Road is a remix of the music from the Ghost Valley and Rainbow Road courses in this game, respectively.
- Mario Kart DS - Mario Circuit 1, Donut Plains 1, Koopa Beach 2, and Choco Island 2 all return to this game.
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl - An arrangement of the Mario Circuit theme plays on the Mario Circuit stage. Many trophies are from this game. The Banana Peel and Lightning Bolt appear as items in this game.
- Mario Kart Wii - Ghost Valley 2 and Mario Circuit 3 return as retro tracks and Battle Course 4 returns as a retro battle stage.
- Mario Kart 7 - Collecting coins also returns from this game. Mario Circuit 2 and Rainbow Road return as retro tracks. Also, the rival system returned in this game. The kart now called Pipe Frame, returns in this game as an kart body, however it uses the dual exhaust design from Mario Kart 64 instead of the single exhaust from Super Mario Kart.
- Fortune Street - The theme for the Mario Circuit board is an arrangement of Mario Circuit's music from Super Mario Kart.
- Super Mario 3D World - The level Mount Must Dash is based on the Mario Circuit courses from this game. The music from the Mario Circuit courses also is remixed for that level.
- Mario Kart 8 - Part of the main theme is an orchestrated version of the main theme of Super Mario Kart. The Pipe Frame returns with the single exhaust design. Also, the Coin item returns with the same function as it did in this game. Donut Plains 3 returns as a retro track. The design of N64 Rainbow Road and Wii URainbow Road for this game are very similar to Rainbow Road, which also appears in this game in the DLC cup, Triforce Cup.
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U - Super Mario Kart appears as a masterpiece in this game.
- Super Mario Maker - The invincible theme from Super Mario Kart is used when the Mario Kart costume uses a Super Star. Also, the race start fanfare is heard when Mario picks up the Mystery Mushroom. The 1st-4th place (course clear) and 5th-8th place (death) jingles are also heard. Ironically, when Mario is moving, the kart's engine sound is actually coming from Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr.'s karts, rather than his and Luigi's.
- Super Mario Odyssey - An arrangement of Mario Circuit's music is used during the RC Car Challenge in New Donk City.
- WarioWare Gold - This game contains a microgame that is based off of Super Mario Kart, which involves Mario staying on Rainbow Road while avoiding items that are on the track.
- Super Mario Maker 2 - One of the sound effects replaces the level music with the Mario Circuit theme.
- Mario Kart Tour - Mario Circuit 1, Ghost Valley 1, Mario Circuit 2, Choco Island 2, Mario Circuit 3, Vanilla Lake 1, and Rainbow Road appear as returning courses.
- The game was featured on the cover of Nintendo Power V41.
- The computer controlled Toad and Peach are able to throw Poison Mushrooms which are not usable by the player.
- Several sound effects from Super Mario World are reused. For example, the music in Bowser's Castle sounds the same as Super Mario World's final battle theme. Such as the Lakitu and Thwomps bear a resemblance to the ones in Super Mario World. However, the Poison Mushrooms in this game act like themselves if a normal-size driver hits it, but as Super Mushrooms if a small driver hits it.
- All twenty of the courses appear in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, but all of the track hazards are removed. Item boxes are at different places too.
- In the manual, the name of the vehicles known as "karts" (when referring to the remaining ones during Mario kart GP) were misspelled with a "C".
- In the Japanese version, Peach and Bowser are seen drinking alcohol during the Trophy Presentation. The North American and PAL versions altered the sprites to simply as Peach tossing the bottle up in the air and then catching it, and Bowser shaking the bottle up and down, in order for the game to be suitable for all ages, though ESRB that produced ratings for video games was established two years later.
- This is the only Mario Kart game where Donkey Kong and Wario don't appear as playable characters as Wario doesn't appear until Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is released. They are introduced in the next game, Mario Kart 64.
- The reason behind Donkey Kong Jr.'s inclusion in this game is that the game was released on the 10th anniversary of Donkey Kong Jr.
- In Super Mario Kart, every character has a winning animation that involves a bottle of champagne. In the Japanese version, Bowser and Princess Peach drink champagne in their animations (with the latter becoming drunk in the process), which goes against Nintendo of America's policy on the depiction of alcohol, as it was considered inappropriate for younger children. In the Western releases of the game, Bowser merely poses happily and Peach tosses and catches her bottle.
- This is the only game in the Mario Kart series to have five courses per cup, as opposed to four in later games.
- Yoshi, Bowser, and Donkey Kong Jr. are the only drivers in this game to have their own taunts when surpassing other racers regardless if they are being used by the player or CPU. The others do not have their own taunts and instead the standard beep is heard when surpassing other racers but can only be heard when used by the player.
- This is the only game where the Mushroom Cup has two Mario Circuit courses. They both share the same background and theme.
- The number of Coins found on each courses varies from one course to another. However, when all tracks in the game were remade in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, the number and placements of Coins were altered so that every track would have exactly 50 Coins for each.
- In all the versions of Super Mario Kart except the Japanese version, if the player enters the cheat code L, R, L, R, L, L, R, R, A on the cup selection menu in Time Trial, the Special Cup is unlocked. In the Japanese version, a "Boo" sound is heard instead.
- ↑ Iwata Asks: Mario Kart Wii (accessed March 22 2012)
- ↑  Borp's coverage on Mario boards
- ↑ Super Mario Wiki (October 31, 2015). Super Mario Kart Dokidoki Race Gameplay. YouTube.
- ↑ https://web.archive.org/web/20091225020235/http://www.gamekult.com/communaute/forum/voirmessage.html?foid=13000909, retrieved 6/4/2009
- ↑ https://youtu.be/hNZfd3JDFOA
- ↑ https://youtu.be/2VjWfW6XCN (deleted video)
- ↑ http://www.themushroomkingdom.net/smk_j2e.shtml
- ↑ Super Mario Kart. The Cutting Room Floor. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
|Mario Kart games|
|Console games||Super Mario Kart • Mario Kart 64 • Mario Kart: Double Dash!! • Mario Kart Wii • Mario Kart 8 • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe|
|Handheld games||Mario Kart: Super Circuit • Mario Kart DS • Mario Kart 7 • Mario Kart Tour|
|Arcade games||Mario Kart Arcade GP (2005) • Arcade GP 2 (2007) • Arcade GP DX (2013) • Arcade GP VR (2017)|