At 20 years outdated, Mario Kart: Double Sprint stays considered one of Mario’s racing finest – and it wants to return to Change

At 20 years outdated, Mario Kart: Double Sprint stays considered one of Mario’s racing finest – and it wants to return to Change


Nintendo is all about reinventing the wheel the place it could possibly – and that perspective follows by way of even to extra easy, easy genres – like racing video games. This has labored for good and for sick – a part of the explanation why we’re nonetheless ready on extra F-Zero is presumably as a result of builders have been unable to provide you with an earth-shattering, genre-shaking idea for the sequence. They don’t wish to simply make ‘one other F-Zero’, so the franchise has been trapped in a protracted pit cease.

Mario Kart, nevertheless, is comparatively bullet-proof. Nintendo is aware of it wants at the very least considered one of these on each era of {hardware}. It’s probably the most iconic Mario issues; even the Hollywood film goes to nice pains to get in a kart racing detour. As half and parcel of that, it’s honest to say that Mario Kart has typically been a gently iterative sequence – new tracks, new gadgets, new modes – however not often shaking issues up on a basic stage. However… then there’s Double Sprint.

Double Sprint turns 20 immediately, having first been launched in Japan on November 7, 2003. Double Sprint is, I’d argue, the one entry within the Mario Kart sequence that actually embodies the perspective that drives most of Nintendo’s different franchises, experimental in a manner that including hang-gliders and such over the following years not often will get near.

When you’re so younger you by no means performed the unique (which at 20 is now depressingly seemingly), Double Sprint added a co-operative twist to the karting affairs. Principally, you wouldn’t simply choose, say, Mario – you’d decide Mario and Peach. The thought is that one character will drive the kart whereas one other might be answerable for the gadgets – however that is excess of a easy gimmick.

I imply, don’t get me flawed – it is a gimmick. Nevertheless it’s a bloody good gimmick, a Nintendo-at-its-best gimmick. The 2 characters can swap locations on the kart with a button press, and each one of many characters within the sport has distinctive properties that should be thought of – their weight, their skill to manage the kart – and so forth.

This method initially seems like a enjoyable solution to device round creating foolish pairings of characters who may not go so nicely collectively – but it surely shortly turns into a strategic delight. Merchandise administration issues in each Mario Kart title, however in Double Sprint it feels extra participating and complicated by a large margin. There’s a depth to selecting your racing duo, however then additionally an equal quantity of thought that must be poured into deciding easy methods to deal with races.


Mario in Mario Kart 8.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe may provide just about all the pieces you possibly can need, however there’s nonetheless room for Double Sprint! | Picture credit score: VG247/Nintendo

This will get higher nonetheless – and better of all, in my view – with two gamers answerable for one kart. The identical guidelines apply – one handles gadgets, one drives – but it surely made for shriekingly good multiplayer periods – and it’s the type of factor that I think about can be an absolute hoot on-line. Double Sprint included LAN play, permitting you to hyperlink a number of GameCube titles collectively – however for Nintendo, on-line wasn’t a factor then. I think about Double Sprint multiplayer on-line and it actually sends my coronary heart a-flutter just a little bit. I would like it.

At 20 years outdated, I’d be mendacity if I mentioned Double Sprint hasn’t been left within the mud by different elements of the Mario Kart sequence. Within the Change model of Mario Kart 8, with nearly 100 tracks, we’ve got the definitive Mario Kart expertise – however that’s type of the purpose. It’s why, in 2023, Double Sprint’s appeal hits all of the more durable – as a result of it’s completely different, and stands aside.

Or to place it one other manner – with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in-hand, I actually don’t see a lot level in going again to play many, if any, of the opposite Mario Kart video games. The newest entry is the last word improve on these titles. However Double Sprint is completely different. It nonetheless stands aside, nonetheless stands distinctive – and continues to be sensible. How a few port, Nintendo?



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