Mario Kart 64
"Despite some memorable moments from this game, it disappoints compared to its predecessor. Level of challenge almost non-existent; 150cc is comparatively a walk in the park. Rainbow Road is laborious and let's not get started on Battle Mode... Agreed, tracks are beautiful, with varied locations and their own challenges and quirks: Mario Raceway's wall jump is a particular delight. Promised so much, didn't deliver."
User Reviews (27)
"Better than Super Mario Kart for me but later instalments have improved in many ways since. What they do lack mostly is speed (unless you're playing Mario Kart DS the proper way, snaking all the time) and this is what Mario Kart 64 delivers. This game still has some of the best battle tracks to date. Part of the MK history definetely worth playing."
"Still my best gaming experience belongs to Mario Kart 64. This game is much easier than its predessor, but much more entertaining, especially the four player games. I like the courses, especially the Toad's Turnpike, and the drivers are also great. This Mario Kart has the biggest technical improvement (compared to the predessor) and the gaming experience. I still love playing with it. Thanks!"
"Mario Kart cannot be topped by absolutely anything ever. It is truly a wonderful game that featured many of the most popular stages in Mario Kart history, including Yoshi Valley. It is a shame that almost all of it's tracks have been used up in retro cups, as there were some pretty great ones in this N64 classic! Will always be a massive fan!"
"Not as good as Diddy kong racing, but still lots of fun. Its certainly a lot better then the first Mariokart. For some reason the first one never clicked on me. But Mariokart 64 is a lot of fun, with nice tracks and good music. Of course its the most fun as a multiplayer experience, but its also fun to hunt for better times"
"Far better than Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64 improved upon every aspect of its dated predecessor. Surprisingly, Mario Kart 64's graphics are better than Super Mario Kart's, which is odd considering the former is on the Nintendo 64, a console whose graphics have aged quite badly, and the latter is on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a console whose graphics have aged beautifully."
"+introduced 4 players and 3D terrain +memorable courses +good music +Block Fort battle map +difficult to master jump shortcuts +Bob-omb revenge in Battle Mode -framerate issues -least refined controls in series -rubber band AI -no music with more than 2 players -sprites for characters clash with 3D environments -fewest courses in series -removed coins -skillful gameplay was reduced with holding items and shell shields"
"One of the best party games to embrace its presence on the Nintendo 64. Gameplay is fluid and fast, the locations and tracks are entertaining and very memorable, it's just an overall fun experience. Granted, there isn't massive amounts of content in this one, and it isn't without it's flaws. But, it's one of the best Mario Karts to date. Oh, and the music..."
"My first console gaming experience. I'll never forget when my Dad brought the N64 home with this thing, my mind was blown. My family played countless hours of vs and battle and this game was a massive part of my childhood. I still play it (and love it) to this day. Yes I'm biased by nostalgia, but this is still my favourite Mario Kart."
"Like many Nintendo franchises, Mario Kart made the jump from 2D to 3D look easy. Great tracks and music fill the game, while a fun 4-player multiplayer mode is a joy to play. MK64 was an innovative step up in the series, and even though there were a few glitches here or there, Mario Kart 64 was and is a must have N64 game."
"Evolving one of the finest games on the SNES into proper three dimensions was no easy feat. But Nintendo wisely kept 2D kart sprites while every track and battle zone was in 3D. It was a great compromise and like most N64 games allowed for the first time to raise the 2 player cap to 4. Tons of fun, it remains an absolute essential."
"If you pick this up for casual fun, the game does a decent job at entertaining. It plays well enough and is nice in Multiplayer. The problems come when you want to achieve everything in the game. Mirror Mode. Toad's Turnpike. Rubber Band AI. Just thinking back makes my blood boil. Not an awful game, but it's the worst in the franchise by far."
"Although graphically not the greatest the system has to offer, Mario Kart 64 more than made up for that with an incredible multiplayer kart racing experience. Featuring some fantastic course designs that are still being recycled in its sequels today, as well as probably the best battle arena in Mario Kart history (Block Fortress), Mario Kart 64 is a game that cannot be missed."
"Still probably my favourite Mario Kart, all the secret paths gave it a charm the other games in the series don't have. Battle mode was the best it's ever been too. I felt it was a substantial improvement over the SNES original. Mario Kart 8 may be a more impressive game but it will always be treading in the wake of this timeless classic."
"A great game with some of the best tracks in the series. Excellent music with mostly great graphics. The only downside graphics-wise are the ugly looking racers. Multiplayer mode is fun as usual. Grand prix is ok, but I've played better. Also has some of the poorest drifting in any MK game. With all that said though, still worth it for the great tracks."
"While I hold Mario Kart 7 as the best entry objectively, Mario Kart 64 is definitely my personal favorite. The tracks are fun and have awesome music, some of the series most iconic items debuted here, and the battle mode is hands-down the best one ever. I find it strange that some prefer Super Mario Kart, because MK64 made SMK obsolete, in my opinion."
"My first N64 game and probably the greatest of multiplayer experiences. Strangely the battle mode holds the best memories - turning into a bomb when you lost, only to seek revenge on your enemy by blowing them into smitherenes. This and many other moments in MarioKart 64 led to alot of laughs and plenty of agrieved souls. Unfairly balanced perhaps but terrific fun and frolics."
"Sure this game has some control flaws, but in a Mario Kart game, it's the tracks that count, and this game gets it right! It courses are fun today and don't feel outdated and when a new Mario Kart comes out, it's always the N64 stages I'm excited for. This was my favourite Mario Kart game until 8 arrived but a really fun nevertheless."
"When MK64 was released in 1996 it had massive expectations on it shoulders. This is the follow up to the hugely successful Super Mario Kart on SNES considered by many to be the best SNES game, so no pressure. I can still remember my feelings when I first a played MK64. An absolute Nintendo classic from a classic era in gaming. It's gotta be a 10"
"Mario Kart 64 is the pinnacle of hardcore mario kart racing. Full of "hidden shortcuts" or should I say glitches, there is always a lap to skip. The game also boasts a more subtle drifting boost that more advanced gamers will appreciate. And no doubt the level design is fantastic, each having a great atmosphere. Remember Bowser's Castle and that lonely thwomp in jail?"
"The definitive Mario Kart game. No other entry before or since has gotten the balance between luck and skill as right as this instalment. The single player mode is adequate, but it's in multiplayer that Mario Kart 64 really shines. The Battle Mode has yet to be surpassed, and the rivalry induced by the Versus Mode stays with you. Best multiplayer on the N64."
"The best entry in the Mario Kart franchise bar none. Single player is okay, some of the courses are a little bland and the AI is a bit easy. The multiplayer "Battle Mode" however is a four player masterpiece and exemplifies Nintendo's ability to get everyone on the sofa shouting at each other with both joy and rage in equal measure, regardless of age."
"As a kid this game amazed me with what console multiplayers could be. The lack of battle mode arenas in Mario Kart 8 make you sigh in memories of laughter and excitement of the Mario Kart 64's battle mode. Graphics were inventive with explorable 3d surroundings and the soundtrack gets you racy. The only sore point to stand out is the "rubber band AI"."
"It may have been a decent game for its time, buts it's WAY too much of a stretch to say it's the best game in the series. Some tracks drag on too long, the graphics on the characters are terrible even for the N64, the computer AI is bad, some items work awkwardly. The game does do Battle mode right, now that's a plus."
"Whilst clunky and slow in comparison to its successors, Mario Kart 64 still brings a healthy dose of fun racing to the N64. Its difficulty may be lower than its older brother, but it still packs a challenging punch and its levels are diverse and creative for its time. The game does have its limitations of course, but its still enjoyable to this day"
"Mario Kart 64 was a great game for its time, but has not aged as well as other N64 titles. It certainly does have an incredible track selection going for it, and the game has longevity if you have friends to play it with. But unless you have Mario Kart-loving friends, once you blast through the four cups, there's not much incentive to return."
"Simply the best Mario Kart to date, with the possible exception of 8. Four player local multiplayer, excellent track designs, with some glitches/shortcuts and that Rainbow Road theme make this game a joy to play. It's also the only Mario Kart in which Nintendo have got battle mode right. Pre kart customisation and the abomination of motorbikes, this game still holds up today. Fantastic!"
"A significant leap from the SNES original. The move to 3D these days seems minuscule, however in 1997, can not be understated. Unfortunately, this iteration of the franchise holds up the least to modern scrutiny; poor frame rate, clunky controls, low poly tracks combined with 2D pre-rendered characters create a nasty trap for the eyes. Important game, now an important vessel for remade tracks."
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My favorite memory of this game, was running around the tracks looking for secrets and shortcuts with my brothers. Like trying to get through the train tunnel in Calamari Desert, or exploring all the paths forwards and backwards of Yoshi's Valley, or riding around Peach's castle in Royal Raceway. Also this had to have my favorite battle mode. Each course was set up for a strategic battle, and there wasn't a time limit or it didn't force you to have computers.
Played this one a couple of months ago. Still fun to play. Loved what they did to Rainbow Road in MK8, made it much more interesting.
Nice/refreshing to see a review from somebody who didn't love the game. I've certainly had my fun with it, but I never thought it was anywhere near as good as the original. It's easily my least favorite game from the series (though I've never played Super Circuit).
This game is incredibly fun with friends, but I preferred Diddy Kong Racing when the option was available. Outside of the hovercraft, which required a good deal of finesse, I thought DKR's controls were much tighter. I always felt like I was slipping around in Kart 64.
I hold this game very dear, because we played it for some 8 years nearly every Saturday afternoon with my dad, until Mario Kart Wii came out. So many memories, so many great and fun moments, when a cup was decided on the last lap of the last track.
Getting the perfect 36 point score against my dad or all those green shells perfectly aimed - never been able to be this good with them in the newer games. And that Ranbow Road!
Hmm weird bug dudes, I gave 9/10 in my review, but it ended up displaying 8/10. Nintendo Life code monkeys, beware!
@Shiryu more likely user error want me to change that for you?
Great game, not nearly as complete as dkr but great. I thought the tracks were great, loads of short cuts like the wall jump in wario stadium and the rainbow road big drop. Surprised to see the multiplayer marked down as, for me, that was this games best feature and the best battle multiplayer ever in a Mario kart!! Many good memories of this one......=)
Oh, wow! Steven Smith actually gave the game an honest review and the score it deserves! It's a fine game, but one of the worst MKs Imho, and I hate when people say it's the best. (One time I was watching this top ten multiplayer games video, and MK64 was #1 and I was just like "wut.")
@antdickens Yes please. I assure you it was 9 on the box before I hit submit. Possibly just a glitch in the Matrix.
@Shiryu done sir!
Mario Kart 64. Aka "how I wasted my college years".
So many great memories, I could write a book.
I totally agree with that score. To me it's the weakest in the series. The rubberbanding was unforgivable.
@antdickens b ^_^
I played Mario Kart 64 again the other day and while the controls are generally solid I don't think it's held up great in some other areas. The courses aren't actually that easy to read visually at times with lots of blind corners, awkwardly designed track sections and other clunky design stuff. The graphics are pretty fugly in places too, loads of low-res blocky sprites rather than polygon objects, blurry textures and the track designs are actually a bit bland visually imo. The A.I. rubber-banding is extremely unfair and especially in conjunction with the items that results in you getting hit by some random item at the end of a race where you've been ahead the entire time. It's not bad, not at all, but a 7 or whatever is about fair I'd say.
Despite some people being of the opinion Mario Kart 64 has the tighter control, which is reasonable enough, I'd say that overall Diddy Kong Racing is the superior karting game on N64.
I liked playing Mario Kart 64 back in the day, but once I got Diddy Kong Racing I didn't play it as much. I spent a lot of time on DKR.
What? 64's battle mode is the best (haven't played DD)!
Did Steven Smith get Grand Prix and Battle Mode mixed up? I can agree that the racing wasn't as good as it could've been, but Battle Mode is one of, if not, the best in the series.
I agree, It was my second Mario Kart but it is still my least favourite.
Yeah i remember exploring the Kalamari desert too haha! it was prety cool days man...
I loved this game back in the day, but nostalgia is a hell of a drug and oh how do some games age worse than others. This review does a nice job summarizing how it is to revisit: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/mario-kart-64-virtual-console-review/1100-6165002/
I don't think this one aged very well. It's still fun, but to me the controls are kind of terrible compared to any MK that came after it. I'm still fond of it, played it a lot with my brothers.
May I ask, do you guys plan on doing something similar with the GameCube games in the future?
Meh. Such scores. Im sure its nostalgia
this deserves a 7 at best.
Dunno if to write the reivew. I dont want it to be very long, because I have many, many issues with this overrated MK...
(I can go on pointing out why this MK was derped out when they decided to code it, among other technical problems that plagues this game)
I turned it on the other day and it honestly hasn't aged as well as I thought it did. The tracks are some of my favorites, but the only way this game will be a lot of fun today is if you still have friends who are on board with playing an older iteration of the game. If you don't, and I'd wager that's most people, once you play through Grand Prix, that's pretty much where the fun stops. I mean, you've got time trials, but what's the point if you're playing it by yourself and you've got nobody to compare your times to?
Bottom line: If I've got a choice between Mario Kart N64 and any of the past few Mario Karts, namely MK8, MK7, Wii, or Double Dash, then I will gladly pick any of those over the 64 version. Just one man's opinion.
I'm sorry, but this is (IMO) the best entry in the Mario Kart series!
The tracks are awesome, the difficulty is just right, and there has never been a better Battle Mode.
Sure the game hasn't aged too well, rubber banding sucks, frame rate issues, etc, but it's still one of the best Mario Karts to me (only topped by MK8 which happens to have some of the best N64 courses in it. ) That's all mainly to do with the glorious battle mode, which has never been surpassed. Block Fort in particular is the best battle course in the series.
The worst Mario Kart game in my opinion
The rubber banding is just way too blatantly obvious. Controls are hard to get used to. Graphics are rubbish, even compared to games of that generation. Tied with Double Dash for the least amount of tracks. Track design isn't awful, but isn't very good in my opinion.
It's one of the best MK games to this day!
Divided opinion! It's one of the weaker entries in the series for me, DKR was better in every department.
It's alright, but the thing that get s me with all MK games is the lack of content. Diddy Kong Racing is better.
This is not only my favourite Mario Kart game ever, but I think I can quite safely say that it is probably my most favourite game of all time ever too. Countless, countless hours spent in both single, and mainly, multiplayer. Hours I will never get back, but due to the sheer amount of fun, laughter and endless memories this game brought, I don't want them back either
I'll agree it hasn't aged well, but you cannot deny the impact this game had when it was released. FOUR PLAYER SPLITSCREEN HOLY GOD
It was THE couch multiplayer experience until Goldeneye came along, and even then it remained a staple of sleepovers and parties.
Super Mario Kart was actually the first MK title I owned, but all my nostalgia goes to the 64 version.
Every year, me and my friends get together from all over the country to play some old video games, reminisce and go out for a drink. Without a doubt every time this occurs, Mario Kart 64 will see some decent play time. Not as much as Goldeneye, but for me and my friends its at that level of multiplayer simplicity that makes it still fun to play 17 years on.
Oh and I seem to be the only person on the planet who didn't really like DKR, which had too much going on for new people or non gamers to appreciate what was happening, though technically a better game it lost something compared Mario Kart in my opinion. I loved to play games with anyone who would give it a try and got some of my friends into gaming, but at the time if they didn't "get it" immediately, then it was never seen again during multiplayer sessions. Mickeys Speedway is better than DKR
150cc is compartively a walk in the park??? 150cc on banshee boardwalk is so hard to get 1st. And if you do in fact think 150cc is so easy. Play Mirror. This game is sooo much better thn Super Mario Kart it isn't even funny. This franchise was made for 3D not 2D.
@ICHIkatakuri Mickey's Speedway hardly gets any love but I enjoyed the doggeyoopsiepoodlepoopieoutta that N64 game.
One of the most nostalgic Mario Kart games to be, but pretty much every newer Mario Kart is better.
The battle mode in this game is certainly the best there ever was. The levels are simple, but allow for subtle tactics. The mechanics of the power ups are very detailed, and let's you develop expert skills. All other battle modes feel very random compared to it. Battle mode on Mario Kart 64 is, along with Goldeneye multiplayer, probably the game I have played the most in my entire life.
@HawkeyeWii That's because Banshee Boardwalk is one of only three tracks in the game that are actually challenging (the others being Bowser's Castle and Sherbet Land). They're the only ones which resemble the classic SNES track design. Not only you have to keep the enemy AI in check, but you have to drive consistently well.
All of the other tracks in MK64 are wide open roads with tons of room for error. And most have long laps, which gives a player plenty of time to recover to 1st place.
Case in point, the retro N64 tracks in MK8 are the game's easiest courses. Unsurprisingly, Nintendo had to redesign Rainbow Road for both this and F-Zero X in order to provide at least some challenge.
@mystman12 That doesn't mean the people who love it are being dishonest, though.
Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64 were the two games that made me buy a Nintendo 64. I absolutely loved Super Mario Kart on SNES and as such I had to have Mario Kart 64. It definitely lived up to its predecessor and this game gave me many, many hours of play. Even today I can go back to it and play it like it's still 1997. Objectively speaking, the controls are a bit slippery and the tracks are often long and empty, but overall it's still a very solid racing game. 9/10
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