Platform: Gameboy Advance

Genre: Racing

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Nintendo

ESRB: E (Everyone)

Released: Q3 2001

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Mario Kart Super Circuit

Score: 9.0 / 10



- Easy to play

- Solid graphics and sound

- Great multiplayer action

- Lots of tracks plus some "secret" ones

- Saves track data




- Covers ground we’ve been over before



Related Links:

Review: Super Mario Advance (Gameboy Advance)

Review: Super Mario Advance 2 (Gameboy Advance)


"There will be a few stock titles in everyone’s GBA game library and Mario Kart Super Circuit, with its established gameplay, accessibility, graphics and sound, is sure to be among them."


Why didn’t this Mario game get an "Advance" subtitle? Calling it Super Circuit just causes confusion. "There is no Super Circuit system!" I say. Fortunately, although the naming scheme has strayed from tradition, the gameplay is exactly what you expect of Mario Kart.


Mario-Kart-Super-Circuit-1.jpg (17278 bytes)          Mario-Kart-Super-Circuit-2.jpg (14747 bytes)


For those that don’t know, Mario Kart Super Circuit (SC) is all about racing kart-style against other characters in the Mario universe. You blast around tracks, collecting power-ups, taking the occasional shortcut, causing general havoc, then collect your trophy (provided you finish in the top three). The formula hasn’t changed much since Mario Kart’s first appearance on the SNES. There is the added aspect of collecting coins strewn on the track – this is after all, a Mario game.

Driving modes included are: Mario GP, Time trial, and Quick Run where you can challenge opponents on the track of your choice. For each mode there are the usual 50, 100, and 150cc difficulty options. Most will have no problems with 50cc mode. 100 and 150cc provide much more challenge. Luigi in particular is an absolute demon on 150cc. He’s the only AI driver that consistently – and often – knocked me into lava, water hazards, or off the track, even if we were only battling for fourth place.

Part of SC’s appeal is that all the tracks can be raced on right away. (There is an added "Secret" circuit, which has to be unlocked.) The tracks are designed to encourage quick, intense racing. Many of the tracks have 30-second lap times. This means that if you make a mistake or otherwise get behind it can be tough getting back in the race. Besides the usual course hazards – Thwomps, water, lava, etc. – some new ones have been added. There are fireballs, vicious sand traps (occupied by Fire Flowers), and teepees, that when hit disgorge an ornery guy that slaps onto your face and slows you down. By including these "new" hazards that have always been part of the Mario universe, it really makes SC seem an extension of the Mario games.

The traditional Mario Kart (MK) power-ups are all present, so those with prior experience will know the pros and cons of each. Using them strategically is dependent on how well you know each track. This means knowing where the shortcuts are. There are a few shortcuts that can give you a massive lead provided you have the right power-up and combine it with (another new track feature) the booster pad. If you’re going fast enough, traveling over bodies of water is possible.

Graphically, things look extremely good and better than the original MK on the SNES. Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s coming on the road ahead. Are they coins or a puddle? A few times through each track will make them familiar enough that you’ll know ahead of time. SC also gives you handy road signs that pop up and flash to warn you of narrow roads or sharp turns. The sound and music remains faithful to the MK tradition, and has retained the double time music for the final lap to add tension.

The support for the multi-player link is used to good effect. Finally we can play a MK game at full screen against human opponents rather than squinting at the postage stamp size of a quarter screen, while still keeping players in the same room. (This is most noticeable in battle mode.)

There will be a few stock titles in everyone’s GBA game library and Mario Kart Super Circuit, with its established gameplay, accessibility, graphics and sound, is sure to be among them.

- Omni

(October 23, 2001)

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