Kart games - Has Nintendo Oversimpified?
Posted by Ninja Catfish , 30 January 2012 · 499 views
So I've been playing Crash Team Racing a lot recently. I played it immediately after playing Mario Kart 7, and it made me realise something. Nintendo REALLY dumbed down the kart game experience after Mario Kart 64.
Kart games after the Mario Kart 64/Crash Team Racing era started to simplify play. Nintendo took out the ability to avoid spinning out after hitting a banana, in an effort to equalise the playing field and ensure that newbie players could play in the same race as experienced players and not always be losing.
Nintendo also took out the shortcuts in levels that required an amount of skill to access (the giant ramp to jump into the hole in the hillside of Koopa Troopa Beach in MK64 comes to mind). The newer MKs have shortcuts to be sure, but they typically don't make that much of a difference to lap times. They seem to be more about getting items rather than a significant shortcut. To be fair, often there's a small benefit, but nothing like the quarter-of-a-track skipping shortcuts of yore.
I found Crash Team Racing to be a breath of fresh air. As much as I enjoyed Mario Kart 7, it was just exhilarating to get to shortcuts that require specific items, prior track experience and pinpoint accuracy to get to. A huge risk/reward.
Kart games already have items to equalise the field. Blue shells, Bullet Bills, stars and their equivalents are much more likely to be picked up by a person lagging behind, so do they really need to remove the few elements that require skill to master in order to equalise the field more than it already has been?