Mario Kart 7 Track Tour

In honor of Mario Kart 7 being released, here’s a blog tour of the newest tracks, as well as a look back at some of my Kart favorites. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover so let’s get our engines started!

To start off, I’d like to say that my favorite Mario Kart racer is Toad. In every game in the series I’ve played, I’ve always been Toad. Even in the very first game (which helped solidify him as my favorite Mario character overall). In the comments section, tell me your favorite Mario Kart racer.

Cary’s Favorite Mario Kart Games in Order:

Before we start on the new tracks in MK7, I wanted to take a look back and sort all the Mario Kart games in order of preference. Well, my preferences anyway.

Super Mario Kart (SNES)

Yup, the original is still the best for me. It may be all flat and a little dated by today’s standards, but back then there was no other game like it. When I first saw preview screens on Nintendo Power so many years ago, I KNEW this would be a hit. Sure the tracks were smaller, but that helped the go-kart feel, as real kart tracks aren’t very big. Plus, with only one item to use per lap in most cases, the original game was more about driving skill than what item you got. Plus the characters truly felt different form another. Even similar ones, like Toad and Koopa Troopa (Koopa cornered better, but Toad was just a hair faster). I played this game for probably a full year straight constantly when I was in high school. Then when I went to college, I got this game out again for me and my roommate and friends, and it was still just as fun! That’s why not only is Super Mario Kart my favorite in the series, it’s also one of my top five favorite games of all time (right alongside Pac-Man, FF6, Animal Crossing, and the PSOne Namco Museums).

Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA)

With its flat tracks and return of coins, Super Circuit felt more like a direct sequel to the original game than MK64 did. What I liked best was that you could also play on every single track from the SNES game, too!

Mario Kart 64 (N64)

Even though this was the game that started the trend of item usage being more important than actual racing, you have to admit that the tracks were fun to race on, and MK64 had some of the best music in the series. I had so much fun playing this in multiplayer in college. I got good enough in this game back in the day that I won a golden N64 controller in a Time Trial competition that Nintendo Power held one time.

Mario Kart Wii (Wii)

Even though I hated the Wii Wheel, I actually liked the game pretty well. The tracks were fun to race on, and I liked the new additions of stunts and motorcycles.

Mario Kart Arcade GP 1 & 2 (Arcade)

EVERYONE always forgets this one, but that’s understandable since it was a pretty rare arcade title. And I’ll be honest, one of the reasons why I like it so much is that Pac-Man is a playable racer in it (along with Ms. Pac-Man and Blinky). Probably one of the only times I didn’t pick Toad! You see, Namco made this game for Nintendo, so that’s why Pac’s in it. There’s even a Pac-Man track, too! The sequel has a Tamagotchi character since it was made after the Bandai Namco merger. Gameplay has a different feel and the tracks are wider, but they had to make changes since it was an arcade title. It was also a bright spot in what is otherwise a dreary situation for arcades. When I did see this in an arcade (GameWorks in Grapevine, TX, which is now closed down, waaaahh!), kids were flocking to it, and that made me feel good. I think they should release these as a collection on a home console. Sure they’re not as good, BUT THEY WOULD STILL SELL!

Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

It’s a bit too early to really tell where the new game will go on my list, but I think I do like it better than the last two on here.

Mario Kart DS (DS)

It’s not that the DS version was bad or anything, but aside from few tracks like Waluigi’s Pinball and the Airship Fortress, nothing about this one was that memorable to me.

Mario Kart: Double Dash (GameCube)

Again, just because this one is last on the list, doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. I appreciate Nintendo trying something new with two racers in a kart, but it became more cumbersome than anything. And it could just be my imagination, but it seemed that cheating AI and rampant item usage was more prevalent here than in other Mario Karts. And it’s not really fair, but Kirby’s Air Ride, another GC racer, just blew this game out of the water. And speaking of which…

Cary’s Favorite Non-Mario Kart Racers:

One of the problems with Mario Kart games is they spawned tons of imitators. But some of these were actually good, so I thought I’d honor some of my favorites here, too.

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (360)

Some of the things they did in this racer were better than in Mario Kart (like online racing). I had so much fun racing with online friends, and any game with Ulala in it can’t be all bad, right?

Chocobo Racing (PSOne)

A lot of people would say this game was bad. But if you actually GAVE IT A CHANCE, you’d know that they cleverly implemented a lot of FF staples into the kart racing formula, and classic FF fans would dig all the cameos and music tracks from previous titles in the series. Plus the ending theme kind of sums up how I feel about me and the Final Fantasy series. I hear that Square Enix may give this game another chance on the 3DS, too.

Pac-Man World Rally (GameCube)

Yeah, I’ll admit, the main reason why I like this game is all the Pac-Man and classic Namco characters. Plus, Tommy Tallarico did the music, and I think he does the Pac-Man themes justice with his tunes in this and in Pac-Man World. And even though it was a shameless Mario Kart clone, the tracks were really fun to race on!

Konami Krazy Racers (GBA)

Called Wai Wai Racing in Japan (and probably based on the Wai Wai World games on the NES), this racer had characters from Konami games. Everyone from Goemon to Twinbee, Castlevania, Gradius, and even Metal Gear were represented by a racer and tracks!

Crash Team Racing (PSOne)

I never liked Crash Bandicoot games except for this one. I think they wanted to make this game to show the PSOne could do four player kart games like the N64 was doing. Of course, it took them a couple of years later to do this. But they did it well, and some ideas were even better than in Mario Kart. Such as getting a boost from catching lots of air.

Diddy Kong Racing (N64)

The air and sea races that DKR introduced were done better than in Mario Kart 7, among other things. Only bad thing was this was the N64’s signature game one holiday season, which was a disappointment, no matter how good the game was. I think that was the same year I got a PSOne. Best gaming purchase I ever made.

Kirby Air Ride (GameCube)

It’s no secret that I like Kirby better than Mario. And while Double Dash was rather uncreative, Kirby’s Air Ride was totally different from any other racer out there. And it was insanely fun, one of the best GameCube games ever. I’d love a sequel.

Mario Kart 7 Track Tour

All right, now let’s take a look at the new tracks in Mario Kart 7. Finally! I thought about talking about my favorite Mario Kart tracks from past games, but then my blog would be WAY to long. But I’ll try and sneak in some of my favorites in these descriptions.

Toad Circuit

The first in the Mushroom Cup is a standard stadium track for beginners. I do like the giant Macy’s Parade balloons of Toad all around the track. It’s an all right track, but I like Toad’s other ones better (the Factory on Wii and Turnpike on N64).

Daisy Hills

Just a standard countryside grassy track with bridges across a lake, and a big jump where you can hang glide around some hot air balloons. Just watch out for the sheep crossing the road! This track kind of reminds me of Moo Moo Farm (N64) meets Donuts Plains (SNES).

Cheep Cheep Lagoon

Since the main new thing you can do is Mario Kart 7 is use a hang glider and go underwater, they use those in every opportunity on the tracks. And this one is mostly underwater, but otherwise a very basic loop. You can try to nab coins or items from clams when their mouths are open.

Shy Guy Bazaar

This one is a neat take on the sandy desert style tracks. It kind of has a night desert Arabian market theme to it. You don’t see too many Shy Guys, though, except at the end when you might fly by one on a magic carpet when you use your hang glider for the last jump. I kind of liked this track’s connection with Mario 2. Since that game wasn’t a ‘true’ Mario game, it had a slight Arabian theme to it. And that’s the game that Shy Guys first appeared in.

Wuhu Loop

The next four are from the Flower Cup. I tell you what; Nintendo is sure making good use out of the Wuhu Island they started in Wii Sports Resort, because they used it in both PilotWings Resort and now this game! It even has the same music from Wii Sports Resort! Doesn’t seem very Mario-ish, but you can race as your Mii, too, so I guess it fits. The neat thing about this track is that it’s one big loop, and each ‘lap’ is really a checkpoint, so you don’t cover the same ground twice. It’s more like a rally race here. Also, you have to sometimes watch out for cars like on Toad’s Turnpike (N64), or Mushroom Bridge (GC).

Mario Circuit

Just another standard road track. But in this one you actually go INSIDE Peach’s castle. Guess she did some mezzanine remodeling for this game.

Music Park

This is one of my favorite new tracks. Everything has a music theme to it, from the brass in the background to the walls shaped like music staffs. Power slide on piano keys and xylophone bars, bounce on a trampoline, and get launched in the air by chubby faced bouncing notes. I also like the visual style with the multicolored volume indicators. One thing you may not know about me is that I actually know a good deal about music, what with taking piano lessons as a kid since 3rd grade and being in marching band in high school (I played bass trombone).

Rock Rock Mountain

This rugged track has lots of ups and downs, including one steep incline where you have to avoid rolling boulders. Lots of hang gliding opportunities, too.

Piranha Plant Slide

The next four are from the Star Cup. This track is one of my favorites because all the graphics on this track, from the floors, walls, and décor, look like they belong in the original Super Mario Bros. NES game! Even the music has a lick that sounds like the Underground theme!

Wario Shipyard

Aside from the purple and yellow colors, this track doesn’t seem very Wario-ish. It has a sunken haunted ship vibe to it. Seems more fitting for Captain Syrup to me (wish she was in this game). Again, lots of opportunities to go in and out of the water.

Neo Bowser City

Bowser already has a castle, now he gets a city, too? Nothing real special about this track except it’s raining, so you have to avoid puddles here and there. But no cars or anything like past city tracks.

Maka Wuhu

Yup, it’s another rally style track on Wuhu Island! This one has more of an off road feel as you drive on dirt paths, hidden caves, and beaches. Be careful when hang gliding in the air, as there are some parts where the other racers can really screw you over here.

DK Jungle

Last is the Special Cup. Donkey Kong’s track has the drum enemies from DKC Returns, a temple with a giant golden banana, and a peppy remix of the DKC Jungle theme.

Rosalina’s Ice World

Sorry Rosalina fans, this ice track isn’t very creative or had anything that really stood out for me. I like other ice tracks better, like DK Pass on the Wii that was like a ski resort, or the ones on the SNES and N64.

Bowser’s Castle

You really don’t spend a whole lot of time in the actual castle here. You mostly race outside on volcanic mountains. There’s even an underwater section! I think I like the Bowser’s Castle tracks better on the Wii, N64, SNES, & GBA.

Rainbow Road

They actually did a good job with the traditional final track. Like the Wuhu Island ones, this is more of a rally race, so no two laps are the same. At one point you drive around the rings of a planet, and another section you actually drive on the crater-filled mass. And the music has a portion of the Rainbow Road theme from the N64 to make you all squishy inside. SNES Rainbow Road is still the best, but I also like the N64 version for the music and neon lights.

Kart Konclusions

And that’s all of the new tracks in MK7. There are also a set of cups with classic tracks, but I won’t go into all of those. I will say that I’m glad that classics like Waluigi Pinball, Airship Fortress, and SNES Rainbow Road made the cut. If only they gave Mario Kart 7 a more creative name.

So how do you think they could improve on Mario Kart? I have two ideas. One, outlaw Blue Shells. Nobody likes them, and they’re not THAT useful if you’re in last place, and horrible if you are in first. Another thing I would do is rename it Super Smash Kart and bring in other characters and tracks based on Nintendo properties like WarioWare, Animal Crossing, Zelda, and Metroid. It would bring in some new ideas for tracks and items. And even though Link and Samus would look silly in karts, it’s just a video game so who cares? What do you think? Let me know in the comments section, and fill me in on your Mario Kart favorites, too!

2 Responses to “Mario Kart 7 Track Tour”

  1. I’m always Luigi, he’s green!

    Our local chuck e. cheese has a Mario Kart arcade game,

    I think I prefer the 64 version the best as I played it the most. Loved the variety of diddly kong racing, esp. The flying bits…

    Having the ds version multiplayer playable by download was great…

  2. I defend the Wii wheel. I will defend it to the death. Anyway, my son plays it that way and at first it offered me a chance to “not cream him with the controller.” Now we’re both so good at it that I actually prefer the immersion and control. It makes the game a bit harder, sure, but we’ve both gotten really good at it.

    C’mon Cary, it’s been years now and you’re a master at the controller. Try the wheel for a few hours, develop your skills – it’s like a whole new Mario Kart game by itself.

    That said, this is the first 3Ds game I’m really interested in.

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