At 20 years outdated, Mario Kart: Double Sprint stays one in every of Mario’s racing finest – and it wants to return to Swap

Kath Santarin
6 Min Read

Nintendo is all about reinventing the wheel the place it might probably – and that perspective follows by way of even to extra easy, easy genres – like racing video games. This has labored for good and for unwell – a part of the rationale 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 need to simply make ‘one other F-Zero’, so the franchise has been trapped in a chronic pit cease.

Mario Kart, nevertheless, is comparatively bullet-proof. Nintendo is aware of it wants no less than one in every of these on each era of {hardware}. It’s one of the 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 truthful to say that Mario Kart has typically been a gently iterative sequence – new tracks, new objects, new modes – however hardly ever shaking issues up on a elementary stage. However… then there's Double Sprint.

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Double Sprint turns 20 in the present day, 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 basically embodies the perspective that drives most of Nintendo’s different franchises, experimental in a means that including hang-gliders and such over the following years hardly ever will get near.

In the event you’re so younger you by no means performed the unique (which at 20 is now depressingly possible), Double Sprint added a co-operative twist to the karting affairs. Mainly, 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 will probably be answerable for the objects – however that is way over a easy gimmick.

I imply, don’t get me improper – this can be a gimmick. Nevertheless it’s a bloody good gimmick, a Nintendo-at-its-best gimmick. The 2 characters can change locations on the kart with a button press, and each one of many characters within the sport has distinctive properties that have to be thought-about – their weight, their potential to regulate the kart – and so forth.

This method initially seems like a enjoyable method to device round creating foolish pairings of characters who won't go so nicely collectively – however it shortly turns into a strategic delight. Merchandise administration issues in each Mario Kart title, however in Double Sprint it feels extra participating and complex 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 the best way to sort out races.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe may supply just about every thing you would 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 in command of one kart. The identical guidelines apply – one handles objects, one drives – however it made for shriekingly good multiplayer classes – and it’s the kind of factor that I think about could 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 truthfully sends my coronary heart a-flutter a bit 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 points of the Mario Kart sequence. Within the Swap model of Mario Kart 8, with nearly 100 tracks, we have now the definitive Mario Kart expertise – however that’s kind of the purpose. It’s why, in 2023, Double Sprint’s allure hits all of the tougher – as a result of it’s completely different, and stands aside.

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

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