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Title: Kart Fighter
Rom Player: NESticle
Reviewer: Semprini Goat

Synopsis: Among the fighting games, there is a plethora of button mashers. In fact, button mashing tends to be the heart of any fighter, especially when you only have 2 buttons and a control pad. Kart Fighter falls under this poor category, providing a snippet of fun, but at the same time demeaning the fighting genre. And itís a Mario game for Peteís sake. Most people probably have never heard of this game, and they would think the Super Smash Bros games are the only Mario fighting games. But they would be wrong. Kart Fighter, nonetheless, comes off as a cheap ROM hack, filled in inconsistencies and annoyances. Hell, the title doesnít even hint at a Mario game. Perhaps the largest problem with Kart Fighter is the absence of any true entertainment value

Right off the bat you are treated to the Kart Fighter title screen, looking just like the Super Mario Kart title screen, only replace Nintendo characters with musical notes. You can select from start or options. Options just takes you to a difficulty level selection, 5 choices, ranging from ridiculously easy to maliciously hard. Start takes you to the select a character screen. Thatís right, no mode choices at all! The only mode is a series of fights, each against a playable character. Your choices are arranged in a circle, and after you have picked (my first choice was Peach, not knowing it was really her), the bloodshed will begin!

Your first enemy is a Koopa turtle. His name is Nonokoboko, or along the lines of some Japanese name nowhere near the correct spelling of the name. The setting is a sandy, yellow desert, complete with cactus foe wiggling in the background. Without any counting or warnings at all, the fight just starts as soon as the screen fades in. From here you get the first taste of the fighting style in Kart Fighter, and frankly, it tends to be quite fun. Whether jumping to avoid a rushing attack from Nonokoboko, or kicking the crap out of him, you find yourself with a nice, balanced opponent deemed worthy to knock out. But problems do arise. For instance, your foe seems to be taken out easily by a barrage of kicks. This method continues to pound into your opponents skulls time and time again, until the required two wins to advance a match has been met. That would be the first taste that this is nothing more than a button masher.

After annihilating Nonokoboko, you might either fight Luigi or Kingpei (his name is impossible to remember, but itís that mushroom headed freak of nature) depending on whether you picked Luigi or not. Quite obviously there is only one Luigi, except no substitutes. Anyway, you can instantly tell of an increase in difficulty. Kingpei and Luigi both use lethal combinations and sharp special attacks to neutralize their foe and mush them into a messy pulp. Too bad they can be subdued by the kicking strategy, if to a lesser extent. Why must a more intelligent enemy be destroyed by the same mechanics that caused earlier enemies to fall from? Hopefully we can get a much better challenge involving the use of some killer fighting moves, resulting in some awesome battle scenes

Nope, you fight Yossy. For all of those not fluent in Kart Fighter language, thatís Yoshi. Even with the distraction of the grossly misspelled name, Yossy has the powers to knock you down and keep you down. As luck would have it, I canít beat him with anyone else but Peach, as her, uh, long legs keep enemies at bay. Everyone else tends to feel the wrath of the mighty Yossy, a force to be reckoned with. But if you have a good kicking leg, Yossy falls faster than flapjacks, and the game goes on. Most of the battles up to the finale are exactly the same, monotony included. There is a drop of fun and accomplishment in seeing your weaker opponent fall on his kneesÖtwice

Most likely one would be expecting a killer final bout, but the game slips up on two parts. Iím not gonna spoil it for those actually willing to finish this bastardly game, but I will hint at what the troubles are. Firstly, your opponent is someone you already fought in an earlier matchÖ2 fights ago. Second, heís a total shrimp, a mere shadow of what he should be. Finally, the kicking method easily knocks out the ample fighter, causing much eye staring as to wonder ďThatís it?Ē Yes my friend, you have just beaten the whole game. Go get yourself a beer, you sure as hell didnít earn it, but whatís stopping you

I would now like to discuss the morbid connection between this game and every other Mario game released. The tagline tells the truth, Marioís name is mistaken as Mari, like someoneís keyboard is missing an o. Donkey Kong has been named as Donkey, and looks more like the Jr brethren of the brute. Perhaps the largest, most unforgivable change, would be what they have done to Peach. How could you do this to Peach, she looks like a Japanese whore! Short blue skirt, long black hair, and devil eyes. Which would you find better? All you freaky people that love your women pixilated, please donít answer. The background arenas look fair enough, matching the Mario atmosphere, but there is just a large stink about this game, as if they just changed all the characters and added in Mario people, changed the title of the game, and made sure Peach would stand out as the sex appeal factor. Disgusting people, whoever made this horrid game

More disappointment comes from the balancing act of giving foes the right sense of difficulty. Instead of having nice, even matches that bring out the fighter in you, provided you have a good mastery of the game itself, Kart Fighter has you either bringing the pain or taking abuse. Smashing one button repeatedly reigns supreme over ramming all of the buttons at once, even if that can result in a fireball being tossed, or a throw to harbor the enemy. The opposites seem to go for the CPU, which can do both. Thatís right, your foes can be cheap if they want, and bring out a crap load of combos if they want. Talk about not testing the game before release. No wonder there seems to be no sign of approval by Nintendo. If there was, I would wonder why Nintendo would be approving something that canít even spell the main characterís name correctly!

Graphically, Kart Fighter isnít actually terrible. For the most part, all of the fighters look like carbon copies of their original selves. Of course, Peach has been worsened, and Toad looks more pissed off, but otherwise the roster looks fairly like they should. In fact, they look better as full sized characters than tiny pixels combined to form a little plumber, or an insidious Koopa turtle. The warriors of this game donít even look to be fuzzy, almost like they are ahead of their time. As you march into battle, youíll see the colorful backdrop, designed to not distract, yet provide a rather lush environment, with each also looking like a respectable place for a fight, even if it is a lame one. Itís a shame that some arenas end up being recycled for other characters, as things could be much more creative if each fighter his own arena. Anyway, all the fighters have their own winning stance that occurs when one wins a fight. Some of these are suggestive, but this review isnít supposed to be that offensive, so I wonít comment on, er, Mario and Luigiís lips in the stanceÖ

Kart Fighterís audio isnít half bad either. While the sound just comes off as a carpet being scratched and a swooshing of the wind, the music sounds very nice, although it has nothing to do with Mario music. However, the tunes, for the most part, sound fighting oriented, not sounding like 5 beeps arranged as a ďmusical score.Ē Not perfect, but definitely one of the better factors of this game, along with the graphics. This has to be the slayer of this game, its Achilles heel. For Kart Fighter suffers not only from button mashing, but it works under the premise that graphics and audio are superior to gameplay, entertainment value, and actually looking like a Mario game

Unfortunately, Kart Fighter can draw you in, as you just want to kick the living crap out of someone else that bested you before. On the other hand, you may not want to give your foe a hurtiní just with plain old kicks, nothing fancy at all. Quite frankly you probably would want it to look good, and Kart Fighter delivers some boring heaps of fighting not worth more than maybe a couple replays

Overall Kart Fighterís faults (morbid gameplay, unbalanced CPU, cheap methods of winning, inconsistencies with Mario) outweigh the pluses (great graphics and audio.) Still, this game is worthy of a download, just to see how ridiculously unlike a Mario game it is. For the names have been changed, some of the characters have been changed, the music has been changed, and the normally fun and enjoyable surface of a Mario game has changedÖfor the worse.

Best Cheats: Nah, no cheats...

Game Play: 3
Graphics: 7
Music/Sound: 7
Originality: 3
Overall Rating: 3

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