Mario Kart game for Nintendo 64

Mario Kart 64 ROM

  • File Size: 25.5MB
  • File Type: ROM
  • Compatibility: N64 Emulators
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N64 Mario Kart Download for PC

About Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64: Retro special for the Nintendo 64 classic – The glue of friendship

Mario Kart has come a long way: The Nintendo series is now world-famous, has a total of almost 150 million games sold and has become the epitome of joint gaming. It all started quite inconspicuously in the nineties with Super Mario Kart for the SNES and a few years later Mario Kart 64 for the Nintendo 64. We want to take a closer look at the latter today!

Imagine you want to spend a cozy and fun evening at home with a few friends (of course, keeping a distance and with a constant supply of fresh air). You are a gamer, a friend you invited as well, but the two other buddies in the round of four have absolutely nothing to do with gaming. But you are in agreement: you want to gamble together.

So it has to be accessible, local multiplayer has to be supported and of course you want to have fun and compete against each other. Because: The winner can decide where to order food. Which game do you think you’ll choose?

There are a few choices that meet all the desired criteria, but of course (at least we think so) you should opt for Mario Kart! Playing together was the focus of the first series on the Super Nintendo, the multiplayer mode has always been the strength of the Funracer series.

With Super Mario Kart, the fun on Super Nintendo was still limited to two players. That changed a few years later with the second part for the Nintendo 64, because it is well known that the four connections for four controllers were one of the highly praised features of the 64-bit machine. Don’t forget about Super Mario 64 as well.

Since Mario Kart 64 at the latest, Nintendo’s Funracer series has been a popular permanent guest on the screens in living rooms around the world when friends, family, acquaintances and co. Come together to play games together. And we want to take a closer look at that Mario Kart 64.

In the third dimension

In Europe and Germany, Mario Kart 64 was released on June 24, 1997, a Tuesday, and the second in the series has already been around for 23 years.

The Mario racing game was developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development, or Nintendo EAD for short, and published on a classic gray N64 module with 96 Mbit storage space – that’s just 12 megabytes! For comparison: A single modern 3-minute song is roughly this size as an MP3 file in good quality or a high-resolution photo from a high-quality smartphone camera – or sometimes even significantly larger.

But in the mid-nineties that was enough to combine a total of 16 different courses in four cups, four game modes in single and multiplayer, 14 different items and eight different drivers in a single, fun game. And even with great technology for the time!

While developing the SNES predecessor, only two-dimensional graphics were used and numerous tricks were used to make the routes appear three-dimensional, Mario Kart 64 made the leap to real 3D graphics.

Like many Nintendo series on the Nintendo 64, for example Mario with Super Mario 64 or Zelda with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. For those curious about Super Mario Kart and Fake-3D, I would like to add that you actually move the entire game world, i.e. the tracks, and not your own character. It always stays in a fixed place in the middle of the screen.

A brilliant concept. But back to Mario Kart 64. While the tracks were actually displayed in three dimensions, this was still not the case with the drivers in their karts, because the N64 Mario Kart are also traditional 2D sprites. But since you are actually moving the figure and using other clever tricks, this is not so noticeable. And above all, it doesn’t reduce the fun of the game.

Let’s start from the beginning

Anyone who has actually never played a Mario Kart – there should be and there are certainly a few newbies among the readers – should be explained at this point in a very fundamental way. At its core, Mario Kart is a racing game. So you are competing to achieve the best possible placement on various routes.

Nowadays there are usually twelve drivers (for example in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Switch), in Mario Kart 64 there were still eight opponents at the same time. The technical performance of the console simply wasn’t more than that, but it was enough. But of course Mario Kart is no ordinary racing game and certainly not a realistic one. Just as the drivers come from various Nintendo series, but primarily from the Mushroom Kingdom, this also applies to the slopes.

They therefore lead over golden beaches, through wild jungle, over motley underground through space and to other unusual places that you would not see in a classic Formula 1 race on television, for example.

As if that wasn’t enough, you can collect various items using question mark boxes that are placed all over the route. These can give you an advantage, for example the mushroom accelerates you strongly for a short time, the star makes you faster and invulnerable. Much more often, however, you can use the items to wipe one out of your colleagues.

The red tank, for example, follows the driver in front of you and thunders him into the kart, the lightning makes all opponents shrink and become particularly slow. While pure racing also with Mario Kart depends solely on the individual skill, the items provide a luck-based element in the game – one of the reasons why Mario Kart is so accessible.

Even the best driver can only partially defend himself against most items. Depending on the mode, some rules, driver constellations or the number of races to be completed differ.

From Toad to Bowser

As already mentioned, there are eight different drivers to choose from in Mario Kart 64. It is the title hero Mario, his brother Luigi, the pink princess Peach, the cute Toad, riding dinosaur Yoshi, the good old Donkey Kong, the devious Wario and Mario’s eternal adversary Bowser.

The drivers have different characteristics in terms of speed, acceleration and handling, depending on whether they are classified as light, medium or heavy figures. Toad and Peach, for example, are light drivers, meaning that the acceleration is high but the maximum speed is low.

The opposite is true for heavy characters like Bowser or Wario. So it is not only possible to select a driver that suits your own taste, but also to specialize. In addition, light drivers are particularly suitable for newbies and occasional gamers, while experienced Mario Kart gamers prefer heavy warriors.

OMG – blue tank!

With the items, also already mentioned, there are a total of 14 different variants to choose from or are assigned to you at random when you pick up an item box. Bananas (to fend off some items or to make opponents slip), the banana row (five bananas at the same time), green tank and three green tanks (with which you shoot opponents), target-seeking red tanks and triple red tanks and the blue tank ( also called stachi), which always gets the driver in first place, are just some of the items in Mario Kart 64.

The mushroom already discussed provides a brief speed boost and is also available in a three-way version, as a golden mushroom you can use the item as often as you want for a limited time.

Lightning makes all enemies shrink for a period of time, which makes them particularly slow and vulnerable. The star brings invulnerability and increases the speed of travel. With the spirit you become invisible and at the same time you steal a foreign item from an adversary. You place wrong question mark blocks on the track to trick your opponents.

Steep stretches

There are 16 pieces in Mario Kart 64, divided into four cups. The new edition of the older retro series only began with the successor to the series for the Game Boy Advance. The Mushroom Cup includes Luigi’s race track, Kuh Muh farm, Koopa beach and Kalimari desert. They have all been reissued for Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart 7, respectively.

In the Flower Cup you complete Toads Autobahn, Polar-Parcours, Chocolate Swamp and Mario’s race track. These four tracks have all been used again, namely in Mario Kart DS, Wii and 8.

In the Star Cup, you have to deal with Wario Stadium, Sorbet Land, Royal Race Track and Bowser’s Fortress. This is the second time that these slopes have found their way into Mario Kart Wii and 8, with the exception of Wario Stadium, which has never been relaunched to date.

Finally, in the Special Cup, DK’s Jungle Park, Yoshi Valley, Haunted Path and Rainbow Boulevard await you. All of them reused in Mario Kart DS, Wii or 8.

Alone, two or more?

The number of modes has already been briefly mentioned: There are four of them in Mario Kart for Nintendo 64. As a single player, you have the choice of two ways to play. In the Grand-Prix you always drive a cup from four races in a row and in the end you get a place for the entire cup.

There are different speed and difficulty levels to choose from, namely 50ccm, 100ccm, 150ccm and also mirrored after completing all previous levels. You are also driving at 150ccm, but all routes are the wrong way around.

In the time trial, on the other hand, you compete alone on the same routes, only without item boxes and opponents, and you have to set the best possible time. Your best scores are saved by the game. In multiplayer, a maximum of four people can compete against each other in classic races on the 16 slopes in Versus races.

Finally, in ballooning, you shoot each other on special battle maps with the different items and thus rob your opponents of life energy in the form of balloons. With three of them you start the battle, if you don’t have any more, the game is over for you. In the end, whoever is left wins in the end.

A game they liked

Everything that has been described so far was really well received by the players at the time. Mario Kart 64 was sold around 9.87 million times, a very good success for the nineties!

While we gave an 89 rating in the N-ZONE test in issue 06/97, today’s average at Metacritic is 83 – also very good. In 2007 and 2016 respectively, Mario Kart 64 was reissued for the virtual console of Wii and Wii U, respectively, in the latter variant you can still buy the game for a few euros in the eShop.

Assuming a Wii U, this is currently probably the cheapest way to get Mario Kart 64, since the prices for the original on N64 cartridges have risen continuously in recent years and the game is no longer really in this form cheap to buy.

Although you have to honestly say, despite all the qualities of this N64 classic, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the better choice for the Switch these days. Mario Kart 64 has aged quite well, but nowhere near perfect, typical of Nintendo’s early 3D games.

For some fun multiplayer rounds with retro-enthusiastic friends, the fun racer is still good. Finally, at this point, I would like to point out if you only know the Royal Racing Track in the Mario Kart 8 version.

With the N64 original, you can leave the intended route shortly after the bridge and drive to Peach’s castle. From the outside it looks exactly the same as the lock in Super Mario 64. If that’s no reason to restart the good old N64 – or stop using the virtual console of the Wii U. Download Mario Kart 64 ROM now from us!