‘Sure to be a dorm room hit’

Most non-gamers dismiss Nintendo’s Mario and his friends as a late 80s phenomenon, but that’s because they haven’t played “Mario Kart Double Dash.” Quite possibly the most entertaining game of 2003’s Christmas season, “Double Dash” does the crime-fighting plumber justice.

Game junkies’ average days will be filled with racing around beautiful island courses shaped like Mario’s friend Yoshi, in cars designed for baby Mario.

Some unique addition to this title are the specialized attack weapons for each character. For instance, Bowser bares a spiked shell so huge it nearly blacks out the entire screen before hitting you. Weapons like these make Double Dash more like a beauteous blood sport than a hokey racing game.

The most outstanding feature of the game is the option of having separate characters in a car. One character drives as the other fires weapons at opponents. The gamer is even allowed to switch between controlling the driver and the passenger.

With all the simple maneuvering, some may even venture to call the game easy. But as always the Nintendo team added a level of challenge to the game by designing the single player mode so that certain tracks must be unlocked to access them.

The racing circuits on this game are comprised of past Mario games like Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64. The originality is in the track designs and their order. But the eye-popping visuals make up for the lackluster level titles.

Even the audio boasts Mario favorites like “Super Cooper” and new tracks inspired by Nintendo nostalgia. Players will bob their heads while their eyes are glued to the fierce competition.

Sure to be a dorm room hit, the game also allows for Local Area Network play. This feature gives the power for up to eight players to link their GameCubes together and race arcade style in eight separate locations.

True gamers may even want to invest in a joystick steering wheel to really get a handle on their driving.

Grade: A

Contact Robbyn Mitchell at Rmitchell730@aol.com.