Oh, Mario Kart. What have they done to you?

The Mario Kart series, in which Nintendo’s famous mascot characters jump into go-karts and race each other on wacky tracks, has been one of my favorite series ever since the 16-bit days. Since Nintendo has only ever released one Mario Kart game for each of its consoles, the launch of each new version is always a big event, and hasn’t ever been disappointing.

Until now. Mario Kart Wii looks great at first blush, adding motion controls and online multiplayer to the non-stop frantic racing action of the classic games. I can understand that the gameplay has been dumbed down a bit for the Wii audience, but in the process, they arbitrarily yanked out the series’ best feature.

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