Mario Kart: Super Circuit
Mario Kart: Super Circuit is the third installment in the Mario Kart series and was released for the Game Boy Advance. The game is known under the name Mario Kart Advance in Japan. This game combines the elements from the previous Mario Kart games and contains all the courses from Super Mario Kart. Mario Kart: Super Circuit was released on July 21, 2001 in Japan, August 27, 2001 in North America, and September 14, 2001 in Europe. Mario Kart: Super Circuit is also the first handheld Mario Kart game. Mario Kart: Super Circuit was re-released on the 3DS's Virtual Console exclusively to Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors in Australia on December 15, 2011, and in North America, Europe, and Japan on December 16, 2011. Mario Kart: Super Circuit was re-released again on the Wii U's Virtual Console in North America on November 13, 2014. This is the only Mario Kart game where the international and Japanese titles differ. Mario Kart: Super Circuit is the only Mario Kart to be developed by Intelligent Systems; the others (excluding the Mario Kart Arcade GP series, which have been developed by Namco, and Mario Kart 7, which was partially developed by Retro Studios) have been developed by Nintendo EAD. Additionally, this is the last Mario Kart game where the drivers are sprites rather than models.
The objective in this game is to place first in the races, as with most racing games. Each race has eight contestants. As in other Mario Kart games, players can drive through Item Boxes which contain items, which can aid the players. On the course, coins are collected to increase a player's top speed. If the player has zero coins, they spin out if they come in contact with another racer. Fifty-five coins are found on each course.
This game has five cups, and each has four new race courses. These cups are the Mushroom Cup, the Flower Cup, the all new Lightning Cup, the Star Cup, and the Special Cup. If players collects 100 coins in a certain cup, they unlock the Extra Cup version. These cups contain all of the courses from Super Mario Kart making this game have more courses than any other Mario Kart game in the series. If the player manages to collect a gold trophy on all of the Super Circuit cups, the background for the title screen changes to a sunset. If the player manages to obtain a triple star ranking for all Super Circuit cups, the title screen's background changes to a night time setting. In addition to the aesthetic changes, the intro's theme also changes.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit has four different game modes. All are accessed by the single player except VS and battle modes. Up to four players can participate using the Game Boy Advance Link cable with even a single game cartridge. However, all players using single cartridge mode are limited to selecting Extra Mushroom Cup using only Yoshi and different colors of him.
In this mode, one or two players race against the CPU. The player chooses a cup and plays the four courses it contains. The player earns points by placing within the first four positions. When finished in fifth place or lower, the player must restart the race. The player is able to restart a race three times, with three race flags representing the lives. When the flags run out, the player is unable to restart the race. When playing with two players, if one racer finishes in the Top 4 and the other does not, they both move on to the next race. At the end of the cup, the player with the most points wins. There are three different speeds to choose from, each with varying difficulty.
Depending on a player's performance in GP, the player can achieve one of the following eight ranks:
Several factors account for a hidden score, which then translates to a rank.
One player can race against the best times on each course with no CPU opponents. After beating a best time, players can save Ghost data onto each time trial course. Whenever the player races on that course again, the player's Ghost mirrors movements of the saved data. Ghost data can also be downloaded from other players using the Game Boy Link Cable. Players are given a Triple Mushroom for use during Time Trials. Players also have the option to view their Ghost data using the Records option. Players can either turn their Ghost on or off during Time Trials using the before selecting the mode.
Quick Run is a one player VS mode, unique to Mario Kart: Super Circuit, that enables players to race on any tracks they unlocked with no restrictions or regulations. Players can choose what engine size they want to race on, with the difficulty level alongside with the speed. Players can alter the number of laps, appearance of coins, and item boxes by pressing before accessing this mode.
VS mode is basically a Quick Run mode with two to four players. This mode cannot be accessed by only one player. CPU players are turned off in this mode. The game counts how many times the player won or lost against other players. Players can play with multiple game cartridges or just a single cartridge via Game Boy Link Cable. When using a single cartridge however, players are limited to their choices. Players will use a different colored Yoshi. Player 1 will be Green, player 2 red, player 3 light blue, and player 4 yellow. Aside from that, the only courses available are four SNES courses: Mario Circuit 1, Donut Plains 1, Ghost Valley 1, and Bowser Castle 1.
Just like VS mode, Battle mode cannot be played with only one player. The player participates with one to three other players in attempt to pop each other balloons using items. Also seen in VS mode, the game counts how many times the players won or lost. When a player loses all of their balloons, the player turns into a Bob-omb. The Bob-omb can make it more difficult for the other players by either picking up item boxes or blasting into their karts.
All playable characters from Mario Kart 64 return, and there are no newcomers, making this the only Mario Kart game to not introduce any new drivers. The eight playable characters in this game were taken from the previous game. As in all previous games, they also race in the same go-karts, but with different sizes and colors that suit each playable character. Also, as in all previous games, each racer is classified into three categories: lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight, each class with their own advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, in VS play with a single cartridge, all players use Yoshi, with each being a different color.
Many other characters appear in the game as nonplayable. Some can help out, such as Lakitu, who can pull characters out of the water, and Boo, who serves as an item. Other characters are mainly there to serve as obstacles to racers, and many hinder the racers by making them spin out.
Characters are divided into three classes depending on their weight: Light, Medium, and Heavy. Characters' acceleration and weight stats are viewable at the player select screen, although the acceleration stat is erroneously referred to as "speed".
Lightweights are generally characterized by having high acceleration, but low top speed. They are knocked easier by heavyweights and middleweights and skid easier. Peach and Toad share the same stats as having the most acceleration and the least weight in the game, and Yoshi offers slightly less acceleration for slightly better weight.
Middleweights are classified by their all-around stats. They do not excel at anything, nor do they have any significantly low stats. Mario and Luigi, the only middleweights, share the same stats.
Heavyweights have very high stats in top speed and weight, but suffer from low acceleration. They also skid less than karts of lighter weight. Bowser offers the most weight and top speed in the game but the worst acceleration while Wario and Donkey Kong have slightly worse weight and top speed in exchange for slightly higher acceleration.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit features eleven of the fourteen items from Mario Kart 64, with no new additions, also making this the only Mario Kart game to not introduce any items. Like past games, items are found in Item Boxes and are typically used to hinder opponents and assist players who obtain them.
The game features twenty new courses, and brings back the original twenty courses of Super Mario Kart (but, due to the Grand Prix format, they are organized in five cups instead of four). However, most courses brought back have the hazards removed found in them such as the Monty Moles in the Donut Plains and oil slicks in the Mario Circuits. The only hazards that have stayed are the breakable blocks in the Ghost Valleys and Vanilla Lakes. The cups containing Super Mario Kart courses are unlocked for usage in Grand Prix Mode by finishing their respective cups consisting of Mario Kart: Super Circuit in first place, and then completing them again, while collecting at least 100 coins.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit features 40 race tracks on the Game Card. This is the second highest amount of racing tracks in any Mario Kart game, the most being Mario Kart 8, with 48 race tracks including DLC. Mario Kart: Super Circuit also has the most Bowser Castles (four from this game's tracks and three from the original's tracks) in any Mario Kart game to date.
Super Circuit tracks
There are also new courses introduced in Mario Kart: Super Circuit. The player races three laps on these tracks in Grand Prix mode.
These courses were originally featured in Super Mario Kart, and are reused in Mario Kart: Super Circuit. The player races five laps on these tracks in Grand Prix mode. These courses lack some of the obstacles from Super Mario Kart. Mario Kart DS and onward would later have a very similar feature called Retro Grand Prix, which features four cups consisting of tracks from all past Mario Kart games.
Four new battle courses appear in the game. No Super Mario Kart battle courses return despite all of that game's race courses returning; however, all four of them exist in the game's code and are playable through hacking.
Craig Harris of IGN praised nearly all of the game's aspects and noted that the extra development time of the game can make it outstanding. He ended with, "It's a GBA game with very few flaws -- it's a shame that it didn't quite make the system launch, but the extra wait did the game wonders, and it shouldn't be missed." He gave the game a 9.5 out of 10. Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer gave the game a 9 out of 10. Though he criticized the lack of backlighting due to the Game Boy Advance system lacking it and the pick-up system of Lakitu, he praised the game for being a vast, improved "conversion" of Super Mario Kart onto the Game Boy Advance. He wrote, "It has everything a single player, or indeed a foursome of like-minded console gamers, could ever dream of, and all with the added benefit of extensive replayability. With Super Mario Advance 2 still a way off, Mario Kart Super Circuit is the killer app for GameBoy Advance as of now. Buy it." Joao Diniz Sanches of Pocket Gamer UK gave the game a 9 out of 10. He praised the game for being universally and immediately fun.
Ron DelVillano of Nintendo Life reviewed the ambassador version of Mario Kart: Super Circuit and gave the game a 7 out of 10. Though he noted the game's aging and that the multiplayer is removed in the 3DS ambassador version, he called the game fun and worthwhile to play with.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit is the fourth best selling game for the Game Boy Advance, selling 5.91 million copies worldwide, as of March 31, 2009.
Pre-release and unused content
Early Nintendo Power screenshots showed that the characters had different, "super-deformed" sprites of bigger heads contrasted by smaller karts. The Banana Bunch and Golden Mushroom items were going to be in the game. The unfinished versions can be seen by using a GameShark code. The Banana Bunch won't do anything, and the Golden Mushroom acts like a Mushroom but gives the ability to have infinite boosts even if no item is shown. A Fake Item Box was planned to be in the game but removed for unknown reasons. It has the same functions as a regular Banana.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit was developed by Intelligent Systems, the same company behind the Paper Mario series and the WarioWare series. Takeshi Ando and Yukio Morimoto directed the game while the executive producer was Hiroshi Yamauchi. The Donkey Kong 3D model used in the pre-rendered sprites was provided by Rare Ltd..
To perform this glitch, the player must select the Rainbow Road track with any character in 100cc or 150cc. When the race starts, the player must obtain a banana. At the shortcut area, the player must place the banana on the very corner of the curb leading to the shortcut. After that, the player but drive backward until the player is between the shortcut and the other side, then park on the middle of the track. If a CPU hits the player, the CPU may hit the banana and fall off. When the CPU is put back on track, it will drive toward the shortcut but still falling. 
Koopa Beach 1 Glitch Shortcut
If the player spindrifts after the finish line then aims behind it correctly, that player can perform a glitch were it could count as a lap if they shroomed behind the finish line with a hop. 
Cheese Land Glitch Shortcut
If the player spindrifts 270 degrees right going behind the starting line, that player could perform a glitch where the player can use a mushroom and a hop onto Little Mouser to count all three laps if successful. This will work with any character. 
References to other games
References in later games
Names in other languages