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Ranking Mario Karts: From Worst to Best

We order this iconic kart racing franchise…

Mario Kart

Mario Kart 7 is officially out, and the Nintendo 3DS has just received a little more help from Nintendo in bolstering their software lineup.

Read our Mario Kart 7 review.

While the Nintendo 3DS entry into the franchise isn't the best from the company, we've decided to take some time and figure out which game, exactly, is. In doing so, we've also settled on ranking the games from worst to best. So, here, in order of bottom to top, we have the Mario Kart franchise.

7. Mario Kart Wii – Wii

Speaking as a fan of the franchise and someone who has played every single Mario Kart game backwards and forwards (thanks to the Extra class), I can safely say that the Wii version of the brand is the worst in the pile. In fact, this might be the only game and rank we can all agree on throughout the length of this article.

The tracks lacked fantastic design, races wound up being one dimensional, motorcycles were boring and the motion control bits were lame and tired. But, the worst part? The rubber-banding AI and difficulty. The game constantly knocked players out of first by shitting blue shells and lightning bolts down from the heavens. This is a series staple, but it was done horribly in Mario Kart Wii.

6. Mario Kart: Double Dash – GameCube

And this is where the list gets hard…already. The Mario Kart franchise from here on out becomes exceptionally tough to rank one way or the other, so we have to rely on subtle differences between games.

Double Dash's downsides included a rather gimmicky co-op gameplay addition and tracks that were, basically, only played in one way. Room for exploration and invention was absent in racing, something the series had done so well in the past, so players were basically set forth to race and win with no other objectives.

However, the character unlocks, the graphics and the item selections were all fantastic in this title.

5. Super Mario Kart – SNES

Basically, the reason we're all here today comes down to the success of Super Mario Kart. This was the first game in the series and, essentially, the game that created and popularized the kart racing genre.

However, given the title's age, it's really only fun as a point of nostalgia. Yes, the racing is solid and enjoyable, but there's not much to keep gamers coming back these days. Fun for a night of boozing and friends, Super Mario Kart will always be close to our hearts; however, the franchise has evolved so, so much since this game's release.

4. Mario Kart: Super Circuit – Game Boy Advance

This game was the third in the series and the first portable title in the brand. Mario Kart: Super Circuit combined the gameplay of the Nintendo 64 classic with the look of the SNES version and made it unbelievably fun. It was also the first game to feature retro tracks as it included 20 tracks from Super Mario Kart.

The new courses worked just as well as the classics, and this Mario Kart provided an epic ton of replayability.


 

3. Mario Kart 7 – Nintendo 3DS

Yes, the newest game in the series ranks this high in our books. The classic tracks are great, the new tracks are perfect examples of how good the racing can be in the franchise and the game's driving mechanics are just about perfect.

So what keeps it out of the top spot? Every other Mario Kart game, whether successful or not, brought with it a brand new idea or style. This one brings nothing but undersea driving and parasailing. Those things work, but they feel flat, brief and gimmicky. The game is wonderful, no doubt about that, but it isn't as original as the rest of its kin.

2. Mario Kart 64 – Nintendo 64

Now we're splitting hairs. We could probably convinced to flip the top two games quite easily, but we've decided to go this way in reasons we'll highlight below in the number one selection.

Mario Kart 64 introduced four player racing and incredible 3D graphics. The tracks, the glitches, the characters, the driving and the gameplay were all pitch-perfect, and this game instantly became one of the best available both in the genre and on the Nintendo 64. There's a reason why it's still pulled out at parties and get-togethers today, as Mario Kart 64 is damn near perfect.

1. Mario Kart DS – Nintendo DS

Take the perfect mechanical experience in Mario Kart 64, add portability, graphics, unlocks and wi-fi based multiplayer and you've got the absolute best Mario Kart in the franchise. Where Double Dash was practically a brand new take on the Mario Kart experience, the DS edition took the series back to its roots and made it even better.

If you've never played this game, then you're crazy. If you have and you don't agree with where we put it, you're even crazier.