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// article by Jeff

Kart Fighter is pretty much a clone of Street Fighter II, except extremely subdued in order to squeeze it into a Famicom cartridge, and it was developed by a mysterious company known as Gouder Co. The major notable difference is, obviously, that characters have been directly plucked from Super Mario Kart and inserted here. All of them are there... uhhh... "Mari" (did they forget the O?), Luigi, Peach, Bowser (under the name of "Koopa"), Toad (as "Kinopio", his Japanese name), Donkey Kong Jr., Nokonoko (the Koopa Troopa), and... Yossy? That's not even right on either side of the globe. Well, "Yossy" is supposed to be Yoshi. All of the sprites have been redrawn so that the characters are taller than ever before. I don't think the Mario Bros. have ever been that tall; conversely, Bowser is quite the shorty! Even Peach is surprisingly vertical, topping Bowser by at least a foot and a half. That's just not right.


It's the Kart Fighter crew! Yeah, Peach has some serious height.

The gameplay is pretty simple. All characters have a punch, a kick, and a jump move (although once you start jumping, you can't move left or right unless you were already pushing the D-pad in that direction before you executed the jump). You can pretty much get away with using these moves alone, but most characters can also fire off an energy projectile, not unlike the classic Street Fighter hadouken, if need be. Seeing Luigi pull off a hadouken is gleeful, to say the least. You can also grab your opponent and slam them to the ground. There are also moves unique to each character (okay, maybe just one). Yoshi (er, sorry... "Yossy") has been known to use his tongue as a weapon, Nokonoko can recede into his shell and charge, and Donkey Kong Jr. can spin like a ballerina. Yes, that's right. It's still not the most in-depth fighter, that's for sure, but it could suffice. The biggest problem, though? No two-player mode. This one'll last you an hour.

The music has also been ripped mostly from Super Mario Kart and other Mario games, although certain songs seem absolutely foreign to me. Likewise, the graphics have been taken liberally from varied Mario titles, as well as one background from Little Nemo: Dream Master for the NES. Why they chose that one, I'll never know; it doesn't fit this game in any way, except that the gameplay itself is more than likely a dream sequence for one of the main characters.

Kart Fighter is a nice precursor to Super Smash Bros., which would come to pass six years later. Maybe Nintendo received some inspiration from the pirate market? Either way, Kart Fighter is, at best, a nice novelty that is actually impressive and can keep you temporarily busy while you wait for the next new game to be released. It's a bit deceiving to have the word "kart" in the title when there are no karts to actually be found, though.


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