Link Races to Victory!
Ever since the Mercedes Benz update for Nintendo’s latest (and greatest) racer Mario Kart 8, fans have been eagerly awaiting the first part of the brand new DLC packs. Now its finally released, how amazing is it?
Hint:Best DLC Ever.
This download pack is centred on a very important character. Who? Only Link from The Legend of Zelda! Seeing the hero of time on a bike was quite literally a game changer, and makes the pack a must own. Whilst, yeah, the Toon Link from Wind Waker would of fit the more cartoony family friendly image of Mario Kart, going for one of the more realistic design’s of the green clad elf makes it all the better.
The inclusion of Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach were unnecessary as we already have their standard, baby and metal (or pink gold) forms. Nintendo had the opportunity
to include more new characters. Personally I would have gone for E. Gadd from Luigis Mansion and Lubba from Mario Galaxy 2. Maybe they could include them in future DLC (Kirby pack please!).
The clear stand out vehicle is the master cycle, Link’s epic ride that could even make it into a proper Zelda game! (according to Zeldas now director, Eiji Aonuma) In addition to the master cycle, the Blue Falcon should please fans of F Zero (more on that later) and the B Dasher has a welcome return for Mario Kart DS fans.
Finally, the Tanooki Kart shows Nintendo still have ideas for new, inventive rides (Golf Buggy in Pack 2 please). The Triforce tyres and the Hylian Kite are also interesting and welcome additions, although I would of liked to have seen the birds from Skyward Sword, the Loftwing, represented as a glider.
The Retro tracks are very polished and updated (Wario’s Gold Mine Wii, Yoshi Circuit GCN and Rainbow Road SNES) and very fun to revisit. But how do the new courses play out? Excitebike Arena is the first dirt track in MK history and the way it changes each time you play is a wicked idea. Dragon Driftway is a Chinese based course that feels like Kung Fu Panda in a way. Mute City (based on F Zero) is the first course in MK8 to use anti-gravity properly with twists and turns that captures the original games charm. And with the Blue Falcon and Captain Falcon’s amiibo, this is the closest to a new F Zero game fans will get.
Ice Ice Outpost might not seem like much, but has a very special moment. Mario Kart is famous for its shortcuts, which was my only complaint for MK8 having just new speed boosts etc. So seeing a hidden path by the course was an absolute godsend.
As many of you are thinking (I guess), where is the Zelda Track? Well, is it save the best till last? When I first saw this course, I was a bit disappointed because I was hoping for Skyloft, Link’s home in Skyward Sword. But the more I saw it, I realised what Nintendo were going for: a course that IS the Legend of Zelda. Coins are now rupees, piranha plants are now Deku Babas and the master sword sleeps in the castle unless you wake it via a clever puzzle. Hyrule Circuit isn’t the best course, but its certainly not the worst.
Overall, this is a brilliant download that satisfies on so many levels. Yet this is only part one. With pack two based upon Animal Crossing including Villager and Isabelle as playable characters slotted for a May release, Mario Kart 8 is becoming a game that refuses to stop giving.