Nintendo, not normally known for creating DLC, has provided fans something special with Mario Kart 8 Pack 1. Not only is the fan service top tier but Nintendo has gone out of their way to create something extraordinary by introducing guest characters and stages from some of their other franchises. The cross-over feature is both unexpected and exciting.
For $7.99, Pack 1 consists of:
Three new characters – Link (from the Legend of Zelda), Tanooki Mario, and Cat Peach.
Four new vehicles – Blue Falcon (from F-Zero), B Dasher, Master Cycle (Link’s motocycle) and Tanooki Kart.
Eight new tracks split into two Cups.
Yoshi Circuit from Mario Kart Double Dash!!
Wario’s Gold Mine from Mario Kart Wii
Rainbow Road from the original SNES Mario Kart
Ice Ice Outpost
It is important to point out that there is not a bad new track in this lot but certain maps are the clear highlights. Mute City and Excitebike Arena are the winners in the new Egg Cup and are amazing tie-ins from Nintendo’s other racers. Mute City not only looks like it came straight from F-Zero but it also feels like it thanks to Mario Kart 8’s anti-gravity feature. Excitebike Arena also features the unforgettable musical track from the NES original and most closely resembles the Baby Park track from Mario Kart Wii as it is just a simple oval shape. The difference, because this is Excitebike, are the jumps, boosts, and speed slowing mud pits that give this track its personality. This is basically Excitebike in full 3D, making players forgot Excitebike 64 ever happened. Yoshi Circuit is also a welcomed re-released with Dragon Driftway featuring the Dragon character from the Mario Galaxy games.
Even though Egg Cup is extremely well done, the stand-out here is the new Triforce Cup with Hyrule Circuit being the premier bulletpoint. Nintendo has put so much soul and care into this one specific track they could have sold it by itself. Players must race around the Master Sword, basically drive through Hyrule Castle and surrounding town, need to watch out the Keese bats that have been annoying Zelda players for years, and coins have been replaced by rupees and even make the rupee noise when collected. Pair this with Link on his Mastercycle and Mario Kart 8 becomes even more special. The return of Wario’s Gold Mine and the original SNES Rainbow Road are also treated with care and put new anti-grav spins on these beloved courses. Ice Ice Outpost isn’t bad, featuring a unique dual tracked system that twists and turns, but brings up the rear in terms of excitement when compared to the rest of the tracks in this lot.
The new tracks and new playable characters are great additions to the Mario Kart universe but the complete lack of Battle Mode maps is rather disappointing. Not having dedicated Battle Mode maps is the biggest problem with MK8 in the first place and this DLC was the perfect opportunity to fill this hole. It is worth pointing out and none of these new DLC tracks can be used in the dedicated Battle Mode but can be used in Time Trial.
Even with the lack of Battle Mode options, this Mario Kart 8 goes above and beyond player expectations by adding quality tracks and blending other beloved Nintendo franchises. The amount of detail put into each track will make any Nintendo fan giddy with excitement. Pack 1 can be purchased from the Wii U eShop for $7.99 or bundled with the future release of Pack 2, schedule for May 2015, for only $11.99. Pack 2 will feature a Villager and Isabelle from Animal Crossing as racers as well as Dry Bowser. Although the new tracks are not yet announced, they will probably be some type of Animal Crossing related track(s) and possibly something to do with the Cat power-up from the latest Mario game on Wii U.
Also, purchasers of the bundle will also have instant access to new colored Yoshis and Shy Guy characters. Keep in mind though that each DLC pack will take about 1GB of hard drive space. It is also worth pointing out that Nintendo also released free DLC partnering with Mercedes and recently added amiibo support.
Nintendo did not have to put this amount of quality into their DLC but they did, making it shine and spot-lighted as a must download. The bundle price of $11.99 is also reasonable considering the amount of new quality content available. It is a little strange that Pack 2 won’t release until May 2015, about a year after the game’s initial release, but beggers shouldn’t be choosers. If Nintendo continues to release quality DLC like this, gamers should start saving their nickels now.
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By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com