A few months ago there were some stirrings online about an arcade adaptation of Mario Kart created jointly by Nintendo and Namco. Now word about the arcade machine has come back around courtesy of IGN whom offers up a report on the latest iteration of the game, now known as Mario Kart Arcade Grand Prix.
Arcade GP features many of your favorite characters from the Mario world, including the likes of Mario, Peach, Koopa, and Wario, and adds a few Namco originals like Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and the Pac-Man red ghost. These characters fit in perfectly with the Mario cast. Pac-Man has been given a whiney little voice which he uses to shout out as you race. In the JAMMA demo version of the game, we were able to select from two modes: Grand Prix and Time Attack. Grand Prix is split into six cups: Mario Cup, Donkey Kong Cup, Wario Cup, Pac-Man Cup and a secret cup that requires unlocking. Each cup features four races, making for a total of 24 courses.
I'm glad to see that Mario Kart has returned to its single-driver roots. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! was fun, but the dual-driver mechanic/gimmick feels a little flat on replay. There's something about it that's just not as fun when going through the game again, and I feel it has to do with the complex method of choosing two characters and a vehicle. I don't want to worry about which characters are entitled to which items or which vehicle is the best at acceleration or cornering. I just want to choose a character and go-go-go.
Like most arcade titles these days, very few people will probably see Arcade GP "in the wild" but will instead have to wait for the eventual home version. Until then, however, there's always Mario Kart DS.