Mario Kart 64, one of the first games released for the Nintendo 64 platform, is an updated translation of the very popular Super Mario Kart for the Super NES (SNES). And while the game clearly takes full advantage of the graphics power and speed of the N64, a few components that made the original so compelling have been left out of this release. Still, Nintendo's expertise at sucking players into the game world is strongly evident, and Mario Kart 64 offers enough challenges to keep players (especially casual gamers) entertained. Placing a familiar Nintendo personality behind the wheel of a sputtering kart powered by a 50, 100, or 150-cc engine, the game lets players race computerized opponents or up to four other players on a variety of well-designed tracks. Because karts lack the power and speed of race cars, drivers must focus on collecting power-ups and nonlethal weapons rather than negotiating hairpin turns on two wheels. Grabbing and using on-track items is the heart of the game's fun: a strategically-placed banana peel sends the unlucky victim into a spin, nailing an opponent with a turtle shell launches their vehicle skyward, and a rocket provides a quick boost to near-breakneck speeds, if only for a moment.