What is coop regression?  It’s when a series actually makes a leap in gameplay by including coop in an installment… and then mucks it up in a sequel.

Case and point would be the Mario Kart series.  Specifically, I’m talking about Mario Kart: Double Dash for the GameCube and the new Mario Kart Wii.

Mario Kart: Double Dash made a wonderful leap over its predecessor Mario Kart 64 by allowing you to have two riders in the kart at once.  More importantly, you could have a friend controlling the character in the back.  One person would steer and control speed while the other person could attack and shift the momentum of the vehicle (plus you had to work together for those glorious blue sparks).  Both players could switch positions at any time too.  This was great fun to play together and I honestly have no idea why more weapons-based racing games haven’t taken this approach (driver + gunner).

When Mario Kart Wii was announced, I expected at the very least the “option” to ride duo, maybe only on certain karts.  That would have been fine, all I wanted was the option to be available.  It turns out they completely fubared it.  It’s gone.  No more coop.  They focused their effort on the online competitive play (which is great if that is your thing), but they left behind the stuff that got them where they were - the friends playing together for fun.

It’s so irritating, especially when it was already done well and then removed.  Plus, this is not something hard to implement at all.  What it boils down to is that they just didn’t see it as being important enough.  This is disappointing, especially from a company like Nintendo which used to have a track record of bringing family and friends together on the couch for some good times.

Anyway, Nintendo does not get my $50 this installment.  If they patch it to have coop, then they absolutely will.  But until then, it’s back to Double Dash.

Double Dash!