Mario Kart : Super Circuit is a kart racing video game in which the player races in a kart against other teams in different courses. The game screen indicates the current standings in a race, the number of laps needed to finish and incoming weapons. Like in the previous installments, players can pick up item boxes to receive a randomly selected item and use it to impede the opposition and gain the advantage. Some items, such as shells and bananas, allow the player to hit others to slow them down, while other items, such as the star power-up, render them temporarily invincible to attacks. This is the second Mario Kart game to include coins, which increases the engine power of the karts.
There are five game modes in Super Circuit: Mario GP, Time Trial, Quick Run, VS and Battle. Most of the modes can be played by themselves in single-player races, while some can be played in multiplayer.
Mario GP – This mode has the player compete against 7 karts (6 in 2 player races), which are controlled by the computer, in a series of predetermined courses. The player can choose to race using three different engine size classes: 50cc, 100cc and 150cc. Since all karts go faster when using higher engine sizes, the 3 classes serve as difficulty levels. There are 20 tracks, divided into 5 cups: Mushroom, Flower, Lightning, Star and Special. After the player crosses the finish line, the positions of the computer-controlled characters are immediately locked in and they are given points based on those positions, ranging from zero to nine. Just like in the previous 2 installments, placing 5th or below will give them a “rank out” and the race must be replayed until they placed fourth or better, but at a cost of one of three flags. At the end of the cup, there will be an award ceremony for the top three drivers, where they will get a bronze, silver, or gold trophy and in addition, they will get a ranking based on their performance ranging from E to a triple-star. Collecting 100 coins in each of these cups will allow players to unlock all 20 tracks from Super Mario Kart known as the Extra Cups.
Time Trial – This single-player mode has the player to finish any of the forty courses in the fastest time possible, with the best time being saved as a ghost, a copy of the player’s performance that they can race against in later runs. Each character will receive a Triple Mushroom, which can be used at any time during the run.
Quick Run – In this single-player mode, players can choose any course with customized rules such as changing the item frequency or the number of laps in each race.
VS – In this multiplayer mode, up to 4 players can play this mode by using a single cartridge.
Battle – In battle mode, the player fights against up to 3 human-controlled opponents using items scattered throughout a battle arena. There is the traditional balloon-popping battle game, in which the player must use items to pop an opponent’s 3 balloons while defending their own.
Super Circuit features the same cast of playable drivers as in the previous installment, each placed in one of 3 weight classes. Peach, Yoshi and Toad are light, Mario and Luigi are medium, and Bowser, Donkey Kong and Wario are heavy. In addition to the playable drivers, other characters have supporting roles in this game as well. Lakitu reprises his role as the referee, helping racers in various situations such as announcing laps, giving the signal to drive with a traffic light hanging on his fishing pole, and taking characters back on track in case they fall off course. Other supporting characters appearing in Super Circuit include Shy Guys, Piranha Plants, Boos and more.