TYP Finally got his copy, and he's ready to share his thoughts with the world!
This game is great, though it has a few downers. The graphics are amazing...at least in single player. Each level has unique, detailed backgrounds with multiple layers, while the tracks themselves are crisp and clean. The music is also quite impressive. The compositions are varied and fitting, and they are surprisingly long at times! Unfortunately, the 8-bitness can easily be heard, as it takes a chunk out of the vibrancy. As for the voices, I am quite disappointed. Luigi has been butchered, while Wario's voice wasn't changed to the "US version" we all love (Charles Martinet) like he was for MK64.
The gameplay is the same old stuff, though "plopping" red shells is something I've wanted to do for years! As noted by others, the handling is quite different from the past two. Skidding is a fact of life in this game, but a few characters seem to do better than most. Definitely try characters you passed up in other versions. The coins are actually done quite differently from the original. Instead of the computers stealing them all, they are only collected by the players. The surplus also makes coins more of a collectable, used to unlock the extra courses, than a vital commodity.
In the SNES tracks, which are very faithfuly reproduced, new backgrounds and more coins make the tracks more fun than before. Unfortunately, although the old music accompanies it, the instruments have been changed (as it is the GBA,) making the songs sound less than remarkable. I'm not sure, but I suspect that the old AI also makes a comeback for the GPs: I heard Mario doing his "fake" star power! Pretty cool! I haven't seen any mini-mushrooms yet, but I'll keep an eye out!
Overall, this game will be great for a road trip, but it isn't exactly anything all-new. I haven't tried multiplayer yet, but I'm interested to see what it will be like playing Battle mode without knowing where the other guy is without being able to look at his screen....