Mario Kart: Double Dash
Released: November 7, 2003
Like previous entries in the series, players choose from a cast of Nintendo characters who are split into different weight classes: light, middle, or heavy. The player's character choice affects which carts can be ridden and which special items they'll be given.
In addition, numerous other Nintendo characters play minor roles in the game. Lakitu reprises his role as the racetrack keeper, signalling the start of each race, alerting players when they complete a lap, warning them when they are going the wrong way, and returning drivers to the racetrack when they fall into dangerous areas. Other cameo appearances include Shy Guys , Piranha Plants , Goombas and Wigglers . Toadsworth drives the winners of a cup during the victory celebration. Piantas and Nokis from Super Mario Sunshine also cheer players on in courses such as Peach Beach and Daisy Cruiser, and form much of the crowd at victory ceremonies. Classic Mario characters, including Donkey Kong Junior can be seen in the crowds around Waluigi Stadium.
The game includes several karts to choose from, categorized by weight. Lightweight karts have good acceleration and handling and are easily able to traverse rough terrain, but have low top speeds, can be knocked around by larger karts, and can only hold light characters. Heavyweight carts have high top speeds, can knock around many smaller karts, and can be manned by all characters, but they have poor acceleration, steering, off-road handling, and can only be manned if there is at least one heavy character. Middleweight carts' performance is well-balanced, but they cannot hold heavy characters. There are 21 karts available in all, but only eight are available from the start. The other 13 must be unlocked. Plus, one of them can carry any pair of characters regardless of their weight.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! features sixteen tracks divided into four cups. All tracks have three laps under the "recommended" setting, excluding Baby Park, which has seven, and Wario Colosseum, which has two. An unlockable fifth cup, the All-Cup Tour, consists of all sixteen tracks in a random order with the exception of Luigi circuit, which is always first, and Rainbow Road, which is always last.
The last major addition is that Double Dash!! allows LAN play using the Gamecube broadband adapter. Up to four Gamecubes can be connected, allowing for 16 player multiplayer games (two players controlling each kart).
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! differs from previous Mario Kart games in several ways.
Most significantly, two characters now ride on each kart - one drives the kart, while the other rides on the back and uses items. Though a single player can control a cart of two characters, there is also a multiplayer variation in which two players each control separate characters on a single kart.
Another change is that instead of the 9-6-3-1-0-0-0-0 points system (meaning that 1st place earns 9 points, 2nd gains 6, etc.) for the Grand Prix mode of previous Mario Kart games, Double Dash!! features a new 10-8-6-4-3-2-1-0 system. This has been kept for Mario Kart DS .
Third, in Double Dash!! , players move on to the next race of a Grand Prix regardless of their finishing position, as opposed to earlier games in the series where a top-four finish was required.
Also, the number of laps changed from 3 to a "recommended" amount of laps, depending on the size of the course, and in "VS Mode" players can now choose how many laps to race. Only two stages recommend numbers other than three however.
Finally, players are now unable to hold items behind their cart, thereby limiting the defensive capabilities of some items.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! features 20 playable characters. Eight of these were in Mario Kart 64 , one has returned from Super Mario Kart , and eleven are new to the Mario Kart series.
- Donkey Kong
- King Bowser
- Koopa Troopa (returned)
- Princess Peach
- Baby Luigi (new)
- Baby Mario (new)
- Birdo (new)
- Bowser Jr. (new)
- Diddy Kong (new)
- King Boo (new)
- Paratroopa (new)
- Petey Piranha (new)
- Princess Daisy (new)
- Toadette (new)
- Waluigi (new)
Toad, Toadette, Petey Piranha and King Boo have to be unlocked before players can use them.
The first Mushroom Cup track is introductory course to the game, with a long straight segment interrupted by two large gradual curves. The curves offer the racer a choice of sticking to the inside or riding the outside where speed boosts lie. The only obstacle players have to worry about is a large chained Chomp that lurks in a pit next to the track, but it is generally out of reach unless the player tries to take a shortcut past it.
As it's name suggests, the course is primarily Luigi-themed, with his image appearing on many of the decorations surrounding the track. Visible in the background is the mansion Luigi receives in Luigi's Mansion after winning the game with an "A" rank. Also of note is that this course changes slightly between the 50cc and 100cc-plus versions. In the 50cc version, the straightaway is split through the center by a wall, but in the harder versions there is nothing seperating the racers zipping through from opposing sides.
The enviroments of this course are taken from Super Mario Sunshine 's Isle Delfino. The race begins in a near-straightaway in a city that looks like Delfino Plaza and inhabited by Piantas and Nokis. It then turns to carry racers past a brief segment that looks similar to Ricco Harbor. However most of the track runs across a beach with fast-moving tides and dangerous Cataquacks, an enviroment like that on Gelato Beach.
The beach offers racers the choice of taking an arching passage around the dangerous waters or using a ramp to jump onto an island. The beach itself rapidly shrinks and grows as the tide moves in and out throughout the race, and the water can slow down and even flood karts. Noteworthy is a hidden detour that shoots racers through a warp pipe, costing them some ground but giving them a free double item block. On a side note, Daisy's Cruiser is visible out on the ocean.
This track is actually a ride within an amusement park, and other attactions are visible all around. Poochy even makes a cameo appearance in the background. The course is oval shaped and very short, although the game makes up for this by recommending seven laps rather than the usual three. Despite its simple appearance the races on it can get very hectic, as racers are trapped in a small space and constantly given items.
The only enviromental interverence comes in the form of a roller coaster that occassionally zips by from above the track. As it does so it may catch some racers offguard and send them spinning.
Dry Dry Desert
As its name suggests, this course takes place in a steaming Egyptian-style desert, with the road winding through thick sands and mysterious ruins. Players must take care to stay on the track, as the darker sand off of it will heavily slow down karts unless counteracted with a Mushroom or Star item. Going too far off the course will cause karts to stall and have to be recused by Lakitu.
Aside from the thick sand, players must nagivate around Pokeys and a giant vortex of sinking sand that draws players into the mouth of a hungry Piranha Plant .
This bridge takes place in a seaside town filled with mushroom-shaped houses. The track consists of a busy street with ongoing traffic, which moves along with the racers but at a much slower pace. Most cars will cause players to spin out on contact, although there are some exceptions. Wiggler -shaped buses completely turn karts over, while Bob-omb cars explode and can send karts flying. Mushroom carrying cars are actually beneficial to hit, barely slowing down the driver and flinging mushroom items onto the track for drivers to collect.
There are many shortcuts in this course for wary-eyed players, including one reached by turning right at the very start of the race. It causes racers to lose ground, but leads them to a warp pipe where they are shot out onto the track with a free double item block. The course's namesake is a large straightaway at the end of the course, and daring drivers can try to ride up either of its outer arches, which lack safety rails but feature speed boosts and an item.
Mario's track goes throughout the gardens surrounding Princess Peach's Castle , featuring many curves and turns to nagivate. Players should take care to stay on the road, as the grassy fields will slow karts down unless aided by a mushroom or star item.
One segment of the track features a large, dangerous chained Chomp that'll attack players who venture too close. At various points of the track, Piranha Plants guard the sides and will send unwary players reeling. Towards the end of the track is a small group of Goombas , who will drop mushrooms if flattened by a Koopa shell item.
One of the more unique courses in the game, this track takes place entirely on Daisy's ocean liner. Racers begin on the outer deck where they must navigate around a large pool and down a fleet of stairs. After this they will make a U-turn and head back across the Cruiser through the inside, passing through a dining hall with tables sliding dangerously with rocking vessel.
At one point a hole will open up in the track, and players may fall down into a storage room. Losing their speed in the fall, they will have to try recover in time to get shot out of the foghorn without losing much ground.
Similar to Wario Stadium from the previous Mario Kart game, this track sends players through bumps and mud typical of a dirt bike competition. Racers must be wary to stay out of the thick mud, as it will heavily slow down karts. However players may be able to cut corners by using a mushroom or star item to zip across the thick mud unhindered.
Aside from the usual dirt bike dangers, this course features rings of Podoboos that can spin out poorly-aimed drivers. Giant metal Piranha Plant cutouts make a certain of the track very hazardous, as smashing into them will cause racers to lose all their speed.
The first Star Cup track is situated in a cold climate. Much of it has slippery ice which gives less traction. In the beginning, the track features ice skating Shy Guys. Afterwards, you will find yourself in a tunnel. Once you exit this, you'll go down a fairly straight section that leads to a very icy area featuring Freezies, which will encase you in a block of ice if you bump into one. There are no known shortcuts on this track.
This course is similar to Mushroom Bridge, featuring the same music and cars, but is in the middle of a city at night time. Like Mushroom Bridge, cars, trucks and Wiggler Buses will go down the road, along with cars that spit out Mushrooms and Bob-omb cars that will explode on impact. There is one main shortcut. This is situated once you come out of the first junction and hug the right side of a track, going down a narrow passageway. It is also possible to drive on the far right side at the end of the race, preventing you from running into cars.
This track is shaped just like Yoshi. It's quite a long track, and the only hazards are Piranha Plants that try to strike you if you come too close. This track is on Yoshi's Island, and oftentimes a Yoshi helicopter will fly above the track. Two shortcuts can be found in this track, and both need a Mushroom, Star, or power slide boost. The first comes at the area by Yoshi's nose. Going straight reveals a gap with water under it. If you jump the gap, you can skip a good section of the track.
The last Star Cup track is situated in Donkey Kong Jungle. In the beginning of the track, the racers are shot out of a very large barrel, that fires them to the top of a mountain. Then, you make your way down the mountain, dodging boulders and large gaps along the way. The very last section of the track features a bridge that rocks from side to side.
So long that there are only two laps in this race, Wario Colosseum may be one of the most evil courses in the game. More dash-panels than you can shake a stick at, rings of Podoboos, an overwhelming number of spiraling turns, and a site of pure road rage, this course may take forever to master. Try to hit the ramp that goes over the abyss instead of going around it near the end of the track.
Dino Dino Jungle
The track is dominated by many pterodactyls and friendly dinosaurs called Dino Dino, but don't run into them, obviously. More tight turns await, and with a narrow winding railless bridge system over a marsh, the track is diabolical. Geysers and other traps wait to trap the unaware Mario karter. Try to place banana peels on the narrow, rickety bridges.
The fourth appearance of Bowser's Castle in the Mario Kart series is the most challenging of them all. Traps galore look to burn you to a crisp. Six Thwomps try to crush you near the beginning of the track, Podoboos come in and out of a lava pit, a spiraling Podoboo carousel spins around a room, and a giant Bowser statue shoots giant fireballs at you. Sound like fun? Tight turns also dominate the track, along with a dash-pedal that propels you to the final part of the track. Try to put a banana peel on the pedal, if you can.
It's only fitting that the last track in the last cup is the hardest of them all. There are two major differences between the Rainbow Road in Mario Kart 64 and in this game: This Rainbow Road may be much shorter, but there are almost no railings, making a drop almost inevitable. Not to mention that the curves are nasty and the track's colors may be real hard to contend with. The long, upward spiral with numerous zip strips on it, not to mention with almost no railings, will probably throw you off the track. Traumatic? Sure, but you're almost to the gold!