Mario Kart Double Dash!!

-Nintendo (2003)




The Italian Stallion likes to double team supreme.

My Thoughts

The Mario Kart games have always been the pinnacle of the cart racing genre. It was the first and has always been the best. I was slightly weirded-out when I read that the newest iteration would feature two characters on one kart. How that could even work was a mystery to me, and the karts looked very odd with two riders. But, since nearly everything Nintendo does turns out to be a gold mine of gaming goodness, I had faith that it would all work out. By Miyamoto did it ever.

If you’ve played the other Mario Karts you’ll be familiar with what to do; get first place by stopping as many characters as you can by using any means necessary. You do this by launching the classic koopa shells and bananas along with new specials consisting of fireballs, Yoshi eggs, chain chomps, huge Bowser shells, and a monkey’s big banana. Your place during the race determines your luck on what kind of weapon you’ll get. If you’re in a low place, say five through eight, you’ll have a much better chance of getting a lightning bolt, star, or a dreaded blue shell. If you are in first place you’ll mostly get bananas, fake item boxes, or regular koopa shells.

Since the Gamecube has nothing for online play, you’ll have to play by getting together a bunch of friends and this is where the real fun of the game lies: messing with your friends as much as possible. It can get pretty heated in the room when you’re constantly ticking off your friends and you’ll be likely to feel their frustration when they take their revenge. For the multiplayer, everyone can either race separately with their own characters and carts or they can team-up with one person driving and the other handling weapons duty. At anytime during the race, while in single or multiplayer mode, the characters can switch positions. The driver becomes the weapons guy and vice-versa.

The usual game modes are still present with Grand Prix, Time Trials, and the multiplayer Versus and Battle. The classic Balloon Battles continue along with the new Shine Thief and Bomb-Omb Blast. In Shine Thief you need to hold on to the Shine as long as you can. In Bomb-Omb Blast you blow the crap out of each other. No matter what you do in the game you’re going to have a great time and that’s the way it should be.    

The sixteen tracks are mostly familiar locales from the Mushroom Kingdom with a few new destinations. Some of the characters have their own corresponding tracks such as Peach Beach, Daisy Cruiser, the Luigi Circuit, Bower’s Castle, Waluigi Stadium, and Donkey Kong Mountain. Many of the tracks have shortcuts which can give you a brief edge, if they are exploited properly that is. You can not just simply use the tracks; you need to know how to use them.

Most of the characters are the familiar, standard Mario crew from past games, but there are some new faces. Three additions I’m not fond of are the baby characters: Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, and Bowser Jr. I can’t stand the baby characters and their crying. “Aw, but they’re so cute,” you say? There’s enough cuteness in the game without them. Where did Waluigi come from? I never heard of him before. Did he come from a Mario Party game or is this his first appearance? And was he really necessary? I guess since Mario has his own evil alter-ego type guy then apparently Luigi needs one, too. Eventually, the winning of gold cups will yield new characters and karts. Unlockable characters include Toad, some mushroom-chick, a Piranha Plant, and my new favorite character King Boo. In total there are twenty characters and twenty-one karts.

Unlike previous Mario Karts, where everyone raced with the same standard kart, Double Dash features different karts for different sized racers. If you choose smaller characters then you can only drive smaller karts. Each kart also has a character in mind with its design. There are traditional karts, shell karts, Bowser’s evil Koopa kart, Wario’s classic car, a kart made from a barrel, pipe karts, and freakish Yoshi and Birdo karts.    

I thought the game was going to end when I beat every cup in each of the three speed classes, but I was wrong. There is the new All-Circuit Cup where you race on every track. That race usually takes about a half-hour or longer to complete depending on the speed class. I thought the game was done after I finished those up, but it still wasn’t. I then got to race in the Mirror Class, where all the tracks are reversed. That proved confusing at times because I was so used to turning in a certain direction. In all the game lasted much longer than I thought it would, which is always good for a racing game, especially one as fun and as polished as Mario Kart Double Dash. Mario Kart retains its crown as the king of kart racing games.      

Score:  9.0 


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