Mario Kart Series Retrospective – Part 1


Mario Kart 64 (N64, 1997)

Mario Kart 64 was the first 3D game in the series (the characters were still only 3D sprites) and was the first to feature 4-player racing (though it was just in Vs or Battle Mode). This game also introduced the drifting mini-turbo maneuver to the series which has since become a staple.

Mario Kart 64

Game Modes

Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64 brings back the same GP mode as Super Mario Kart, but with 4 tracks per cup instead of the 5 in Super Mario Kart. Races are also now only 3 laps instead of 5 laps like in the previous game.

Match Race is now known and VS. and is now just a race against 1-3 friends with no CPU players.

Time trials now involve a player racing their ghost of their best time on that particular track.

Battle Mode received a slight update with the ability for heavier players to pop a balloon of a lighter player by running into them. When a player loses all of their balloons, they become a bob-omb and can cause other players to lose a balloon by blowing them up. 2-4 players can play this mode together.

  • Mario Kart GP (1-2 Players) (50cc, 100cc, 150cc, Mirror [unlockable])
  • Vs. (2-4 Players)
  • Time Trial (1 Player)
  • Battle Mode (2-4 Players)


The only new characters in Mario Kart 64 are Donkey Kong and Wario who replaced DK Jr and Koopa Troopa. The characters are now made up of 3D sprites. The classes are now easier to distinguish between light, medium, and heavy.

Mario Kart 64 Review

Donkey Kong (New)
Wario (New)


Mario Kart 64

Luigi RacewayToad’s TurnpikeWario StadiumDK’s Jungle Parkway
Moo Moo FarmFrappe SnowlandSherbet LandYoshi Valley
Koopa Troopa BeachChoco MountainRoyal RacewayBanshee Boardwalk
Kalimari DesertMario RacewayBowser’s CastleRainbow Road


Battle Courses

Big DonutBlock FortDouble DeckSkyscraper


Mario Kart 64 introduced a lot of new items to the series. There was the triple mushroom for 3 times the speed. The golden mushroom let you hit the extra speed button until it runs out. The triple shells give you two more shells and allow them to protect you from being shot by other shells. The fake item box blows up when you hit it. The banana bundle includes 5 bananas for the only time in the series. The spiny shell started destroying lives here as it attacks the person in first place and creates a large explosion radius. The other items are the same except now the ghost and lightning bolt are regular items. Mario Kart 64 made some of the best item additions out of any entry in the series in my opinion.

Mario Kart 64

  1. Mushroom
  2. Triple Mushroom (New)
  3. Golden Mushroom (New)
  4. Green Shell
  5. Triple Green Shell (New)
  6. Red Shell
  7. Triple Red Shell (New)
  8. Spiny Shell (New)
  9. Lightning
  10. Banana Peel
  11. Banana Bundle (New, includes 5 bananas)
  12. Fake Item Box (New)
  13. Star
  14. Ghost

Mario Kart 64 was one of my favourite entries in the series. The one problem I had with it was that there was very little to unlock in the game. There was a Mirror Mode that was unlocked by completing all cups on 150cc which flipped the tracks, but that was it. Otherwise, it was always fun with a few friends or siblings!

Next up is Mario Kart: Super Circuit on Page 3!