Mario Kart: Double Dash (GCN, 2003)
Mario Kart: Double Dash was a huge hit on the Gamecube when it debuted in 2003. It was the first and only game in the series to feature 2 characters in a single kart. It was also the first game to feature kart specific stats and unlockable characters, karts, and levels. I won’t get into the kart specific stats too much, but it’s really changed the strategy of the way Mario Kart games are played. It’s not just a character selection that you have to worry about, it’s the kart as well.
The co-op feature of the game allowed for different perks like a starting boost when both players press the same button at the start of a race. Players also have the ability to snatch power-ups right out of other players’ hands.
The team-based nature of Double Dash allowed for some special thing that hadn’t been seen before. Players could now enter the Mario Kart Grand Prix cooperatively with one player using items and the other driving. The allowed for up to 4 players in GP mode for the first time, even if it was just in 2 karts. The other option was to play competitively which only allowed for 2 players in GP mode.
Battle Mode was little different in this game with the original Balloon Blast mode being complemented by two other modes. Shine Thief involves capturing a Shine Sprite and maintaining possession of it for a set time period. Bob-omb Blast involves attacking other players while avoiding attacks on yourself.
In a series first, the Nintendo Broadband Adapter allowed the ability to have LAN matches with up to 8 consoles. It was a big achievement at the time and has been a big part of the game’s longevity over the years.
- Mario Kart GP (1-4 Players) (50cc, 100cc, 150cc, Mirror)
- Vs. (2-4 Players)
- Time Trial (1 Player)
- Battle (2-4 Players)
|Mario (Medium) and Luigi (Medium)|
|Peach (Medium) and Daisy (Medium)|
|Yoshi (Medium) and Birdo (Medium)|
|Baby Mario (Light) and Baby Luigi (Light)|
|Koopa Troopa (Light) and Paratroopa (Light)|
|Donkey Kong (Heavy) and Diddy Kong (Light)|
|Wario (Heavy) and Waluigi (Medium)|
|Bowser (Heavy) and Bowser Jr. (Light)|
|Toad (Light) and Toadette (Light)|
|King Boo (Heavy) and Petey Piranha (Heavy)|
There are 21 different karts in Double Dash and each of them represents a character (besides the Parade Kart). The Parade Kart is the only one that can be used by any of the characters.
|Goo-Goo Buggy||Baby Mario||Light|
|Rattle Buggy||Baby Luigi||Light|
|Koopa Dasher||Koopa Troopa||Light|
|Para Wing||Koopa Paratroopa||Light|
|DK Jumbo||Donkey Kong||Heavy|
|Barrel Train||Diddy Kong||Light|
|Bullet Blaster||Bowser Jr.||Light|
|Piranha Pipes||Petey Piranha||Heavy|
|Boo Pipes||King Boo||Heavy|
|Parade Kart||All||All (Light, Medium and Heavy)|
The All-Cup Tour is unlocked after beating the Special Cup on 150cc. It is comprised of all the tracks in the game back to back.
|MUSHROOM CUP||FLOWER CUP||STAR CUP||SPECIAL CUP|
|Luigi Circuit||Mushroom Bridge||Sherbet Land||Wario Colosseum|
|Peach Beach||Mario Circuit||Mushroom City||Dino Dino Jungle|
|Baby Park||Daisy Cruiser||Yoshi Circuit||Bowser’s Castle|
|Dry Dry Desert||Waluigi Stadium||DK Mountain||Rainbow Road|
- Cookie Land
- Block City
- Nintendo Gamecube
- Pipe Plaza
- Luigi’s Mansion (unlockable)
- Tilt-A-Kart (unlockable)
There were a lot of special items in this game to go along with the team dynamic. Most of these items were never seen again in a Mario Kart game.
|Fake Item Box|
|Fireball||Mario & Luigi|
|Heart (New)||Princess Peach & Princess Daisy|
|Yoshi Egg & Birdo Egg||Yoshi & Birdo|
|Bowser’s Shell (New)||Bowser & Bowser Jr.|
|Triple Green Shells & Triple Red Shells||Koopa Troopa & Paratroopa|
|Bob-omb (New)||Wario & Waluigi|
|Giant Banana (New)||Donkey Kong & Diddy Kong|
|Chain Chomp (New)||Baby Mario & Baby Luigi|
|Golden Mushroom||Toad & Toadette|
While Mario Kart: Double Dash is an iconic multiplayer game in many respects, it is a departure from the roots of the series. Nintendo went back to one player per kart in every game after that and I can’t help but think they could have done more with this feature if it had been an option in later games. Sill, Double Dash is one of my favourites because of how different it was.
Keep an eye out for part 2 of our Mario Kart series retrospective in the coming days!