Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (Japanese: マリオカートダブルダッシュ!! Mario Kāto: Daburu Dasshu!!) is the fourth Mario Kart installment developed and the final Mario Kart for the GameCube published by Nintendo. It was released in Japan on November 7, 2003, in Europe on November 14, 2003, in North America on November 17, 2003, and in Australia on November 19, 2003. A first run production of the game included a limited bonus disc inside the case in a second holder with exclusive content related to other Nintendo games.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! had some of the most rapid and dramatic changes made to it than any other Mario Kart game. Many of these changes stayed in later games in the series while other things, such as two characters on one kart, were only featured in this game. Players choose from a cast of Nintendo characters who are split into light, middle, or heavyweight classes. The player's character choice affects which karts can be ridden and which special items they receive. Double Dash!! builds and improves on its predecessors in many ways, the most prominently featured of which is that each kart carries two riders; a driver and a thrower. There are sixteen courses to race on. Each cup features four tracks. Five different cup races are available, one of which is the All Cup Tour, featuring all sixteen tracks. Each track is also playable in the "Mirror Mode," where the tracks are mirrored; however, Mirror Mode is only available for 150cc.
This gameplay is quite different than that of other Mario Kart games. For one, players cannot hold items behind themselves, and it is, therefore, harder to block an incoming shell, as a player cannot hold a banana peel or Koopa Shell behind them. Also, this is the first game in the Mario Kart series that forces players to drop their items when hit with a weapon, and the only game to have a Double Dash!! boost, which is named after the game's subtitle. In this game, Super Mushrooms are given an offensive use, as a player can steal an item or balloon when using one to boost.
This installment also features multiplayer battle modes. As in previous installments, the battle arenas are enclosed, with varying architecture and a constant arsenal. In addition to the balloon-popping game, which has been the standard Mario Kart battle game, two new battle systems are included. One involves capturing a Shine Sprite and maintaining possession of it for a set time period. The other game uses only the Bob-omb weapon and uses a trade-off point system that requires the players to succeed in attacks, while also avoiding those directed at them.
Aside from the many drivers available, numerous other Nintendo characters play minor roles in the game. Lakitu reprises his role as the referee, 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. Shy Guys, Piranha Plants, Goombas, and Wigglers are also present in the game and serve as obstacles for the driver to avoid. 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 (held at Peach Beach). Classic Mario series characters, including Donkey Kong Jr., can be seen in the crowds around Waluigi Stadium.
The game includes twenty-one karts to choose from. This is the first time a kart can be chosen for a character (before this, each character had their own one and only standard kart). They are categorized by weight. Generally, 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 karts usually have high top speeds, can knock around many smaller karts, but they have poor acceleration, steering, off-road handling, and can only be manned if there is at least one heavy character. Middleweight karts' performance is well-balanced, but they cannot hold heavy characters. However, there are exceptions to this. Of 21 karts available in all, only eight are available from the start. The other thirteen may be unlocked by successfully completing races and the game.
A notable attribute of Double Dash!! is that it allows LAN play using the Nintendo GameCube broadband adapter. Up to eight GameCubes can be connected, allowing for sixteen player multiplayer games (two players controlling each kart).
|Baby Mario||Light||Yes||Chain Chomp|
|Baby Luigi||Light||Yes||Chain Chomp|
|Koopa Troopa||Light||No||Triple Green Shells|
|Paratroopa||Light||Yes||Triple Red Shells|
|Donkey Kong||Heavy||No||Giant Banana Peel|
|Diddy Kong||Light||Yes||Giant Banana Peel|
|Bowser Jr.||Light||Yes||Bowser's Shell|
|Character||Weight||Newcomer||Special Item||How to Unlock|
|Toad||Light||No||Golden Mushroom||By beating the Special Cup in 100cc|
|Toadette||Light||Yes||Golden Mushroom||By beating the Special Cup in 100cc|
|Petey Piranha||Heavy||Yes||Any of the Special Items||By beating the Star Cup in Mirror Mode|
|King Boo||Heavy||Yes||Any of the Special Items||By beating the Star Cup in Mirror Mode|
Karts are one of the most important things in the game. Each one has its own characteristics. Heavy Class karts have great speed but poor and slippery acceleration. Medium Class karts are all around. Good speed, acceleration, and better weight. Light Class karts lack speed but have amazing acceleration.
There are sixteen courses to race on altogether, four of which must be unlocked. The courses are divided into a tournament cup race, where a player plays for that cup. Each cup race features four tracks. Four different cup races are available plus one which is the all-cup tour, featuring all sixteen tracks.
- Mushroom Cup
- Flower Cup
- Star Cup
- Special Cup (unlockable after beating Star Cup on 100cc)
- All Cup Tour (unlockable, holds all the races in all the other cups)
In addition, six stages are available for Battle Mode:
- Block City
- Cookie Land
- Nintendo GameCube
- Pipe Plaza
- Luigi's Mansion (unlockable)
- Tilt-A-Kart (unlockable)
The game received rather favorable reviews, selling over 3.8 million copies in the United States and around 802,000 copies in Japan for a worldwide total of 7 million copies as of 2016. It is the second best selling Gamecube Game to date.
- Donkey Kong Jr. makes a cameo in this edition of Mario Kart.
- This is Toad's only Mario Kart appearance as an unlockable.
- This is the only game in the Mario Kart series where Toadsworth is shown.
- This is the only Mario Kart game to have 2 people per kart.
- This is the only Mario Kart game to feature Petey Piranha and Koopa Paratroopa as playable characters.
- This is the first Mario Kart game since Super Mario Kart to feature Koopa Troopa as a playable character.
- This is the first Mario Kart game where Princess Daisy, Waluigi, Diddy Kong, Birdo, Bowser Jr., Baby Mario and Baby Luigi are playable characters.
- This is the first appearance of Toadette in the Mario series.
- This is the last game in the Mario Kart franchise to disregard gaps in the course map.
|Super Mario Kart (1992, SNES) · Mario Kart 64 (1996, N64) · Mario Kart: Super Circuit (2001, GBA) · Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (2003, GameCube) · Mario Kart DS (2005, DS) · Mario Kart Wii (2008, Wii) · Mario Kart 7 (2011, 3DS) · Mario Kart 8 (2014, Wii U) · Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017, Switch)|
|Mario Kart Arcade GP (2005, Arcade) · Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 (2007, Arcade) · Mario Kart Arcade GP DX (2013, Arcade) · Mario Kart Arcade GP VR (2017, Arcade)|
|Mario Kart Tour (2019, iOS/Android)|
|Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix (2005) • Luigi's Mansion (2001) • Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (2003) • Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (2003) • Mario Party 4 (2002) • Mario Party 5 (2003) • Mario Party 6 (2004) • Mario Party 7 (2005) • Mario Power Tennis (2004) • Mario Superstar Baseball (2005) • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (2004) • Super Mario Strikers (2005) • Super Mario Sunshine (2002) • Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001)|