Much like Pokémon I have problems writing for the preview editions of Mario Kart games. I love them but more and more they are just an improvement (or not in the case of the Wiis horrible rubber banding) going on. This means that other than reviewing the very earliest to show where it’s from and then the most recent. But fortunately one of my favourites in the franchise has some rather unique features that are only in it that I can justify giving it a review of its own.
Mario Kart Double Dash for the Game Cube is the second 3d Mario Kart and thus continues with the innovations brought forward by Mario Kart 64 while pushing them even further forward to give us a great fun racing game. This means many of the tracks feel like spiritual successors if not full ones of tracks from 64. A race which has you go through a busy road? Yep got 2, one on a more rural road with a large bridge and another going through a city complete with city blocks. There’s more but I feel that covers that.
Double Dash also had two unique features to this game’s main gimmicks. The first and most obvious one is that you control two characters in one kart instead of just one. Because of this they more than doubled the roster giving many classic sub characters in the Mario franchise their first appearance in Mario Kart, mainly daisy and Waluigi.
The other main gimmick is connected to the characters. Each character in this game has a special item they and only their default partner have. These are usually something related to the characters such as Yoshi and Birdo having an Egg projectile that homes in on enemies but also opens up to reveal other items. My personal favourite though is the Large Bowser Shell which works like a green shell but is huge (also helped it’s one of the specials you can get while in the lead).
Double Dash is also the first Mario Kart game to let you select your kart rather than just have a default one. This is restricted by which characters you choose, so having a heavy character as one of your two means you can only use a heavy kart, while light karts can only be taken if both characters are light weights. This is also the first game with unlockable characters and karts, while previously only cups could be unlocked, and usually just special. There is a final reward too if you complete the exclusive to this game cup that had you run through EVERY track on mirror mode.
As mentioned before many of the tracks feel like progressions of the ideas from 64 but also contain some of my all time favourites like DK Mountain and Baby Park (which is completely insane when all those special weapons go flying about, oh driving when suddenly a Bowser shell leaps over the small verge and back).
It’s not without its faults as the AI opponents don’t play by the same physics as you do which is a problem with all Mario Karts till 8 to varying degrees but this was the first game I truly noticed it.
Battle Mode retunes as a alternative to standard racing and it works the same as it did in 64, so it’s the standard balloon popping battle mode you will see in 8 Deluxe for those people interested in trying earlier version of the game.
Thanks to its uniqueness to this game gimmicks its probably the most interesting Mario Kart for current fans to try for retro fun also being the last one before they started including previous tracks into the game. This does mean there are only 4 cups (not counting the all tracks one) and only 16 tracks which will feel small to people only used to the modern ones but the frantic fun is there with experience they sadly having brought back yet into modern games.