Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (JP) (also called MKDD, MK: Double Dash!!, Mario Kart 4, or MK4) is a video game for the Nintendo GameCube and the fourth Mario Kart game in the series. It was released worldwide during November 2003 and has been considered to some at the time to be the greatest in the series. This game became popular enough to come bundled with most GameCube consoles as a starter game, like the way the red Wii is bundled with New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The game marks the debut of Toadette. The game, while retaining many aspects of previous Mario Kart games, such as selecting a Mario franchise character as the player's driver and the familiar item-based weaponry that the series employs, introduces a feature that is unique to this entry in the Mario Kart series: the two-person karts, hence the title of the game. Two characters handle a single kart, where one character steers and the other deals with items, and they can switch positions at any time if necessary. The game is the only game in the franchise where two players can play cooperatively in one kart, with each player handling a single character, though the option to play in separate 2-person karts for each player is still available. In addition, the game introduces Special Items, items that are exclusive to a pair of characters, which is another feature unique to this game. The game is one of the few games to take advantage of LAN Mode via the Nintendo GameCube Broadband Adapter, which allows up to sixteen players to participate in a single race.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is the first Mario Kart game in the series to employ 3D graphics for characters and items, as opposed to Mario Kart 64 using pre-rendered sprites to display these objects. The game also introduces a larger variety of karts to select from depending on the character combo's weight class rather than the standard go-kart being the sole vehicle all racers use, and this variety of vehicles is retained in all Mario Kart games since.


While overall the game is conclusively not as original as previous installments, there is one addition that makes it unique, and that is adding two players to a vehicle, hence the name Double Dash. Characters are separated into three different weight categories - light, medium and heavy. The same goes for the multiple different vehicles that you're allowed to ride. The class of vehicle that one is able to choose depends on the heaviest character selected; while light characters can be paired with medium or heavy characters, they will hence be restricted to medium or heavy vehicles, respectively. Two light characters will only be able to choose a light kart. Each character has a special item shared with only one other character (the one in their conventional pairing), with the exception of two unlockable characters (to be found here and here), who receive any of the special items at random.

New Features

  • As mentioned above, there are now two characters to a kart.
  • Karts are no longer limited to generic designs; many unique designs have been added.
  • There are three times as many characters as the previous three games.
  • The characters are now in true 3D.
  • Special items return, but are now available to the user.
  • Double item boxes are also available for both characters in the kart.

Removed Features


In this game, there are 20 characters found in 10 pairs. A character has the same special item as their partner. The eight playable characters from Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit return as well as Koopa Troopa returning after an eleven-year absence from Super Mario Kart, plus eleven new characters are added to the roster, including Toadette, who makes her first appearance in the overall Mario franchise.

Starter Characters

Unlockable Characters


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

Bonus Disc

Preorders for Mario Kart: Double Dash!! also gave customers a bonus disc containing playable demos, game trailers, and content that can be transferred to Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade on the Game Boy Advance. The disc came in a special two-disc game box, and the cover for the game had the line "Includes BONUS DISC with playable demos!" written across the bottom right.

Content for the bonus disc includes:


Critical reception

The game received favorable reviews, getting an average score of 87.20% in GameRankings based off 73 reviews and an average score of 87 based off 58 reviews in Metacritic.[1][2]

Spencer McIlvaine of Nintendo Life gave the game 9 stars out of 10, praising the game as being a worthy successor to the Mario Kart franchise, despite that it has less innovation than the other games. He concluded with "Nevertheless, the game has lost some of the edge that it had in its first two outings and shows fewer innovative ideas here. This time around the game was mostly about better graphics and less buggy programming with a few gimmicks thrown in like having two drivers instead of one. As a result, Double Dash is not the most recommended Mario Kart game in the franchise. But compared to other games in general it’s still one heck of a ride."[3] Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer gave the game a score of 9 out of 10. He praised the game for adding more content, especially the online LAN mode. He wrote, "In my opinion, it's not a better game than the original Super Mario Kart, but it is the closest anyone's ever come, and one of the finest pieces of electronic entertainment ever developed." He also stated that rating Mario Kart Double Dash!! was the hardest thing he did because he always wanted to write about it.[4]

On the contrast, Edge Magazine UK gave the game a 5 out of 10, criticizing the game of "not being a racing game any more".[5] Fran Mirabella III of IGN gave the game a score of 7.9 out of 10. He criticized that Mario Kart Double Dash!! felt very similar to Mario Kart 64 and although it gets the job done that it felt that it had wasted potential. He praised the multiplayer for being superb.[6]


Mario Kart: Double Dash is the 2nd best-selling game for the Nintendo GameCube, right behind Super Smash Bros Melee, with approximately 7 million copies sold, including 3.8 million copies in the United States[7], and over 802,000 units in Japan, as of December 31, 2009.[8]

Pre-release and unused content

The models of the characters are from Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Mario and Luigi are seen in this trailer of a very early build of the game, driving separately, each in a simple, blue kart.

Donkey Kong Jr. was also seen in an early build of the character selection screen, but was scrapped in the end.


Permanent upside-down car

This glitch only works with the Parade Kart. The player should go to a place where they can get smashed by the course obstacle, such as the Thwomps in Bowser's Castle or the blue dinosaur in Dino Dino Jungle (Bowser's Castle is preferred because the Thwomps are stationary). This glitch best works for two players, as timing is needed. One player should drive underneath a Thwomp, while the other should receive an explosive power-up, either a Spiny Shell or a Bob-omb. When received, the player should fire the item at the correct moment, blasting the kart into the air and getting smashed under the floating Thwomp. After falling down, if done correctly, the player will remain such, which is upside down. Note that the player is invincible in this position and the player can only revert to normal position if Lightning strikes them and a Thwomp afterward.

References to other games

  • Super Mario Bros. - The music for "Tilt-a-Kart" starts out with the famous ground theme, and it features Mario's 8-bit sprite from this game.
  • Yoshi's Cookie - In the battle stage Cookie Land, cookies are seen from this game in the background. The level itself is also based off this game.
  • Super Mario 64 - When an item hits the player's heart barrier, a sound similar to that of the Spinning Heart from this game can be heard.
  • Super Mario Kart - The logo of this game can be seen in Mushroom City.
  • Mario Kart 64 - The name "Sherbet Land" is taken from this game. Also, Waluigi Stadium resembles Wario Stadium and the horn used on the Bloom Coach is the same horn used by the white cars from Toad's Turnpike. Also, the Heart Coach, Bloom Coach, Piranha Pipes, and Boo Pipes share an engine sound similar to Peach's and Yoshi's karts from Mario Kart 64. The music for Rainbow Road contains a segment of Mario Kart 64s Rainbow Road music.
  • Super Smash Bros. - Mario's Red Fireballs and Luigi's Green Fireballs were reused as Mario and Luigi's special items in this game.
  • Donkey Kong 64 - Diddy Kong's voice clips are recycled from this game.
  • Luigi's Mansion - The battle course Luigi's Mansion is based on this game, and the A Rank Mansion from this game's ending can be seen in the background of Luigi Circuit. King Boo returns from this game as well.
  • Wario Land 4 - The Wario Car is taken from this game.
  • Super Mario Sunshine - Peach Beach is heavily influenced by Gelato Beach. Shine Sprites appear on many billboards in the courses, as well as Shine Thief. Piantas and Nokis appear in Peach Beach as well as the Award Ceremony, and a portion of the Award Ceremony's music incorporates the main theme from this game. The tracks have similar connections as some tracks can be seen in other tracks (e.g. DK Mountain can be seen at Baby Park). Also, in Yoshi Circuit, the Shadow Mario "M" sign appears on the first sign in the course, near the first turn. Additionally, Petey Piranha appears as an unlockable playable character and his voice clips are recycled from this game.
  • Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour - Bowser and Bowser Jr.'s voice clips, the countdown sound effect from Speed Golf, and the artwork for the Chain Chomp item are recycled from this game.

References in later games

  • Later Mario Kart games - Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is known to have set the standards for later games in many ways. The 3-second countdown, which was introduced in this game, was reused in all later Mario Kart games. This is also the first game to have its final lap music one key note higher. This also marks the first time the player loses an item after falling off the course or being hit by certain items or obstacles. The Bob-omb item that was introduced as a Special Item for Wario and Waluigi in this game became a regular item in later games. The Chain Chomp item for Baby Mario and Baby Luigi was re-worked into the Bullet Bill item.
  • Mario Power Tennis - The item boxes are identical to the ones in this game, and so are the items themselves and the item boxes' sound effects. Toadette makes a cameo appearance during the game's opening cutscene. The 3-second countdown sound effect is used when a round of Artist On the Court is about to begin.
  • Super Mario 64 DS - Some of Mario's, Luigi's, and Wario's voice clips were reused for this game.
  • Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix: The songs Rollercoasting and Bowser's Castle are remixes of songs from Luigi Circuit, Mario Circuit, Yoshi Circuit, and Bowser's Castle.
  • Mario Superstar Baseball - Some of the voices are reused from this game. Also, Mario's Red Fireballs and Luigi's Green Fireballs were used as their special shots.
  • Mario Kart DS - The character profile sprites of characters that re-appeared in this game were reused, although mirrored. Also, Luigi Circuit, Baby Park, Mushroom Bridge, Yoshi Circuit, and the battle course Pipe Plaza reappear in this game and some of the voices are reused from this game and the Toad Kart resembles the Standard Kart.
  • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - Some of the voices are reused in this game.
  • Mario Hoops 3-on-3 - Some of the voices are reused from this game.
  • Mario Kart Wii - The standing character models and animation in the character select screen of characters that re-appear in this game are shown again here, except for the newcomers for that installment. Also, Peach Beach, Mario Circuit, Waluigi Stadium, DK Mountain, and the battle course Cookie Land reappear in this game. The Grand Prix starting jingle is recycled to this game for both the Grand Prix and VS Race.
  • Mario Kart 7 - Daisy Cruiser and Dino Dino Jungle reappear in this game, and a modified version of the Barrel Train is an unlockable kart frame. A section of the music for this game's Bowser's Castle covers the main theme of Bowser's Castle. Also, some of the voice clips are reused.
  • Mario Party 9 - The song "Pandemonium" is a cover version of the battle theme (played in Fungi Frenzy, Hazard Hold, and Flinger Painting). Also, some of the voice clips are recycled from this game.
  • Mario & Sonic games - Daisy's voice clip from the selection screen is reused from this game. In the first game in the series, the Star theme is reused when the player gets a star in Dream Race. Mushroom Bridge reappears in Mario and Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U - The trees and flowers in the Figure-8 Circuit stage take their design from this game. Also, the music for Rainbow Road appears in this stage, and several stickers and trophies reference Mario Kart: Double Dash!! as well.
  • Mario Kart Arcade GP DX - The Fusion Kart mechanic is most likely inspired by the two-person kart feature of this game. Voice clips that were recorded in this game are also reused for Mario Kart Arcade GP DX.
  • Mario Golf: World Tour - Some voice clips for Diddy Kong were reused.
  • Mario Kart 8 - Characters physically hold items. Dry Dry Desert and Sherbet Land return as retro courses, while Yoshi Circuit and Baby Park return as DLC.
    • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Double Item Boxe] and the Bob-omb Blast and Shine Thief battle sub-modes return. Luigi's Mansion reappears as a retro battle course.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - The Rainbow Road music returns as a track that can be played in battles on any Mario Kart stage. Additionally, the Barrel Train, Goo-Goo Buggy, Turbo Yoshi, and Bloom Coach appear as spirits, using their artwork from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
  • Mario Kart Tour - Special Items return. Yoshi Circuit and Dino Dino Jungle appear as returning courses. The Turbo Yoshi, Koopa Dasher, Bullet Blaster, and DK Jumbo return as karts.


  • On the North American box art, the "L" on Luigi's cap is backward.
  • This is currently the only Mario Kart game in which the Star Cup is available as default. In all other games, it needs to be unlocked first. This unique feature is similar to Mario Kart 64, where the Special Cup was available as a default in that game.
  • This Mario Kart game is the only one to have the Flower Cup picture to have the color of the Fire Flower switched.
  • This is also the only Mario Kart game where Toad is an unlockable character.
  • This is the last main Mario Kart game to use the original series logo for its box art and tracks. The next installment would introduce the new and current logo.
  • On the box art for the European and American releases, the "L" on Luigi's Cap is backwards.
  • This is the first game in the series that can be played in multiple languages beside English and Japanese.
  • Rainbow Road returns in the Nintendo 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U.
  • The Toad Kart bears a striking resemblance to the Standard Kart from the next installment of the series, Mario Kart DS.


  5. Edge, page 98

External links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.