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Mario Kart Arcade GP DX (JP) is a racing game featuring Super Mario characters, released exclusively on the Arcade. It is the third game in the Mario Kart Arcade series, and the tenth title in the series overall, following Mario Kart Arcade GP and Mario Kart Arcade GP 2. Just like the previous two games, it is possible to do multiplayer play by linking up to four cabinets. In 2017, another game was released called Mario Kart Arcade GP VR.

The game is powered by the triforce engine, just like the two previous, and as well developed by Bandai Namco Games in association with Nintendo.

As for the general design, setting and mechanics, they reflect now modern Mario games (such as bright and solid colors as seen in Super Mario 3D Land, and the karts have the ability to drive underwater and use gliders in the air, as in Mario Kart 7), and the roster of playable racers was recast in some regards.

Gameplay

Grand Prix, National Battle, and multi-player modes are featured in the game. Unlike the other two Arcade GP releases, Time Trial is not present in the game. First the player chooses a character. Then the player can choose between seven karts, five of them being unlockable. Before starting a race, the player can take their photography and decorate it with twelve included features, such as a samurai helmet and a pirate suit. On some cases, the camera cannot be used, in which the player's photography is their selected character's portrait. The arcade operator can set whether the camera should be used or not. The player can choose to play in 50cc, 100cc and 150cc, with the latter two being unlockable. The player then must choose which one of three themed tracks (Toad, Mario, Don-chan) they want to play. Like Mario Kart Arcade GP and Mario Kart Arcade GP 2, there are only six racers in each race rather than eight or twelve, with the exception of playing Versus with 2-4 players or Team Battle with 4 players; where there are four racers. Unlike the other two Arcade GP games, the goal of Grand Prix is to finish each race in 3rd or better. Every circuit has a time limit of 250 seconds, and when the player is at first place their photography has a crown. When the player completes a lap, lights between the game screen change color. The main feature of the game is that players can now play in cooperative (with 2 players) or in teams (with 4 players), similar to Mario Kart: Double Dash!! in that a player is the driver and the second shoots items. Cooperative or team play allows the player to gain a special power-up which transforms the player's kart into a Fusion Kart that will drive and the second player is called to control the turret and shoot unlimited amounts of Green Shells at any direction for a limited period of time.[4] Fusion Karts also have health bars when playing in Team Mode with 4 players. Additionally, gameplay elements from Mario Kart 7 such as the use of gliders and underwater courses are present.

Instead of Mario Cards like the last two installments, the player can use a Banapassport Card to save their progress. The game makes extensive use of downloadable content, where over the course of five years the game will gradually have more content added through major yearly updates, so in the end there will be a total of 30 courses, 20 characters, 120 vehicles, and about 150 items, increased from 10, 12, 22, and 90 respectively as long as the machine is set up to an internet connection by the operator.[5]

The in-game commentary from Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 returns and this time, it is voiced by Rica Matsumoto in the Japanese version and Jack Merluzzi in the international version.[6] Some of the quotes in this game are reused from the second game.

On July 1, 2015, update 1.04 for international version cabinets was released. It includes two new characters and new features, including a mode that allows a 2 on 2 team battle, mirror modes of all tracks, and improved drifting mechanics with three levels of boost. The update also changed the time limit on races in the international versions from 180 seconds to 250 seconds (which is the same for the Japanese version) and added an Advice section after a single-player race (except for when a race is timed out). Also, the update changed the point distribution for Two Player Co-op and Team Battle races.

On December 17, 2016, update 1.06 for international version cabinets was released. It contains several changes, such as the HUD layout being changed, and two new characters Baby Mario and Baby Peach being added.

On June 6, 2017, update 1.10 for Japanese version cabinets was added two new characters (Daisy and King Boo, the latter being playable during a limited-time event). The update also features the addition of the PAC-MAN Cup and its two NAMCO courses.

The latest update for Japanese version cabinets was released on December 12, 2018, which added Lakitu as a playable character as well as the DK Cup and its two courses.

Modes

The game features five modes of play, with two single-player and three multiplayer:

Grand Prix

  • Number of Players: 1

Grand Prix is the main mode of this game, and is a single-player mode. The player always starts in 6th place in each Grand Prix race, and the objective of Grand Prix is to finish each course in 3rd place or better within 250 seconds to go to the next course. Certain rounds have preset items while other rounds let the player choose their items. The player completes a cup by finishing each round of a cup in 3rd or better.

At first, the player can only pick 50cc, but as the player clears rounds, the 100cc and 150cc can be unlocked for play in Grand Prix mode. Also in 150cc, the number of laps to run for certain tracks (such as Splash Circuit) may increase.

When played on certain cabinets, only 100cc or 150cc Mirror is available, only one round can be played, and the Kart and Items the player gets is decided randomly.

Unlike the other two Arcade GP games, this game does not have a Challenge Minigame. Whenever a player completes a cup, they will be given the Congratulations screen.

National Battle

  • Number of Players: 1

National Battle is an exclusive mode for Japanese cabinets. A new single-player mode in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, this mode pits the player against other people in race tracks around the region. In this mode, players race to earn experience points to complete sections of the region, rank up and gain additional frames for their avatar. Here, the player selects a track to race from the limited tracks available. For each race except one-on-one battles, there are four karts competing and regardless of what cabinet number they use and who they face off against, they must always start each race in 4th place.

The goal of this mode is to complete sections of the region to earn points. A section of the region is complete once the player accumulates 100 points. The point system is as follows:

Position Points
1st 100 points
2nd 50 points
3rd 40 points
4th 30 points

By completing all the 50 sections of the region, the player is given the Congratulations screen. They will then receive special content for their performance and all sections will reset.

When this mode is played during certain times, the player may be challenged on a one-on-one battle against a tougher opponent. The player cannot select the track though, and must compete in the track selected by the opposing player. The player's objective is to win the race, if done so, the player receives a present, in which the player picks one box out of the three to earn a reward.

Versus

  • Number of Players: 2-4

Versus, also known as Two Player Versus with two players, is a multiplayer mode in this game. By linking up to four cabinets, up to four people can take on Versus. This mode returns from the previous two Arcade GP games, and is the only mode available with three players. In this mode the players (and CPU if necessary) compete to see who can come in 1st place in a specified race track. In this mode, the players vote for a track. If two or more tracks tie for the most amount of votes the easiest track will be selected. However, if PAC-MAN Stadium or NAMCO Circuit is one of the tracks with the tied highest vote then that specific track will be selected. In the case that both PAC-MAN Stadium and NAMCO Circuit tie for the most votes then the players will race on PAC-MAN Stadium. After voting for a track, the player votes if they want to race in Normal or Mirror. If the vote is tied then the players always race in the Normal version of the track. In this mode, each player will select their three items and take their own photography, which will be displayed to the other players in the race. If a player cannot take a picture because the camera on their cabinet is disabled, the character they select will be revealed to the other players. In VS. Race, Two Player Co-op, and Team Battle, each player is given a color depending on which cabinet number they're on for easy identification:

Player Color
Player 1 Red
Player 2 Orange
Player 3 Green
Player 4 Blue
CPU Yellow

If less than four players gather for a race then CPU drivers are added depending on how many people join:

No. of Players No. of CPU Total Karts
2 Players 2 CPU 4 Karts
3 Players 1 CPU 4 Karts
4 Players 0 CPU 4 Karts

CPUs, if any, will always start on the front spots. Then the players are arranged on the grid based on their player number, with the lower player numbers starting at a better grid spot.

Once the 1st place player finishes, the other players have 15 seconds to finish, if they don't they get the Time's Up screen. Either way, when they finish or time out, each player is given a screen which shows each player's finishing position in the race.

Only the 100cc class is available in Versus, though courses can be raced in Normal or Mirror. This also applies to the other multiplayer modes.

Two Player Co-op

  • Number of Players: 2

Two Player Co-op is a new mode to Mario Kart Arcade GP DX. As long as there are at least two cabinets are linked together, this mode can be played. Here, two players team up to race against two CPU teams of two players each. In this case there are three teams and six karts in total (of which four of them are CPU) and each team is vying for first place. Like other multiplayer modes, the players vote for a track, select their three items and take a photography. In the starting grid, the second team takes the 1st and 3rd spots, the third team takes the 2nd and 4th spots, and the human team that is team 1, starts 5th and 6th, with the 5th place starter being the lower player number. This race type has a special item that cannot be used by CPU players which is the Fusion Kart. Also, a feature exclusive to this mode in the game is the Friendship Shield, which also cannot be used by the CPU. This shield is deployed when the team's player karts are close to each other. After a race, each team scores points depending on each player's finishing position and the winner is the team who has the most points. The player can earn experience points to upgrade their Fusion Kart to a maximum level of six.

In the Japan-only update 1.10, both players will need Banapassport to play this mode.

Team Battle

  • Number of Players: 4

Team Battle is a new mode to Mario Kart Arcade GP DX. This mode cannot be played in arcades that link less than four cabinets. Added in an update, this mode sees four players split into two groups of two and compete to see which team is the best. Like other multiplayer modes, the players vote for a track and take a photography. The three items that each player receives before a Team Battle race is by the Item Kart Roulette.

In this mode, the starting grid is as follows:

Position Player
1st Lower player number of Team 1
2nd Higher player number of Team 1
3rd Lower player number of Team 2
4th Higher player number of Team 2

Like Two Player Co-op, this race type has a special item that can be used, which is the Fusion Kart. Unlike the Two Player Co-op race mode, Fusion Karts in this mode have health bars, in which if its health depletes, the tank will be destroyed and the players will take damage. It usually takes four hits to destroy the Fusion Kart. Unlike Two Player Co-op, this mode does not have the Friendship Shield feature. Just like Two Player Co-op after a race, each team scores points depending on each player's finishing position and the winner is the team who has the most points. If the players in one team finish 1st and 4th and the players in the other team finish 2nd and 3rd, the battle is considered a tie.

This mode was removed in the April 21, 2016 update. This mode is still available in cabinets that are updated to the July 1, 2015 version (no earlier or later than that).

Team Battle Point System

When players play in Two Player Co-op or Team Battle, a point system is used to determine which team wins. The point distribution is as follows:

Position Old Points New Points
1st 12 points 10 points
2nd 8 points 8 points
3rd 6 points 6 points
4th 4 points 4 points
5th 2 points 2 points
6th 1 point 1 point
  • Old Points refer to older versions of the game (for example, when Team Battle for 4 players didn't exist).
  • New Points refer to newer versions of the game (for example, when Metal Mario existed).

Roster

The game roster is still in constantly updated, as support for the game continues. Currently, the playable characters are these:

Daisy is currently only available in the Japanese version of the game. King Boo appeared as a playable character in Japanese arcade cabinets late 2017.

Courses

Toad Cup

  • Peach Castle
  • Castle Way

Mario Cup

  • Splash Circuit
  • Tropical Coast

Don-chan Cup

  • Bon Dance Street
  • Omatsuri Circuit

Bowser Jr. Cup

  • Aerial Road
  • Sky Arena

Bowser Cup

  • Bowser's Factory
  • Bowser's Castle

PAC-MAN Cup

  • PAC-MAN Stadium
  • NAMCO Circuit

References to other games

  • Super Mario Bros. - The Toad Cup's tracks contain scenery based on objects and landmarks from this game.
  • Super Mario World - Music on the character selection screen and course selection screen uses the beginning of the main theme from said game.
  • Mario Kart: Double Dash!! - As with the previous Arcade GP games, sound effects from this title are reused, such as the race start countdown and the item roulette.
  • Mario Party 6 - Waluigi's artwork is reused in this game.
  • Mario Party 7 - Wario's artwork is reused in this game.
  • Super Mario Galaxy - Bowser Jr.'s artwork is reused in this game.
  • Mario Party DS - Luigi's artwork is reused in this game.
  • Mario Kart Wii - Baby Mario, Baby Peach, and Rosalina's artworks are reused in this game. Also, the Mega Mushroom, Thunder Cloud, and POW Block return as items.
  • Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games - Donkey Kong and Dry Bowser's artworks are reused in this game.
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii - Toad and Bowser's artworks are reused in this game.
  • Fortune Street - Peach's artwork is reused in this game.
  • Mario Kart 7 - Gliding and underwater driving from this game are present. Also, Metal Mario's artwork is reused from this game.
  • Mario Party 9 - Mario and Yoshi's artworks are reused in this game.
  • New Super Mario Bros. 2 - Gold Mario is playable as a palette swap of Metal Mario. The design of the Scuttlebug is reused from this game.
  • Super Mario 3D World - Tanooki Mario's artwork is reused in this game.
  • Mario Golf: World Tour - Gold Mario's artwork (sans golf club) is reused in this game.

Trivia

  • In National Battle, the player uses customized avatars instead of photos. These avatars are reused from some of Namco Bandai Games's earlier titles, being We Ski, We Ski & Snowboard, and Go Vacation.
  • Numerous characters from Dig Dug, Mappy, Galaxian, and The Tower of Druaga are seen in the Namco-themed tracks.
  • In the American version of the game on cabinets of version 1.04 and later, there is an error: The character names are written in Japanese at the part of the Attract Movie (before Don-chan comes out), as well as the character order being disarranged (from left to right and from top to bottom):
    • From: Luigi, Peach, PAC-MAN, Mario, Yoshi, Toad, Bowser, Donkey Kong
    • To: Luigi, Mario, PAC-MAN, Peach, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Toad, Bowser

References

  1. Official site
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. Kotaku - In This New Mario Kart, You Can Drive a Tank
  5. http://arcadeheroes.com/2014/03/25/new-details-mario-kart-arcade-gp-dxs-online-features/
  6. https://youtu.be/D6-oyizvhho?t=59

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