Mario Kart DS (JP) (known as Mario Racing DS in China) is a racing game and the fifth installment in the Mario Kart series. Released in November 2005 for the Nintendo DS, this was the first game that used the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

New Features

  • 3D graphics for the first time on a handheld.
  • New "retro cups" with courses designed after past Mario Kart games.
  • Touchscreen capabilities, although limited.
  • WiFi play, with Shy Guy as an online exclusive character.
  • A new "missions" feature.
  • A return to single-player karts.


Playable Characters

Image Character Weight First Kart Second Kart Third Kart Unlock
Mario Medium Standard MR B Dasher Shooting Star Available from the start
Luigi Medium Standard LG Poltergust 4000 Streamliner Available from the start
Princess Peach Light Standard PC Royale Light Tripper Available from the start
Yoshi Light Standard YS Egg 1 Cucumber Available from the start
Toad Light Standard TD Mushmellow 4-Wheel Cradle Available from the start
Donkey Kong Heavy Standard DK Rambi Rider Wildlife Available from the start
Wario Heavy Standard WR Brute Dragonfly Available from the start
Bowser Heavy Standard BW Tyrant Hurricane Available from the start
Daisy Medium Standard DS Power Flower Light Dancer Obtain all Gold Trophies on 50cc Retro Grand Prix cups.
Dry Bones Light Standard DB Banisher Dry Bomber Obtain all Gold Trophies on 50cc Nitro Grand Prix cups.
Waluigi Medium Standard WL Gold Mantis Zipper Obtain all Gold Trophies on 100cc Retro Grand Prix cups.
R.O.B. Heavy Standard RB ROB-BLS ROB-LGS Obtain all Gold Trophies on 150cc Mirror Mode cups (Nitro or Retro).


There are several items in this game (many of them newly introduced), which are typically used to help you get an advantage, or to hinder others.

  • Mushroom: Mushrooms are used to give you a short speed boost, which can be very useful in taking shortcuts across rough ground (Which would normally slow you down dramatically) or simply to pass someone. In Battle Mode, you can steal balloons if you hit a opponent during the boost. However, if you have three balloons, you will simply knock off the target's balloons.
  • Golden Mushroom: Like a mushroom, you are given a temporary speed boost, but with a golden mushroom, you can use the boost as many times as you want for a limited period of time.
  • Banana Peel: A player can set these on the course, or throw them in front of themselves. Either way, if someone runs into it, they'll spin out and, in battle mode, lose a balloon or shine sprite (Depending on which battle mode you're playing)
  • Multiple Banana Peels: This allows the player to have a trail of three banana peels trailing them, which the player can then chose to either set individually, or use to block red or green shells, which others can shoot at you.
  • Fake Item Boxes: A stationary object, resembling an item box, but, when hit, will cause the one who hit it to spin out, and will be unable to move for a short amount of time. Hitting these can be easily avoided if one knows the course well, or the player pays close attention to the map on the bottom screen.
  • Red Shell: This shell can either be set behind you, or shot toward the person nearest in front of you. This shell will track its target, but is not particularly intelligent. On occasion, it will attempt to pass through walls, which cannot be done. Also, it will NOT bounce off walls. This game's red shells also hit you in the side of your kart as opposed to directly behind you, making it much harder to dodge without proper timing.
  • Green Shell: Like the red shell, this shell can be set behind you, or shot to the front of you. Unlike the red shell, however, this shell will not track a target, but it will bounce several times, given that it doesn't hit someone before hand.
  • Triple Green/Red Shells: Three red or green shells will orbit the player, blocking most attacks. But, one can chose to shoot these shells toward others, and they will act the same as the single form of either colored shell.
  • Blue Shell: A shell, which, unlike the red and green shells, doesn't slide along the ground, but flies. When used it immediately takes the quickest route toward whoever is in first place in the current race, causing an explosion which makes them to spin out and be temporarily immobile for several seconds, which can completely change the outcome of a race if used at the correct time. But, if the player uses it while s/he is in first place, the shell will come back and hit them. This is a fairly rare item, but when you get it, it is a great help.
  • Blooper: An item new to the Mario Kart series, this item causes a blooper to appear on the top screen of everyone who is ahead of you, and shoot ink, obstructing their view. Although, an experienced player is hardly affected by such a minor inconvenience, the Computer-Controlled players seem to suffer a lot from bloopers, as they slow down and make very erratic movements, causing them to be passed by just about anyone.
  • Bob-omb: Bob-ombs can be thrown far ahead of the player, or set down behind the player, but either way, the Bob-omb can be deadly. And player unlucky enough to strike the bob-omb, or be within it's blast radius when it explodes, will be taken out of commission for a time almost rivaling that of the flying blue shell.
  • Boo: This item makes the player temporarily invulnerable to all items, and to rough ground (Which would normally slow you down) and, attempts to steal another players item.
  • Star: Gives temporary immunity to all items, rough terrain, and gives you a small, but noticeable speed boost. Also, anyone they touch will be temporarily stopped, as they get tumbled over.
  • Bullet Bill: Temporarily transforms the player into a bullet bill, during which time, they get a speed boost, and are put in a sort of "Auto-Pilot" mode, in which the player is no longer required to do anything until the effect wears off. The bullet will travel the course perfectly, knocking aside anyone who is unlucky enough to be in the way.
  • Lightning: This item is used to shrink all players who are ahead of you in the race, along with forcing them to drop their held item on to the course. While shrunk, players move at half their normal speed. The effect of this Lightning bolt wears off in order of place (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) with the player in first having the effect wear off last.

Obstacles and Hazards

The Mario Kart series has had many obstacles in almost every course, and that also includes Mario Kart DS. Here is a list of all the obstacles that you will encounter.

  • Boxes: You'll find wooden boxes throughout the game. Once you crash into a box, it will explode, making you stop, plus, sometimes an item will come out of one once you crash into it.
  • Cheep Cheep: Cheep Cheeps are swimming around in the water, so its easy to dodge them since you usually don't have to go there.
  • Crab: You will finds crabs on Cheep Cheep Beach, if you run into one, you will suddenly start to spin around for a couple of seconds. This could tragically put you in last place on the account that there near the end of the level.
  • Monty Mole: You will find Monty Moles on multiple courses such as Peach Gardens and Moo Moo Farm. You will see small holes in the ground, sometimes, Monty Moles will pop out of the holes and try to spin you out.
  • Piranha Plant: Piranha Plants will appear in a couple of courses. They will pop out of there pipe, then try to spit out fire balls at you, or just keep snapping.
  • Pokey: You'll find Pokies on the Desert Hills stage. They will be swaying back and forth in one spot. If you crash into one, you'll fly in the air and come back down to the ground, putting off a few seconds of the racing time.
  • Rocky Wrench: You'll find Rocky Wrenches on the Airship stage. On this stage, the moles will pop out of the sewers on the ship. Though they don't throw wrenches at you like they do in Super Mario Bros 3, you can still be harmed if you run into them.


This is the newest feature of the game. An emblem is a decal or picture that appears as a sort of symbol for someone on their kart. The emblem appears only on certain places on a kart, and depending on where its put, the emblem may be smaller, bigger and/or stretched out. The player also has the ability to choose from various patterns ranging from a Star to Thunderbolt and also the shape of Mario's face. The player also can choose not to use a custom emblem and to use an original emblem already designed for the a character. Emblems are displayed during All matches, whether VS, Time Trial, or online via Wi-Fi connection.



Nitro Grand Prix
# Mushroom Cup WFC Flower Cup WFC Star Cup WFC Special Cup WFC
1 Figure-8 Circuit Checkmark Desert Hills Checkmark DK Pass Checkmark Wario Stadium Checkmark
2 Yoshi Falls Checkmark Delfino Square Checkmark Tick Tock Clock Checkmark Peach Gardens Checkmark
3 Cheep Cheep Beach Checkmark Waluigi Pinball X Mario Circuit Checkmark Bowser Castle X
4 Luigi's Mansion Checkmark Shroom Ridge X Airship Fortress X Rainbow Road Checkmark


Retro Grand Prix
# Origin Shell Cup WFC Banana Cup WFC Leaf Cup WFC Lightning Cup WFC
1 SNES Mario Circuit 1 Checkmark Donut Plains 1 X Koopa Beach 2 X Choco Island 2 Checkmark
2 N64 Moo Moo Farm Checkmark Frappe Snowland Checkmark Choco Mountain Checkmark Banshee Boardwalk X
3 GBA Peach Circuit Checkmark Bowser Castle 2 X Luigi Circuit X Sky Garden Checkmark
4 GCN Luigi Circuit Checkmark Baby Park Checkmark Mushroom Bridge X Yoshi Circuit Checkmark

There are 12 characters and 32 courses in the game. Every character is the staff ghost of at least 2 courses; The default characters are each the staff ghosts of 3 courses; the unlockable characters only have 2. Below is a table of all the characters and the course they're the staff ghost of.

Character Courses
Mario Figure-8 Circuit
Mario Circuit
SNES Mario Circuit 1
Luigi Luigi's Mansion
GCN Luigi Circuit
GBA Luigi Circuit
Peach Delfino Square
Peach Gardens
GBA Peach Circuit
Yoshi Yoshi Falls
SNES Koopa Beach 2
GCN Yoshi Circuit
Toad Shroom Ridge
GCN Baby Park
GCN Mushroom Bridge
Wario Wario Stadium
N64 Frappe Snowland
N64 Choco Mountain
Donkey Kong Cheep Cheep Beach
DK Pass
N64 Moo Moo Farm
Bowser Airship Fortress
Bowser's Castle
GBA Bowser Castle 2
Character Courses
Daisy Tick Tock Clock
GBA Sky Garden
Dry Bones SNES Donut Plains 1
N64 Banshee Boardwalk
Waluigi Waluigi Pinball
SNES Choco Island 2
R.O.B. Desert Hills
Rainbow Road

Battle Stages

Retro Battle Stages

Table of Missions

Mission Mode
Level 1
1-1 Drive through all 5 numbered gates in order! 0:35 Figure-8 Circuit Mario
1-2 Collect all 15 coins! 0:30 Peach Circuit Peach
1-3 Destroy all 10 item boxes! 0:45 Yoshi Falls Yoshi
1-4 Get the Star and use it to hit 5 Cheep Cheeps! 0:40 Cheep Cheep Beach Wario
1-5 Drive through all 6 numbered gates in order! 0:30 Nintendo DS Toad
1-6 Drive out of the mansion...backwards! 0:45 Luigi's Mansion Luigi
1-7 Collect all 20 coins! 0:35 Moo Moo Farm DK
1-8 Perform 4 power-slide turbo boosts in 1 lap! 0:45 Mario Circuit 1 Mario
Boss Use Mushrooms to crash into the Big Bully and knock him off the stage! 3:00 Water Arena* Yoshi
Level 2
2-1 Crash into all 10 wooden crates and destroy every one! 0:55 Delfino Square Wario
2-2 Collect all 10 coins! 0:30 Figure-8 Circuit Yoshi
2-3 Drive through all 5 numbered gates in order! 0:45 Donut Plains 1 DK
2-4 Destroy all 5 item boxes! 0:35 Luigi's Mansion Luigi
2-5 Collect all 20 coins! 0:30 Cheep Cheep Beach Peach
2-6 Use Bob-ombs to destroy all 5 Pokeys! 0:55 Desert Hills Wario
2-7 Drive through all 10 numbered gates in order! 0:55 Luigi Circuit1 Toad
2-8 Perform 6 power-slide turbo boosts in 3 laps! 0:55 Baby Park Peach
Boss Hit the Eyerok's eyeball 3 times with shells! 5:00 Sand Arena* Mario
Level 3
3-1 Destroy all 5 item boxes! 0:50 Waluigi Pinball Wario
3-2 Drive through all 5 numbered gates in order...backwards! 0:50 Delfino Square Bowser
3-3 Collect all 15 coins while avoiding the Chain Chomp! 0:25 Luigi Circuit1 Luigi
3-4 Reach the finish before Yoshi! 0:00 Yoshi Falls Peach
3-5 Drive through all 8 numbered gates in order! 0:45 Pipe Plaza Yoshi
3-6 Hit Monty Moles with shells 5 times! 1:05 Moo Moo Farm Luigi
3-7 Perform 10 power-slide turbo boosts in 1 lap! 1:10 Shroom Ridge DK
3-8 Collect all 20 coins! 1:05 Twilight House Mario
Boss Reach the finish before Goomboss! 0:00 Baby Park Toad
Level 4
4-1 Reach the finish before Donkey Kong! 0:00 DK Pass** Wario
4-2 Blast 20 crabs!1 2:00 Palm Shore Yoshi
4-3 Reach the finish before the red car! 0:00 Shroom Ridge Mario
4-4 Drive through all 7 numbered gates in order! 0:45 Desert Hills Wario
4-5 Collect all 15 coins. If you get squished by a Thwomp, you fail! 0:30 Bowser Castle 2 Bowser
4-6 Break all 10 item boxes while avoiding the Fake Items! 1:10 Choco Mountain DK
4-7 Drive through all 10 gates!2 0:45 Waluigi Pinball Toad
4-8 Perform 9 power-slide turbo boosts in 1 lap! 1:00 Luigi Circuit2 Luigi
Boss Collect 50 coins while avoiding King Boo! 5:00 Lava Arena* Peach
Level 5
5-1 Reach the finish before the stray Chain Chomp! 0:00 Peach Gardens Peach
5-2 Drive backward and collect 15 coins! If you hit a snowman, you fail! 0:30 Frappe Snowland DK
5-3 Destroy all 5 item boxes! 0:35 Koopa Beach 2 Toad
5-4 Drive through all 10 numbered gates in order! 1:05 Bowser Castle 2 Bowser
5-5 Complete 1 lap in the opposite direction within the time limit! 0:55 Mushroom Bridge Mario
5-6 Collect all 18 coins! 0:45 Tart Top Yoshi
5-7 Drive through all 8 numbered gates in order! 0:45 DK Pass** Toad
5-8 Reach the finish before Mario! 0:00 Mario Circuit Luigi
Boss Hit the Big Bob-omb with 3 Bob-ombs! 5:00 Sand Arena* Wario
Level 6
6-1 Drive backward across the spinning bridge! If you fall, you're out! 0:30 Bowser Castle Bowser
6-2 Get Stars and run over 15 Rocky Wrenches! 0:55 Airship Fortress Wario
6-3 Collect all 30 coins! 0:45 Choco Island 2 Yoshi
6-4 Destroy all 10 item boxes! 2:00 Block Fort Mario
6-5 Drive through all 8 numbered gates in order! 0:50 Sky Garden Peach
6-6 Perform 14 power-slide turbo boosts in 1 lap! 1:00 Yoshi Circuit Yoshi
6-7 Collect all 40 coins! 1:30 Tick-Tock Clock Toad
6-8 Reach the finish before Peach! 0:00 Peach Gardens** Bowser
Boss Use Mushrooms boosts to hit Chief Chilly and knock him off the stage 3 times! 5:00 Water Arena* Luigi
Level 7
7-1 Perform 6 power-slide turbo boosts in 1 lap! 1:00 Rainbow Road Peach
7-2 Reach the finish before Bowser! 0:00 Bowser Castle Mario
7-3 Complete 2 laps within the time limit!3 1:30 Tick-Tock Clock DK
7-4 Use shells to defeat all 30 Goombas within the time limit! 2:00 Mario Circuit Toad
7-5 Collect all 20 coins! 0:55 Wario Stadium Wario
7-6 Drive through all 8 numbered gates in order! 0:11 Nintendo DS Mario
7-7 Drive backward and collect all 12 coins! If you hit a burner, you fail! 0:50 Airship Fortress Bowser
7-8 Break all 10 item boxes while avoiding the Fake Items! 1:05 Banshee Boardwalk Luigi
Boss Reach the finish before Wiggler! 0:00 Mushroom Bridge Mario

Wi-Fi gaming

Mario Kart DS supports Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Once you press the Wifi icon in the game, you will be brought to a area where you can select if you want to race against people in your country, around the world, with friends, or with rivals. Once you do you will be able to chose a course, and which ever one with the most votes will be the one you play on. If the number of votes are equal, then it will pick randomly on the selected courses.


  • In the Japanese version of the game, R.O.B is red & white and has the name HVC-012. HVC-012, or better know as Famicom Robot, is the original Japanese version of R.O.B. Additionally, HVC-012 is the true staff ghost on Desert Hills and Rainbow Road, not R.O.B (thus the * in the table above). HVC-012 has the same karts as R.O.B, even down to the same coloration.
  • Mario Kart Slot Cars were created as a promotion for this game.
  • During the race when a character gets the item box, the item-roulette sound effect stop selection was "Blah". The item-roulette sound effect carries over to Mario Kart Wii.
  • When players play Mario Kart DS on any DS systems, Mario will say "Wahoo!" in Original DS, but "Here we go!" in DS Lite, DSi and 3DS.
  • The American version of Mario Kart DS is one of the few games on the DS to have a multiple language option (almost all European DS games have this function, though). Depending on the language of the DS, the language on the game will change; however, it will not change into Japanese.
  • Mario Kart DS is one of the first games to be released that was compatible with the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, allowing players to go online and race against other users around the world.
  • A player's overall game ranking (*, **, or *** stars, if achieved) will appear next to his or her name online while racing.
  • The eight starting characters were taken from Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit.
  • Some of the playable characters' voice clips were recycled from Luigi's Mansion, Super Mario Sunshine, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Mario Kart: Double Dash‼, Super Mario 64 DS and Mario Superstar Baseball.

Critic Reviews

  • Mario Kart DS still maintains a 9.2 average at Gamestats, #1 on the Nintendo DS (as of 15:40, 22 December 2006 (EST)).
  • Gamespy reviewer Bryn Williams admitted that online, Nintendo "trimmed it back a little too much for my liking", but was certain that "Even with a few online flaws, this is the best Mario Kart ever.." (5/5; Multiplayer: Great)
  • Gamespot reviewer Justin Calvert had similar quips with the online feature: "Whether these opponents were leaving voluntarily or because of network problems is anybody's guess, but it's equally irritating either way." Yet, he finished up similarly by saying "Mario Kart DS is without a doubt one of the best games to hit the Nintendo DS to date." (9.2/10; Gamespot Editor's Choice; DS Game of the Year)
  • IGN reviewer Craig Harris commented that "it's just hard to ignore just how limited the online presentation is." But again, his closing line was this: "The only way to finish this review is just to say it: this is the greatest Mario Kart game ever developed, and is without a doubt the best DS game of 2005." (9.5/10; IGN Editor's Choice Award; DS Game of the Year)

Scores received in the major gaming review sites:

  • Gamerankings - 93%
  • Gamespot - 9.2/10
  • IGN - 9.5/10
  • Joystiq - 9.0/10
  • Nintendo Power - 9.0/10

See also

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