Hey all, Scott here. Ever since the beginning of time in November of 2003, mankind has asked one question:
Why is there only one game called "Mario Kart: Double Dash!!"? It's a title that fits most game releases.
However, after a painstaking 20 minutes of research,
I think I finally cracked the code on why there's only one game called "Mario Kart: Double Dash!!"
They got two trademarks on this title.
See, if Nintendo didn't monopolize the industry, we would have like nine games called that by now.
And here, we have the college essentials!
"Mario Kart: Double Dash!!" is the only Mario Kart game with more than one exclamation mark.
It's the only Mario Kart with an exclamation mark.
But yes, it deserves the two!
The fourth Mario Kart game, the one on the GameCube, the title that had the audacity to follow up Mario Kart: Super Circuit.
It's really interesting to see how the Mario Kart series evolved within its first few entries.
We go from Super Mario Kart to Mario Kart 64 and at this point, you may have said,
"Oh man, I can't wait to see how crazy the next one is!"
I mean, that's what you get for alternating between console and handheld versions of Mario Kart.
The next entry wasn't always gonna look like a true evolution.
But Double Dash was that. After over half a decade of waiting after Mario Kart 64,
we've finally got a truly upgraded Mario Kart title in every way.
And that's incredibly obvious just looking at the reviews at the time of its release in 2003.
Double Dash's reception was a bit mixed at the time. Sure, the vast majority of it was pretty positive,
but many reviewers felt a bit underwhelmed with the game.
It was such a long time between 64 and Double Dash, I guess some were just expecting a bit more.
Well, let's take a look at "Mario Kart: Double Dash!!" to see why exactly IGN would give it a 7.9/10, those f*cking savages.
"Mario Kart: Double Dash!!" was announced at E3 2001 as simply "Mario Kart for Nintendo GameCube"
and they pulled out all the stops with this one, showing everybody
what a true next-gen Mario Kart title would look like by putting Super Smash Bros. Melee models in go-karts!
Interesting tactic. This was either a very early prototype of Mario Kart on the GameCube or Nintendo was like,
"Oh sh*t, oh sh*t, we need to show Mario Kart on the GameCube.
I got it!" Nearly two years later in April 2003, "Mario Kart: Double Dash!!" was formally unveiled. Was any of the E3
2001 clip indicative of what was revealed in April 2003-
N o p e.
Double Dash was clearly doing things a bit differently compared to the three previous games. Two characters in one kart, special items you can
use based on what characters you picked, LAN play for God's sake!
This was looking to be the greatest "Mario Kart: Double Dash!!" of all time. After being playable at E3
2003, the game released in November of that year and people like me won't shut up about it.
So that was a short "build-up to release" board game. There's not much left to do other than actually play the thing
Okay, I stand corrected. We have to check out the bonus disc!
So this is why people gave a sh*t about this game. If you pre-ordered "Mario Kart: Double Dash!!" at certain stores,
you get a special edition including a bonus disc filled with demos and game trailers.
Alright, Mario Party 5 has a demo! I get to pick the characters I play with. I like to choose strange groups of characters.
Like, if you were invited to a party and these were the only ones there, would you go? Just a handful of mini-games to choose from here,
nothing crazy, but nothing that would actively get me to not buy Mario Party 5. F-Zero GX,
God, I stink! Just one race and then it boots you back to the menu.
Yeah, I guess it's enough to figure out if you're into F-Zero GX or not,
but the other demos have so much more to them. Like Sonic Heroes, you get two full stages here!
It's almost as long as Sonic Forces! Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3,
this game still looks good to this day. Whenever I see gameplay,
It's like, "Whoa, man! Certain parts look like they were ripped right from the movies!"
And finally, we have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A big thank you to Konami for putting this demo in here.
And now I know for a fact I don't want to buy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
You can get bonus items for Fire Emblem on GBA
if you connect the little guy to the GameCube with Fire Emblem in it. I don't own the game
and before you ask, you can't trick it into downloading the items into Mario Party Advance. Just trailers left.
I do like these on demo discs though because you get fairly high quality versions of trailers from back in the day.
It's especially cool when you see games earlier in development like Pokémon Colosseum here
doesn't even have a final logo yet. And then watching the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles trailer made me realize, "Man,
I love Mario Kart!"
The 1080° Avalanche trailer reeks of early
2000s with the choice of background music. The promo for Kirby Air Ride is a
promo for the "Kirby: Right Back at Ya!" show which leads into an Air Ride promo,
I almost had to sound the alarms. Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup. I bought this for like $5 at GameStop
one day, I played it for 10 minutes, and never played it again. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom,
now we're talkin'. This was the game back in the day, but you don't have to take my word for it.
Ask any person born in the late 90s, we're legally obligated to shove this game down your throat. And NBA Live 2004.
How many sentences start with, "I bought NBA Live 2004 because of the Mario Kart
bonus disc."? A neat little novelty for pre-ordering the game.
I mean, you can cruise through the contents of this thing in a solid hour or so,
but it's still a nice bonus. Now,
is there anything else to talk about before we actually play "Mario Kart: Double Dash!!"? The L on Luigi's head is backwards!
We're off to a bad start. If the L is backwards, what does that mean for the rest of the game?
Well, there's only one way to find out.
Man, I want to meet somebody with a tattoo of this title screen. "Mario Kart: Double Dash!!" is a standard Mario Kart title
but with a twist.
I mean that was evident by the fact that the first frame of gameplay shows more Luigi ass than usual for the series. Two characters
per kart, you have to pick two before a race. You can't just go at it alone as Birdo,
you have to pick a teammate. The option would have been nice. One character drives. The other ensures
they will get pulled over at some point, and the gameplay...
It's Mario Kart. Lap around the track an average of three times,
try to get first, run into item boxes to use a random item against opponents.
The team aspect doesn't change the core gameplay that awful much,
but it does add some strategy. One runs, the other guns. The character in front drives while the one in the back deals with the
items. You switch the characters by pressing the Z button and switching is integral to item play here.
You can hold two whole items at once! Now,
it's not like in previous games where if you grab something like a banana peel, you could hold that behind you and then grab another
item in reserve. Now in Double Dash, you can grab two items at once by driving into an item box, switching the characters
so the one in the backseat has their hands free, and then run into another box to get another item.
You can't pass up this deal. This allows you to choose which item you use first. Both characters
hold on to one and you can switch between the characters to choose what you squirt out.
You can actually hold on to a specific item for as long as you can keep it in the driver's hands. You can save a
mushroom or something while you grab and use more items. Now just because you can hold on to two items at once,
it's really not like previous games.
You can't hold an item behind you as a form of defense, you're
vulnerable at all times unless you throw a banana or shell behind you at the very last second if somebody's throwin' something at ya. Triple
shells. Yeah, those don't surround you, you decide to surrender to flashiness over function and juggle.
Now, there are double item boxes, usually in harder to reach places than these single item ones.
These give you two items instantly. You don't have to switch characters or anything.
In fact, when you use one of the two items, the characters automatically switch positions
so you can use your second item instantly.
There will be a test. Now because you have a partner, you can actually team up with an actual human being to play co-op! One
player drives, the other uses items. Give me an E, give me an H, this mode is just fine. I'm happy it's here,
it's cool a Mario Kart game has a form of cooperative play,
but it just makes it so both players are experiencing only half the fun of Mario Kart,
especially the item user. There will be prolonged moments where you're just not doing anything.
But that's pretty much all the dual characters amount to gameplay-wise. They're a fun addition,
but all they do is add a hint of strategy to racing from time to time.
Nothing major, but it still makes Double Dash really accessible.
You don't have to switch characters at all really, but if you want to master the game,
you're gonna have to swap religiously. It makes this game out of all the Mario Karts stick out in a really good way.
It's 8:07, I'm due for my weekly complaining about a Mario Kart's controls.
I mean I had something to whine about with all the games before this, but with Double Dash...
By God, they did it! They finally nailed the controls of everything here!
Especially the drifting! Something about using the GameCube's triggers and the drifting in Double Dash just go together so well!
It feels so GOOD!
And we've got to talk about the rocket start. Most Mario Karts give you a boost right at the start of the race if you
start accelerating at a specific time during the countdown. Double Dash gives you the boost if you start accelerating the exact
moment the light turns green and Christ, it's strict! But you don't just have to do that.
You can tap the A button rapidly once the countdown begins to get the same results. Yeah, I only do it this way,
why wouldn't I? The controls may feel a bit looser than preferred,
but it's nowhere near as hard to pull off a drift as it was with previous games,
so the warrant's been updated. Now because we have two characters per kart, Double Dash had to include like 50 characters.
We got 20, damn it. All the characters from 64 and Super Circuit returned alongside Koopa Troopa coming back from Super Mario Kart!
But we actually got more new characters added than returning ones here. Just like death, Daisy being playable in Mario Kart was inevitable
so, whatever. Baby Mario and Baby Luigi, this raises more questions than answers.
Koopa Paratroopa, these two are literally the same character except one's the product of crossbreeding. Diddy Kong, Bowser Jr,
Waluigi, all are characters that make total sense for the series. King Boo and Petey Piranha are total "Yeah,
we had some extra time in development and felt like drawing circles."
But they're really fun characters to have as options. Birdo...
And they introduced Toadette! Not just introduced her to Mario Kart, but introduced her as a character in general,
this was her first appearence ever
and the first time I asked, "What are these legally considered?"
Toadette was definitely just created to give Toad a partner in this game because every character is associated with another, they all have a partner:
Mario and Luigi, Peach and Daisy, Bowser and Bowser Jr,
King Boo and Petey Piranha because you can't have one without the other. Now, the characters having designated partners doesn't mean you
have to use both, you can mix and match these guys any way you please.
Morally, I feel it's just right to pick the characters that are already partners,
but I love making combinations that just make no sense. Like how the hell did we get to this point?
I do love the character selection in this game just for having all the Mario characters you'd expect to have in a Mario Kart
plus some "why the f*cks?" You can't have a Mario Kart roster without some "why the f*cks?" You also get a selection of different types
of karts for the first time, and not every character can use every car but you usually get a selection of three or so vehicles
per character combination. You have a lot to choose from when it comes to character combinations and kart types to affect your speed and weight.
But this is just where the strategy begins when picking characters. Each character team has their own special item
only those characters can use. Mario and Luigi can barf out
fireballs, Peach and Daisy have hearts that protect them and can also steal some items,
Yoshi and Birdo have eggs that home in on other players and break apart, showering the ground with three items, Baby Mario and Baby Luigi have
Whiplash, Koopa Troopa and Koopa Paratroopa have triple shells. They're not available to everybody in this game,
only they can use them, that's kind of wrong. Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong have a giant banana peel, Bowser and Bowser Jr. have a giant bowser shell,
these are both as self-explanatory as they get. Wario and Waluigi have Bob-ombs and Toad and Toadette have a golden mushroom, again,
an item that was once available to everybody now exclusive to only two characters. King Boo and Petey Piranha
don't even have their own special items. Instead, they can randomly get any special character exclusive item in the game,
Jesus. Now, mixing and matching the characters makes it more random what special items you get. Like, if I pick Luigi and
Paratroopa, because they're both products of crossbreeding, I can get the fireballs and the triple shells, but if I really just want the fireballs,
it's easier just to pick Mario and Luigi
so it's a surefire bet my special item will be some fireballs. When you have a mix-and-match team, if you want a higher chance of
getting a specific character's special item, you have to make sure they're the one in the back of the car
which I'm not always paying attention to. No new general items that everybody can use though.
The only new items in Double Dash are the special ones.
That and the fact that items that were once usable by everybody like the golden mushroom and triple shells are now special items are pretty lame.
But I love the idea of character specific items in this game. Sure, in Super Mario Kart character specific items did exist
but they were only used by CPUs. I love that there's actually a reason to pick characters over others.
Sure, Mario Kart characters vary in terms of weight
but overall, you just kind of pick a Mario Kart character because, "Oh, this one looks cool!
I'll play as this one!" Double Dash actually gives you a reason to want to play as different characters
and I love that. But as much fun as the specials are, they're pretty overpowered. That makes them a ton of fun to use
but it does make Double Dash crazier than all hell. This game is pure chaos.
This is the craziest Mario Kart out there.
You will never have a couple of seconds go by without like three items flying past you. With two characters per kart,
that means more items are out there than usual and with the special items being so huge and overpowered,
it just makes playing this game absolutely insane. If you're sitting down to play through Double Dash to unlock the hidden characters and tracks,
it's a f*cking mess! If you're sitting down to play Double Dash with friends,
it is some of the most fun you can muster out of any Mario Kart.
You get knocked around so much, items are everywhere, and special items like Bowser's shell and the giant banana take up an entire
county's worth of size. It's a lot of fun in multiplayer,
but a lot of the strategy that goes into Double Dash's new elements is sadly almost
completely pointless with the amount of random bullsh*t happening all the time. It's physics can be a little wonky
sometimes, the item balance is crazier than I remember,
this is a trainwreck of a game to sit down and try to complete in singleplayer, but that makes it ridiculously fun in multiplayer.
Well, let's move on to the tracks. We go back to the standard number of tracks from Mario Kart 64,
16 across 4 cups. The Mushroom Cup starts off with Luigi Circuit.
Yeah, that's the stupidest 8 I've ever seen, but it's your standard no-nonsense Mario Kart course, this is your lame stepdad's favorite track.
This is an interesting one just because you can pass by racers going in the opposite direction of you based on how the track layout
is. Peach Beach and Dry Dry Desert are okay,
just nothing special to be honest. Peach Beach has the interesting distinction of being yet
another one of the stupidest 8's I've ever seen. So stupid, I might just censor it.
But then we have Baby Park, a seven lap oval.
That's it. Because of how small this track is and the amount of laps and the amount of bullsh*t,
this is a fun one. So many items blazing around, all the racers are rubbing up against each other, it's crazy
how one of Double Dash's greatest tracks is a f*cking circle. Flower Cup, Mushroom Bridge is alright,
I mainly remember it just because the music sounds like business is getting done. Mario Circuit's a less memorable
Luigi Circuit to me just because it ain't a lanky 8, that's for sure. There's a Chain Chomp though, that's pretty fun.
Daisy Cruiser is THE track from Double Dash. You're on a cruise ship,
you can go through a dining area where the tables are shifting all over the place, you can fall down this hole, damn it.
Waluigi Stadium's a fun time.
It's like the Double Dash take on 64's Wario Stadium and it has a whole lot of Piranha Plant budget cuts.
I like this one because it really does feel like a motocross stadium, it's a good time. Star Cup, Sherbet Land is garbage,
I hate this one, there's too many Freezies. Mushroom City is a bit of a cooler take on Mushroom Bridge's concept
but it's a bit harder. Yoshi Circuit finally answers the question:
What does it feel like to drive on Yoshi? Just the fact that they were able to make a good track out of an outline
of Yoshi is all it takes to make this the best circuit track of the game. DK Mountain, this part with the crack, lame.
But everything else is great.
Now, you have to get first overall in the 100CC Star Cup to unlock the Special Cup, and after you do we have Wario
Coliseum, a two-lap course because of how honkin' long this thing is. But, it's a really fun one,
I love the atmosphere of being in this giant go-kart cage match.
Dino Dino Jungle is neat just because of its use of dinosaur feet. Overall,
this one's okay, but Bowser's Castle feels like an epic adventure. Every single part of this course has something crazy going on.
I don't know what it is with this one, but I love this rendition of Bowser's Castle. And f*ck Rainbow Road.
This one just annoys me,
I always feel like the camera or track is at an angle to where it's too hard to see what the hell is coming up.
I proudly get last place every time. So getting first overall in the
150CC Cup is what pure pain feels like and it unlocks the All Cup Tour,
a marathon, of all the tracks, in the game, thus far. There's nothing new to any of this,
it's literally just playing all the tracks in the game again. Am I really gonna go through with this? No. I did it anyways.
I mean, you have to place first in All Cup Tour on
150CC to unlock Mirror Mode, and then you have to beat the Star Cup on Mirror Mode to unlock King Boo and Petey Piranha,
you can't have one without the F*CKING OTHER!
Toad and Toadette are the only other unlockable pair of characters and they're unlocked by beating the Special Cup on 100CC.
God, Toad is such a flaccid unlockable character. Like, is it really exciting to unlock Toad in a Mario Kart game? Who goes,
Oh my God. I mean
I'll give Double Dash that, they actually have junk for you to work towards.
64 had barely anything to keep you playing singleplayer-wise and Super Mario Kart was just really tedious because you had to get first place in
everything to unlock the Special Cup. But with Double Dash, just with what I said earlier, this game is nuts.
You'll have a good run with a cup, looking to get first place overall, and then...
reality sets in. It can be tedious and difficult to unlock everything, but hey,
it's not as bad as Super Mario Kart. The All Cup Tour actually wasn't that bad overall.
It takes about 40 minutes, but because you have so many tracks to get through, there's a lot more wiggle room to screw up.
Well, we can piss off to battle mode, which is in fact
one of my favorite parts of Double Dash, at least one of my favorites as a kid.
Look at these maps, Cookie Land, Block City, Pipe Plaza, this one. I like this one.
It's the most boring geographically but it's the most GameCube geographically.
There are actually more battle modes this time. Outside of Balloon Battle,
we have Bob-omb Blast where you just try to hit the most racers without getting hit as much as they do.
And then there's Shine Thief where you have to nab the shine from Mario Sunshine and keep it until the timer goes down to
zero. There was quite a bit of Mario Sunshine love thrown in to Double Dash, most obviously the award ceremony at the end of
a cup. Now, all of these maps can be played across all the different battle modes.
And yes, that includes the two unlockable maps, son of a bitch. Alright, let's unlock Luigi's Mansion and Tilt-A-Kart. Yeah,
that's Luigi's Mansion. And yep, that is Tilt-A-Kart. Finally, let's talk one of Double Dash's defining traits.
Not many have experienced this including myself, but it offers LAN play.
You can play this game with up to 16 people by connecting up to 8 GameCubes together with its broadband adapter. That way,
everybody can have their own TV screen,
you don't have to abide by the laws of split-screen and look at what your opponents are doing. Now
I'm personally fine with four player split-screen,
it works perfectly fine in Double Dash, but to have your own screen and to have 16 people playing at the same time,
that was unheard of for Mario Kart. It's an awesome feature that not many have experienced,
but from what I've heard, it was pretty magical. So that was "Mario Kart: Double Dash!!" Is it the best Mario Kart?
It might be. Everybody has their own personal favorite Mario Kart,
I've heard countless people go on and on about how Super Mario Kart is the best, and I mean,
I listen to them. Super Mario Kart is the best one because of how simple and intuitive it is.
I listen to them. Super Mario Kart is the best one because of how simple and intuitive it is. (Scott listening closely in the background)
The track design is great and the items are balanced. It's challenging and the battle mode is phenomenal. (Scott listening closely in the background)
I find that each of the Mario Karts before Double Dash, while good in their own respects, have aged poorly in many ways.
Double Dash was the first one that
didn't feel dated to me. And while that means all games after Double Dash
also don't feel dated, stuff like Mario Kart DS, Wii, and 7,
there's not much reason to play those games compared to the latest one.
Sure there are a few, but overall,
I'm more likely to play something like Mario Kart Wii as a novelty to look back at how Mario Kart was back in 2008
but then I just go to play the most recent Mario Kart with friends. Double Dash isn't like that.
It's the most unique entry of them all and is still worth playing now even considering any new Mario Kart that's out.
It's a special game. It's not perfect,
it's not the definitive Mario Kart experience,
but it's the most unique and one of the most enjoyable. I can sort of see why some reviewers at the time or even people
today weren't too thrilled with it.
It's very lacking in substantial singleplayer content
and also didn't really go above and beyond with providing loads more content than 64. Plus, the quality of the tracks as a
whole isn't the best Mario Kart's ever been. There's a good few that I adore and love to this day
but to be honest the majority of them are just kind of okay, but I think it makes up for it with its gameplay,
its uniqueness, and its polish. The animations, just seeing characters lose their balance on edges, play around with the items.
This feels like modern Mario stuff. It's not dated in the slightest.
And that's just one of the reasons why I think Double Dash is still so great
all these years later. Double Dash has barely aged a bit,
it's still a blast to play, and it offers so much that no other Mario Kart has. Now that still makes it fun to play
today, but what makes it truly one of the best Mario Karts?
Honestly, it was the bonus disc.