Mario Kart 64 (released in 1996) is a racing game for the Nintendo 64 and the sequel to ''VideoGame/SuperMarioKart''. The game is the first game in [[VideoGame/MarioKart the series]] to be in 3D, and allows up to four players to play.
New items were introduced to shake things up such as triple shells, triple mushrooms, banana bunches, and the infamous [[ComebackMechanic Spiny]] [[ScrappyMechanic Shell]]. The game also added several new modes and mechanics to existing modes.
Oh, and [[StrictlyFormula the formula is all but unchanged from the original.]]
!!The game features examples of these tropes:
* AlwaysNight: Banshee Boardwalk, Rainbow Road[[note]]Justified in this game, since it's in space, but not in ''Mario Kart 8''.[[/note]], and it's always sunset at Toad's Turnpike.
* AmazingTechnicolorBattlefield: Rainbow Road, complete with the neon characters in the background and of course the road.
* BananaPeel: Five banana peels, actually.
* BigBoosHaunt: Banshee Boardwalk.
* BottomlessPits: Practically everywhere.
* BraggingRightsReward: Beat 150cc with gold to get Mirror Mode; beat that to get a completely new title screen.
* CarFu: Battle Mode.
* CaveBehindTheFalls: Koopa Troopa Beach.
* CherubicChoir: In the credits music and the Bowser's Castle theme.
* ComebackMechanic: The Spiny Shell (a.k.a. the blue shell) makes its introduction here, a powerful item reserved for stragglers that screams through the track to hit the racer in first place and anyone unfortunate enough in between, becoming the bane of veteran Mario Kart fans everywhere.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: On 150cc, you'd better not let the 2nd place driver get too far ahead, or else they speed up so quickly that you'll never have a chance of catching up, short of repeated Lightning bolts in a row. Fortunately, the RubberBandAI isn't as bad here as it is in other installments.
* ContinuityNod: Royal Raceway is home to Peach's Castle, which looks nearly identical to its appearance in ''VideoGame/SuperMario64.''
* ConvectionSchmonvection: Bowser's Castle and the Big Donut battle stage.
* DamnYouMuscleMemory: Extra mode mirrors all the courses, which will screw you up at least once.
** Yoshi Valley has so many paths that the game doesn't keep track of the positions and replaces it on the HeadsUpDisplay with ?s. You never know the positions ''until you reach the finish line on the last lap''. [[note]]This has also been downplayed when the track reappeared in ''Mario Kart 8'', so now it keeps track of the positions.[[/note]]
* DeathMountain: Choco Mountain and Yoshi Valley.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: While this is the point where the series largely evolved to its final format, Nintendo was still working out some of the gameplay mechanics.
** Most notable is the blue shell; in this game if someone fires it at you, it's possible to dodge it by quickly dropping down into second place and allowing it to hit whoever gets in front of you. This was dropped from the following incarnations, where there's no way to avoid being hit (unless you're invincible or finish the race first).
** More subtle, but the lightweight characters (high acceleration/low speed) are actually ''faster'' than the heavyweights (high speed/low acceleration). Using the lightweights (Peach, Toad, and Yoshi) properly can make them potential game breakers, as not only are they faster and can pick up quickly after crashing, they can also drive over terrain better than the other drivers. The only advantage that the heavyweights in this game (Bowser, Wario, and Donkey Kong) have are that they can bash the lightweights and the middleweights off the road or make them spin out. The original advantages and disadvantages that were present in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioKart'' for each weight class were reverted back in later games, starting from ''VideoGame/MarioKartDoubleDash''.
* FragileSpeedster: Peach, Toad, and Yoshi are the fastest, but can be easily knocked around.
* GravityBarrier: Plenty, but Rainbow Road has a nice steep drop at the beginning.
** All of the "Raceway" tracks.
** Moo Moo Farm is literally a bunch of green hills.
* ItsAWonderfulFailure: The player who ends in 4th place gets to watch the top 3 and get chased by a bomb.
* JackOfAllStats: Mario and Luigi.
* JungleJapes: DK's Jungle Parkway.
* LethalLavaLand: Bowser's Castle.
* LettingTheAirOutOfTheBand: Placing lower than the top 3 at the end of each grand prix.
* MarathonLevel: Rainbow Road. It takes about 2 minutes to complete one lap, and is the longest track in the series.
* MightyGlacier: Bowser, DK, and Wario are relatively slow, but have the best handling and can push lighter racers out of the way.
* NintendoHard: 150 cc and especially Extra, mostly for the [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard computer]] [[RubberBandAI drivers]].
* ParodyNames: The Japanese version had billboards with parodies of real life companies like Marlboro or Mobil1.
* PalmtreePanic: Koopa Troopa Beach.
* TheRival: In each Grand Prix, you are given at least two of these, and they will be the main abusers of RubberBandAI of that GP.
* ShiftingSandLand: Kalimari Desert.
* ShoutOut: Sherbet Land is named after a world in the original ''VideoGame/WarioLand''.
* ShortcutsMakeLongDelays: The shortest route through Yoshi's Valley is a narrow, windy path with no railing, falling off will cost you several seconds of recovery time. The [[LeapOfFaith Rainbow Road]] shortcut, capable of giving you an irreversible lead ([[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard against humans]]) if executed properly, will also take forever to recover from if you failed.
* SlippySlideyIceWorld: Frappe Snowland and Sherbet Land.
* SpritePolygonMix: The backgrounds and some objects are 3D, while the racers and most of the hazards are DigitizedSprites.
* SuddenlyVoiced: Luigi, Toad and Wario are voiced for the first time. The other characters stick with the same voices or vocal effects they had in the SNES era or ''VideoGame/SuperMario64'', and for Yoshi it was the final time he used his original vocal effects, which were ditched in favor of his own voice in the following year's ''VideoGame/YoshisStory''. (Though the ''VideoGame/MarioParty'' series would continue to use Yoshi's old voice up until its fourth installment on the GameCube.)