[[caption-width-right:350:[-Neeeeeeeentendo! Woohoo!-] ]]
The fourth installment of the ''VideoGame/MarioKart'' series, released in 2003.

Changes from the previous installments include, most noticeably, the fact that players must choose two characters per kart, which means that two players can also play as one kart. And every two characters share a special item that is exclusive to them (save for King Boo and Petey Piranha, who can use any special item). Also unique to this game is All-Cup Tour, which is a fifth cup in which every course must be completed in a random order, always beginning with Luigi Circuit and ending with Rainbow Road. None of these features have been brought back in any other game. The game consists of twenty characters overall, the highest amount for a ''Mario Kart'' at the time, which means ten pairs. Eight karts on the track at all times.

!!This Game provided examples of the following {{Tropes}}:
* ArtisticLicensePaleontology: The Apatosaurus in Dino Dino Jungle has a horn on its nose. Apatosaurus skeletons do not have horns.
* BatFamilyCrossover: The first ''Mario'' spinoff to integrate the ''Donkey Kong Country'' cast into the extended Mario cast, as it included Diddy Kong.
* BigBoosHaunt: Used on the battle course "Luigi's Mansion".
* BoringButPractical: Koopa Troopa and Koopa Paratroopa's unique items were triple green or red shells. Unlike other games in the series where the triple shells could be obtained by anyone, triple shells were limited only to these two (and King Boo and Petey Piranha). And while certainly that it's not as unique as the rest of the other characters' unique items, they could gain triple shells at around the same frequency as regular shells making them quite a nuisance in races.
* BottomlessPitRescueService: Lakitu once again.
* BottomlessPits: like the others.
* TheBusCameBack: Koopa Troopa, one of the playable racers from the original ''VideoGame/SuperMarioKart'', returns after being missing from ''64'' and ''Super Circuit''.
* CarFu: Found in the battle modes. This game is also the only one to have "Bob-Omb Battle", which is where karts would attack each other with nothing but Bob-Ombs. However, it was unofficially brought back in ''Mario Kart 7'' through an internet custom group.
* CartoonJuggling: Some characters do this while holding triple mushrooms.
* CheerfulChild: Toadette, who made her debut in this game. She's kinda like a miniature Daisy. That is, until ''Mario Kart Wii'', which includes her ''and'' a Baby Daisy.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Petey Piranha and Koopa Paratroopa have not appeared in any Mario Kart games since. Hacks of ''Mario Kart Wii'' reveal that they were once considered for inclusion in that game, but since they didn't the absence has been upheld to this day.
* ConsoleCameo: There's a battle course that takes place on a GameCube.
* ContinuityNod: The Rank A mansion from ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion'' can be seen on Luigi Circuit.
* CoOpMultiplayer: The concept of two characters per kart allows this, with each one being controlled by a different player.
* CouchGag: Lakitu has a different item at the end of his fishing rod at the intro of the game.
* EasterEgg: If you press the item button when you don't have an item in your possesion, you'll honk the horn. It doesn't do anything other than making your gunner do a pose.
* ExcitedShowTitle: Two exclamation marks, a reference to the ''Double Dash''.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The Daisy Cruiser can be seen in the background of Peach Beach, which is the third track in the next cup. Coincidentally, they both share the same music.
* {{Fireballs}}: Mario and Luigi's special items. They would disappear from the series until their return in ''7'', where they become a standard item.
* GoKartingWithBowser: In this game, you can actually pair up Mario with Bowser!
* GreenHillZone: Mario Circuit. There's a nice little Chain Chomp you've gotta dodge, too.
* JungleJapes: DK Mountain, both here and in ''Wii''.
* LethalLavaLand: Bowser's Castle.
* LightningBruiser: The Parade Kart, which is heavy, but can be driven by a driver of any weight.
* MarathonLevel: The All-Cup Tour is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: A semi-randomized cup consisting of every race in the game (It always starts with Luigi Circuit and ends with Rainbow Road, but the rest of the tracks are played at random). Good luck trying to beat it on Mirror Mode.
* MusicalNod: In later games, you can hear a lot of music from this game, either recycled or remixed.
* NintendoHard: Mirror Mode All-Cup Tour gets a special mention.
* NitroBoost: The mushrooms as usual. This game also has the Golden Mushroom, which gives you however many boosts you can get in ten or fifteen seconds.
* OminousPipeOrgan: There's one in the music from Bowser's Castle.
* {{Prehistoria}}: Dino Dino Jungle, which appears here and later as a retro track in ''Mario Kart 7''.
* RunningGag: Most of the shortcuts in the game oddly involve warp pipes. For example, Peach Beach and Mushroom Bridge.
* SceneryPorn: Like previously mentioned, the graphics from this game surpass any from the others up until the arrival of ''Mario Kart Wii''.
* ShapedLikeItself: The track layout of Yoshi Circuit is shaped like Yoshi himself.
* SocializationBonus: In two player mode only, if both drivers are holding a type of mushroom, and both press the item button at the same time, they will perform the titular Double Dash. The same applies to the Rocket Start at the beginning of each race. Two players in the same kart also allows the player in the back to perform a swipe by pressing the L or R buttons, depending on the direction. Along with causing racers to spin out, it'll steal items, and can also be used to help reorient the kart.
* TakeTheWheel: Drivers can actually switch off during races, where one character takes the wheel, and the other handles the items.
* UnexpectedCharacter:
** Toadette, since the only precedent of a ''Mario'' character in a series apart from the platformer games was Waluigi.
** Also Paratroopa, who is a partner for Koopa.
** [[VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine Petey Piranha]] and [[VideoGame/LuigisMansion King Boo]] are among the first boss character since Bowser in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioKart'' to be playable, so no one saw them coming (even though Birdo and Bowser Jr. debuted in this game as well, for many players the debut was more plausible).
* WackyRacing: This may be the most chaotic of all the games.
* YourSizeMayVary: Petey Piranha's size is much smaller than seen in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine''. He's a heavyweight driver, but still.