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Video Game / Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

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Double the players and twice the dash!

The fourth installment of the Mario Kart series, released in 2003 on the Nintendo GameCube.

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, though Mario Kart 8 Deluxe would bring back the ability to hold two items at once. 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 provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Your Powers Combined: Petey Piranha and King Boo have access to all of the Special Items, which are normally exclusive to just one pair of racers.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: The sauropod in Dino Dino Jungle has a horn on its nose. No known sauropod had a horned nose, though there is a cryptid that is often described as such.
  • Bat Family Crossover: The first Mario spinoff to integrate the Donkey Kong Country cast into the extended Mario cast, as it included Diddy Kong.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Used on the battle course "Luigi's Mansion".
  • Boring, but Practical: Koopa Troopa and Koopa Paratroopa's unique items are Triple Green or Red Shells. Unlike other games in the series where anyone could get them, Triple Shells are limited only to these two (and King Boo and Petey Piranha). While they're certainly not as unique as the other characters' special items, they're by far the most useful, and they show up nearly as often as regular shells to boot. This essentially turns most races between two human players into "whoever picks the Koopas wins".
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  • Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: Lakitu fishes racers out of pits, water, lava, or any other hazard which may be sitting under the tracks.
  • Bottomless Pits: Like the others.
  • The Bus Came Back: Koopa Troopa, one of the playable racers from the original Super Mario Kart, returns after being missing from 64 and Super Circuit.
  • The Cameo: Donkey Kong, Jr., of all choices, appears as one of the crowd members of Waluigi Stadium.
  • Car Fu:
    • Found in the battle modes. This game is also the first one to have "Bob-omb Battle", which is where karts would attack each other with nothing but Bob-ombs. It was unofficially brought back in Mario Kart 7 through an internet custom group, and then Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
    • A Mushroom boost allows you to steal an item from a kart that you ram while going at high speed.
    • A heavier kart will shove a lighter kart out of the way if the receiving kart is going too slowly or holding still. However, a lighter kart will end up bouncing off a heavier kart instead.
  • Cartoon Juggling: Some characters, when holding onto Double or Triple Shells or Mushrooms, will juggle them in one hand, whether they're driving or in the backseat.
  • Cheerful Child: Toadette, who made her debut in this game. She's like a miniature Daisy. That is, until Mario Kart Wii, which includes her and a Baby Daisy.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: 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.
  • Console Cameo: There's a battle course that takes place on a Nintendo GameCube.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: The concept of two characters per kart allows this, with each one being controlled by a different player.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The controls in this game differ slightly from most other games in the series. Items are used with the X and Y buttons instead of the Z/L button, and both the L and R buttons can be used to drift.
  • Easter Egg: If you press the item button when you don't have an item in your possession, you'll honk the horn. It doesn't do anything other than making your gunner do a pose. That is, unless there is another racer in close range, in which case they will perform a Quick Melee attack.
  • Everyone Has a Special Move: Each pair of characters has a Special Item which is exclusive to them, barring Petey Piranha and King Boo (who have access to all of them), Peach and Daisy (who can steal items), and everyone in Battle Mode (which has no limits):
    • Mario and Luigi have Fireballs in red or green, which are thrown in a Spread Shot of five and cause anyone hit to spin out. Any passengers in a vehicle hit by them also suffer from burnt rears, leaving them incapable of doing anything for a brief moment.
    • Peach and Daisy have the Heart. When used, it summons a barrier made of hearts around the vehicle, which not only protects them from up to two weaker items (Spiny Shells, Chain Chomps, and Bob-ombs can bypass this) thrown at them or left on the track, but also makes the passenger pick up the item they were protected from, letting them use it themselves.
    • Yoshi and Birdo have Yoshi's Egg and Birdo's Egg. These chase down the next racer in front like a Red Shell and make them flip when hit, and subsequently break open and disperse three random items onto the track (pulling from Green Shells, Red Shells, Bananas, Fake Item Boxes, Bob-ombs, Stars, and Mushrooms).
    • Baby Mario and Baby Luigi have Chain Chomp, who dashes forward while pulling their kart ahead by the chain, slamming anyone unlucky enough to be in its path out of the way. It eventually breaks loose and briefly runs along the track afterwards.
    • Toad and Toadette have exclusive control over the Golden Mushroom, which lets them spam it for a large number of Nitro Boosts within a limited timeframe.
    • Koopa Troopa and Koopa Paratroopa have the Triple Green and Triple Red Shells, exclusive to them in this game alone. They behave like the normal shells, except you get three of them to throw.
    • Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong have the Giant Banana, a large angry Banana Peel which can be thrown forward or dropped behind them, after which it sits on the track like a normal Banana. Anyone who hits it spins out for an extended period of time. If it's triggered, it splits into three normal Banana Peels.
    • Bowser and Bowser Jr. have Bowser's Shell, a large shell that looks like the one Bowser wears. It behaves like a Green Shell, moving along the track and bouncing off of walls, but it's much bigger and hits hard enough to temporarily knock the passenger off of the backseat.
    • Wario and Waluigi have the Bob-omb, which can be chucked ahead or dropped off behind them. It sits on the track for a brief moment and explodes after a timer or if anyone gets close, launching them into the air and knocking the passenger down temporarily.
  • Excited Show Title!: Two exclamation marks, a reference to the Double Dash.
  • Fireballs: Mario and Luigi's special items, thrown in a spread which inflicts a Rump Roast on anyone they hit. They would disappear from the series until their return in 7, where they become a standard item.
  • 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.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: And Bowser Jr., too! Also, in this game, you can actually pair up Mario with Bowser!
  • Green Hill Zone: Mario Circuit is set in a generally natural area around Peach's Castle, with flowers and trees on the roadsides and a dirt road halfway through the track. There's a nice little Chain Chomp you've gotta dodge, too.
  • Jungle Japes: DK Mountain, befitting the track of the prime primate, is set in a jungle near a volcano. Hazards include grass around the track that's slow to drive on, rocks rolling down a hill, and a rickety wooden bridge above a river.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The instruction manual remarks "Baby Mario and Mario...together in the same game?!?"
  • Lethal Lava Land: Bowser's Castle has lava as a hazard, though it generally behaves like water.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Parade Kart, which is heavy, but can be driven by a driver of any weight.
  • Marathon Level: The All-Cup Tour is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: 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.
  • Metropolis Level: Mushroom City is a racetrack taking place in a busy city at night. The track has several different roads for racers to take, though they all lead to the same place. The roads are also crowded with other vehicles that cause racers to spin out if hit.
  • Minsky Pickup: Baby Park's music begins with this.
  • Musical Nod: The second half of Rainbow Road's theme has the same melody as the second half of Mario Kart 64's Rainbow Road.
  • Mythology Gag: The Goo-Goo Buggy and Rattle Buggy have a Smiley Flower from Yoshi's Island on the sides.
  • Nerf: The Fake Item Box was nerfed from due to it now being red as opposed to real item box's blue, making them much easier to tell apart. In Mario Kart 64 they were the same color, with the only difference being that the question mark in the fakes was upside down.
  • Never My Fault: When Wario gets 4th place or lower in a race, he says, "I lost, to a bunch of losers!"
  • Nintendo Hard: Mirror Mode All-Cup Tour gets a special mention.
  • Nitro Boost: The Mushroom item, as per the series standard, gives a boost when used. Mushroom Bridge and Mushroom City also have a car that dispenses a Mushroom onto the track if someone rams it. The Golden Mushroom, which gives you however many boosts you can get in ten or fifteen seconds, is the Special Item of Toad and Toadette in this game.
  • Oddball in the Series: Double Dash!! has many unique elements that make it different from any Mario Kart game before or since:
    • Most obviously, the two-driver-per-kart mechanic.
    • Character-specific special items. Also related to this, certain items that are standard items in other games, such as the Bob-omb, Triple Shells, and Golden Mushroom, are special items here.
    • You can't drag items behind you, meaning that the only way to defend yourself against oncoming items is to throw one behind you and hope they collide.
    • Until their return in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the Shine Thief and Bob-omb Blast battle modes were exclusive to this game. The All-Cup Tour (where characters race on all the game's tracks in a row) remains exclusive.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: There's one in the music from Bowser's Castle and Luigi's Mansion.
  • Palette Swap: All of the karts for any "normal" character pairs who share a weight class are based on each other, typically with a few color, texture, and/or model changes to make the kart more relevant to the other racer.
    • Mario and Luigi have the Red Fire and Green Fire. The former is red and blue while sporting Mario's M on its front and wheels, while the latter replaces the red parts with green ones and puts Luigi's L in the M's place.
    • Peach and Daisy have the Heart Coach and Bloom Coach. The Heart Coach is pink, purple and adorned with hearts, while the Bloom Coach is shades of orange and has flowers on it instead.
    • Yoshi's Turbo Yoshi and Birdo's Turbo Birdo are the least clear-cut, as the face on the front is replaced entirely, going from Yoshi's big nose to Birdo's snout and bow. However, the rest of the karts' designs are shared, as the chassis and the tires have the same design in different colors; a green body and red tires for the Turbo Yoshi, and a pink body with purple tires for the Turbo Birdo.
    • Baby Mario's Goo-Goo Buggy comes in various shades of blue, while Baby Luigi's Rattle Buggy is in green.
    • The Toad Kart is blue with a Super Mushroom emblem, while the Toadette Kart is pink with a 1-Up Mushroom emblem.
    • Koopa's Koopa Dasher is a kart based on his own green Koopa shell, and adorned with a K on the front and wheels. Paratroopa's Para-Wing is instead based on his red shell, replaces each K with a P, and also adds wings on the sides.
    • Petey Piranha's Piranha Pipes are based on the traditional green Warp Pipes, and have orange shocks and red handlebars. King Boo's Boo Pipes are gray with red shocks and purple handlebars.
  • Prehistoria: Dino Dino Jungle, a track filled with big ferns, bigger trees, and even bigger dinosaurs.
  • Quick Melee: Hitting the weapons button while empty-handed and driving right beside another racer will result in the passenger pulling the kart to the side and delivering a short ranged but helpful bash attack.
  • Randomized Title Screen: Lakitu has a different item at the end of his fishing rod at the intro of the game.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Seemingly invoked by Daisy, who constantly says "Hi, I'm Daisy!", as if to beat her name into the heads of anyone who has never heard of her.
  • Rump Roast:
    • The game treats this as sort of a status effect in game, as touching any fire obstacle, or getting hit by either Mario or Luigi's fireballs will cause the character in the back to catch fire, preventing them from using any items.
    • An interesting glitch with Daisy can get her stuck in her "butt on fire" animation if she is in the back of the kart and hit by a fireball that knocks her into a warp pipe before this animation finishes. She will be stuck in the back, jumping in place trying to extinguish her burning butt for the remainder of the race, unless she is bumped into or takes anymore damage.
  • Running Gag: Most of the shortcuts in the game oddly involve warp pipes. For example, Peach Beach and Mushroom Bridge.
  • Scenery Porn: Like previously mentioned, the graphics from this game surpass any from the others up until the arrival of Mario Kart Wii.
  • Secret Character: Toad and Toadette (the latter of whom makes her debut in this game) are unlocked by winning the Special Cup on 100 cc, and King Boo and Petey Piranha are unlocked by winning the Star Cup on Mirror Mode. Also, the gold Parade Kart driven by Toadsworth during the ending cutscene can be unlocked as a drivable kart by winning the All-Cup Tour in 150 cc. Notably, this is the only home console Mario Kart game where Toad is an unlockable character.
  • Shaped Like Itself: The track layout of Yoshi Circuit is shaped like Yoshi himself.
  • Ship Level: Daisy Cruiser is set on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. The race goes along the deck, around a pool, and into the dining room, where the ship's sway sends tables sliding back and forth across the room. An alternate path also allows racers to enter the engine room, where cargo is being held in shipping crates, before being shot out of the ship's exhaust pipe back onto the deck.
  • Socialization Bonus: 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.
  • Sore Loser: Bowser Jr. is the only character who reacts poorly to getting anything below 1st place, in direct contrast to the rest of the cast including Bowser himself. If you outright lose a race, the kid goes ballistic, sobbing hysterically and slamming his fists in a tantrum.
  • Steel Drums and Sunshine: The music for the tracks Peach Beach and Daisy Cruiser, which take place on a beach and a cruise ship respectively, have steel drums playing the main melody, accompanied by guitar, maracas, and drums.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong's voice clips are recycled from Donkey Kong 64, albeit pitched down.
  • Take the Wheel: Drivers can actually switch off during races, where one character takes the wheel, and the other handles the items.
  • Technicolor Fire: While Mario's fireballs are in traditional shades of orange and yellow, Luigi's come in a vibrant green and yellow-green palette.
  • Wacky Racing: Not only can you make bizarre teams to race with, but the chaos of the items is doubled due to both members of a team being able to hold onto them, as well as the use of the Purposely Overpowered special items.
  • Your Size May Vary: Petey Piranha's size is much smaller than seen in Super Mario Sunshine, though he's still larger than everyone else. Notably, the camera actually zooms out when you play as Petey because of his huge size.


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