- Base-Breaking Character: Some say he is a good character, but it seems everyone either loves or hates Koopa. Toad also counts, to a certain extent.
- Demonic Spiders: Heaven help you if Mario or Luigi decide they want to be in first place. With their infinite stars, you will never stop them unless luck is really on your side (which it usually isn't). Bowser isn't any better since the fireballs (CPU only) he throws do a circular motion at all times, so if he throws that thing near a turn, you're probably screwed.
- The Feather often allows racers to jump over walls for huge shortcuts in a game where traditional shortcuts are rare and minimal. Because of this, the TAS abuses it to no end.
- The heavy characters (Bowser and Donkey Kong Jr.), despite their low acceleration, have the highest top speeds in the game. For expert players, Bowser and DK Jr. are easily the best choices for tearing through courses at top speed— provided they don't hit anything. The inverse is true for the lighter characters (Toad and Koopa)— they have better acceleration, but their top speeds aren't as high as the heavyweights.
- Goddamned Bats: Plenty of obstacles, but particularly the Monty Moles that malevolently jump out of their holes just in time to hit your kart, stop your momentum entirely, and slow you down until you press R enough.
- Nausea Fuel: It's easy to get motion sickness from all the driving, the moving backgrounds, and the crazy colors of Rainbow Road.
- Scrappy Mechanic: The fact that the game is always in split-screen, even in single-player mode, where the map takes up half the screen.
- That One Level:
- Rainbow Road due to the total lack of guardrails between you and the Bottomless Pit, the exceedingly narrow track, and special neon Thwomps that can wipe you out at the slightest touch.
- Donut Plains 3 also fits this trope because of the double hairpin and the narrow broken bridges, plus the aforementioned Monty Moles which can be found here.
YMMV / Super Mario Kart