Mario Kart: Double Dash‼ is a racing game developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo GameCube in 2003. The game is the fourth installment in the Mario Kart series, following Mario Kart: Super Circuit from 2001. It was succeeded by the console games Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii in 2005 and 2008 respectively, and the arcade games in the Mario Kart Arcade GP series.
The game introduced a number of new gameplay features, most notably the inclusion of two riders per kart. Double Dash‼ supports LAN play using the Nintendo GameCube Broadband Adapter, allowing 16 players to compete simultaneously. There are 20 characters to select from in total, with eleven of them being new to the series. A special item for each character has also been implemented.
Double Dash‼ was generally well-received by critics; it attained an aggregated score of 87 out of 100 on Metacritic. Reviewers praised the graphics and the new gameplay features, but criticized the voice acting. It was also commercially successful, selling over 3.8 million copies in the United States, and over 802,000 copies in Japan. In the United States, the game was the seventh best-selling Nintendo GameCube title as of October 2006, according to the NPD Group.
Double Dash‼s gameplay is quite different from other Mario Kart games. Instead of having one player per kart, there are two: one to drive, and one to use items. Players cannot hold items behind the kart, making it more difficult to block incoming shells. It is the first game in the series where players drop their items when hit by a weapon. Players can also steal items from the opponents. The powerslide technique has been improved; if the player manages to get blue sparks, a mini-turbo is performed.
The game allows up to four players to compete in battle modes and two players in grand prix mode. As in previous installments, the battle arenas are enclosed, with varying architecture and a constant arsenal. In addition to the traditional balloon-popping battle game, two new games have been implemented: the first involves capturing a Shine Sprite and maintaining possession of it for a time period, and the other involves throwing Bob-ombs at each other. Double Dash‼ also features LAN play using the Nintendo GameCube Broadband Adapter. Up to eight GameCube consoles can be connected, allowing for 16-player multiplayer games, with two players controlling each kart.
Players can choose from a cast of 20 characters, eleven of which are new to the series. Characters have their own special items, like Mario and Luigi with Fireballs, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong with Giant Bananas, and Wario and Waluigi with Bob-ombs. The character's weight class (light, middle, or heavy) determine the karts in which they can ride and their attributes in speed, acceleration, and weight. There are 16 courses, divided into four cups; a fifth cup, the all-cup tour, has the player race all the tracks. The all cup tour always starts with Luigi Circuit and ends with Rainbow Road, but the remaining fourteen tracks show up in random order. Each track is also playable in "Mirror Mode", available after winning the all-cup tour, in which the tracks are mirrored; this mode is only available for 150cc.