Mario Kart Double Dash

"Mario Kart Double Dash" held the candle, but loses some magic along the way

“Double Dash” was once one of my favorite karts to play, and to some degree it still was one of the best local multiplayer games for the Gamecube. The introduction of having two characters in a single kart was a gimmick that added several new mechanics to the core gameplay. An item system that allowed for two items per cart, one cart cooperation with two players and special weapons that went along with each character. On top of that, several new courses like DK Mountain and Baby Park would eventually become recurring tracks in later games due to their vibrant personality and catchy tunes.

As a matter of fact, some of the battle modes that have recently become filler modes in later titles were much more frantic and creative, especially with four players. Bob-omb Blast was probably the most hectic mode with bomb smoke filling up the entire arena. What makes the game fun is what makes it frustrating when played alone. Sure, the A.I. will test your driving skills and familiarity with the tracks, but item balance would not be addressed until later titles. As the difficulty is raised and players go on about unlocking characters through each grand prix, the only thing standing between you and first place are blue shells, red shells, chain chomps, fire bombs and thunder bolts. Sure, these special items for each character was an interesting touch, but between Baby Mario’s Chain Chomp and Peach’s spinning heart, some items were clearly better.

Kart balance is also an issue. Picking one heavy character meant that you were limited on which karts were available. Heavy were more sluggish, light were the fastest and medium were overall the best ones to use. Most of the weight classes ran the same as far as acceleration and handling goes, and that lacking variation is what makes some of the newer games feel fresh. As a result, playing alone just never feels as fun as playing locally, and with only a few options to choose from, the only incentives is unlocking a few characters. Sure, “Double Dash” may have provided a unique spin on the franchise that provides general fun and mayhem in multiplayer, but the grind for more courses and content never feels as compelling, Most of the newer games have made more improvements, focusing more on skill than luck of the spin.

Video by: Packattack04082

Written by: Jarek Martinez

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