The series so far: The Definitive 50 GameCube Games.

During the GameCube era, Nintendo cast around for ways to give its old franchises new life. Mario got a water pack, Link got toon shaded, and Mario Kart doubled up, with Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

The game includes all the usual modes and gameplay. There are four GP cups to master across the usual three levels of difficulty, plus an extra hard mirror mode, all of which can be played on your own or with a buddy. You can also chase staff ghosts on your own in Time Trial mode.

Of course, the meat of any Mario Kart game is in its competitive multiplayer, and this is where Double Dash!! especially excels. Sure, it’s comprised of the usual battle and versus modes, but the all new, unique, and very different co-op play of the game makes all the difference.

Double Dash!! allows up to two players to command a single kart. One drives, while the other handles items and performs special moves like slide attacks. This gives less experienced players a chance to enjoy the game without memorizing its tracks. Teams can also coordinate amongst themselves to perform moves and swap positions on the fly for an extra element of strategy.

It’s also entirely possible for one player to go it alone in any mode, he or she will just end up controlling the actions of both characters on a kart.

Double Dash!! is one of the few games that actually supports the GameCube broadband adapter. Not for online play, but LAN play. Believe it or not, you can network 8 GameCubes together and have up to 8 karts racing at once, with two people per kart for a whopping 16 player game of Mario Kart. It would be a tremendous undertaking to organize such an event, especially to track down enough LAN adapters, but I would love to see it happen.

To accommodate the numerous potential players of the game, Double Dash!! features one of the strongest character lineups in Mario Kart history. The likes of Daisy, Birdo, Baby Mario, Diddy Kong, and even Petey Piranha made their Mario Kart debuts in this game. Toadette, meanwhile, was manufactured as a wholly new character just for Double Dash!!

Unlike later games, there are no retro courses in Double Dash!! to revist, but the tracks included are some of the finest in the series. The likes of Baby Park, Daisy Cruiser, Peach Beach, and DK Mountain are already classics.

Complimented by Nintendo’s decision to mix up the formula, the enduring insanity of Mario Kart is well represented in Double Dash!!

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