Mario Kart Back Seat FAQ
v 1.01 - January 21, 2004
By Matt Schembari (Matteo522)
Copyright 2004 Matt Schembari
II. BASIC CONTROLS
III. PROPER ITEM USAGE
IV. ADVANCED TECHNIQUES
V. COURSE TIPS
VI. THANKS & CONTACT
VII. LEGAL INFORMATION
While spending the last few months feverishly playing Mario Kart:
Double Dash!! with my friends, I quickly fell in love with the back
seat character. Where the driver requires skill, coordination, and
focus, the thrower is for the thinking player and strategist. More
often than not, a match is decided based on how the racers used their
items in the last thirty seconds of the final lap. If this is the
case, why isn't there more information available for proper use of
items? That is where this guide comes into play.
It is my hope that by writing this, people will start to see the true
power that can be unlocked by the back seat player. As you will see,
there is much more to do than simply throw items and boost.
II. BASIC CONTROLS
If you're reading this guide, then you've probably played or at least
seen someone play the back seat. You'll know, then, that the
controls are actually quite simple:
BUTTON | ACTION
A,B,X,Y | Throw item. Yes, simply mash any button on the right
| side of the controller and you'll throw the item you
| are currently holding. Holding up while throwing an item
| will cause it to be thrown far ahead while holding down
| will cause your character to drop it.
L,R | Dodge/Attack. This is a much more controversial move
| since it will affect the handling of the car, potentially
| throwing you off course or worse. However, as you will
| see in a later section, dodging and attacking can shave
| a great deal of time off your score.
Control | Boost. When your partner uses the shoulder buttons to
Stick | go around a curve, you'll notice that the sparks under
| the tires become large. At that point, quickly move
| the control stick back and forth from left to right. The
| sparks will then turn from yellow to red and then to
| blue. Once they are blue, you can stop and the driver
| must release the shoulder button to boost. Note that
| you can often boost multiple times in one turn.
Z | Switch Seats. If both players press Z at the same time,
| the two characters will switch seats. If both players
| are equally adept at driving and throwing, it is highly
| beneficial to switch for various reasons (more on this
III. Proper Item Usage
Acquiring, maintaining, and using your items is the real heart of
each match as the thrower. As such, it is critical that you know a
1. The items you acquire depend on your current placement. A kart in
first or second place (assuming Grand Prix here) is most likely going
to receive single green shells, triple green shells, bananas, giant
bananas, fake item boxes, and possibly Bowser's shell. As you get
further down, the likelihood of getting a star, blue shell, lightning
bolt, and the other highly coveted items increases.
2. If both players are equally adept at both driving and throwing,
it's always a good idea to save certain items for a more appropriate
time (such as Golden Mushrooms or Starmen). Simply switch positions
and you'll have the item when you need it.
When used, the mushroom will give you a great burst of
energy. While boosting, the kart is much less susceptible to being
slowed down by rough terrain, making this a great item to use for
cutting corners and hitting shortcuts. Always be aware of where you
are when you get a mushroom and if there is a shortcut nearby where
you could most effectively use this. If there's no easy shortcut,
then this is best used either in a straight-away or just as you exit
a curve, straightening the kart out. Also, try to hit enemy karts as
you use this to send them flying and steal their item.
Mushrooms are also useful when near Piranha Plants. Typically you will
be going too fast near them for them to hit you when you're boosting
with a mushroom.
Best Uses: Shortcuts, Cutting Corners, Straight-Away, Exitting a
Curve, Hitting Enemies
Best Defenses: Watch your opponent's screen as they are incoming
(if possible) and dodge at the last moment. Also, communicating with
the driver which way to go to avoid the boosters may be useful.
See it On the Ground? Hit it.
Three mushrooms are better than one! The only thing
to be aware of with the triple mushrooms is that if you are hit while
holding them, you will drop all but one. For this reason, I tend to
use the first two boosts at the nearest straightaway or curve exit,
then save the last one for attacking another kart. If you're on a
team where both players can drive and throw, the triple mushroom is
a perfect item to hold up front for a more useful moment (such as just
before the finish line!). When using triple mushrooms, be sure to let
the first mushroom die down almost completely before using the next.
Best Uses: Same as regular mushroom. Be sure to space them out.
Best Defenses: Same as regular mushroom.
See it On the Ground? Hit it.
Green shells can either be highly useful or highly
disastrous to those who do not know how to properly wield them. First
off, if you received a green shell, then you're probably in first or
second place. As such, you are constantly under heavy attack, so the
green shell is actually a great item to receive and not something to
be disappointed about. When your radar tells you that you have an
incoming red shell, get ready to launch this backwards. You typically
have a few seconds between the time the radar notifies you of a red
shell and when you are actually hit. Use this time wisely to
straighten out the kart if possible. You are much more likely to
deflect an incoming red shell if you are going straight than if you
are going crooked. If you are in a curve, though, and straightening
is not possible, then it is best to hold onto the green shell until
the last possible second (when you see the shell itself), and launch
it then. If timed properly, you should drop the green shell directly
on the red one, destroying both.
Green shells are also great for attacking close-range enemies. Their
very high speed makes it quite easy to get a successful hit. Since
you're not in control of aiming the kart, though, it can get tricky.
Just make sure you are always waiting for the moment when the two
karts properly align. Also, if the kart is not directly in front
of you traveling exactly straight, always be sure to throw ahead of
your target since it takes time for the shell to get there (think of
how you'd throw a football to a running receiver).
One final use is to launch it backwards offensively. If you can see
in your opponent's screen that he is directly behind you, launching
a green shell straight back will often hit them before they even have
a chance to react. This can help strengthen a lead greatly.
Best Uses: Hold onto it for defensive purposes (though only launch it
if you can see the red shell or if you are traveling straight). Use
it to attack only if a successful hit is imminent.
Best Defenses: The only real warning you have is in your opponent's
screen. In that case, dodge the shells as they are incoming and/or
warn the driver about their location. Otherwise there's not much you
can do. You can also use shells or bananas to destroy them as they
are incoming, but it's better to not waste them on an easily dodgeable
See it On the Ground? Avoid it.
The homing power on the red shells is amazing, and
something that can really make a difference when racing. When
launched foward, the red shell will go running off in search of the
person directly in front of you. It will almost always follow the
course perfectly, so feel free to send it off even if the enemy is far
ahead. The only trouble they have is with certain jumps and obstacles
in the road such as other cars or booby traps. Red shells are also
not meant for very close-range attack because of how they seek their
enemies. If your kart is not aimed directly at the next-placed kart
and you are extremely close, the red shell will either miss the target
completely or turn back around on yourself. It's always best to save
these until you're a little further behind or driving more stably.
Note that when you launch red shells backwards, they lose their
Best Uses: When the opponent is far or moderately far away. Do not
use for very close-up attacks. Make sure the kart is stable before
launching it so they do not end up hitting the side. Note that these
will follow the course to the target and not simply go in a straight
line toward them (as Mario Kart 64 did).
Best Defenses: A green shell is typically the best way to destroy
these as they're coming in, but a banana will do the trick just fine.
Wait to launch the defense until you are on a straightaway or you
can actually see the shell. It's also possible to dodge shells, but
it takes a great deal of skill and should only be used in cases where
you have no defense. If you have a red shell on you as you go around
a sharp curve, this is your best chance to dodge it. The key is to
quickly and sharply change direction at the very last second,
causing the red shell to continue going in its previous path and hit
the side or fall off. This typically requires both boosting and
dodging at the same time. It's also possible to do this on a
straightaway if you have enough room to sharply curve and boost. With
enough practice, the thrower may be able to consistently dodge
incoming red shells.
UPDATE: There's a way to consistently dodge red shells even on
straightaways without requiring a turn or a boost. You'll notice
that the red shell will pause for about a second and a half before
it commits to attacking you. You want to dodge just as it commits
because it won't follow you after that. This is relatively easy to
do once you have the timing down. Last night I was able to dodge
three red shells in a row, one of which was on the final bridge in
DK Jungle (not always a wise place to punch!), securing the win for
One final thing to say is on the use of red shells as defense.
Typically you want to do everything you can to avoid getting hit, but
that is not always the case. If you are near the end of the course
and you have a red shell while another red shell is on its way to you,
it is better to get hit by the red shell and then use your red shell
to pass the opponent. This is because of the chance that your red
shell will miss the opponent's, leaving you both hit and itemless.
See it On the Ground? Avoid it.
Banana peels are great. Not only will they block
incoming red shells, but if properly placed, they'll also send your
opponent flying off the course. The first thing that happens when you
hit a banana is you lose control of turning one way or another. Your
kart then slows down slightly as you spin out. Finally, your speed
drops almost completely, and you regain control at that point. Keep
this in mind when deciding placement for the banana peel. Just before
a curve with no outside railing is a great place to put one as well as
just before the top of a ramp. Try to place it so that the opponent
won't have a chance to regain control before flying off the edge.
Another great spot is a decent amount before the finish line (make
sure there's enough room for the banana to have its full slowing effect
before the finish line). Just be sure to remember that you placed it
next time around. :)
Best Uses: Before a curve with no outside railing, near the top of
a ramp with no boosts, at the top of a ramp with boosts, any
chokepoint, and any place where there's already a lot of items.
Best Defenses: These stationary little beasts are best avoided
altogether by the driver. Be sure to notify the driver when you see
one, and if it seems like hitting it is imminent, dodge to avoid it.
See it On the Ground? Avoid it.
This is probably the most devastating item available.
Once launched, it goes on a mission for the first place player and
causes a huge explosion upon impact. The spiny shell will attack the
player in first place at the time that the shell gets there, not at
the time you threw it. Also note that the spiny shell WILL attack
the thrower if the thrower is in first place. It is very important if
you are within vision of the first place player to notify the driver
that you are throwing it and he needs to avoid the explosion.
Otherwise you could waste a perfectly good opportunity to get ahead.
When the spiny shell explodes, it causes those within the immediate
area to fly up and slightly forward. The cars will then come to a
full or near fully stop, creating a huge delay. Any cars that hit
the explosion radius will spin out as if they hit a banana. Use this
to your advantage when trying to time the attack.
Best Uses: Timed so it hits over a jump or near an edge or chokepoint.
Also best if it hits multiple cars. ALWAYS be aware of where it
is headed, though, and avoid the blast. Otherwise you will not pass
Best Defenses: There really is no way to avoid these consistently
without dumb luck. However, if you have an opponent nearby, slamming
the brakes or veering towards them may have them caught in the
explosion. If you're going to get hit, you might as well bring down
as many others as possible.
See it On the Ground? Avoid it.
The starman makes the kart completely invincible to any
attacks, increases the top speed and acceleration, vastly improves the
kart's handling, and causes any karts you touch to go flying
backwards. A starman will also partially nullify the effects of rough
terrain, making this an alternative to using mushrooms for shortcuts.
There's really no bad time to use this since it will both speed you up
and improve handling.
Finally, if you hit a car while invincible and it has an item while
you do not, you will steal that item. This can be incredibly useful.
Best Uses: As soon as you get it so that it's not stolen or lost. Try
to hit as many opponents as you can when passing them.
Best Defenses: Watch your opponent's screen and avoid them at all
See it On the Ground? Hit it.
Ahh the wonderful Lightning Bolt. When struck, it
causes the same effect as if everyone just slid on a banana, then all
karts lose their items, and everyone shrinks (greatly reducing their
top speed and acceleration). Also, anyone that is normal sized will
devestate them when hit. There are two different uses for the
lightning bolt depending on how far away your opponent is. If the
opponent is near you, then the most effective use is to wait until
the opponent is near a curve with no railing or about to go over a
jump and blast it, causing them to fall off. When they return, they
will be large, so make sure that you can catch up to them before they
come back. If they are far off, though, it is more effective to
shrink the enemy without him falling because of the length of time
traveling at a reduced speed. Note that if you are the person in
front that was just shrunk, it is often better to immediately fall off
and regain your normal size than to drive the entire time shrunken.
Unlike in Mario Kart 64, many of the crucial jumps in the courses have
boosts that will help even shrunken enemies across. For this reason,
if you want them to fall, it's best to hit them just before they jump.
Finally, if you are currently indisposed, stumbling, or using a star,
you will not be hit by the lightning. For this reason, make sure your
primary opponent will be affected by the lightning before using it.
Best Uses: If the enemy is far away, any time he is not indisposed is
fine. If the enemy is close, try to time it so that he will fall off.
Best Defenses: Tumbling or hitting an automatic travel point (like
being shot up DK's Mountain or floating up the beam in Rainbow Road).
If you are far ahead, it may be worthwhile to jump off immediately
upon shrinking so that you grow again.
See it On the Ground? Hit it.
Fake Item Box
Fake item boxes, when struck, cause the kart to have
the same effect as if it was just hit by a shell. It immediately
loses a great deal of speed and tumbles (with little to no control).
Because of this, these are best dropped at choke holds or jumps. At
best, the opponent will hit the box and fall off the jump. At worst,
the opponent will avoid it, but lose control in the process and fall.
In addition, the kart is rarely aligned on the track perfectly after
hitting a fake box, so dropping these on boosts like the ones on
Rainbow Road will often send the opponent boosting off into space.
Best Uses: Chokepoints, real item box clusters, jumps, and boosts.
They can also be used offensively if the opponent is on your tail.
Avoid throwing these ahead as avoiding them can often be tricky.
Best Defenses: Look for the upside-down question mark or red coloring
and ALWAYS tell your driver when you know it's fake. If hitting it is
imminent, dodge away.
See it On the Ground? Avoid it.
Special Item for Mario and Luigi
When used, five fireballs shoot off at slightly different angles.
Anyone caught in them will suffer the same penalty as if they were
hit by a shell. I am not sure if they will destroy shells if hit
(I imagine they would), but aiming them at a shell would be nearly
impossible. The best use for these is to shoot them backwards in a
tight hall when many enemies are behind you.
Best Uses: Behind in a tight hall when many enemies are there. Avoid
tossing these forward as you may hit them yourself, especially if
you are near a wall (the fireballs at the edges tend to be the most
dangerous ones for the throwers).
Best Defenses: You'll either have plenty of warning or no warning at
all when dealing with these. Dodge them like you would doge anything
Special Item for Peach and Daisy
The heart shield is a fantastic item. After activating it, it will
absorb the next two items that hit you and give them to you. Though
it won't hurt to hit them, try to avoid running into bananas and fake
item boxes in favor of keeping it for the dreaded red shell. There's
nothing better than picking up a red shell meant for you and passing
it along to the person in front of you. If you have Peach or Daisy
on your team, let her stay in the back until you get a heart shield
(they are actually quite common). Once you get it, switch drivers so
that you can start collecting the other character's special item.
The shield will be lost if you fall off the edge or are hit by a
Best Uses: Use it immediately upon acquisition. Continue avoiding
items as you normally would unless that item is a red/spiny shell.
Note that normally friendly items on the ground such as a mushroom
will use up one of the charges, so it's up to you whether or not you
want to hit mushrooms, stars, or other friendly items.
Best Defenses: Do not launch a red shell at someone with a heart
shield. Green shells, bananas, and fake item boxes are fine, though,
since they will use up a charge. Just be careful because they'll
probably use that item back on you!
See it on the ground? Hit it.
Special Item for Diddy and Donkey Kong
The giant banana is a massive obstacle that, when struck, explodes
into three normal-sized bananas. These are incredibly difficult to
avoid, and they cannot be destroyed without hitting them. You will
definitely want to place this at any narrow point or jump where
avoiding it will either be disastrous or impossible. These can be
launched forward, but that's almost never a good idea.
Best Uses: Dropped behind you at any narrow point where others are
likely to run into it. Giant Bananas also destroy most items (and it
will deflect Bowser's Shell), so they make excellent defensive items.
Best Defenses: Avoid them at all cost. Also, do not throw Bowser's
Shell at someone who is carrying a Giant Banana as that may cause it
to turn right back around on you.
See it on the Ground? Avoid it.
Special Item for Baby Mario and Baby Luigi
When most people see the Chain Chomp for the first time, they think
it's the most valuable item in the game. What could be better than
a giant auto-pilot monster that speeds you up and kills everything
in your path? Not much. However, Chain Chomp has a nasty reputation
for betraying the poor babies who unleash it. For one, it's
impossible to dodge any items launched at you while you're hanging
onto Chain Chomp, and if you are hit, you immediately let go and
possibly fall if you've lost control. Second, when you finally let go
of Chain Chomp, you'll tend to continue on the path you were on at the
moment he let go. Meaning? If he lets go around a turn, you're
probably going to go flying off the edge. For this reason, I tend to
avoid using Chain Chomps on difficult maps (anything Star or higher).
Usually it's safe enough on the earlier maps to not have to worry too
Best Uses: Any point where you're pretty confident you can't fall off
if something goes awry. Be sure to tell the driver to continue
"driving" even while the Chain Chomp goes so that you're prepared the
second he lets go.
Best Defenses: As soon as you see the radar icon for the Chain Chomp,
get as far to the edge as possible. Chain Chomp will almost always
follow a path in the middle of the track. Also, if you have an item,
be prepared to use it as soon as he passes to knock the characters
off their free ride.
See it on the Ground? Is it possible?
Special Item for Toad and Toadette
This may be one of the most useful items in the game. Once you use
it, you can continue to use it as many times as you can for a fixed
period of time. This means that once you start using it, you should
tap Y as quickly as possible to get as many boosts out of it as
possible. Like the regular mushroom, anyone you hit while boosting
will go flying and drop their item. The only real consideration here
is to not use it near or around killer curves such as those in the
beginning of Rainbow Road or the curved bridge in Dino Jungle. The
speed boost you get from the Golden Mushroom is pretty unbelieavble.
Best Uses: Any time that won't cause you to fall off. Be aware that
as you're tapping, the driver has little control of the car. I tend
to do a great deal of correcting and balancing with dodge as we go
flying down the course.
Best Defenses: Just get out of the way. If you have an item,
definitely hit them with it as they pass to kill their momentum.
See it on the Ground? Hit it!
Triple Green Shells
Special Item for Koopa and Parakoopa
Like the triple mushroom, this is simply three green shells. If
you're hit while holding them, you will lose all but one. These are
almost always best saved as defense because you'll have three shots
to deflect an incoming projectile. If you do need to get rid of them,
always toss them backwards unless you feel you have a pretty decent
shot at hitting someone ahead of you. Shooting them ahead is very
dangerous, though, as it's not easy to avoid three shells in tight
quarters. When tossing them, give a bit of a delay between them so
that they do not end up crashing into each other.
Best Uses: Saved as defense. If you must get rid of them, toss them
backwards or forward if it's an easy shot.
Best Defenses: Same as single green shells.
See it on the ground? Avoid it!
Triple Red Shells
Special Item for Koopa and Parakoopa
The triple red shell is a very strong weapon indeed. If used
properly, you will almost always be able to hit the person ahead of
you three times, causing a huge slowdown. When launching these,
it's very important to have a delay between them for maximum effect.
This is because if a second shell hits while the opponent is tumbling,
the shell will be wasted. Try to wait at least a few seconds between
firing them, and be aware that as you go around corners, they may
catch up to one another. Just be patient and fire them slowly and
surely, knowing that they will find their way to the opponent. If
you're able to pass the opponent because of this, always give them a
good smack to steal any items and cause an even worse delay. Just
like the triple green shell, you'll lose all but one if you're hit
while carrying them.
Best Uses: Fired ahead to a distant or moderately distant foe with a
decent amount of time between shots. If you have three and a red
shell is incoming, always use them defensively since you'll lose two
shells if you're hit.
Best Defenses: Same as regular red shells. Just know that three are
on the way, so it's even more important to try to dodge or destroy
See it on the ground? Avoid it!
Special Item for Yoshi and Birdo
This egg is just like a fun-filled red shell. It's a homing missile
that, when struck, explodes into a whole bunch of useful items like
mushrooms, stars, etc. Shells and bombs may also spill out, so it's
important to be careful when you throw the egg. The egg seems to work
more like the red shells from Mario Kart 64 than the red shells of
Double Dash, meaning that they will follow the kart in front of you
rather than following the course to get to that person. This makes
them less reliable for more moderately distant foes, but more
reliable for close combats. After firing the egg, pay very close
attention to what spills out of it because it could be a great boost
or a devastating bomb.
Best Uses: On close-up enemies, always paying attention to what may
spill out of the eggs.
Best Defenses: Same as a red shell.
See it on the Ground? Avoid it!
Special Item for Bowser and Bowser Jr.
Bowser's shell is a massive shell that will slaughter anyone it hits.
The shell acts as a solid mass that will send the victim tumbling in
the direction of the shell. For this reason, it's always best to
shoot these backwards because A) you'll hit the people behind you and
force them to stop or even go backwards and B) you won't have any
chance of getting hit by it yourself. These are best used in narrow
corridors like those found in Daisy's Cruiser for maximum effect.
Bowser's shells can also be used defensively very well since they will
pretty much destroy anything they touch. The exception, as was noted
above, is Giant Bananas--Bowser's Shell bounces off of those, so keep
that in mind.
Best Uses: Thrown behind you to either block incoming shells or in
a narrow, crowded corridor.
Best Defenses: Get the hell out of the way or drop a Giant Banana.
See it on the Ground? Avoid it!
Special Item for Wario and Waluigi
The Bob-omb is both a curse and a blessing for Wario and Waluigi. On
one hand, when dropped behind them, if someone happens to drive past
it a few seconds later or run into it, they're going to blow up in the
same way a blue shell would cause someone to blow up. However, when
thrown in front of them, there is a great chance that you will run
into the bomb yourself. This will *never* be worth it, so be sure to
always drop these behind you.
The only thing to watch out for when dropping it backwards is that the
opponent is not right on your tail. If this is the case, you will hit
them, causing the bomb to blow up and catch you in the explosion.
Best Uses: Dropped behind you in a narrow, crowded corridor.
Best Defenses: Avoid it like the plague. Also, watch out for others
that may crash into it and get you caught in the explosion.
See it on the ground? Avoid it!
IV. ADVANCED TECHNIQUES
1. Double Dash
Listen to the beeping at the start of the match. Each beep will be
equally spaced from one another, much like a musical beat. Press A
when the fourth beep would have been, and you'll get a Double Dash.
You'll know you got it when bright blue flames come out of the kart.
2. Attacking Early in the Match
Whether or not you got a Double Dash, you should still be able to pass
some people. Be sure to smack every person that you pass. In fact,
make this a habit of yours. Always hit someone when you pass them,
and encourage your driver to get close enough to them for you. The
only thing you'll want to be careful of is punching near edges.
If you get a successful hit, your kart stops moving in the direction
of the punch. However, if you miss, you may have thrown yourself
right off the edge. Be very careful of this.
3. Using Punch to Balance Curves
As you go around curves, you should always be slapping the control
stick left and right whether or not your partner is using the shoulder
(it's just good habit). However, once you boost, you'll be able to
feel that the kart is slightly off balance. Things are a bit unstable
or maybe you're pointing a bit to the side. It is at this time that
you punch one way or another to get the kart back balanced. The
question is, though, do you punch into the curve or out of the curve?
This depends on the turn in question, but you'll eventually just be
able to "feel" which way you need to correct. Do this often as your
driver will greatly appreciate being straightened out after each turn.
Also, when you are driving at a ludicrous speed (such as with a
Golden Mushroom), the driver will have little control of the kart.
It is at this time that you should be punching constantly left and
right to hijack control of the kart and make sure you get to where
you need safely. Your punching combined with the driver's driving is
more than enough to keep you in control.
Finally, at any point where there is no railing on the edge, be sure
to use punch to keep the driver from drifting too far in one direction
or the other.
4. Saving from Falls
However, what happens if the driver gets too close to the edge
anyway? Well, you still have a few options. You should always
instinctively punch. But if you're falling off the edge, this may not
be possible or it may be too little. Do you have a mushroom? If so,
quickly use that. Sometimes the boost from it will be just enough to
get you back on course. Finally, if there really is no hope, make
sure to use whatever item you have because you're going to lose it no
This is probably the most important tip I can give you. It is
absolutely imperative that both players communicate so that they know
where they are going and what they are doing. In addition, as the
thrower, you have far less to worry about in real-time so you do not
need to intensely watch the course. That's the driver's job.
Instead, it is up to you to be aware of everything going on around
you. If you see an obstacle ahead, always tell the driver. You can
even tell him which direction to go around it. Just a quick, "Go to
the left of the banana" will suffice. ALWAYS notify the driver when
you know an item box is fake. Do not assume that he or she knows
Also, when playing multiplayer, always watch the opponent's screen.
This will let you know when they are directly behind you to drop an
item or when they're about to fire something at you. Similarly,
in Grand Prix mode, keep track of how close everyone is to your kart.
Another important point of communication comes when you're playing
in Mirror Mode. There are several key turns that everyone remembers
when playing in the standard modes. As a result, it's easy to forget
which way to turn in Mirror Mode. Just before these turns, remind
your driver which way to go and that you're in Mirror Mode. This will
help prevent them from driving into a corner.
Finally, it is the job of the thrower to make sure he has the item
from the driver. The driver is far too busy worrying about more
important matters than passing the item. When you're ready for it,
just say "Pass it". However, you don't necessarily always want the
item immediately. If the driver is holding an item, it cannot be
stolen when you're punched or hit by a boosting kart. Also, if you're
about to hit a single item box, and your partner is holding an item,
do NOT have him pass it. By the time the driver reacts and the item
is passed, you may not have enough time to drop it before hitting the
new item boxes. Nothing is worse than having your partner pass you
a banana just so that you miss the next item box.
6. Punch Often
You'd be surprised at how forgiving the punch is when you're hitting
other karts. Even if you're quite in front of or behind the kart,
just barely tapping them will still register as a full punch. Try to
punch as often as you can around enemies until you get used to how
forgiving it is. Also, don't let your driver tell you not to punch
too much. This is your most valuable skill and once you're adept at
it, your driver will be thanking you for saving the match every time
Of course, there are times and places when you don't want to punch.
Never punch towards an edge if you're not absolutely positive that
you're going to hit the opponent. If you miss, you'll probably send
yourself flying off the course. Also, on some big curves if you punch
into the curve and then hit the wall, the kart will go flying high
into the air in some miraculous feat of physics. I'm not sure why
this happens, but I do know that it will slow you down considerably.
Once you see this happen a few times, you'll start to understand when
not to punch.
7. Hold Onto Defensive Items
Items such as green shells and bananas are best when held onto for
defensive purposes. As such, you should hold onto them until hitting
another block is imminent. Just before you're going to hit an item
box, drop the item behind you to an unsuspecting victim and pick up
the new item. This is the best way to keep yourself protected and
still continue to pick up new items. This is most important if you
are in first place.
8. Do Not Punch Before Boosting
As you go around corners and charge up for your mini-boost, a punch
will kill reset the charge. For this reason, be sure to punch AFTER
the driver has used the boost.
9. Be Polite!
Remember, you and the driver are a team, so you should act that way.
Do not get upset if the driver makes some mistakes or is constantly
missing item boxes. Most likely if there was a mistake made by the
driver, you COULD HAVE fixed it if you were on the ball, so don't be
so quick to point fingers. If you make a mistake like dodge away from
an item or punch yourself off the road, be sure to apologize. Drivers
tend to forget the last ten amazing plays you made as soon as you
mess up their driving just once.
10. Be Ready to Correct Your Corrections
If you punch to help stabilize the car, be ready to punch the opposite
direction in case your punch over-corrected. It wouldn't be uncommon
to punch five or six times to balance yourself out at a particularly
11. Use Items to Destroy Obstacles
You can often use obstacles such as Bowser's Shell, green and red
shells, starmen, and lightning bolts to clear away things such as the
ducks in Peach Beach and the Goombas on Mario Raceway.
V. COURSE TIPS
Note: I'm not going to describe where each shortcut is. There are
plenty of other guides for that, and that's mainly a driver worry. I
will mention when you should hold on to a Mushroom or Star, though,
to make it through a shortcut if necessary.
1. Luigi Circuit
There is a shortcut by the first Chain Chomp, and a Star is the
perfect item for that. A Mushroom will work as well, but make sure
not to hit the Chain Chomp.
Let the driver know that it is much quicker to slide and boost around
the sharp turns than to use the boosts on the high part of the track.
Do not rely on the last set of items in the course because they are
too close to the finish line to be of much use. Secure your lead
beforehand and use whatever you get there as defense.
Be watchful of incoming traffic when in the straightaway. These can
be easily avoided by dodging.
2. Peach Beach
The Warp Pipe at the beginning leads nowhere. Do not take it.
Make sure to get an item at the first set because the beach area
around the corner is wide open for hunting.
Those obnoxious ducks WILL follow you, so it's your job to make sure
they have not homed in on you. If they have, notify the driver and
get the hell out of there. They are much too devastating to mess
around with. You can knock them out with a shell if you need to.
As you're going up the ramp with the moving item boxes, pay very close
attention, and dodge only if you're sure you can get one. Usually
it's best to go up that perfectly straight, but sometimes you'll need
to punch to get the item. Note that this item won't be of much use
in the Final Lap since you're much too close to the finish line. That
is, of course, if you're not neck and neck at this point.
If you have a Golden or Triple Mushroom, it may be worthwhile to take
the left-hand split of the beach and go over the ramp. If possible,
a fake item box or banana on top of the ramp could really hurt the
3. Baby Park
As you go around the curves, you may want to punch after boosting to
help straighten the driver out.
Be *very* aware of shells and other obstacles in this course. It
quickly becomes very cluttered.
It is pretty easy to dodge red shells going around the curve. This is
a prime spot to practice red shell dodging.
Bowser shells here are devastating.
Be sure to punch everyone as you pass them.
4. Dry Dry Desert
Hold onto Mushrooms for the big S curve in the beginning. You can
avoid doing all that turning and just skid over the rough terrain
Throwing a red shell at someone caught in the quicksand is usually a
Be sure to drop bananas or fake item boxes around the quicksand pit
to make navigating that much more difficult.
In the big open field with all the bumps, I've noticed that drivers
tend to miss the item blocks here. Pay attention and get ready to
dodge. Those last items before the end are just far away enough to
the finish line to make a difference. Make sure you get one,
especially for defense if you're in first place.
5. Mushroom Bridge
There is a decent shortcut at the very beginning. Remind your driver
about that if you want to take it.
Hold onto a mushroom or star for the other shortcut that takes you
over that little town. Be sure to tell your driver to take it if
you have the right item.
Be very careful of bombcars and watch out for other drivers hitting
You need to secure your lead before hitting the final items. You
probably won't have enough time for them to make much difference
6. Mario Circuit
You'll probably need to dodge in that very sharp curve before the
Chain Chomp to help straighten the driver out.
If you have a Mushroom or Star, you can cut across the grass behind
the Chain Chomp. Be sure to let your driver know what you're doing
Watch out for the Goombas near the end of the course. Also, look for
mushrooms on the ground. Any destroyed Goomba will drop a mushroom,
so there's a likely chance there will be one after a lap or two.
Always remind the driver during the very last stretch to be in the
middle of the track. If he's too close to either edge, the Piranha
Plant WILL attack you and set you back quite a bit. This can be
devastating on the final lap.
7. Daisy Cruiser
If you're playing in Mirror Mode, remind the driver to go to the left
at the beginning. This seems to be very easily forgotten.
There's a shortcut near the pool, but it rarely helps you. Avoid it.
Watch carefully when you're going through the Dining Room. You can
easily avoid hitting the tables, and you can often grab an item.
Just after the dining room, boost and dodge to straighten out the kart
and get a nice speed increase.
After those curves, only go down the hole if you are not immediately
behind someone. Going down the hole is only worth it if you get the
double item box since it slightly slows you down (this is due to the
amount of time it takes to fall). The refresh rate on the box is very
quick, though, so you don't need to be too far behind someone.
The last item boxes are usually too close to the finish line to be of
much use if you're behind in the final lap. Secure your lead
8. Waluigi Stadium
This is a very vicious course, and usually all the karts are very
close to one another. Your use of items here will make or break the
You can't punch while you're in the air, so make sure you make any
corrections you need on the ramps before you jump. This is very
important on the final jump because it's easy to fall if you don't
In the part where the giant Piranha Plants and spinning flames are,
you can get both sets of items by either switching drivers or
constantly pressing Y while it's randomizing the item. Usually you
can throw the item just before you hit the next item box if you don't
wait to see what you got on the first one.
On the big curve near the end, be sure to get an item here. You can
use this to knock someone off the ramp that's about to come. Save
any bananas and item boxes to use just at the top of the ramp. This
is very important on the final lap because you'll need something to
hit someone with or protect yourself as you go over that final ramp.
Don't worry about hitting the item box on that final ramp. You won't
be able to use it before you hit the finish line most likely. It's
more valuable to hit the ramp straight and not slow yourself down to
get the item. The exception to this is if the opponent is very close
to you, but even still, you'll want to try to hit them off the ramp
more than try to get the item.
If you get a lightning bolt, save it until your opponent goes over
the final ramp.
9. Sherbet Land
Your punching is the most effective way to dodge obstacles while
you're on ice. Be sure to use this to your advantage.
Watch for the shyguys on the first frozen section. You should be able
to avoid them all with dodging.
Many of the item boxes are difficult to hit on this course, so pay
extra attention as you pass them and punch into them if you can.
It is crucial that you avoid the giant ice blocks near the end. You
can fire shells at them to push them out of the way if necessary.
The best way to avoid, them, though, is to use dodging to keep the
kart stable and under control as you go through the ice. DO NOT punch
into the ice blocks, obviously.
You need to secure your lead before you get to the ice blocks because
it's very difficult to get and use an item before the finish line in
the final lap. Red and green shells are especially useful to help
push the enemy into an ice block. Also, drop bananas and fake boxes
to make the opponent dodge them and hit an ice block instead.
10. Mushroom City
Your dodging skills become VERY important in Mushroom City as you need
to avoid cars, caterpillar buses, and bomb cars. Hitting any of these
can be highly devastating.
There are many ninety-degree or worse turns in this map. You'll want
to boost and punch to help straighten the driver out.
Red shells will often run into cars on this map, so be sure to send
them when there's no cars around and not to blindly send them to a
distant opponent. They probably won't make it.
On the final stretch, your dodging skills could make all the
difference. Hitting a bomb or car would be disastrous at that point.
Also, the item boxes on that last bit are not worth getting since you
probably won't be able to use them before the finish line.
11. Yoshi Circuit
This is a very curvy map, and often your punching to straighten out
the kart is more valuable than boosting. This really depends on the
driver and conditions of the course.
In the first curve, try to punch people off the course. Just be
careful not to fall yourself.
If you get a Mushroom as your first item, you can take the shortcut
jump to skip the third big curve. Be sure to communicate with the
driver that you want him or her to make the jump. Use the Mushroom
just as you hit the grass. Be ready to punch when you land if the
driver needs help correcting himself to avoid falling off the course.
Be ready to boost at any point. Be ready to defend yourself at any
point. Be ready to knock someone off the edge at any point. This is
a very fast-paced, difficult course where anything can happen.
Communicate with your driver when you reach the Piranha Plants.
They're hard to see as a driver and can really slow you down. Dodge
Placing bananas on any curve here could really spell disaster for the
opponent. Remember, if the opponent misses the banana and falls off
the edge, the banana has done its job.
Triple or Golden Mushrooms are very helpful at the curves by the
Piranha Plants. You can use them to bypass the curve altogether, and
Mushrooms will usually make you pass by those nasty plants before they
will have a chance to react.
12. DK Mountain
This is one of my favorite courses. :)
If you get a Triple Red Shell as your first item, hold onto it until
after you get to the top of the mountain. This is also true for
Starmen, Lightning Bolts, and anything else that takes time to have
its full effect.
Opponents are immune to everything while they are shooting to the top
of the mountain. Do not use Lightning or Spiny Shells during this
Remind the driver to look for the Double Item box as you go around the
first curve at the top of the mountain. They're easy to hit if you're
ready for them.
If you use a Chain Chomp near the S-curves prior to the tilting
bridge, he will pull your kart straight over the ravines. This is an
excellent shortcut to take. This can also be done with a mushroom,
but it is very difficult to pull off properly.
Be very careful of shooting red shells during the first descent down
the mountain. They tend to follow the center of the course and then
curve at the last moment meaning that you can easily catch up to them
and they may hit you. Also, give plenty of time between red shells.
This will help make sure they don't run into each other and also
give a good chance that they'll hit around the vicious curve.
Don't boost around the vicious curve where the item boxes are. Be
ready to punch, though, to keep the driver from falling.
Make sure you hit an item just before the bridge. Use this item to
shoot down any bananas on the bridge (they're hard to avoid) or to
place an obstacle on the bridge. It's best to place them right at the
start of the bridge because the other drivers are probably not quite
stabilized at this point. Avoid dodging while on the bridge because
it may toss you right off. You may hit the opponent if you're sure
you'll hit him to knock him off the bridge. Just be very sure you do
not fall off yourself. Don't be afraid to punch one way then
immediately the other way to cancel them out.
Secure the lead before you make it to the bridge. It's difficult to
catch up to people in the final lap at that point.
13. Wario Colosseum
This is another great course for the thrower.
Try to punch people as you go over the ramps in the beginning right
at the last moment. This may very well knock them off the course.
Be sure to dodge as you go up the ramp to make sure you get the item
as you jump. These items are crucial to securing the lead early.
Remember, you can't punch once you're in the air.
Place as many obstacles as you can at the tip or just before the tip
of each ramp. Don't place it before the last boost, though, because
usually that one boost is enough to get them over. You want them to
fall off the ramp at the top.
Boost like crazy as you go down the spiral part. You should be able
to pull off constant boosts and gain a great deal of speed. Do not
punch into the curve as you go down the spiral because this will
cause your kart to drive straight into the wall. You need to be as
stable as possible coming out of the spiral to get ready for the next
Do not boost while going around the next curve. Remind the driver
about the curve and advise him or her to slow down a bit. You may
need to do some correctional punching to keep the kart in the center
of the track. Do not over punch, though, because you'll end up
throwing yourself off the course. Immediately after the curve is a
great place to use a Mushroom because they tend to have a
straightening effect on the kart.
If you get an item box or banana on any of the next two item boxes,
save it for the jump over the big hole coming up. Many karts and
almost all humans take that jump despite its difficulty. Placing
bananas and item boxes at the top of the ramp is a great way to knock
them off the course. Also, because the ramp is a boost, it's very
difficult to see obstacles on it. Red shells are also a good
alternative if you're behind your enemy. Try to time it so that they
will get hit JUST BEFORE hitting the ramp. This will make them not
point straight, and when they hit the boost, they'll just boost right
into the hole. This is the best place on the course to attack the
enemy and secure a lead, especially in the final lap.
If you're still behind after the hole, you have two more chances to
catch up. Make sure you get an item at both locations or there will
be no chance.
The final jump (the very high ramp) is your last chance to cause an
opponent to fall. Place obstacles here.
14. Dino Dino Jungle
The starting point of this course is very tight. Be sure to punch
your way through at the beginning.
Always go for the item under the dinosaur. Getting hit here isn't
a terrible thing since you'll want to slow down before you go on the
bridge anyway, and having items here can be disastrous for your
opponent. Try to dodge the dinosaur's feet if you can.
DO NOT USE MUSHROOMS OR STARS JUST BEFORE THE BRIDGE. You will fall
off. Remind the driver to slow down as he approaches the bridge,
and do not boost around it. You may need to punch to keep him
centered. Just after the curve is a great time to punch people since
the bridge is so narrow. Also, people usually don't have items left
at this point.
If you received a Mushroom or Starman from the dinosaur, hold onto it
until you enter the cave. As soon as you enter the cave, make a hard
right and go over the bridge. You'll need the item to make the jump,
but it's well worth it if you do.
Be sure to place obstacles at the entrance to the next bridge. This
will surely knock your opponents off. Also, this is a great point to
punch them off.
Going around the tight curve at the end is the last chance you'll
have in the final lap to attack your opponent. Make it happen.
Place obstacles on the geysers that you drive over. Your opponent
only has two choices of geysers, and if one is blocked, he may screw
up changing at the last moment.
15. Bowser's Castle
This is another favorite course of mine. :)
At the beginning as you drive over the draw bridge, PUNCH. Most
likely at that point, all the drivers are still bunched together, and
it is very easy to throw someone off there. There's nothing better
than sending your opponent to a quick 8th place in the beginning
to frustrate them.
Always go for the double box as you approach the Thwomps. Dodging is
also important here to ensure that you do not get squished.
As you approach the final curve of the hallway just before you get
to the grating over the lava, remind your driver to be careful. It's
very easy to fall off at that point if you're not stabilized.
Place an item on the top of the ramp before the spiral up. This will
surely cause someone to fall.
Boost as much as you can as you're going up the ramp and place
obstacles on the far outside. Most human players end up hugging the
far outside during the whole spiral.
As you approach the spinning fire, remind your driver to pick a
direction and stick to it. You may need to punch to avoid the fire
or grab an item. Getting an item here may help you around the
next killer curve.
Place obstacles just before the ninety-degree curve with no edge.
Just the appearance of them could psych out your opponent enough to
fall off the edge there. You may need to punch as you go around that
yourself to avoid falling off.
As you go around the curve just before the straightaway where the
Bowser statue fires giant fireballs, make sure to get an item. If
it's an obstacle, hold onto it until the shortcut jump coming up.
Place it right before the edge as you jump over it (you are taking
the short cut, aren't you?). As you jump over the shortcut, be
prepared to punch left (right in Mirror) to help your driver not fall
through on the other side. It's pretty easy to hit it once you're
used to it. Placing the obstacle before the jump is a sure way to
make your opponent fall. If you're just playing against the computer,
though, it's not worth it since they rarely take that shortcut and it
will just make it more difficult for you on the next lap.
Place more obstacles at the top of the next ramp or just as you land
after it. They are very difficult to avoid at this point.
Be sure to secure the lead before the final jump. You'll have little
time to attack after you've landed on the final lap. Try to stay on
the inside of the curve, and punch your driver that way if necessary.
It makes a big difference at the end.
16. Rainbow Road
Get an item on the first round of items and be sure to use it as you
go around the first hairpin curve (unless of course it's a star or
mushroom). You may need to punch to help the driver get around these
two curves. DO NOT BOOST. Feel free to remind the driver to slow
down as you go around these, too.
Be sure to place items just as you land on the big straightaway with
large boosts. It may cause your opponent to lose his facing as he
tumbles, and when the boost sets in again, they'll boost right off
The big curve with all the little boosts can be very difficult for
many drivers. You may need to do some punching to keep them centered.
If you do punch, you'll probably need to punch a lot and hijack
control to keep the driver on.
Many drivers take the next S curve very dangerously. Be ready to
punch to keep them from falling off. A mushroom boost may save you
Do not use items before the teleporting beam. If they don't catch
up to the driver before they hit the boost, they're wasted. Also,
all opponents are invinciple while in that beam, so Spiny Shells and
Lightning Bolts are wasted then.
If you don't secure the lead during the next straightaway, you may not
have another chance to. The final set of items is usually too close
to the finish line to have much effect.
VI. THANKS & CONTACT
You can reach me, Matt Schembari, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also ICQ me at 1840696 or catch me on AIM as Matteo522. If
you have any comments/corrections/suggestions, I'd love to hear from
Many thanks to Jared for giving me this game as a random gift. Also
thanks go out to Llana, Eric and Jared again for providing both
great teammates and great opponents.
VII. LEGAL STUFF
© 2004 Matt Schembari, AKA Matteo522, AKA Kenickie.
You may reproduce and republish this document ONLY BY contacting me
first. If you ask, I'll most likely say yes. However, using any part
of this document without my express written approval is forbidden by
Jan 22, 2004 - Finished the first draft of this document.
Jan 26, 2004 - Added some things that I had overlooked. Many thanks to
Matthew Monin and Windu for pointing these out.