Airship Fortress is the fourth and final course of the Star Cup in Mario Kart DS. The course takes place both on a floating fortress in disrepair and on an airship. The course was inspired by the environment of boss levels seen in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. Other airships can be seen flying away in the sky.
The most notable feature in the course is the Cannon Pipe that shoots racers out to the fortress through the air. Furthermore, the track includes harmful obstacles like Bullet Bills, Rocky Wrenches and more. Airship Fortress is the only course in the entire Mario Kart series to feature Bullet Bills being shot right at a player. Missions 6-2 and 7-7 are carried out here.
The track starts in a straight way, where a barrage of Bullet Bills shot from a Cannon Pipe of the craft will wipe any vehicle out if they collide. Passing this section of the track players will turn and get a boost running over a Dash Panel to enter to the deck of the airship. Outside the ship, racers must dodge the pesky Rocky Wrenches that pop out from their trenches to attack the racer whom goes toward it. Proceeding inside the airship, players take a tight turn and reach the cellar where some crates spread in the room may contain a useful Mushroom or an unpleasant Banana Peel if the Kart breaks the box at great speed. The next room to follow includes burners moving to the sides, that players can spin out of control if they touch the fire. Players go out from the airship launched by the big Cannon Pipe after a dash panel traveling slightly faster than a spiny shell, similar to DK Mountain, to arrive in the tower of the fortress through the hole the cannon clearly aimed. Turning around through the corkscrew in the tower to go down, players finish the race. The players can also push other racers into a crack at the very end of the course and once they pass the finish line they will be down one lap. This may not work all the time.
In mission 6-2 the player has to hit 15 Rocky Wrenches using Stars. The player has 30 seconds to complete it, but once the Star runs out, the player has to get another Star from the Item Box. Stars always appear every time the player breaks one.
In mission 7-7 the player must collect 12 coins in reverse while avoiding the burners. If they get burned, they fail the mission.
Mario Kart 7
Airship Fortress returns as the third track in the Lightning Cup in the 3DS game Mario Kart 7. Immediately following the starting line, both drop-offs can be used to perform a trick and gain a small boost. As well, the Bullet Bills have become Banzai Bills, and are now shot out at faster intervals. The interior of the airship has some minor changes. The room with the Rocket Engines now has a fencing floor with lava under it. Just like Waluigi Pinball and Maple Treeway, the cannon in this track contains a gliding pad, but once again, players cannot move left or right while being launched.
Racers are now vulnerable to some other items especially lightning. Players may fall to the gap, if they cancel the glider or if they are hit by the item at the glider pad or during the launch. If players do fall down, they will get picked up by Lakitu and brought back to the tower of the fortress or the ramp that was very close to the beginning of the launch.
Located at the beginning, it is possible to drive on the stone rail to avoid Banzai Bills, but the player will run the risk of falling off (either on the track or the gap), if the racers aren't careful enough.
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