Nintendo 64: December 14, 1996 February 10, 1997 June 24, 1997 June 24, 1997 December 25, 2003 (iQue Player) Virtual Console (Wii): January 26, 2007 January 26, 2007 January 29, 2007 January 30, 2007 April 26, 2008
Mario Kart 64 is the second installment of the Mario Kart series. This is also the first in the series to use three-dimensional graphics. It was released for the Nintendo 64, and later became available for the Wii's Virtual Console. It featured changes in playable characters, new courses, and was placed 4th in the 100th issue of Nintendo Power's "100 best Nintendo games of all time" in 1997.Mario Kart 64 has set many trends which have continued on in the Mario Kart series, such as Drifting and Item Boxes. Additionally, every course and battle arena has reappeared in future Mario Kart games except for Wario Stadium and Double Deck.
Players must steer with the Nintendo 64's controller's control stick, holding down to accelerate. is used for braking, and also allows the players to reverse by pointing the control stick down. Items can be used by simply pressing the trigger. When players press the trigger, they jump, allowing the kart to turn around tight corners. Turning too much or quickly, or turning side to side, results in a spinout, making the Kart stop for several seconds. If a Banana is hit while the player is driving straight, the character will skid for a while before spinning out. If the player presses the button, a music note will appear over the character's head, nullifying the effect of the item (this effect is also included in Mario Kart: Super Circuit). This does not work all the time, however, because sometimes, the player can skid out immediately after driving into a banana if the banana is hit while turning.
As opposed to the previous game in the series, Super Mario Kart, a standard race now has three laps rather than five due to the much-longer raceways compared to those found in Super Mario Kart. Additionally, the race tracks have elevation and feature different forms of terrain. To get items, the character must get an Item Box. Once the character gets an Item Box, an item-roulette will appear with medium sound, and, when it stops, "dings". Players can press the item button during the roulette to stop the roulette early. Also unlike Super Mario Kart, Players have Infinite Chances and can now try again as many times as they wish after they finish in 5th or below. This was removed in later games for unknown reasons.
There are four cups, designated as Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup, Star Cup, and Special Cup. These cups are further divided into three different difficulty settings of 50cc, 100cc, or 150cc. An unlockable Extra, known as Mirror Mode, allows players to race courses flipped vertically, which sometimes increases difficulty. In order to unlock this feature, players must win the Gold Cup on all the cups in 150cc. When the title screen changes, it means that the player has unlocked Extra. A Time Trial mode and a Battle Mode are also available, which pit players in different Kart scenarios that do not necessarily require racing.
In the Time Trial mode, players must race against their own previous times, represented by a Ghost of their player-of-choice.
Mario and Luigi battling each other in Battle Mode.
In Battle Mode, each player starts with three balloons and loses a balloon when hit by any item. It is also possible to lose a Balloon if a heavier player such as Bowser hits a lighter player like Toad or Yoshi with great enough speed (more details here). When a player has lost all Balloons, the player loses and becomes a Bomb Kart. The last surviving player wins the round.
The rival system in this game is the more common 2 Rival system seen in most similar games, whereupon two randomly selected rivals will fight with the player, and will use the "Handicap" feature to situate themselves on level with the player. They will always stay on the same, no matter what the championship standings are.
On a side note, when the player plays the 150cc and Extra mode, two random CPU racers may receive a huge handicap, and even when hit with an item such as a Red Shell, they will recover rapidly. Sometimes there is also one player that receives an even larger handicap and when ahead, it is almost impossible to stop the player without cheating.
The original release of this game on the Nintendo 64 used 123 pages of the Controller Pak to record Ghost Data, which would occupy all the space in the Controller Pak. However, later versions of the game used 121 pages on the Controller Pak, leaving only 2 pages free.
Because none of the available controllers have a Controller Pak Slot, it is impossible to record Ghost Data on the Virtual Console version of the game.
Lightweight drivers have the highest acceleration and highest top speed. Additionally, only Lightweights (and the heavyweight character Bowser) can use the triple-gas acceleration recovery technique (tapping the gas button three times and then holding to accelerate more quickly). The single downside to lightweight characters is that they can spin out from contact with heavier characters.
Middleweight drivers actually have the slowest acceleration of all the weight classes and have the same top speed as the heavyweights.
Heavyweight drivers have a slower acceleration than the lightweights, but faster acceleration than the middleweights and share the same top speed as the middleweights.
Analysis and Tiering of the above weight categories is demonstrated in the this video.
Additionally, players can drive a Mini Bomb Kart when all their balloons disappear in battle mode. The Mini Bomb Kart can drive around and explode on other players, but it only has one use for exploding before completely disappearing.
Super Mario 64 - In the track Royal Raceway, there is a part where the racer can turn off the road and arrive at Princess Peach's Castle exactly as it appeared in this game. It is also where the award ceremony is held.
Donkey Kong Country - This is the first appearance of the Donkey Kong Country version of Donkey Kong in the main Mario franchise. In fact, the sprite was partially taken from that game.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit: Many graphics from this game were reused, such as characters, karts, and character screen portraits. A similar thing that while losing characters turn into a Mini Bomb Kart in Super Mario 64, losing characters turn into Bob-ombs in Mario Kart: Super Circuit.
Kamek was originally intended to be one of the playable characters, but ended up being replaced by Donkey Kong. The Character Select screen was also different, the characters faced the player, and Kamek can be seen in Donkey Kong's space. The working title of this game was Super Mario Kart R. Boos from Banshee Boardwalk also had a different look, the HUD was different from the final version, and item boxes were also completely black with colored question marks on them.
The Cape Feather, which was in Super Mario Kart, was also intended to be included, as seen in a certain screenshot of Super Mario Kart R. This particular screenshot can been seen on the back of the packaging of the Nintendo 64 system.
This glitch works in any mode with any player on Wario Stadium. On the first hill after the start of the race, the player should drive into the wall, they should be able to bounce over it. Next, they should do a 180 degree turn and aim for the starting pole (the player is over the wall so it may be hard to see it depending on how well the Nintendo 64 or Wii works). The player should hop over the wall again and make sure to land to the right of the starting line. Once the player crosses the starting line after they regain control of their kart, Lakitu should hold the second or Final lap sign, depending on which lap the player was on previously, or he will wave the checkered flag, if the race is finished.
To perform this glitch start a battle on Double Deck. The player must then park one of the characters over an Item Box and make sure that the character doesn't receive a Boo or Star. Then have the other character(s) loose their balloons. On the Battle Ranking screen, keep pressing Z on the controller for the character that is on the item box. Eventually the game will freeze with the music still playing.
In the Japanese version, Luigi, Toad, Princess Peach, and Wario have different voice overs than their American counterparts, while other characters do not. The Japanese voice overs were used in the first two Mario Party games and Mario Kart: Super Circuit. Also, Toad, Donkey Kong, and Bowser are referred to as Kinopio, D. Kong, and Koopa, respectively.
This is one of the two games that marks the first time, Luigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and Wario receive a revamped appearance from the original hand-drawn era to the N64 3-D art direction of the Mario franchise, the other being Super Mario 64.
This game currently has the most race tracks and battle courses that reappear in future Mario Kart games, the only race track and battle course to not appear in any other game is Wario Stadium and Double Deck, respectively.
Mario Kart 64 is the only Mario Kart game outside of Japan to not have at least one track named 'Mario Circuit', as the Circuits are referred to as "Raceways" outside Japan.
Toad and Donkey Kong are the only drivers to have their karts' engine sounds not shared with the other drivers. Mario's is shared with Luigi's, Peach's is shared with Yoshi's, and Wario's is shared with Bowser's.
This is the only game in the Mario Kart series where all the included characters have their signature courses (Royal Raceway is Princess Peach's race course because the word, "royal," means relating to a sovereign, which Princess Peach is). In other games, only selected characters have their signature courses.
On the 150cc engine class, unlike any other game, if the player drives erratically, the tires screech and cause the player to spin out.