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The Mini-Turbo, also known as Turbo Slide, Boost Slide, Slide Boosting, or simply a Boost, is a technique used in the Mario Kart series, it consists of a short speed boost following a successful drift. It appears in every game in the series since Super Mario Kart. Usually, players tend to manage several consecutive Mini-Turbos to accelerate faster. In some games, it can also be executed on straightaways of a track, if the stretch is long enough. When done correctly, the player tends to go to both sides of the track in a wavy or snake-like pattern. This is known as a Straight-Stretch Mini-Turbo, (SSMT) or, more commonly, Snaking.
Main kinds of Mini-Turbos throughout the series
Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart: Super Circuit: straight after long drift
In Super Mario Kart (where it is an hidden technique known simply as Boost)and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Mini-Turbos are normally charged by drifting for a certain amount of time (usually more than a second) and released by returning straight. In Super Mario Kart it requires a counter-steer after the long drift in order to achieve the boost.
There is no animation associated to the charging of the Mini-Turbo, but in Mario Kart: Super Circuit there is a small animation related to the release, with blue flames bursting from the exhaust, along with a sound effect, while in Super Mario Kart the engine revs up.
Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart DS: manual charging
In Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart DS, the Mini-Turbo is charged manually while drifting by steering in the direction opposite of the turn and then in the direction of the turn while drifting. It is necessary to charge this way the Mini-Turbo two times, although in some cases it may not be necessary to steer in the direction of the turn the second time. It is released by releasing the drift button.
In Mario Kart 64 the charging is denoted by a change in the color of the smoke trails (which resemble letters V and E) that come out from the rear tires, from white to yellow to indicate an half charge and from yellow to orange to indicate a full charge. The release has no animation associated and is denoted by drivers shouting. The boost itself is not so noticeable, but the speedometer can be seen increasing (if enabled in place of the course map), and the engine revs up slightly for a short time.
In Mario Kart: Double Dash!! the charging is indicated by a change in the color of the sparks coming from the wheels of the kart from yellow to orange to indicate a half charge, and then blue to indicate a full charge. There is a small animation associated to the release, with flames from the exhaust pipes and small yellow sparks coming from the rear wheels, along with a sound effect and call by the driver who is behind. In co-op, the player who is driving must press the or button to drift while the back player must tilt the Control Stick to left and right; however, in single-player or non-co-op VS modes, each player controls both parts. In this game, a Mini-Turbo in-game stat is introduced, that indicates how many frames does the Mini-Turbo boost last. As an example, all large karts, such as the Koopa King, have a Mini-Turbo boost that lasts 10 frames, while the small karts and the Parade Kart have a Mini-Turbo boost that lasts 30 frames.
In Mario Kart DS the charging animation is similar, but with sparks' color reversed from blue, then orange. There is no evident animation following the release, but a small sound is associated with it along with a revving up of the engine (a similar sound as if driving through a Boost Pad or using a Mushroom), along with a wind lines on the screen akin to slipstreaming. Like in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, there is a hidden Mini-Turbo stat that determines how long does a boost last. Karts with higher handling and lower weight tend to have a stronger Mini-Turbo boost, with Dry Bomber being the strongest and the Tyrant being the weakest..
With a right timing and skillful drifting, karts with a high handling and low weight could be used to avoid a Spiny Shell by hopping shortly after releasing the Mini-Turbo
Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8: time-based automatic charging
From Mario Kart Wii onwards, the Mini-Turbo is charged automatically after certain seconds has passed while drifting and released by releasing the drift button.
The charging can be made quicker by tilting the control stick or pushing the D-Pad in the direction of the drifting, and is delayed if the Control Stick is tilted or the D-Pad is pushed in the direction opposite to the drift. Similar to Double Dash!!, blue sparks indicates the Mini-Turbo is ready and its release is denoted by flames coming from the exhaust pipes along with an associated sound and racers shouting. After a Mini-Turbo is charged, it is possible to continue drifting and further charge a Super Mini-Turbo (also known as Long Mini-Turbo or Extended Mini-Turbo) that lasts around three times as long and which charging is indicated by orange sparks.
In Mario Kart Wii only karts can charge a Super Mini-Turbo. Furthermore a Mini-Turbo can be charged while standing still by holding both the jump/brake button and the acceleration button at the same time. Karts in this case only charge a regular Mini-Turbo and not a Super Mini-Turbo. This kind of Mini-Turbo is released immediately when the jump/brake button is no longer pressed.
In Mario Kart 7, the mechanics remain unchanged from the previous installment, though Super Mini-Turbo is noticeably less powerful and standing Mini-Turbo is no longer possible. If racing in First-Person View, the sparks appear from the front wheels; if not, the sparks appear from the back wheels.
In Mario Kart 8, the technique once again remain unchanged, but now bikes can perform a Super Mini-Turbo. Furthermore, both Mini-Turbos can be charged slowly by skidding as a result of tight steering without drifting, although in this case the time needed is almost doubled both for the regular and Super Mini-Turbo. This special kind of Mini-Turbo is immediately released when the steering ends. In addition, Mini-Turbos are charged slightly faster while driving on the anti-gravity sections of the course.
Names in other languages