N64 Bowser's Castle
|Appears in||Mario Kart 64 (1996)|
Mario Kart Wii (2008)
|Cup(s)||Star Cup (64)|
Lightning Cup (Wii)
|Based on||Bowser's Castle|
|Online play||No longer available (Wii)|
Bowser's Castle (transliterated to Koopa Castle on a few occasions) is the fourth and final race course of the Star Cup in Mario Kart 64 and is Bowser's home track of the game. It reappears as the fourth and final course of the Lightning Cup in Mario Kart Wii.
Mario Kart 64
The course is composed almost entirely of straightaways and 90° turns, and begins outside the castle with walls on both sides of the track. There is first a straightaway that takes racers over a wooden bridge and into the castle, where they first encounter a square courtyard. Here the track makes two 45° turns to the right, with the first set of Item Boxes in between. While the courtyard is mostly covered in grass and shrubs, there is a Bowser statue that will breathe fire towards the part of the track with the aforementioned item set, though it cannot reach the track. Once racers leave the courtyard they enter a wide corridor with four Thwomps; these Thwomps will move around in the air before falling onto the track. At the end of this corridor, there is an imprisoned Thwomp tinted green with yellow teeth due to the lighting, which shakes and laughs if racers go near it. Racers then take a left turn and briefly drive straight before taking a right turn into another corridor with more Thwomps. A pair will wait at the beginning of the corridor and then attempt to follow racers before falling and then returning to the beginning of the corridor. A row is also at the end of the corridor; the number of Thwomps in the row depends on the engine class (one for 50cc, two for 100cc, and three for 150cc), and they will always take turns falling.
After exiting the corridor, racers take a right turn followed by a straightaway and another right turn, then enter a room with two more Thwomps; these ones are always at ground level and move from side to side. There are also four small Bowser statues on the sides of the room that can breathe fire, of no consequence to racers. After this room there is a left turn and then racers must drive along a narrow bridge to cross a small room filled with lava. Afterwards there is a right turn into a short corridor with four pictures of Bowser on the walls. Here racers go down a staircase and reach another set of Item Boxes, and then they exit the corridor to reach another courtyard. This courtyard is much narrower and follows the shape of the track, with some more grass and shrubs on each side of the track. The track itself makes a sharp U-turn and then has a straightaway followed by a right turn. Here racers exit the castle and drive over another wooden bridge before reaching a circular tower. Between here and the end of the track, walls once again cover both sides of the track. Racers make a 270° loop counterclockwise around the tower as they gradually gain height, then they jump over a gap and land on a wide area with the last set of Item Boxes. On the left of the track next to the item set is the first of three small square towers with spires on top. At the end of this area, racers must cross another gap and go left or right around the second tower. They then take a right turn around the third tower and reach the finish line soon after.
On the last lap, or when the player gets too close to the Bowser statue at the start of the track, Bowser's laugh plays. The Thwomps throughout the course can also laugh, which is the same as the laugh of Wario but pitched down. Because Wario's voice changed for the international release, the Thwomps' voices changed with it.
Mario Kart Wii
Bowser's Castle makes its classic course debut as the fourth and last course of the Lightning Cup in Mario Kart Wii, as well as the thirty-second and last course of the game overall. The castle has been redesigned to become more realistic and windows have been added outside. In the final section, Lava Geysers spring out from the pits to cause the drivers to bowl over, especially when racers attempt to jump. Due to lighting improvements, the imprisoned Thwomp no longer appears green, but it still reacts when players drive near it. The evil laugh made by the sliding Thwomps in the original version is no longer heard; instead, they make angry expressions and rumbling noises. The flame-shooting statues are still harmless. Bowser's laugh is still heard on entry on the final lap, or when the player gets too close to the Bowser statue at the start of the track. It is the longest retro course in the game (as well as the longest course overall), taking around one minute per lap. The bridge that comes before the long circular turn before the end is now broken, with Lava Geysers on the sides. Additionally, the ramp after the spiral has a Dash Panel on it, making the jump easier. The Bowser portraits, which in the original used his artwork from Super Mario Bros. 3, now resemble his artwork from Super Mario Galaxy. Bowser's laugh that plays in the Wii version uses Kenny James's voice, which is the current portrayal of Bowser.
March 2009's second tournament required players to complete a race on Bowser's Castle against Dry Bowser, driving the Offroader. In addition to regular items, Dry Bowser is able to constantly use a Fireball attack not seen anywhere else in the game. Additionally, all Item Boxes will either contain a Mushroom, Star, Triple Bananas, or Triple Green Shells. Vehicles are restricted to karts only. The tournament was later repeated as the second tournament of June 2010, though without any vehicle restrictions, and the second tournament of March 2011.
Mario Kart 64
- Instruction manual: "Surprisingly, the Bowser's Castle has been transformed into a race ground! Because it's inside the building, most of the corners are tricky right angles. However, the most difficult part of the course is where the Thwomps are. They will block your path, and if you run into one, you will spin out. Should you be stepped by one, you'll find yourself squished flat as a pancake."
- Website bio: "Bowser's Castle can be one of the toughest courses in the game if you don't know the way through it."
Mario Kart Wii
- European website: "Racing over the red carpets in Bowser's not-so-humble abode might make you think you're in for a warm welcome from the king of the Koopas. Well, if fire-breathing statues are your idea of a warm welcome..."
- Trading Card bio: "It's especially important to have great cornering skills for a track like N64 Bowser's Castle. Most of the corners are tight and if you cut them too close you'll run into a wall. Avoid the fire-breathing Bowser Statue in one of the courtyards by boosting through the grassy area. It's a nice shortcut."
Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart Wii
Names in other languages
|French||Château de Bowser||Bowser's Castle|
|German||Bowsers Festung||Bowser´s Fortress|
|Italian||Castello di Bowser||Bowser's Castle|
|Spanish||Castillo de Bowser||Bowser's Castle|
- In the Mario Kart 64 instruction manual, there are triangles at the third bridge and between the jumps afterward telling the player(s) to watch for falling rocks, despite the fact that there are no falling rocks or any other obstacle in that area. This is actually a translation error; in the Japanese manual, this is merely a warning not to fall off the track, with the kanji used being similar to the ones used to describe the falling rocks in Choco Mountain.
- A rumor popularized by YouTube videos in 2007 falsely suggests that the Thwomp locked behind a cage at the beginning of the course, nicknamed "Marty", can be unlocked as a playable character.
- Nintendo Magazine System (UK) issue 51, pages 28 and 29.
- Nintendo Magazine System (Australia) issue 49, page 40.
- Mario Kart 64 Japanese instruction booklet, page 31.