Bowser Castle (DS)
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Bowser Castle in Mario Kart DS is the penultimate track in the Special Cup, before Rainbow Road and after Peach Gardens. It is strongly based on the Bowser's Castles in Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, but with the tan stones replaced by grey bricks, and stone paths have been replaced by metal grates and platforms. This incarnation lacks the multiple Thwomps in other Bowser's Castles (this track only has four) and there is no lava spouts, unlike in numerous other versions. In the background is a forest consisting of dead trees and dark mountains, as well as fiery orange sky. It features few gimmicks, but some of the gimmicks include a rotating cylindrical bridge, a small chamber with spinning floor and four moving platforms above a portion of a large lava pit. The entrance to the castle is very similar to the one in the previous incarnations. Bowser in the Hurricane is the Staff Ghost for this track.
The players start by passing through a metallic doorway with a statue of Bowser's face above (which plays his laugh on entry), similar to Bowser's Castle in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. They then pass through a hallway with Thwomps. After climbing a set of stairs they cross a thin bridge, which has barriers so players cannot fall back down to the hallway below. Next, they enter another circular room. However, this one doesn't have a Firebar; it spins instead. It is a large metal circle that spins counterclockwise, while the racers are going clockwise. A hallway with a Thwomp follows. This Thwomp actually moves horizontally out the window, then comes back into the castle. After a right 90° turn and then a left 90° turn, there is a spiral path. If racers aren't careful, they can fall a long way down into lava or back to the beginning of the spiral. It is possible there to use a Bob-omb on opponents through the tower's windows. Racers will then encounter two paths; crossing a rotating cylindrical bridge , or drive down to a garden below it. The bridge provides a much faster time to go through, and if they fall off, they can simply land on the garden but will lose some seconds. The garden is partially paved and have grass parts that slows them down. Afterwards, racers will drive through metal grates with a large Boost Pad ramp that launch them to the final stretch that consists of four moving platforms, allowing racers to take a right turn to the finish line. The platforms move from right to left but do not really cause much of a risk, as far as falling into the lava goes. Heavy racers can push lighter racers off; however, some of the path has barriers preventing them from falling. The path from the platforms to the finish line is the same metal grates.
There is one significant shortcut in this track. If players go all the way around the circular room, they will take a shortcut. However, the shortcut has several Rocket Engines and a moving Thwomp.
Bowser's Castle is the setting for mission 6-1. Said mission involves the player as Bowser having to drive across the spinning bridge backwards without falling in thirty seconds.
Mission 7-2 is also set at Bowser's Castle. This mission has the player as Mario racing one lap against Bowser.
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