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Dash Panels (also formatted dash panels, and also called Zippers, Dash Zones, booster arrows, Speed Strips, Rainbow Ramps, Turbo Tiles, and Turbo Plates) are special panels that appear as a stationary power-up in the Mario Kart series. The appearance of these panels has changed throughout the series' history. Dash Panels give powerful bursts of speed for the player's Kart and are often used to achieve maximum speed on big jumps and slopes, as well as to gain advantage over opponents. If the player uses a Mushroom or a Mini-Turbo on any of these panels, nothing will happen; however, the player will go faster if they slipstream over one.
Mario Kart series
Dash Panels are one of the main road elements in Mario Kart games, appearing in almost every title in the series. However, their design varies from game to game.
Super Mario Kart
In Super Mario Kart, Dash Panels appear as yellow arrows and are very rare. They appear in seven courses: Bowser Castle 1, Mario Circuit 2, Ghost Valley 2, Bowser Castle 2, Mario Circuit 3, Bowser Castle 3, Ghost Valley 3. CPUs never use them, so the player can easily get to the first positions by using them. In Mario Circuit 2 the boosters are used to make a large jump and are mandatory. Except in Mario Circuit 2, Dash Panels are removed for Time Trials, but remain intact on Match Race.
Mario Kart 64
In Mario Kart 64, Dash Panels are set in two courses: Royal Raceway and DK's Jungle Parkway. They appear as yellow and red scrolling arrows, used to launch racers over large gaps (similar to the cannons that appears in future Mario Kart courses like DK Mountain and Airship Fortress). The ramps in Koopa Troopa Beach are also red and yellow, but the arrows look different and they don't have Dash Panels on them.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
In Mario Kart: Super Circuit, they also appear as yellow and red arrows, but smaller and square-shaped. Unlike in previous games, they are fairly common, appearing in fourteen courses: Riverside Park, Mario Circuit, Boo Lake, Cheese Land, Bowser Castle 2, Cheep Cheep Island, Sunset Wilds, Snow Land, Ribbon Road, Yoshi Desert, Lakeside Park, Broken Pier, Bowser Castle 4 and Rainbow Road. They again provide a burst of speed like in Super Mario Kart but are often used to make large jumps off ramps. Rainbow Road has the most Dash Panels of all the courses. With the exception of Mario Circuit 2, all extra courses had their Dash Panels removed.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
In this game, they are designed as a flashing rainbow-colored panels and rectangle-shaped. In this game, Dash Panels appear in half of the courses and are noticeably more powerful, just as fast as a Mushroom.
Mario Kart DS
In Mario Kart DS, Dash Panels once again appear as rainbow-colored panels, but this time they scroll forwards, rather than changing colors over time. In this game, Dash Panels are slightly more common, appearing in ten Nitro Courses. They appear less in Retro Courses, with only GCN Luigi Circuit and GBA Bowser Castle 2 having Dash Panels. Courses from games older than Mario Kart: Double Dash!! keep the original booster design (like in GBA Bowser Castle 2).
Drifting or braking when driving over a Dash Panel will cause the tires to slip and screech.
Mario Kart Wii
In Mario Kart Wii, they have a similar design to the ones in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, but in most courses, the color only changes from pink to red, orange and yellow. Every nitro course in the game features a Dash Panel, a tradition that would happen in later Mario Kart games. Many retro courses from games older than Mario Kart: Double Dash!! that contain Dash Panels keep the original design (two examples are DK's Jungle Parkway and Mario Circuit 3). Vertical dash panels are also introduced in this game, which allow the player to perform tricks off of the sides of the courses.
Mario Kart 7
Dash Panels also appear in Mario Kart 7, where as well as the regular speed boosting orange ones, blue ones with white scrolling arrows appear on the Glide Ramps. These panels do not boost speed and only deploy the Kart's Glider. Rings have also been added, which provide a short boost of speed while the player is gliding and functions like an air-based Dash Panel.
Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
In Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Dash Panels now have pixelated animations like the ones in Super Mario 3D World. Regular Dash Panels, the blue ones on the Glide Ramps from Mario Kart 7 and rings appear in the game, as well as a new Antigravity Panel which denotes the start of an anti-gravity segment and automatically sets the Kart into Anti-gravity mode. It ends automatically, often after a ramp or a gliding section. When going backwards, the anti-gravity automatically turns on/off when passing over the anti-gravity panel (as happens in tracks where one can drive in reverse like on Mario Circuit).
In some courses, some Dash Panels become inactive under certain conditions:
In Cloudtop Cruise, Bowser's Castle, and Super Bell Subway, players can carefully drive on the Dash Panels that are in contact with hazardous obstacles, but they cannot get a boost.
Diddy Kong Racing
Zippers appear in Diddy Kong Racing and Diddy Kong Racing DS. Their functionality is nearly identical to the Dash Panels of the Mario Kart franchise. There are three variants of Zippers, one for each vehicle: Cars, Hovercrafts, and Planes. Each vehicle's Zipper has its own appearance and are positioned based on the associated terrain. Car Zippers are arrow-shaped panels placed on the ground, the Hovercraft variant is shaped like a triangle, and are located on bodies of water. Lastly, the Plane variant is ring-shaped and is located in the air.
All three vehicles can technically use each Zipper variant, but some vehicles cannot reach some of their variants. Planes can reach any type of Zipper, Hovercrafts can only use the waterborne and ground variants, while Cars can only use Zippers on land. Zippers sometimes do not appear if a player drive in an unassociated vehicle. Zippers give off a greater boost of speed if the player lets go of the button before hitting one. Additionally, Plane Zippers briefly lag the game if approached at an angle.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games
Dash Panels also appear in the Nintendo DS version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, where they appear in the Ski Cross Racing event, functioning the same way as in other games and keeping the same design. Boosted Ramps using various numbers of Dash Panels also appear in this event.
Mario Party series
Mario Party 9
Dash Panels (known in this game as Dash Zones) appear in Mario Party 9 in the minigame, Speeding Bullets. They are used to accelerate the character's speed when they are used. These Dash Panels are orange in color and are arrow-shaped. In Time Attack mode, the bonus challenge for Speeding Bullets is to not miss a single Dash Zone.
A Dash Panel also appears in Snow Go to help the players crossing thick snow. In Time Attack mode, the bonus challenge is to use it in all ten laps.
Mario Party: Island Tour
In Mario Party: Island Tour, Dash Panels are present in two minigames: Gyro for the Gold and Mr. Blizzard's Snow Slalom. In the former, they are used to cross gaps between the platforms of the obstacle course. In the latter, it has the same look from recent Mario Kart Dash Panels and is used to launch the character's snowball at Mr. Blizzard.
Super Mario Party
In Super Mario Party, flat Dash Panels appear in the River Survival mode on the water's surface, boosting the raft forwards when run over. Dash Panels on ramps also appear, which are used to reach minigame balloons and + Clocks suspended in the air.
Super Mario 3D World
These objects make their debut in the Super Mario series in Super Mario 3D World, for the Wii U. This time, they are square-shaped and feature a pixelated diamond animation. Once a character runs on it, it will blink and give them a boost. Boosted characters cannot stop running or crouch (and so cannot long jump), and cannot make direction changes any sharper than 90 degrees without first being in the air. All characters run at the same speed when boosted. Jumping will slow boosted characters down slightly, especially if an ability such as floating is used, but they'll immediately return to full speed upon landing if the boost has not yet run out.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Dash Panels return in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker keeping their appearance and function from Super Mario 3D World. They appear in Magma Road Marathon, where Captain Toad is forced to use them in order to advance and to not get hit by Charvaarghs, and in Drop-Road Dash.
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
Dash Panels appear in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, first appearing in the mission Wait Up, Yoshi! in Gloomy Woods. When the Dash Panels are stepped on, the trio dashes in the direction the arrows point. The trio cannot change their direction while they are dashing.
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