From the Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia
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Lightning (also called Thunder Bolt, or Lightning Bolt) is an attack item found in various Mario games. On its use, it summons a powerful lightning bolt from the sky, usually shrinking opponents.
Mario Kart series
In the Mario Kart series, Lightning is an extremely powerful item that racers usually receive when they are in (or near) last place in a race. When used, Lightning will temporarily shrink all the other racers, making them slower and weaker, in addition to making them spin out and drop their items. It also temporarily makes the racers' voices high-pitched and sped up until being back to normal or getting squashed. It is also the emblem for the Lightning Cup.
In Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, and Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, when Lightning is used, a sound like that of a tiny alarm is heard during its effect. In Super Mario Kart that sound is only heard when the Lightning is launched, and in Mario Kart DS onwards, the music in the race is affected when the player is hit by it. In Mario Kart 7, the extra beat that plays in 1st place goes out of sync with the music for a few seconds after the attack. Lightning's effect can be avoided if a racer has a Mega Mushroom, Star, Boo, or Bullet Bill item activated when the bolt strikes, or if they are flying through the air after being shot out of a cannon in all games prior to Mario Kart 7.
Super Mario Kart
In Super Mario Kart, if any shrunken players are driven over, they will be squashed and unable to move for a few seconds. While shrunk, the character's weight is equal to other shrunken players.
Mario Kart 64
Lightning returns in Mario Kart 64, behaving the same as in Super Mario Kart. However, if two shrunken players run into each other in Mario Kart 64, they will both crush each other. Also, the player can obtain it if they are anywhere from 2nd to 8th place.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
In Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Lightning can also scatter racers' items across the road when used. However, the item does not affect players that are currently indisposed (such as having just been hit by another item, or having fallen over a cliff). Also, unlike in Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, shrunken players will not get squished if they ram into normal sized racers. However, tiny karts will be easy to push around, even by the Bullet Blaster, which is the lightest kart in the game. Lightning can be dropped on the road after getting hit by something that causes racers to lose their items (e.g. Freezies). However, the Lightning will only stay on the road for a few seconds.
Mario Kart DS
In Mario Kart DS, the effect of being hit by Lightning wears off much faster depending on the rank that the player is in. For example, someone hit by one while in seventh place will return to normal almost immediately, while the one in first place will remain shrunk for up to seven seconds. Also, players who get hit by other items can still be affected by this item. This item can be obtained if the player is anywhere from 6th to 8th place, with CPUs only being able to obtain it in 8th place.
Mario Kart Wii
In Mario Kart Wii, as in Mario Kart DS, the effect of Lightning lasts more briefly the lower the rank the player is in and even if hit by other items, they are still be affected by it. If the players are under the effects of a Mega Mushroom, they will shrink to back normal size immediately and won't spin out or lose their items. In Battle Mode, unlike other items, Lightning does not take away a balloon or coins. There are two items with similar effects to the Lightning: the POW Block (which affects every racer ahead of the user just like the Blooper does) and the Thunder Cloud (which gives the recipient a speed boost prior to striking them). This item can be obtained if the player is anywhere from 9th to 12th place, with CPUs only being able to obtain it in 12th place.
Mario Kart 7
In Mario Kart 7, as in Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii, the effect of being shocked by Lightning will be determined on the level rank the player is in, from last place decreased time and in first place will last the longest. As before, the music of track will be altered and even if hit by another item, the player will still go into effect. Any players that are shrunk will also be squished if run over by normal sized racers, an effect returning from Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit. Unlike in Mario Kart Wii, when a driver is shot out of a cannon, the shrinking effect will still happen and the driver will fall while gliding in midair. A new addition is this game is multiple Lightnings. Up to three players can hold a Lightning Bolt at a time and could be possible to unleash two or even three lightning attacks. This item can be obtained if the player is in 7th or 8th place, with CPUs only being able to obtain it in 8th place.
Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
In Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the effect of this item is very similar to its effect in Mario Kart 7. In these games however, when a character is shrunken, the loss of speed makes it more difficult for the player to perform tricks and to drift. Unlike in previous Mario Kart games, when a player is hit with Lightning, they will lose the item they are holding even if they are under the effects of a Star (in the original version only). Like the first three games and Mario Kart 7, when a player is shrunken by Lightning, and another one with the normal size drives on them, they will be squished. Up to three players can hold a Lightning Bolt at the same time.
Mario Pinball Land
Lightning appears as an item in Mario Pinball Land. When used, it defeats all on-screen enemies.
Mario Power Tennis
In Mario Power Tennis, Lightning appears as an item in the Item Battle in Exhibition Mode. When it is used, it shrinks the player's opponent(s), reducing their speed and power. Lightning also appears in 8-bit Mario Bros. styled sprites in the mini-game Coin Collectors, where it is used to when the player grabs it.
Mario Baseball series
Mario Superstar Baseball
In Mario Superstar Baseball, Lightning is one of the items resulting from landing the ball in the ? space. If the player receives that, they will switch with the leading player's coins with their coins.
Mario Super Sluggers
Mario Hoops 3-on-3
In Mario Hoops 3-on-3, Lightning is a usable item. If it is used, it stuns all players and makes the ball drop out of one's grasp.
Mario Party series
Mario Party 8
Mario Party 9
In Mario Party 9, Lightning appears in King Boo's Puzzle Attack. Lining three of them will give ten points to whoever lined up three of this item, while taking away three points from his/her opponents. It also unleashes lightning that will damage King Boo more than the other items do.
Mario Party: Island Tour
Mario Party: Star Rush
Mario & Sonic series
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
In Wii version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Lightning appears as an item in Dream Race, where it temporarily stuns all other characters and causes them to lose speed when used, but can be defended against by using either a Starman or invincibility from a Chaos Emerald.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games
Lightning appears as an item in Dream Alpine in the Wii version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, where it strikes all of the opponents with Lightning when used, knocking them over and causing them to lose speed. It also appears as an item in the Individual version of Dream Ski Jumping, where it can be used to strike all of the opponents and cause them to lose height, speed, 10 points and a Bonus panel, but can be defended against using a Barrier.
Super Smash Bros. series
Lightning appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as an item. It also appears as a sticker. The item usually shrinks all of the player's opponents. However, at times it might backfire and shrink the player who grabbed the item. Lastly, there may be a case in which the item might actually make the opponents giant-sized, as if they all touched a Super Mushroom.
An interesting note to point out is that players who get shrunk by the Lightning will be set to the exact same size as when they touch a Poison Mushroom (0.5x normal size), but their direct attacks deal 0.7x their normal damage, instead of 0.6x. Also, if players become giant from the Lightning, they will be much bigger than when they grab a Super Mushroom (2.4x normal size, instead of 1.7x), and their direct attacks will deal 1.84x their normal damage.
Mario Kart series
Super Mario Kart
Mario Kart 7
Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart Tour
Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U trophy
Blue indicates exclusive to the Wii U version.
Names in other languages