Rocket Start

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Not to be confused with Start Dash.
The Rocket Start in action, as seen in Mario Kart 8.

“Get off to a Rocket Start! To launch from the starting grid at a high speed, press and hold A Button at just the right moment during the countdown.”
Mario Kart 8 Digital Manual

Rocket Start (also referred to as Turbo Start, Boost Start, or Head Start) is a technique used in the Mario Kart series, as well as the racing games of the Donkey Kong franchise such as Diddy Kong Racing. It is a powerful burst of speed that occurs at the beginning of each and every race, which easily accelerate racers to top speed from standing still. It is executed by holding the acceleration button at the correct time in the starting countdown, with each game having different timing to do so. If the player holds the button too early and over-revs when the final beep sounds, the player's vehicle will stall for a few seconds at the beginning of the course (sometimes known as a Dud Start or Fail Start).


The strength of the rocket start determines how fast the kart will launch when the race starts.

In Mario Kart DS, the player can achieve a much stronger boost than normal by beginning to hold A Button roughly 0.25 seconds after the countdown reaches 2. If done correctly, the kart will rev higher than usual.

Since Mario Kart Wii, the strength of the Rocket Start depends on the power of the rev is currently at the moment before GO! appears onscreen. For example, if the player starts to rev when the countdown reaches 2, depending on when the player started to hold down the acceleration button when 2 was onscreen, the duration of the technique can be roughly between half a second to two seconds long, indicated by the flames coming off of the exhaust pipes of the vehicle.


To perform a Rocket Start, drivers must press and hold the corresponding acceleration button when the race is about to begin. How and when to use it depends on which installment in the series and which control scheme the player uses.

Mario Kart series[edit]

Game Control Timing Failure
Super Mario Kart Hold B Button Between first and second lights Kart's tires spin and accelerates slowly at the start
Mario Kart 64 Hold A Button or tap it three times in sync with the lights When the light turns blue Kart's tires spin with no forward movement
Mario Kart: Super Circuit Hold A Button When the light turns green Kart accelerates slowly at the start
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Hold or tap A Button Sparks appear between tires and ground and kart does not move
Mario Kart DS Hold A Button When number "2" starts fading Kart's engine backfires and stalls for a second or two
Mario Kart Wii With Wii Wheel or Wii RemoteTwo Button
With Classic Controller Classic Controller a Button
With GameCube ControllerA Button
With Wii Remote and NunchuckA Button
Mario Kart 7 Hold A Button or Y Button When the second beep sounds
Mario Kart 8 With Wii U GamePad/Wii U Pro ControllerA Button, Y Button or Classic Controller Right Control Stick (tilt forward)
With Wii Wheel or Wii RemoteTwo Button
With Wii Remote and NunchuckA Button
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe With Joy-Con R - X Button
With Joy-Con L - +Control Pad right
With Joy-Con Grip controller, Nintendo Switch Pro controller, Nintendo Switch (handheld mode)- A Button

Arcade series[edit]

Donkey Kong franchise[edit]

Game Control Timing Failure
Diddy Kong Racing Press A Button As soon as the words "Get Ready" has almost completely faded Vehicle accelerates slowly at the start
Diddy Kong Racing DS Press A Button As soon as the word "Go" appears onscreen
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast Shake the Wii Remote and Nunchuk simultaneously Right as the word "Start" appears onscreen The player may either accelerate slowly or jump by accident

Double Dash!![edit]

"Double Dash!!" redirects here. For information about the game of the same name, see Mario Kart: Double Dash!!.
The Double Dash!! in action.

The Double Dash!! is a technique that can be performed only in the co-op play mode of Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, which is named after the game's subtitle. Both players must press A Button at the same time when the light turns green to perform this technique, which will make the kart be launched at a higher speed. Blue flames will follow the kart, showing that the technique was performed correctly. This move's control is slightly different to that of a normal Rocket Start.

Official descriptions[edit]

Mario Kart 64

  • Instruction booklet: "When you start, if you press the A Button Button when the signal changes from red to blue, you can make a dash start at maximum speed (called a "Rocket Start"). But if you press too early, the tires will spin and you will start even slower, so be careful."

Mario Kart: Super Circuit

  • Instruction booklet: "If you press the A Button button at just the right moment before the light turns green, you'll start the race with a huge burst of speed."

Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

  • Instruction booklet (Rocket Start): "If you press A Button just as Lakitu's start signal turns green, you'll perform a Rocket Start."
  • Instruction booklet (Double Dash!!): "In co-op play you can get an even better launch if both the front and rear perform a Rocket Start at the same time. This is called a Double Dash."

Mario Kart DS

  • Instruction manual: "During the countdown to the start, hold A Button down with the right timing to rev up your engine and give yourself a burst of speed off the starting line."

Mario Kart Wii

  • Instruction manual: "Press and hold Two Button at just the right time during the countdown to rev up your engine and give yourself a burst of speed off the starting line."

Mario Kart 7

  • Digital manual: "If you press and hold Y Button or A Button at just the right time during the starting countdown, you will launch off the starting line much faster than normal."

Mario Kart 8

  • Digital manual: "Get off to a Rocket Start! To launch from the starting grid at a high speed, press and hold A Button at just the right moment during the countdown."
  • Guide: "Timing a perfect Rocket Start can determine the whole nature of a Grand Prix race's first lap, and this technique is essential for posting record-breaking Time Trials. When Lakitu begins the countdown, start accelerating when "2" is on screen and the second red light is lit. If this is well timed, you'll have a perfect Rocket Start."


Names in other languages[edit]

Rocket Start[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ロケットスタート
Roketto Sutāto
Rocket Start
Spanish (NOA) Salida rapida Fast Start
Spanish (NOE) Turbosalida Turbo Start
French (NOA) Départ turbo Turbo Start
French (NOE) Départ canon Rocket Start
Dutch Raket Start Rocket Start
German Raketenstart Rocket Start
Italian Partenza a razzo Rocket Start
Portuguese Inicio a Jato Rocket Start
Russian Быстрый старт
Bystryy start
Fast Start
Korean 스타트 대시
Seutateu Daesi
Start Dash
Chinese 火箭起步
Huǒjiàn Qǐbù
Rocket Start

Double Dash!![edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ダブルダッシュ!!
Daburu Dasshu!!
Double Dash!!
Spanish Doble Carrera!! Double Dash!!
Korean 더블 대쉬!!
Deobeul Daesi!!
Double Dash!!