Spiny Shell (blue)
- This article is about the item from the Mario Kart series. For the red variant of this item that is worn by Spinies, see Spiny Shell (red). For the blue Koopa Troopa shell without spikes or wings, see Blue Shell.
Artwork of the Spiny Shell in Mario Kart 8
|First appearance||Mario Kart 64 (1996)|
|Latest appearance||The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)|
The Spiny Shell (also known as the Spiny's Shell, Koopa Shell, or Blue Shell) is an item from the Mario Kart series. Its first appearance is in Mario Kart 64. Aside from the Mario Kart games, the Spiny Shell is a power-up in some sports games of the Super Mario franchise and an item in the Super Smash Bros. series.
The Spiny Shell appears in many Mario Kart games as an item from an Item Box. Its general purpose is reminiscent of a Red Shell, except that it targets the player in first place (or the leader of the race) and inflicts more damage to the targeted racer. Its function varies slightly from game to game. It is one of the most powerful items in the Mario Kart series due to its general rarity, its main function of going after the leading racer, its difficulty to avoid without the use of certain items, and the effectiveness of its attack and blast radius. In early games, it is smooth other than its spikes much like a Spiny's actual shell and, as such, was likely intended to be one with a color distinct from Red Shells. Starting with Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, it gains hexagonal plates like those of Koopa Troopas' shells, which it keeps in all later appearances. While the red Spiny Shells are shown with similar plates in games such as Super Mario Strikers, they have since gone back to a smooth appearance, unlike the blue version.
Mario Kart series
Mario Kart 64
In Mario Kart 64, the Spiny Shell (also called the Spiny's Shell in the instruction booklet) travels along the ground. Any player from fourth to eighth place can receive this item. However, the Spiny Shell is the rarest item in the game. Additionally, CPUs cannot receive this item.
Once fired, the Spiny Shell travels straight forwards for a second. If it hits an obstacle during this time, it is destroyed. Afterwards, the shell begins to travel along the ground, following the track ahead of the shooter. Any karts that the Spiny Shell hits are thrown into the air. This can be avoided by moving out of the way, as it does not target anyone except the leader of the race. Once it reaches the leader, it crashes into them and disappears, sending them flying high into the air. This height is enough to fling them over some barriers that normally cannot be hopped over. The shell makes a highly distinctive siren sound while traveling.
While it normally remains sliding along the track, the Spiny Shell takes to the air if required to continue its chase, soaring over gaps and jumps. A particularly strange case occurs on Banshee Boardwalk: The shell falls off the edge of the track just before the house, resulting in it making a corkscrew flight to get back on. In other cases, before entering the haunted house, it can circle around the sign that says "WELCOME."
If the Spiny Shell strikes an invincible racer, it gets destroyed without damaging the racer. If the leader is invisible, it simply passes through them, though it may then simply make another lap of the course and hit them afterwards.
The shell can be dragged behind a kart like other single shells. In this position, it destroys any opposing items it touches as well as causes opponents to crash. It cannot be fired backwards.
Using the shell while in first place results in it turning around to hit the thrower after its straight shot.
If a player gets a sideways Item Box, they get a Spiny Shell each time. However, there are only two sideways Item Boxes. One is on Luigi Raceway, where there is a hot-air balloon that dips down with an Item Box hanging on the bottom. Another is on Koopa Troopa Beach, where there is a large rock with a single Item Box on its top with a narrow ramp before it. In the Mario Kart 7 remake of both courses, this special Item Box is no longer present, being replaced by a regular one on Luigi Raceway and a single coin on Koopa Troopa Beach.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
The item serves the same function in Mario Kart: Super Circuit, although the shell has a darker blue color. Like before, it makes a distinct siren sound when traveling. Like the Red Shells in the game, it can be dropped behind the player and activates only if the kart in the first position passes directly by it. The Spiny Shell is also easier to avoid; if the player jumps over an abyss or over a previous section in the track, like the jump in Mario Circuit 2, the shell falls in the abyss or crashes into the wall. It is also possible to outrun it if the player maintains top speed a certain amount of time.
The impact of the Spiny Shell no longer causes the leader to crash and be thrown off. Instead, they spin out and stop on the spot they were hit. This trait is later reused for the POW Block in Mario Kart Wii and for the Spiny Shell in Mario Kart 8.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
In Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, the Spiny Shell is changed significantly. It is a standard item that any player in fourth place or lower can obtain. In this game, the shell appears with a pair of wings that allows the item to fly instead of sliding over the ground, which lets it skip any obstacle found in the course. The shell now makes a hissing noise as it launches.
When thrown, the shell flies at incredibly fast speeds to the current lead racer, bypassing all of the other positions. After finding its target, the shell hovers behind the vehicle to home in on it, then charges straight into it. Double Dash!! is the first game where the Spiny Shell explodes on impact and throws the racer up into the air, also causing their kart to backflip. The blast is similar to a Bob-omb, and it can leave racers itemless if they are thrown into the air, but it is colored blue and somewhat larger. This trait is kept for subsequent games.
Other racers that are caught in the explosion spin out and drop certain items onto the road, while destroying any items already on the ground.
The Spiny Shell always goes for the leading player in the race (even if it is the shooter). Therefore, if the player in first already crossed the finish line, any Spiny Shell shot after that point goes to the active leader of the race (in this case the second-place racer). Thus, once the player in second crosses the line, the shell targets the player in third, and so on. Additionally, once a player holds a Spiny Shell, other racers cannot receive another shell until the player has used it and hit the target. This rule is kept for later games as well.
There are many methods for a player to avoid the Spiny Shell. They can use a perfectly-timed Mushroom, use a Star to make the item completely harmless, or perform a Mini-Turbo by drifting, which sometimes causes the Spiny Shell to spin around the player and crash into a wall.
Mario Kart DS
In Mario Kart DS, the Spiny Shell works in the same manner as in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. It is obtainable from 4th to 6th place, with it also being obtainable in 7th place for offline VS Races and 8th place for online VS Races. Once fired, a Spiny Shell flies following the road to reach the leader. Once it has located its target, the shell flies around briefly and falls over the vehicle before exploding on impact, throwing the vehicle upwards and destroying the items held by the racer. A player can avoid the explosion by using invincibility items like a Star, a Bullet Bill, or Boo. Tumbling as a result of getting hit by a Banana Peel or Fake Item Box also prevents the damage received by the explosion. Finally, the shell can be avoided by skillful use of a Mini-Turbo when playing on 150cc.
Mario Kart Wii
The Spiny Shell makes its fifth Mario Kart appearance in Mario Kart Wii. Its function is identical to Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart DS, and it can be obtained if the racer is anywhere from 4th to 8th place (middle ranked positions), with CPUs also being able to obtain it in 9th place. Its rarity is similar to that of the POW Block. The best chance of getting this item is in 6th place, with a 7.5 percent (3 out of 40) chance of getting it in said position. If the player drops out and sees the Spiny Shell flying to that area in courses like N64 Sherbet Land, the shell makes a U-turn and still targets the racer in 1st place. It is one of six items wherein only one can be in play at a time (the other five being the Thunder Cloud, Blooper, Bullet Bill, POW Block, and Lightning), and is one of four items with a cooldown timer for the first few seconds of a race (the other three being the Blooper, POW Block, and Lightning). Spiny Shells are unobtainable for the first thirty seconds of a race, only then can back-to-back Spiny Shells be potentially obtained.
If a player is targeted for attack by a Spiny Shell or is in the vicinity of the blast, the player can avoid the attack by means of a Star, a Mega Mushroom, a Bullet Bill, or a well-timed Mushroom; they can also be hit by a POW Block (Coin Runners only), or pass through a Barrel Cannon, a Launch Star found on Rainbow Road, or the wide ramp in DK's Jungle Parkway. It is even possible to drop a Banana at a very precise time during the drop after a jump, which causes the Banana to collide with the shell and spare the target. Doing a trick off a ramp at the perfect time can also result in avoiding a Spiny Shell. Also, if the player is in first when the shell is fired and drops out of that position, the shell still attacks that player.
In team play, the Spiny Shell aims for whoever on the opposing team is farthest in front, ignoring and not damaging anyone on the user's team (so it targets the racer in fourth if the first three racers are on the user's team). This is the only time where a player can launch a Spiny Shell in first and not get targeted by it. For the first time, the item is also available in Battle Mode, flying straight to the opposing team's highest-scoring player after a short delay. The item is much rarer in Battle Mode than in VS and Grand Prix modes, and only appears if there is a very large score difference between the user and the leader.
Mario Kart 7
The Spiny Shell makes its sixth Mario Kart appearance in Mario Kart 7. The shell is now wingless, like its first incarnation, and is larger than previous versions. Unlike the original incarnation, however, this and all later versions have separate hexagonal plates on the carapace akin the winged design. Like before, it explodes on impact with the leading racer, but this time it also hits other racers in its way, since it travels along the ground and spins like the original appearance. Its rarity is on par with Lightning. This item can be obtained anywhere from 5th to 8th place, with CPUs not being able to obtain it in 8th place. The explosion is also weaker than in Mario Kart Wii and disappears faster; this time, it knocks racers sideways, although this can potentially cause them to fall off the course. Additionally, being in flight from a cannon or similar object no longer provides immunity against the Spiny Shell.
All of the racers hit by the shell drop coins (like any other item), but unlike in the past Mario Kart installments, the Spiny Shell no longer destroys the items carried by the racer, except for items being dragged by the racer at the time of the explosion. Unlike in Mario Kart Wii, the racers in the front hit by the explosion do not get thrown off the ground. Instead, they crash and roll over sideways, similar to being hit by a racer under effect of a Bullet Bill or a Star. However, the impact is still powerful enough on courses where it is possible to fall off, such as Bowser's Castle and Rainbow Road. If the player is hit when gliding, the glider retracts itself and the kart tumbles in the air before falling, usually losing some position.
Unlike in Mario Kart Wii, the Spiny Shell is easier to avoid by simply dropping out of first place before the item is launched, or falls off the course, though it is much harder to dodge with a Mushroom, as the item now explodes ahead of the targeted racer. Being hit by a perfectly timed Shell, a Banana, invincible racers, or Lightning nullifies its effects. Additionally, racers behind the first-place racer can avoid the shell by swerving out of its way.
The Spiny Shell cannot travel further than a set distance: If it exceeds the distance, then the shell disappears. This can be demonstrated on Rock Rock Mountain, where the Spiny Shell can easily miss the player if the player flies over it at the last glider jump; the shell does not go another lap in an attempt to hit the player again.
It now also has a new sound effect when launched, rather than the traditional hissing noise of previous versions, although the aforementioned sound can still be heard slightly when it is about to explode. In addition, the "incoming item" warning sound from Mario Kart Wii now can only be heard when either a Spiny Shell or Bullet Bill is launched.
Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
The Spiny Shell returns in Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It retains the Mario Kart 7 design but has a brighter, royal blue color. Like in previous games, it can be avoided by using a Mushroom, in the same way as Mario Kart 7. It can also be avoided by getting hit with another item, outrunning it (which is most possible on 200cc in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe), or using the rarely-obtained Super Horn, which is capable of destroying Spiny Shells in their path. Like in Mario Kart 7, Spiny Shells also cannot travel further than a set distance and disappears if they exceed that distance. This can easily be demonstrated by playing on N64 Yoshi Valley, where the Spiny Shell can easily miss the player if it takes a path different than the player's; it continues on its path and does not go another lap in attempt to hit the player again.
It is also much less powerful in this game, with the explosion now only stopping the target in the spot they were hit, instead of causing them to crash or tumble, and they flip once instead of twice. This is notably similar to that of Mario Kart: Super Circuit.
Due to the new item system (where it mostly depends on distance from the front runner), it is possible to get the shell from any place other than first. This item can be obtained if the player is anywhere between 5500 and 13000 units from the frontrunner. However, it is tied with the Super Horn, Blooper, and Crazy Eight for the rarest item in the game.
A Spiny Shell Collector's item was also available with the Mario Kart 8 Limited Edition bundle as well as the game disc.
To promote the release of Mario Kart 8 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, a song themed around the Spiny Shell titled "Blue Shell Blues", performed by British band The Brett Domino Trio, was released on May 29, 2014, one day before the game's European release date, on Nintendo UK's Wii U YouTube channel.
Mario Kart Tour
The Spiny Shell returns in Mario Kart Tour and retains most of its characteristics from Mario Kart 8. This item is obtainable from 5th to 7th place. It can still be destroyed with the Super Horn, which also returns to this game, or be dodged with a well-timed Mushroom boost; successfully performing either of these two maneuvers grants a large amount of action points. There is a new method to avoid the Spiny Shell from hitting the human player by simply letting any CPU-controlled driver overtake and take the lead at the last moment, resulting in the Spiny Shell immediately changing its target and hitting the new leader almost instantly. This works even if it appears the Spiny Shell has already locked on the player at the moment it is hovering above them ready to crash, unlike past titles. This cannot be done in Multiplayer mode, though, as the Spiny Shell hits the locked on leader regardless. If the player gets three Spiny Shells, they enter Frenzy mode, enabling the player to launch Spiny Shells for the rest of Frenzy mode. Its blast radius is also much weaker than any previous iterations, only knocking over the target without causing the kart to flip or tumble.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
The Spiny Shell reappears in Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, returning to its winged design from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! to Mario Kart Wii and functioning the same as in that game. However, its wings only appear once it is launched by the player. The radius size for the explosion is also larger.
Mario & Sonic series
Spiny Shells appear as items in a few events of the Mario & Sonic series. They first appear in the Nintendo DS version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, in the Dream Canoe event, and their use is based on their appearance in Mario Kart series because they aim for and explode on the character in first place, causing them to lose three coins. However, if the Spiny Shell was used by the character in first place, it targets whoever is in second place. Another similarity to the Mario Kart series is that a player can use a Starman to protect themselves from taking damage from a Spiny Shell. In the Nintendo DS version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Spiny Shells appear in Ski Cross Racing, Rocket Ski Jumping, and Extreme Snowboarding. In all three events, they aim in on whoever is in first place. In Ski Cross Racing, the character that is hit loses speed; in Rocket Ski Jumping, the character loses speed, height, and energy, but can defend against it using a Barrier or Super Star; and in Extreme Snowboarding, they knock over whoever is hit, causing anyone else caught in the explosion to lose speed.
Super Smash Bros. series
The Spiny Shell appears as an item in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, retaining its wingless appearance from Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8. It hovers over the leading player (or the second-scoring player if the leading player has thrown it), and after a while, falls and explodes. Its fall speed varies, giving the target more or less reaction time to dodge. In team battles with friendly fire off, the Spiny Shell attacks the leading player in the opposing team, although with friendly fire on, it targets the leading player regardless of team affiliation. The explosion is smaller than those of the Mario Kart series. The spikes can also damage opponents if the shell is below them, and when it is hovering overhead. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the Spiny Shell is functionally identical, except for the fact that, in team battles with team attack on, the Spiny Shell no longer attacks teammates if the teammate has the most points. Additionally, an arrow of the color of the player who threw the Spiny Shell now appears above it.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
- “You're first and doing so well
But here comes the Spiny Shell!”
- —Phantom, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Gigantic fossilized Spiny Shells can be seen throughout the Ancient Gardens in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, where they only serve as background decorations. One such Spiny Shell appears in front of Peach's Castle after the player completes Ancient Gardens; Beep-0 jokingly comments that the team has to restore this Spiny Shell, only to then have to avoid it. The Phantom also mentions the item in the first verse of his song, in which he mocks Mario for commonly being hit by it when in first place.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie
- See also: Koopa General
- “You... can't escape ME! BLUE SHELL!!”
- —Koopa General, The Super Mario Bros. Movie
In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, a Koopa Paratroopa known as the Koopa General wears a Spiny Shell, referred to in the movie as a Blue Shell. It is depicted with wings, similarly to its design from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! through Mario Kart Wii. During the kart chase on Rainbow Road, after Mario and Donkey Kong blow the Koopa General's vehicle up, he emerges from the explosion enraged, retracts into his shell, and flies at the two, successfully exploding on them and destroying the road, causing the two of them to fall into the ocean below.
Profiles and statistics
Mario Kart series
Mario Kart Wii
- Instruction manual bio: Spiny Shells find the vehicle in first place and explode on impact. Any vehicle caught in the blast will flip or spin out.
Mario Kart 7
- Instruction manual bio: Spiny Shells lock on to and chase after the kart in the lead, knocking it over on impact and also knocking over any karts it hits on the way.
- North American website bio: Whoever's in the lead better watch out when one of these is launched. It's almost impossible to avoid.
Mario Kart 8
- Instruction manual bio: Pursues the driver in 1st place, knocking over any vehicles it hits along the way. This one won't stop until it catches up with the leader!
- Nintendo of America's social media accounts: The all-powerful blue Spiny Shell made its debut in Mario Kart 64. It has appeared in every game since.
Mario Kart Tour
- Tips & Tricks: Chases down the kart in 1st place, crashing through anyone it hits before reaching its target. This will make you regret being in 1st place! Or even near the kart in 1st place...
- Mario Kart Tour Twitter: Item introduction: Spiny Shell
Chases down the kart in 1st place, crashing through anyone it hits before reaching its target. With this item around, even racers at the front of the pack aren't safe!
Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- Name: Spiny Shell
- Game: Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
- Effect: Launch Power +11
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Super Smash Bros. for Wii U trophy
- Spiny Shell
- Appears in:
- N64 Mario Kart 64 (02/1997)
- Wii U Mario Kart 8 (05/2014)
- The devastating blue Spiny Shell that normally appears in the Mario Kart series. This shell seeks out the lead racers and ruins his or her day. In Smash Bros., it will hover above one of the fighters before crashing down and exploding. Avoiding the impact can be challenging. (American English)
- In the Mario Kart series, these blue shells play a big role, tearing down the track at a frightening speed before crashing down on whoever's in first place. When thrown, it'll hover around above a fighter's head, and after a short while drop down and blow up. If you find one targeting you, get ready to dodge that explosion! (British English)
- For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Spiny Shell (blue).
Names in other languages
|Chinese (Simplified)||刺虫龟壳 (iQue, Mario Kart 64)
刺虫甲壳 (iQue, Mario Kart 7)
Pun on "刺刺龟" (Cìcìguī, Spiny) and "龟壳" (guīké, shell)
|Pun on "刺刺龜" (Cìcìguī, Spiny) and "龜殼" (guīké, shell)|
Spiny-schild (Mario Kart 7)
|Blue Spiny Shell|
|French||Carapace à épines
Carapace pointue (Mario Kart 64 manual)
Conchiglia Spinosa (Mario Kart 64)
Conchiglia irsuta (Mario Kart: Super Circuit)
Guscio Spinoso (Mario Kart: Double Dash!!)
Guscio spinato (Mario Kart DS)
|Portuguese (NOA)||Casco com espinhos||Spiny shell|
|Portuguese (NOE)||Carapaça de Espinhos||Spiny Shell|
|Spanish (NOA)||Caparazón de picos
Caparazón Azul (Mario Kart Wii instruction booklet)
|Spanish (NOE)||Caparazón de pinchos||Spiny shell|
|Japanese||ブルー・シェル (The Super Mario Bros. Movie)
|French||Carapace Bleu||Blue Shell|
|Italian||Guscio blu||Blue shell|
|Romanian||Carcasă albastră (The Super Mario Bros. Movie)||Blue shell|
|Spanish||Caparazón Azul||Blue Shell|
- Mario Kart 64 English instruction booklet. Page 13.
- Nintendo Magazine System (AU) Issue #49. Page 39.
- (October 18th, 2017). Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Update History. Nintendo Customer Support.
- Czab. (May 8, 2017). Outrunning Blue Shells in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe!. YouTube. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
- NintendoAmerica (June 20, 2014). Twitter. Retrieved July 19, 2023. (Archived May 18, 2020, 23:40:32 UTC via Wayback Machine.)
- MarioKartEN (June 20, 2014). Facebook. Retrieved July 19, 2023. (Archived July 19, 2023, 22:09:08 UTC via Wayback Machine.)
- mariokarttourEN (August 31, 2019). Twitter. Retrieved March 10, 2020. (Archived April 30, 2022, 08:28:22 UTC via Wayback Machine.)
- Official simplified Chinese website for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
- Mario Kart 64 Italian instruction booklet. Page 32.
- Mario Kart: Super Circuit European instruction booklet. Page 32.