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Mario Kart DS/Printable version

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Mario Kart DS

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When a player runs over one of several Item Boxes found on each track, a short roulette begins, eventually stopping on an item which the player may use to his or her advantage. Which item is received is largely dependent on the player's current position in the race, and to a lesser extent the kart's item rating. Players near the front of the race tend to get items such as the Banana and Green Shell, while those near the back of the race are more likely to receive powerful items, such as the Bullet Bill and Thunderbolt.

Item List

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  • Bananas: Banana peels are dropped behind karts and essentially function as roadblocks of sorts; karts that slip on peels are spun out briefly. They are usually dropped behind the kart, but can be thrown forward by holding forward direction key while dropping. They can also be dangled behind the kart as a shield.
  • Triple Banana: The same as bananas, except there are three. When activated, three bananas will appear in a row being dragged behind the kart, and can be placed on the track individually. They also function as a shield.
  • Green Shell: Green shells fly in a straight path and ricochet off walls up to five times until they break, fall off the course, or hit a kart. Getting hit by a green shell will cause a kart to flip over. Green shells can be fired forward or backwards, and dangled behind the kart as a shield.
  • Triple Green Shell: The same as green shells, except there are three. When activated, the three shells will rotate around the kart. From there they can be launched one at a time; they also function as a shield.
  • Red Shell: Red shells home in on the kart directly in front of the kart that uses it. To do this, they follow the track until the target is seen. Red Shells have a roundabout way of doing things, so they may hit racers from the side. They have the same effect on karts as green shells. Red shells can be fired forward or backward, and dangled behind the kart as a shield. However, red shells do not home in on a kart when thrown backward.
  • Triple Red Shell: The same as red shells, except there are three. When activated, the three shells will rotate around the kart. From there they can be launched one at a time; they also function as a shield.
  • Fake Item Box: Similar to banana peels; look like regular item boxes, but have no spinning question mark inside them. They cannot be used to block incoming shells, although, like shells, they can be held behind drivers. When using the close-up map view on the bottom screen, these boxes show up red.
  • Mushroom: Mushrooms give their users a short speed boost. Karts that boost into an opponent will cause them to spin out.
  • Triple Mushroom: A set of three mushrooms, which work the same as their single counterparts. If more than one mushroom is used at the same time, they do not make the kart travel at a greater speed than using one mushroom alone.
  • Bob-omb: A bomb that is thrown in front of its user and then explodes. Its effect is similar to that of the Spiny Shells. Bob-ombs are thrown forward by default, but can be dropped behind the kart as well. They can be dangled behind the kart as a shield, and this is a good idea because an explosion while dangling will not hurt the user, unless the user is next to the opponent.
  • Blooper: A squid that squirts ink on the top screen of every racer in front of its user, obscuring their view for several seconds. The player can still effectively steer by using the close-up map view on the bottom screen. This item causes computer-controlled players to move erratically as if they were unable to see the track in front of them. Mushroom boosts get rid of the ink.
  • Spiny Shell: A spiked, winged, blue Koopa shell that targets the player currently in first place, even if that player is the one launching the shell. The shell is almost unavoidable, and causes a large explosion that flips over its target and anyone caught in its blast radius. Spiny Shells will not change targets once it gets close, even if the targeted player is no longer in first place. If racers have already finished the race before the shell is launched, the Spiny goes for the closet person to finish next. The only way to avoid the Spiny Shell is to either get hit by another item that causes players to tumble over, thus negating the shell's explosion, to use a Star or Boo, or to transfer it to another person by driving right next to them as the shell homes in on the player.
  • Boo: A ghost that renders its user invisible (they cannot be affected by enemy attacks or terrain, or seen by other racers) and steals an item from another racer. If there are no opponents with items around, Boo will come back empty-handed.
  • Golden Mushroom: Gives the player an infinite amount of boosts for 7-10 seconds (depending on the kart's item stat).
  • Star: Gives its user a speed boost, invincibility, traction on any surface and the ability to knock down any racer they touch. Stars last for about eight seconds.
  • Bullet Bill: It turns its user into a Bullet Bill on autopilot, moving at high speed and smashing through anything in its way. The Bullet Bill transforms back into the kart after about 4-8 seconds (depending on the kart's item stat). This is based off of the Chain Chomp of Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
  • Thunderbolt: Targets everyone except the player who used the item. Racers hit by the thunderbolt lose any items they are carrying, spin out, are shrunk (making them easier to be knocked around), and slowed down. The thunderbolt can only be avoided if the player is off the course, or using a Star, Bullet Bill, or Boo when it is activated. Racers grow large again in reverse order of their positions when the thunderbolt was used.

Items during online play

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In Nintendo WiFi Connection matches, the "Triple" items are disabled (except for Triple Mushrooms), and players cannot drag items behind their kart by holding the L button. This is most likely done to reduce the amount of sprites that game has to load, as the disabled items all appear around the racer with the item.


Mario Kart DS lets you design an emblem for your kart. This emblem is also used in online races.

You can create and edit your emblem by going to Options > Edit > Emblem > Paint. Emblems are 32x32 pixels in size.


Nitro Grand Prix

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Mushroom Cup

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Figure-8 Circuit
As the name implies, the course shaped like the number eight (8), similar to the Luigi Circuit course in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Unlike Luigi Circuit, however, part of the road is lifted off of the ground to make it a perfect eight. Playable via Wi-Fi.
Yoshi Falls
A lush waterfall setting that circles around a large pit. There are two lanes to the stage, one leading to the waterfall and the other leading to a bridge. Taking the inward turn (waterfall) shaves seconds off of your time, however, it is more dangerous because of the current. Playable via Wi-Fi.
Cheep Cheep Beach
An island inhabited by the Cheep Cheep enemies from the Mario games containing several jumps. The water rises and falls, sometimes making the jumps necessary to keep from falling down. Playable via Wi-Fi.
Luigi's Mansion
This track is clearly lifted from the GameCube game of the same name. In addition to the usual Boos from the game, also included in this course is red murky water and walking trees. Playable via Wi-Fi.

Flower Cup

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Desert Hills
A desert track, the race features fireballs, tight hairpins and Pokeys. The hairpins can however be avoided by boosting over the sand hills that line them, saving valuable seconds. Playable via Wi-Fi.
Delfino Square
Based on Delfino Plaza from Super Mario Sunshine, this track runs through the middle of a town. The streets are narrow and twisting. One shortcut exists in the harbour; an alleyway. The alleyway contains deep mud however, and players must boost through it or lose speed. Another shortcut includes cutting through trees, and boosting over a jump to get to a dock with an item box on it. Playable via Wi-Fi.
Waluigi Pinball
A difficult track based on a massive pinball table, the start line leads to a massive boost ramp. After this, the track descends downhill on a tight series of hairpins. Not playable via Wi-Fi.
Shroom Ridge
A cliff-top roadway, this track features dangerous moving traffic and perilous un-fenced cliffs. However, nudging other rivals into the path of cars can slow them down. Not playable via Wi-Fi.

Star Cup

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DK Pass
A huge snow-covered mountain that first needs to be ascended before a decent back to the start/finish line. A narrow and twisting path leads you onto a more open snowfield where giant snow balls can smash into you. Playable via Wi-Fi.
Tick Tock Clock
One of the more complex courses in the game, taken from the Super Mario 64 (DS) location of the same name. Twisting cogs, swinging pendulums and rotating clock hands line you perilous path. Not playable via Wi-Fi.
Mario Circuit
This twisty course has some challenging corners, but they can be the least of your worries. Goombas, Piranha Plants and Fire-Spitting Piranha Plants litter this exciting course. Playable via Wi-Fi.
Airship Fortress
A popular, but dangerous course, set on a warship and damaged fortress in the sky. Features Bullet Bills, Rocky Wrenches and flame throwers, players must be on their guard at all times! Not playable via Wi-Fi.

Special Cup

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Wario Stadium
A long and bumpy course featuring pools of mud, many boosts, hills, and rotating fireballs. The sides are lined at times with various banners such as 'Wario GP', 'Waluigi GP' and 'Koopa Kart'. Playable via Wi-Fi.
Peach Gardens
A beautiful course with flowers, bushes and hedge mazes. However, it's not quite as sweet and innocent as it first appears; Chain Chomps run amok and Monty Moles infest the gardens. Not playable via Wi-Fi.
Bowser Castle
Every Mario Kart has had at least one Bowser Castle track and the DS version does not buck this trend. Thwomps, unforgiving corners, lava pools and a perilous spinning cylinder make this one of the toughest courses in the game. Not playable via Wi-Fi.
Rainbow Road
Every Mario Kart ends with one of these. This is one of the more popular Rainbow Road tracks to date with loop the loops, corkscrews, speed boosts and is not too long. Some areas of the track have barriers, but others don't so watch out! Playable via Wi-Fi.

Retro Grand Prix

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All of these courses are remade courses from previous Mario Kart games.

Shell Cup

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Mario Circuit 1

Moo Moo Farm

Peach Circuit

Luigi Circuit

Banana Cup

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Donut Plains 1

Frappe Snowland

Bowser Castle 2

Baby Park

Leaf Cup

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Koopa Beach 2

Choco Mountain

Luigi Circuit

Mushroom Bridge

Lightning Cup

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Choco Island 2

Banshee Boardwalk

Sky Garden

Yoshi Circuit


There are 36 karts in total in Mario Kart DS - three karts per character. At the beginning there are only two karts available per racer but as you unlock more parts of the game, you can select from more karts. If you win a gold trophy in all grand prix in all classes (including 150cc Mirror Mode) you can select from all 36 karts with any racer.

Each character has a 'standard' kart, which is just a classic Super Mario Kart style vehicle; a secondary kart which, is based on that character in some way; and a secret unlockable kart which is a usually a novelty type vehicle also based on that particular character.

Standard MR

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Mario's red standard-type kart.

  • Speed - 6.5
  • Acceleration - 7.2
  • Weight - 6.5 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 5.5
  • Drift - 5.6
  • Items - 6.7

B Dasher

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A large, open-wheeled white racing car based on early Formula One grand prix racing cars.

  • Speed - 6.8
  • Acceleration - 7.0
  • Weight - 7.5 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 5.2
  • Drift - 5.5
  • Items - 10.0

Shooting Star

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A small gold kart with a star shaped front end.

  • Speed - 6.6
  • Acceleration - 7.5
  • Weight - 4.7 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 6.0
  • Drift - 5.9
  • Items - 3.3

Standard LG

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A dark green standard kart.

  • Speed - 7.2
  • Acceleration - 7.4
  • Weight - 6.5 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 7.4
  • Drift - 3.1
  • Items - 6.7

Poltergust 4000

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A vacuum cleaner shaped kart, based on the Poltergust weapon the Luigi carries in the game Luigi's Mansion.

  • Speed - 7.4
  • Acceleration - 7.6
  • Weight - 4.8 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 7.6
  • Drift - 3.3
  • Items - 3.3


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A large supercar-style kart.

  • Speed - 6.6
  • Acceleration - 7.1
  • Weight - 7.4 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 7.0
  • Drift - 3.0
  • Items - 10.0

Standard PC

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Pink standard kart.

  • Speed - 4.6
  • Acceleration - 7.4
  • Weight - 6.5 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 4.8
  • Drift - 9.8
  • Items - 6.7


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A large, pink, vintage-style car.

  • Speed - 4.0
  • Acceleration - 7.0
  • Weight - 7.6 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 4.4
  • Drift - 9.4
  • Items - 10.0

Light Tripper

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A small yellow kart, very similar to Mario's Shooting Star.

  • Speed - 5.1
  • Acceleration - 7.5
  • Weight - 5.2 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 5.1
  • Drift - 10.0
  • Items - 3.3

Standard YS

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A light green standard kart.

  • Speed - 5.5
  • Acceleration - 9.0
  • Weight - 6.5 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 8.4
  • Drift - 3.8
  • Items - 6.7

Egg 1

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A large, motorized Yoshi Egg with wheels.

  • Speed - 5.8
  • Acceleration - 9.2
  • Weight - 4.7 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 9.0
  • Drift - 4.1
  • Items - 3.3


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Very similar to Mario's B Dasher but dark green in colour, hence its name.

  • Speed - 4.8
  • Acceleration - 8.8
  • Weight - 7.0 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 8.0
  • Drift - 3.6
  • Items - 10.0

Standard TD

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Blue standard kart.

  • Speed - 3.8
  • Acceleration - 8.5
  • Weight - 6.5 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 6.6
  • Drift - 6.7
  • Items - 6.7


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A motorized mushroom on wheels.

  • Speed - 4.4
  • Acceleration - 8.8
  • Weight - 4.8
  • Handling - 7.0 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • 'Drift - 7.0
  • Items - 3.3

4-Wheel Cradle

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A large open-wheeled kart, with large shock absorbers and huge tyres. Looks similar to a dune buggy.

  • Speed - 3.4
  • Acceleration - 8.3
  • Weight - 7.6
  • Handling - 6.1
  • Drift - 6.5
  • Items - 10.0

Standard DK

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A yellow standard kart.

  • Speed - 8.0
  • Acceleration - 4.7
  • Weight - 6.5 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 3.3
  • Drift - 7.7
  • Items - 6.7

Rambi Rider

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A very large wooden kart with Rambi's head on the front.

  • Speed - 7.5
  • Acceleration - 4.4
  • Weight - 8.0 (With Mario, varies for different characters)
  • Handling - 3.0
  • Drift - 7.4
  • Items - 10.0


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A green army-style jeep.

  • Speed - 8.5
  • Acceleration - 5.0
  • Weight - 5.5
  • Handling - 3.7
  • Drift - 8.0
  • Items - 3.3
  • Standard WR - Light purple standard kart.
  • Brute - A large black kart which looks like many classic American cars.
  • Dragonfly - A big orange-red tractor.
  • Standard BW - Orange standard kart.
  • Tyrant - A very large kart with huge tyres and three spikes on the front end. Also appears to have scaly skin.
  • Hurricane - The aeroplane used by Bowser in several of Mario's platform games.
  • Standard DB - Gold standard kart.
  • Banisher - A large skeleton kart which is a replica of Dry Bones himself.
  • Dry Bomber - A small beige tank.
  • Standard DS - Yellow-orange standard kart.
  • Power Flower - A small, compact-style car.
  • Light Dancer - A red version of Peach's Light Tripper.
  • Standard WL - Dark purple standard kart.
  • Gold Mantis - A JCB-style digger.
  • Zipper - A large motorized tricycle.
  • Standard RB - Black standard kart.
  • ROB-BLS - A normal-looking kart with five different coloured discs attached to it by small arms. Based on the one of the games the came with the R.O.B.
  • ROB-LGS - A very strange reverse-tricycle, which is shaped like a large pair of robotic legs with wheels attached to the bottom.

Kart Stats

Each character starts out with two karts with similar, but still slightly different statistics. The karts are rated in the following categories:

How fast a kart can reach its top speed. A kart with higher acceleration will recover from being hit by an item faster.
A kart's maximum speed. Higher speeds are usually associated with less acceleration and handling.
How sharply a kart steers. Karts with higher handling rely on their turning ability rather than their drifting ability to steer through turns, leading to a lower drift stat.
How heavy a kart is. This stat is also affected by what character is driving the kart. Lightweights have high acceleration, low top speeds, and have the best off-road ability, but can suffer from being attacked or throttled by heavier characters. Heavyweights are recommended to be the fastest racers, but have terrible acceleration and terrible driving off-road. Middleweights are average in all their abilities. The heavier a kart is, the slower it drives off road. Being heavy has no use in Wi-Fi play, because you cannot bump players.
How hard a kart turns during a powerslide. Having a higher drift rating increases the tightness of the turns a kart can drift through, but decreases its ability to turbo boost on straightaways, a technique also known as "snaking." The higher your drift, the less your miniboosts last, and the less drift you have, the longer they last. This is why R.O.B-BLS, the kart, with low acceleration and low drift, has the third longest mini turbo in the game, only outclassed by the Standard RB and the R.O.B-LGS.
High item stats give karts a higher chance of getting powerful items, as well as making items such as stars and Bullet Bills affect the player longer. How many mushrooms a player gets in time trial mode depends on his/her kart's item stat.


Mario Kart DS includes a wide variety of characters from the Mario universe. There are twelve characters to choose from, but four of these must be unlocked before you can select them. Shy Guy is another playable character, but only through DS Download Play.

The characters are grouped by their weight - Light, Medium and Heavy. Light drivers have great acceleration and handling but poor top speed. Heavy drivers have great top speed but poor handling and acceleration. Medium drivers are pretty good at speed, handling and acceleration.


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  • Yoshi: Yoshi is everyone's favorite green dinosaur. In the past, Yoshi started as a mount for Mario, though now Yoshi has been given his own series. Yoshi is a light racer with great acceleration and handling.
  • Peach: The resident damsel in distress of the Mushroom Kingdom, and love interest to Mario. Countless Mario games focus on Bowser kidnapping her and Mario rescuing her. She's a very light character with good acceleration and great drifting.
  • Toad: Toad is an assistant to Princess Peach. He tries to help Peach but fails and then gives Mario helpful advice. Toad is a light character and has great acceleration.
  • Dry Bones: Skeletal foe in many a game, this racer is very light, most likely due to a lack of flesh. Handles great and a popular power sliding character. He is unlocked by winning the Retro GP at 50cc.
  • Shy Guy: Shy Guy is a standard enemy from the Mario universe. In Mario Kart DS, he becomes playable to those who don't have their own Game Card and are using the single-card DS Download Play feature. Each player that doesn't have a Game Card will get a different color Shy Guy. He cannot be selected in any single-player or online game otherwise without an Action Replay.


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  • Mario: The hero of the Mushroom Kingdom, and the main protagonist of the Mario series. He has participated in numerous genres from tennis to golf. Mario is a balanced racer.
  • Luigi: The not so famous brother of Mario. He usually tags along with Mario as more of a sidekick then an equal. Like Mario, Luigi is a balanced racer.
  • Waluigi: His relationship with the Mario Bros. is as of yet unknown, but he is considered by many (if not all) to be Luigi's version of Wario as compared to Mario. Most of his cars are fast with decent handling. He is unlocked by winning the Retro GP at 50cc.
  • Daisy: The "Damsel in Distress" in Super Mario Land, and love interest to Luigi. Daisy is another princess from another kingdom. Some believe, like Waluigi, she is Luigi's version of Peach. She's very light, quick, and an excellent drifter. She is unlocked by winning the Nitro GP at 100cc.


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  • Donkey Kong (DK): He's the gorilla. Donkey Kong is a big ape who was once rivals with Mario at the start but is now stars in more of his own games separate from Mario. He's a heavy racer who can knock you off the track if given the chance.
  • Bowser: Bowser is the classic villain and the main antagonist of the Mario games who repeatedly plots to kidnap Princess Peach. Fortunately, his plans are always foiled by Mario and Luigi. He's a heavy racer who can knock you off the track if given half a chance.
  • Wario: Childhood friend and arch-rival of Mario, he was off cast as the bad guy, ultimately leading to his life of crime. He's a balanced/heavy player with lots of speed and handling, and less of an emphasis on items.
  • R.O.B.: R.O.B. stands for "Robotic Operating Buddy". He was once an actual piece of hardware that Nintendo created to compliment the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). R.O.B. is a fairly heavy racer. He is unlocked by winning either the Nitro GP or Retro GP (depending on which is completed first) on Mirror Mode.

Nintendo WFC

Nintendo WFC

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Mario Kart DS was the first on-line Nintendo DS game. Though the official service is now discontinued, this section of the guide remains relevant for those using 3rd party servers, as well as a historical document.

In on-line mode you can race against up to four people from around the world.

There is a choice of four modes

  1. Regional: Race against people from your region
  2. Worldwide: Race against people from around the world
  3. Friends: Race against people on your friends list
  4. Rivals: Race against people with a similar ability as yourself

Once you select a mode the game will start searching for 3 other people to race against. If 3 people can not be found you may race against fewer people.

Game Progress

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The game takes place over four races. The player with the most points after the fourth race wins, but all characters can get wins and losses. You get one win for everybody you got more points than, but you also get one loss for everybody who gets more points that you. This makes it possible to get wins and losses at the same time. At this time players may choose to continue racing or quit. If two or more players choose to continue, a new game will begin with those players.


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Every player gets to select a course. The course selected by the most players is the course used. If there is a tie, the course used is chosen at random.

Several of the more complex and/or obstacle-ridden courses were disabled for online play due to possible latency issues. The courses available in on-line mode shown in these tables:

Nitro Grand Prix
# Mushroom Cup WFC Flower Cup WFC Star Cup WFC Special Cup WFC
1 Figure-8 Circuit Yes Desert Hills Yes DK Pass Yes Wario Stadium Yes
2 Yoshi Falls Yes Delfino Square Yes Tick-Tock Clock No Peach Gardens No
3 Cheep Cheep Beach Yes Waluigi Pinball No Mario Circuit Yes Bowser Castle No
4 Luigi's Mansion Yes Shroom Ridge No Airship Fortress No Rainbow Road Yes
Retro Grand Prix
# Origin Shell Cup WFC Banana Cup WFC Leaf Cup WFC Lightning Cup WFC
1 SNES Mario Circuit 1 Yes Donut Plains 1 No Koopa Beach 2 No Choco Island 2 Yes
2 N64 Moo Moo Farm Yes Frappe Snowland Yes Choco Mountain Yes Banshee Boardwalk No
3 GBA Peach Circuit Yes Bowser Castle 2 No Luigi Circuit No Sky Garden Yes
4 GCN Luigi Circuit Yes Baby Park Yes Mushroom Bridge No Yoshi Circuit Yes

Battle Courses

A list of Courses available in battle mode: