mario Kart: Double Dash!! is a racing game developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo GameCube. It was released in Japan on November 7, 2003, in Europe on November 14, 2003, and in North America on November 17, 2003. The game is the fourth installment in the mario Kart series, following mario Kart Super Circuit from 2001. It was followed by mario Kart DS in 2005, and mario Kart Wii in 2008.
The game was generally well-received by critics, and many reviewers praised the new gameplay features. It was also commercially successful, selling over 3.8 million copies in the United States, and over 802,000 copies in Japan. In the United States, the game was the seventh best-selling Nintendo GameCube title in October 2006, according to the NPD Group.
Double Dash!!'s gameplay is quite different from other mario Kart games. Firstly, instead of just one player per kart, there are two: One to drive, and one to use items. Also, players cannot hold items behind themselves, which makes it more difficult to block incoming shells. It is also the first game in the series that forces players to drop their items when hit by a weapon. The game also features multiplayer battle modes, and as in previous installments, the battle arenas are enclosed, with varying architecture and a constant arsenal. In addition to the traditional balloon-popping battle game, two new games have been implemented. The first game involves capturing a Shine Sprite and maintaining possession of it for a time period. The other game involves throwing bob-ombs at each other. Double Dash!! also allows LAN play by using the Nintendo GameCube Broadband Adapter. Up to eight GameCube consoles can be connected, allowing for 16-player multiplayer games, with two players controlling each kart.
It is also important to note that this is the first game in the mario Kart series that does not force you to start a course over in Grand Prix when a driver ranks fifth or lower-- instead a point value system for ranking is now used. Players can choose from a cast of 20 Nintendo characters, 11 of which are new to the series. Characters have different special items and their weight classes of light, middle, or heavy determine the karts in which they can ride. Eight karts are available from the start, and another 13 may be unlocked by successfully completing races. Lightweight karts have good acceleration and handling, and are easily able to traverse rough terrain, but they have low top speeds, can be knocked around by larger karts, and can only hold light characters. Heavyweight karts usually have high top speeds, and can knock around many smaller karts, but they have poor acceleration, steering, off-road handling, and can only be manned if there is at least one heavy character. The middleweight karts' performance are well-balanced, but they cannot hold heavy characters. There are sixteen courses, divided evenly into four cups. A fifth cup, the all-cup tour, has the player race all sixteen tracks. Each track is also playable in "Mirror Mode", available after winning the all-cup tour, in which the tracks are mirrored. This mode is only available for 150cc.
Double Dash!! was first shown at the E3 in 2001 as a seven seconds long video clip. The clip featured mario and luigi driving their karts on a bump mapped 3D surface with no background. At the time it was early in development, and the working title of the game was simply "mario Kart". In April 2003, Nintendo unleashed the first pictures and details of the game, as well as revealing the title to be "mario Kart: Double Dash!!". At the E3 in 2003, a playable demo of the game was available. New features, such as having two characters drive one kart, had been implemented. An updated demo with some new additions was shown at the Games Convention in August 2003. In September, Nintendo held a Gamers' Summit for the press, in which a nearly complete and more sped up version of Double Dash!! was displayed. The Gamers' Summit also announced the North American release date to be November 17, 2003.
The game was composed by Shinobu Tanaka and Kenta Nagata. It featured many of the original voice actors from the mario series, and the voice cast consisted of Charles Martinet as mario, luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Baby mario, and Baby luigi, Jen Taylor as Princess Peach, Toad, Toadette, and Birdo, Deanna Mustard as Princess Daisy, Kazumi Totaka as Yoshi, Scott Burns as Bowser, and Dolores Rogers as Bowser jr.
mario Kart: Double Dash!! has been commercially successful, selling approximately 4.67 million copies worldwide. It has sold over 3.8 million units in the United States, and over 802,000 copies in Japan. According to the NPD Group, Double Dash!! was the best-selling game of November 2003. It is also the third best-selling GameCube game in Australia. In the United States, the game was the seventh best-selling Nintendo GameCube title in October 2006, according to the NPD Group.
The game has overall been well-received by reviewers. Nintendo Power gave the game a perfect score, and stated that the graphics were of "3-D perfection" and that the controls and game mechanics "rival those of any GCN racing game." Double Dash!! also received a perfect score from GamePro, who commented that the gameplay remains "fast and furious". Justin Leeper of Game Informer praised the game's inclusion of having two riders on every kart. GameSpy called Double Dash!! a "great- looking, great-playing game that most gamers will instantly warm to."Eurogamer declared that the game was one of the "finest pieces of electronic entertainment ever developed." The game received the "Multiplayer Game" award from ITV's Game Stars in 2004.
Double Dash!! has also received criticism from the media. Considering the seven-year gap since Nintendo 64's mario Kart 64, GameSpot's Ryan Davis stated that he was "a little disappointed with the limited scope of the game." He also said that the repetition of the voice acting was "unrelenting". IGN were also critical towards Double Dash!! for not progressing beyond its predecessor, calling the game a "mediocre effort". The UK-based publication Edge accused the game of "not being a racing game anymore."Game Revolution criticized the game's single-player mode for lacking substance and the track design for being "bland".