Nintendo released Mario Kart Double Dash on November 7, 2003 in Japan, and this 3D polygonal masterpiece most certainly deserves a retrospective. Unlike Mario Kart 64, which only used polygons for the environments and 2D sprites for the racers, Double Dash is the first game in the Mario Kart series to use 3D polygons for the characters.
What didn’t change was the gameplay where players race against each other on Mario-themed tracks, but it did introduce a number of new gameplay features like co-op gameplay with two riders per kart. That’s right, one player drives the kart and the other uses the power-up items. Either player can switch at any time, making Double Dash the only game in the Mario Kart series to allow cooperative gameplay so far. It supports LAN play using the Nintendo GameCube Broadband Adapter, enabling up to 16 players to compete simultaneously.
The familiar Grand Prix mode lets you race against 7 (or 6) computer-controlled teams in a series of predetermined courses. Players can select from 3 different engine size classes: 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc. There is a fourth unlockable class, Mirror Mode, that lets the player race through a mirrored version of the tracks with 150cc kart. When in Versus mode, players can choose any course and race against up to 4 local (or 15 LAN) opponents with custom rules like changing the item frequency. As of 2023, 6.96-million copies of Mario Kart Double Dash have been sold worldwide, making it a commercial success.