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Opinion

Choosing your Mario Kart character more complicated than you think

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September 30, 2011

We have all faced the same problem at some point in our lives. We have booted up the Nintendo 64, Wii, Gamecube, or any other Nintendo device and come across a difficult problem. Which character do you choose to race with in Mario Kart? Even in the early games, where all karts are created equal, consistency is key. That, of course, means finding a character you like and sticking with him, or her, for the duration of your playing time. Still having trouble picking your character? Hopefully this article will help shed some light on the matter.

I’ll be brief on the N64 version since the characters, and karts are pretty straightforward. If you have an incredible need for speed, are willing to sacrifice power, and are willing to be bumped around by other characters, then the choice is obviously Toad. If you are looking for that speed in a more annoying character, your choice should be Peach. Yoshi, my personal favorite, rounds out the “light weight class” by being the heaviest of those three, meaning he can withstand a little more abuse.

Mario and Luigi complete the “medium weight class,” meaning they sacrifice a little speed for a little more power. Other than that, there isn’t much to say about the two plumbers. In the “heavy weight class” we encounter Bowser, Donkey Kong, and Wario. Wario gives you the most speed out of this group, Bowser brings the most power but has the slowest kart, and Donkey Kong is, well, Donkey Kong.

Skipping over Double Dash for the Gamecube, which no one owns anymore, we can focus on the Wii version. The same eight characters remain from the N64 version, but a plethora of new characters have been added, each with their own unique twist. Obviously, I’m not going to go through all of the characters for this game, just a brief overview. The only holdover in the “light weight class” is Toad. He is joined by the “baby” versions of the main characters as well as Koopa Troopa. If you like speed, this class of racing is for you. However, even more so than in the other games, you will be bumped, battered and bruised by nearly every other character on the track.

The “middle weight class” sees the addition of Yoshi and Peach from the lighter ranks. It also adds some new characters including Bowser Jr. and Diddy Kong. Personally, I find this class to be the happy medium between power and speed. Also, if you are so inclined to race as your Mii, it will show up in this class.

Finally, the “heavy weight class” returns the three characters from the N64 version and adds a few more spirited characters to the mix. These racers can knock anyone out of their way, but don’t expect to win a shootout down the stretch if you are counting on speed. I think this class works out the best for beginners, as these karts typically move slower and allow more room for “reckless” driving, whereas the others don’t allow for as many mistakes.

Of course, for the Wii there is the important matter of using a kart or a bike. Personally, I use a bike simply because it allows you to pop a wheelie, which gives you a nice speed burst. On the other hand, my roommate used a kart with highend speed, with questionable acceleration. I would recommend just experimenting with the karts and bikes until you find a mix of handling, acceleration and speed that you like.

And now, since some of you may be curious, I also only use one character and one bike every time I race. I throw it down with Yoshi and the Dolphin Dasher, a bike, and they haven’t let me down yet.

Benjamin Lamers is an alumnus of UW-River Falls. He was editor of the <em>Student Voice</em> during fall semester 2013.