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    FAQ/Walkthrough by Kirby021591

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 07/10/05 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Mario Kart 64
    -------------
    
    Copyright 2005 Brian McPhee
    
    Author: Brian McPhee (Kirby021591)
    E-mail: Kirby0215@aol.com
    Most Recent Update: July 10, 2005
    Originally Created: July 10, 2005
    Version 1.0
    
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    ---------------------------Table of Contents---------------------------
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    Section 1*
    
    Introduction*
    Navigation*
    Characters*
    Controls*
    Items*
    Weight Classes*
    
    Section 2*
    
    Grand Prix*
    Mushroom Cup*
    Flower Cup*
    Star Cup*
    Special Cup*
    Extra Mode*
    Time Trial*
    Secrets*
    
    Section 3*
    
    Multi-Player*
    Battle Mode*
    FAQ*
    
    Section 4*
    
    Credits and Legal Information*
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    =======================================================================
    =============================Introduction*=============================
    =======================================================================
    
    Welcome back!  It's time for another guide, and this time I chose Mario 
    Kart 64, the best racing game on the N64, in my opinion.  Now, I 
    practically promised I'd write for the Oracle of Ages/Seasons Zelda 
    games earlier, but certain circumstances have made this impossible.  
    You see, my first guide ever was for The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords 
    Adventures, and it was posted on GameFaqs on July 10, 2004.  My 
    contributing career was "born", I guess, on that day.  To commemorate 
    this joyous occasion, I decided to write up a quick guide (I could not 
    possibly write a guide for two Zelda games in such a short amount of 
    time, or at least do it well) to release on July 10, 2005.  In the end, 
    no one really cares, but I thought this was the perfect way to cap off 
    a great year.
    
    After all, Mario Kart 64 is as great as, say, Frosted Flakes (bad joke 
    alert).  I remember back in the late 90's renting this game.  I was 
    blown away.  Even though they look a bit bad by today's standards, the 
    graphics were insanely good back then.  The items play an integral role 
    in the game (just one of the many reasons why this is better than most 
    racing games), and you can play as any of eight Mario characters in 
    Mario-tastic courses.  It does play more slowly than Double Dash, but 
    it's a big improvement over Super Mario Kart.  But, this was still a 
    blast from the past for me (and others, I'd imagine), and it's better 
    than its sequels and prequels in many respects.
    
    Mario Kart: Double Dash!! dazzled us on the Game Cube.  With crisp, 
    undeniably beautiful graphics, faster game play, and lots of secrets 
    and co-op play, it is an amazing game.  But, Double Dash borrows much 
    of what people love about it from Mario Kart 64.  From unlocking secret 
    ghosts to new items... Double Dash will always just be the learner, not 
    the master.  You will understand after playing this wonderfully 
    addictive game.  To quote Mario...  Welcome to Mario Kart!
    
    By the by, should you happen to see this guide (or any of my other 
    guides) on any site but GameFaqs and its affiliates, please contact me 
    at the e-mail address listed at the top of this guide.  With your help, 
    this guide won't be plagiarized.  Thanks a million, my friend.
    
    =======================================================================
    ==============================Navigation*==============================
    =======================================================================
    
    If you need to get to a certain section and you're in a hurry, look no 
    further.  If you press CTRL (Apple if you're using a Mac) and F on your 
    keyboard, you'll bring up a Find/Search box.  Type in the name of the 
    section you need, asterisk and all (they're there to distinguish 
    section names from times I might use them in text... navigation, 
    navigation, navigation), and then click Find/Search.  You'll be taken 
    to the Table of Contents and then the beginning of that section.  
    Pretty nifty, eh?  Glad I could be of service.
    
    =======================================================================
    ==============================Characters*==============================
    =======================================================================
    
    It's time for a ridiculously long character section!  Consider this 
    your spoilers warning; I am discussing the backgrounds of each playable 
    character in-depth as of early 2005.  They are listed as they are shown 
    on the selection screen.
    
    ---------------------------------Mario---------------------------------
    
    The character the game is named after, Mario is a big player in the 
    video game realm.  Having appeared in more games than any other 
    character on any platform, Mario was popular from the first game he 
    appeared in.  It was called Donkey Kong, and it was about a carpenter 
    name Jumpman who hiked up a construction site to rescue his girlfriend, 
    the Lady.  Primitive arcade graphics dictated how Mario looked.  
    Because hair was hard to animate, he wore a cap.  Overalls gave his 
    arms a crude suggestion of movement, and his side burns helped to 
    differentiate his ears from his face.  A mustache covered his mouth for 
    just that reason, and his overalls appeared red because it was an easy 
    color to generate.  And Jumpman was named for his amazing jumping 
    abilities; he leaped over barrels and other hazards thrown his way by 
    nemesis, Donkey Kong, and in the end retrieved his girlfriend, who 
    presumably dumped him later on.
    
    For the inevitable sequel to the popular game, Donkey Kong Jr., Jumpman 
    was renamed Mario Segali after the Nintendo of America building 
    landlord who apparently bore resemblance to the pixilated hero.  Donkey 
    Kong Jr. had DK's son rescue him from a cruel, whip-wielding Mario, but 
    Mario was completely excluded from the third installment of the Donkey 
    Kong series.  Instead, he starred in a game with his name in it - Mario 
    Bros.  Because Mario could travel in pipes, his job as a carpenter was 
    replaced by a plumbing profession.  And Mario, plus his brother Luigi, 
    had to clear out the sewers of Brooklyn using the jumping skills that 
    made him famous.  But Nintendo was not satisfied yet, even though 
    Mario's games had been popular.  Mario was ready to go in a bold new 
    direction - the NES.
    
    Yep, Mario came out in style for the system's launch with the instant 
    classic, Super Mario Bros.  In it, Mario defeated the King of the Koopa, 
    Bowser, and rescued Princess Peach Toadstool, setting a trend for many 
    future games.  Mario popularity skyrocketed, and a trilogy was underway.  
    His most popular game for the NES was the best-seller - Super Mario 
    Bros. 3.  Oddly, this was Mario's most popular adventure for the old 
    Nintendo Entertainment System, and yet few new elements of it continued 
    in the series.
    
    The American Super Mario Bros. 2 was rather odd.  Because Nintendo 
    didn't want to release the repetitive Japanese version of SMB 2 in the 
    states, they took a Japanese only game called Doki Doki Panic, made the 
    main characters into Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad, and called it Super 
    Mario Bros. 2.  The original was about an Arabian family rescuing kids 
    from a storybook from a giant frog named Mamu.  While Nintendo kept all 
    the enemies the same for the most part, with a name change to Mamu to 
    make him "Wart," they changed the ending of the game.  Apparently, 
    Mario was dreaming the whole thing.  This attests to an egotistical and 
    gratifying interior, even if subconscious, under Mario's humble plumber 
    exterior.  Or maybe Mario just had one too many Mushrooms that day.  He 
    does love his "Magic Mushrooms"...
    
    With Yoshi as his trusty steed, Mario appeared in Super Mario World to 
    greet an adoring public.  Though it was not as insanely popular, it did 
    spawn a sequel that some would say is the best platform game in 
    existence - Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.  It is of particular 
    interest to us because it attempts to explain the origins of the 
    plumber.  The Koopa Troop has intercepted the stork as it delivered 
    Mario and Luigi to their mothers (a Magikoopa has foreseen the trouble 
    Mario will cause Bowser), but they only manage to capture Luigi and the 
    hog-tied stork.  Mario escapes to find Yoshi, who plays Baby Mario's 
    ride until Yoshi can defeat Baby Bowser and set the stork on its way.
    
    Disestablishing the previously established fact that Mario and Luigi 
    were from Brooklyn, the stork flies them to a house in the Mushroom 
    Kingdom where the parents receive their new children.  Another 
    discrepancy here: Mario and Luigi are portrayed as twins.  But, 
    previous and future games always clarify that Mario is older than Luigi, 
    and not just by a few minutes.  But, Nintendo has made it clear that, 
    for the Mario series at least, they do think of a grand linking 
    storyline for Mario because it limits their creativity or some jazz 
    like that.  In other words, they apologize for mistakes, but don't 
    expect better.
    
    Mario got a voice in Super Mario World 2 when he shrieked like a 
    banshee, but it was in Super Mario 64 that he really started to 
    exercise those vocal cords.  Voiced by Charles Martinet, Mario's quips 
    included many stereotypical Italian quotes, such as "Mama mia!" and 
    various Yahoo!-sounding phrases.  But, Mario is an Italian stereotype 
    in the good way (otherwise, Bowser would be swimming with the fishes).  
    But, Super Mario 64 did more than give him a voice.  It was Mario's 
    first grand 3-D adventure, and he went solo this time to rescue 
    Princess Toadstool from the confines of the Mushroom Castle, which 
    Bowser had taken over and locked up using the Power Stars that 
    protected the castle.  In a game that some claim to be the best ever 
    made (I think this is going too far, but it was a great game), Mario 
    could potentially retrieve 120 of the Power Stars and then conquer 
    Bowser in the skies, just as he did in Super Mario Bros.  In the end, 
    he even gets to eat cake with Princess Peach.  Luigi was not invited 
    (although Luigi, Wario, and Yoshi appeared as playable characters in 
    the port of SM 64, Super Mario 64 DS).
    
    Mario revived his RPG business later on in the lifespan of the N64 - in 
    2001, to be precise.  A rift between Square-Enix and Nintendo (caused 
    because of Square's releases on the Playstation) caused Mario's 
    previous RPG, Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars for the 
    SNES in 1996, to have no true sequel, but Paper Mario was as close as 
    it will ever get.  Bowser ascended to the skies and stole the Star Rod, 
    an object that can grant the wishes of its user (it is used by the Star 
    Spirits to grant the wishes of the good).  Using it, Bowser became 
    invincible, and Bowser nearly killed Mario in a battle at the beginning 
    of the game.  Mario recovered, however, thanks to the intervention of 
    the Star Spirits' energies, and went on to rescue the seven spirits 
    from the minions Bowser entrusted them with.  With all seven, they 
    created an attack called the Star Beam.  Coupled with the prayers of 
    the people of the Mushroom Kingdom, it disabled the Star Rod long 
    enough for Mario to kick Bowser to the curb and restore peace to the 
    world.  However, what makes Paper Mario so interesting is that the 
    characters look like cardboard cut-outs in a charming and artistic 
    graphics style.
    
    The Game Cube marked a rather humbling beginning for Mario in Luigi's 
    Mansion, but he soon got to appear in Super Mario Sunshine.  In it, he 
    receives the help of a tropical breed of Yoshis and FLUDD, the Flash 
    Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device created by Professor E. Gadd, as he 
    goes on vacation with Princess Peach (and no Luigi in sight).  But when 
    they arrive, Mario is promptly arrested.  Shadow Mario, someone dressed 
    as Mario, had polluted Isle Delfino with slime and nasty creatures that 
    lived in it, and Mario was framed.  His punishment?  Clean up the slime.  
    But as he did so, Peach was kidnapped.  As it turns out, framing Mario 
    was all part of the plan of... Bowser Jr.!  Yes, Bowser's eighth son 
    framed Mario to steal the princess.  Upon restoring his good name, 
    Mario takes off to Mount Corona, an active volcano on the island, where 
    he defeats Bowser Jr. and his father, Bowser, who coaxed his son into 
    working for him.  After a shocking display of emotion with a damaged 
    FLUDD, Mario and Peach can enjoy the rest of their vacation.
    
    With a third RPG added to his repertoire, Mario was not stopping after 
    Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga.  Though he was technically only a co-
    hero, Mario still tried to defeat the evil witch Cackletta, who had 
    stolen Peach's voice.  His fourth RPG, though, was a real sequel.  
    Called Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Mario is scheduled to meet 
    Peach at Rogueport for a vacation when she disappears.  As it turns out, 
    she was stolen as part of an elaborate plot for world domination by the 
    tech-savvy X-Nauts, whose leader plans to use Peach's body as a vessel 
    to revive an ancient demon.  Mario managed to defeat both of them, 
    however, and he does it all with origami and papery goodness.
    
    And all the while, Mario has time to throw terrific parties, hit the 
    tennis courts, play golf, take up an assortment of various professions, 
    and race in wild kart games.  And of course, Mario has a few new sports 
    titles coming soon (or already released, depending on when you read 
    this guide), including a Dance Dance Revolution game, Mario-style.  Not 
    to mention his part-time jobs as mascot of Nintendo.  Can you think of 
    a cooler plumber?  Didn't think so.
    
    ---------------------------------Luigi---------------------------------
    
    Luigi is Mario's little brother, and he's the one who added the "Bros." 
    to the titles of all your favorite games.  Luigi's first appearance was 
    a playable one in Mario Bros. in arcades in 1983, two years after his 
    brother's glorious debut.  Even then, Luigi was not exactly garnering 
    the spotlight.  Had the game been changed to "Mario and Luigi" or a 
    similar title, then the Mario series probably would've gone much 
    differently.  However, it didn't quite work out like that.
    
    Luigi was a pallet swap that Player 2 controlled in Mario Bros.  
    Wearing green because it was an easy color to generate in the day, 
    Luigi used the same sprite as his brother with slight changes.  And 
    unlike Mario, whose fashion choices changed with each of his early 
    games, Luigi stuck to the same general concept - green and blue.  
    Although he deviates from it occasionally, Luigi has been consistent.  
    Then there's his seemingly simple name.  In Japanese, there is very 
    little distinction between the "r" and "l" sounds.  So, the Japanese 
    word "ruiji" could be pronounced just like Luigi's name.  And "ruiji" 
    means "similar" in Japanese (which Luigi is.  He basically entered life 
    as Mario with different clothes), not to mention the fact that Luigi is 
    a common Italian name.  Many video game characters (at least for 
    Nintendo) have puns in their names, and Luigi is no exception.
    
    Any way you slice it, at least Luigi shared screen time with his older 
    brother in Mario Bros.  Come Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo 
    Entertainment System, Luigi was the rarely seen Player 2 of the game 
    who was only playable if you were taking turns in a two-player game.  
    This marks the beginning of a long series of overlooked appearances for 
    the green man.
    
    Luigi received more of an identity in Super Mario Bros. 2.  In the 
    Japanese version, Luigi was differentiated from his brother by having a 
    higher jump, slower running, and less traction with his boots than 
    tightly controlled Mario.  In the American version of the game, Luigi 
    had the highest jump up the lot, complete with a strange bicycle kick 
    as he jumped, but his upper body strength was lacking.  He plucked 
    vegetables slower than Mario but faster than Peach, but all of them 
    were beat by fast-picking Toad.  The tendency for Luigi to be a better 
    jumper but weaker fighter than Mario continues to this day, right up 
    into the Super Smash Bros. series and remakes of the classic trilogy.  
    Also, SMB 2 (USA) gave Luigi his own sprite, and it was the first game 
    to establish Luigi as taller than Mario, which still holds true today.
    
    But, Luigi went back to sharing a sprite with Mario in another 
    adventure in Super Mario Bros. 3.  A step back for Luigi, but at least 
    he got to compete with his glory-hog bros. in a battle mode reminiscent 
    of Mario Bros. in the game.  Luigi played second fiddle again in Super 
    Mario World, and his infant self was basically the damsel in distress 
    waiting to be rescued in Super Mario World 2.  In fact, Luigi was also 
    excluded from Mario's Game Boy adventures, the better part of Super 
    Mario RPG, and Super Mario 64.  But, one game changed all that.
    
    Yes, I refer, of course, to "Mario is Missing!", an edutainment 
    (education + entertainment = edutainment) title that should never be 
    played by mortals.  Basically, Bowser kidnapped Mario, and it was up to 
    Luigi to use his advanced knowledge of world geography to track down 
    Bowser and prevent him from melting the polar ice caps.  And he might 
    as well rescue Mario while he's at it, too.  Mario headed another 
    edutainment title around the same time called "Mario's Time Machine," 
    in which he must right the wrongs Bowser has done in the past by 
    filling in the blanks in history class.  As you can see, this was not a 
    chance for Luigi to shine, but instead a slap in the face.  Geography 
    has yet to help him since.
    
    Luigi's next big appearance was in Mario Tennis.  It's right around now 
    that Nintendo started to try to right the wrongs that had for so long 
    cast Luigi to the side.  How did they do this?  Why make him more like 
    Mario, of course!  Luigi received his own version of Princess Peach as 
    Nintendo reintroduced Princess Daisy from Super Mario Land, and his own 
    rival in Waluigi.  Of course, neither of them was or is nearly as 
    popular as Peach and Wario, but it's a start.
    
    Then, we have Paper Mario.  In Nintendo's hilarious new RPG, Luigi got 
    to hang around Mario's house for the entire game, venturing out once 
    into Peach's castle for the Prologue.  If Mario spin jumps in the right 
    place in their room, he can find a secret compartment where Luigi keeps 
    his diaries.  Though they contain mostly embarrassing and trivial 
    tidbits detailing Luigi's boring life as a homebody, Luigi does write 
    that, although it's fun racing karts and partying, maybe he liked 
    giving Mario the spotlight too much.  Maybe he could have a game of his 
    own, with his name in the title...
    
    That wish came true only months later when the Game Cube was released.  
    Luigi's Mansion was one of the launch games, and it starred... Luigi!  
    In it, the L man won a contest he didn't even enter, and the prize was 
    a brand new mansion.  Mario decided to check it out first, but he had 
    yet to return.  So, Luigi ventured into his forest-surrounded mansion 
    to find a dark, gloomy dump.  Upon entering, he finds that it is 
    haunted.  But, armed with the Poltergust 3000, supplied to him by 
    eccentric Professor Elvin Gadd (E. Gadd, egad, puns), he was able to 
    vacuum up ghosts inside as he searched for his brother.
    
    This led to the ultimate realization that a pack of Boos had tricked 
    him into coming, and that their leader, King Boo, had imprisoned Mario 
    within a portrait.  Luigi braves scores of ghosts to reach King Boo, 
    who is masquerading as Mario's archrival in their boss fight!  What a 
    surprise it is for the player...  But, Luigi was able to force King Boo 
    out of the costume with reverse suction and bombs, and King Boo was 
    ultimately captured.  Taking Mario's picture out of the Secret Altar, E. 
    Gadd uses a machine he has to free him.  Mario is spat out and hits his 
    head, which causes Luigi to laugh for the first and only time in the 
    game.  Luigi's Mansion supposedly takes place all in the course of one 
    night.
    
    Since then, Luigi's been much more recognized in Nintendo's games.  
    Mario's third RPG was entitled "Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga," and 
    Luigi played co-hero to his older brother.  Luigi's involvement is not 
    intentional, though.  Toad informs a showering Mario that Peach is in 
    trouble.  Mario dresses quickly and runs through the laundry line, 
    which Luigi is attending to at the time.  Luigi is hopelessly tangled 
    up with Mario, and Mario moves on with his brother in tow.  Luigi plays 
    an active role in the game, even dressing as Princess Peach at one 
    point to fool witch Cackletta (oddly, Luigi mentions having dressed up 
    as a bridge during one chapter of his adventure in Paper Mario: The 
    Thousand-Year Door.  Starting a trend, hmm?).
    
    Luigi continued to appear in Mario's many party titles, but he also had 
    a grand adventure in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.  Or, at least 
    that's what they say.  The game focuses on Mario the entire way through, 
    but Luigi pops up in Rogueport for breaks from his adventure after each 
    chapter ends, and he's always eager to report his travels to Mario.  
    Luigi even has an assortment of partners who journey with him, and they 
    sometimes correct Luigi, who tells the story without all of his various 
    blunders included.  But, because Luigi's adventure is only said-so, 
    we'll never get to experience it all, unless Nintendo sees fit to make 
    a Paper Luigi.  That might go the way of Super Mario Land; Luigi could 
    take over Mario's RPG franchise...  But that's just thinking out-loud 
    on my part.
    
    Luigi now enjoys a growing fan base, even if it he had to develop a 
    fear of the dark to get it.  Luigi's infant self is even a playable 
    character for the first time now.  Talk about appreciation.
    
    ----------------------------Princess Peach-----------------------------
    
    What a classy dame; she lets Bowser race and his son race on the same 
    track as her.  Nonetheless, there's more to her than just being 
    kidnapped.  But not much else...
    
    The pretty princess in pink is kidnapped a lot.  But, Mario hasn't 
    always been with her.  Originally, his girlfriend was named Pauline 
    (named after the damsel in distress in "Perils of Pauline."  But, Mario 
    presumably dumped her in favor of rescuing Princess Toadstool of the 
    Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario Bros., or perhaps the plumber was 
    dumped.  We never really heard the details.
    
    Toadstool was the only person who could undo some black magic of the 
    Koopa Troop that transformed the residents of her kingdom into common 
    objects such as stones and horsehair plants (whatever those are).  
    Abducted by Bowser to prevent her from doing so, it was up to two 
    stalwart plumbers - Mario and Luigi - to beat down Bowser and let her 
    be free.  They succeeded, and Mario got a kiss.  From then on, Mario 
    and Toadstool were on friendly terms.
    
    Toadstool sends Mario nice letters throughout his journeys in Super 
    Mario Bros. 3 containing helpful items and pieces of advice.  But, just 
    as Mario has liberated the last region of the Mushroom World, Bowser 
    sends him a letter!  Toadstool has been kidnapped, and Bowser is 
    holding her hostage in Dark Land!  Never fear, though; Mario can handle 
    it.  And that he does, freeing Toadstool yet again.  Toadstool makes a 
    lame joke in reference to Toads, her humble servants, and the game ends.
    
    (Mario did stray from Toadstool once, though.  In Super Mario Land, 
    Mario rescues Princess Daisy of Sarasaland.  But, rather than upset 
    their relationship, Daisy is looked at more as a match for Luigi 
    nowadays.  She was reintroduced in Mario Tennis for the N64 along with 
    Waluigi, a rival for Luigi, as part of Nintendo's grand equalizing of 
    Mario and Luigi.)
    
    So, now that Mario and Toadstool are great pals, they decide to go on 
    vacation together, dragging Luigi with them for the heck of it.  But, 
    just before Super Mario World begins, Peach is kidnapped!  Shocker!  So, 
    Mario rescues her again.  Poor Bowser, who kidnaps her in Super Mario 
    World, must feel like a real loser.
    
    At the beginning of Super Mario RPG, Toadstool is flung to the far-off 
    Booster's Tower during Mario and Bowser's climactic battle when a giant 
    sword crashes through the castle's roof.  Mario lands at his house, and 
    he travels around the land to rescue her.  After safely returning her 
    to her castle, she decided to accompany Mario, Mallow (partner), Geno 
    (partner), and Bowser (yes, he was a partner!) to help them defeat 
    Smithy, the master of that giant sword who wants to wreak havoc on the 
    world.  Bowser wants to defeat Smithy to reclaim his castle.  Toadstool 
    proves to be a great asset to the team with her healing powers.
    
    Toadstool got to be on more friendly terms with Mario in Super Mario 64.  
    She invites Mario over for some cake, signing her letter "Peach."  And 
    she has been referred to as Princess Peach, her first name, after since.  
    Speaking of which, she was kidnapped in Super Mario 64, too.  But, 
    Mario alone rescued her that time.
    
    Bowser tried again to abduct the princess in Paper Mario.  But even 
    making himself absolutely invincible with the magical Star Rod could 
    not prevent Bowser from losing in the end.  Mario and Peach can even 
    enjoy fireworks as Bowser's castle explodes and everyone celebrates 
    with a parade.
    
    Peach was kidnapped yet again in Super Mario Sunshine.  Vacationing 
    with Mario to the paradise Isle Delfino, she was abducted by "Shadow 
    Mario," a Mario doppelganger.  This happened as Mario was cleaning up a 
    mess (this was his punishment for a crime he did not commit; Shadow 
    Mario covered the island with goop and framed Mario, who then had to 
    clean it).  Only by collecting the Shine Sprites, the source of power 
    for Isle Delfino, could Mario venture into Mount Corona where he 
    confronted Bowser and Bowser Jr.  Bowser Jr., Bowser's eighth child 
    (the other seven are those accursed Koopalings), had been tricked into 
    thinking that Peach was his mother and that Mario was holding her 
    captive, and so he dressed as Shadow Mario to frame the plumber and 
    take off with his "mama."  Of course, Mario kicked both their hides.  
    Afterwards, the real vacation began.  And poor, confused Bowser Jr. 
    realized that Bowser had tricked his son to get cheap labor out of him.
    
    In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Peach has decided to go to 
    Rogueport for a vacation of sorts, and Mario is invited.  Vacations 
    normally don't bode well for the princess, though, and I wouldn't be 
    surprised if she ended up kidnapped by a newcomer, Grodus.  His plan 
    was to use her as a vessel to revive a 1000-year old demon's soul, but 
    Mario defeats the demon - the Shadow Queen - in battle, and Peach went 
    back to being just peachy.
    
    ---------------------------------Toad----------------------------------
    
    The Mushroom Retainers of Super Mario Bros...  In their first 
    appearance, seven subjects of Princess Peach - the Mushroom Retainers - 
    were abducted by Bowser and placed at the end of castles as decoys so 
    that Mario and Luigi would be lured off the correct path.  So, they 
    really played a very minor role in the game, other then directing the 
    plumber brothers to another castle.
    
    They played the same role in the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 
    2.  Come Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA), though, Toad became playable along 
    with Peach.  Though his color scheme was different from today, Toad was 
    a fast character with weak jumping abilities.  However, he was the 
    heavy-lifter of the group (this probably would not hold true in a Mario 
    game today).  However, Toad was not really a desirable character in 
    comparison to the all-around Mario, jumping pro Luigi, or the floating 
    Peach.  Still, Toad wasn't even slowed down by holding the heaviest of 
    blocks.  Interestingly, Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA) introduced his name 
    as "Toad" instead of "Mushroom Retainer".
    
    Toad became a generic name for the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom (or 
    Mushroom World) in Super Mario Bros. 3, however.  Operating any of 
    several "Toad's Houses," Toad either let you play a horizontal slots 
    game, a card-matching game, or a random chest-picking game.  There was 
    also one Toad assigned to each of the Mushroom Kings that ruled over 
    regions of the Mushroom World (these Toads acting as Mushroom Retainers, 
    I assume).  But, Toad did not appear for a short time.
    
    Four years after Super Mario Bros. 3, Wario's Woods came out.  Toad had 
    the honor of being the last playable character on the NES; Wario's 
    Woods was the last NES game ever released (in 1994, it was about time).  
    In it, Wario, already popular from his Game Boy excursions, was making 
    Pleasant Woods very unpleasant, and he and a bunch of loser bosses (the 
    likes of "Monsieur Boo" or "Carlton", neither of whom look like any 
    other Mario character) were pitted against Toad and a helpful fairy 
    named Wanda.  Interestingly enough, Wanda also appeared in Mario vs. 
    Wario, a Japan-only release, to foil Wario's plans of leading bucket-
    blinded characters off of cliffs by making blocks.  Apparently, Wanda 
    has a grudge against Wario.  Anyways, Toad starred in the Tetris-esque 
    puzzle game by picking up blocks and setting them down in certain 
    places to defeat enemies.  Way to go, Toad.
    
    Toad has appeared as a generic citizen of Mushroom Kingdom in the Mario 
    RPG series (most notably, one official Toad, possibly _the_ Toad, 
    appeared in Super Mario RPG to explain the game.  He failed to stop 
    Croco from escaping at one point, and he attributed this to his lack of 
    bazooka.  Toad has been portrayed as a bit of a coward ever since), but 
    he served other, more minor roles in other games.  In Super Mario 64, 
    Toad was trapped within the Mushroom Castle, and he gave useful advice 
    to Mario (sometimes even Power Stars).  In Luigi's Mansion, Toad was 
    sent by Peach to find Mario, but the cowardly Toad could do nothing but 
    save the game for Luigi.  An entourage of Toads accompanied Mario, 
    Peach, and Toadsworth to Isle Delfino (of course, none of them were 
    very good at preventing Toad from being kidnapped).
    
    Meanwhile, Toad was appearing in Mario's sports/party-related outings.  
    He appeared as a driver in Super Mario Kart (and, he's gone on to 
    appear in every Mario Kart game so far).  In Mario Party and Mario 
    Party 2, Toad handed out the Stars and gave instructions for mini-games.  
    However, Mario Party 3 had two new characters - Tumble and the 
    Millennium Star, respectively - do this job.  Mario Party 5 let Toad 
    become a playable character in place of Donkey Kong.  And Mario Party 6 
    cemented Toad's standings as a playable character.  Not only was he 
    playable there, but his female counterpart Toadette, most likely 
    introduced to assure players that Toad was all-man, was playable, too.  
    She was a secret character you had to pay 30 Stars for, but so what?  
    Toad and Toadette were also secret characters in Mario Kart: Double 
    Dash!!  Toad also appeared in Mario Tennis (N64) and Mario's Tennis 
    (Virtual Boy).  In Mario Kart 64, we hear Toad's voice for the first 
    time.
    
    ---------------------------------Yoshi---------------------------------
    
    To understand where Yoshi, that lovable dinosaur from Super Mario World, 
    came from, you must look back into 1984.  A game called Demon World was 
    released on the Famicom.  Essentially, it was a clone of Pac-Man.  The 
    game starred a green creature named Tamagon, who looks like a cross 
    between Yoshi and a goldfish, who had to clear the maze of demons as he 
    swallowed dots and fought against Satan himself.  Also, the walls were 
    painful to him for some reason.
    
    Don't worry if you've never heard of it.  The game never left Japan due 
    to the Christian imagery, and Nintendo did not want to upset a largely 
    Christian population at a time when American customers could make or 
    break them.  In fact, Nintendo hasn't gotten over its fear of upsetting 
    the Christian gaming community today, either.  In the Japanese version 
    of Super Smash Bros. Melee, Tamagon has his own trophy.  He does not in 
    the western versions of the game.
    
    So, did Tamagon, a squat version of Yoshi with fins, influence the look 
    of Yoshi?  I think so, especially since the two make the same sound 
    when they hatch from eggs.  So, while Tamagon himself didn't make the 
    cut as a western video game character, Yoshi did in 1991.  He appeared 
    in Super Mario World, one of the premiere games for the new Super 
    Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).  Yoshi is an instant hit.
    
    In Super Mario World, the vacationing plumbers find an egg in the 
    forest on Yoshi's Island shortly after Peach is kidnapped by Bowser.  
    It turns out to be Yoshi, one of the local dinosaurs that the island is 
    named after (or that are named after the island).  Yoshi was locked in 
    his egg by someone named Bowser, whose airship (from Super Mario Bros. 
    3) crashed into the waters of Dinosaur Land.  Bowser set up his forces 
    here, and he kidnapped seven of Yoshi's friends.  They, too, were 
    trapped within eggs, and the eggs were guarded by each of Bowser's 
    seven children in fortresses at the end of each region of Dinosaur Land.
    
    So, since Mario and Luigi had to rescue Peach anyways, they decided to 
    defeat Bowser's children along the way.  Yoshi proved to be invaluable 
    in their adventure.  The traditional Yoshi that we all know and love is 
    green, but Yoshi is also the term for an entire race of dinosaur 
    creatures.  Red, blue, and yellow Yoshis also populated Dinosaur Land, 
    and each had a special ability.  Red Yoshis turned that which it ate 
    into fire, blue used eaten objects as fuel to fly, and yellow Yoshis 
    used it to weigh them down for quake stomps.  And speaking of which, 
    Yoshis have elastic tongues that they release to wrap around enemies 
    and swallow them.  Yoshi can digest practically anything, or spit it 
    out if Mario so desired.  And eating berries yielded strange results.  
    Yoshi could release a cloud that rained down coins or Mushrooms if he 
    ate enough berries of certain colors.  And, if Mario needed to reach a 
    high ledge, Yoshi could jump and Mario could jump off Yoshi for a sort 
    of double jump.  Yoshi was also resilient to dangerous surfaces; he 
    could walk across Munchers without taking any damage.
    
    Yoshi did not go unnoticed by fans.  An instant success, he joined the 
    crew for Super Mario Kart and soon got puzzle games starring him - 
    Yoshi, Yoshi's Cookie, and eventually Tetris Attack.  Originally a game 
    called "Panel du Pon," Nintendo replaced the fairy characters with 
    Yoshi and characters like Raphael the Raven and Lakitu.  The vertical 
    block-matching game might have been a cheap rip-off of a Japanese-only 
    title, but so was Super Mario Bros. 2, right?
    
    But a year before Tetris Attack ever appeared, Super Mario World 2: 
    Yoshi's Island came out.  Hailed as the greatest platform game by some, 
    the Yoshi herd was responsible for rescuing Baby Luigi and letting the 
    stork go on to deliver the baby brothers.  Yoshi was able to transform 
    into several toy-like vehicles in the game, but only the Yoshicopter 
    ever reappeared (it makes a cameo in the Yoshi Circuit in Mario Kart: 
    Double Dash!!).
    
    Also in 1996 was Super Mario RPG.  Yoshi played a small role in the 
    game, though.  Hanging out on Yo'ster Isle with a pack other Yoshis, 
    the trusty steed gained a one-time rival in Boshi, a black Yoshi.  Only 
    with Mario's help was Yoshi able to best Boshi in the Mushroom Derby, a 
    competitive, one-on-one racing tournament, which made Yoshi the boss.  
    But, much like George Washington, Yoshi gave up his power shortly after 
    receiving it (his only act was to make the Mushroom Derby a fun race in 
    which everyone ran.  Also, no gambling).  Winning the race could earn 
    Mario three Yoshi's Cookies, which could be used to summon Yoshi to the 
    battlefield.  Yoshi swallowed enemies, releasing an item for Mario.  
    This was the extent of his appearance, though.
    
    1998 marked the beginning of an all Yoshi franchise.  Yoshi's Story, as 
    the game was called, had a vindictive Baby Bowser steal the "Super 
    Happy Tree" from Yoshi's Island, and he then flattened the island into 
    storybook form.  How would a pack of multicolor Yoshis stop the pint-
    sized titan?  By eating fruit, of course.  Finding fruits in looping 
    levels was not very successful, apparently, and the only-Yoshi 
    franchise sort of died out.
    
    Yoshi was matched up with Birdo, a supposedly female dinosaur from 
    Super Mario Bros. 2, in Mario Tennis on the N64, and he would be paired 
    with her again in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!  However, Yoshi partnered 
    with Koopa Troopa in Mario Power Tennis.  Birdo is supposed to be a 
    girlfriend of Yoshi's, but I think some characters are best left single.
    
    Yoshi's next big appearance was on the Game Cube, but the traditional 
    Yoshi did not appear.  Instead, a tropical breed of Yoshis appeared on 
    Isle Delfino as nearly extinct, high-pressure spitting dinosaurs.  With 
    juices matching their body color gushing from their mouths, they were 
    almost as effective as FLUDD.  And, just like in Super Mario World, 
    getting on Yoshi added drums to the background beat of the area.  This 
    tropical breed was probably endangered because they couldn't enter 
    water.  Doing so made them dissipate, but they turned green before 
    doing so.  Interesting.
    
    In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, a nameless baby Yoshi hatches 
    from an egg while Mario is in the floating city of Glitzville, and 
    Mario gets to name it (it also has a randomly generated color).  It's a 
    little hellion, but it joins Mario as a partner.  Mario's sort of like 
    its mother/father or something, and the baby Yoshi is really attached.  
    At the end of the game, he continues Mario's legacy as a fighting 
    champion by wrestling in the Glitz Pit under the name "The Great 
    Gonzales Jr." (Great Gonzales was Mario's stage name).
    
    Today, Yoshi joins all of Mario's outings and a few of his adventures.  
    His first appearance on the Nintendo DS was in Super Mario 64 DS, and 
    he saved Mario, Luigi, and Wario in it.  He did appear in Super Mario 
    64 to give out 100 lives to Mario if he could reach the castle's roof 
    (only achievable if he had all 120 Power Stars), but that's old news.
    
    ------------------------------Donkey Kong------------------------------
    
    It is interesting to note that Donkey Kong was not in the beta version 
    of Mario Kart at all.  Instead, there was a Magikoopa, the bespectacled 
    Koopa wizards from Super Mario World.  It was a good move on Nintendo's 
    part to replace Magikoopa with Donkey Kong, though.
    
    An interesting character...  Donkey Kong first appeared in a game of 
    the same name.  For some reason, he kidnapped a lady and brought her to 
    the top of a construction site, leaving it up to her devoted boyfriend 
    - Mario - to save her.  Of course, Mario wins (like usual), and Mario 
    is a bad winner.  DK's name has a bit of video game myth surrounding it.  
    It is a popular urban legend that Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of 
    Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, and many other characters, thought that 
    "Donkey" was English for "stupid."  Add Kong, which is an ape name 
    since the film King Kong, and you've got this character.  Regardless of 
    whether this is true or not, the next game was named after DK's son.
    
    Yep, Donkey Kong Jr. was released later.  In it, Donkey Kong was 
    captured by Mario, and it was up to Donkey's son to rescue him from 
    cruel, whip-wielding Mario, using vines and such.  Junior even appeared 
    in a game in which he did math, an edutainment title.
    
    (Oddly, Donkey Kong Jr. appeared as a playable character in Super Mario 
    Kart, but not Donkey Kong.  Furthermore, junior appeared in Mario 
    Tennis for the N64, but was replaced by DK in Mario Kart 64.  Oh well.)
    
    Donkey Kong Jr. sat out the third game in the DK arcade trilogy, though, 
    as Donkey Kong became a flower's worse nightmare.  Yes, Mario was fazed 
    out of the series altogether, and it was now up to Stanley the Bugman, 
    a devoted insect exterminator, to keep DK from lowering himself to the 
    plants in a green house by spraying bug spray at the ape.  A great new 
    arcade game that would continue the series, right?
    
    Well, I guess Mario makes the game, because Stanley the Bugman never 
    appeared again, and Donkey Kong disappeared for a long time, too.  
    Relegated to simple cameos in games like Mario Tennis for the NES, 
    Donkey Kong sat out for a long time.  Then came the Donkey Kong Country 
    trilogy.
    
    A sleek, hip, tie-wearing Donkey Kong emerged from video game obscurity 
    to appear in SNES game Donkey Kong Country in 1994.  The Donkey Kong 
    who appeared in the arcades in 1981 was a muscle-bound brute, and even 
    3-D character models cannot explain the difference in looks.  So, how 
    did Rare, who now owns DK's rights, explain this difference?
    
    By introducing a grizzly old coot named Cranky Kong.  Cranky claims to 
    be the original Donkey Kong who threw barrels and kidnapped maidens in 
    arcade games, and now his lousy grandson/son (the precise relationship 
    varies with the game) has inherited the family moniker.  The exact 
    relationship between Cranky and Donkey is yet to be determined, but the 
    new Donkey Kong is either Donkey Kong Jr. or junior's son.  In any case, 
    the "new" Donkey Kong appears in Mario Kart 64.
    
    So the trilogy was kicked off.  Donkey Kong and his nephew/little buddy 
    (again, the familial status changes from game-to-game) Diddy Kong are 
    the stars of Donkey Kong Country.  As it so happens, the Kremlings, a 
    band of reptilian baddies led by King K. Rool (pun on cruel or rule, 
    depending on how you look at it) steal their banana hoard.  Cranky Kong 
    taunts them a bit before Donkey and Diddy decide to prove themselves as 
    video game heroes and reclaim their stolen bananas.  The result is a 
    wildly popular game.
    
    Then came the sequel.  "Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest" 
    introduced Dixie Kong, but it came at a high price; not only did the 
    Kremlings, now in pirate getups (King K. Rool is now "Kaptain K. Rool"), 
    steal the banana hoard, but they kidnapped Donkey Kong to prevent 
    resistance.  Cranky Kong opens his big, retro video game enthusiast's 
    mouth, and Diddy and Dixie end up saving Donkey Kong and the bananas.  
    How embarrassing for DK...
    
    Both Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong were kidnapped in the third installment 
    of the series, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie's Double Trouble, and it 
    was up Diddy's girlfriend and the tubby ape she was babysitting to 
    rescue them from a new, mechanized Kremling army.  This time, King K. 
    Rool changed his name to Baron K. Roolenstein.  In any case, DK himself 
    plays a very minor role in the game - he's the he-damsel.
    
    Game Boy re-releases with the same basic plots made up the Donkey Kong 
    Land series.  In the first game, Cranky argued that DK's SNES adventure 
    wouldn't have been nearly as popular if it were in black-and-white and 
    on an 8-bit system like, oh say, the Game Boy.  Donkey and Diddy take 
    the bait, and so they are tricked into playing a very similar game with 
    a few new worlds and far worse graphics.  Cranky, you see, in a parody 
    of old-school gamers, those who claim that video games were better in 
    the olden days.
    
    The rest of the Donkey Kong Land series follows suit, and this set the 
    stage for a bold new adventure for the increasingly large Kong family 
    in Donkey Kong 64 for the N64.  K. Rool's up to his usual antics, but 
    he's kidnapped a good deal of Donkey Kong's extended family this time.  
    This includes new characters Tiny Kong, a shameless Dixie Kong knock-
    off, Chunky Kong, the older brother of DKC 3 character Kiddy Kong, and 
    Lanky Kong, whose relations to other Kongs is obscure.  Rescuing them 
    and using their abilities will allow DK and crew to destroy K. Rool's 
    cannon that he plans to use to destroy Kong Island.
    
    Aside from usual appearances in Mario's spin-off games like Mario Party 
    (unfortunately, DK was removed as a playable character in Mario Party 5 
    in exchange for his own space) and Mario Kart, DK has a series that 
    really took off.  The Donkey Konga series uses drums and rhythm to 
    guide DK through levels.  It is quite odd, really, that the most 
    primitive instrument is the most innovative video game.  Although DK 
    doesn't go on many huge adventures anymore, he's found a happy place in 
    a few games as he gradually becomes more and more Mario-related.
    
    ---------------------------------Wario---------------------------------
    
    Wario's first Mario Kart game, Wario is said to have stolen the kart of 
    Koopa Troopa, a driver in Super Mario Kart, to compete in this game.  
    But how did he reach this point in his career?
    
    A cheesy villain in cahoots with the three little pigs.  That's how 
    Wario was introduced to the public.  Now, you might think that his name 
    is a simple flip of an M to get Wario, but that's not the case.  The 
    name is, like Luigi's name, a pun.  In Japanese, "warui" means "bad."  
    So, warui + Mario = Wario.  But, just who is this "bad Mario"?
    
    In Super Mario Land, a mysterious alien named Tatanga kidnapped 
    Princess Daisy of Sarasaland.  Mario rescued her, delivered her to 
    safety, and then returned to his home - Mario Land (Nintendo never 
    explains where this corny "Mario Land" came from, but let's be glad 
    that it has yet to reappear).  But, to our alarm, Mario Land has been 
    invaded by Wario!  The whole incident with Tatanga was just to get 
    Mario to leave his castle long enough for Wario take over!  Because as 
    we all know, Mario cannot resist such a tempting rescue.  Mario claims 
    that Wario has always been jealous of Mario (although the Nintendo 
    Power comics on the subject show that Mario apparently bullied Wario), 
    and now Wario wants to get the best of him.
    
    Mario was forced to clear out the six zones of Mario Land to find six 
    golden coins (as the name of "Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins" 
    suggests) that can be used to access Mario's castle.  The coins are 
    guarded by six nameless bosses, but one of them is an alien that 
    closely resembles Tatanga.  Anyways, back to the castle...  After 
    clearing a few simple obstacles within, Mario finds Wario in a throne 
    room.  Wario can use all of Mario's power-ups, but Mario manages to 
    defeat the fiend, reclaiming his castle and all.
    
    Wario became an instant hit.  He soon starred as the villain in Mario 
    vs. Wario (a release only in Japan), but that was a minor title.  
    Wario's Woods was released in 1993, and it pitted Toad against Wario, 
    who had fiendishly upset peace in Pleasant Woods.  Also in 1994, a game 
    called "Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman!" was released for the Game 
    Boy.  In it, Wario took on Hudson's character, Bomberman.  It is 
    interesting to note that Wario has since taken an interest in 
    explosives.
    
    But the real accomplishment of 1994 was commandeering the Super Mario 
    Land series on the Game Boy.  Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land was 
    released, and it would be the last SML title.  In this adventure, Wario 
    was the main character, not Mario.  And Wario was down in the dumps; he 
    had lost his castle and the riches in it.  Yes, it was SML 3 that 
    really delved into Wario's greedy nature.  Luckily, though, Wario heard 
    that a priceless golden statue of Princess Peach was on Kitchen Island, 
    held by Syrup, captain of the notorious Black Sugar Pirates.  Wario 
    traveled through the island to find Syrup Castle.  But, Wario (and 
    probably the player controlling him) was surprised to find Syrup was a 
    woman (especially since the manual refers to her as a man).  But, even 
    with help from a mystical genie, Syrup was no match for Wario's brute 
    strength, and Wario finally got the statue.  But, in the ending 
    sequence of the game, Mario swoops in, thanks Wario for finding the 
    statue, and makes off with it.  Well, easy come, easy go, I guess.  He 
    did get to keep the genie's lamp, and he wished for a castle of his own.
    
    In 1995, the Virtual Boy had a Wario game in store for it that used the 
    same magic hat power-ups as SML 3 was released.  Of course, the Virtual 
    Boy was a very unpopular system, and it was not widely played.  But, in 
    the game, he visited the Awazon River basin (obviously a pun on Amazon, 
    only the "m" is flipped over to make it Wario-ized).  While there, he 
    found hoards of treasure in a cave the natives guarded, and he only had 
    to play through fourteen levels to reach it.
    
    But, a more popular game was soon in store for the greedy anti-hero.  
    With riches amassed from his trip to the Awazon River basin and a 
    castle from Super Mario Land 3, Wario was living the good life in style.  
    But, he awoke one day to find that his riches had been stolen!  And it 
    was the Black Sugar Pirates who stole it!  Wario chased them right back 
    to their castle, and Wario was able to defeat Syrup, reclaim his 
    pilfered riches, and return to his castle.  This game was not named for 
    Mario at all.  It was entitled "Wario Land 2."
    
    Wario was sucked into an orgel, a Dutch instrument, in Wario Land 3, by 
    a mysterious force.  When Wario collected five such instruments, he 
    could revive the force that had summoned him.  But, as it turns out, 
    this force merely brought Wario there to be revived, and was actually a 
    creepy clown named Rudy.  Wario managed to defeat the demented clown, 
    though, and escape the strange world.
    
    In 2001, Wario was featured in Dr. Mario 64 as a playable character in 
    the story mode.  At the height of flu season, everyone wants Dr. 
    Mario's megavitamins, but they were stolen by mad Dr. Scienstein to 
    cure a weakened Rudy.  While Dr. Mario goes on to defeat Rudy, Wario is 
    concerned with Scienstein.  Wario has aspirations of selling the cure-
    all pills for major money.
    
    The Game Boy Advance featured Wario Land Advance for all of his fans.  
    Reading the newspaper one day, Wario learns that a pyramid was recently 
    discovered.  A legend recalls that Princess Shokora was put under a 
    spell that made her eternally sleep (Zelda II, anyone?) within her 
    pyramid.  With money in mind, Wario takes off to the pyramid.  He 
    clears the various routes to reach Shokora, but she is guarded by the 
    one who cursed her, the Golden Diva.  Wario, who seems to fight many 
    female villains, soundly defeats her, freeing Shokora of the curse and 
    earning himself some money.
    
    Wario World came out for the Game Cube in 2003.  Amongst Wario's 
    treasure was a terrible black jewel, and it envelopes his castle and 
    treasures.  It's up to Wario to defeat the Black Jewel and win his 
    stuff back.  It's been Wario's most recent great adventure.
    
    And then came WarioWare, Inc.  This fledgling company was started by 
    Wario after he heard the news of a popular video game called Pyoro 
    recently.  Realizing that there was money to be made in the video game 
    company, Wario bought a computer in hopes of creating his own best-
    selling game.  Each WarioWare game featured many five-second micro-
    games that range from such simple tasks as waking up a sleeping man to 
    more complicated ones like defusing bombs.  All of Wario's games in the 
    WarioWare series have been popular - in Diamond City and in real life.
    
    As you can see, Wario is quite independent of Mario now.  But, he 
    appeared in Mario Kart 64 in 1997 (in fact, Wario's voice was heard for 
    the first time in MK 64), and has been appearing in all Mario-related 
    outings since the N64 hit it big.  And something rather interesting 
    happened in Mario Tennis on the N64...  Waluigi joins the crew.
    
    --------------------------------Bowser---------------------------------
    
    The King of the Koopa...  Bowser is Mario's recurring rival, and he's 
    either a fierce enemy or a big joke (or both), depending on the game.  
    Bowser first appeared in Super Mario Bros.  He is the king of a "dark 
    tribe" called the Koopa, later renamed the Koopa Troop, and he felt the 
    urge to invade the Mushroom Kingdom.  Using his Koopa black magic, he 
    transformed the residents of this seemingly peaceful place into blocks, 
    stones, and even horsehair plants, oh my!  Only Princess Peach 
    Toadstool could undo the magic, but he kidnapped her.  Now he just had 
    to build up his forces.
    
    One castle was stationed at each "world" of the Mushroom Kingdom.  
    Little did Bowser know that Mario and Luigi were out to free the 
    princess.  Each castle they visited, though, only contained a Mushroom 
    Retainer, a.k.a. a Toad.  "Bowser" was at the end of each castle, but 
    fireballs could burn the costume, revealing that the Bowser at the end 
    of Worlds 1-7 were actually common soldiers in disguise.  But the 
    eighth world held the real Bowser, and Mario or Luigi was able to 
    defeat him.  Set up on a bridge over a pool of lava, the brothers had 
    to bypass the titan and his obstacles - Podoboos, flame chains, hammers 
    - to reach an axe.  Pulling it out of the block it rested in caused the 
    bridge, which was strapped onto the axe by a thin rope, to fall into 
    the lava.  Bowser would also fall, and so Mario/Luigi rescued the 
    princess.
    
    Bowser returned in Super Mario Bros. 3 with the entire family.  Yes, 
    his seven children - Larry, Morton, Wendy, Iggy, Roy, Lemmy, and Ludwig 
    - decided to cause trouble.  Bowser was not officially connected with 
    his children's mischief at first, though.   Each child, collectively 
    known as the "Koopalings" or "Koopa Kids," invaded a region of the 
    "Mushroom World," the lands surrounding the Mushroom Kingdom.  They 
    stole the wands of the seven kings there and transformed them into 
    animals.  Then they paraded about their airships.  Mario and Luigi 
    traveled to each of these lands and defeat each Koopaling to restore 
    the king to his normal form.  But, after defeating Ludwig von Koopa, 
    the seventh and final Koopaling (also the oldest), Mario got a letter 
    from... BOWSER!  It said that he had stolen Princess Peach Toadstool 
    while Mario was out returning the wands to the kings, and he challenged 
    Mario to try to rescue her from his home, Dark Land.
    
    Mario fell for the trap and entered Dark Land.  After facing an 
    onslaught of tanks, the Koopa navy, and the Koopa air force, Mario 
    reached Bowser's Castle.  At the end, Mario found a much different 
    Bowser from Super Mario Bros.  The new look of Bowser has stuck since 
    then.  Originally, Bowser was hunched over with no mane, a weird smile, 
    and white spikes.  He was also about as tall as Super Mario.  The new 
    Bowser was huge, with yellow spikes and an awesome red mane.  But, 
    despite Bowser's newfound might, Mario could still beat him by tricking 
    the king into busting through his floor.  Bowser lost again.
    
    Apparently, the airship of the Koopalings had crashed in a strange 
    place called Dinosaur Land.  From there, Bowser and his children 
    swiftly but secretly spread into the circular Dinosaur Land, 
    imprisoning the locals and building fortresses.  But, as fate would 
    have it, Mario, Luigi, and Peach decided to take a vacation to Dinosaur 
    Land after their stressful Super Mario Bros. 3 adventure.  Bowser 
    wasted no time.  He abducted Peach, leaving no signs of his presence, 
    and left the Mario Bros. wondering where she went off to.  But, Mario 
    and Luigi stumbled upon a large egg that Bowser had imprisoned Yoshi in, 
    and Yoshi told the brothers of his plight.  Armed with a pair of magic 
    capes given to them by Yoshi, Mario and Luigi methodically defeated 
    each Koopaling (in a new order - Iggy, Morton, Lemmy, Ludwig, Roy, 
    Wendy, Larry) before they could face Bowser in a neon castle in the 
    Valley of Bowser.
    
    Bowser appeared scarier than ever with sharp teeth, a sinister demeanor, 
    and white spikes on his back.  He fought in his aircraft - the Koopa 
    Clown Car - and threw down various objects, including Mechakoopas, 
    robotic enemies he had made.  Mario or Luigi had to throw them back up 
    at Bowser eight times before he was defeated, and Peach, Mario/Luigi, 
    and Yoshi plus friends enjoyed the rest of their vacation to Bowser's 
    dismay.
    
    Super Mario World 2 reflects back to Bowser's childhood.  As an infant, 
    Baby Bowser had an advisor Magikoopa named Kamek whom he trusted above 
    all others.  Really, Kamek is the one who molded Bowser into the fiend 
    he is today.  Kamek was able to use his magic to foresee all the 
    trouble that Mario and Luigi would cause the Koopa Troop, and for that 
    reason he intercepted the stork to kidnap Baby Mario and Baby Luigi.  
    Unfortunately for Kamek, Baby Mario fell down to Yoshi's Island, which 
    happened to be below at the time, and right onto the back of a Yoshi.  
    And try as Kamek may, Yoshi and Baby Mario were able to reach Baby 
    Bowser's castle and defeat the kiddy king.  Baby Bowser tried to get 
    revenge on the Yoshi clan in Yoshi's Story, but he was defeated because 
    the Super Happy Tree dropped fruits that the Yoshis used to beat him up.
    
    In 1996, Bowser and Mario actually became partners.  During the 
    beginning of Super Mario RPG, Peach is kidnapped and Mario and Bowser 
    are fighting in Bowser's Keep.  Suddenly, a giant sword (the hilt being 
    named Exor, the blade being named Neosquid) crashed through the roof 
    and sent the three flying.  Peach landed in Booster's Tower far away.  
    Bowser landed in an unknown location, and Mario was shot into his house.  
    Later on in Rose Way, Mario saw Bowser and his troops marching onward 
    to find a way back into the castle (the sword destroyed the bridge to 
    it).  As Mario progressed in his adventure, Bowser eventually lost all 
    of his troops (they went AWOL on him), and he was crying (not making 
    this up) at the base of Booster's Tower, unaware that Peach was above 
    on the balcony.  When Mario came across Bowser, he composed himself and 
    asked if Mario (along with Mallow and Geno, his partners) would join 
    the Koopa Troop.  Mario agreed.  You see, Bowser had as much to gain 
    from beating Smithy, the person who stole his castle, as Mario did.  
    After all, he wanted his castle back.
    
    Bowser's next big game was for the N64.  In Super Mario 64, Peach 
    invited Mario over for cake.  In the interval of time between Mario 
    getting the invitation and Mario arriving, Bowser swept into the 
    Mushroom Castle, abducted Peach, and locked up the doors so that they 
    required Power Stars to access.  The paintings in the castle were 
    actually portals to different worlds, such as Bob-omb Battlefield or 
    Whomp's Fortress, and Bowser planned to use the Power Stars to not only 
    open the portal but to release the infinite monsters within to create 
    an army he could use to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom.  When Mario got 
    his hands on the Power Stars, though, he used them to reach Bowser in 
    three separate areas.  The first two fights got him keys to the 
    basement and second floor, respectively.  The third fight defeated 
    Bowser, taking his star power, and rescuing Peach (also saving the 
    kingdom from a potential invasion).  Bowser got to watch the ending 
    sequence with his minions in disgust.
    
    Then came Paper Mario.  This time, Bowser and his new advisor, Kammy, 
    flew up to Star Haven and stole the Star Rod.  They then imprisoned the 
    Star Spirits.  The Star Rod grants the wishes of the user (it was 
    originally used by the Star Spirits to answer the wishes-upon-a-star of 
    the people of Earth), and Bowser used it to make himself invincible.  
    He raided the Mushroom Castle, lifting it up from the roots and taking 
    it to the skies (Luigi was able to escape the castle as the ground 
    began to shake).  Mario fought Bowser for Peach, but Mario could not 
    compete with the might of the Star Rod.  Mario nearly died after being 
    cast out the window and falling a great distance to the ground, but the 
    Star Spirits used their energy to save Mario and contact him.  If he 
    could save them, they could negate the effects of the Star Rod.
    
    To this point, Mario defeated Bowser's minions - the Koopa Bros., 
    Tutankoopa, Tubba Blubba, General Guy, the Lava Piranha, Huff N. Puff, 
    and the Crystal King - to rescue the Star Spirits.  And with the power 
    of the Star Beam that they taught him coupled with the prayers of the 
    people of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario was able to temporarily 
    deactivate the Star Rod.  In that time, Mario defeated Bowser, even 
    with the power boost provided to him by a machine Kammy used, and 
    reversed the power of the machine to blow up Bowser's Castle.  The 
    Mushroom Castle fell to its original location, the Star Rod was 
    returned to Star Haven, and Mario was a hero yet again.
    
    King Boo used Bowser's reputation to scare Luigi in Luigi's Mansion, 
    but Bowser himself did not show up in the game; only his costume did.  
    Bowser's next appearance was at the end of the game in Super Mario 
    Sunshine.  Coaxing his eighth child, Bowser Jr., into framing Mario and 
    abducting Peach while he relaxed in a slimy pool atop Mount Corona was 
    a welcome change for the King of the Koopa, although he did fight, and 
    lose to, Mario.  In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Bowser gets his body 
    stolen by the evil witch Cackletta, forming "Bowletta," but I won't 
    even comment on that freak.  Bowser was similarly humorous in the next 
    RPG he starred in, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.  He fought 
    Mario as the second-to-last boss in a last ditch effort to do something 
    important, but all he does is let Grodus escape with Peach.  Super 
    Mario 64 DS marked Bowser's first new appearance as his fierce, evil 
    persona, but that was just a port of one of Mario's earlier adventures.
    
    And that doesn't count Bowser's role as a villain in Mario Party games.  
    In games like Mario Kart 64 and Mario Tennis, though, Bowser is always 
    the strong but slow character.  Bowser is a pretty popular villain, but 
    he isn't Mario's only adversary.  Bowser joins the ranks of the below 
    characters as final bosses in Mario games (listed by number of games):
    
    King K. Rool, Wario, Donkey Kong, Wart, Syrup, Baby Bowser, Rudy, Mario 
    (he technically was a villain in a Mario game - Donkey Kong Jr.), 
    Tatanga, Smithy, King Boo, the Golden Diva, the Black Jewel, Cackletta, 
    and the Shadow Queen.
    
    The list contains characters from Wario and Donkey Kong games, but they 
    are Mario characters.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    A major thanks to spacepope4u.  Without his Mario Series Character 
    Guide, which I recommend to any Mario fan, I wouldn't know half this 
    stuff.
    
    Now that we're done with that excruciatingly long section, let's move 
    on into the actual game-related information.  Yes, it's sad that Koopa 
    Troopa, Magikoopa, and Donkey Kong Jr. couldn't make it, but I'm sure 
    you'll get over it eventually.
    
    =======================================================================
    ===============================Controls*===============================
    =======================================================================
    
    This game handles pretty easily, but it has a few slightly advanced 
    combinations.  Here's how things work in Mario Kart 64.
    
                           +----------------------+
                           |    Basic Controls    |
                           +----------------------+
    
    Control Stick: This is used to steer the kart.  Tilt it in a certain 
    direction to move correspondingly.  It is also used to move between 
    options in menus.
    
    A: Press this button to accelerate.  You need to hold it (keep it 
    pressed) to keep accelerating.  Otherwise, you will slow down.  This 
    can also be used to select an option on a menu.
    
    B: When moving, this button causes you to brake (slow down).  If you 
    are motionless, though, this can be used to move in reverse.  This is 
    useful when you are jammed up against a wall (this happens frequently 
    to lightweights) and need to get back onto the course.  Note that to 
    move in reverse, you must also tilt the control stick down.  Pressing 
    this on a menu negates a previous choice.
    
    R: This is interesting.  It can be used to hop, which can be useful in 
    making short jumps over small gaps.  Lighter characters tend to have 
    higher jumps.  However, R is used for power-sliding and mini-boosting, 
    and that is explained later as an advanced control.
    
    L: You can use this to lower the volume of the background music or mute 
    it.  It helps on some stages, I guess.
    
    Z: If you have an item, press this to use it.  Using it in combination 
    with the control stick (up or down) can let you throw certain items 
    backward or forward.  If you have an item that is launched or dropped, 
    like shells, you can hold Z to keep them behind you without launching 
    them, waiting for the ideal opportunity to use them.
    
    C Up: A handy button, this changes the camera's zoom.  Using this can 
    be a lifesaver in some courses, especially when driving uphill; it 
    increases (or decreases) your line of sight.
    
    C Right: This changes the map of the course to the speedometer, which 
    shows how many kilometers per hour you're going.
    
                          +-------------------------+
                          |    Advanced Controls    |
                          +-------------------------+
    
    -----------------------------Power-Sliding-----------------------------
    
    This is vital to succeeding in the game, or at least succeeding easily.  
    When you press R, you hop.  When turning, press R and hold it.  Now 
    turn the control stick in the direction of your turn.  You will begin 
    power-sliding, which is the most efficient method of turning.  You 
    won't lose speed when turning (this is especially true of heavyweights), 
    and you have the added bonus of facing one direction throughout a turn.  
    However, your mobility is compromised greatly when turning, and any 
    obstacles along the way (banana peels come to mind) will likely hit you.  
    Still, the pros outweigh the cons.
    
    ------------------------------Mini-Boost-------------------------------
    
    Although power-sliding is useful in its own right, it has one other use: 
    starting mini-turbo boosts, which I abbreviate as "mini-boosts".  Start 
    off by entering a power-slide.  You know that you are power-sliding 
    when white E's of smoke are rising from your engine.  Now tilt the 
    control stick in the direction opposite that which you are turning, and 
    then quickly turn back in the correct direction.  Yellow E's will start 
    rising from your engine.  Repeat this and the smoke will become red.  
    While doing this, you must hold the A and R buttons.  Now, when the E's 
    have turned red, release R.  You will gain a slight boost of speed 
    momentarily.  It is not vital to racing, but it can be useful.  
    Sometimes, it's best just to do normal turns, but particularly wide 
    turns make mini-boosting very natural.
    
    On a side note, something somewhat similar happens when you are driving 
    right next to another driver.  If you are driving by someone, a sort of 
    wave of smoke will appear from your engine, giving you a small boost of 
    speed.  This is most useful in trying to pass the other player.
    
    -----------------------------Rocket Start------------------------------
    
    At the beginning of each race, the eight drivers are lined up (you 
    always start in eighth place at the beginning of a new cup) before the 
    finish line.  Lakitu drops down with the headlight and it turns red to 
    red to blue.  If you press A just as the third light turns blue (or 
    right after the second fades), you'll get a Rocket Start.  You can 
    begin at maximum speeds, a nifty head start.  And if you press A at the 
    exact right moment, right after the second red light fades, you will 
    get a speed boost, about half that provided by a Mushroom.  However, 
    press A at the wrong time and you will spin out of control.  The same 
    goes for when Lakitu is dropping you onto the track because you fell 
    off; press A as you are set down to take off with a Rocket Start.
    
    -----------------------------The Spin-Turn-----------------------------
    
    This is another way to turn, but this way actually rotates the kart.  
    If you press A and B simultaneously, you will begin to spin.  When 
    doing this, release B to drive forward.  When mastered, this can be 
    used to straighten yourself after a turn or be facing an opponent 
    before firing a shell or another item.  Personally, I like power-
    sliding more.
    
    -------------------------Banana Peel Recovery--------------------------
    
    While driving, hitting a banana peel will cause you to slide out of 
    control.  However, if you press B just after hitting it, you will not 
    lose control.  A small music note appears above your character to 
    indicate that you successfully avoided a spin-out.
    
    And that's everything there is to know about practical controls.  Now, 
    onto the other very important aspect of the game - items.
    
    =======================================================================
    ================================Items*=================================
    =======================================================================
    
    Items are gotten on the tracks by driving through the multicolor, 
    somewhat translucent ? Blocks.  A box appears and will "randomly" give 
    you an item.  The item can then be used by pressing Z.  You can get any 
    of several items, all of which are listed below.
    
    If I may note something, though...  Mario Kart is a game of comebacks, 
    and items help a lot in moving you from eighth to first.  That is, 
    someone lower in the ranks - like sixth place - will tend to get more 
    powerful items then someone in a higher rank - like second place.  The 
    person in first has no chance of getting a Thunder Bolt, for example.  
    However, the person in first has amazing chances of getting green 
    shells and bananas.  So, depending on your position in the game, you 
    have chances of getting certain items, but not all items.  I like this, 
    really.  After all, it would be stupid to give someone in first place 
    the Spiny's Shell.  And besides, it makes the game more fun for human 
    players.
    
    Green Shell: These are the shells of Koopa Troopas, the basic unit in 
    Bowser's army.  However, these items were also on the backs of enemies 
    called "Shell Creepers" in Mario Bros.  In any case, Mario has used 
    these to kick into enemies for a long time, and they have a similar 
    function in this game.  When launched (if you have one, hold Z and tilt 
    the control stick down to launch it backwards), these bounce around the 
    arena, hitting walls and such, until they come into contact with 
    another player or a Banana.  If they hit a player, they will be thrown 
    up into the air and lose all speed.  When they hit a banana, both are 
    destroyed.  They also disappear if they fall off an edge.  Though it 
    rarely happens, two shells colliding will cause them to both be 
    destroyed.
    
    Red Shell: Red Koopa Troopas were the smarter enemies in the Super 
    Mario Bros.; the green type would march forward, off cliffs if they 
    were present, only turning if they bumped into something.  Red Koopa 
    Troopas would turn around when they reached an edge (also, red Koopa 
    Paratroopas could actually fly, while green could just flutter around).  
    But, in Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA), though Koopa Troopas and all other 
    normal Mario enemies were absent, this red shell was present.  When 
    plucked from the ground, it could be thrown.  It slid across the floor, 
    defeating any enemy it hit, and dissipated when it hit a wall.  The Red 
    Shell item in this game acts much like it does in Super Mario Bros. 2 
    (USA).  If it hits a wall, it is gone.  However, these shells will 
    automatically home in on the player ahead of you.  If it hits another 
    shell, a wall, or a banana along the way, though, it will be no more.
    
    Triple Shells: This is just a grouping of three green or red shells.  
    However, they act somewhat differently.  Press Z and all three shells 
    start to circle around you.  If someone drives by this circle and 
    collides with a shell, they will be hit (and that shell disappears).  
    If you want to launch the shells, you can only launch them forward.  
    Also, if you are hit by something or fall off an edge, you will lose 
    these shells.  Furthermore, when all three shells are circling you, 
    they do not count as an item, meaning you can collect another item 
    after that.
    
    Spiny's Shell: This is a blue shell with spikes on it.  Though Spinies 
    normally have either red or green shells (normally red), blue made it 
    into this game.  This shell, normally given to players in lower ranks, 
    is launched forward as a homing device.  It will cross the course until 
    it hits the first place driver (it will most likely hit other drivers 
    along the way, though).  It can come in handy if used correctly.  Try 
    hitting ever player in front of you...
    
    Banana: Donkey Kong's favorite food is the banana, and he often 
    adventures to retrieve his banana hoard from the thieving King K. Rool.  
    In this game, banana peels can be dropped onto the course (if you hold 
    Z and tilt the control stick forward or backward, you can throw the 
    peels ahead of you or behind you).  If someone should happen to drive 
    into the banana, they will spin out of control.  For this reason, well-
    placed bananas can cause players to slip off the track or fall into one 
    of the course's trap.  If you press B after driving over one, though, 
    you will not lose control (see the "Controls" section for more details 
    on this).  After hitting one, you will lose lots of speed.
    
    Banana Bunch: Quite simply five bananas in a row.  In the Donkey Kong 
    Country games, there were such groups of bananas to be found (much more 
    effective than collecting one banana at a time).  Dropping five bananas 
    can be very effective.  If you are turning as you drop them, you can 
    make a "line" of bananas to make it impossible for opponents to avoid 
    them.  Also, these five bananas will trail you once you press Z.  If 
    you are hit by an item when they are trailing you, you will lose them.  
    Also, if an opponent runs into the line of bananas behind you, all 
    bananas will be destroyed (and the player will spin out).  Shells only 
    take one, though.
    
    Fake Item: This looks like a ? Block that gives items, but it really 
    isn't.  If you look closely, you'll notice that it has an upside-down 
    question mark.  Players will fly into the air after hitting these, and 
    they are, in my opinion, much better items than the Bananas.  Try 
    leaving this in groups of real ? Blocks.  Drivers will not be able to 
    tell these apart if left in large groups, and might mistake these for 
    real blocks.  They drive into it in hopes of getting an item, and bam!  
    They get hit and you laugh at them (in the game and out of the game).  
    They can be destroyed by shells and Super Stars, though.
    
    Mushroom: In Super Mario Bros., Mario and Luigi try to rescue the 
    princess of Mushroom Kingdom, and they often used Magic Mushrooms (the 
    name was later changed to "Super Mushroom" because the other name can 
    be a reference to high-inducing mushrooms) to become Super Mario/Luigi, 
    taller versions of themselves that can be hit twice before losing a 
    life.  They continued to use these items throughout their adventures, 
    even as far into the future as Super Mario 64 DS.  In this game, 
    Mushrooms are used to gain a short but powerful boost of speed.
    
    Triple Mushroom: Quite simply three Mushrooms attached to each other.  
    You can use their boosts three times (I suppose you have a "Double 
    Mushroom" after using one), and I recommend waiting out each boost 
    until you use the next for maximum effects.
    
    Super Mushroom: Because I could not find the official names of these 
    items in the manual, I will use this name from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!  
    Although Mario does not use golden mushrooms in his adventures, that's 
    what these are.  For a certain amount of time, you may use these for 
    boosts as many times as you can.  I find it most effective to 
    continually press Z to keep getting that initial boost of speed.  In 
    any case, these are very nice items if you're lagging behind the other 
    racers.
    
    Thunder Bolt: From Super Mario Kart, these bolts of lightning have a 
    rather unexpected effect.  They shrink every character but you.  If the 
    character is invisible (Boo) or invincible (Super Star) or is off the 
    course or spinning from a Banana or reeling from another hazard at the 
    time, they will not be affected.  However, the majority of players will 
    be shrunk.  In this state, they drive very slowly (due to their 
    shrunken engine), and they won't be able to use ramps or boost over 
    large gaps.  If you drive into a player who is small, you will flatten 
    them, causing them to float down and eventually resume normal shape to 
    continue forward.  If used at the right time (like when everyone is 
    about to use the large ramps in Royal Raceway), the effects can be 
    enormous (pun!).  Interestingly enough, Mallow had an attack called 
    Thunder Bolt in Super Mario RPG, although this game was released after 
    Super Mario Kart.
    
    Super Star: Perhaps the best item in the game aside from the Thunder 
    Bolt, both of these items are given to characters in lower ranks.  
    These items have appeared in each installment of the Super Mario Bros. 
    series (that is, Super Mario Bros., SMB 2 (USA/Japan), and SMB 3), and 
    in Super Mario World.  However, in the trilogy, this item was a 
    "Starman", and SMW changed the name to "Super Star".  In these games, 
    getting a Starman made Mario into Invincible Mario, and he could plow 
    through enemies in this form without taking any damage.  Stars have 
    always been icons of Mario games, from their uses to undo the magic of 
    Bowser in Super Mario 64 to their material value in the Mario Party 
    games.  In this game, Super Stars make your character invincible.  As 
    such, your speed increases, you lose no speed by driving off the track, 
    you can hit any enemy and make them fly into the air (like a shell 
    would), and you are immune to the ill effects of bananas, fake items, 
    shells, and other hazards within the courses themselves.  It does not, 
    however, prevent you from falling off the course (which makes the Super 
    Star stop working), it's only weakness.  The invincibility wears off 
    after a set length of time.
    
    Boo: The Boo was originally called "Boo Diddly" in Super Mario Bros. 3.  
    These Mario ghosts would shy away if Mario looked at them, but they 
    would lunge at him if he turned his back.  They reappeared in force for 
    Super Mario World, in which they had their own mini-manors to haunt, 
    and there also seems to be a monarch system in place among the Boos.  
    They figure prominently into Luigi's Mansion as the main adversaries.  
    In this game, using a Boo makes you invisible.  As such, you are immune 
    to all attacks and can even pass through solid objects (like other 
    players and obstacles, but not walls).  Falling off the course will end 
    this, though, and it is only temporary.  Like in Mario Party, using a 
    Boo will also cause it to steal an item from another player for you.  
    However, if no other players have items, you will get nothing.  This is 
    about the only way someone in first or second place could get their 
    hands on a Super Star or a Thunder Bolt.  It is interesting to note 
    that when you use a Boo, you actually do become invisible to other 
    players (I discovered this in multiplayer mode).  However, you can 
    still see a semi-transparent outline of your character on your screen.
    
    And those are all the items and origins.  Now, let's just cover weight 
    classes and we can move onto the actual track guides.
    
    =======================================================================
    ============================Weight Classes*============================
    =======================================================================
    
    All the karts in the game are basically the same.  The real difference 
    lies in color.  Mario has a red one, Luigi and Yoshi have a green one, 
    Peach has a pink one, Toad has a blue one, Wario's is purple, Bowser's 
    is orange, and Donkey Kong's is yellow.  So, since they essentially 
    have the same kart, the player makes the difference in driving, not the 
    kart (this is another way that Mario Kart is different from most racing 
    games).  Each character can be given a weight class - light, medium, or 
    heavy.  Here, I will discuss each category and give a brief summary of 
    the driving abilities of each character.
    
                            +--------------------+
                            |    Lightweights    |
                            +--------------------+
    
    Lighter characters are the easiest to use, in my opinion.  They have 
    excellent acceleration, slightly high top speeds (in comparison to 
    other weight classes), and will not lose much speed when they drive off 
    course (although it is still noticeable).  Lightweights will often be 
    bullied, so to speak, by the heavier characters.  For instance, if Toad 
    was driving along and Wario rammed into him, Toad would spin out as if 
    he had hit a Banana.  The reason for this is that Wario (and all other 
    middleweights and heavyweights) is heavier than Toad, and thus can 
    throw his weight around.  So, lightweights should avoid contact with 
    other drivers.  Also, due to their wonderful acceleration, lightweights 
    can recover from crashes quickly.  Also, note that they lose more speed 
    when turning (without sliding) than other characters, and their 
    steering isn't as good.
    
                                     -----
                                     Peach
                                     -----
    
    Princess Peach is a lightweight.  As such, she accelerates well, has 
    fairly high top speeds, and has a high jump.  But, you'd better learn 
    to power-slide if you play as Peach.
    
                                     -----
                                     Yoshi
                                     -----
    
    Yoshi is pretty good.  He has good acceleration, nice top speeds, and 
    he probably has the best steering of the lightweights.  However, like 
    all lightweights, Yoshi cannot turn very well without losing speed, and 
    thus power-sliding is a must.  I think he's the heaviest lightweight.
    
                                     ----
                                     Toad
                                     ----
    
    Toad is probably the best, or the most-liked, character in the game.  
    He has awesome top speeds, somewhat bad steering in comparison to the 
    likes of Bowser, good acceleration, and one annoying voice.  He is the 
    lightest character in the game, and so his lightweight attributes stick 
    out more than Yoshi's or Peach's do.  The downside to this is that he 
    can drive into a heavyweight who isn't even moving and spin out of 
    control.  Try him out and see how you do with him.  Toad is the best 
    character for Time Trials due to his speeds.  But, learn to power-slide.
    
                            +---------------------+
                            |    Middleweights    |
                            +---------------------+
    
    Simply put, middleweights are average in everything.  Of course, Mario 
    has been well-rounded in every game he's appeared in since Super Mario 
    Bros. 2 (Japan), and the formula does not change for this game.  They 
    lose some speed when turning and going off the track, they can exercise 
    their weight over lightweights but are weak to heavyweights, and they 
    have fair acceleration and speed.  But, why settle for average?
    
                                     -----
                                     Mario
                                     -----
    
    It's-a Mario!  Yes, the star of the game is the most balanced one, too.  
    Mario is the heaviest middleweight, and he has good steering, okay 
    everything else.  I suppose you could be good with Mario, but I like my 
    characters to excel at something.
    
                                     -----
                                     Luigi
                                     -----
    
    Player 2, err, Luigi is also smack-dab between heavy and light, 
    although he is a bit lighter than his plump brother.  As such, Luigi is 
    a bit faster than Mario, and he has traces of lightweight qualities in 
    him, or at least more so than Mario.  However, they are almost equal.  
    It's like comparing 1 to 1.1, if you see what I'm saying.
    
                            +--------------------+
                            |    Heavyweights    |
                            +--------------------+
    
    I find that most of the heavyweights are unplayable in the higher cc's 
    of Grand Prix.  Heavyweights have bad acceleration, below-average top 
    speeds, and they sink into grass or sand, meaning that veering off the 
    track causes them to lose massive amounts of speed.  They do have their 
    pluses, though.  If they turn a corner without sliding, they lose 
    almost no speed.  They have exceptional steering - the best in the game 
    - and can hit any other kart (except other heavyweights) and cause them 
    to spin out.  So, although other drivers may go faster than them at a 
    faster rate, they can hit opponents like they were a shell (or, at 
    least a moving Banana).  Unfortunately, crashing or spinning will cause 
    these big guys to lose almost all their speed, and they'll have a 
    harder time recovering due to their weak acceleration.
    
                                  -----------
                                  Donkey Kong
                                  -----------
    
    DK is the heaviest of all the characters in the game.  According to 
    Donkey Kong 64, he weighs 800 pounds (that's about 363 kilograms).  
    Anyways, he can ram just about anyone, but he's the slowest character 
    in the game with the worst acceleration of the lot.  Although he has 
    the most precise steering, you have to be a master of items and dodging 
    attacks to use Donkey Kong with any hopes of winning in the Grand Prix.
    
                                     -----
                                     Wario
                                     -----
    
    Wario is the lightest heavyweight, and he is a pretty good character, 
    really.  He has bad top speeds and acceleration compared to others, but 
    he is faster than Bowser and Donkey Kong and can topple lightweights 
    and possibly middleweights with the greatest of ease.  His steering is 
    above-average, but nothing compared to DK or...
    
                                    ------
                                    Bowser
                                    ------
    
    This titan is in the game (like all Mario Kart games), and he would be 
    the heaviest if DK didn't join the crew for this round of races.  True 
    to his weight class, Bowser has superb steering (the camera shifts when 
    he tilts his head), bad speed and acceleration, and plenty of weight to 
    throw around.  It'll take some practice to excel with King Bowser.
    
    And those are the characters and their weight classes.  But now that we 
    know about the characters, items, and controls, let's get into the 
    actual courses and the Mario Grand Prix.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
       _________________________________________________________________
      /                                                                 \
     /                                                                   \
    ||----------------------------Section 2*-----------------------------||
     \                                                                   /
      \_________________________________________________________________/
    
    =======================================================================
    ==============================Grand Prix*==============================
    =======================================================================
    
    The main mode of single player is Mario Grand Prix.  There are a few 
    things to note about the Mario GP.
    
    First, you choose a cc to play in.  There is, at first, 50 cc, 100 cc, 
    and 150 cc.  The higher the number, the harder it is.  You see, the cc 
    determines how large the engines are.  So, the larger the engine, the 
    faster the game is, and therefore the harder it is to control your kart.  
    Also, the opponents get sneakier as the numbers rise.  They start 
    leaving Bananas before ramps and the like.  There is one other mode 
    that you can play in Grand Prix, but that is a secret.  See "Secrets" 
    for details on it.
    
    Then you choose a character to play as.  This should be obvious; choose 
    whoever you're best with.  Then you select a cup.  There are four cups 
    (this is odd; usually, Special Cup has to be unlocked), and you start 
    with all of them.  There is Mushroom Cup, the easiest, Flower Cup, the 
    intermediate, Star Cup, the somewhat hard, and Special Cup, the very 
    hardest.  No matter which cup you play, though, they consist of four 
    races on four separate tracks.  Depending on how you place in each race, 
    you gain a certain amount of points.  Whoever has the most points after 
    the fourth race wins.
    
    The driver who places first gains 9 points.  Second place gains 6 
    points.  Third gains 3 points, and fourth gains 1 point.  All other 
    drivers get no points.  Personally, I like the point setup in Mario 
    Kart: Double Dash!! better, but what can you do?  If you get fifth, 
    sixth, seventh, or eighth place, you will have the option of retrying 
    the race to get a higher score.  As a result, you can play a race as 
    many times as you need until you get the desired place.  If you are 
    going to come in fourth, for instance, just stop before the finish line, 
    let a few people pass you, and then drive over to finish the race.  You 
    can retry and then attempt to get more points.  The most points 
    possible to get is 36; the least is 4.
    
    Then comes the award ceremony.  If you were the first, second, or third 
    in rank of points, you will receive a trophy (gold, silver, and bronze, 
    respectively).  Fourth or worse and you will get hit by a bomb (loser!).  
    Also, notice that the award ceremony takes place in front of the 
    Mushroom Castle.  Anyways, the trophy is more grand depending on which 
    cc you're playing.  50 cc is basic, but 150 cc is the best.
    
    In the next few sections, I'll have guides for all of the various 
    courses of the game.  There are sixteen in all, four per cup.
    
    In the upcoming sections, each track will have this information written 
    about it:
    
                           +----------------------+
                           |    Name of Course    |
                           +----------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    This is a summary of the track, a run-down of its various Nintendo-
    related themes, and other neat-o observations I make about them.
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    It's just what the title says.  The guide to the track tells you how to 
    get through each part (hence the "walkthrough" part of this FAQ).  Note 
    that each race consists of three laps around the track (I only guide 
    you through one because each lap is identical to the last).
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route #
                               -----------------
    
    If there are any significant alternate routes in the path, they will be 
    numbered and explained here.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - Places that are ideal for dropping Bananas or Fake Items will be 
    listed here.
    
    Now that we know what each entry will look like, it's time to actually 
    cover them.  Let's-a go!
    
    =======================================================================
    =============================Mushroom Cup*=============================
    =======================================================================
    
    Mushroom Cup is the easiest cup in every Mario Kart games, and MK 64 is 
    no exception.  We have easy turns, several routes to the finish lines, 
    and some of the best courses in the game (with the best music in the 
    game.  I'm looking at you, Koopa Troopa Beach).  Well, maybe other cups 
    have it beat as far as complexity goes, but Mushroom Cup is most like 
    Super Mario Kart in that the tracks are small and simple.
    
                            +---------------------+
                            |    Luigi Raceway    |
                            +---------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    Luigi Raceway is the most basic track in the game.  According to the 
    manual, it is 717 meters long.  Completely devoted to Luigi, it 
    apparently has an audience.  In fact, I'd say that this track is the 
    most conventional one in the game as far as other cars go.  I guess 
    it's just another insult to Luigi.  It is a good place to practice 
    sliding, though.
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    From the start, drive forward on a long straightaway.  Remember, hold A 
    to accelerate.  After an initial bump, you'll reach a few multicolor 
    blocks that I will call item boxes from here on out.  Drive into one to 
    get an item, and then you'll come to a turn.  Press R and tilt the 
    control stick to the right to start sliding.  This may be a bad idea, 
    though, if you start too early or late; you'll drive into the grass.  
    It is an easy turn, really, and power-sliding is optional.  At the end, 
    straighten yourself up.
    
    Drive into the tunnel ahead.  It curves very slightly at first; power-
    slide a bit.  Then it straightens up as its goes downhill.  Drive down 
    and take an item from the boxes assembled here.  Afterwards, make a 
    short slide to center yourself on the track.  Here comes the last turn 
    of the course.
    
    Hold R and tilt the control stick left.  Hopefully, you'll power-slide 
    right through the item boxes.  This is a good chance to pull off a 
    mini-turbo boost.  To do this, start power-sliding and tilt the control 
    stick right, then left, then right, and once more left.  The smoky E's 
    coming out of the engine should turn from white to yellow to red.  
    Release to boost to the finish line.
    
    Note: Generally appearing after the first line, there is a hot air 
    balloon with Luigi's face on it that lowers after the first line of 
    item boxes.  If you are fast enough (you may need to hop with R), you 
    can grab an item box from below the balloon.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - Well, nothing is that effective, but your best bet is to leave one in 
    any of the two wide curves, generally the center.  Opponents will drive 
    there and likely hit them.
    
    - After any of the bumps in the track, especially the one before the 
    item boxes in the first stretch of the track.  You can hope opponents 
    won't see them until it's too late.
    
                            +--------------------+
                            |    Moo Moo Farm    |
                            +--------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    A somewhat famous track, I guess.  Moo Moo Farm is a milk-producing 
    farm with many cows and Monty Moles, the annoying enemies from Super 
    Mario World that looked like moles.  It must be a lucrative business; 
    there is a truck delivering the milk on the Mushroom Bridge/City tracks 
    in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!  In any case, this course introduces you 
    to in-course obstacles.  It's pretty easy, though.  It is 527 meters in 
    length.
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Drive forward over the small bump to reach a line of item boxes.  Take 
    one and drive forward to a turn.  I would suggest power-sliding, but 
    you want to make sure you stay on the left side of the track throughout 
    the turn (there will be Monty Moles on the right side, and hitting them 
    is like hitting a shell).
    
    After that turn, straighten yourself and go forward to see another 
    little line of item boxes followed by a turn to the right.  You can 
    power-slide briefly, and then you'll want to drive forward and under 
    the bridge.
    
    Now you'll come to a cluster of item boxes.  Try to drive through them 
    and then drive all the way to the wall before you begin power-sliding 
    to the right.  This will let you avoid two groups of Monty Moles.  You 
    should straighten yourself when you reach a few item boxes.  From there, 
    drive between the pillars supporting the bridge here to reach the 
    finish line.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    If you want to risk it, you can drive on the right side of the road 
    where you could potentially hit a Monty Mole.  Though it may be faster, 
    it might not be worth the risk.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - After any of the bumps.  The bumps should hide the item from view.
    
    - Left of the Monty Mole groupings.  Either drivers will go out of 
    their way to reach the wall, a slight waste of time, hit the trap, or 
    hit the Monty Moles.  It's a win no matter what they do.
    
    - In between the central two pillars (or any of the pillars) at the 
    very end of the course.
    
                         +--------------------------+
                         |    Koopa Troopa Beach    |
                         +--------------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    Although Koopa Troopa lost his kart to Wario in this installment of the 
    series, he still has a course named after him.  This beach is named 
    after the rock formation on it that resembles a Koopa Troopa, 
    apparently.  The music is nice, and there are several alternate paths 
    that you can take.  Toward the end, be sure not to hit the crabs (the 
    trees can also make you spin out).  Also, do not enter the water.  It 
    will slow you down.  And the manual claims it is 691 meters long.
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Drive forward and make a slight turn to see a strange rock formation.  
    Part of it is grass (the green shell), and the other looks like a Koopa 
    head.  Drive around it to the right (because the item boxes lean on 
    this side) to get around it.  Now drive forward to a ramp.  Drive onto 
    it to jump off of it, steering right of two palm trees and into a line 
    of item boxes, to pass under the arch.
    
    Head forward to two more ramps.  I recommend at least jumping off one 
    to get the item boxes placed there.  Now turn right before the third 
    ramp.  Turn left when the track moves in that direction to pass through 
    a field of item boxes.
    
    Ahead is a small rock with a ramp leading up to it.  Drive left of both 
    into a small cluster of trees.  Drive through, careful not to hit any, 
    and you'll reach a few more item boxes.  Stay close to the left wall to 
    take the ramps up for item boxes and the finish line (this also lets 
    you avoid the crabs and rising/receding water).
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    At either rock formation, you can go left or right, whichever is most 
    convenient for you at the time.  The first rock (the one that resembles 
    a Koopa Troopa) is usually better to go right at because the item boxes 
    are closer to it, but the left side can be useful.
    
    At the second rock, you can go right of the ramp.  This route has no 
    trees, which is a plus, but it has water and isn't as direct as the 
    left route.  Well, whatever works out for you.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 2
                               -----------------
    
    This occurs at the fourth ramp in the entire course; the lone one that 
    follows two consecutive ramps (the ones mentioned at the beginning of 
    the second paragraph in the guide).  If, and only if, you have a 
    Mushroom of some kind or are using a Super Star, you can drive onto the 
    ramp and jump forward into an opening in the rock wall.  It's really a 
    tunnel, and it leads to the waterfall.  Make a left at the exit to 
    continue the normal track.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 3
                               -----------------
    
    The third alternate route, which may be the best of them, occurs near 
    the very end of the level.  When you see the very long ramp leading up 
    to a small rock (the second large, circular rock), and if you a 
    Mushroom or Super Star, drive up the ramp, use your boost item, and you 
    can fly over the rock for an item box.  You'll land past the rock, 
    which is not only a good shortcut but a nice way to get an item box.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 4
                               -----------------
    
    This occurs when you reach the second ramp (right after passing under 
    the arch).  If you veer right, you'll notice a narrow sandbar passes 
    through the water and connected with the mainland.  You can drive along 
    this, but I wouldn't say it's better than the normal track.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - After the ramp jumps, particularly the first one.
    
    - In the center of the track right of the first rock.
    
    - In the center of the various palm trees seen left of the last large 
    rock of the course.
    
                           +-----------------------+
                           |    Kalimari Desert    |
                           +-----------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    Just like Moo Moo Farm, this is 527 meters long.  The desert is not 
    particularly Mario-oriented.  I would say that the locomotive is 
    similar to the one in Paper Mario that connects Dry Dry Desert with 
    Toad Town, but Paper Mario was released years later after this.  So, 
    perhaps Paper Mario was influenced by this.  In case you didn't read 
    that, a steam train drives through here, intersecting with the track 
    twice.  If you see the train, you should brake and wait for it to pass.  
    Otherwise, you'll be knocked high into the air (similar to hitting a 
    fake item).  If you have Mushrooms, use them to drive past the train 
    (if done correctly, this can be used to get a serious advantage over 
    other players).  Also, you can enter the train's tunnel.  Maybe it 
    could be a useful shortcut...
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Drive forward for the first stretch and power-slide across the turn to 
    reach a line of item boxes.  Now make another slight turn to reach the 
    railroad crossing.  If the train is there or you won't be able to make 
    it in time, drive up to it and brake to wait for it to pass.  If it is 
    coming, has gone, or you want to risk it (if you have a Mushroom, a 
    Super Star, or a Boo), then drive forward over the crossing.
    
    Now drive forward, start power-sliding after the cactus to make the 
    turn, and you'll reach another set of item boxes before a railroad 
    crossing.  Again, stop if you think you might hit the train (it is like 
    hitting a fake item), but go forward if you want to risk it.
    
    Now the track will gently curve left for a long while (notice the 
    various advertisements along the edges), and then it becomes straight 
    for a bit leading up to a line of item boxes.  Take one, turn right, 
    then left, and drive forward to the finish line.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    This is a cool secret, but it isn't really useful.  When you reach the 
    first railroad crossing, if you turn right onto the tracks (make sure 
    to stay near or against the wall in case the train comes), you can ride 
    them to the second opening, which can be taken out to the right.  It 
    wastes more time than it should save, really, and it's pretty risky.  
    Also, you can enter the tunnel and follow the train track all the way 
    around if you want, but you can only get off at the crossings.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - Right before either railroad crossing.  Hopefully, they will either 
    slip into the train or just slip.
    
    - This place is really quite open, and so there are few great trap 
    locations, but try setting them on curves.  It's better than the 
    straightaways...
    
    =======================================================================
    ==============================Flower Cup*==============================
    =======================================================================
    
    Flower Cup is somewhat difficult, but it's pretty easy compared to Star 
    Cup.  Flower Cup is named after the Fire Flower, obviously, which Mario 
    used to become Fiery Mario, which let him throw fireballs.  This was 
    only a second-rate power-up in Super Mario Bros. 3, though, and it's 
    only a second-rate cup in this game in terms of difficulty.  We have 
    many obstacles and sharp turns (in Mario Raceway), too.  While it's a 
    big increase in difficulty from Mushroom Cup, this is just the base of 
    the iceberg, my friend.  Wait, no, I meant tip...
    
                           +-----------------------+
                           |    Toad's Turnpike    |
                           +-----------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    I don't really understand how or why Toad has a highway named after him 
    (maybe he participated in the adopt-a-road program).  Anyways, Toad's 
    Turnpike is 1036 meters of truck/car-filled highway.  The items are 
    tucked to the side, and hitting vehicles causes you to fly into the air.  
    The cars have little to do with Nintendo other than having "Nintendo" 
    written on them, even though this is supposed to be a public road (no 
    offense to them and their families, but most drivers would be quite 
    stupid to drive in a complete circle over and over on a public road).  
    In any case, make sure to look for all the various Toad sketches hidden 
    on the course.
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Do you really need a guide for this?  The only challenge is the cars, 
    and the rest is very self-explanatory.  Really?  Well, if you insist.
    
    Take off from the start for a short straightaway.  Stay to the left and 
    keep your eyes peeled for a dip in the rail; the item boxes should be 
    lined up in it.  After collecting them, drive out and you'll come to 
    extremely gradual turn # 1.  Just head along here, avoiding cars and 
    the like.  After the Nintendo billboard but before the Toad-branded 
    highway is another item box niche.
    
    Drive forward along this lengthy straightaway, but stick to the left 
    side of the road.  After all, there's going to be another recess for 
    items shortly.  This will keep you supplied for extremely gradual turn 
    # 2.  Just drive through here, switching lanes to avoid vehicles.  You 
    don't even have to power-slide, really, especially if you're a heavy 
    character.
    
    When things start to straighten out momentarily, head left for another 
    item box set.  Then you'll reach one slight turn before you head 
    through the finish line.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - Anywhere has the potential to be a great trap location.  Fake items 
    cause them to rise up into the air where a vehicle might catch up with 
    them, while Bananas may cause them to slip into or in front of a 
    vehicle.  However, they are constantly moving.  Your best bet is to 
    leave on a curving part of the track, but even that is easy to avoid.  
    I'd ditch trap items as soon as I got them in this course were I you.
    
                           +-----------------------+
                           |    Frappe Snowland    |
                           +-----------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    While it's not directly based on anything Mario-related, it could be a 
    bleaker version of Snowman's Land, but I wouldn't bank on it.  It is 
    rather similar to Shiver Region in Paper Mario, but again, that was 
    released after this game.  In any case, this is an icy track filled 
    with snow, and there are two large snow sculptures - Yoshi and Mario.  
    However, there are also many small snowmen that must have bombs tucked 
    under them.  Drive into one and you crash, are thrown up into the air, 
    and the snowman temporarily retreats underground.  Now I know not to 
    touch snowmen...  On a side note, the manual claims that it is 734 
    meters long.
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Start off by driving up a bit and turning right.  Now head left to go 
    up a small, slightly curving track.  It begins.  See that cute snowman?  
    Well, it's packing explosives, pal, and driving into it has the same 
    effect as driving into the train in Kalimari Desert.  Avoid it and 
    continue up the track.  Dodge three more of these little devils to 
    reach a depression in the track.
    
    Drive into it and then up as if it were a ramp to land by a few item 
    boxes.  After them, power-slide left into a field of miniature snowmen.  
    Find a safe route to navigate these traps and power-slide left.  Two 
    more snowmen act as the final snowy obstacle before the tunnel.
    
    Drive forward to reach a few item boxes in this smoothed out part of 
    the track.  Power-slide through the first turn, make a shorter one for 
    the second, and drive over the bridge to reach the finish line.  At 
    long last!
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    This is a very interesting glitch that can be used in Time Trial (or 
    regular races).  At the start, back up (hold B and tilt the control 
    stick back) before the bridge.  Go far enough so that you can drive 
    onto the terrain to the right (you may want to hop onto it).  On the 
    snow, drive forward out of the bounds of the checkered finish line 
    (away from the poles, too).  Now drive up the snow to go out of bounds.  
    Lakitu appears and brings you before the finish line.  Drive over it 
    now.  Oddly, it will count this as a lap, even though you didn't 
    complete one.  Try this out on Time Trial... It takes practice to pull 
    off in a race, too, and messing up can set you way back.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - In the field of snowmen.  This should be obvious and effective.  If 
    they are hit there (which they likely will be as they try to avoid the 
    snowmen), they will most likely crash into a snowman.  A double whammy!
    
    - In the depression of after the first ramp.  The center is the best 
    choice for this drop.
    
    - Along the center of any of the turns, especially those in the tunnel 
    toward the end.
    
    - On the bridge at the end.  They might not hit it, but it does raise 
    the ante, right?  Also, it may cause them to fall into the water, a 
    very good bonus.
    
                           +----------------------+
                           |    Choco Mountain    |
                           +----------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    This area is reminiscent of Super Mario World.  The sixth "world" in 
    the game was called Chocolate Island, and it was governed by Bowser's 
    only daughter, Wendy O. Koopa.  I'm not sure if this actually is 
    chocolate, but this is a mountainous, hazy course.  The haze isn't that 
    much of a problem (I can't tell if it was intended or it's just the N64 
    acting up), but this is one of the few courses that you can fall off 
    the tracks to an earlier point in the level, which unbelievably blows.  
    After all, it's already 687 meters long, and you don't want to have to 
    repeat any of it.  There will be a few more such falls in the future, 
    though.  Aside from the risk of falling into a gorge if you turn too 
    quickly after the boulder section, though, this level is a piece of 
    chocolate-filled cake.
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Drive forward and then power-slide around the turn.  That turn is 
    followed by a very short one to a grouping of item boxes.  Take one and 
    power-slide through the next turn.  It's a tunnel with eyes!  Drive 
    into this brief straightaway to reach two "tight" turns.  Normal 
    steering should do the trick unless you want to go out of your way to 
    power-slide.
    
    Following these turns to a line of item boxes.  After them, power-slide 
    left to a large bump.  Jump over it to reach a short intermission of 
    sorts before the only remotely difficult part of the track.  Boulders 
    are falling, and they can hit you (which flattens you and wastes lots 
    of time), but these hazards are hardly worth your attention.
    
    After the curve, you'll reach a railed turn (well, it's railed in 50 cc, 
    but it loses more rail as the cc rises).  Power-slide around it but 
    stop as soon as the rail stops.  It has been my experience that power-
    sliding too long can result in falling through the small gap here, 
    which is a waste of time.  Afterward, power-slide right to three more 
    bumps before the finish line.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - After any of the bumps, especially the first one you come to.  Also, 
    it can be a good idea to place them on the bumps, but this takes away 
    the element of surprise.
    
    - In the area where boulders are rolling down the side of the mountain.  
    It makes it all the more hazardous, and might just cause someone to get 
    hit by one of those rocks.
    
    - Right after the item boxes by the Nintendo billboard after the 
    boulder part.  If they slip on a Banana there, they will likely slide 
    through the gap and off the course.  The items can conceal the Banana 
    or Fake Item, too.
    
                            +---------------------+
                            |    Mario Raceway    |
                            +---------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    Well, if Luigi got his own track, you can bet dollars to donuts that 
    Mario got his own track (in fact, Mario had his own series of tracks in 
    Super Mario Kart).  This course is the hardest one of the Flower Cup, 
    and the designers think it's the best in the game according to the 
    manual.  As much as I like Mario, I personally hate this track.  It has 
    tough turns, hitting Bananas can result in whizzing off the course, 
    there are Piranha Plants (a really weird type, not your usual pipe-
    dwelling breed) lining the roads, and it's just generally bad.  Luckily, 
    it's pretty short at 567 meters long.  Numerous shortcuts are open to 
    you if you have Super Stars or Mushrooms due to the excessive amount of 
    grass and sand on this paved course, but even those can't save you on 
    150 cc (and Extra Mode is just terrible for this course).
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Drive forward and power-slide across this hairpin turn.  Make sure to 
    start all of your power-slides early in this course.  Drive forward and 
    power-slide (start right before or during contact with the item boxes) 
    right, switching to left as necessary for the next set of turns.
    
    You'll come to a Mushroom and a few Piranha Plants, plus a U-turn.  I 
    would start power-sliding before I passed the first few Piranha Plants 
    if I were you.  You'll come to a set of item boxes and two nasty turns 
    after that.  Proper power-sliding will get you through here safely, but 
    up next is the sand.
    
    Start power-sliding by the second-to-last tree to avoid entering the 
    sand, and stop when the track straightens out for a bit.  Then start 
    power-sliding left through item boxes.  Straighten out and drive 
    through the pipe to one final turn.  Start power-sliding a second or so 
    after passing the shadow of the pipe to reach the finish line.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    If you have a Mushroom, especially Super Mushrooms, or if you have a 
    Super Star, you can use them to pass through terrain (that is, non-
    track parts of the course like grass).  This is useful in a few places, 
    but it all depends on your situation.  They're all rather obvious, and 
    you should be the better judge.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - On any sharp turn in the level (leave them in the center of the road, 
    though).
    
    - During the U-turn, in the center or the outside part of it.
    
    - Right before the sand or any other type of terrain that stretches out 
    for a long while.  If they hit a Banana there, they'll spin out into 
    the terrain, and it'll really set them back because they must turn 
    around, get out of the terrain, etc.
    
    =======================================================================
    ===============================Star Cup*===============================
    =======================================================================
    
    For the most part, I enjoy playing in Star Cup.  It has some unique 
    courses, and they tend to be longer than others.  Star Cup is also 
    harder than the Mushroom or Flower Cups, but I think it's better than 
    Flower (maybe not Mushroom; it depends).  Anyways, I think these 
    courses speak for themselves...
    
                            +---------------------+
                            |    Wario Stadium    |
                            +---------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    At 1591 meters long, this is the second-longest course in the game.  
    The longest is two kilometers.  But, I digress.  This course is 
    dedicated to Wario, and he has assembled a massive audience in this 
    huge course.  Game Boy-style pictures of his face line the walls, and 
    it's a dirt track with tons of ramps and bumps.  Overall, it's a fun 
    course.
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Drive forward over the first bump to reach two others that you must 
    pass over.  Do so and power-slide left to a large ramp.  Take it up and 
    fall down to the item boxes below.  Take one and drive forward in the 
    slightly curving path to reach several red arrow signs.
    
    Power-slide into the turn and then power-slide left.  The next U-turn 
    should be power-slid through, and you might get an item box if you're 
    lined up correctly.  After it are two small bumps.  Drive over them and 
    make a U-turn with power-sliding to then make another, longer U-turn 
    (it's ideal for mini-turbo boosts).
    
    Now drive up the next two ramps to fall down into a bumpy area (make 
    sure to drive through the item boxes on your way there).  Drive over 
    this, sticking to the right, and make a U-turn into the next region of 
    the stadium.  After three bumps, you'll make another power-sliding U-
    turn into a series of smaller bumps.
    
    Notice that you're on the jumbo screen ahead.  Drive through these 
    bumps (you'll likely bounce across) to reach a depression with item 
    boxes lining the center.  Take one and continue forward.  Then comes a 
    very wide turn.  Take it, power-sliding if you want to (I say it's 
    better not to) to reach a few item boxes, and then power-slide for the 
    rest of the turn to reach a particularly large ramp.
    
    Drive up it and you'll jump across a gap (if you fall, you're in an 
    earlier part of the level) to land on lower ground.  Drive forward 
    across it, make a sharp turn for some item boxes, and then make a U-
    turn.  Follow the wall to the finish line.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    Of course, it should be noted that this can be done (with great 
    difficulty) in several locations, but the first few ramps are the best.  
    If you have a Mushroom, you can use it while driving up a ramp to fly 
    over the walls!  Yes, this saves tons of time and is quite easy to do 
    if you have the proper equipment.  It can also work with Super Stars.  
    This is especially easy in Time Trials, in which you start with a 
    Triple Mushroom.  To be more specific, drive toward the left wall, 
    power-slide to face the left, and use Mushrooms with the right timing 
    to fly over the wall.  You'll land about halfway through the course.  
    It is possible, but difficult, to jump the wall again to reach the 
    finish line and get a great time, but it's very hard to do.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - After landing from any of the ramps.  Also, it is a very good idea to 
    set them on ramps.  Setting one on the huge ramp that sends you flying 
    over the gap can be most effective.  Also, note that if you have the 
    Thunder Bolt, small characters cannot pass over the huge gap using the 
    ramp...
    
    - After bumps.  The bumps can hide the Banana/Fake Item from view, and 
    the unsuspecting driver will never see it coming.  
    
                            +--------------------+
                            |    Sherbet Land    |
                            +--------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    Sherbet Land is 756 meters long, just barely longer than Frappe Land.  
    However, Sherbet Land is a winter wonderland based around ice more than 
    snow, and it's also home to many Tuxies, the race of penguins first 
    introduced in Super Mario 64 in Cool, Cool Mountain.  Of course, 
    bumping into them causes you to spin out or lose speed, and the ice 
    reduces tire traction somewhat.  However, the biggest problem with this 
    level is the icy water and the various cracks.  Curse them!
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Drive forward and turn right to see a baby Tuxie.  Aw, so cute.  Wrong!  
    It will dive at you if given the chance, which is like hitting a Banana.  
    Avoid it and round the next corner (if you're desperate for a shortcut, 
    you *can* hop the edge of the crack, but it's risky) while avoiding a 
    Tuxie kid.
    
    Now drive forward to the line of item boxes.  Get one to the right so 
    that you can easily make the next turn, and then the next, to reach a 
    wide, open space.  Drive through the initial item boxes and then pass 
    two Tuxies to enter a cave.
    
    Here's where the big birds play...  Drive forward down the tunnel to 
    enter a large, cavernous room.  There are adult Tuxies circling the 
    pillars here.  To best avoid them, drive up to the red arrow (not to it, 
    but close to it), power-slide to the left, drive to the next arrow, and 
    then go left to take the tunnel up.
    
    It's just a few more meters before the end of the course.  Drive 
    forward, veering left for an item box if you want (this puts you in a 
    bad position, though), and then drive forward, hanging to the right, so 
    that you can power-slide around the next turn.  Stay to the right to 
    avoid a crack in the ice and reach the finish line, dodging Tuxie 
    children all the way.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    It's not much of a shortcut, but it is.  When you reach the first large, 
    open space, you'll see a blue rock to the right.  If you drive right of 
    it, you'll reach a narrow path with a lone item box in it.  From there, 
    drive forward to the cave entrance.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - In the initial area, around the turns.  Hopefully, either your traps 
    or the Tuxies roaming this section will cause your opponents to slip 
    off the track and into the frigid water.
    
    - Left or right of the pillars in the cave filled with adult Tuxies.  
    If your trap doesn't get them, the penguins will.
    
    - If you are playing VS Mode and the other player(s) tends to use 
    Alternate Route 1, drop a Banana/Fake Item there.  It's very narrow, 
    and it'll be practically inescapable.
    
                            +---------------------+
                            |    Royal Raceway    |
                            +---------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    The last raceway course, I promise.  It is also the longest at 1025 
    meters.  While this is not nearly as terrible as Mario Raceway, it's no 
    Luigi Raceway, that's for sure.  Royal Raceway is Peach's course, and 
    it has two very neat alternate routes.  Yes, I am referring to Mushroom 
    Castle.  It's in the level, ya'll!  You stoked?  You should be.
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Drive along this straightaway and power-slide left to a new piece of 
    track.  Drive along it, turning shortly afterwards, to reach one nasty 
    U-turn.  Don't try to power-slide here (unless you do so along the 
    grass); it has no rail and is very risky.  Just turn normally (or use A 
    and B to spin-turn) and continue forward.
    
    Drive down this straightaway to perform a power-slide to a new road to 
    the right.  Now drive down a brief straightaway to make a sliding turn 
    again.  Follow this up by power-sliding left between two Piranha Plants 
    and into a few item boxes.  Now power-slide right ahead into a wide U-
    turn.
    
    Center yourself on the track and drive forward to a large speed boost.  
    It should blast you forward to a second one, and it should launch you 
    at 60 kilometers per hour across the lake and to the road.
    
    Drive forward to a few item boxes and then power-slide left.  Power-
    slide again to the right, and then left.  Now pass through the slanted 
    part of the road without sliding to reach a few item boxes at the foot 
    of a straightaway.  Collect them and drive forward to a final power-
    turn into the finish line.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    This is a very neat secret, although it only wastes time and really 
    shouldn't qualify as an "alternate route".  After landing from the 
    giant boost pad, look right to see a yellow path leading off the track.  
    If you take it, you'll find the Mushroom Castle!  Yes, it's just like 
    it was in Super Mario 64 (minus the walls that close it off and a few 
    other things, of course), and you can even ram the door (you cannot 
    enter, but it's all very cool).  However, this does not connect back to 
    the main track in another way, and so it is a waste of time as far as 
    racing is concerned.  It's just nice scenery...
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 2
                               -----------------
    
    This is one of the reasons people like Mario Kart 64; it has many risk-
    it-all shortcuts.  This is one of them.  If you pull it off, you're way 
    ahead of the rest.  If you fail, you're going to spend the rest of the 
    race catching up with them.  I definitely wouldn't try it in Grand Prix 
    unless it was the third lap and you were in a very low rank.  Note that 
    this is only possible in 150 cc (or at least, the other cc's are 
    incredibly, impossibly difficult).
    
    This occurs at the large booster ramp.  When on it, if you shoot off it 
    to the left, you will be flung toward the finish line.  However, not 
    even this boost pad can propel you that far.  Your goal is to land on 
    the little patch of dirt as close to the side of the road and the item 
    boxes as possible.  If you hit a wall, land in the water, or just plain 
    miss, you have failed.  And even if you do land on that long patch of 
    dirt, it can still flop.  Lakitu will now come to rescue you.  If he 
    sets you down on the boost pad, you have failed.  If he sets you down 
    on the nearby road, right in front of the finish line, you have 
    succeeded!  This is very handy, and I've used it a few times before in 
    dire straits, but the chances of it succeeding are much slimmer than 
    the chances of it failing.  Good luck.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - Right before the boost pads.  Do not leave Bananas (Fake Items are 
    still good) on the boosters themselves, though.  When moving very 
    quickly, players are unaffected by Bananas (this works for Mushrooms, 
    too).  This probably won't make them mess up, but it is a fun trick to 
    play.  And it may change their direction so that they are fired in the 
    wrong direction, thus landing in the lake and having to return to the 
    ramp.
    
    - Right after landing from the large boost over the lake.
    
    - On the first treacherous U-turn.  Should someone hit a Banana there, 
    they will slip into the lake.  In fact, anywhere on the turns by the 
    lake (in the starting area) are good.
    
    - On the slanted road before the item boxes toward the end of the 
    course (a few meters before the finish line).
    
                           +-----------------------+
                           |    Bowser's Castle    |
                           +-----------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    In Super Mario Bros., the fourth level of every world was Bowser's 
    Castle, a place filled with Podoboos, lava, fire, and enemies.  At the 
    end was a bridge, and it was on such bridges over lava that Mario/Luigi 
    battled Bowser to save Peach.  Bowser had a similar castle in Super 
    Mario Bros. 3 (only decked out with lasers, Roto-Disc enemies, and 
    Thwomps).  And Super Mario World's Bowser's Castle had more neon lights 
    than any night club in Las Vegas.  It was filled with enemies 
    proportionately.  In Super Mario Kart, there were several such Bowser's 
    Castle stages.  Although this game has only one, I'd say it's far 
    better then the original courses.  This stage can be hard for beginners, 
    but it's a good finish for Star Cup.  Also, notice that Bowser locked 
    up a green Thwomp in the first Thwomp room.  I guess the King of the 
    Koopa is prejudice against green Thwomps.  Or that Thwomp has a disease 
    that can't be spread, or it's a freedom fighter, or it's a violent 
    Thwomp with a fiery temper, or it lives there, or...  I'll end this for 
    your sake.  Anyways, it's only 777 meters, but it feels longer due to 
    traps and sharp turns.
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Drive across this bridge to reach the courtyard.  A Bowser statue here 
    is breathing flames, but they won't hit you.  Power-slide through the 
    items and into a room with Thwomps in it.  Avoid these falling/rising 
    blocks so that you can power-slide left into a new room.  Then slide 
    right, but venture off of the red carpet (stay to the left of it).
    
    Why do this?  Because two Thwomps appear from the end of the hallway to 
    crash down on you/to block you.  Stay left of the red carpet and they 
    can't touch you.  Drive forward to an opening blocked by one to three 
    Thwomp defenders (it varies with the cc).  Then you'll turn into a 
    short hallway.  Drive through it, power-slide into a room with Thwomps 
    moving horizontally across it (the first game to give Thwomps a voice), 
    and you'll power-slide to a narrow hallway.
    
    Drive forward over a wooden bridge above the lava and then power-slide 
    right to a group of item boxes.  Collect your item and power-slide out 
    of here to make a U-turn (don't power-slide through it, though).  Then 
    drive forward to see a green arrow.  Take its advice and turn here to 
    another wooden bridge.
    
    This leads to a spiral up a tower.  Take it up, drive over the ramp, 
    and drop down to the rooftop of the castle (well, sort of).  Drive 
    forward for a few items, go left to make a right turn and drive forward 
    to the finish line.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    This isn't much of an alternate route, but it is one at least.  After 
    falling from the ramp to the item boxes as I discussed in the last 
    paragraph of the guide, you can go right and fall from there to the 
    lower level.  Then you have to make a U-turn of sorts to drive forward 
    to the finish line.  You'll know what I mean when you see it.  However, 
    this U-turn is tricky because very little space is provided for it, and 
    I recommend following the main guide.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - The Thwomp rooms are all perfect places to set Bananas and/or Fake 
    Items.  In fact, the last Thwomp that guards the hallway in the second 
    Thwomp room is already a danger; setting a trap by it would leave 
    opponents with little recourse.
    
    - On any bridge over lava, but preferably the narrow one before the 
    second courtyard.
    
    - Along the center of the U-turn in the second courtyard (the one 
    before the spiral).
    
    - If you have the Thunder Bolt, wait for opponents to start toward the 
    final ramp over lava just a little ways before the finish line to use 
    it.  The small characters won't be able to make it because they move so 
    slowly.  While we're on the subject, leaving a Banana just a short 
    distance away from the ramp works nicely, too.  With any luck, 
    opponents will spin out over the edge and fall into the lava there.
    
    =======================================================================
    =============================Special Cup*==============================
    =======================================================================
    
    In most Mario Kart games, Special Cup is a secret that is unlocked by 
    beating some cup on a certain cc.  In this game, you start with it.  
    But, in any case, Special Cup is always the most challenging one, and 
    it always ends with that classic Rainbow Road.  Although I loath 
    Banshee Boardwalk, the rest of the cup is pretty good.
    
                        +-----------------------------+
                        |    D.K.'s Jungle Parkway    |
                        +-----------------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    I wonder what course Magikoopa had when he was in the game...  It 
    really doesn't matter now, because Donkey Kong has taken this spot.  
    The parkway is quite an intricate course (yes, it is possible to get 
    onto that boat), but it isn't particularly DK-related aside from the 
    jungle theme.  Generally, this is a mild course that shouldn't give you 
    much trouble.  I'd say it's the second-easiest course in the cup.  It's 
    also the second-longest at 893 meters.
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Drive forward and power-slide to the right.  Drive through the item 
    boxes here and you'll reach a slow but steady turn.  Slide up it (or 
    just turn) to reach a boost pad similar to the one in Royal Raceway.  
    Get on to be blasted across the river and onto the ground there (it 
    helps to try to push the control stick to the left to land farther up 
    the road).
    
    Turn left and drive forward through a few item boxes.  Now make a quick 
    turn onto the road here and drive down it, turning when necessary, to 
    eventually reach a bridge.  Drive onto it and take it across the gorge 
    to a cave.
    
    Here, drive forward through a few item boxes until you reach the wall.  
    Make a turn now (turn, U-turn) to drive up a slope and reach the 
    checkered line of finish.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    This hardly qualifies, but it's a good time-saver.  When you enter the 
    cave, power-slide up the slope by the item boxes to quickly reach the 
    top of the slope.  Computers always go all the way back to the wall and 
    then up the slope.  This should put you ahead of them if done correctly.  
    But, if you try it too high up, it won't work (the item box area is a 
    good place to do it).
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - Right before the boost pad that launches you over the river.  With 
    any luck, they will spin out over the ramp and fall into the river.
    
    - In the cave section, right at the turn that computers usually take to 
    start up the slope.
    
    - Though the chances of someone hitting it are slim, anywhere along the 
    water in the beginning.  An opponent might just hit it and spin out 
    into the water.  And we all know what's in that water, right?
    
                            +--------------------+
                            |    Yoshi Valley    |
                            +--------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    Yoshi rocks.  He rocked in Super Mario World, Super Mario World 2, 
    Super Smash Bros., Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Mario Sunshine... and 
    more games I won't list (yeah, I'm talking about Ocarina of Time!).  
    But, even though Yoshi's awesome, I can't help but dislike this level.  
    Although I like the fact that there are multiple routes, writing a 
    guide for eleven different paths through the level (because there are 
    that many) is no fun.  Basically, Yoshi Valley is a canyon with thin 
    tracks built onto it.  And oddly, Porcupos, the rare porcupine enemies 
    from Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA), inhabit it.  But they're the least of 
    your concerns.  There is little rail, which often causes you to fall 
    off the track and into the pits below (it's a long fall and a long time 
    to get fished back up by Lakitu).  And really, the only thing that 
    would suggest Yoshi in this entire level is a single Yoshi's Egg (but a 
    whopping one, I must admit) toward the end of the level that rolls 
    around to crush drivers.  Yoshi Circuit in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is 
    much, much better, in my opinion.  The manual says that it is 772 
    meters long, but that's only one route...
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Notice that you can't tell who's in first, second, third, or fourth 
    throughout the entire match (the map helps, though).  Take off from the 
    start and you'll reach a few item boxes.  Take one, turn, and you'll 
    see two Yoshi flags.  Here's where the routes divide.  I'll be guiding 
    you through the fastest way through this level.
    
    -----------REPLACE ALTERNATE ROUTES 1-10 WITH THIS PARAGRAPH-----------
    
    Take a right at this intersection.  Then turn left as soon as possible 
    to a narrow but railed path.  Continue forward to reach a fork in the 
    road; go right to a small bridge and some item boxes.  Take the latter 
    and take the former across to reach a small slope upwards that leads 
    you past a few Porcupos (porcupine enemies).  Drive past them until you 
    drive off of the ledge, and then head left.
    
    -----------REPLACE ALTERNATE ROUTES 1-10 WITH THIS PARAGRAPH-----------
    
    Now, this is where the paths rejoin.  Drive forward to a large U-turn 
    (it's very wide, and you shouldn't worry about falling off).  From 
    there, the road narrows to an almost S-shaped turn.  Take it to find a 
    giant Yoshi's Egg.  When it is rolling in one direction (it will 
    flatten you), drive onto the bridge past it.  Head up this bridge to 
    reach a grassy slope.  Head up the path, turning right about midway 
    through, and then follow the path to the finish line.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    Take a right at the first turn and then make a left as soon as you can.  
    Now go left at the next fork to find another fork in the road with 
    Porcupos in it.  Choose to go right and through a small arch.  You'll 
    pass through another small arch, fall out to a few Porcupos, and then 
    drive forward to rejoin the guide at the third paragraph.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 2
                               -----------------
    
    Go right at the first fork in the road and take the first left that you 
    can.  Here, take the left turn at the next fork and you'll reach 
    another fork with Porcupos on it.  Take the left path this time, and 
    turn right onto a small road from here.  Drive across it to reach an 
    arrow, and then follow the track to fall off a wooden ledge and into 
    the third paragraph of the guide.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 3
                               -----------------
    
    Take a right at the first turn and then drive all the way to the right 
    past the first turn.  The path forms a circle before it begins to 
    straighten out into a straightforward path leading to a red arrow.  
    Drive along the track the arrow points to and you'll fall off a wooden 
    ledge, thus bringing you to the third paragraph.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 4
                               -----------------
    
    At the first fork, go left.  Now take the right path here down past a 
    few Porcupos to reach an arched opening.  Drive through to find more 
    Porcupos.  Drive past them and follow the arrows to the third paragraph.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 5
                               -----------------
    
    Take a left at the first turn and then take a right at the next fork to 
    drive down past several Porcupos.  Now drive right of here to a cave 
    opening.  Take it to a bridge; drive over this up a path with Porcupos 
    sprinkled onto it.  You'll hop off a ledge at the end.  Turn left and 
    read the third paragraph of the guide.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 6
                               -----------------
    
    Take a left at the first turn and then go left to a narrow road.  Drive 
    along it and follow the arrow to be deposited to the gathering point 
    after dropping off of a ledge.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 7
                               -----------------
    
    Drive all the way right on the first turn past a left turn and you'll 
    reach a circle.  Drive shortly after this circle up the mountain and 
    you'll see a red arrow pointing over the ledge of the platform.  Drop 
    there to fall to a line of Porcupos below.  Drive past them to reach 
    the hub area and enter paragraph three.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 8
                               -----------------
    
    Take a left at the first turn and then go right down a road of Porcupos 
    (dodge them for safety purposes).  Take a right at the next fork and 
    then head up the slope here to circle the mountain.  Drive along it 
    until you see a red sign pointing right.  Drive off the track here to 
    land on a road of Porcupos.  Drive up this road, avoiding the enemies, 
    and turn right at the sign to reach the third paragraph.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 9
                               -----------------
    
    Turn left at the first fork and then go right down this Porcupo-
    infested road.  Take a right at the end and drive down this path to see 
    a path leading to the upper-right.  Drive up it to do a circle.  Now 
    drive forward along the semi-straight path to see a sign pointing you 
    along a slight turn.  Follow it to fall off a ledge and rejoin the 
    third paragraph.
    
                              ------------------
                              Alternate Route 10
                              ------------------
    
    Make a left at the first fork in the road and go left afterward to a 
    narrow path over the pit below.  Carefully drive along it until you see 
    a red arrow sign.  Drive right here and drop off the ledge you see.  
    You'll land at the bottom of a Porcupo-infested road.  Drive up it to 
    rejoin everyone else at the third paragraph.
    
    NOTE: I have listed the eleven most basic ways to traverse the tricky 
    paths of Yoshi Valley.  However, there are other completely pointless 
    paths you *could* take (i.e. taking a right at the first turn, taking a 
    left at the next, taking two lefts ahead to drive up the Porcupo road, 
    and then returning to the starting position.  It's a circle), but these 
    utterly pointless paths will not be covered.  Please don't send me e-
    mails regarding other paths you might find.
    
                              ------------------
                              Alternate Route 11
                              ------------------
    
    No, this is actually a shortcut, not one of the various long-cuts 
    listed as Alternate Routes 1-10.  In the third paragraph, after making 
    U-turn as you approach the giant egg, you'll notice a small groove in 
    the right side of the track.  You can save yourself about a second if 
    you jump over that.  And while I'm at it, I should mention that you can 
    pass over the grass at the start/at the end by using Mushrooms of Stars.  
    I said that here because this track guide already has way too many 
    Alternate Routes.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - Right before the giant egg.  Hopefully, players will hit that and be 
    crushed, too.  We can dream...
    
    - On any of the ledges with no rail.  The one narrow path to the very 
    left of the first fork is very good with this.
    
                          +-------------------------+
                          |    Banshee Boardwalk    |
                          +-------------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    Ah!  Note that that was not an "ah" of joy, but one of misery.  Most of 
    the Mario Kart team members are pretty nice, but there must some who 
    loves to throw in such terrible tracks.  Also, they want to melt the 
    polar ice caps to flood the world...  I hated the Ghost Valley tracks 
    in Super Mario Kart, and this is just as bad.  Basically, we have a 
    ghost-themed course, and there are always multiple opportunities to 
    fall off the track.  This is 747 meters of wretched, Boo and bat-
    infested track.  Nothing can prepare you for it!
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Drive forward and power-slide left through this right-angle turn.  Now 
    drive forward, waiting to pass the hole (you'll fall into the water 
    otherwise) to turn into the narrow strip of track.  Make another quick 
    turn ahead to reach a few item boxes.
    
    Head through this U-turn (stick to the right; it has no rail in the 
    center) to pass under a bloated Cheep Cheep.  Now drive forward to 
    another right turn and then slowly pass through the next part until the 
    rails return.
    
    Drive forward to make a right turn, but don't power-slide unless you're 
    a pro; you have the potential to fall off this un-railed part of the 
    track.  Now you'll enter a building.  Go right immediately.  A dumpster 
    here releases bats intended to keep you back.  But, you have to turn 
    ahead (otherwise, you'll fall into a well camouflaged ditch) and then 
    make a sharp turn into a new room.  Pass a cage with bats pouring out, 
    collect the item boxes, and turn right sharply to exit the building.
    
    Only a few more tricky turns to go.  Go forward, making a U-turn (you 
    won't want to power-slide unless you're a seasoned professional; the 
    right rail is missing), and then drive forward to finally reach the 
    finish line.  Okay, so maybe I over-exaggerated the difficulty of this 
    course...  If you're careful, it's easy.
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    This is pretty risky.  When you first enter the building, you can go 
    left to pass through a small alcove.  Drive forward, using R to hop 
    over the gap, and you'll rejoin the normal path.  While it saves time, 
    it's not worth the risk in Grand Prix mode.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - Any turn that has no rail.
    
    - The part of the interior of the building with the bats in it.  With 
    any luck, bats will make them hit the item, which could conceivably 
    send them into the water.  This is what competition where you don't 
    want to blow your opponents out of the water!  Ha, ha... Ah, terrible 
    pun.  What was I thinking?
    
                            +--------------------+
                            |    Rainbow Road    |
                            +--------------------+
    
    -------------------------------Overview--------------------------------
    
    This is the longest track in the game.  The manual says it is 2000 
    meters long.  This being a launch title (sort of), Rainbow Road shows 
    off the N64's transparency abilities.  Rainbow Road is always a crowd 
    favorite, and it has appeared in every Mario Kart game in the series.  
    Basically, it's a track made of rainbow.  In this game, it is railed 
    off and thus pretty safe, but phantom Chain Chomps will appear on the 
    track to try to bite you infrequently.  As a result, it's a good idea 
    to keep your eyes appealed to avoid them.  These Chain Chomps can make 
    things quite hectic with all the Mini Bomb Karts in VS Mode...  Also, 
    if you look in the background, you can see rainbow-outlined figures in 
    the sky - all the playable characters and Boo.
    
    ---------------------------------Guide---------------------------------
    
    Rainbow Road in this game is sort of like Toad's Turnpike because both 
    are linear tracks with a few dangers in them.  The Chain Chomps are the 
    only obstacle, and I can't really provide a good guide because they 
    appear at random intervals.  However, I can still guide you through the 
    track, if for some reason you find yourself lost on this 
    straightforward, railed off, harmless track.  I'd say this is the 
    easiest track in the game (and definitely the longest).
    
    Drive forward to descend down a large slope.  When you hit bottom, 
    drive forward through a ring of rainbow (hmm, I never thought I'd say 
    that).  Now make a power-sliding turn if you want through item boxes to 
    reach another line of item boxes.
    
    The track now starts to descend.  Drive down, watching for Chain Chomps, 
    and you'll reach another set of item boxes.  Turn along this slightly 
    curving track to reach a turn with some item boxes before it.  Collect 
    them, turn, and then power-slide along the U-turn here to reach another 
    section of the track.
    
    The track dips and then rises here.  Power-slide afterward through a 
    few item boxes and move on to a few more easy turns.  Collect a few 
    more item boxes here and just drive along the track, which moves in a 
    circular pattern, until you reach a few item boxes.  Take one and drive 
    forward, moving left slightly, to reach the finish line at long last.
    
    Take away the Chain Chomps and this is one dull course (at least it 
    features outlines of Mario, Luigi, Peach, a Mushroom, Boo, Donkey Kong, 
    Yoshi, Bowser, Toad, and Wario in that order in the background).
    
                               -----------------
                               Alternate Route 1
                               -----------------
    
    By far the coolest trick in any track of any cup, this is the famed 
    drop of death, as I like to call it.  It either results in a major step 
    ahead the rest of the players, or an almost guaranteed defeat.  At the 
    start, if you have a boost of speed and you jump at the right time 
    while facing left, it is possible to soar over the gap and land on the 
    track there.  This is extremely difficult, but still possible.  Jump 
    too early and you won't make it across the gap, but too late and you 
    won't be able to jump.  Note that it is possible to over-jump, too.  If 
    timed correctly, this jump can make all the difference in Time Trials.
    
    -----------------------Strategic Trap Locations------------------------
    
    - No place is particularly good, but if you do set any traps, do so in 
    the left or right lane, not the center.  After all, a Chain Chomp just 
    might force them into it.
    
    - The parts of the track that slope downward are the easiest to use.  
    The course is transparent, and so you can't really hide any trap items.  
    But, it's the best you can do here.
    
    - Right before the big fall.  They might just spin out and roll down 
    the slope.
    
    =======================================================================
    ==============================Extra Mode*==============================
    =======================================================================
    
    If you beat each cup (Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special) in 150 cc, 
    you will unlock a new mode of play - Extra.
    
    Extra is pretty (who am I kidding?  More like VERY) hard, though.  It 
    is played on 150 cc standards, but everything in the tracks is 
    completely... backwards!  Yes, it's like looking into a mirror.  All 
    left turns become right (and vice versa).  Since you're used to it the 
    other way, it can be very hard at first.  I drove into walls when I 
    made turns many times.  No new guides are really required; just change 
    every "right" to "left" and vice versa, but it is worthy of mention.
    
    =======================================================================
    =============================Time Trials*==============================
    =======================================================================
    
    Like it sounds, Time Trials is the mode that you race the clock in to 
    see just how fast you can lap the course three times.  Mostly, it's for 
    familiarizing yourself with the courses, although it can also be used 
    for bragging rights.  Here are a few notes of interest about Time Trial 
    matches.
    
    - You race alone.  For this reason, lightweights are the best to use in 
    Time Trials because of their superior acceleration and speed.  After 
    all, there aren't any heavyweights around to bully you, now are there?
    
    - You cannot get items in this mode.  Instead, you start with a Triple 
    Mushroom.  In courses like Koopa Troopa Beach, use these Mushrooms to 
    access shortcuts.  In other courses that have none, like Luigi Raceway, 
    just use them to get speed boosts.
    
    - Time Trial records how long it took you to make your fastest lap and 
    how long it took you to complete the course in general (it also records 
    the driver used).  This information is shown under "Data" on the main 
    screen.
    
    - If you're playing with an Nintendo 64 Controller Pak (please, read an 
    FAQ about "Nintendo 64 Hardware" for details on this kind of thing), 
    you can save "ghosts" after trials.  Ghosts are phantom images of how 
    you raced once on a certain task.  Watching them from the perspective 
    of an opponent can help you to see where you went wrong, what you can 
    improve on, and test out shortcuts to see if they're really as short as 
    I make them sound.  If you're not using an N64 Controller Pak, you 
    cannot save them.  Also note that ghosts can be watched only if you 
    select "Replay".  It shows a video of your performance.
    
    - Getting very good times on a certain set of courses could unlock 
    something cool.  Why not scroll down to "Secrets" below to find out?
    
    And that's basically everything you would want to know about Time 
    Trials.  Please don't send me your times.  I get enough e-mail already.
    
    =======================================================================
    ===============================Secrets*================================
    =======================================================================
    
    Although it's no Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (or Super Circuit, for that 
    matter), Mario Kart 64 has a few secrets to keep players busy.  None of 
    them are that easy to unlock, although they range from medium 
    difficulty to nearly impossible.  Here they are.
    
                             +------------------+
                             |    Extra Mode    |
                             +------------------+
    
    What could be more challenging than 150 cc?  How about 150 cc with 
    everything reversed?  Extra Mode is a new option when selecting a cc to 
    play on, and it is basically 150 cc with everything that used to go 
    right going left and vice versa.  It's quite challenging, really.  To 
    unlock it, beat (that is, get the Gold Cup) each cup of 150 cc - 
    Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special.
    
    Note: When you unlock Extra Mode, the title screen changes.  Whereas it 
    used to show Wario, Mario, and Bowser front and center, it now has a 
    side view that shows other character who weren't show before (primarily, 
    Donkey Kong and Luigi).
    
                          +-------------------------+
                          |    Time Trial Ghosts    |
                          +-------------------------+
    
    Although this is probably the one opportunity I will ever have to 
    seriously say "g-g-gh-ghosts!", I have self control.  By getting very 
    good times on Luigi Raceway, Mario Raceway, and Royal Raceway, you can 
    unlock ghosts for that track.  These ghosts mean business, my friend.  
    They are extremely tough (more so than unlocking them is), and beating 
    those ghosts makes you a true Mario Kart master.  Here are the times 
    you must get for each course to unlock them for that course.
    
                       +------------------------------+
                       |    Luigi Raceway: 1'52"00    |
                       |    Mario Raceway: 1'30"00    |
                       |    Royal Raceway: 2'40"00    |
                       +------------------------------+
    
    Interestingly, if you press R on the title screen, your fastest time 
    for Mario Raceway will show up.  Mario truly is the star of the show.
    
                           +-----------------------+
                           |    Losers Bomb Out    |
                           +-----------------------+
    
    Ugh, what a terrible pun.  This isn't a secret per se, but it is pretty 
    cool.  If you come in fourth place overall (this is harder to do than 
    it sounds.  You can't continue in the race if you come in 5th or worse 
    (you'll have to retry), which means you'll probably have to get exactly 
    4th for each race.  Anyways, coming in fourth shows an award ceremony 
    with failure music.  And then you are struck by a Bob-omb.  Ha, ha!  
    Just like in real life...  But, if you make it to first, second, or 
    third, you can briefly see the fourth place racer to the side before 
    you rise up on your pedestal.
    
    Those are all of the general secrets (I did not include ones like 
    glitch shortcuts or the Mushroom Castle in Royal Raceway).  No, there 
    are not any secret characters!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
       _________________________________________________________________
      /                                                                 \
     /                                                                   \
    ||----------------------------Section 3*-----------------------------||
     \                                                                   /
      \_________________________________________________________________/
    
    =======================================================================
    =============================Multi-Player*=============================
    =======================================================================
    
    Mario Kart 64 is a beloved game by many, but not necessarily for its 
    single player mode.  While playing Grand Prix against computers or 
    challenging yourself in Time Trials is nice, playing with friends is 
    often much more fun.  There are three different modes of play for 
    multiplayer.  Battle Mode is much more complex than the other two, and 
    so this section is devoted only to Grand Prix and VS Mode.
    
                             +------------------+
                             |    Grand Prix    |
                             +------------------+
    
    This is a very fun mode that can be played only with two players.  The 
    screen is divided into halves, and two players compete to bring home 
    the Gold Cup in Mario Grand Prix.  Yes, you're practically doubling 
    your chances of winning (if you're both good).  The smaller screen does 
    add challenge by giving you a smaller view of things, but that's what 
    they do in multiplayer.  There's really no reason to delve into this 
    since I have several sections devoted to Grand Prix and the courses 
    it's played on.  However, note that there is no map of the course.  To 
    see who's leading, you'll have to look at the bar in the center of the 
    screen that shows each player moving forward.  However, if you want to, 
    you can press C (Right) to show a map of the course for you.  But no 
    speedometer for you...
    
                               +---------------+
                               |    VS Mode    |
                               +---------------+
    
    Playable with two to four players, this is a race amongst human players 
    only.  However, to make things more interesting, Mini Bomb Karts appear 
    at random locations.  They are simply bombs mounted on karts, and 
    driving into one causes you to crash (like a Fake Item).  This makes 
    some courses like Toad's Turnpike much more difficult, while others 
    you'll hardly notice it on (I refer to Wario Stadium with its wide 
    tracks).  Human players are far less predictable than computers, and 
    they will use their items more often.  The only bad thing I can see is 
    that the screen is chopped up into four sections (two if you're playing 
    with two players).  I hope you're playing on a big television set...
    
    I don't have a lot to say about these multiplayer modes of play, but I 
    have plenty to say when it comes to Battle Mode.  It gets its own 
    section, and it is well-deserved.  Although I like Mario Kart: Double 
    Dash!! better in general (it's my favorite MK game in the series), my 
    favorite Battle Mode is in Mario Kart 64 without a doubt.
    
    =======================================================================
    =============================Battle Mode*==============================
    =======================================================================
    
    Here's where multiplayer mode gets fun.  I own every Mario Kart game in 
    the series (except, of course, Mario Kart Arcade GP), and I have played 
    Battle Mode in each.  But none of them can compare to the Battle Mode 
    that Mario Kart 64 has.  But, what is this mode I speak so fondly of, 
    exactly?  Let me explain away.
    
                          +-------------------------+
                          |    Battle Mode Rules    |
                          +-------------------------+
    
    Whether you're playing against a friend or are having a grudge match, 
    Battle Mode is a fight with items between the Mario Kart drivers.  Each 
    human player gets a player (there are no computers) with three balloons 
    attached to their kart.  The object of the game is to knock off all the 
    balloons of your opponents' karts (and your opponents are everyone but 
    you).
    
    Doing this is pretty simple, too.  Any form of attack will work.  You 
    can hit them with shells, tackle them with Super Stars, make them hit a 
    trap (Banana/Fake Item), or use physical attacks (heavyweight driving 
    into lightweight) or course hazards to knock one balloon off.  In this 
    mode, all items are available except for Thunder Bolts, Spiny's Shells, 
    Triple Shells (red), Mushrooms, Super Mushrooms, or Triple Mushrooms.  
    If you fall off the course on into lava, you will lose a balloon.
    
    When playing with three to four players, when one player loses, they 
    will turn into Mini Bomb Karts (bombs on wheels).  They can control 
    themselves now, and can drive into players (avenging their defeat or 
    aiding their ally).  When a Mini Bomb Kart hits you, you lose a balloon 
    as well.  But, Mini Bomb Karts can only explode once.
    
    You have a map of the arena on the screen much like you have a map of 
    the course in races.  On it is a radar system to tell you where 
    opponents are hiding.  Use this to know when to attack and when to flee.  
    Also, if you are about to be hit by a shell, hold Z (if you have this 
    type of item) to hold out a Banana, Fake Item, or shell to block it.  
    This is a very useful technique.
    
    There are four arenas in Battle Mode.  They are Big Donut, Block Fort, 
    Double Deck, and Skyscraper.  All have their own properties, and I'll 
    cover them below.
    
                              +-----------------+
                              |    Big Donut    |
                              +-----------------+
    
    This is probably an obscure reference to Donut Plains, the second area 
    in Super Mario World.  In any case, we have a course shaped like a 
    donut, hence the name.  There is lava in the center of the course 
    (don't drive into that), and there are large blocks arranged so that 
    they would form a circle around the lava pit if connected.  You can 
    hide behind these to ambush opponents (or to hide).  These are your 
    only defense against red shells, really.  If an opponent is hiding here, 
    try letting a green shell ricochet between the edge of the course and 
    the wall.  If you leave Bananas near the lava pit, you might just get 
    them slip in.  Better yet, a heavyweight could force someone in.
    
                             +------------------+
                             |    Block Fort    |
                             +------------------+
    
    This is definitely my favorite arena.  Four "forts" are located on a 
    giant, walled-in square.  Each fort is colored red, blue, green, or 
    yellow, and they are tiered so that there are two levels to each fort.  
    Ramps lead from the ground to the forts' levels (there are two ramps 
    connecting the ground and lower level, one connecting lower level and 
    upper level).  There are also bridges connecting the forts (there are 
    two bridges going off each lower level and two off each upper level).  
    And then there is the ground, which is a death zone.  I say this 
    because all shells that don't hit other players will fall to the ground 
    and ricochet about endlessly until they hit another shell or until they 
    hit a player.  It's very fun to claim a fort at the beginning and 
    fortify it with trap items like Bananas and Fake Items.  Litter the 
    bridges with traps to make attackers fall to the ground, and be sure to 
    block the ramps, too.  Or, raiding someone else's fort once you have 
    Super Stars...
    
                             +-------------------+
                             |    Double Deck    |
                             +-------------------+
    
    This is the largest arena, and it's somewhat confusing.  You start on 
    an elevated platform colored light green.  Since there are no items 
    here, nothing can really be done unless you're a heavyweight.  If you 
    drive off this platform, you'll fall to an intermediate level between 
    the platform and the ground.  Around you are ramps.  Some lead up to 
    the second floor, while other lead down to the "basement".  The lowest 
    level - the ground, is colored very dark green and just moves in a 
    square shape around the arena.  The second floor is dark red and is 
    basically the same as the basement, but it has ramps leading up to the 
    top floor, which is pinkish red.  Here, we have a small square-shaped 
    track around a smaller square-shaped hole.  Drop through it to drop 
    back down to the starting platform.
    
    Because of the size of the arena and the multiple levels, the radar can 
    be very misleading.  Shells will travel up ramps and ricochet about the 
    arena, making it pretty dangerous to be anywhere but the starting 
    platform (which still isn't that safe), and the arena in general can be 
    confusing.  But, the walls make red shells pretty harmless, and there's 
    plenty of room to run.  It's an ambushers dream come true.
    
                             +------------------+
                             |    Skyscraper    |
                             +------------------+
    
    Perhaps this stage was the inspiration for Mushroom City, a very 
    similar race track in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!  Basically, you're in 
    on a city skyscraper (very tall building) at night.  You have a nice 
    view of the lit city, but I'd say that's not why you came here to 
    battle.  This is on the roof, and the architecture provides holes in 
    the very center of the building, around the central tower, and on the 
    sides of the building.  As a result, driving is very dangerous here 
    (also, it makes this the smallest arena).  I suggest leaving Bananas 
    around the holes for a double whammy (slide into holes...), and maybe 
    even in the tent-shaped structures that connect the central tower to 
    the rim of the building.  Shells often won't hit because they fall into 
    the holes, but the size of the arena still makes things much more fast-
    paced than in other arenas.  And heavyweights dominate here...  Try 
    knocking lightweights into the pits...
    
    And that's all there is to know about the ever so fun Battle Mode.  Now 
    the guide is coming to an unfortunate close, but we must press on.  
    To... the FAQ!
    
    =======================================================================
    =================================FAQ*==================================
    =======================================================================
    
    No, this is not pronounced "fack" (that was dangerously close to a 
    curse word...).  This is an acronym for "Frequently Asked Questions," 
    the questions that I'm tired of answering that I put here.  Please read 
    this before e-mailing me (in fact, please read the entire guide before 
    e-mailing me).  See the last question for details on contacting me.
    
    Question: What took you so long?  Did it really take twenty-one days to 
    write this guide?
    Answer: Not at all.  It only took me a few days to write this guide, 
    but I'll explain the situation below in a long, boring wall of text 
    explaining my extended absence from submitting new guides.
    
    It was June 19, 2005 that I finished my last guide for Super Mario All-
    Stars + Super Mario World (of course, it was accepted eleven days later, 
    but that's irrelevant).  As many may have noticed, I first started 
    using a new formatting style in my guide for Super Mario Bros. 3 (my 
    thirty-fourth), although I showed signs of a new formatting style in my 
    thirty-third guide, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (DS).  
    Anyways, I wanted to get all of my old guides - thirty-three of them - 
    reformatted so that they looked better (because the new formatting is 
    amazingly superior to the old) and were easier to navigate.  The result 
    was a very long absence in which I was reformatting old guides (in 
    truth, I'm still reformatting guides and will still be doing this for 
    maybe a day or two after this guide was originally posted).  But, the 
    new formatting drastically improves the guides, in my opinion.  Before, 
    there were no section headers or dividers, nothing to indicate a new 
    section or sub-section; it was an almost exclusively text-based format.  
    As a result, many people missed lots of information.  I have gotten 
    less e-mail since the reformatting (interestingly enough).  Anyways, I 
    actually finished this guide early in the day on July 6, 2005.  However, 
    I wanted to release a guide on July 10, 2005, to coincide with the 
    anniversary of the acceptance of my first guide.  So, the wait seemed 
    even longer because I held off on submitting it.  Yes, I did say that I 
    would write a guide for the Oracle Zelda games, but I couldn't have 
    written guides for them before July 10.  However, I am very pleased 
    with this year and the new formatting.  I've learned a lot about 
    writing, video gaming, and so much more from writing guides, and I'd 
    like to think I improve after each one.  I do not plan to stop any time 
    soon, because this is a very fun and rewarding hobby (rewarding in that 
    it helps others).  Here's to a fantastic year on GameFaqs.  Let's just 
    hope I don't run out of games for my second year...
    
    Question: What's the difference between the characters?
    Answer: Aside from a change of kart color, the weight class and its 
    effects are the only real differences.  Please see "Weight Classes" for 
    information on that.
    
    Question: How do I get past [insert name of part of a course]?
    Answer: I have the guide up for a reason.  Please see the section 
    pertaining to your question; the cup sections have guides for each 
    track.
    
    Question: Which character is best?
    Answer: It all depends on your style of play.  From a speed point of 
    view, Toad is the best player.  However, Toad is a lightweight and thus 
    can be pushed around.  There are very few disadvantages to lightweights, 
    though.  It's really unbalanced in this game, but this is fixed in 
    Mario Kart: Super Circuit.  So, lightweights are the best in theory, 
    but they can be pushed around (their only real disadvantage).  Again, 
    lightweights were given too much power in this game.  Super Circuit 
    changes this by balancing all characters out with strengths and 
    weaknesses.
    
    Question: Hey, I beat all the cups but I didn't unlock anything!  Is 
    there something wrong with my game?
    Answer: It is extremely unlikely.  Do not send me e-mail like this.  
    The chances are extremely good that you're overlooking something.  Did 
    you get the Gold Cup, that is, came in first, in the 150 cc Grand Prix?  
    Did you beat it for every single cup - Mushroom, Flower, Star, and 
    Special?  Make sure you did, and read carefully.  If you didn't unlock 
    it, you simply didn't meet the requirements.  Go back and carefully 
    read the requirements.
    
    Question: I found a shortcut for a track you don't have.
    Answer: Not a question, but I'll run with it.  If it a good shortcut 
    that actually saves time, I will include it in the guide.  If it is a 
    really lame or obvious shortcut/alternate route, I'll probably thank 
    you for the tip and not include it.  So please, don't send me shortcuts 
    like "if you have a Mushroom or a Super Star, you can cut through the 
    grass there" or anything like that.
    
    Question: I have a good strategic trap location.
    Answer: To be honest, I'm really not interested in adding any to the 
    list.  They are suggestions, and anything else should be self-obvious.  
    Yours would have to be very good to actually be accepted.  And please, 
    no tips like "you can leave Fake Items by the item boxes" or anything 
    already stated in the guide.
    
    Question: a/s/l?
    Answer: I do not take personal questions.  Do not ask.
    
    Question: Can I use any of your guides on my web site?
    Answer: No.  Please read my legal section for details.
    
    Question: What games do you have guides for?
    Answer: This is my thirty-seventh.  Yes, I know what you're thinking.  
    I have guides for all of these games, written in this order: 
    
    The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful 
    Life, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and 1, Sonic Heroes, Mario Kart: Double 
    Dash!!, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: 
    Ocarina of Time/Master Quest, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, 
    Super Smash Bros. Melee, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Paper Mario: 
    The Thousand-Year Door, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario 64, Super 
    Mario 64 DS, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Sonic Adventure 2 
    Battle, Luigi's Mansion, Super Mario Sunshine, The Legend of Zelda: The 
    Minish Cap, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, The Legend of 
    Zelda: Link's Awakening, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, 
    Mario Power Tennis, Mario Party 6, Paper Mario, Super Mario RPG, Super 
    Mario Bros., Super Mario Land, Super Mario World, Super Mario Bros. 2 
    (Japan), Super Mario Bros. 2 (American), Star Wars Episode III: Revenge 
    of the Sith (DS), Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario All-Stars, Super 
    Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World, and you're reading my latest for 
    Mario Kart 64.
    
    But, for an up-to-date list of games I have guides for, use the below 
    address.
    
    http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/recognition/46879.html
    
    Question: How can I contact you?
    Answer: Not asked nearly enough, this question.  I accept only e-mails 
    as my new policy.  No spam, flames, chain letters, "tags," or personal 
    questions will be replied to.  I do not respond to IM's, either.  
    Please put "Mario Kart 64" in the subject line so that I know which 
    game you need help with, and please be as specific as possible in your 
    questions.  Try to spell things correctly if you can.  And please read 
    the entire guide before contacting me.  This saves you and I both some 
    time.
    
    And that's it for the question session.  Now, it's time for the real 
    reason all of you decided to read this guide... the legal section!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
       _________________________________________________________________
      /                                                                 \
     /                                                                   \
    ||----------------------------Section 4*-----------------------------||
     \                                                                   /
      \_________________________________________________________________/
    
    =======================================================================
    ====================Credits and Legal Information*=====================
    =======================================================================
    
    Hey all you baseball fans!  It's time for... the legal section!!!  Yes, 
    I know how all of you skipped right down here to read it.  But, to keep 
    you in suspense just a little longer, I've decided to put the credits 
    first.  *Cackles manically* Like you really care!  Ha, nothing can stop 
    me now!  I'm mad with power!
    
                               +---------------+
                               |    Credits    |
                               +---------------+
    
    First, accolades to Kirby021591, a.k.a. me.  Why?  Because I'm an 
    egotistical FAQ writer, and I took the time to write a guide for the 
    game and answer e-mail (also, because I can).  The man!  The myth!  The 
    legend!
    
    Second, a huge round of applause to Nintendo.  Change is good, and the 
    changes made to the series with this game have redeemed it completely 
    for me.  Viva Nintendo!
    
    Third, let's all thank GameFaqs, the best site on the net when it comes 
    to guides, reviews, cheats, and other data for video games.  You can 
    thank them by clicking on their ads, by the way (that's how they turn a 
    profit).
    
    Originally, only these people/organizations/companies helped me write 
    this guide, but let's not forget all the wonderful people who helped me 
    out in other ways.  Here's a list of who they are and what they've done 
    for the guide.
    
    - spacepope4u, a contributor here on GameFaqs.  His Mario Series 
    Character Guide is simply the best encyclopedia of Mario character 
    anywhere, and it is very well-written/documented (plus pretty funny in 
    places).  I learned a lot about Mario from his guide (which is how I 
    made my ridiculously Characters section), and I couldn't have spewed 
    all that information without learning it from his guide.  I recommend 
    it to any Mario fan.
    
    So far, that's it, but it could grow.  Now, I've made you wait long 
    enough; I will now let you read... the legal section...
    
                          +-------------------------+
                          |    The Legal Section    |
                          +-------------------------+
    
    First of all, I take no credit for the creation, distribution, 
    production, idealizing, or in any way making this game.  That honor 
    goes to Nintendo, not me, and I do not deny this.
    
    Second, this document is Copyright 2005 Brian McPhee.
    
    Third, this may not be reproduced in part of in full under any 
    circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on 
    any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written 
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    To phrase that first item legally, all trademarks and copyrights 
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    To make it clear for those of you who might having problems absorbing 
    information, no one but the website GameFaqs may use my guides on their 
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    Time flies when you're having fun...  Anyways, it was great fun writing 
    this guide.  After days of monotonous reformatting, it felt good to get 
    back to actually writing a guide.  I hope that this has helped you, but 
    I have to leave you now.  Please, when crying, aim your tears away from 
    the computer.  But, let us not say good-bye...  After all, why say 
    good-bye when you could say the most completely and utterly awesome 
    Houdini catchphrase EVER?!!?!!?!  Can I get a drum roll please?  It is 
    time.  Let's rock...
    
    Here it comes!  Brace yourself...
    
    See ya later.