Mario Kart 64
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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.

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==============================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 
permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any 
public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright.

To phrase that first item legally, all trademarks and copyrights 
contained in this document are owned by their respective trademark and 
copyright holders.

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 
sites, books, magazines, etc.

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.