Mario Kart DS Walkthrough And Hints

Okay, I’m a Mario Kart DS nut. I thought to myself, I’d better start using my vast (okay, limited) knowledge and putting it to good use. What better place to start than here…


Figure-8 Circuit 1:36.481
This is actually quite an easy course – just a figure of eight with one straight road over the other. It is certainly very easy to navigate – especially so in 150cc Mirror. However, in 150cc Mirror, the competition is tough nuts and there are no complex turns or obstacles you can lose your opponents over. Just stick to hugging the corners and taking a diagonal line across the straights. (A Mushroom or three always helps.)

Yoshi Falls 0:57.677
Steer clear of the water. It is tough nuts to navigate as well as drive across. In any case, this track is another piece of cake – basically a circuit of bridges and waterfalls, as the name suggests. After the first bridge and before the second bridge, cut the corner by going down to the lower level.

Cheep Cheep Beach 1:43.654
I can think of very little tips for this one, except follow the path and use the jumps. Especially if the water is up. If the water is down, however, there is a point where you can cut two corners. Cut them. The CPU characters won't.

Luigi's Mansion 1:59.357
The mansion consists of three 90-degree angle turns. Drift round the first two, then get a drift bonus (if you're good enough) around the third. Be warned that there are obstacles there that may impede your bonus. The mud is also a shit to get around – just aim your kart up with the next patch of dry land *before* driving onto the mud. This will take practice.

Desert Hills 1:31.262
Follow the track, avoid the Pokeys, watch when the sun releases his sun spots. Elementary stuff, really. Other point: when you get to the area near the end where there are four sharp curves and three of them have item blocks, leave the lot. Hug the corners, and any boxes are a bonus.

Delfino Square 1:54.601
At one point, the track branches off. Theoretically, they are the same lengths, but I have my doubts about it. In any case, pick your branch. When you go around the nearby corner after the branches converge, you may smack into a crate. A mushroom will pop out if you do this, but it is best to actually leave it alone altogether. The crate slows you down.

Waluigi Pinball 2:23.288
I spend a crapload of spare time doing time trials on this track – it is second only to Tick Tock Clock and Rainbow Road as my favourite track. If you can, hug the corners on the 270-degree loop after the second jump pad. In the actual 'play field', there are two sets of item blocks. Go for the first one, bash 'X' or 'L', let loose the item (whatever it may be) and then take the second item. If you're in first place – all the better for you, all the worse for your opponents.

Shroom Ridge 2:05.123
This thing has two-way traffic. That can be tough to navigate, so just imagine you're driving. Drive on the left and avoid the cars ahead. If you have to, go right into the middle. In any case, on the right-hand side, sometimes blocks sidle up to you. Take them.

DK Pass 2:14.607
This isn’t too bad – just swerve when you need to and drift-bonus your way through appropriate corners. Watch out for the snowballs – they gain in size (and supposedly power) the more they roll.

Tick-Tock Clock 1:54.903 (my record is 1:54.209)
I can never lose at this track, mainly because of all the time I have spent on time trials. No pun intended. In any case, when you get to the first clock face, go along the left rainbow pads. When you get to the gears, hug the centre. When you get to the spinning gears just before the start line, go onto the one going forwards. Also, the pendulum can be deceptively fast.

Mario Circuit 1:56.533
Piece of cake. The thing to remember is to drift-bonus around the first and third U-bends but not the second. Take the quickest line across the S-shaped corners and you should be OK. Even the Piranha Plants’ fire is easy to avoid.

Airship Fortress 2:07.748
This one can get annoying as all hell, but just so long as you have a kart that can drift-bonus well you’re set. Careful of the Monkey Wrenches, they can get a bit nasty at times.

Wario Stadium 2:14.868
This looks familiar… Anyway, USE THE RAINBOW PADS. If you don’t the mud will slow you down HEAPS. Take the closest line to the centre when going through the rings of fire, i.e. the very edges of the rainbow pads. That’s about it for here.

Peach Gardens 1:52.989
The Chain Chomps are actually quite easy to avoid, and if done correctly, you can slip underneath them. Although I wouldn’t try it. Particularly in time trial mode, if you have a mushroom to spare, use it to cut across the keyhole-shaped patch of grass. The moles are a cinch to avoid, as are the hedges.

Bowser Castle 2:19.661
In mission mode, you get to drive across the neat spinny bridge backwards. If you find “right to go left, left to go right” difficult to remember to use, just tweak the D-pad in the direction that the bridge is spinning. Trust me. You’ll thank me. In other modes, follow the track and *try* to stick to the spinny bridge. If you fall off you lose time, but thankfully, not a kart.

Rainbow Road 2:16.246
I cannot think of a less drift-bonus-friendly track, but this is made up for with its neat rainbow pads (no pun intended) and the loop-de-loops. Everything else there is mainly for decoration. When I’m doing a VS, I try to do SNES Mario Circuit 1 first (THE original track) and this one last (mainly because of its toughness, decoration and heroic music). Just try to hit all of the rainbow pads.

SNES Mario Circuit 1 0:50.668
THE original track. Five turns, wide road, three or so pipes on turn 2. One mission is to do 4 drift bonuses in one lap – use what you learned from that in Grand Prix and time trial modes. This is the second-easiest track to run on and the third-easiest track to navigate in Mirror Mode.

N64 Moo Moo Farm 1:17.751
You have to hand it to Nintendo for creating a racetrack on a dairy farm. This is a piece of cake to do, as are most of the Retro tracks. Anyway, the main thing is the bridge. Take it quickly but make sure you’re aligned with a hole. This is the only tip I have to give asides from common sense.

GBA Peach Circuit 1:12.001
The Nintendo DS is the first console to allow what I call ‘complex tracks’, which have a lot of dips, turns and big jumps (like in Airship Fortress and Waluigi Pinball). The GBA circuits are all flat. However, they do have obstacles that ‘help’ along the way – this one has very few, so just stick to the basics for this track.

GCN Luigi Circuit 1:29.759
If you prefer not to name your Retro circuits with the console names, you may get mixed up between this circuit and the other one for the GBA later on. This is a simple course – follow the arrows. Just don’t go for the rainbow pads on the outside of the curves unless in time trial mode – you will be overtaken.

SNES Donut Plains 1 1:08.027
Ohh noo, I hate this course. “So. Many. Turns.” is about right. Problem is, I am quite crap at drift-bonus-ing, so this is my nemesis. I have come first in 150cc and Mirror 150cc only twice, and that is what won me the Banana Cup both times. If you have mushrooms, use them to get across the dirt bits.

N64 Frappe Snowland 2:08.781
Another one where lack of dips is quite obvious. Admittedly there is one dip but that is pretty sucky. Apart from that, avoid the snowmen and drift-bonus around the U bend at the end as much as possible. You’ll be surprised at how much one drift-bonus can affect a race.

GBA Bowser Castle 2 1:52.258
How annoying can one track get? After avoiding the Thwomps, the jumps and the lava, you’ve still got a horde of racers to contend with! But enough of that. Take every single arrow pad you can, and leave as many jumps as possible. They actually slow you down.

GCN Baby Park 0:50.920
THE easiest track to navigate. THE hardest track to win on. If you’re doing the 150cc Grand Prix Banana Cup, make sure you’re on 30 points, or at least 26 or higher. I find that 36 or higher usually wins me the cup. Anyway, drift-bonus as much as you can. That’s about it… just don’t forget that there are five laps, not three.

SNES Koopa Beach 2 0:54.847
Take the most direct path you can across the water with the gaping holes. If there are a heap of karters around you, skirt around them – take an indirect route if you have to, because even if you drop a few places you’ll get some very decent items.

N64 Choco Mountain 2:15.571
Mmm. Chocolate. The main thing to avoid on this track is, again, those big balls about 2/3 of the way through the track. If you can, use a mushroom on the first of the three rises immediately after that part and just before the finish. Apart from leaping over the competition and getting a better placing, it feels pretty cool.

GBA Luigi Circuit 1:46.581
This is much, much harder than the GCN equivalent. The puddles are pretty hard to avoid – in fact, you will hit them at least once on your first round. Apart from that, don’t let the rain distract you.

GCN Mushroom Bridge 1:30.600
This is actually quite easy. It is similar to Shroom Ridge, except with one-way traffic heading in the same direction as you, and a rendering of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is a short cut after the first tunnel, so take it if you can. I realize that this is the only time I mention short cuts, but short cuts I find may not be the best ones. There may be other, better ones.

SNES Choco Island 2 1:01.620
This has absolutely nothing to do with chocolate whatsoever. Anyway, beware of the jumps. They really can be a pain. Again, use mushrooms on the mud to get across quickly.

N64 Banshee Boardwalk 2:14.403
Don’t be afraid of either the bats or the giant Cheep Cheep – they can’t hurt you, and the bats will just jostle you. Just drift-bonus as much as you can and use your items as much as you can.

GBA Sky Garden 1:44.400
You’d think they’d have someone other than Luigi on the blimp, but whatever. Avoid all the rainbow jumps except for the one where you get an item (if you’re not first). Drift-bonusing is pretty worthless here.

GCN Yoshi Circuit 1:48.793
I could never pick out the picture of Yoshi from the map, until I figured out how to change it. Anyway, don’t drift-bonus around the U-turns unless you are VERY good. Avoid the Piranha Plants (this is elementary, I know) and relish all the lead you get.


Nintendo DS
This is one of my favourite arenas. The best thing to do is to set block ‘traps’ (as I call them) up the top screen. There are less blocks there, and more chance of hitting your trap.
Twilight House
This one is annoying. I just do a circuit inside and avoid going outside if I can help it. I never use this track when playing Shine Runners.
Palm Beach
Steer clear of the water, as slowing you down makes you an easy target. I love showing off by drifting across the water as it is filling up.
Block Fort
My general strategy here is to go up to the top, go around the circuit, and throw items from there, especially in Shine Runners.
Tart Top
I love this one. It makes my opponents think about things, as they can only get items from one place. (Also I love the cream effects.)
Pipe Plaza
The pipes are great places for losing Red Shells (and, to an extent, Green Shells) that are on your tail. I prefer this track for team battle racing rather than individual.



  • 50cc Nitro Grand Prix: Unlock Dry Bones
  • 50cc Retro Grand Prix: Unlock Daisy
  • 100cc Nitro Grand Prix: Unlock each characters’ 3rd kart
  • 100cc Retro Grand Prix: Unlock Waluigi
  • 150cc Nitro Grand Prix: Unlock 7 karts for each player
  • 150cc Retro Grand Prix: Unlock Mirror Mode
  • Mirror Nitro Grand Prix: Unlock R.O.B
  • Mirror Retro Grand Prix: Unlock all karts for all racers
  • Missions: Get one-star ratings or higher for each mission to unlock Level 7

In all Grand Prixs, you start off with the first two cups (ie. Mushroom and Flower in Nitro, Shell and Banana in Retro). When you win a gold trophy in each of these events, the next level will open up – Star and Leaf. When you win a gold cup in those events, Special and Lightning respectively will open up. Winning the Special Cup unlocks something, and wins you the Grand Prix. Same with Lightning Cup.

Staff Times

I have written a time next to each track above (format m:ss.ttt where t=thousandths of seconds). This is the time, on Time Trial mode, that the Mario Kart DS staff have clocked up. They are shown as ‘ghost times’, or a shadow of their accomplishments. Your fastest time will remain as a separate ghost time, so don’t panic!!

Apparently, you need to get your best time to within 5-10 seconds of the staff time to unlock it. This is my current mission, having found obtaining one star in missions too tough-nuts, and obtaining gold cups too pissy. If you haven’t unlocked them all yet, I wouldn’t try to beat them – just unlock them. They are hard enough anyway - I have only beaten one and come close to one more. I have shaved about half a second off of Tick-Tock Clock and am trying on GCN Luigi Circuit for size.

Most of all, have fun!!!