No matter what console or game you admired the most in your youth, there’s no denying that the Mario Kart series revolutionised the arcade racing genre within the gaming industry.
Having spawned many sequels in addition to Crash Team Racing, our favourite little Italian plumber’s antics on the track allowed us to fall in love with dozens of other fresh faces.
Of course, the games themselves have their irritations with the odd banana peel here and a devastating blue shell there, but we’re here to discuss the actual characters involved in creating the madness. Whether it was playing with your siblings or your pals everyone went into a round of races ready to pick their favourite, and the results would often vary.
Yoshi, also known as the world’s favourite green dinosaur, has been a staple of Mario’s games since the beginning. The egg-laying sidekick of the namesake is often sighted as being one of the most underrated characters throughout the entire franchise, with his appearances in the karting series proving to be no different.
It sounds and seems like the most stereotypical answer of them all, but there’s just no way we can leave out the man who started it all. Mario is the LeBron James, John Cena and Tom Brady of the gaming universe all rolled into one, and he spawned one of the most fondly remembered sets of racing classics we’ve ever known.
Mario Kart Double Dash is actually legendary
— Free Agent Dark Wizzy (@Dark_Wizzy_) May 11, 2017
6) Dry Bones
Dry Bones may initially come across as quite a ‘niche’ choice, but this unlockable character had many tricks up his sleeve that transformed him into one of the most effective contenders on any game he featured on. Bones had a mini turbo bonus that came in extremely handy, in addition to giving the Koopa Troopas that depth they so desperately required.
Bowser may well be the king of all gaming villains, with his legendary ability to fail at every opportunity being outweighed by his monstrous size and intimidating presence. Throughout the history of Mario Kart he has gone from being able to throw fireballs to being one of the fastest players of them all, albeit with a rather poor turning ability.
4) King Boo
As the ally of the aforementioned Bowser, good old King Boo is already off to a fairly solid start. When you combine that with a top notch handling bonus and an off road bonus that is sure to give you an advantage, Boo is one of the most effective unlockable characters ever. Oh, and his power is absolutely stupendous.
King Boo from Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam and Big Boo from Mario Pinball Land with their mouths closed in a manner uncommon for Boos. pic.twitter.com/QTLuWxKxcP
— Supper Mario Broth (@MarioBrothBlog) August 6, 2017
Say what you will about the predictability of this entry, but Toad is an utterly tremendous part of the Mario series with his consistency making him one of the favourites in every race he partakes in. With the legendary golden toad booster to his name with massive acceleration abilities, it’s no wonder he was made an unlockable in Double Dash.
Luigi needed his big bad alternate to come out of the woodwork, and when Waluigi finally emerged a few years back we certainly weren’t disappointed. He may have been a middleweight but his lanky stature allowed the purple nightmare to have some brilliant acceleration skills, with Waluigi Stadium being a severely underrated track.
1) Funky Kong
Silly, out of the blue and a bit far fetched – but Funky Kong is without a doubt the greatest character in Mario Kart history. We mean that in a literal sense too, with his ability on the Flame Runner and his alternative design making him a prime favourite when it came to smashing time trial world records out of the park.
When it comes to being both entertaining and effective, Funky Kong is your man.
If you’re still sat here then we insist that you go and boot up whatever old school console you’ve got lying around in the loft, because you won’t regret it. From MK64 all the way through to Mario Kart 8 this series is full of some of kart racing’s greatest moments, even if Rainbow Road still gives us nightmares.