List o’ Most Useful Mario Kart Items – Weee!

Top List - Most Useful Items in Mario KartMario Kart is one of the most successful games from Nintendo, with the most recent version for the Wii console being extremely popular.Originally introduced in 1992, the game has been developed for four Mario Kart games for home consoles, two portable games, and two arcade games. For those who are familiar with the game, you know about the items that can be picked up during a race, and have had some joy and frustration – both – at getting certain items at certain stages of a race, or on a particular course. This list presents 11 items and how they rank in terms of usefulness in winning a race. Which items do you think are best?





In this game, the different characters from the Mario series gets together and race with go-karts in different race tracks. Items can be obtained along the track by driving through it and these items will either give them a boost, help them in defense or offense.

11. Fake Item Box

mario kart_fake_item_box

The fake question mark box can actually mess your opponent up. It’s good for the row of boxes on Toad’s Turnpike. You can put one on the ramp on Koopa Troopa Beach. And you may be able to fool someone into blowing up on the other courses. But it is just not as powerful as other items and does less to catchyou up (or slow others down) so it gets the final spot on the list.

10. One Mushroom

Top Ten List - Most Useful Mario Kart Items - 1 mushroom

One mushroom can give you quick speed burst after getting knocked down or help you on a shortcut (like the ramp at Koopa Troopa Beach). Just using one little speed burst during a regular part of a race is basically worthless.

9. Green Shell

Top Ten List - Most Useful Mario Kart Items - green shell

One green shell can be powerful, but only if you’re a pro. Firing one of these backwards and hitting your opponent requires, basically, simultaneously watching your screen and his, then picking the right moment to fire. It ranks higher than the other remaining items because (1) hitting someone with a backwards green shell feels great and (2) it can protect you from one red shell your opponent fires, which can be important in shorter races.

8. Three Mushrooms

Top Ten List - Most Useful Mario Kart Items - 3 mushrooms

Three mushrooms provide a nice speed boost but nothing that can really make a difference. You can’t close a gap with three mushrooms because the speed burst happens so quickly. They’re good for restarting and regaining speed after you get knocked down, and maybe cutting a quick corner across some grass. Otherwise, they’re basically just a throw away.

7. One Red Shell

Top Ten List - Most Useful Mario Kart Items - red shell

With one red shell, you can make one smart, strategic attack. On a course like Moo Moo Meadows or Desert Hills, sometimes one red shell is all you need to claim a late come-from-behind victory.

6. Blue Shell

Top Ten List - Most Useful Mario Kart Items - blue shell

Targeting the leader with a shell is a strong move. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually help all that much. The blue shell usually takes a long time to get to the leader, especially if you’re way behind. And it knocks the leader over, but you can’t possibly time it so it hits the leader at a crucial moment, like the narrow bridge on Banshee Boardwalk or before the jump in Wario Stadium.

5. Golden Mushroom

Top Ten List - Most Useful Mario Kart Items - blue shell

The golden mushroom is good but less practical than three red shells on a lot of courses. On Banshee Boardwalk, DK’s Jungle Parkway and Toad’s Turnpike, it’s generally more dangerous than helpful. It’s not particularly helpful on Choco Mountain, Sherbet Lane and most of Bowser’s Castle. And on Rainbow Road, the track’s too long for it to really help close any gaps. That’s seven of the 16 tracks where it’s not that usable. That being said… it’s still more useful than all of the items below it. The bursts of speed can be great for closing gaps on the other races, especially when you can use it to cut a diagonal across some grass, sand or shallow water (Luigi Raceway, Koopa Troopa Beach, Peach’s Parkway, Kalamari Desert, Mario Raceway, the end of Yoshi’s Island).

4. Three Red Shells

Top Ten List - Most Useful Mario Kart Items - 3 red shells

This may seem kind of high for three red shells but, across all 16 tracks, the three reds prove more useful than any of the items below. Three red shells are great for winning a race. They are direct, targeted attacks. And if you’re a good racer, you’ll get close enough to the people ahead of you to strategically use them to get into first place. Plus, having three of them rotating around you protects you from your opponents’ shells and banana peels, which, in some cases, can be just as useful.

3. Star

Top Ten List - Most Useful Mario Kart Items - star

The star is close to the lightning, but is ranked lower because it’s not quite as devastating. Yes, you move faster, can’t be hit and can knock out opponents. But it doesn’t do anything to slow them down… they can still run the race as they normally would. That keeps it from being the equalizer that the lightning is. The physics of Mario Kart 64 dictate that you going regular speed while your opponents go slow is better than you going fast while your opponents go regular speed.

2. Lightning

Top Ten List - Most Useful Mario Kart Items - Lightning

You can only get the lightning when you’re behind, but it’s really an incredible equalizer. It shrinks and slows down your opponents AND makes it so they can’t perform a lot of crucial moves, like hopping over gaps, using mushrooms or making it across long jumps after ramps. You can also drive by and crush them. There’s no item that comes close to changing a race like the lightning bolt.

1. Bullet Bill


This is the “come from behind” king. Bill is there purely as a means to put those at the rear back into the race with a fighting chance. It’ll literally turn the kart into a giant bullet, ripping through the track with crazy speed and steering its way automatically through the course all the way up to the front of the pack. The player still has some minor swerving ability this entire time�making it possible to take out pesky karters doing their best to hide from its might�but ultimately Bill will do most of the work for you here and you can merely sit back and enjoy. It only shows up for those in last place, so don’t expect to see a whole lot of him if you have game skills.

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2 Responses to "List o’ Most Useful Mario Kart Items – Weee!":

  1. ?? November 15, 2010 at 14:16

    Hi guy, It sounds really good!

  2. neighbour G September 25, 2010 at 19:59

    LOP- Your list is so flawed I don�t know where to begin! Although you�ve captured the specific functions of the special items with occasional mention of situational effectiveness, you miss a critical factor- opponent MORAL. This is why the banana peel should EASILY find its way into the conversation. Not only do you have to be skilled to use it, but it�s only affective when your opponent is in close pursuit- meaning any use of this item is probably critical to outcome. AND, no one likes to be defeated due to crafty banana placement! NO ONE! Weapons designed to narrow gaps between VASTLY unmatched opponents are great for their intended purpose but at the same time should be discounted for that same trait. If you don�t revise the list to include the banana peel all your credibility as a blogger is suspect. All hail neighbour G. PS. Keep eating those pumpkin seeds kids!!!

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