15. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Nintendo | Nintendo | 2003
So what if this mascot racer feels a lot like its predecessors? The fast and frantic gameplay is still perfect
What made it so great?
Double Dash didn't revolutionize the Mario Kart franchise like many hoped it would, but the improvements here go beyond surface deep. The character and vehicle selection is huge, the new weapons are appropriately insane complements to returning classics and the tracks themselves have never been this diverse. Wario Colosseum is such an exhaustively twisty daredevil affair that it's only two laps long, while Baby Park is such simplified round-and-round madness that it requires seven.
Of course, the multiplayer is what counts and is where Double Dash gets creative. Two players can control a single kart during races, with one handling all the driving and the other dishing out all the power-up punishment. It may be the greatest team-bonding exercise in videogame history. Besides, what other tense, emotion-fuelled multiplayer could inspire exclamations like "Use the golden mushroom, damn you, use it now!" or "Holy crap, watch out for that banana peel!"?
Get ready to play
If you're fresh to the series, don’t sweat it. The controls are incredibly simple and the courses are littered with equalizer items. Even a master, capable of double dashes and power drifts, can be knocked out right before the finish line with a leader-seeking blue shell. It's all part of Mario Kart's chaotic, madcap appeal.
Been there, done that?
For more comforting similarity, try Wave Race: Blue Storm. The courses may be repeats of the N64 ones, but with highly detailed water and impressive weather effects, they've never looked this good or seemed this exciting.