Easily my favorite installment of the Mario Kart series (bringing back some of my favorites from earlier games, as well), it felt only right to find out everything I could about the way the game handles kart stats. As it turns out, I was able to get some incredibly accurate data using memory viewers, resulting in the data summarized in the picture at the end of this post. First, here’s a detailed explanation of all of the stats shown in the table:
- Top Speed – How fast a kart can go at max speed when not driving over rough terrain. Top speeds vary between 58 and 62mph, with Mario’s standard kart falling square in the middle.
- Acceleration – Dictates how quickly a kart regains its top speed after slowing down. Note that acceleration is not constant, but the time it takes to get to max speed is roughly proportional to the initial acceleration rates shown in the picture below.
- Handling – Determines how quickly a kart turns when holding left or right when not drifting; there’s some surprisingly great variance here, Bowser’s karts turn about half as slowly as Dry Bones’s. Karts always lose up to about 12% of their speed when taking a sharp turn, regardless of the Handling stat.
- Drift – Determines how quickly a kart turns after the initial hop when drifting. The difference between ends isn’t as great here, and since the initial hop covers the same angle regardless of Drift strength, low Drift isn’t necessarily that debilitating. Furthermore, you have a bit more control with low Drift, and the advanced maneuver of “snaking” requires a kart with relatively low Drift to work well, so this may actually be a good thing.
- Mini-Turbo – This stat determines how long boosts from Mini-Turbos last, ranging from about a third of a second to about one and a quarter.
- Deceleration – Determines how fast you decelerate after spinning out or when not holding the “A” button. The multipliers listed are the approximate multiplier the kart’s speed receives every frame (1/60 second).
- Off-Road Multipliers – This stat is handled in an interesting way; basically, there are four types of off-road terrain, some more impeding than others. Your top speed in any one of these types of terrain is determined by your kart’s multiplier for that type times your character’s off-road multiplier. For example, R.O.B. driving the Standard MR in Type-3 terrain makes your top speed 60.0 mph * 0.70 * 0.91 = about 38.2 mph. Type-1 terrains (slowest) include thick grass/sand, and Type-3’s and 4’s (fastest) include the ice from Frappé Snowland, and the mud from Choco Island 2 and Luigi’s Mansion. Most offroad areas are Type-2, and DK Pass’s normal snow and Koopa Beach 2’s water aren’t off-road at all.
- Weight – Similar to Off-Road, Weight takes the character’s and kart’s weight both into account; your total weight is just the two added together. All Standard Karts have 50 weight, high-Items karts have 55-80, and low-Items karts have 20-45; characters’ weights also range from 20 to 80.
And, some additional notes, mostly concerning top speeds:
- Starmen increase your acceleration, as well as upping your top speed by 20%.
- Boosts (Mushrooms, rocket starts, mini-turbos, dash panels, etc.) up your top speed by 30%. Note that this does not stack with the Starman’s 20%, if applicable.
- Lightning multiplies whatever your top speed currently is by 70%.
- 50cc and Battle modes multiply top speeds by 70%, and 100cc by 85%.
- Braking has a fixed max speed of 24mph, Bullet Bills are always 84mph, and cannons 112mph, regardless of engine class.
- The bars on the ground in SNES Choco Island 2 reduce your current speed to 52mph (x.7 or .85 if applicable) at most. The jump panels in the GBA courses do the same, but to 50mph (32mph for the steepest in Sky Garden).
- Shy Guy and his kart have equal stats to Yoshi and the Standard YS, respectively.