Mario Kart 8 Walkthrough: Weapons

Mario Kart 8 owned by Nintendo. Images used for educational purposes only.
Mario Kart 8 owned by Nintendo. Images used for educational purposes only. | Source

The Mario Kart series sets itself apart from other racing titles thanks to a number of factors: its famous cast, its less-than-serious tone, its wacky tracks, and, most notably, its weapons. A round of Mario Kart is typically a projectile bloodbath, with every racer collecting items from the game's numerous question mark boxes and tearing away at one another from one end of the track to the other.

This article will familiarize you with the weapons of Mario Kart 8. Most of them are old friends, but a few newcomers help shake up the experience a bit.

Bananas

Go Banana! Appearing as mine-like items, Bananas are typically laid down in the wake of your kart. Anyone who passes over the Banana will skid out for a few seconds and lose speed. Bananas can also be thrown ahead of the racer, and if dragged along behind the kart will intercept most items that would otherwise hit your character.

Bananas x 3

The same as a single Banana, only now you have three. The Bananas rotate around your kart, and if you're lucky this shield will ward off any weapons that might otherwise hit your character. Triple Banana bunches are ideal for players in the lead who fear incoming Red Shells or other projectiles.

Blooper

Splurt. When activated, a Blooper will coat every other character in the race with oil. For players, this equates to a big squirt of oil on their screens, making it difficult to drive. The oil will wear off if you take a significant hit or otherwise just manage to steer successfully for a while. Bloopers are great for tracks with a lot of difficult turns, and can easily doom new players. Veteran players will find them less troublesome.

Blue Shells

Watch out first place. Blue Shells home in on whichever player is leading the pack and dive at them, triggering an explosion that will stop the player dead for a few seconds. Other players caught in the explosion will also be stopped, though the stall time is smaller. Blue Shells travel straight down the middle of the track at high speeds, and anyone unfortunate enough to get in one's way will be knocked aside. Blue Shells can only be stopped with the use of a Music Box; dragging another item behind your kart will not do the trick.

Sitting pretty in first place, Yoshi defends himself with a Music Box in Mario Kart 8.
Sitting pretty in first place, Yoshi defends himself with a Music Box in Mario Kart 8.

Bob-Ombs

Tick, tick, tick! Bob-Ombs are handheld explosives that may be thrown at opponents. If a Bob-Omb lands on the track it will sit in one spot for a few seconds before exploding; if the Bob-Omb hits a character or a hazard, it will immediately explode. Be careful lobbing Bob-Ombs about, as it's reeeeally easy to get caught in your own blast as you zoom towards down the track.

Boomerang

Essentially another three-chance weapon, Boomerangs travel in a straight line away from the thrower, smacking aside anyone who gets in their way. The Boomerang will return to the thrower regardless of the number of other racers it hits along the way. You can use a Boomerang three times before it disappears.

Bullet Bill

Transform and roll out! Generally available only to players at the back of the pack, a Bullet Bill will transform you into a Bullet Bill. You can then blast down the track at incredible speeds for a short time, demolishing anyone who gets in your way and completely ignoring pits. Rare, but very, very good.

Coins

Yay, a Coin! Use this item and you'll receive a coin. That's... that's it. You'll see this fairly often when you're in the first three or four spots in a race, which can be a real downer ince they're utterly useless to the race itself.

Crazy 8

Take your pick, gambler. One of the rarest of items, the Crazy 8 generates a large number of items around you, namely a Banana, a Boomerang, a Coin, a Green Shell, a Red Shell, a Star, a Mushroom, and a Piranha Plant. (Please let me know if I flubbed on this. I think I got them all right.) You can then use these items one-at-a-time as they circle around your kart.

Fire Flower

Hot. A throwback to so many past Mario Bros. games, the Fire Flower allows you to launch fireballs at distant opponents. Any opponent hit by a fireball will spin out. You can continue throwing fireballs until the timer runs out. The Fire Flower isn't the most accurate weapon in the world, but the sheer number of fireballs you can unleash on your opponents makes up for its unwieldy and sometimes unpredictable nature.

Golden Mushrooms

Blast forward! Golden Mushrooms allow you to give your kart a quick nitro boost, surpassing the kart's normal speed for a few seconds. Unlike normal Mushrooms, you can use Golden Mushrooms several times - at least until they run out. A small timer on the Golden Mushroom's picture indicates how much longer you have until the Golden Mushroom vanishes. Golden Mushrooms are fantastic on straightaways and will allow you to cross rough terrain at full speed, but they're a risky proposition if you're about to hit a turn.

Green Shells

Another staple of Mark Karting, Green Shells are long-range projectile weapons. When released a Green Shell will fly away from you in the direction you're facing (or, if you hold back, it will shoot out the back of your kart). Until it hits someone or smacks into a hazard and vanishes, the Green Shell will bounce around the course at high speeds. Great if you have good aim; if not, consider launching it behind your kart instead. Green Shells can be dragged along behind your kart to intercept incoming weapons, as well.

Green Shells x 3

You have three Green Shells! Appearing in a circle around your kart, a triple Green Shell weapon provides ample weaponry and some protection from other karts and projectiles.

Lightning Bolt

Zaaaaaap. Lightning Bolts immediately reduce everyone on the track (except the user) to a small size. Anyone who is shrunk will drive more slowly for a short time, and larger drivers can run them over. Lightning Bolts do not work on players using a Star.

Mushrooms

Providing a quick nitro boost, Mushrooms give you a temporary, explosive increase in speed. Like Golden Mushrooms, normal Mushrooms allow you to bypass rough terrain at full speed, and are best used on straightaways or areas with lots of zig-zagging paths between said rough terrain.

Yoshi prepares to snag an item box in Mario Kart 8.
Yoshi prepares to snag an item box in Mario Kart 8.

Mushrooms x 3

You have three Mushrooms! Revolving around your kart, these Mushrooms do the same as the single-shroom variety. Be careful - if another player touches one of your revolving Mushrooms, they'll use it as an immediate boost.

Music Box

Percusive force is always great. Activating a Music Box will trigger a shockwave around your kart, destabalizing anything nearby. This is handy for taking out other players, but it's even better as a defensive measure, as the Music Box will also take out incoming weapons - and that includes Blue Shells.

Piranha Plant

Om nom nom! Toothy plants with a taste for... everything... Piranha Plants are the closest Mario Kart 8 gets to melee combat where weapons are concerned. Once activated the Piranha Plant will extend out the front of your kart, chomping down on everything nearby. This can include coins, incoming weapons (front only), and other players. The Piranha Plant has a limited range and a short lifespan, so you should wait until you're nice and close to a player before using one.

Red Shells

The ultimate in offensive weaponry. Red Shells look similar to their green counterparts, but they don't bounce off walls and they don't require good aim. Unleash a Red Shell and it will promptly zip towards the nearest player, generally wiping them out for a short while as you fly by. If there are no targets for the Red Shell to lock onto, it will travel down the middle of the track instead. Red Shells can also be launched behind the kart, though these lack heat-seeking capabilities and are not quite as useful as Green Shells.

Red Shells x 3

Three Red Shells! You are a terror of the track. These operate exactly the same as normal Red Shells, also providing an extra defensive coating against incoming attacks.

Star

Everyone knows and fears that theme song. Using a Star and your character will immediately become enveloped in all the colours of the rainbow. You'll gain a significant speed boost, your turning will greatly improve, and anyone you touch will instantly be thrown up into the air. Many obstacles similarly perish in the face of Stars, such as cars, trucks, street cars, and just about every weapon in the game. Stars don't last long, so cast an eye on that invincibility gauge before you go plowing into something. Enjoy!

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