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New items were introduced to shake things up such as triple shells, triple mushrooms, and the five bananas. The game also added several new modes and mechanics to existing modes.
The game features examples of these tropes:
- Always Night: Banshee Boardwalk, Rainbow Road, and it's always sunset at Toad's Turnpike.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Rainbow Road, complete with the neon characters in the background and of course the road.
- Banana Peel: Five banana peels, actually.
- Big Boo's Haunt: Banshee Boardwalk.
- Bottomless Pits: Practically everywhere.
- Bragging Rights Reward: Beat 150cc with gold to get Mirror Mode; beat that to get a completely new title screen.
- Car Fu: Battle Mode.
- Cave Behind the Falls: Koopa Troopa Beach.
- Cherubic Choir: In the credits music and the Bowser's Castle theme.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: On 150cc, you'd better not let the 2nd place driver get too far ahead, or else they speed up so quickly that you'll never have a chance of catching up, short of repeated Lightning bolts in a row.
- Convection, Schmonvection: Bowser's Castle.
- Death Mountain: Choco Mountain and Yoshi Valley.
- Determinator: A speedrunner named Abney replay Choco Mountain 26431 times to do a glitch three times in succession to break the world record of 3 laps.
- Fragile Speedster: Peach, Toad, and Yoshi are the fastest, but can be easily knocked around.
- Goddamned Bats: Midway through Banshee Boardwalk
- Go-Karting with Bowser
- Gravity Barrier: Plenty, but Rainbow Road has a nice steep drop at the beginning.
- Green Hill Zone:
- All of the "Raceway" tracks.
- Moo Moo Farm is literally a bunch of green hills.
- It's a Wonderful Failure: The player who ends in 4th place gets to watch the top 3 and get chased by a bomb.
- Jack of All Stats: Mario and Luigi.
- Jungle Japes: DK's Jungle Parkway.
- Lethal Lava Land: Bowser's Castle.
- Letting the Air Out of the Band: The 4th-place ending again.
- Marathon Level: Rainbow Road. It takes about 2 minutes to complete one lap, and is the longest track in the series.
- Mighty Glacier: Bowser, DK, and Wario are relatively slow, but have the best handling and can push lighter racers out of the way.
- Nintendo Hard: 150 cc and especially Extra.
- Palmtree Panic: Koopa Troopa Beach.
- Shifting Sand Land: Kalimari Desert.
- Shout-Out: Sherbet Land is named after a world in the original Wario Land.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Frappe Snowland and Sherbet Land.
- Sprite Polygon Mix: The backgrounds are 3D, the rest... not so much.
- The Rival: Each racer you pick has a driver that will almost always place 2nd place. For example, playing as Toad will have Peach be super persistant, but while playing a different driver, she may be in near last place.
- Urban Legend of Zelda: It was a fairly common belief that the Green Thwomp in Bowser's Castle was a secret racer.
- Video Game 3D Leap
- Wacky Racing