Best Mario Kart 64 Characters (All Ranked)

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The first game to have a whole host of playable characters to race around the familiar Mario Kart tracks with, Mario Kart N64 is one to remember.

From the hefty Bowser to the nimble Toad, not only did this game let you choose who to play from the Mario universe, but also introduced the mechanics of heavy and lighter characters that really affected racing choices.

While obviously subjective, and sometimes you’re just going to pick your favorite character anyways, this list ranks the best characters in Mario Kart 64 so you can go into a tournament with the best chances of coming out on top.

8. Wario

Wario driving in Mario Kart 64

The first heavyweight driver to appear on this list, you’d think Wario’s loud yellow and purple outfit would be enough to put other racers off and give you an easy victory.

But sadly that’s not the case. Proving to be a very middle-of-the-road racer with nothing unique to offer in the way of stats, Wario is at best average.

His chunkier frame prevents him from being as fast as some of the lighter characters in the roster, and he struggles to reach neck breaking speeds as he ponders around the course.

Still a fun guy to cruise around with if you’re a fan.

7. Princess Peach

Peach in Mario Kart 64

Considered to be a lightweight driver in the game, Princess Peach is also unfortunately a lightweight competitor compared to the rest of the Mario Kart roster.

Certainly not a bad choice for the novice, the princess is capable of accelerating quickly and gaining on the heavier racers in the course with relative ease.

Though where she falls short is in her light frame and ability to be pushed around by the rest of the lineup.

Unless you manage to build up a strong early lead – which can easily be compromised by the infamous flying blue shell – you’ll probably find yourself in a tussle with all of the other cars, struggling to break through.

These are the situations where Peach is likely to bounce around like a pinball and spin off to the side, leaving you with an uphill battle to be competitive for the rest of the race.

6. Luigi

Luigi in Mario Kart 64

One of the most iconic characters within the Mario universe, Mario’s green taller brother struggles to make an impact in this game.

Perhaps he should stick to vacuuming ghosts in haunted mansions because Luigi is prone to being bossed around out on the course if you’re not careful.

That said, where Luigi really thrives is on the tough corners with his great handling.

That, combined with his acceleration, means that he isn’t the worst option for a session of couch-co-op with friends. But he is perhaps suited to a certain kind of player who struggles with taking corners smoothly and needs assistance building up to top speed.

5. Toad

Toad Mario Kart 64

Bobbing and weaving through the other racers, so long as you manage to avoid bumps from others you will really excel playing as the nimble Toad.

Boasting some of the best handling in the game, Toad is definitely a solid option when it comes to navigating the bigger bullish racers who are intent on knocking everyone else off track.

As well as being a strong contender in any race, Toad is also one of the more enjoyable racers to play as since you will have to rely on your quick turning and have to be on your toes to get the most out of the character’s attributes.

But he’s also got a great car and if you’re a Toad fanatic then you’ll wanna give him a go at least once.

4. Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong in Mario Kart 64

As you might expect from the monkey man Donkey Kong, agility and grace isn’t his forte.

However you’ll be driving faster than you expect as DK storms off the starting line and powers through courses at an impressive speed. He’s also surprisingly good at maintaining it better than some of the other characters – especially the other heavier competitors.

DK might be a surprising pick being one of the lesser well-known racers in the roster. But Donkey Kong is obviously very reliable too due to his stocky frame, meaning you won’t have to worry about friends driving you off the track.

Another reason not to sleep on DK is the fact that he is one of the more entertaining racers to see whizz around the course, since – to say the least – he looks ridiculous trying to fit into the small yellow kart.

3. Bowser

Bowser Mariokart 64

The big, brutish, best of his class Bowser is here to dominate in Mario Kart N64.

Surely the best heavyweight contender in the game, Bowser not only looks intimidating and is a lot of fun to race with, but also boasts very fast top speeds while having the large frame necessary to prevent others from throwing him off course.

Fly through any race sending others out of bounds and off the racetrack. His green spiked shell is a clear warning to stay away.

2. Mario

Mario in mariokart 64

Great for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players alike.

Mario stands out in every category and is an undeniable character that’s worth his salt in Mario Kart N64. Like in every iteration of the game, the star of the Nintendo franchise is a fantastic all-rounder who is always reliable for when you don’t want to compensate for bad handling.

His speeds are good, he turns great, and don’t you just love to hear his victory cheer at the end of each race?

Fire a weapon at Mario and he isn’t fazed. Knock him off the course and he’ll come back stronger than before. Sometimes all you can do is concede to the Italian plumber and make sure you’re the one controlling him.

1. Yoshi

Yoshi MK 64

Aside from being a fan favorite, the lovable green dinosaur is arguably the best choice for taking on Mario Kart 64.

One of the fastest characters in the game, Yoshi is not only capable of putting distance between himself and the rest of the lineup, but he also regains composure staggeringly quickly with his top acceleration.

Speed and acceleration are the most highly valued traits in most racing games. But as you can imagine, these come at the cost of good handling.

So pick Yoshi if you want a great chance to win a race, but don’t be surprised if you end up on the edge of the map going around tighter corners.

Granted the more you play as Yoshi the more accustomed you get to his handling. A pro can pick up Yoshi’s skills and work magic with them.

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Samuel Christopher Dixon

Moving from England to Spain at the age of 22, Sam is a keen language learner and sports enthusiast. You can usually find him either playing a high-paced game of squash or chilling with a book outside.