Mario Karn't DS

No online battle play for Nintendo's dual-screen racer

Hideki Konno, producer of Nintendo's forthcoming Mario Kart DS, due for release in Europe on November 11, has revealed a number of new details about the title in an interview with French website Puissance-Nintendo. Unfortunately, one of Konno's bigger bombshells is that the series' legendary multiplayer Battle Mode will be limited to wireless LAN play, instead of being fully online.

While disappointed Mario Kart fans hoping for some frenzied global battle action look glum and Nintendo-haters prep their typing fingers, ready to aim scathing tirades containing more vowels than strictly necessary at internet forums worldwide, every one else can soak up Konno's other snatches of information.

Discussing exactly how the game's online four-player head-to-head racing will work, the producer reveals that gamers will have the option to either build up buddy lists and battle their friends, or select utter strangers to squeal around the track with. Nintendo's online system operates transparently in the background, storing race stats and tallying skill levels while you play in LAN mode - when you're ready to join an online game, you'll have the choice between a completely random selection of opponents, or ones with similar degrees of racing prowess.

Finally, Konno mentions a couple of new tricks that we'll see in the game - our favourite being the squid power-up, based on the recurring Super Mario enemy character. Once you've snagged one and tossed it at a fellow racer, it seems the top screen of their DS will fill up with ink for several seconds obscuring the 3D view - all they'll have to work with is the overhead map on the bottom screen.

We think it's great to see Nintendo incorporating such an important message in their games these days. So, remember kids - don't ink and drive!