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Earn a gold trophy for each of the 8 Grand Prix cups to unlock Mirror Mode, which reverses everything on the track.
Earn gold in every Grand Prix cup at 150cc and Mirror Mode to unlock a different ending credits screen and song, as well as different single player and multiplayer title screens.
As you complete various cups in the Grand Prix, you will unlock random new characters. Once you unlock a new character on a cup at a particular level (for example, the Mushroom Cup at 50cc), you won't be able to unlock another character by playing the same cup at the same level. There are 14 unlockable characters.
In addition to giving you accumulative speed boosts, the coins you collect during races also unlock new vehicles and parts when you reach certain totals, although the order in which you unlock them is random.
You can also unlock a gold kart, tires, and accessory.
To get a boost at the start of the race, press and hold the accelerator button when you hear the second beep in the countdown.
Move the analog stick or D-pad left/right as you turn to drift and build up a small boost.
Coins increase your speed, so collect as many as you can. You will drop some if you are hit, and if you hit other players with items, they will drop coins you can collect.
When you have a single shell or banana, you can hold ZL to keep it behind your kart as a defense, although they won't shield you from strikes to the side. You can also evade attacks by taking sharp turns, jumping, and putting other players or characters in between you and the pursuing item.
If you get three shells, don't throw them all at the same racer. If you hit the racer with your first shell, try to get ahead of them so you can use your next shell on someone else.
Some items lock on to players ahead of you, but they won't lock on to players behind you if you shoot them behind.
Even when tracks have boosts along the outer edge, it's often quicker to hug the interior of the curve. Many tracks also have shortcuts you can take.