Nintendo has today released the first gameplay information on the GameCube version of Mario Kart via its official E3 Web site. The game will boast a number of new features, the most obvious and intriguing of which is that each kart is manned not only by a driver, whose attributes will affect the handling of the kart, but also by a second character that will be responsible for handling power-up items and weapons. In addition to six regular items that are available no matter which character is riding shotgun, each character will have access to a further eight items that are specific to them. Players will be able to have their two characters switch seats on the fly, which could make for some quite tactical racing since every change will alter both the handling of the kart and the items available.
Also, according to a report in the latest issue of Famitsu, a number of Nintendo characters that haven't previously appeared in Mario Kart games will also be making up the numbers on the starting grid. The 16 characters confirmed for inclusion in Mario Kart to date are as follows: