From this week, the Mario Kart franchise will be available for the Nintendo DS, bringing all the wacky racing fun that has proven so popular with the other Nintendo consoles to their newest handheld.

Driver selection for Mario Kart DS includes your favourite characters – each with their strengths, weaknesses and driving styles. Share the track with Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Wario, DK, Bowser and Shy Guy (who appears only in DS download play matches).

Mario Kart DS features five different gameplay options. Two of them - VS and Battle, are multi-player modes for up to eight players over the Wi-Fi connection, and all five are available in single player mode.

Gameplay Options:

Battle: Two different options here - Balloon Battle, which involves bursting your opponents' balloons, and Shine Runners, in which the driver who collects the most Shine Sprites is the winner.

Vs: In single-player mode, drivers race against computer-controlled karts and in multi-player mode they race against human opponents.

Grand Prix: The driver that earns the most points during a four-track cup is the winner. Mario Kart DS features eight different cups, each with four courses.

Time Trial: The objective for this one's simple - get the fastest time possible on a single track. You can record your time and show 'em off to your mates.

Mission: In this mode you are required to complete sets of specific missions in order to advance.

As you'd expect from a Mario Kart game, there are many unusual and interesting items you can pick up and deploy to hinder your opponents and boost your chances of winning. To name but a few there's the Triple Banana - guaranteed to give other racers a slippery ride; The Blooper, which squirts vision-obscuring ink onto the windshields of other karts; the Spiny Shell - a devastating device which locks onto the lead kart and explodes; and the fake item, which delivers a nasty surprise to the unsuspecting driver who opens it.

Driver selection includes your favourite characters – each with their strengths, weaknesses and driving styles. Share the track with Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Wario, DK, Bowser and Shy Guy (who appears only in DS download play matches).

Game Features:

• Drive the competition off the roadways anytime, using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

• Compete with up to four people wirelessly using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection or up to eight people using one game card with local wireless connection.

• Race on 30 courses designed to replicate the best tracks from past games as well as all-new courses.

• Keep one eye on the map and the other on the action with dual-screen gameplay.