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Checkpoints in Mario Kart DS

The reason many potential shortcuts do not work in Mario Kart DS is because of them, but what actually is a checkpoint and what do they actually do?  Well first, a checkpoint is part of the system to stop cheating in Mario Kart DS, as for the game to register you've done a lap, you must go through at least all but 1 checkpoint in a level.

The number of checkpoints in a level varies immensely.  In Yoshi Falls, there are seven checkpoints in that level.  However, on Rainbow Road, a much longer course, there are fifteen checkpoints in the level,  4 of which are on the spiral near the start of the level!  This also explains why the illegal shortcut on Rainbow Road invalidates the lap, because you skip exactly two checkpoints, which causes the game to declare your lap invalid.  This also explains why there aren't as many jump shortcuts on that course as there were in Rainbow Road courses in the past.

I know however, that two checkpoints in when the game invalidates the lap because of 4 examples.  These are:

Rainbow Road shortcut 1

Sky Garden shortcut 1

Sky Garden shortcut 2

and Rainbow Road shortcut 3

The Sky Garden first shortcut and Rainbow Road third shortcut do not invalidate the lap.  This is because they skip only 1 checkpoint in the level, which is as the edge of the curve.  However, the first Rainbow Road shortcut and second Sky Garden one do invalidate the lap, because the distance skipped has two checkpoints.  Falling off the loop on Rainbow Road after the first shortcut fixes this possibly because it causes the game to recalculate the players position on the level.

The checkpoints are easy to work out because they are each place Lakitu puts you after you fall off in the area.  In fact, my theory is that Lakitu exploits work with this, being as you fall as you hit another checkpoint further in the lap, which causes the game to recalculate your position, and in thinking you fell off in that area, get Lakitu to place you there.  Example of these include Tick Tock Clock exploits, Rainbow Road shortcuts 2, 6, 7 and possibly 8, Sky Garden shortcuts 3-5 and possibly another one in Delfino Square.

Checkpoints I think, were probably only used in Mario Kart games since Double Dash.  My experiment was to try and trick the game in Super Circuit, just as I had in Mario Kart DS.  This is how it worked:

Hypothesis- Sky Garden shortcut 3 and the Lakitu malfunction do not work in the Mario Kart Super Circuit version.

The first test was the shortcut where Lakitu puts you right by the finish after jumping at the jump in the distance.  This worked in DS, but would it work in Super Circuit?

No.  The game just knew I fell off by the bend, and put me where you should be put in DS, if the shortcut fails.

Would the Lakitu malfunction work in Super Circuit?  For all that do not know, a Lakitu malfunction is an exploit where you trick Lakitu into thinking you are elsewhere in the level, and he tells you that you're going the wrong way when you are not.  It works in DS.  But when it was attempted in Super Circuit, nothing happened.  Lakitu did not get confused and the game acted as you would expect.

Conclusion- Checkpoints were not in games before Double Dash in the series.

Lakitu malfunctions, are as above.  The reason I estimate they work is because the fence or wall used is on a checkpoint line.  If part of the wall is one side and part is the other, the game will act funny if you are on that line.  A diagonal fence is normally required, or a corner, and the game is tricked into thinking you are the other side of that wall.  This effect lasts until you exit the checkpoint you are supposed to be in, and the game goes back to normal when you enter a new checkpoint area.

Thank you, and I hope that answers all questions about checkpoints, shortcuts and exploits.

Reference Information Table

Course name Yoshi Falls Rainbow Road
Checkpoint 1 From start to first waterfall Start to middle of first fence on spiral
Checkpoint 2 Waterfall to edge of curve Middle of fence to middle of curve
Checkpoint 3 Edge of curve to waterfall 2 Middle of curve to course overlap
Checkpoint 4 Waterfall 2 to next zipper Overlap to final fence on spiral
Checkpoint 5 Zipper to final waterfall Final fence to final spiral overlap
Checkpoint 6 Final waterfall to zipper Final overlap to fence after loop
Checkpoint 7 Zipper to final straight way Fence after loop to second to last ring
Checkpoint 8   Ring to next curve
Checkpoint 9   Curve to gap in road
Checkpoint 10   Latter side of gap to hairpin turn
Checkpoint 11   Hairpin turn to edge of hairpin curve
Checkpoint 12   Edge of curve to fence after corkscrew
Checkpoint 13   Before corkscrew to end of corkscrew
Checkpoint 14   End of corkscrew to edge of left fence
Checkpoint 15   Edge of last fence to restart of left fence just before finish line
Total number of checkpoints in level 7 15
Shortcuts in level 0 8
Length of course Short Long

Related reference information

Glitch and shortcut FAQ

Lakitu FAQ