Mario Kart 8 had tons of unlockables in its original WiiU incarnation. Many of the characters weren’t available until you unlocked them by completing Cups. The Cups themselves opened slowly as well. A new set of four races only became available once you’d claimed a trophy in the previous set. Nintendo largely removed these restrictions when they brought Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to the Switch. Your selection of karts, tires, and gliders still broaden slowly. A new piece of racing gear is made available for every 50 coins you collect on the track. However, all characters and Cups are available as soon as you begin the game.
All characters, that is, except for Gold Mario. When you begin the game, a shining chrome Metal Mario will be selectable. If you want to turn him into a gleaming golden figure that looks like a trophy himself, you’ll need to meet special criteria. Further secret goals must be achieved to unlock his custom ride, the Gold Standard, complete with Gold Tires and Gold Glider. So join us as we guide you to unlocking Gold Mario and all his brilliant kart parts.
How to Unlock Gold Mario
The key to unlocking Gold Mario seems deceptively simple. All you have to do is earn a gold trophy in each of the twelve cups in 200cc. This is, of course, far easier said than done.
Unlocking 200cc Engine Class
First, you have to unlock 200cc mode. Again, this seems deceptively simple. You need to earn a gold trophy for all the cups in lower Engine Classes — 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc (you don’t have to play Mirror Mode for this goal). You don’t even have to play through each Engine Class, as earning a trophy in a higher Engine Class will automatically grant the same trophy for all lower classes.
All you really need to do to unlock 200cc is earn a gold medal in each cup on 150cc. Remember, you don’t have to come in first in each race to still come in first in the cup overall. As long as you come out ahead of your opponents in terms of points, you’ll claim the trophy.
The same holds true for the 200cc races themselves. This is fortunate, as races in this Engine Class are extremely challenging. Should you manage to claim the gold across all twelve cups in 200cc, Gold Mario will be yours. Metal Mario will still be selectable as an alternative, but Gold Mario will take his spot on the Character Select menu.
How to Get the Gold Kart in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Gaining access to Gold Mario’s personal Kart, the Gold Standard, is arguably easier than unlocking the golden plumber himself. To use the Gold Standard, you must earn at least one star ranking in each of the twelve cups while racing in Mirror Mode. Mirror Mode plays at the same speed as 150cc, so these races won’t be as challenging as the 200cc Cups.
That said, earning a star rating is more difficult than simply earning the gold trophy. While you’ll earn a trophy as long as you finish the cup with more points than your opponents, you’ll only achieve a star rating by gaining as many points as possible in a cup. A perfect performance in a cup (four 1st place finishes) earns you 60 points and the top rating of three stars.
You only need a one star rating (54 or more points) in each Mirror Cup to unlock Gold Mario’s kart. At worst, that means two 1st place and two 2nd place finishes, or three 1st place and one 3rd place finishes. Finish all twelve cups with at least one star in Mirror Mode, and you’ll gain access to the Gold Standard.
How to Get Gold Tires in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
These bright and beautiful racing wheels are the only gold unlockable that is earned without playing Grand Prix Mode. Instead, the Gold Tires are unlocked in Time Trial Mode, where racers try their best solo time against ghost racers from Nintendo staff members. If you can finish in a quicker time than the ghost racer in all forty-eight tracks on 150cc, you’ll earn the ability to equip the Gold Tires.
These Nintendo ghosts are certainly beatable, but most of them are fairly tough to top. Know each track well, memorize the turns, and hone your best racing line. You’ll need every fraction of a second worth of advantage that you can get!
You’ll also need to ration out the use of your three mushrooms thoughtfully. You’ll often get the most benefit from identifying the single best shortcut in a given track. Using one mushroom per lap on this shortcut will let you gain every bit of time that shortcut has to offer.
How to Unlock the Gold Glider in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
To finish out the Gold set, you’ll need this gleaming, glimmering glider. Fortunately, it is the easiest to unlock by far. You may even do so inadvertently while trying to unlock the other pieces, or simply while playing the game.
All that’s required to gain access to the Gold Glider is collecting 5,000 Coins. Any mode, any engine class, up to 10 Coins per race. That’s a big number, though it’s only half of the 10,000 Coins you had to collect for this goal in the game’s WiiU version. With all the driving you’ll be doing to unlock the rest of the Gold set, you’ll achieve 5,000 Coins before you know it.
Want to prioritize this unlock early, or feel like you need to grind for coins? Your best bet is to go for short, relatively simple tracks. Moo Moo Meadows and Baby Park are both good choices. Alternatively, you can begin a two-player Battle Mode game, such as Coin Battle or Renegade Roundup. If Player 2 just sits and idles, Player 1 is free to focus on collecting that sweet moolah.
Be Aware: Gold Parts Won’t Gild the Path to Gold Trophies
It’s worth noting that gaining access to Gold Mario and his Gold set of racing gear is strictly an aesthetic change, not a functional one. Gold Mario has identical stats to Metal Mario. The Gold Standard, aside from being an amusing play on that phrase as it relates to finances, refers to the fact that the kart is simply a Standard Kart, stats-wise. Gold Tires are mechanically no different from the Standard Tires. The Gold Glider is just a gleaming recreation of the Standard Glider.
Any racer will have to put in a lot of time and effort to gain access to all of these Gold unlockables, and the style potential is well worth it. Just know going in, that undertaking these challenges will give you bragging rights and a glimmering look on the track…not an easier time achieving victory.
Gain Gleaming Gold on the High Ground
What do you think, racers? Let us know in the comments if you shine your way to victory as Gold Mario in his gleaming kart! Or maybe you think the T-1000 vibes of Metal Mario can’t be beat by some Oscar-lookalike? Sound off below, and don’t forget to sign up for the High Ground Gaming newsletter! Cruise into the Winner’s Circle with our guides for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and all your other gaming favorites!