Red Shells may be picked up in singles or triples- triple Red Shells almost rotate around the driver's kart instead, forming a defensive barrier which protects the player from some stray items and knocks over racers around them.
Red Shells, once released, will home in on an opponent ahead of you and hit them. They can also be dragged behind you.
The only exception to this rule is in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, where the shells are carried rather than circled around a character's kart, either by juggling them or in a stack. Getting struck by another item will disrupt the character holding the shells, dropping all but one. In Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Red Shells have an additional function. It can also be planted behind the racer instead of released forward. The shell will not rocket forward, but sit on the track, slowly rotating around. If another driver comes within range, the Red Shell will squeal three times and immediately smash into the racer- even if said racer was the one who set the shell on the track. This is useful for competitors sitting in first place, who have no one to target but the drivers trailing behind them. If a player is in first place, Red Shells do not target anyone; depending on the game, they either travel in a straight line or follow the track, until hit a item or obstacle.
Mario Kart Trivia
- The Red Shell's ubiquity and reliability as a weapon throughout the entire Mario Kart series has earned it recognition amongst gaming websites, such as ScrewAttack and GameTrailers.
- If the player reverses their entire kart and fires a Red Shell forwards from their perspective, it will turn around and go in the right direction.
- If players jump over traveling Red Shells, they may reverse direction and hit the player from the front.
- Around tight corners, Red Shells may hit players from the sides, rendering trailed items useless. This happens in Mario Kart DS more so than any other Mario Kart titles.
- When you set the items to shells only in Mario Kart 7, there is a small chance to get a Lucky Seven, which gives you seven red or green shells surrounding your kart.