Lightning, also referred to as Thunderbolt or Shock, is a destructive attack/recovery Item that can damage almost every player in a Mario Kart race. Usually obtained by 12th place, rarely 11th, it shocks every vehicle in front of the user, shrinking them. With almost no defenses against it, it represents Mario Kart's heartless reputation of unfairness quite well.
After the loser activates Lightning, a dark cloud instantly and simultaneously appears over all racers ahead of them. The cloud shocks each one with a blazing bolt of lightning, which makes them lose any Items they might have, decelerates and then shrinks their Kart/Bike to a tiny size. The fractioned weight of the player affects their Speed, and also, they can be bumped around into barriers a lot easier now. The process of growing back to normal size starts from lowest to highest rank, with 11th usually getting larger almost instantly and the first place racer taking about ten seconds. This makes Lightning a great equalizer Item.
To defend against Lightning successfully is based on pure chance. Drivers with a Star, Bullet Bill, or Mega Mushroom activated will not be affected (Drivers with an activated Mega Mushroom will shrink to regular size). Drivers airborne from a cannon are also immune. Most of these Items are obtained in lower places, and there isn't too many cannons throughout tracks, so 1st-5th have a very poor situation.
Mario Kart Trivia
- The Thunder Cloud Item is based off of Lightning, in which it does the same damage but only to one Character.
- Lightning was originally called the Thunder Bolt, up until Mario Kart: Super Circuit.
- In some Mario Kart games (Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart 8), racers struck by Lightning could be ran over and flattened like a pancake by normal-sized racers as if with a Mega Mushroom.