Sunday, June 8, 2014

5 Mario Kart 8 tips to keep you in the race

Mario Kart 8 is here and boy did the game caused an impression. Not only got good reviews and very solid reception, but it also boosted Wii U sales and got it some momentum prior to the E3 event. The game is excellent and competitive so you can imagine how hectic a race can be (specially online). So today, I will give some pointers about how stay in the race (a.k.a from 1st to 3rd place). I am no "pro" Mario Kart racer, but at least I hold my own against anybody so here are some things that could help you people out. Be aware, there are NO miraculous techniques or game changing skills in this game, only things that can make your race a little easier.

1) Cut those curves, not matter what.

It seems very simple and obvious, but the grip and handling of tires on this Mario Kart has been refined from other games, giving it a more precise feeling and this will allow you to "cut" curves more easily. I've seen a lot of people online that let their kart or bike slide away from a curve when exiting and that's when it is easiest to pass them. Sliding off and exiting a curve on the outside may be true to real life physics, but in Mario Kart it will not only slow you down, but make you a sitting duck for items thrown at you. When you cut a curve and drift boost at the exit, you are taking the shorter path and this will put you at an advantage in speed and will serve as a vantage point for shooting items to those who took the wider path.

2) Dodge red shells when you have nothing to protect yourself (yes, it is possible).

This doesn't work 100% of the time, but could prevent a red shell of hitting you at a very inconvenient moment. If you have observed one of your own red shells as it searches for a target, you can see that it swerves side to side while moving forward, this wacky movement can make it very easy for the shell to just hit a wall or obstacle rendering it useless. So if you see the little pop up thing with a red shell image on it, you can try to dodge the incoming disaster by driving very close to a wall (meaning the the shell will move so close to the wall that it may hit it because of its swerving movement and be neutralized), driving in front of a banana/obstacle at the last moment so it can serve as unintended protection or get half a kart/bike in front of an opponent to have a chance that the red shell switches target and your opponent gets hit instead of you.

3) Quick hoping on simple low altitude jump boost spots.

This one is kind of hard to pull off, but if you get good at it, you can cut some drag when taking a jump boost and make a better use of it instead of jumping higher and risking somebody to pass you off from below. To do this, you must jump at the very tip of the ledge. There is a risk of you missing the jump boost, but when done correctly the character will do its jumping gesture, but will not get very high, meaning that you get the boost a little faster which means less drag and more control of your next move.

4) Taking the scenic route when needed.

Sometimes during a race, a route just gets too crowded and it becomes a hazard waiting to happen (ever taken the green shell followed by a red shell and finished with a bo-bomb combo? Well, I have), so when you see a good route getting a little too tight, just take the opposite even if every fiber of you tells you otherwise. By doing this, not only you will be safer while most of the others shell themselves to death, but you can get your own items ready to attack the instant that the fork ends and everybody ends on the same lane again.

5) Get off the butchering zone as quickly as you can.

This is the most important tip I can give you people, I can't stress it enough, get out of the butchering zone! The butchering zone is the name I gave to the hell on earth that forms from 4th to 9th place. Racing in Mario Kart 8 is really dependent on items this time around (even more than MK Wii and MK 7) and knowing that people on the last places get the better items one has to expect that the people in the middle will get the worst of it and be on their way to be the new last place. If you get stuck on the butchering zone at the middle of the race, this could pretty much mean that unless you get really lucky, you are going to finish on 4th place at best, because the 3rd, 2nd and 1st place will be too far ahead when you finally recover.

So you need to escape that zone early on the race. Use your drifting skills (and any of the tips on this list), throw some items and position yourself at least at a comfortable 3rd place at the beginning of the second lap before worrying about overtaking the others above you. You need to create as much distance as possible from the 4th place and worse, because he/she will try to knock you in the butchering zone and that will pretty much be a death sentence for your chances of winning if the race is almost at its end. The thing about been 3rd place at the right time is that there is a higher chance for you to get turbo mushrooms than the 2nd and 1st place so you can basically steal the race pretty easily if you know the stage well enough to take those awesome shortcuts and just imagine the reaction that the former 1st place will have when you come screaming down the track and finishing as pack leader.

Wrapping it up

These are not game changing things (sort of like snaking did on MKDS), but they will definitely help you to have a stronger sense of what to do in order to keep yourself on the best places. Mario Kart has always been a battle of reflexes and multi-tasking so you need to keep things like these in mind at all times in order for them to be effective, sometimes even mixing techniques at the blink of an eye in order prevent disaster.

Btw, if anybody wants to race anytime my NintendoID is AlucardPR, hope to see you people there.

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