Update: Part 1, Part 3, Part 4
Well, here is the second part of my thrilling breakdown on how you can get those elusive 3 star rankings in all the Mario Kart Wii GPs.
Marv's Fifth Tip: what counts as a 3 star race?
I realised that I haven't exactly specified what criteria are used to judge your performance and decide what ranking to give you! Well, that's partly because no-one exactly knows! There are a few theories out there about not being hit by items and staying mostly in 1st place, which makes sense, but it seems to me that the overriding factor is how fast you complete each race. Things like not falling off, not hitting walls and avoiding hitting banana peels and shells all help - but only in as much as they help you to stay at your top speed as much as possible.
I think it's probably true that you have to get 1st place in each of the four races within a GP, but if you haven't got 1st place, you probably weren't quick enough anyway!
This matches well with my experience of Mario Kart on the Nintendo DS, where I managed to get 3 stars in all GPs primarily though shaving second after second from my times. In both Mario Kart DS and Wii, I have managed to get a 3 star ranking after hitting a wall, hitting items, and using a lot of items - but only when getting good times in all courses.
Perhaps in time, we will see a table of times-needed-for-3-stars for each GP, but I haven't found one yet. Mario Kart Wii does not give you a total time (I think Mario Kart DS did), so it makes the compilation of such a table tricky!
Marv's Sixth tip: give up on the wheel
This is perhaps controversial, because the wheel is part of what makes the Wii edition of Mario Kart so much fun. I have found that even after many hours of practise, my performance with the wheel just doesn't match my performance with the Wiimote-plus-nunchuk. I have seen similar comments in forums and message boards. There's not much in it, but on the occasional corner, I will try to turn slightly one way and the wheel will interpret it as the other way, so I lose a second or two correcting myself.
The Wiimote-plus-nunchuk is my favourite combination, but many people swear by the Gamecube controller (or the wireless version - the Wavebird). The classic controller is probably good too.
Having said that, if you stop using the wheel, you run the risk of losing out on getting a golden wheel for online play! You only get the golden wheel if you predominantly use the wheel (it seems to be that you have to use it more than 50% of the time - you can check your usage from the License screen). Additionally, if your friends are anything like mine, they will ridicule you if you use the Wiimote and nunchuk, saying it lacks honour compared to using the wheel. So, personally, I attempt each GP with the wheel, trying to get up to a 2 star rating, and only then will I allow myself to switch back to the Wiimote plus nunchuk. From then on, I will alternate control methods until I get 3 stars (I was very proud to get a 3 star ranking on one of the 50cc GPs using the wheel last weekend!).
Marv's Seventh Tip: learn from others
If you find that you are really struggling to get a good time on a GP (you should aim to be quite far ahead of all the other racers by the end of each race), you can get some tips quite easily by downloading the ghost data for the world champion of each track within that GP. Watch through them, and even race against them (but don't feel disheartened if you can't even remotely keep up - these are world champions after all!). I used this technique a lot when I was working my way through the Time Trials and it worked well. Obviously the game dynamics are a bit different in the Grand Prixs, but it can give you an idea of how to take corners and shortcuts when you aren't being whacked in the back of the head by a blue shell!
You can also take a look on Youtube - there are quite a few 3 star videos now, which can not only give you tips, but also show you that it's really possible to get those 3 stars!
Marv's Eighth tip: trailing items to defeat red shells
When you are in 1st place, there are quite a few items that the computer-controlled players can hit you with. Blue shells, I can't help with. Pow blocks are a later tip! You should hopefully be far enough ahead to avoid the middle-of-the-field power ups (stars and bullet bills). You will hopefully be able to avoid most banana peels and fake question-mark blocks! Green shells can be tricky, as they can come in at an angle unexpectedly.
This tip is about red shells. You might avoid blue shells for a couple of races, but you will often be plagued by red shells. Fear not ... there is a way to avoid them! When you are in first place, you are very likely to get the following 5 items: green shell, banana peel, multiple-banana-peels, red shell and fake question-mark-blocks. Dump fake question mark blocks as soon as you can, because they are no good! The rest of the items can be used as a shield to stop red shells from hitting you from behind.
The multiple-banana-peels can be used easily - when you hit the fire button, they trail behind you automatically. The rest of the items take (slightly) more effort, but can also be used. The "how" depends on your control scheme, but basically involves holding down the fire button while you drive. For the Wii Wheel on manual, you hold left or right on the control pad. You can either keep fire held down the whole time you have the item, or you can wait until you hear the red shell warning sound and see the icon at the bottom of the screen - you normally have plenty of time to arm your shields!
That concludes part two of my guide to getting 3 stars in Mario Kart GP. More to follow in a few days!
Monday, 23 June 2008
Update: Part 1, Part 3, Part 4