Monday, 23 June 2008

Mario Kart Wii - how do you get 3 stars? (part 2)

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!


Anonymous said...

where's the third part!!! I need to know how to avoid those POW blocks.. :)

Kadjius said...

Excellent post Marv!

Just to let those people who want to know how to avoid the POW blocks (and can't wait for the next part!):

You simply need to perform the trick maneuver just as the POW block hits you (Shake the wii wheel/wiimote, dpad on the gamecube controllers). I find it best to just perform the trick repeteadly as soon as I see the POW block on the screen.

You'll know it works if you see a blue shockwave surrounding your character and you don't lose nearly as much speed as you do normally (you will still spin around a bit and lose your items though).

Hope that helps the impatients! ;)

Marv said...

Thanks Kadjius! I'm preparing the next post at the moment and was going to concentrate on turbo boosts, so hopefully this will keep poeple happy! What you've said is absolutely correct. When the POW block appears on screen, it thumps or bangs three times - you want to be doing your trick when the third thump hits, so you should be able to get the timing with practise. The only annoyance is if you are in the middle of taking a corner or have a power up you were waiting to use!
The one other time you can avoid POW blocks is if you are in mid-air - either from a jump off a ramp, or through a cannon.

David said...

A heirarchy of items would also be useful. For instance, if someone has a star active, they will wipe out someone who hits them with a big mushroom. Star men also trump blue shells (this saved me once on Maple Treeway where I got a star man from a pile of leaves and then got hit with a blue shell, which did nothing. The main benefit here would be to newer players who don't know what each items does. Also, any tips you have on using specific items well would be appreciated (such as, use mushrooms to go through grass, etc.) Again, mostly for the newer players but also because those of us with a couple hundred thousand hours of Wii Kart time can always learn something new.

Marv said...

Hi david,

That's a good idea, thanks! I haven't seen a list of which items beat which yet. I'll have a think and see if I can come up with a good way to produce it. The main problem being that it might be quite difficult to match some items up (bullet-bill versus blue shell - how often does that come up in a race?!).

Thanks again!


archmagery said...

Great post. A few thoughts. =)

I exclusively use the wheel; I feel that the degree of control is greater than the control pad(s). I haven't tried the nunchuck/wiimote combo, however, so I can't speak to that.

The fake question block is useless at shielding you against shells, but it works wonders when you're a lightweight and you get into a ramming match with a bigger racer. They also fit very nicely in choke points (like small bridgess).

HOW TO AVOID POW: On the third beat (just before the POW hits), buck the wheel/hit the wheelie/trick-off-a-ramp button. You'll see a series of concentric blue circles beneath you and you won't lose much speed at all.

I love this game. The courses are all fun and I don't mind trading the annoying ghost item for Bullet Bill. The wheel owns (I use it exclusively, and I have been getting 3 stars...though like you I'm not clear on what the criterion exactly are). Battlemode was a pretty big disappointment. =(

Megan said...

right this is really annoying me, just been playing on mario karts on wii on WFC and why is it that one person in the race waited at the start line and then all of a sudden he kept getting bullets all the way through and also kept getting them when he waited at the start line just all of a sudden?!?!

Marv said...

Hi Megan,

I'm afraid that person must be cheating - see this YouTube video:-

They will have accomplished this using a hacked version of the game, or a hacked Wii or similar. I'm afraid all you can do is hope that that person gets banned too. You could try noting down their username and calling Nintendo, but I don't know whether they will take individual reports seriously.

It sucks :o(

Anonymous said...

The blue shell always catches up with you then spins above you the crashes down on you.

There are two ways to dodge blue shells:

1. The obvious way is not to be first or if you see the blue shell coming let someone go a head of you.

2. When the shell is coming down on you speed ahead either using a speed ramp or boost using mushrooms

Anonymous said...

To answer the question about the blue shell vs. bullet bill, the blue shell has no effect on you while having bullet bill active. Hope that helps if you make a list of what items beat what.

Andrew said...

oK... I have finally found what the criteria for getting 3 stars is ... Believe it or not it has nothing to do with a perfect race... You can fall as many times as you want and get hit a millions times... All that matters is that you finish the race ahead of everyone by at least 10 - 15 seconds. This works for 50 and 100cc... I am yet to try it 150CC and Mirror Cups.... Dont see why it wouldnt be the same.

Anonymous said...

Do you have to finish 10-15 seconds ahead on every race in the GP?

Mojokabobo said...

BTW, had this happen to me the other day and confirmed it on a few other sites.

How to beat the Blue Shell.

Say near the beginning of the race you picked up an item box and got a few mushrooms? Save em for the eventual blue shell strike (hoping of course, that the comp won't bring down the Lightning).

Right when the blue shell is about to hit you, it will hover above your kart for a split second, and then descend down upon you.

At the moment when the blue shell is hovering above you preparing to explode, fire your mushroom.

Presto! You'll shoot away from the explosion and the blue shell will explode harmlessly behind you.

Oh, and BTW... the trick to escape the pow only works if you are going straight (at least seems so to me). Any time that I have been turning and tried to do the trick to avoid the pow, I failed. Anytime i straightened out for a split moment and did the trick, i escaped the pow. So straighten out (and beware, because you will still spin out in the direction you are facing... so this is dangerous on a curve, cuz you'll end up spinning out into the grass at full speed... which doesn't do you any better then just getting powed in the turn).

Anonymous said...

Well we all know it's about putting a good time on all courses. I made up a list for some stuff that you can use:

-Heavier, harder to be pushed away.
-Medium habdling and drift
-Drift goes up to yellow fire (which is better then the first blue one)
-pretty good speed

-Lighter, better to *fly* a bit
-Good handling and drift (sometime a bit too good to end up off-road)
-Drift goes up to blue fire, so let go the drift when it is blue to stack up drift speeds.
-bit lower speed then the Kart
-Wheelie. Here's the big action for gaining speed. Good to use in straight lines (like delfino square)

Avoidable and blockable weapons:
-Red Shell, Use a item as a shield, since most item in 1st place are usable as shield (Just try to hold a shield all the time)
-Green Sheel, Either avoid, or hold a shield.
-Banana, DUH, avoid this little tricker
-Fake Block, Just watch if the block is not in the place where it should be (so away from normal blocks). Also, it turns red when you come near it.
-Star/Buller Bill, Just stay on the side to be sure they are not crossing your way (They mostly stay in the middle, and cut roads near a turn. So when turning right, stay a bit left.)
-Lightning, Just keep driving, no matter what. The more you stand behind, the faster you grow back.
-Blooper, An ink mark shouldm't be hard to see through. Just keep attention. The more you are behind, the smaller the mark will be.
-Thunder Cloud, Stay away from this. If you have it, go straight against other players to pass it on them. If you are far away from them, then keep driving.
-Blue Shell, The impossible to dodge weapon, what they say. Like said before use a mushroom at the time it is hovering above you. Sadly, a mushroom is an ungettable item when 1st
-POW Block, The third hit will make you shake. Get a rythem the first two and do a trick the third hit to avoid getting spinned through. For beginners, keep doing trick when the third hit come.

Character choice:
I heard stories that certain characters got a special bonus among the stats. So one has a better handling while other got a higher speed bonus. I heard Rosalina got the highest speed bonus, but I don't know if it is true.
A MII character depends upon it's height and weight if it goes on a S, M or L Kart/Bike. Configure this in the MII chanel

Unlock items:
To unlock new characters and Karts/Bikes you need to do some special things:
-Get expert ghost data. Do this in time trial mode and put a good time on a course untill they say *you unlocked the ghost data expert staff*
-Get a * rank, *** is better, but for some stuff you need to get a * rank on a GP
-Online Races, play 50 races online and Birdo is yours. This is an alternative action to unlock her
-Super Mario Galaxy, Have SMG saved on your wii and play some courses. Rosalina will be yours. (From stories, the fastest character). This is an alternative action

Many courses has a shortcut. Some harder, but track cutting. You can see youtube videos to find the trickiest one.

I hope this information could help getting you guys *** rank. Myself have already ** rank, and a few GP are *** rank.
The best method to get *** is in my opinion: Race normally and win better then you normally do!

Louise said...

Another way to tell if the Power-Up block is real or fake is that when it's real, the ? is facing up, and when it's fake, the ? is facing down. That might help. Another tip: Do not EVER use shortcuts that lead across a lot of Off-Road without a mushroom.

Anonymous said...

good job marv, i already have 2 stars, but working to get 3. This article could help me lots!

But your missing one thing, you CAN avoid blue shells. But only when you have a mushroom. When the blue shell is about to come down and explode, use the mushroom to zoom away from it. I have done it before, it is very frustrating. But once you get a hang of the timing, you can avoid those horrible blue shells!

Lucy said...

Actually I've heard that getting hit by items /helps/ you get a 3 star ranking as long as you get in first every time!

Anonymous said...

Actually there are only few things you need to be aware of.
Back then there was unknown how to get 3 ☆ or what you can do or can't do but now more informaton are known and I'm saying this is not based on guesses.

Assuming that you're experienced ('expert') racer(s) and you want/can do or not to do these few things then you should have almost 90% chance of getting 3 star ranking on your 1st try (i'm deadly serious), and should not worry one bit. Just follow these steps below (if you can) and your 3 ☆☆☆ stars are guarateed hit. New unexperienced players can have some difficulties with 3 stars but they should still be able to get 1 or 2 stars pretty easy - not joking around. Keep practising certain courses that seems to be hard for you. Try to perfect your driving skills and you will get 3 stars.

Here we go:

1. do not collide with walls, pipes and similar fixed hazards

2. do not collide with course obstacles like penguins, crabs, fire rings, lava flames, vehicles and similar mobile hazards

3. collissions with all 'pick-it-up' items (banana, fake boxes, blue shells etc. = all items) have absolutelly no effect

4. do not drive off-road - this is worse than hitting walls, penguins etc.

4. do not stay behind for long - try to be in 1st but don't quit too soon when it seems bad

5. do not fall off edges or into space, lava pits, deep water. This is something that is penalized the worst.

6. believe me or not, you don't want to take any shotcuts even if you have speed-up items (mushroom, star etc). Of course you can still get 3 stars but will be lot harder.

7. and few things i forgot to mention

About me: I'm on youtube. I rather keep my id private for now. legit mkw racer. I'm 3 star racer. My online race rating is 9999.
I have bunch of 3 star videos of Mario Kart Wii on youtube. In some videos I am playing really bad on purpose while trying to follow steps and still am able to get 3 stars. I can tell you, I know what I'm saying, I'm pretty confident with info I gave it to you. Good luck!

camo said...

I am trying to get 3 stars on all cups, only have achieved 3 stars on 2 tracks, looks like a long road ahead. Not sure if this has happened to anyone else, but i used a blue shell coming 3rd, and at the same time overtook 1st & 2nd, only to have my blue shell circle above me and take me out. I wondered if this has happened to anyone else. I thought it was quite funny

Pokemon Master said...

I've found a couple of other ways to dodge a blue shell. One way is that if you're in sometihnfg like a canoon and are flying through the air, the blue shell won't effect you. Also, the trick to let someone in front of you if a blue shell is coming doesn't work. Even if you drop back to last, if the bs was fired while you were in 1st, it'll come after you. And abiut shortcuts, a good bike for it is the Magikruiser. This is my overall favorite bike because it is fast, has greta acceleration and handling, AND has the BEST off-road of any vehicle in mkwii.I also found that if lightning or something else taht instantly makes you still hits you while a blue shell is hovering, it'll go past you, since i9t seems to be moving forward while its hovering. And I also found that characters get an upgrade to all of their stats when racing on their signature track. IF you don't know what a charcaters sig track is, just look at the time trials and fins that character.[Understandably, Mario has the msot, sicne their are 4 mario circuits]