All is fair in love, war and Mario Kart, but the latter adds a fair bit of pure chaos to the mix. While you can train to your heart's content, nothing can save you from the inevitable blue shell on the finish line. However, like many of Nintendo's games, Mario Kart Wii's accessible surface belies a meaty core of advanced techniques that are easy to learn, but difficult to master. While no single magic trick will ensure victory in every race, getting a handle on key techniques will certainly bolster your win ratio.
Choose Your Kart Wisely
Though there's no “wrong” kart selection in Mario Kart Wii, some options give you an edge. In the light weight class, the Mini Beast excels at drifting and turbos while the Cheep Charger packs above-average stats at the cost of low defense against impacts. The Blue Falcon and Bullet Bike are very fast alternatives for advanced players while the Magikruiser powers through off-road territory. The medium-weight Classic Dragster offers a well-balanced choice for any player, whether novice or expert. If you're able to drift and block items consistently, the speedy Sneakster and Mach Bike will suit you well. For heavy users, the Piranha Prowler easily knocks your opponents around while maintaining a high top speed, and the Honeycoupe caters to drift-happy racers.
Drifting Into Victory
To up your Mario Kart Wii game, make sure you've selected manual drifting from the menu. Unlike automatic drifting, manual gives you an all-important mini-turbo boost when you successfully drift. To drift, hold down both the acceleration and braking buttons as you take corners. When you see blue sparks flying off your kart, release the brake button for a mini-turbo. If you keep holding the brake until the sparks turn orange, you'll get an even bigger super mini-turbo, a technique exclusive to kart vehicles. Use the mini-turbos wisely; with the right timing, you can fly through a long straightaway or blast through small patches of rough terrain, making shortcuts of your own.
Mini Turbos, Big Gains
Drifting isn't your only option for generating all-important mini-turbos. Flicking the Wii Remote up or pressing any direction on the D-pad of the Classic or GameCube controllers just as you come off of an elevated platform -- such as the edge of a ramp, a speed bump or even a railing -- performs a trick, which results in a mini-turbo upon landing. You can also tilt the Wii Remote upward or press up or down on the D-pad to start doing a wheelie on a bike. Tilt the Remote down or press the D-pad again to come out of the wheelie, resulting in a mini-turbo. Stringing together drifts, tricks and mini-turbos is key to outclassing your opponents.
Advanced Item Tactics
When it comes to item usage, think outside of the box. Rather than tossing banana peels right away, place them in front of boost pads or item boxes. Similarly, save your mushrooms to cut corners by boosting through rough terrain. To maintain your position at the head of the pack, hold the item button to drag shells and bananas behind you, where they serve as a shield. When you hear the dreaded blue shell coming your way, it might not be a bad idea to let someone else take first place momentarily -- there's no way to avoid the blue shell, but it will always target the racer in the lead.
Don't neglect the Time Trial mode. While it may not offer frenetic action, Time Trial gives you an opportunity to become intimately familiar with each track, mastering its curves and discovering all of its secret paths along the way.
If you fall off the course and are fished out by Lakitu at any time, hit the gas as soon as your wheels touch the ground for a little boost.
As for drivers, Toadette can shave seconds off your time if you like taking off-road shortcuts while Dry Bones gives your mini-turbos a noticeable bump. Speed-focused racers benefit from using Luigi, Waluigi, Rosalina, Funky Kong or a Mii character and rally vehicle racers are wise to pick Dry Bowser, Yoshi or Birdo.
- Photo Credit Keith Tsuji/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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