Wednesday, June 4, 2014

150cc: "cc" stands for "cheating cunts"

Looks like three-starring everything in 150cc and Mirror Mode is going to be quite an adventure! I delved into the former today, and while I didn't lose a single Grand Prix, getting perfect 60s just went from "if you fail and Dolphin Shoals isn't involved, you have issues" to "get a lottery ticket if you manage to get it". I'm not joking. The AI is godly at slipstreaming and sniping you with green shells. Especially the former. While I'm not one to cry foul play every single time things don't go my way, I had a little incident on Yoshi Valley that suggests the AI is cheating when it comes to slipstreaming past you.

At one point the giant egg was pretty badly placed, so I drove past it, but couldn't get back on the normal racing line in time for the bridge, so I hit the fence. Then a fraction of a second later, Peach smacked into me! And I mean it, at the exact spot where I was - and I wasn't that close to the bridge either! It's the kind of amateur-hour stuff even 50cc AIs don't do. Sure, they're slow as fuck, but hell if I remember the last time I saw an AI run into the track's boundaries. (Actually, I do, they're easy to mess with at the jump in Mario Circuit 2 in the original, but that's not the point.) That definitely proves that they're programmed to follow you with the kind of surgical precision a human being would be hard-pressed to replicate. I can't help but think of all those games where you have to escort NPCs, but their AI is so bad that they can't just follow where you're going, they have to get stuck everywhere. Game companies who need the hand simply have to hire whoever programmed MK8's AIs, that'd be the end of one of the most frustrating things gamers have to put up with.

But that wasn't all I'd seen in that race regarding slipstreaming. During the final lap, I was leading at the hairpin that leads into the segment with the giant egg. Suddenly, I see not one, not two, but THREE AIs slipstream past me AT THE SAME TIME. I'm in the middle of a war zone, and just past the bridge I get hit with item after item, and finish SEVENTH. All I had to do was win this race on a track I'd always liked a lot, and the three stars were mine. NOPE.

I also realized just how early you need to start drifting for some of the sharper turns - even with the Yoshi Bike 3.25 handling can seem low sometimes. Bone-Dry Dunes in particular became a LOT harder in 150cc, especially one specific part. There's one area where you can choose between an anti-gravity area with spinners and a regular one with turn after turn, and I figure the former is the way to go. Well, if I trigger the speed boost when jumping off the end, somehow I can never land on the bridge part up top, and when I land at the bottom, I'm right at the next turn with no time to drift before I hit the outside wall. So I decided, that boost off the edge is a poisoned gift. I'm just going to drive off, float safely and land well before the turn, drift as much as humanly possible the moment I land. Of course there's probably a better way to do things (especially if I find a way to land on the top section), but for the time being that'll have to do.

So yeah, I've had my fair share of frustrations. Still, nothing forces me to three-star everything within a week, I'll get better with time, so I should stay calm. Besides, it's not like I managed the feat in previous games, though with the only criteria being winning all four races it's definitely more within my reach. I'd try competing against staff ghosts to help me learn the best ways through each level (and unlock a bunch of stamps in the process), but with the possibility of a complete leaderboard wipe if Nintendo chooses to fix the fire hopping exploit, I'd rather wait.

On a final note, the good news is that I still three-starred the Mushroom, Shell and Leaf Cups (the last one on a subsequent attempt), so I still have done some work.

Edit: I forgot to mention... I was kind of angry when I first found out the map was put on the Gamepad, with no option to have it on the screen. But with how complicated they can get with the anti-gravity segments, it'd be hard to make it work on the screen, so I can see why they did it the way they did. Still, there's an alternative I would've liked to see, and it's projecting the length of the track on a rectangle surrounding the screen like they did in MK64. You remember that, right? That was awesome! I wonder why they never even thought to bring it back, especially since it's such a great solution to the problems posed by MK8's track design...

Edit 2: Figured out the trick in Bone-Dry Dunes. What you want to do is go as far left as you can at the end of the anti-gravity part. This'll launch you from a lower altitude, so you'll hit the ground quicker, and if you start drifting the moment you do so you should make it. See? The key is to not despair, give up and switch to a featherweight out of disgust. It really pays off to practice and get good with a heavier character - the heavier the better, unless you're in an acceleration bracket that requires a regular heavyweight. Sure, you won't take turns quite as sharply as you would with a lighter character, but the huge difference in speed justifies getting good enough to compensate for the lower handling.

Edit 3: Or you can descend faster by pressing up on the analog stick. Didn't know you could do that. It would've saved me a lot of trouble if I did!

16 comments:

  1. Never thought I'd be the PC police, but tone down the language man! Creative Cunts is more descriptive and accurate of this situation.

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  2. Cheating Capacity, and I'm not gonna be 3-starring even with the criteria. 1-star for me for the Gold part. Even there, Special Cup is a pain. The Desert and Rainbow Road screw me up, and slipstreaming is the death of me. They all do it like, "Hello! I hope you don't mind, but I'll just boost past you! Oh! You're in fifth, and there's no way you can get that Star? Oops! Tee hee~" I may try YOUR strategy, Slow...

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  3. I totally feel your pain on that one, Slow. By the way, to land on the upper bridge in Bone-Dry Dunes you have to land on the sand geyser. Yes. Something that appears to be clearly a platform actually functions like an underwater pipe current. I sure as hell didn't figure this out on my own either. It's my little brother who told me that might be it. So just for the hell of it, I tried it out and... he was definitely right. Children are so much better at understanding Nintendo logic.
    The worst part is though... it doesn't have a tell for when it'll settle down, so be careful when you go for it, because it might just suddenly stop and you won't have enough height to reach even the lower platform anymore.

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    1. I might give it a try, but I just edited my post with my findings regarding the anti-gravity path. Turns out going out of your way to launch yourself from a lower altitude helps a LOT.

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    2. Okay, I can't figure out where that platform-current-thing is. Woohoo.

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    3. @Slowflake @The Seeker of All Formulas Yes! I knew it! (I'm 17, so technically I am still considered a child by society's norms) I just knew that sand geyser had to do something with reaching the wooden platform path. I thought to myself: "There has to be some way to get to the top path. If I can't reach it just by directly gliding to it no matter how hard I try, that sand geyser has to be involved in reaching it somehow! Nintendo usually does this, especially since they hid some things under the arrow signposts in NSMBU/NSLU." The geyser looked way too suspicious for me to ignore.

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    4. To be honest, I only managed to do it like once or twice max, so I'm not 100% sure of how that works. But I think you have to "land" on the geyser when it's at its highest. But like I said, it just comes and goes, so there's no guaranty you'll even have an opportunity to go for it in the first place.

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  4. Oh good for some reason I it was just me, I mean sometimes I'll get hit from 1st to 5th and again to 11th, (like I was a target at 5th) either way I no longer have to deal with that since all got all three stars in all cups!!! and I owe it all to the wiggler ATV.
    But to be fair it is easiest to get it in this game.

    But there is something I wanted to tell you, it appears if you honk your horn before a race (I assuming right before GO! since I just spam it) that it will actually disturb the other racers and they don't go as far.

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    1. Sounds like an urban legend to me.

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    2. It does visibly startle them, but doesn't seem to affect their starting performance. It just seem to be something Nintendo has put in for the lulz. But I guess it is slightly amusing to make all the COMs jump in their seats, especially at the beginning of the first race where you start last and can see every single one of them.

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  5. In regards to the leader board wipe you mentioned, would that completely remove all of your in-game times, or just online. If it's the latter I wouldn't mind, but I already beat over half of the staff ghosts and if I have to start over I will not be a happy camper.

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  6. I just had a streak of good luck today in 150cc. I took a day off to cool down after my last attempt, but this time I was able to at least get 1st in the Special Cup, I 3-starred the Lightning Cup, and I also 3-starred the Mushroom Cup in Mirror Mode. For me, it basically just took practice to get used to the speed (which in some cases *coughrainbowroadmk8cough* seems WAY too fast to even make normal turns at full speed), and once I got that down, I was fine. Once you're in first and have a few coins under your belt, all it takes is driving well enough to not mess up and having an item for insurance. The only thing that can screw me up when I'm in that position is a blue shell or multiple reds in a row. Prioritize getting coins early, which means sometimes taking slower routes on the first lap in order to get a few.

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    1. So I'm not alone in thinking 150cc is way too fast on some of the harder tracks. At least there's that.

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    2. That last turn with the speed boosts on Rainbow Road always gets me. I can't figure out how to make that turn without braking, but CPUs don't seem to have that problem. Maybe it's because I tend to max out my speed.

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    3. The second half of Rainbow Road pisses me the hell off, especially the upper path. This is one track I'll need to practice the hell out of. Takes me back to when Double Dash was new, I couldn't for the life of me get through that part with the two successive hairpins, the wall after the second one is just too late. It took so much practice...

      Anyway, this'd be one of the reasons why I don't really advocate maxing out speed. I'm getting a lot of mileage out of that 4 acceleration and 3.25 handling anyway, reducing these would mean trouble.

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  7. Speaking of Bone Dry Desert... Am I the only one that gets blooped EVERY TIME I go through that cave at the end? It seems to happen without fail every time.

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