WAVE RACE: BLUE STORM
STRATEGY GUIDE

written by Clark Kent Nielsen


************************

  Once you get past Wave Race's extremely steep learning curve, the
game begins to take on special charm. And that's when you're finally
ready to beat the championship mode. This mode is split into three
different parts: Normal, Hard, and Expert. Normal mode isn't too bad, so
I won't even bother touching upon it. But Hard and Expert can give one
a headache, as it did me. But perhaps with a little help and advice,
you won't be as offput, and may be able to conquer the game quicker than
I managed.

  ----------------
  Contents of FAQ:
   1. The Rewards
   2. Words of Advice
   3. Hard Championship
   4. Expert Championship
   5. Misc. Junk
  ----------------

  and thus we begin...


************************
1. THE REWARDS
************************

  It seems pointless if there is no reward for hard work. Don't worry,
Wave Race, while offering minimal incentive, has something to devour.
Beating Championship Mode on Hard opens up the La Razza Canal, a ride
through a city full of sharp turns after sharp turns. This also gives
access to the Expert Mode. And beating Expert Mode not only opens up
the Strongwater Keep (a short, straightforward course), but, upon
getting 1st place overall, lets you command the weather for all modes.


************************
2. WORDS OF ADVICE
************************

  Nintendo makes a hard game, no doubt about that. But it's beatable. I
found that Ryota Hayami is an adequate character, with good top speed
and excellent handling. Choose what you may. Just know that in later
modes, you'll be faced with some difficult buyous and turns. With
characters like Ryota, you won't need to use the L or R button to help
you turn as much. But for the really nasty turns, it's a good idea to
just let go of the gas completely, then slam it again when you start to
turn.

  As with everything, practice makes perfect. Try the courses out in
Time Trial several times before you attempt them in a championship. When
you get the high score in every course, you're ready to race.

  Don't be discouraged if you don't get 1st place every race. I noticed
that, unlike Mario Kart, there is no one character that wins the majority
of the races. Each course has a different course "leader." So you can
still take 2nd or 3rd a few times and win 1st overall (only necessary for
Expert mode, of course).

  The ideal situation is to have enough points gathered that, by the time
you reach the "unknown course," all you need to do is finish the race to
stay in. If your first race is a flop, don't bother to continue! Start
off on good footing. Restart if you have to.

  If you didn't know already, the crew chief voices can be turned off in
the Sound Options. You might not mind them, but they drove me crazy, and
I played a lot better without someone telling me what to do.

  Below are the Hard and Expert difficulties dissected. Each contains the
key factors needed to win: favorable weather, when and where to use
speed boosts, possible buyous to skip, and shortcuts. You might say,
"Whoa, skippin' buyous? No way!" Remember, you get five misses. You might
as well use them to your advantage. Purposefully missing a difficult
buyou will save you a lot of time in the long run.

  I assume here you are already familiar with the courses. There will be,
however, those courses you won't get to practice beforehand.


************************
3. HARD CHAMPIONSHIP
************************

  ------------------------
  LOST TEMPLE LAGOON
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      Sunny or cloudy.

    Speed Boosts-

      There are a lot of excellent places to use boosts. After the first
      turn. After navigating through the bunch of buyous just past the
      ramp. Along the stretch with the boats. After coming out of the
      shortcut (see below). At the end, before finish line.

    Buyous to skip-

      No need to really skip any, except maybe at the end when using
      a boost.

    Shortcuts-

      After the stretch with the boats you come across a narrow, winding
      waterway. In the beginning, there is a part of the wall that is
      cracked. You can plow through this for a nice shortcut, but the
      way is very risky. Enter the path at an angle to the left to avoid
      hitting any obtrusions. One mistake will cost you the game in here.

  ------------------------
  SOUTHERN ISLAND
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      Any. But in a championship mode, there seems to always be at
      least one storm. This course is a good one to use a stormy day
      on, as it isn't cramped, and therefor easy to maneuver around the
      larger waves.

    Speed Boosts-

      At the end and/or beginning. Off the ramp across the ship.

    Buyous to skip-

      The area in front of the dock with huts is littered with poles
      and, on later laps, large signs. I always had a difficult time
      making it through these, so I circumvented them. When you round
      the corner that opens way to this area, hit the first yellow
      buyou, then veer off to the right to avoid the poles. You'll
      miss the other yellow buyou, but if you use a boost, it doesn't
      really matter. Better safe than sorry.

    Shortcuts-

      None, really, unless you're really good at making it through the
      poles noted earlier. Furthermore, you can use the ramp on the
      first lap to jump over the dock and huts, but this is risky.
      There's a slight shortcut at the beginning, breaking through a
      fence to the left, but it's so hard to pull off and for little
      reward, I wouldn't even bother.

  ------------------------
  ASPEN LAKE
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      By all means, cloudy. Save your cloudy day for this one, because
      the water level is higher, which makes it easier to move around
      the several rocks.

    Speed Boosts-

      Near the end or beginning, where possible.

    Buyous to skip-

      It might help to skip a buyou, or even two, somewhere in the wide
      open area at the beginning. If you do skip two, you'll only be
      able to do this twice, and even that's pushing it.

    Shortcuts-

      Not any, really.

  ------------------------
  OCEAN CITY HARBOR
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      Sunny or cloudy.

    Speed Boosts-

      Anywhere you have more than a glimpse of a straight path. You will
      be able to use several boosts on this one.

    Buyous to skip-

      See shortcut.

    Shortcuts-

      One of the coolest shortcuts in the game. At the beginning of the
      race, off to the right before entering the tunnel is a blockade of
      fashing blue signs. On the second lap, a ramp appears before the
      signs. On the third lap, it is extremely noticeable. Some will say
      the ramp can only be accessed on lap 3, but I have used it twice
      in one race. Save a boost especially for this occassion, and as
      soon as you hit the ramp, use the boost to jump over the signs.
      You will come out in the large, open area. Skip the far buyou to
      gain even more of an edge.

  ------------------------
  ARCTIC BAY
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      Sunny or cloudy. Avoid stormy.

    Speed Boosts-

      At the end, skipping a buyou if necessary. When you near the area
      where chunks of the mountain fall off into the water is a good spot
      to use a boost, also.

    Buyous to skip-

      See above. These buyous aren't that hard to get.

    Shortcuts-

      About half-way through a lap, you'll see a large hole in a sheet
      of ice off to the left. You can jump through this quite easily to
      shave off a second or two. Note: you do not need a boost to make
      the jump. Just aim a little to the right as you pass through to
      avoid hitting the ice afterwards.
      Right before this shortcut is another, lesser one that causes you
      to miss a buyou. Before you make the turn that leads to the
      shortcut above is an arrow sign to the left. You can drive behind
      this to skip a second or two.

  ------------------------
  LA RAZZA CANAL
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      Sunny. Other weather effects don't change the course a whole lot,
      but it's hard enough as it is, you don't want to be hindered.

    Speed Boosts-

      Too dangerous for speed boosts. There are two nice stretches near
      the end of the lap, however. The only safe place to use a boost.

    Buyous to skip-

      None, really. Pretty straightforward.

    Shortcuts-

      Not in Hard Mode. At one point you'll see a dining area branching
      off from the city. You can crash through this to save yourself from
      having to make a fairly difficult turn, but it isn't necessary.


************************
4. EXPERT CHAMPIONSHIP
************************

  ------------------------
  LOST TEMPLE LAGOON
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      Sunny and/or cloudy, preferably, though anything is sufficient.

    Speed Boosts-

      See the buyou section.

    Buyous to skip-

      There are actually a few good buyous worth skipping. I recommend
      waiting until the last lap to do anything of this sort, since
      the last lap is what matters the most anyway. The first left turn
      in the race has a red buyou to the far right. Skipping this and
      using a boost instead saves a few seconds. Further along, as you
      near the ship, there is another awkward red buyou. Again, skip
      it and use a boost to continue. The last buyou to skip is also
      a red, as you come out of the cove with the finish line in sight.

    Shortcuts-

      None that I know of, except the above buyous.

  ------------------------
  SOUTHERN ISLAND
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      Any, but use your storm/rain on this one if you can.

    Speed Boosts-

      From the beginning, when you turn to look at the first ramp. Also
      at the end of the race, before the finish line.

    Buyous to skip-

      Same as in Hard Mode. Avoid the poles.

    Shortcuts-

      Nothing new. The fence at the beginning is even closed off.

  ------------------------
  ASPEN LAKE
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      Again, cloudy weather is your redemption.

    Speed Boosts-

      Near the first bend, if anywhere. This course is risky to use
      boosts on.

    Buyous to skip-

      At first, it seems that there are NO buyous to skip. You miss one
      and suddenly you miss another one. But I found an excellent path
      to take. When you come into the wide area, you have to move around
      a patch of tight boulders, then make a sharp right turn and
      squeeze through more boulders. From here, you'd normally turn
      left, but keep going fairly straight, between the first arrow sign
      and boulder. You'll see a yellow buyou appear; head for that. By
      this, you only miss one yellow buyou, but the time you saved is
      priceless.

    Shortcuts-

      Not any, unless you can master the ramp at the beginning. Not
      worth the trouble, though, considering the buyou shortcut above.

  ------------------------
  OCEAN CITY HARBOR
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      Sunny or cloudy.

    Speed Boosts-

      At the very beginning or end is the safest place.

    Buyous to skip-

      There is a long stretch where you have to constantly swerve left
      and right to hit various buyous and ramps. As you note, this can
      really slow you down. Why not use a boost to skip one of these?

    Shortcuts-

      There is a really nice, but risky, shortcut at the very beginning.
      After you exit the area between the wall and boat, turn left.
      You'll see a circular grate. You can break through it and travel
      through a tunnel to come out near the stretch mentioned above.
      However, this causes you to miss three buyous, so only attempt it
      on the last lap if you absolutely need to. Entering and traversing
      the tunnel can be difficult, also.

  ------------------------
  ARCTIC BAY
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      Sunny or cloudy. Definitely not stormy.

    Speed Boosts-

      At the very beginning. Also, after you make the first right turn
      into the narrow tunnel, there is a slight ramp jumping over a
      patch of ice. Boost off the ramp.

    Buyous to skip-

      None, really. Just any you find inconvenient.

    Shortcuts-

      There is a really nice shortcut in the ice cavern. After the
      first bend, you'll see a slim section off to the right you can
      go through. At the end of this is a ramp. The idea is to jump off
      the ramp, then dive under the water to pass through a small
      opening. This saves a lot of time, but is hard to pull off. To
      successfully make the dive, make sure you hit the ramp straight-
      on. In the crux of your ascent, lean forward and hold both the
      L and R buttons.
      There is another shorcut just after this one. It is quite
      noticeable as a large, gaping hole in the face of an ice wall.
      Use an accumulated boost to make the jump safely.

  ------------------------
  LA RAZZA CANAL
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      Sunny.

    Speed Boosts-

      At the very end. Also see shortcuts.

    Buyous to skip-

      Most buyous you can't skip even if you wanted to. I usually skip
      one at the beginning since I'm boosting and it's hard to steer.
      But skipping any isn't necessary.

    Shortcuts-

      Plenty. After coming out of the first big U-turn (not the one that
      goes over the dining area), look to the left. You will see a very
      narrow stretch. If you can slide through here without wrecking
      into the wall, you'll save a lot of time, but you have to make a
      sharp left turn upon exiting.
      After the first shortcut, there is another lesser one. Naturally,
      you'd complete the U-turn upon exiting the above shortcut, then
      head through the opening to the left. If you go straight, however,
      there is a slightly less obtrusive passageway. I have found that
      either way works, though.
      The best shortcut is when you come to an open area. To the far
      right is a yellow buyou and the regular path. To the far left is a
      wall with two large, wooden doors. These can be broken down.
      Make a sharp right turn through them and launch off a ramp to
      cut dramatic time. A boost is not needed, but helps.
      Near the final stretch, there are different paths branching to 
      the left. You might think these are shortcuts, but they actually
      take longer.

  ------------------------
  STRONGWATER KEEP
  ------------------------

    Favorable Weather-

      Sunny or cloudy, though anything will work.

    Speed Boosts-

      Not really anywhere is safe, especially for the first time.

    Buyous to skip-

      Don't worry about skipping buyous, unless one or two at the very
      end is key to your success.

    Shortcuts-

      There is a noticeable ramp that is actually quite safe and
      efficient, boost or no boost. Also, on lap 2 and 3, the front door
      of the castle will be open. This makes for a good shortcut, but
      it's hard to navigate through. If you're feeling good about things,
      take it. If not, stick to the regular course.
      I found another nifty shorcut that can save a lot of time, but is
      MUCH harder to pull off than the other. Don't even attempt it
      unless you can afford to lose. But after the ramp, turn right into
      a small grotto and you will see a cracked wall. Bust through this
      and traverse an extremely difficult tunnel to come out near the
      end. You will miss 2 or 3 buyous in the process.


************************
5. MISC. JUNK
************************

  Well, that's it. It's over. It really isn't as hard as you might think,
once you get used to the controls and everything. If this FAQ was hard to
understand, let me know. I'll see what I can do to fix it.


  Wave Race: Blue Storm, published by Nintendo.
                         developed by NTS.

  FAQ copyright 2004
  Clark Kent Nielsen