The ULTIMATE Mario Kart 64 Battle Mode guide Version 1 6/15/99 By Jayson Farrell ------ CONTENTS 1. Introduction 2. Drivers 3. Items 4. Levels 5. General Tactics 6. Conclusion ------ 1. INTRODUCTION OK, my friends and I have logged many, many hours on this game, far more than any other. We are pretty convinced that we are the Supreme Masters at it, no doubt to the protest of the reader. Well, I'd be the same way if the places were reversed, so no hard feelings. In any event I think I've got some good stuff to say about this game. Incidentally, if you don't know about MK 64 (though I can't imagine why you'd be here in that case), it's an awesome game. In good company Battle Mode is the best aspect, thus it DESERVES its own FAQ. ------ 2. DRIVERS Battle Mode begins with the selection of your driver. Unlike Time Trials, where Peach, Toad and Yoshi are the clear winners, any character works in Battle Mode. There are 3 kinds of drivers: lightweights, middleweights and heavyweights. *Lightweights Peach, Toad and Yoshi These guys offer some excellent agility and the highest top speed. Their main disadvantage is their defenses. A direct ram by a heavyweight will cost a lightweight a precious balloon. Lightweights should use caution in approaching bigger opponents and engaging them in close quarters. *Middleweights Mario and Luigi These guys are pretty dang average. *Heavyweights Bowser, Donkey Kong and Wario Apparently, evil is very, very fat. Following the classic video game formula, the big guys are slow but strong. I find no great difference in cornering between these guys and anyone else, though they definitely "feel" different. The big guys have a great advantage in that you always have a weapon against your smaller opponents. I find this comes most into play when two players have 3 shells around them and are charging each other; even if the big guy misses, he might get a ram out of it. Overall, don't sweat your character choice. I use Wario because he's the funniest to listen to, and a great villian. It's more important to know the feel and limitation of your character than anything else. ------ 3. ITEMS The tools of the trade, these items are how you'll smash your opponent into tiny pieces. There are 8 items to get in Battle Mode: Banana, Banana Bunch, Fake Question Block, Ghost, Green Shell, 3 Green Shells, Red Shell, and Star. *Banana The most groaned-over item, the banana has little offensive power. If you're ambitious, you can attempt to crash into someone with it while trailing it behind you. Incidentally, to trail an item hold Z; this ability is crucial. When a banana is behind you you have decent protection against shells that are following straight. Your orientation is key. If your opponent has launched 3 greens at you, it may be wiser to keep going straight and trail a sheild (banana or fake question) rather than risk veering and exposing your flank. In general, ditch bananas at the nearest question block. They are more difficult to spot and everyone needs to return to items. They are also ideal near sharp turns and edges, and it can't hurt to drop them on yellow floors. If you are cautious your bananas will constantly wear down opposition. If possible, note areas where you've left a lot of traps and be prepared. *Banana Bunch A lot like the banana, only hey! you get more! If a red shell is on your butt while you're trailing the bunch, and you don't want to lose them all, a well-timed tap of the Z button will release the last peel and cancel the shell, maintaining your string. The bunch can be a pain on bridges and ramps. They also can serve as an effective offensive weapon, like a whip. A sharp turn can put a wall of peels in your opponent's way. Try banzai attacks on your opponent from a higher level; you have a decent chance of nailing him. Both bananas and bunches can be thrown forward, but unless you're a terrific shot, this strategy has limited applications. *Fake Question Block Again, like the banana, only evil. They look identical to real question blocks but are upside-down. They have the same trailing and blocking capacities of the banana but are a bit wider. Late in the game it is wise to approach all question blocks with caution. The block, with it's wide girth, can be a good way to silence a close follower. It's also excellent on a sharp turn where your opponent can't see. Mostly, however, it makes a nasty trap. Put them right on top of real blocks, or try to integrate them convincingly in groups of them. *Ghost This item snatches another item from another player. If no one has an item, you will get nothing. A ghost also makes you invisible and invincible for a very short time. In original MK this invisibility could be used for convert operations but in this game it doesn't last long enough. A ghost can be a great savior. It protects you from all damage and can render your opponent defenseless. I suppose it might be wise to wait for the right moment to use a ghost, but I usually punch it right away. It disuades any potential followers and lets you pick up an offensive device, either from an opponent or a nearby block. Note that the ghost can steal items from the bomb kart. *Green Shell The classic MK item! A simple projectile weapon. Tap Z to fire it foward. When it hits a wall, it will bounce back (with often devastating results). If you hold down while firing it will fire backward, and you can trail both green and red shells (again a good defensive tactic). Green shells are extremely useful. A well-timed blast will send your opponent reeling. Try to fire your shell perpendicular to a corridor your opponent is in (best acheived by firing from higher ground). The bouncing will be much faster and tougher to avoid than if at an angle. Bank shots are always fun and effective if you can't get the perpendicular shot. Learn to lead your opponent in either instance, and always think in multiple dimensions. The best players will be able to shoot greens backwards with precision, too. Keeping an eye on your opponent's screen will help you time the release. Green shells can also be used to defend against forward attacks, like a red shell or banana. You just need to fire at the right moment; it's all in the timing. Since the shell rotates to the side as it fires, it can even be used for flank defense, though this requires uncanny precision. *3 Green Shells This is probably the best item in Battle Mode. 3 green shells encircle your kart, providing good protection and a powerful offense. 3 greens are your best protection against roving green shells or reds (stars do not last long enough). In addition when fired in concert they can be very tough to avoid. The only real advantage of a single green over the bunch is that the former can be shot backwards, which can catch players off guard. If your opponent also has 3 greens, you'll want to use your shells offensively. If you save them for protection against his assault, you'll probably lose. A lucky shot will make it through, and 3 well-placed shots will probably produce the luck needed. Then clear out, as he may have more to use against you! Try to nail followers by shooting 3 shells perpendicular to a wall and cutting to the left or right; the shells' return trip could get 'im. *Red Shell The second-best item! The red shell is a homing device. Once launched it will go straight for a second, then beeline towards an opponent, making corrections along the way. There is a lot of strategy to homing shells, so bear with me. Now, trailing items will protect a kart's back, but leaves the front, sides, and top open to a shell pasting. In a tactic I like to call "Death From Above," you can fire shells from a higher level near an opponent to bypass his defences! The shell will come at the opponent from a mostly vertical path. Another good tactic is to fire the shell straight when someone is following you. Quickly veer right or left and the shell will do a 180 to cost serious trouble for your opponent! This can be a good way to disuade unsuspecting followers who are itching to use an invicibility; at the very least, they'll punch it early. Another good offensive move when your opponent is trailing protection is to try to get beside him. If the shell shoots past him before acquiring, it will reverse and get him in the front. Finally, be careful of where you shoot the shell. Poor shots will die out from hitting a wall, an edge at an angle, or a change in floor (as from bridge to fort in Block Fort). Get a feel for how long it travels straight. Any item you get can protect against a red. If you're trailing an item as a shield, keep an eye on where your opponent is and orient the shield so that it is directly facing him. Also, try to stay at his level as much as possible. If your opponent fired a red from a higher level, the odds of it leveling out improve as you move away from him. Sharp turns, especially near walls, can often fool a shell into hitting a wall. You can also use the terrain in more creative ways to cancel a red. If it was fired from higher ground, hiding under bridges and sticking very close to your opponent (especially near a wall) might work. If you're real good you will be able to lure the shell into bad terrain, like an edge at a bad angle, where it will die out. *Star The most popular item with beginners. The star, like the ghost, makes you invincible. Unlike the ghost, however, this is an active invincibility. Items that hit you will die and if you collide with a player he will lose a balloon. Don't rely too much on a star. They are prime targets for ghosting and if you take a bad step your invincibility will end. If your opponent also has a star, try to lure him into using it prematurely. It you both end up using it, the conflict may be determined by whoever gets to the items first. When trying to hit someone, anticipate his turns. It isn't hard to avoid someone with a star, unless they are coming head-on. Basically drive like a maniac and be very unpredictable. ------ 4. LEVELS There are four Battle Mode levels: Big Donut, Block Fort, Double Deck and Skyscraper. *Big Donut This course is pretty straightforward. Use the curved walls to set up ambushes and to hide from shell attacks. Obviously avoid the lava, and bananas beside the lava which can slide you to doom. Place fake questions equidistant from others to make them look real. *Block Fort The best course, Block Fort is highly strategic. Try to stay high as long as possible, where greens won't bother you and you can set up Death From Above tactics. If an opponent is travelling from color to color along the top bridges, go to the second level and follow the inner bridges to overtake him. You should be able to cut him off at a ramp. Avoid at all costs the center of the map, where shells will feed on you. *Double Deck This course was built for Death From Above thanks to the massive hole on the top level. Stick around here to prey on the unwary. The halls are very long and have less in the way of cover than most courses; keep this in mind. *Skyscraper I don't play this course much. The most obvious advice is to drive cautiously. Use the jumps to clear holes to ambush and avoid tailing entities. ------ 5. GENERAL TACTICS *Very, very important: always be aware of how far from your enemies you are. If you are far, you can afford to hover around items and select one to your liking. If you are near, keep moving! *This goes along with the first one: note as often as possible what items your opponents have. 50% of all kills can be attributed to "I didn't know you had that homing shell!!" *Power slide! Read the manual to learn this valuable move. If you do this often you can overrun and outrun your adversaries. *If you are moving too slow when you approach a ledge, you might fall straight down. This will cancel your invincibility if you're using a star, and bring you to a susceptible halt. If you're going over an edge, keep your speed up and meet it head-on if possible. A good hop will also help. *Use the map, but don't rely on it. The devious will switch it off at a crucial moment, which could cost you. Instead, glance at other player's screens, which will give you more information anyway. The areas are color-coded to help. The map is most useful on Double Deck and Skyscraper. *Tap Z repeatedly when your display is cycling through the items. It will bring up your item quicker. Be careful that you don't hit it too much or you will accidentally use the item as soon as you get it. *As the saying goes, keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Don't be afraid to hug close to an adversary, even if he has an advantage. This especially applies when someone is bearing down on you with an invincibility. Is it fairly easy to avoid a collision even when you are very close. Your opponent may be so caught up in attacking that he won't realize his situation after his star runs out. Even a single green can cause a hit in this case. On the other hand, if you have a banana bunch or 3 greens, you may want to keep away from opponents who might waste your ammunition. ------ 6. CONCLUSION This has been my first FAQ. If you have any questions or comments, drop me a line: EasterZoo@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to use this however you want (though, preferably, to beat the tar out of someone). See you next time! This document Copyright 1999 by Jayson Farrell.