Battle Mode Guide by JFarrell

Version: 1 | Updated: 06/15/99 | Printable Version

The ULTIMATE Mario Kart 64 Battle Mode guide

Version 1
6/15/99
By Jayson Farrell

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CONTENTS

1.  Introduction
2.  Drivers
3.  Items
4.  Levels
5.  General Tactics
6.  Conclusion

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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6.  CONCLUSION

This has been my first FAQ.  If you have any questions or comments, drop me
a line:  EasterZoo@aol.com or jayson.farrell@dartmouth.edu.  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.