super mario kart

Pro tip: Fun with Red Shells in Super Mario Kart

The red shells in Super Mario Kart are pretty useful, mostly due to their homing capabilities.

But they're not perfect.

Say you're in Battle Mode. You have a Red Shell and your opponent is stopped in the middle of a wide open area

You drive toward him and start to powerslide so that you just miss him

Then you fire the shell just before hitting him, so it sails right past

If done right, the shell will go around and around your opponent's kart, but since the turning radius of the shells isn't that great, will never hit him

Don't believe me? Check out this video

The shell will keep orbiting around your opponent until he moves or the shell hits something else on the course!

Of course, I was never able to find much of a use for this, other than it's something that looks kind of neat, but maybe you can.

Pro tip: Getting a fast start in Super Mario Kart

In Super Mario Kart, every time you win a race you have to start in the back of the pack for the next one, I guess to make it fair to the rest of the racers somehow. But with a little knowledge, this won't be much of a problem.

If you can get your kart's engine revved up to just the right point, you can take off like you used a mushroom for a speed boost, but it's kind of hard to do.

Or is it?

When the countdown for the race starts, right after the first light/buzzer goes 'beep', lay on the gas

If you've timed it just right, you'll rocket ahead like a shot!

You just have to remember to steer around the racers that are in front of you, otherwise you run the risk of slamming headlong into Donkey Kong Jr.'s backside going full speed, and nobody wants that.

Pro tip: Getting a fast lap time in Super Mario Kart's Vanilla Lake 2

In Super Mario Kart's Vanilla Lake 2, the center of the field has become melted, and kind of dangerous to drive on, y'know, because it's a lake.

But you can use that to your advantage.

While you're racing, as soon as you cross the finish line, take a hard left and head straight into the water.

Then, at the last second, turn 90° to your left so that you go back behind the Start/Finish line before Lakitu picks you up. Done right, you should be on the next lap.

Which will whittle down your best lap times to well under 10 seconds!

Not bad!

Pro tip: where to drop your bananas in Mario Circuit 2

In the original Super Mario Kart, it might not be immediately obvious, but the computer-controlled drivers follow a pretty clearly defined path around the courses. And if you can figure out where they go, you can use it to your advantage.

My favorite spot to do so is on Mario Circuit 2.

You'll notice that down toward the end of the lap (in the shot above), that there's a place where you have to jump over the track to keep going. That's where you'll strike.

Place your banana peel or green shell between the 2nd and 3rd sets of arrows, that's where the computer drivers want to take the jump. Then, the next driver that comes along will crash into your trap, lose all of their speed, and miss the jump, making them repeat a good portion of the track.

It's kind of hard to tell from the shots here, but Yoshi's fallen for it.

This is really handy if you're playing the harder difficulty levels and the battle is really close for first place is tight. Once you lay this trap, the battle for first won't even be close.

Pro tip: getting all shrinky in Super Mario Kart

If you play Super Mario Kart enough, you're going to get better, that's pretty much a given. But, what if you get so good at the game that you have nothing left to do? Nothing left to unlock, and the game's just not challenging any more?

Well, you could go to your driver select screen

Then hold Y and press A

Your driver shrinks! Just like he hit a poison mushroom or was hit by lightning. Start the race and:

You retain shrinky status, which means that not only is your top speed lower, but if you get hit by another kart you get flattened and immobilized for a few seconds

You can temporarily cancel the effects by grabbing a poison mushroom, but you'll shrink again when it wears off

How's that for a challenge?

Pro tip: Save ghost data in Super Mario Kart

When you do time trials in the original Super Mario Kart and you do well, you get to race against your ghost, so long as you race again on the same track. If you got a particularly good time on a track, wouldn't it be awesome if you could save that ghost to challenge yourself or your friends later on?

Good news for you, there is!

First, go to Time Trials and pick any track, preferably one that you're good at, and not Vanilla Lake 1. Next you have to qualify to have the game remember your ghost data. In order for that to happen, you have to not hit any walls, not fall off the track, not go into the water, and get a reasonably good time. I can't really tell you what the time threshold is, since it's different per track, but an easy way to check if you've satisfied all the criteria is to watch your replay. If you can use L and R to rotate the camera, then you've qualified for a ghost.

Then, when your replay is over, and you're looking at your options on what to do next, hold L, R, Y, and then press X. You'll hear a 'ding'.

Now, if you exit back to the menu where you choose your track, you'll notice that the name of the track has turned yellow, which means that you've saved your ghost.

Now just highlight the yellow track, and when it's asking if you're sure you want to race on that track, and hold L, R, X, and hit B. You'll hear another 'ding' and load your ghost data that you've saved.

Beware, though, you can only save one ghost on the cartridge. If you save another one on the same or another track, it'll erase the older one.

Pro tip: Toss a banana peel out of bounds

The original Super Mario Kart's Battle Mode was really fun, even though I got lambasted regularly when I'd battle people online with my XBand modem.

But I did spend enough time with it to discover some really odd quirks. For instance, get yourself a banana peel and maneuver yourself to this spot on Battle Course 1.

Then hold Up and press A to throw your banana forward. Normally when they land out of bounds they disappear, but not this time, oh no.

It's still there, and what's worse is that if you use a feather to leap out of bounds, say to avoid a red shell, and you land on that peel, it will count as being hit, costing you a balloon.

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