More Mario Kart Wii

16th April 2008 – 6.51 am

I couldn't drag myself back in to Azeroth last night. A problem with playing on a US server from the UK is that weekday evenings coincide with when US friends are still at work. Without any friends to team up with I didn't have the will to run through quests I've completed perhaps a dozen times before. Of course, I have Mario Kart Wii to entertain me as well as a plan to boost my mad skills.

I started practicing the circuits for the 100 cc Flower Cup. Although I have already got a bronze cup in that Grand Prix, I'm going for gold. Whizzing around the circuits in time trial mode, but without specifically trying to set time records, allows for the extra paths and racing lines to be explored safely so that when it comes to racing around the circuit navigating the course is not requiring too much effort. One aspect of racing that isn't simulated during a time trial is the placement of the power-ups, but as they are generally positioned for you to run right in to them this isn't too much of an issue. It's only when you're lagging behind other karts that take the boxes along the racing line and you need to drift wider to get a power-up that it becomes relevant.

Flush with my new confidence racing around the circuits I started a Grand Prix. I ended up with a bronze cup again, which wasn't a great result. It is frustrating that a single incident loses so much time. I can understand it being important in multiplayer modes, where a more skilled player can race away rather too quickly and perhaps never be caught without being pumelled with shells. But as the console-controlled pack sticks fairly close together being hit by a shell and running over a banana can see you drop from third down to ninth quite easily.

With the abundance of power-ups and console-controlled players it is not unusual to be hit by shells, lightning, POW boxes, run over bananas, or get squid ink all over you several times per race. And it's really not fun to be hit by lightning or a shell whilst jumping over a crevice, as being put back on the track by Lakitu loses a silly amount of time and losing that time for something that was an unavoidable action on another's part is frustrating. I'm beginning to wonder how much luck, more than skill, is involved in winning Grand Prix. Having eleven characters firing off power-ups randomly may be Mario Kart Wii's weakness.

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