Guilty Party – Retro Redress
Crime – Not winning the 200cc trophies because I found it too hard and gave up
Redress – win all the 200cc trophies in four days
I’m a big fan of Mario Kart and have beaten most of the titles in the series, but the 200cc series on Mario Kart 8 have me stumped. So stumped that I stopped playing Mario Kart 8 completely. However, with all the talk over the new and improved Switch version, it’s time to dig the Wii U out again.
One of my few gripes with Mario Kart 8 is that, the computer can get a bit cheap. Especially one man…or should I say ape. Yes, Donkey Kong, I’m talking about you. Whatever version of Mario Kart I play, Kong’s always there…throwing bananas aimlessly and slamming his monkey arse into my kart, usually on Rainbow Road. Generally, any track with no side barriers. It’s not a heavyweight character thing either, I’ve never had a problem with Wario or Bowser. Just Donkey Kong and his irritating ways. I reckon this is why I’ve never played a Donkey Kong Country game – I have no intention of helping Donkey Kong or anyone associated with him.
Anyway, deep breaths….so, on with the redress. My goal is to get gold in all the 200cc cups, in a time period of four days, around my life and work commitments. First thing I’m going to do to achieve that goal is to use my TV screen, not the Wii U pad screen. The Wii U pad screen is lovely for Breath of The Wild, but not for the fast and frantic Mario Kart. The bigger the screen, the more I can see of the race track…and Donkey Kong’s stupid monkey grin as he speeds past me. Ok…more deep breaths….
My initial racer of choice is Ludvig. I have stuck with him since he won me all the 150cc races. I see him as ‘Team Retro Redress’ driver. I’ve gone with The Duke, some regular blue tires and the Hylian Kite. I’m not big on all the kart stats normally, but I think they have become important on Mario Kart 8 and can often be the difference between winning and losing. I’ve gone for a combination that gives me speed and good handling. I need all the help I can get with driving, but I need some speed to keep up with the pack.
First up is the Mushroom Cup. I like the tracks in this cup, with Sweet Sweet Canyon being my favourite. I finish 3rd on Mario Stadium, falling from 2nd after seeing the back of Tanooki Mario in 1st…yes, I thought he was Donkey Kong and freaked out. Speaking of DK, he’s not entered this cup. Probably practising pushing people off tracks in anticipation of Rainbow Road. Water Park sees me come 2nd, throwing away 1st on the last bend. Tanooki Mario is 5th though so it’s not an awful result.
Disaster follows on Sweet Sweet Canyon…I come 5th, leaving me in 4th overall and needing a miracle to win the cup. My problem is that my ‘constantly drifting’ style of Mario Kart is outdated. It was fine for Double Dash, but on Mario Kart you need to know shortcuts, steering tricks and memorise the tracks to beat 200cc. I struggle on Thwomp Ruins and have to fight back from 8th just to get to 4th. It’s a less than glorious start for me…this is meant to be one of the easy cups….4th overall doesn’t even win a trophy. I quickly try the Mushroom Cup again, this time with Mario on a standard kart. DK has decided to enter the cup this time and tries to arse slam me every chance he gets. I’m convinced his underwear is made of magnets…Thwomp Ruins is my undoing again, with me spending most of the race trying to recover from a dreadful start. A 4th place finish is decent considering, but I lose the cup to Peach by 5pts. DK and Bowser got in my way a bit there…I bet DK is lovely after the race, all smiles and handshakes. I can see myself there giving him a death stare while he apologises for bumping into me and calls me ‘chief’ and ‘boss’ lots.
Some sleep and some work later and I’m refreshed and ready to try again on Day 2. Well, replace ‘refreshed with ‘too hot’ and ‘ready to try again’ with ‘craving ice cream’. Back to the Mushroom Cup with Mario and my luck isn’t getting any better. The game is just giving me bananas and mushrooms, which is useless to me. I consider myself a ‘weapons’ player – I am better at using weapons than actually racing. I need shells and stars when I’m trying to catch up, not mushrooms! Either way, I’m uninspired and crash to 4th overall.
I decide to have one more go of the Mushroom Cup and…everything falls into place. I win the cup with two 1st places and two 2nd places. The practice has paid off and, though I still take sharp corners like a nervous learner driver, my less drift heavy approach has paid off. No Donkey Kong harassing me helped too. Shell Cup next and I can’t say the tracks are inspiring me. Moo Moo Meadows is kinda dull, the reinvented Mario Circuit isn’t as fun as the GBA original and Toad’s Turnpike is tedious, remastered or not. Still, I send Mario out there for cup glory and he delivers. An absolute steal of a result on Mario Circuit (I was 9th going into the last corner and managed to drift into 1st) and a solid 1st on Cheep Cheep Beach win me a second cup. I’m starting to get a taste for gold….
The Flower Cup is next…2nd place on the average Mario Circuit and brilliant Toad Harbour start off my title bid well, before a dreadful 6th place finish on Twisted Mansion derails me. It was going so well…even Donkey Kong has shuffled to the back of the pack. A heroic (fine, scummy) steal of 3rd on Shy Guy Falls leaves me in 3rd overall, which is disappointing given my start. A second attempt at the Flower Cup sees me come 4th, thanks to horrible 6th place finishes on Twisted Mansion and Shy Guy Falls. I give up on my next attempt on the Flower Cup…I’m too tired and disheartened to focus….
Day 3, I’m inspired and ready to go. I’ve had some ice cream and been listening to ‘Man In The Box’ by Alice In Chains, so I’m fired up and looking for Mario Kart gold. However, it’s the same old story – Twisted Mansion and Shy Guy Falls are my weakness, I can’t get beyond 6th place with them. You can’t win a Mario Kart Cup with 6th places. I decide to jump to the Banana Cup and get 1st straight up on Dry Dry Desert, a track I know like the back of my hand. I then have three disasters and come in overall at 4th…which is flattering to me, given how bad I was. Naturally, I blame Mario for the performances…but who to replace him with?
My mind whispers a suggestion quietly. I heard it and shake my head. “No…it would be an outrage…am I that desperate to win?” My mind informs me that 1) I’m running out of time to complete this redress and 2) last time I was in a Mario Kart slump (multiplayer on Double Dash), the unorthodox decision to team Peach and Daisy made me the most successful and hated Mario Kart player in the room. I conclude I am desperate to win and must take the nuclear option.
So, yeah I picked Donkey Kong, my old enemy – I need to win 10 cup in like 2 days, so the pressure is on.Looking at the vehicle options for Mr Kong, I can now see why he keeps crashing into me – none of the options available to him help him steer, it’s a choice of either grip or handling. I choose a bike, handling and probable failure on my way back to the Banana Cup. At least if I lose, Donkey Kong loses.
No…Just I lose. After 3 races, I have to quit. 5th, 5th and 344th on the Banana Cup? Grim. Donkey Kong on a bike handles like the complete opposite of how I play Mario Kart: can’t drift, can’t steer, just drives really fast in a straight line. Plus, Donkey Kong’s boost celebration is dabbing. I’m not sure a game has ever angered me this much before. “Hey chief, like my dab? Dead modern, ain’t it boss?” DEATHSTARE 😐
On Day 4, my mind then takes me back to how I play Mario Kart. Who do I normally go as? Yoshi of course! I pick the old green Mario Kart machine as my driver and head back to the Banana Cup, looking to restore some pride. 1st on Dry Dry Desert, then an unfortunate 5th places on Donut Plains 3 and Royal Raceway follow. The Wii U gamepad is not the best pad for Mario Kart, it’s too thick and long. Also, a dog ate my homework. That’s the low I’m at right now, tired eyes and tired excuses….A lame 4th on DK and I’m literally pondering my Mario Kart retirement. I’ve lost the ability to take left bearing corners and two consecutive sharp corners… I’ve come to the realisation that Mario Kart, like Pro Evolution Soccer and WWE games, is a game that’s passed me by. Maybe I need a story and characters to truly invest in a game now, not league tables and championships.
And on that bombshell, it’s time for bed and for the redress to end…
Verdict – This is the first redress I’ve failed and felt really bad about. It just dawned on me during that last day that maybe, Mario Kart isn’t for me any more. Sports/racing games are dependent on you practising and knowing the game inside out and I’m not sure I have the time for that any more. Even worse, I can’t really blame Donkey Kong either – I failed the redress because of my own lack of practice and ability not because of that big galoot.
Maybe four days wasn’t enough…maybe this is a game I should put back on the redress list and challenge again, once I’m ready…