Friday, July 15, 2016

Super Mario Kart: Special Cup Foray

Today I return with a half-post of sorts chronicling my epic battle with the Special Cup in this game. Winning the gold there is like wrestling an alligator, which is probably why it was oddly omitted from my previous post on Super Mario Kart. I never could finish the Special Cup as a kid, so this is a long-awaited rematch. Join me as I return to the character of my youth, Koopa Troopa, and set out to earn him a pair of wings.

First, I need to finish the earlier cups on 100cc. The Mushroom Cup isn't much of a problem, and I quickly fly through it with Mario while racking up wins.

...barely, as you can see in this and the previous shot. I usually won by about half a second. 100cc leaves you little room for error, and if you make any mistakes the CPU insta-passes you.

Bugger off, Lakitu! You're worse than a Manhattan Center security guard.

At one point, I (Koopa Troopa) get second place by 0.02 seconds.

Star Cup was by far the hardest of the three, but I managed to eke out a win. I used Mario for Mushroom and Flower, then Koopa Troopa for Star to get used to him.

Special Cup is unlocked. I wasn't so lucky as to have everything pre-unlocked for me like in my copies of the later games in the series.

Special Cup is brutal, especially when compared with later Special Cups. The first stage is a horrifying hellscape of monty moles, swamp, and narrow bridges. Things get a little bit easier with the next three stages, but then Rainbow Road completely takes you to school.

Behold the hellscape. This stage took me a bunch of tries, and almost made me give up entirely on this Special Cup excursion right off the bat. I don't know how people do this on 150cc. There's almost no room to drive between all of the obstacles.

I managed to get 4th a couple times, but wouldn't move on until I got first or second. On my best go, I got second. That'll have to do.

The second beach level in the game is a fun one, consisting of a section dominated by water. The dark spots should be avoided at all costs. The middle section is the proto-version of the mountain in later games, and if you could somehow hold two Feathers you could concievably skip an entire lap here.

Even when I win, it's barely. That damn Luigi has second place on lock, and he seems to have infinite Power Stars at his disposal. Any time he gets close or I fall to second, he constantly makes himself invincible so I can't pass him.

Ghost Valley 3 is the second-most precarious (in terms of having an abundance of pits and no safety rails) stage in the game, behind only the last stage. Luckily, the track is fairly wide, so you have plenty of room to not fall off.

Vanilla Lake redux has a massive lake. It's pretty rad visually, but the constant ice blocks in your way can get irritating. This is the one I mentioned in the previous post; I used to wonder what was in that lake. It could have used a giant monster or something along those lines.

Course, Rainbow Road is the big challenge here. No rails like the N64 version, and if you make one mistake you're boned. It helps to stay in 1st from the get-go so you don't have to deal with Luigi and his power stars.

Aside from electric thwomps, the biggest challenge here is in not falling off the track. Fall off once and the race is pretty much over. The other racers themselves aren't as big a threat as the environment.

After many, many tries, I finally pulled off the win. It was a matter of staying ahead from the get-go and not making any mistakes.

One noteworthy thing about Rainbow Road Version 1 is the music. It's perfect for the stage, and possibly the most memorable track in the game. I was hoping later Kart games would remix this for their Rainbow Roads, but alas they all have different music.

I am now an expert? Finally, a dream from my childhood has been achieved. Egad!

Credits roll, and I realize this is the first time I've ever seen the credits for this game.

You're welcome. What a mega game.

And with that, it's beaten.

Yep, completely beaten. Nothing else to do here...

*high-pitched scream occurs*

Other Mario Kart Posts

...meanwhile, in Mario Kart 64...

Bowser: "Slurp slurp. Oh yeahhh. Taste the rainbow, indeed."


  1. Congrats on knocking this one out! You know, most games wouldn't give a princess and a dinosaur equal stats, but then Mario Kart isn't most games.

  2. Great post. This is a supremely well-designed Special Cup in that they give you the 2nd-hardest stage first, so it's easier to repeat; they give you repeats of all the tracks with the best obstacles while turning the obstacles up to max, with good variety; and the last stage is new and awesome in every way.

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