The, you guessed it, 8th main title in Nintendo's original kart racer series introduces more wonky and off-skew tracks -- many of them playing on the concept of anti-gravity -- and a few new characters and power-ups. Now you can finally interrupt a spiny shell if playing your Super Horn card right!
Note: This run uses a Digital Copy and SSD to make load times a lot faster than what is normally happening with this game. A run not using those that has a faster gameplay (but overall slower due to loading times) will be accepted!
Best All Tracks, Single-segment Time with DLC, 200cc, Frantic Mode, Hard Difficulty: 1:40:24 by Jose 'UchihaMadao' Karica on 2015-11-07
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If you're reading this, it means you still visit the Speed Demos Archive website and want to watch Speed Runs with the highest video quality possible and detailed comments. I find that it is sort of a lost art nowadays to put effort into the whole run to have it presented in the best way possible so I felt going the extra mile and having detailed comments and high quality videos is still worth it when you have a good run and want to have a little break until your next improvement.
This is the second time I've ran a Mario Kart game for SDA. The first time was Mario Kart Wii around 6 years ago in a very similar category (All Tracks with the fastest cc and hardest CPU setting) and now I decided to try again since I had lots of recent practice and this game is pretty fast, which makes it more fun to play (I was initially bored of 150cc so I had stopped playing but the new 200cc engine class makes everything much more exciting). Unlike the previous game, this time I used Frantic Mode for the items, which makes things even harder because powerful items become more common and you know how the CPU loves item RNG. Getting so close to a perfect run with these settings this soon was something I didn't really expect when I got this run (in fact, if it had been just a 32 tracks run, it'd have been perfect since my first loss was when i was into the DLC section)
To not make this intro too long, I guess it's time to step on the gas and dive into the game's basics.
This game contains many improved mechanics from its predecessor Mario Kart 7. While I never submitted a run of that game to SDA, I did do actual attempts for a while and a lot of the stuff present there is here too. You can mix and match between Kart bodies, wheels and a glider to get a good combo and this allows for many combinations that have competitive stats.
Usually you'd just go to the combination that has the highest top speed and call it a day but in a run that has the CPU and items present, your acceleration becomes quite important. I decided to go for a combo that gave me Acceleration of 3 because I found that to be a good balance. Then I tried to get the highest possible top speed combo that also afforded me decent handling. In lower CCs, you don't really need much cornering and handling but for 200cc you really need some extra help in several tracks. It's possible to trade some acceleration and handling for more speed but that's something for future runs.
Characters also affect your stats so I picked a character that gives more top speed overall. The second fastest character class has plenty to choose from so I went with Rosalina. A Heavyweight Mii would have worked too if you don't feel like using the regular characters.
Coins didn't exist in MKW but they're here and you need to grab 10 to get max speed. It's easier here compared to Time Trial because coins respawn after a while but you lose them with each item hit or falling off the track. Combos are pretty rough on coins because you lose coins for both hits (get hit by a banana and then with your own shell and that's -6 coins)
The setup for this run uses VS mode since that lets you do a bunch of tracks in one go and it's faster than doing GP mode. One verifier pointed out that it was faster to quit after the 16th race and start another 32 tracks set to do the remaining tracks. While I lost time with the old method, it's not an actual race mistake. Before DLC was out, doing tracks in random order was acceptable like in MKW but it doesn't work out here because you need to do multiple sets to do all tracks now and the game repeats tracks if it's a different set so everyone agreed to use "in order" for these runs.
One last thing is that using the digital version with a good SSD (Solid State Drive) is the fastest way to do this since timing includes load times for this game because Nintendo, in their super wise decisions, decided that the timer was not needed in any mode outside Time Trial. This wasn't a problem with MKW since you could add up every track's times to get the final time but now that's not possible unless you want to crunch numbers down to the frame and even then that would leave too much room for error and is quite arbitrary. Before you go "SSDs are capped by USB 2.0 speed", there's an actual difference and SSDs are slightly faster overall by frames. Add up 2-3 frames per loading screen over 1.6 hours and they add up eventually. Also, USB sticks are not the same so don't assume you're gonna get the same performance out of them.
Regarding controllers, it's been known that motion-based controllers have an actual advantage over regular controls in this game, unlike MKW where every control scheme had the same overall potential. Despite that, I choose to not use them because I feel much more comfortable with standard controls and the difference affects only a few tracks and it's very precise. Just letting people know this exists in case they want to jump to Time Trial eventually.
I guess that's enough explanation for this type of run. You can always head to sites like mariokart64.com/mk8 if you want to really want to go down the rabbit's hole.
Now, here are the run's per-track comments. I'm gonna list one thing about each track just like how I did with the MKW run and maybe add some trivia and stuff (this is the US version so the names won't match the European version):
Mario Kart Stadium: went decent except for missing the MT before the glider section in lap 1 and 3. Would have restarted but there were no Blues or Bolts.
Water Park: the first Bolt became a combo with the Green shell and then I didn't see the banana and messed the shortcut. Luckily not much loss since I had a shroom.
Sweet Sweet Canyon: the music in this level makes me remember Nisekoi for some reason. I could have used the Super Horn to knock the banana but I knew a Blue would come so it worked out for the best because I was at the cannon and you can no longer avoid Blue Shells by getting into a cannon.
Thwomp Ruins: apart from the Blue on the worst spot possible and one Bolt, it went well. I even got a shroom to cut one corner.
Mario Circuit: this is the track that became a SSB4 stage this time. Even at that Mario Kart has taken F-Zero's spot. In a way, it is better when you get a Bolt + Blue combo because you're spinning out just once, opposed to being stopped 2 times and they're pretty much unavoidable usually. The race was good outside that.
Toad Harbor: pretty good overall. Hit some grass and couldn't cut a corner very well but only 1 Blue hit. I didn't take the shorter path because it's easier to crash in 200cc.
Twisted Mansion: this house is stuffed with runaway Stands! I use the brakes in the curve before the statues with hammers because it's too fast at normal speed but I messed up in lap 1. At least I got a shroom to cut the final corner in lap 3.
Shy Guy Falls: my strat to hold onto the Super Horn was messed up by the Bolt coming first. It's pretty much a given to see either a Blue or Bolt or both in each race but the order and distance does make a big difference. The end was saved by the triple shroom.
Sunshine Airport: apart from that mess up at the start. Good round. The Super Horn did its job.
Dolphin Shoals: this level is one of my weakest ones. It uses special Kart combinations in Time Trial due to the nature of the road. For the final corner with the glider I hold down in the stick to fly farther but I messed up in lap 1 and 2. The time loss was minor fortunately.
Electrodrome: this track reminds me of Casino Palace Double Branches from F-Zero GX. it went well outside the Bolt combo and the Blue. The final corner cut with the shroom could have been better.
Mount Wario: here's one track that doesn't loop. Overall I don't like this type of track because it feels limited. While the RNG was good, my actual racing was pretty bad. Missed zippers, bad corners, didn't get the shortcut jump correct and hit a tree.
Cloudtop Cruise: absolutely dreadful round. There was pretty much a mistake every 5 seconds. I'm surprised I could even finish that in 1st since I've lost better races. This must have been the work of an enemy Stand!!
Bone-Dry Ruins: another hard to race track. The sand makes some corners trickier than normal and the last section is weird. Iggy got me bad in lap 2. Overall it was so-so and it was lucky the RNG didn't act up. Braking in the second to last turn helps a bit.
Bowser's Castle: oh boy. This one is usually rough and this time it was no exception. Too many erros to list so I'll just say the RNG was too kind to let me get 1st.
Rainbow Road: another rough track. This stretch from MW to this track is pretty tough. I brake in the first 2 corners to avoid falling and it worked but then I fell in a way that had never happened to me before in the section with split roads. Luckily RNG remained easy on me.
Wii Moo Moo Meadows: simplicity is happiness as I like to say and this track is pretty simple overall. I found it funny that I lapped one CPU here.
GBA Mario Circuit: this track changed quite a bit here. Lap 1 had a pretty bad start, courtesy of good ol' Morton getting in the way. After he messed up and stayed behind, things went better.
DS Cheep Cheep Beach: I hadn't mentioned it earlier but the speed underwater in this game is almost the same as on land so you can cut some corners by driving in water sections without much speed loss. The race went pretty good.
N64 Toad's Turnpike: ideally you shouldn't hit any cars if you do well but I hit them because I'm bad. At least the RNG was soft.
GCN Dry Dry Desert: another track that is hard to drive due to the road. This is also a track where motion-based controllers have their magic advantage (it seems to be mostly courses with bad terrain). My driving was a bit weak in some parts and I got the Blue + Bolt combo.
SNES Donut Plains 3: this is another one of my weak tracks. It's not suited that well to this speed. Things could have gone much worse but it was pretty decent this time.
N64 Royal Raceway: one of my favorite tracks. This one went pretty decent except for when I went into the grass. I held the Super Horn for nothing here...
3DS DK Jungle: one of the longest tracks in the game. I take the normal road in the whole track because I find myself losing time in the intended shortcuts usually. Overall it went well.
DS Wario Stadium: another one of my favorite tracks. Unlike MKW, in MK7 and MK8 tricking is not always good to do because it throws off your angles and causes a lot of air time, which is slower and bad. This track is notorious for these bad tricking spots so I avoid tricking in many places. There was one bad mistake in the anti-grav section in lap 1.
GCN Sherbet Land: the new underwater sections of this track are slower than the old path. It sucks because you have to avoid the actual new paths. Also, this track is off road entirely and makes things trickier. The CPU was focused on making me Bite the Dust but I avoided it barely.
3DS Music Park: I don't like this track very much. It seems like my skills ran away because I played pretty bad here with some noob mistakes. Still, it was pretty lucky to get 1st after all that.
N64 Yoshi Valley: the positions are no longer hidden in this track but that doesn't really make any difference if you looked at the minimap in both the original and here. The pain I felt when crashing by mistake on the bridge was close to the pain felt by the Yoshi that laid the big egg.
DS Tick-Tock Clock: like clockwork, I got comboed into a pit by the Bolt. I don't trick in the ramp that opens the glider because, in 200cc, doing that sends you out of bounds easily (why that roof has an OoB trigger is a puzzle)
3DS Piranha Plant Slide: driving in the sections with flowing water speeds you up so it's a good idea to aim for them. Overall it went well and I got shrooms in key spots and no bad accidents.
Wii Grumble Volcano: this track got fixed up from the glitchy Wii version and it's more challenging now. In lap 3 I fell by a string. I guess I got too confident there. Not much else went bad outside going off-road.
N64 Rainbow Road: this track would have been perfect with 2 laps like Wario Colosseum in MKDD but they made it just 1 lap and it feels too short now since the track's scale was downsized too (one lap here in 150cc is still shorter than 1 lap from the original). One good thing about being short is that there's less opportunities for mistakes and bad RNG. All I got was one bolt right at the end.
GCN Yoshi Circuit: we're now venturing into DLC territory. I find it odd they decided to remake this track again since it had been a retro track in MKDS but I guess MKDS looks too dated and they decided to do some of those retro tracks again. The track went pretty well overall. The corners are pretty difficult without slamming the brakes all the time and this makes smaller Kart combos better.
Excitebike Arena: a while after the first DLC was out I learned this track's layout is random in non-Time Trial modes. I find that pretty rough because bad RNG could make you lose time that way. Things went average and I messed up before the final turn in lap 1 and 2 because taking that boost ramp was slower but it was hard to see.
Dragon Driftway: this track is pretty complicated in corners but I don't know what happened to me and I played extremely bad here, making new mistakes. It was so bad that this is the point where my 1st place perfect streak died and the RNG wasn't even that bad. Rest in pieces perfect 48 tracks run.
Mute City: a few years ago, it was quite the experience unlocking the Joker Cup in F-Zero X and seeing the Rainbow Road from Mario Kart 64 show up in a much more dangerous and fast form. Later the RR music was added in the FZX Expansion Kit and it completed the experience with one of the most awesome remixes seen in these games. Fast forward 16 years later and things have finally come full circle with MK8 DLC having an F-Zero-themed track in it (though this time it's an original track not present in any F-zero game). In the final section after the jump, you can hold down in the stick to float more and bypass all the dirt in a straight line. The race went decent but lap 2 was rough.
Wii Wario's Gold Mine: it's a funny coincidence that among the tracks from MKW that came back here, there were 2 formerly glitchy tracks. The MK8 system really fixed those problems. The race was pretty clean overall and the RNG was nice.
SNES Rainbow Road: this track is now the track that has returned the most times of any MK track. This is the 4th time it appears in a game and MK7 already had a remake of it. It is overkill imo and too soon. For some reason it's easy to lap opponents here. I guess they fall too much.
Ice Ice Outpost: like Sherbet Land, this track's "shortcuts" are slower than the regular path. I still haven't even used them yet. The RNG must have been frozen since there were virtually no attacks this time.
Hyrule Circuit: I don't think anyone ever expected this crossover before it was announced. The corner by the end can be cut without the shroom and stepping into the grass and still save time. hitting the switches to open the master sword path is tricky so I don't do it. Overall this one went average to bad with some of those bad turns.
GCN Baby Park: this track is back and ready to be a rock in the shoe. Fortunately you can cut the grass without losing the MT in 200cc. RNG was asleep again since none of the usual trolling happened.
GBA Cheese Land: this track is pretty hard to drive well. I usually do badly in it. One thing I probably forgot to mention earlier is that, when a bolt hits you in 200cc, you can start an MT while small pretty easily thanks to the speed. It's almost impossible in 150cc because you can only slide at top speed. This time I got 1st place because the game knew the perfect run was dead already.
Wild Woods: this track is set up similar to Shy Guy Falls since many parts of it are vertical. This race went pretty well except for the fall I had when dodging one of DK's discarded snacks.
Animal Crossing: this track has 4 versions that cycle in every non-Time Trial mode. I got fall which didn't look so bad but I don't know which one is best. The race itself was boring like most of the activities in Animal Crossing.
3DS Neo Bowser City: the number 13 right at the start was the first sign of what was in storage for me. This race went like a Friday the 13th movie. Lap 1 was like when the teens get to Crystal Lake and have fun, lap 2 was when Jason shows up picking off the first unlucky victims and lap 3 was when he went full power and slaughtered everyone. Rosalina wasn't final girl material so she got a machete, axe, arrow, etc. flung at her by the end of the race.
GBA Ribbon Road: another track with a massive face lift in 3D. The wavy part is tricky to do well without accidental tricks. I did average here.
Super Bell Subway: this track is fairly simple but the trains get in the way in critical spots at the worst time since there's dirt very close to the tracks. I crashed a few times into them. Good thing the item RNG was nice.
Big Blue: the final track of the whole game turns out to be a 1-lap non-loop track. I was a bit disappointed because this track can't be remade in F-Zero X Expansion Kit like MC. The actual race went well. The CPU's Blue + Bolt combo even failed since the bolt's effect didn't hit me completely (didn't lose coins). You can cut part of the track easily in 200cc in the part where I did. I think there are other cuts but I learned just one.
The way I timed this run, I started right when clicking OK at the start and ended right after crossing the finish line at Big Blue. That gave me 1:40:49.
Well, there it is. That was one decent run overall and I felt relieved when I got it since I thought getting into the 1'40s was much further away. My previous time was like 45 seconds slower so I thought I'd have more improvements in-between, especially since my previous PB was about the same gameplay level but the RNG was worse.
This run was actually born from my practice to run this game at AGDQ but several things got in the way and stopped me from going there so I settled for submitting to SDA for now. I plan to improve later hopefully.
You can watch this run in my youtube channel and leave a comment if you like it ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2_Is0nzGGI ) or you can leave a comment in Twitter ( https://twitter.com/JK_UchihaSDA ).
Finally, thanks to the SDA staff for running the site and keeping it going after so long. It's a place that's still got its own unique place in the internet.
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