When the 200cc speed class was originally added to Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, I was excited to try it and hoped to obtain triple-stars on all the cups, much like I had done with all the previous content. To obtain triple-stars, players have to finish in 1st place in all four races within the cup. Yet, very quickly, I was surprised by how different the game felt and the tracks played in 200cc; almost like the game was never designed for speeds that fast (which it probably was not). It was very challenging and, most of the time, my poor bike would skid and slip all over the place, humping walls and falling down every ravine. For a competent player, it was highly unnerving and, after a couple of triple-starred cups in 200cc, I sort of moved on from the game again.
Fast forward to the release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe last month, which came packed with all the updates and DLC from the original, including the aforementioned 200cc speed class. I started “slow” by warming up with some 150cc cups, enjoying what was already an amazing game in its new 1080p splendor. After a few cups, I absentmindedly scrolled down to 200cc and read its description. It said “CRAZY FAST! Braking is crucial.” My eyebrow raised. I have always known how to brake in Mario Kart but had never thought to try braking while drifting. Can racers brake while drifting AND maintain the Mini-Turbos? If possible this could be a potential solution to the 200cc puzzle!
I jumped right into a 200cc Mushroom Cup to give it a try and, holy crap, it worked! By pressing the brake button (B) while still holding the Accelerator and Jump buttons (A and R) during a drift, the drift’s “drag” and vehicle speed are decreased, but charging of Mini-Turbos persists. So, once stable and facing the right direction, players can release the brake, then let go of the drift and enjoy whichever Turbo they were able to charge. After performing this maneuver two or three more times, I quickly realized what I had been missing from 200cc. It was “too challenging” before because I was not aware of what it expected of me. To drift and maneuver successfully through 200cc, braking is a must. If that “Braking is crucial” message was there on the original game, I completely missed it.
I was not by any means bored or tired of the Mario Kart formula, but this new added “layer” of control felt fresh and exciting; not only as a necessity in 200cc, but also as a great addition to the standard 100-150cc “toolbox”. There have always been a few tight turns here and there that, unless I started drifts earlier than normal, my poor bike would just completely drift across and off the road. Dry Dry Dessert, I am looking at you. Now with braking, I can better correct drifts that would have been failures before.
As of this writing, I have already completed all 150cc and 200cc cups with triple-stars. 200cc is still a bit hectic and crazy but no longer the completely out of control and luck based endeavor that it felt like before.