NCS Game Notes
» The Wii Remote controls are:
A - View behind your racer
1 - Brakes
2 - Accelerate
B - Launch weapon
An alternative control scheme allows the use of the Nunchuk in conjunction with the Wii Remote.
» The game is playable with just the Wii Remote by itself if you don't feel like bolting the controller into the Wii Handle. Simply hold it horizontally and tilt it to the left or right to tackle the turns. To increase the angle of your turn, tilt it further.
» The third racecourse has the karts hopping on mushroom tops along the track which have to be bounced upon in sequence in order to get to the other side. If you veer off course, you'll drop into the abyss. There's an alternate route for racers who don't want to take a risk on the mushroom pathway. The third course also features Goombas who wander around the track without regard for their lives. If a racer hits a Gooma, his vehicle will spin out. In later tracks, cows, burrowing moles, and other creatures also provide obstacles to avoid when throttling through a course.
» In addition to the banana peels and koopa shells used for offensive attacks, there's also a squid-ink weapon which obscures your field of vision with dark splotches on the screen which eventually slide away. There are some weapon power-ups that are too powerful. For example, we were leading in one race by a wide margin but then we got hit by what seemed to be lightning followed by a zooming koopa shell from behind. The coup de grace was a whizzing aerial bomb-thing that blew our racer to kingdom come.
» When Baby Mario passes a competitor, he'll turn his head and squeak "Bye Bye."
» Drift mechanics are in evidence.
» The game racing options are 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc at the outset. The 50cc races are easy while the 100cc are somewhat more challenging. The 150cc races are very challenging and the COM-controlled competitors seem to have an edge when it comes to maintaining leaderboard positioning during a race.
» The 12 characters featured in the game are:
» If you choose Baby Peach and a 100cc race, she can ride on three types of motorbikes including one that's shaped like a bullet. A pink pullet. In the 150cc race, Baby Mario can choose from six different vehicles including one that's a souped-up baby carriage. When Baby Mario loses, he'll bawl in his vehicle and cry out, "Oh no, Ima Lose" or "Mama Mia."
» When taking a ramp, whip the Wii Remote upwards to perform a twirling stunt or a heels-over-head loop-de-loop if you're on a motorbike. Motorbike racers can also pop a wheelie by twitching the Wii Remote upwards which gives a slight improvement in speed for a short moment.
NCS Freeloader Update
«©NCSX» NCS heard news about Mario Kart Wii [JP] working and then not working on USA consoles from different sources. Since second-hand information can never be trusted 100%, we tested the game ourselves this morning on a USA Wii with v3.0U firmware and the Freeloader boot disc.
1) Powered up the USA Wii and loaded the Freeloader. Waited for the two color bars to appear and then inserted Mario Kart Wii. The game appears on the Wii Channel but upon choosing it, the screen goes black and the system locks up. We suspected newer firmware was needed.
2) Inserted Smash Bros Brawl into the USA Wii and upgraded the firmware to 3.1U. Reset the system and then inserted the Freeloader. The color bars appear and we plugged Mario Kart Wii into the drive once again. Mario Kart showed up on the Wii Channel and we booted it. This time:
THE GAME WORKS
3) As usual, we have to test everything for ourselves instead of relying on wonky third party information but here it is again:
Please note that your Wii must be updated with the 3.1U firmware before the Japanese version of Mario Kart will work on your console with the Freeloader.
Update: April 11, 2008
«©NCSX» Just another update on Wii Mario Kart (JPN) and Datel's Freeloader. We updated our USA Wii console to the 3.2U firmware and it still works with the Freeloader and Japanese Mario Kart. So... the rumors of the update breaking Freeloader functionality are unfounded.
Of course, there's always the chance that the next firmware update from Nintendo will bust up the Freeloader but until then, Datel's boot disc is holding up rather well. As an aside, our U.K. partner who supplies us with European goodies like Freshly Picked has confirmed that the European version of Mario Kart Wii also works on a USA Wii (3.1U or 3.2U firmware) + Freeloader. If we had known that earlier, we would have imported the European (English language) version instead of the Japanese version.