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Switch to a different character class if the powersliding feels wrong. This is very important; you need to find one that feels good to you. I would honestly not recommend "beginner" classes like Polar and Pura, as they powerslide TOO tightly (though this is sometimes good on certain tracks). Most people tend to like the acceleration class characters, like Coco, as they're pretty well-rounded. The expert/speed class characters like Tiny and Penta are great as well, as you can take wide powerslides on straightaways and get free mini-turbos fairly easily with them, and you can always hop around turns that are too tight if needed, since they have the lowest turning stat. To elaborate on that, you can actually turn yourself much tighter while hopping than you can while powersliding, so if you aren't powersliding tightly enough and are about to hit a wall, try hopping inwards once or twice -- it'll probably save you. Also practice with powersliding tight and powersliding wide (by holding the stick inwards and outwards respectively), this is very important for avoiding those pesky walls.
If you are having trouble landing a powerslide in the correct direction, the trick is to not input the direction you want to slide in until right before you hit the ground, as that's all that is required. For example, you don't have to jump and hold left the entire time you're in the air if you want to powerslide left, you just have to be holding left the moment your kart lands. You could even hop out to the right but still land and be powersliding left -- this is very useful for tracks like Crash Cove where you might accidentally drift too tightly around the long wall near the end and need to adjust yourself outwards a little bit but want to keep close to the wall still.
Crash Coves and Roo's Tubes are great tracks for practicing powersliding as they're relatively simply designed. Slide Coliseum (aptly named) is good as well.
Become familiar with the rhythm of the three boosts while powersliding. Ideally, you want to always hit perfect boosts, as they will give you the largest amount of speed and also build your boost reserves up the most. It's okay to just go for smaller boosts at first -- just focus on not failing the timing completely. And keep in mind that the powerslide boosts will actually make you turn a bit tighter when they go off, so if you want to powerslide really tightly, you can quickly do three small boosts and it should help. Remember to never come into contact with any walls, as this will immediately remove all boost reserves from your kart, which is very bad. Take a shot for every time I just wrote "boost."
You probably noticed I wrote "boost reserves" up there. In CTR, every time you do some kind of turbo boost, you add to a sort of invisible counter -- your reserves. Think of it as a timer that starts when you first boost and is constantly ticking downwards, but can be added to by boosting more (primarily powerslide boosts) to keep it from hitting zero. This probably isn't perfectly accurate, but let's say that a "good" powerslide boost adds 1 to the counter, a "great" boost adds 2, and a "perfect" adds 3.
When this imaginary timer hits zero, your kart goes back to its normal, lowest state of speed, with no fire coming out of the exhaust pipes. The base state, in other words. As long as you can keep your reserves up by boosting consistently, you will remain in a heightened state of speed, even when you aren't boosting (though it will run out quickly if you stop boosting, depending on how much you've built up). There are three heightened states of speed from boosting/reserves. In order of increasing speed, they are:
-Powerslide boost state: This one can be reached at any time, all you have to do is perform some powerslide boosts. When you've done enough, the fire from your exhaust will turn orange, and it'll stay that way if you keep your reserves up enough. When this state is building up from base or going back down to base, the fire will be red colored and glowing more dimly.
-Turbo pad state/Sacred Fire: The name "Sacred Fire" comes from what this state was referred to as in the original CTR by a lot of the community. Your kart will immediately go into this state when you hit a regular Turbo pad, and you'll know it by the big, bright orange/yellow flames coming out of the exhaust. In this state, your top speed will be noticeably higher than the previous state, so it's important to get it and keep it if you are able to. A word of warning -- if you do not have at least a few boosts in your reserves when you hit a turbo pad, or you do not boost again soon after hitting the pad, this state will run out almost immediately, so it's important to keep that in mind. Note that you can keep Sacred Fire up indefinitely as long as you're doing enough powerslide boosts; you're not required to hit more turbo pads or anything. Also, when you're in this state, your powerslide boosts will make a cool "FWOOSH" sound.
-Super turbo pad state/USF: USF stands for Ultimate Sacred Fire. This state can only be reached by hitting a super turbo pad, and you'll know you have it when your exhaust fire is colored light blue in the center. This state will allow you to reach extremely fast speeds; a very large jump from the speed that Sacred Fire gives you. It is possible to keep this state indefinitely just like Sacred Fire, and pretty much all the same rules from above apply. However, the sheer speed you have in USF can make your kart hard to control, and you will likely end up contacting a wall or not having time to keep your reserves up unless you are very familiar with the track. Here's a list of super turbo pads (I'm not familiar with all the CNK ones, please don't hate me):
-On Polar Pass, the pad at the final, big jump (this one is easy to drive over because of the lip right before it -- try just driving straight over the lip without jumping on the right side of the ramp and you should hit it)
-On Hot Air Skyway, the pad at the very bottom of the downwards spiral
-On Cortex Castle, the pad at the final, big jump
-On N.Gin Labs, the pad at the jump before the turbo tunnel
-The turbo tunnel itself is one big super turbo pad
-The pad at the final, big jump before the last stretch, after the spiral upwards
-On Oxide Station, the pad at the big jump through space (where the sound goes muffled)
-Every single pad on Turbo Track
-Most if not all of the pads on Electron Avenue
-A couple on Hyper Spaceway, I think the big jump at the beginning and the big jump into the large blue tunnel with the rotating hazards near the end
I'm sure there are more on the CNK tracks, so feel free to mention them in a reply.
Finally, one last, advanced trick that I think everyone should know about: It is possible to perform a very tight U-turn at full speed by pressing (on the d-pad) down+left/right+brake while hopping repeatedly with R1 or L1. You also have to stop pressing the gas while you're doing this, or you will just be doing a normal hopping turn. It is possible to perform this with the control stick with the correct angle, but I would not recommend it as it's not as consistent. This trick is critical to taking certain tight turns very quickly and smoothly, ESPECIALLY if you're playing a speed class character like Tiny or Penta that have the lowest turning stat. Try it on the triple U-turn on Turbo Track and watch as you overtake everyone else with ease. It also helps you take the tight spiral climb in the middle of Dragon Mines fairly quickly without hitting the wall, as well as the u-turn at the end of Hot Air Skyway, and all those sharp turns on Oxide Station. And If you're already in the air from a big jump, you can skip the hopping part and just press the other inputs midair, and you'll perform an extremely tight turn before you even land (very useful on those tight, alternating turns preceded by ramps near the beginning of Cortex Castle).
Something very important to note about this trick: if you do it correctly, you will not lose your reserves, even though you're pressing the brake button. I'm still kind of experimenting with it, but I'm fairly sure that for this to happen, you have to make sure that you don't hit the brakes until you're already in the air from hopping -- if you hit them while you're still on the ground, you will immediately lose all reserves and return to base state. It is possible to use this trick to do crazy s*** like hop up the whole spiral in Dragon Mines while maintaining Sacred Fire. I've also managed to maintain USF for nearly the entire race on Hot Air Skyway, N.Gin Labs and Polar Pass while using Penta, a speed character, and making use of this trick (not as necessary on N.Gin Labs and Polar Pass, but it definitely helps).
I realize that the powersliding and boost mechanics are pretty complex for newcomers, but I promise that the game becomes ten times more fun to play once you've mastered them and can make the AI eat your dust (unless you're playing on Hard). Hopefully these explanations shed some light on the mechanics a little better.
This should help some people at least :)
Prinny rule number one: All posts must contain at least one 'dood'. So here it is, dood.
Ill tag this for later! Thanks!
I had no idea about the reserves mechanic, so I’ll work on drifting without any grazing of walls.
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I'm definitely not reading all this, but great work TC
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Very nice and informative thread about powersliding and SF/USF.
I put in a sticky request for this.
Tagged for later gonna request sticky as well
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Good write-up. I requested a sticky as well.
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