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Konami Krazy Racers [Game Boy Advance]


Konami Krazy Racers (GBA) - Hard Mode Difficulty

What does it mean to be Krazy? Is it equivalent to being Crazy or is it a distinguishable trait in and of itself?

Few subpopulations of humans may grasp the subtle magnitude involved in changing the first letter of a verb or adjective. For example, only Very Hard Mode participants may comprehend Mortal Kombat's kombat. Within that realm of death, Kombat is much different than Combat...

Perhaps, to be Krazy is to forgo weak social norms and Challenge oneself. Perhaps, to be Krazy is to achieve a monumental goal in an obscure video game that is wholly devoid of external expectations.

The Challenge? Complete each Cup on Hard Mode Difficulty.

Is it a worthwhile Challenge? Let's find out.


Konami Krazy Racers (GBA) - Hard Mode Difficulty


Gameplay


Released months before the esteemed Mario Kart Super Circuit, Konami Krazy Racers emerged as a launch title with the Game Boy Advance in 2001. This is a unique game brewed from the melting pot of previous generations of kart racing games from the 20th century.

As the wheel turned the millennium, this pre-internet racing genre experienced a strange development boom. Nintendo kept pushing the Mario Kart franchise. Rare entered the development race with Diddy Kong Racing. And, Konami trailed behind with Krazy Racers to showcase its own lore by featuring the standard conglomerate of franchise characters. There are countless other companies that joined this competitive kart racing scene.


Konami Krazy Racers (GBA) - Hard Mode Difficulty

The most renown Konami characters are Goemon, Dracula and Gray Fox from the Mystical Ninja, Castlevania and Metal Gear series respectively. Lesser known are a range of silly characters with infuriating taunts such as a children's bicycle bugle clown horn! Indeed, inspiration to destroy one's enemies derives from the unlikeliest of origins.

Lord Rigor chose the stoic Maoi. Although perhaps unknown to most Konami players, the legendary Maoi is a Hard enemy buried deep in the relentless space missions of Gradius III. Much like the mystique surrounding its Easter Island forebears, reaching the Maoi is a Difficult venture on Gradius III's Arcade Mode; a feat that Lord Rigor was only able to achieve on lesser Difficulties.


Konami Krazy Racers (GBA) - Hard Mode Difficulty

Maoi is slow. But, like rolling a boulder downhill, it has one of the fastest top speeds once fully accelerated. Specifically, a standard top speed of 161 kilometres per hour and a maximum speed of 203 Km/h whilst boosting:



Regarding items, players in the last places don't receive any item advantages over players leading the race. Fully randomized items is an interesting development decision with clear pros and cons. On one human hand, players who earned their lead will generally stay in the lead. On the other human hand, with performance-based items, trailing players are provided an opportunity to recover from any previous unluckiness. Not all racing games are created equally making this example one of many important programming choices.

Each character has a special item that is rarely obtained. Despite offering a great advantage, these special items aren't as egregious as the Bullet Bill "win button" on Mario Kart Wii. Skill is still required for proper utilization of these rarities.


Maoi's item is of untold power: by channeling the spirits of brethren Maois, primeval stonework unites manufactured metal. Offering both speed and a deadly enemy seeking missile, fortunate players may be bestowed this treasure:


Konami Krazy Racers (GBA) - Hard Mode Difficulty


Hard Mode


Human racers with different play styles should be encouraged to choose options that align to those styles. There should always be multiple methods to meet the same singular goal. For instance, many players might select Beartank for agility's sake whereas Lord Rigor chose Maoi for its poise. Regardless, both characters can beat Konami Krazy Racers on Hard Mode.


Mario Kart veterans will note that Easy, Normal and Hard Mode essentially equates to 50cc, 100cc and 150cc respectively. In other words, the higher the difficulty, the faster racing. The lower the difficulty, the less emphasis on mastering Konami Krazy Racer's tools.

For example, the Km/h speedometer gauge on the Head-Up Display (HUD) is incredibly useful. Compared to other HUD tools that may crowd screen space, it is invaluable to be able to monitor one's speed to effectively compete against faster characters on Hard Mode. This gauge was especially important because the majority of the tracks in Konami Krazy Racers includes abrupt turns; many of which are painstakingly sharp between 90 and 180 degrees.



Strong peripheral utilization of both the map tool and the speed gauge on the HUD is imperative to properly plan turns and make acceleration decisions. In addition, securing the Blue Bell boost item enables proper recovery after decelerating around sharp turns. Race failure is likely if another Krazy racer steals the only boost available necessary to competitively navigate the Hardest tracks.


Konami Krazy Racers (GBA) - Hard Mode Difficulty

It must be noted that the second to last track on the Champion Cup, Magma Castle 2, includes a series of blue arrow boosters that are unlike standard track boost pads. On this roller coaster of six right angles, kart control is seized. Unfortunately, there is a miserable strategy to exit this confusing ride that demands… practice. Other race competitors, of course, navigate it with ease.


Konami Krazy Racers (GBA) - Hard Mode Difficulty

Lord Rigor's invented strategy is this: when entering the first blue arrow booster, no buttons should be pressed. Engage the gas button on the third-to-last arrow and release it again before the final arrow. The result is the ability to exit the final blue arrow booster in a position that allows utilization of the subsequent standard blue boost. Timing this is imperfect, requiring even more practice. Adding insult to injury, these blue arrow boosters aren't on any other tracks making this exercise an intolerable waste of time.

Thus, Magma Castle 2 is the Hardest track on Krazy Racers but, for the wrong reasons. As Lord Rigor has declared many times throughout His infinite history, players must be properly incentivized to invest time into Hard Modes. If not, there is no Personal Gratification in such Difficulty. Regrettably, Bowser's fearsome lava legacy lives on in the form of an unworthy Challenge due to these blue arrow boosters.


Konami Krazy Racers (GBA) - Hard Mode Difficulty

Driving in Konami Krazy Racers is otherwise fairly straight-forward. Racing the other characters on Hard Mode is not.

Most games of this racing genre feature characters with different attributes based on size. As mentioned, character speed is a variable but the standard weight of a character is not. This drastically affects the outcome of enemy kart confrontations. Many times, enemies such as Nyami, the cat-girl, or Takosuke, the octopus-boy, shoved Maoi aside...

As such, in an alternate Krazy world, dense volcanic stone carved by ancient masons is shoved aside by tiny humanoids resembling adorable animals.



Ultimately, Lord Rigor defeated these pestilent enemies. The magma pools were conquered, the frozen tundras were navigated and the rainbow bridge, Bifröst, was ascended!


After nearly a dozen attempts, below is Lord Rigor's triumph in beating all four Cups simultaneously without a Game Over. Goemon, the sly, shall remain Maoi's archenemy:



Skybridge 1 & 2 proved to be the most enjoyable tracks. Much like Ribbon Road on Mario Kart Super Circuit, well-placed boosts offers rewarding strategies worth practicing for. Lord Rigor may perhaps return to Konami Krazy Racers someday and record time trials for these, in time.


Lastly, speaking of Skybridge 1, a certain obstacle created immense pain for Lord Rigor's enemies. Many tracks include gaps that must be jumped over in which the second gap on Skybridge 1 became a pit of doom for the unwary. To successfully jump over this area, nearly all speed must be reduced prior to flight. Without fail, the Krazy AI computers consistently plummeted to their deaths on Skybridge 1 as well as on the Space Colony 3 track.


Konami Krazy Racers (GBA) - Hard Mode Difficulty
Konami Krazy Racers (GBA) - Hard Mode Difficulty

What originated as an oversight by the Konami developers resulted in an observational vengeance that Lord Rigor fully partook in. No effort required. Maoi's piercing red eye cavities is of satisfaction:




Conclusion


Is this a worthy Challenge? No.

Konami Krazy Racers could have been a rewarding ride. Within the constraints of this racing genre on Game Boy Advance technology, there are Challenging tracks worth mastering. In addition, much like Mario Kart, the computer AIs were motivational menaces that fueled the path towards 1st place glory.


Alas, certain core gameplay mechanics are unfair throughout this pursuit. From not properly balancing character attributes to being forced to practice the infamous blue arrow boosters on Magma Castle 2, the Hard Mode experience is undeserving. Players should select characters based on an innate interest in a character and not necessarily on that character's racing attributes alone.


To answer the original question:


What does it mean to be Krazy?


Kraziness is merely a synonym of craziness. Attempting Hard Mode on Konami Krazy Racers is crazy because only a crazed individual would waste time on an unworthy Challenge. Instead, simply consider selecting Easy or Normal Mode to enjoy the Krazy ride. Along the way, look out the window and choose a character that resonates admirable values.

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