Choco Mountain: The History of Mario Kart 64's Most Infamous TrackFeb 27, 2020
mountainis the third course in the flower cup in nintendo's
kart64. and it honestly doesn't look too crazy at first glance it's just a brown course with a white sky no crazy upside down or underwater driving like in the newer games the walls are practically on top of you so you don't have a lot of space to navigate the
track, but you will see that this field has a certain reputation, there is a group of people who have been fighting each other for the past. a couple of decades to finish the course in world record time what draws these players to Choco Mountain in particular, well probably the fact that this course can absolutely and completely break, let's start by taking a close look at the
trackitself, Choco Mountain starts with some rapid turns to the top of the course followed by a long 180 degree turn that puts you inside a tunnel during each of these turns it's optimal to do what is known as a mini turbo press r to jump and start your turn to drift with white smoke coming out of the bottom of your cart, then push the control stick in the opposite direction of the turn and push it back again, the smoke should turn yellow, do the same with the control stick again and the smoke turns orange that means your mini turbo is full and when you release r you will get a slight speed boost this seems like it will be a slow process but a skilled player can run dozens of these mini turbos in a row for the entire beginning of the race.
mountainis appropriately a loop around a chocolate mountain, as you can see in this aerial view after going through the tunnel it drives along a twisty section with hills on either side and then does another 180 degree turn around a pond of water with boulders falling from above then another right turn a few more bouncing hills and you're done with the turn ok it doesn't seem so crazy that's probably what
mostpeople were thinking when this game was released in North America in February 1997, but it was not.
It wasn't long before people realized there was a lot more to this track than met the eye and it all started with a shortcut that was discovered literally right after the game came out, though probably multiple players. they discovered the shortcut independently of each other. First documented in an email from legendary Mario Kart 64 player David Wan dated April 19, 1997, the email provided the following instructions to perform the shortcut through Choco Mountain as usual until you reach to the part where you can see the flyover on your left in time trial mode you can see a railing on your left go to the part just before it starts going down then turn 90 degrees to your left drive towards the wall and press the r button to jump around the time it hit and you will jump right over the wall.
This little technique became known as a wall jump pretty much everywhere in the game. much, much higher,
kart64 runs at about 30 frames per second on the ntsc version, so in
mostsituations you only have one-thirtieth of a second to time a wall jump, but since your card you travel so fast sometimes its not possible at all in time the wall jump the window you have the jump is actually smaller than the length your cart travels in one frame if you are going at top speed so a Sometimes your cart jumps that perfect position and hits the wall before it has a chance to jump this is known as the zero frame jump and when it happens your cart falls over like this looking at the aerial view of the crash mountain it's easy to see from what this saves so much time the short cut is done here and its jumping from the bottom to the top when the designers made this course they put both ends of the loop around the water next to each other the idea was to put a railing on the top top so it wouldn't fall off at the bottom and put a wall next to the bottom so you couldn't get to the top but with the vigilante uncovered that pretty much removed the wall barrier as long as players could press r button at the right time and not get framed at zero could skip the long loop around the water with falling rocks and save a few seconds in that same email david juan provided the first two shortcut world record times for choco mountain 2986 for fastest lap and 132.53 for the three fastest laps unfortunately no video exists for any of these times and I couldn't find a picture of them anywhere; still, the timings were particularly important because they laid the groundwork for the two ways chocolate mountain could be played, either no shortcut where you drive as normal or shortcut where you do the wall jump and for the next two months in In 1997 there were reports of players reducing shortcut times realizing that you didn't need to stop to do the wall jump and that you could instead just slide onto the wall like this, a guy named Kevin Booth allegedly lowered the 3 lap world record at 128 and someone with the nickname abe apparently lowered it to 122 and then came June 24, 1997.
David Wong would send another email that day and he was about to reveal more to the world about the mountain del choco if you thought the wall jump was crazy get ready david wan is about to completely destroy a choco mountain juan had already discovered a shortcut in the chaco mountain the gray wall jump but this email had three more and the kicker all three were discovered within the same 24 hour period shortcut number one after completing 7 16 of a lap immediately go left and jump climb the mountain fast jump with the r button while driving up the mountain if you do this In the right place, you will completely clear the mountain and your cart will circle for a few seconds and land just behind three hills immediately behind the finish line.
Let's see what's really going on here. The goal of the player is to get from this place to this place normally if you try to jump down the side of any hill or mountain on the track you will fall down when you reach the top but as you can see in this 2008 video by matthias rustemeier, there's a polygon here at the top that you can barely If you do, jump and you'll fall to the other side skipping the whole number two loop shortcut right before you hit the big hill before the overpass area. Go directly to the wall to your left.
Drive towards her to the fullest. speed up and jump while hitting it if you do this in the right spot you will clear the wall and land in the same area as the first shortcut this shortcut was more or less a faster version of the jump ladder shortcut that you end up cutting a bit less off the track by the time you save not having to jump up and down the wall more than the number three shortcut at the beginning of the course makes up for, just drive about a car length forward from the starting line and drive towards the wall on your left with the help of a mushroom jump with the r button while hitting it and you might land on top of the mountain if you do it correctly the darkness will pick you up and place you right in the tunnel this one may seem the craziest of all but really all that was happening was you were boosted to the point where the track overlaps itself the game thinks you are right next to the tunnel so it puts you inside he. when you come back down unfortunately juan also mentioned that he didn't think jerk was possible in time trial mode as he had only gotten it to work in 150cc grand prix mode your top speed is a bit faster in 150 cc than in time trials and since you needed to jump as high the more speed you had the better now that the floodgates were open the world records were available to any skilled player who wanted to get them david juan was once again the first to do it so providing times At 23.81 for the fastest lap and 114 52 for the three fastest laps of the choco mountain, the jump climb shortcut ended up being pretty useless for his purposes, as it was slower and more difficult than the hill jump shortcut. and huge wall jump at the start didn't help him much either as the world records were done in time trials instead of 150cc but this hill jump was huge he saved around 5sec per lap over the gray wall jump and not it was unbelievably difficult just time to jump properly and i hope you didn't score zero.
That's where the 5 second time saved over Juan's old single lap record came from and how he was able to cut so much time off the three lap world record. His strategy was to do a hill jump and drive to the best of his ability to get the fastest lap and do a hill jump once every lap for the three lap record as time went by more skilled players came to take the lowest record, but you have to keep in mind that the speedrunning mentality was different In the late 90s, it worked more like a system of trust and respect.
If you are a respected runner who can demonstrate your skills through live appearances or some videotape, the most reasonable times you submit will be accepted even without much evidence. a lot of world the record runs had no video proof and weren't well documented aside from old websites and yahoo group posts, so it's almost impossible to decipher exactly who held world records when in mario kart 64 since the late 1950s. 90 from what I could muster. The Chocolate Mountain world records exchanged hands several times in late 1997 and early 1998. Jason Walls Kevin Booth Jonathan Bernier and possibly a few other people took turns lowering the Choco Mountain short cut records at 97-98, but a guy named Alex Penniv would end up changing the playing field up to this point no one had held any choco mountain shortcut record for more than a few months penev would end up holding the choco mountain shortcut record of three laps for a total of four years and 10 months would end up holding the choco mountain shortcut record for more than a few months One lap record for a total of over six years.
Penov is well known for having sprinted dozens of games at very high levels. Almost all mario kart games. Other mario and zelda games. lap record on September 30, 1998. He would proceed to lower this record 12 times the only time he did not hold this record from then until December 2005 was a one year span from August 2001 to August 2002 when Miller also held the record. realized that tunnel work at the beginning was possible to do in time trial if you slide into the wall like this, he saved around two seconds and by using it, he reduced the lap time to less than 20 seconds, his reign about the three lap record it was similar that he first set in October 1998 and lowered it seven times the only time he did not hold this record from then until December 2005 was a two year span from May 2000 to August 2002 when Simmons held the world record now there is one very important distinction about alex penniv that i have to make he played in the pal version of the game the ntsc version of mario kart 64 runs at about 30 frames per second whereas the pal version of the game is runs at 25 frames per second this means the power version was only running at 5 6 the speed of the ntsc version so not only would the game play in a slightly slower motion on pal but all times would be about 17 slower also to make up for this the mario kart 64 community created the combo range system which could accurately compare the times of each version of the game, a 30 second lap in pal for example would be equivalent to a 25 lap seconds in ntsc, for simplicity I'll refer to most pal times as their ntsc equivalent anyway Penna was able to reduce the fastest lap time by about half a second to 21.58 seconds thanks to his better driving and then to about 19 and a half seconds using the tunnel jump. every time i reduced the time from three laps to 107 32 in 2002 doing the same thing in the first months of the release of mario kart 64 four shortcuts were found in choco mountain over the next few years no new shortcuts were found instead of a few se they theorized in the early 2000s miller theorized a trick where he would bounce off the tunnel wall and trigger the next spin to start even though he had some very weird bounces off the walls he was never able to get his trick to work greg i of the Mario kart forums also theorized the trick, it was very similar to the existing wall jump at the start of the track, only instead of being picked up by lakitu, you would stay to the left while jumping and completely clear the wall and land on the track . below once again however while this hack was attempted no one was able to get it to work yup choco mountain was still a puzzle withoutresolve, although some pieces did come together, it was clear that there was still a lot more on the track that hadn't yet. but as they searched for more shortcuts they figured they might as well get more world records on the one lap side, mile shadow was able to get a lap of 1768 in 2005 which was over a second and a half faster than pendef's best time , it was the same route of doing a tunnel jump at first and then doing a hill jump but his hole jump was so clean that he landed safely on the track without needing to fall over the other side this lap he would end up on his feet for over four years for the three lap record carlo and miles taking turns bringing it down with the help of a tunnel jump and three hill jumps recorded races were much more common at this point but as you can see from the tapes video of Carlos, they were not always. highest quality camcorder recording of a vhs tape was sometimes the best we have now we are fast forwarding to the year 2007 and its time to introduce you to one of my favorite speedsters of all time you just might have not heard of him. before but you definitely won't forget it now this is vaj vaj started getting world records for mario kart 64 in the mid 2000s and by 2007 he was working on choco mountain on may 8 of that year he got a new world record a 112 50 on pal equivalent to a one minute flat time for ntsc done by executing three hill jumps and two tunnel jumps as most was submitted this time to the Choco Mountain leaderboards on mariokart64.com but it was too much excited to do it right away, instead he first turned on his camcorder and filmed his reaction to the moment. this is what i'm talking about world record girl let's do it again check it out as much of a character as vaj is also an unbelievably good player of mario kart 64 one of the best to ever play the game in fact this time three laps of his position for almost seven years and meanwhile he was breaking world record after world record on almost every other track in the game one of those world records was for choco mountain in one lap he took down milo's four and a half world record in 2010 before being beaten by carlo and then finally cut it down to 1759 or 21-15 in amigo in 2013.
Unfortunately, he didn't record a reaction video this time, but did provide video of the race itself, without any new strategies. were used it was all just the tunnel jump on the hill jump one more time but you can see how tight he was cutting all his turns he was trying to leave no room for error so no one would beat their time so now we are as of 2014 vaj is in control of both choco mountain shortcut records and for the last decade discovery of new strategies has been pretty dormant but remember back in 2005 greg posted about a theoretical shortcut where he would fully jump over the wall at first and it would land on the track below for nine years seemed to be nothing more than theory and then in february 2014 greg posted this on the mario kart forums.
Greg mentioned the possibility of this trick and nine years later, he was the one who did it for the first time. hit the wall in the perfect spot, stayed to the left and was able to completely clear the wall to land on the track below, as you can see this trick would skip the whole loop at the start, just like the old jump jump did tunnel but instead of having lakitu pick you up while the timer is still ticking you just land and keep driving the key to this trick was the setup instead of sliding into the wall and using a mushroom you had to perform what is known as a grapple boost if you are holding b and use a mushroom while it touches a wall the wall initially holds it back and it dramatically increases its speed when released from the wall it will fly forward at a really high speed, so high that when it jumps off the wall it will be able to wipe it clean and sleep getting picked up by lakitu this trick would become known as the gregg style named for its creator he saved around two seconds on the old tunnel jump and during feb 2014 greg and zorin took turns bringing down the one lap record until it got to a 1588 held by greg now greg made his forum posted around 9:30 am.
On February 2, 2014 Mario Kart 64 players from around the world immediately flocked to the thread to congratulate him on his find, some were in awe of the find while others were getting ready to try for the world record, however the one person's reaction was different than everyone else's, this guy, whether he's commonly called weatherton in the mario kart 64 community, weatherton is a mario kart 64 tasser, someone who plays the game on an emulator with tools like slowdown. Everything moved frame by frame and saved states to create a theoretically perfect execution. Weatherton was also excited about this new discovery, but he immediately had an idea to make it even better at 1pm on February 2, some 3½ hours later. greg weatherton's original post said he thought a sub 10 second spin was possible, his idea was to jump off the wall, fly to the left and land out of bounds on a certain range somewhere around here, then being placed behind the finish line by lakitu and finished the lap so he used his homework skills to try to make it work the next day 3rd February at 7:30pm he posted two discoveries one he couldn't get his stunt and two he had just found a different stunt probably the craziest stunt in mario kart 64
historyweather tanko a six second lap how is it possible the answer is in how the game handles checkpoints around the track we know by the old tunnel it jumps if you get stuck on the top of the hill the game thinks you are in the tunnel and lakitu will leave you there for the time tanko you need to hit a very precise spot on the wall for your character to get hooked on the wall very slightly this also makes the game think you're back in the tunnel, then once you go back down while behind the finish line the game will think you're at the end of the lap so all you all you have to do is cross it.
A six second lap was miles ahead of what anyone dreamed could be possible, but keep in mind that this was a tool-assisted sprint, so not a world record, but rather a proof of concept, just because someone could prove the trick was possible didn't mean a human could do it. Still, this trick had a lot of parts that I needed to not get a zero-framed bounce high enough, hit exactly the right part of the wall, and bounce far enough to the left to land behind the finish line. Some of the top ranked players all over the world started trying to be the first human to do the vaj hack who is ranked number one in the world for shortcuts greg who is ranked number two and other top players as miller and jones in july 2014, five months after the hack had been discovered that no one had yet been able to land the weather.
Tenko came up and did all sorts of hopping near the top of the wall, but it was too accurate for anyone to land until at least August 3rd, that day someone posted that they had finally been able to. take the time tanko but it wasn't vaj or greg or any of the really highly ranked shortcut players it was the 29th ranked shortcut player a guy with the username abney317 589 this beat the old single lap record by 10 seconds and how ever you can imagine people freaked out this was abney's first world record not only for choco mountain but for all of mario kart 64 speedrunning no one could take it from him for a few months but that november the competition heated up again on november 5, 2014 patricio managed to take the abny's record with a 544 abney decided he didn't feel like losing the weather tanko's record so he made a few attempts the same day and beat patrick's time twice and eventually got the record down to 488 but guess who came back the the next day to break the freediving record check this out I beat the stars second man I don't have the replay because I hit start and it happened in 10 minutes just 10 minutes man 10 minutes after my 5 17 in the First lap I was Like you know what, let's try second lap and then I hit it, I went over the end, I just pressed, I pressed this room, I jumped and now I hit it, I liked it every day.
Out Yo Vaj would hold on to this 3.26 record for a few months, but Abny would end up tying and eventually surpassing his time in the early months of 2015. Abny would continue to drop the one lap record closer and closer to three seconds flat over the In the following years the three lap record however was a bit different it was a story yet to be written before the weather tangle was discovered you would have to drive around the track and get as many hill jumps or jumps tunnel as possible for a world record, the Weather Tank will completely change the playing field.
You've got three mushrooms to work with in time trials, so you could hit three weather tanks one on each lap and finish the entire race super fast in under 20 seconds, possibly so Late 2014 the question had to be asked. of how many weather tanks someone could hit in a single run over a period of time. The answer was only one. in november 2014 both were done by running a weather tanker at first and then trying to land as many hill jumps as possible after on january 16, 2015 abny once again made
historyhe became the first person to achieving two weather tanks in the same run this pushed the 3 lap record to 44 seconds and that's where it stayed for over a year hitting three out of three possible tankers I mean sure theoretically but the odds of abny and hitting a weather tank on any given attempt were only about one in forty needed to hit three of these in a row, so the odds were about 1 in 64,000 that one attempt would be able to hit three weather tanks in the summer of 2017 abney made the decision that he was going to go for it to get a three out of three weather tanko and nothing was going to stop him he was going to start hitting a weather tanko immediately set up and hitting another one and then immediately set up and hitting a third back to back and i know what a lot of you are probably thinking right now why did abney bother to do this? he was literally booting up his stream only to hit a wall over and over again for a few hours you would think it would be unbelievably boring watch him do these try sessions but that was not the case at all he streamed all his tries on twitch and the chat was there filled with hundreds of people eagerly awaiting the one run that would be the one that saw him as his try counter. he climbed higher and higher first he surpassed ten thousand attempts and then he surpassed twenty thousand most people would not have had the patience to make these attempts almost every day for weeks but abny knew the chocolate mountain was at its peak break, not even a jump, man, almost done it. i killed the most
infamoustrack in the game all i needed was one try oh god dude we got two out of three which like i got both already a perfect try that would earn it the title of one of the speedrun world records most legendary in history. yes go go that's yes go 26,461 tries later abny had achieved what was thought to be impossible choco mountain had been nearly destroyed every year of figuring out shortcut after shortcut taking world record after world record had finally culminated in a three out of three weather tanks at the time I'm making this video no one has replicated this feat and I can't imagine what someone would have to go to to bring down the three lap record, the one lap record on the other hand was recently taken by under 3 seconds by a guy called frankie yes abney tied this time a couple of days later and has been trying to push it lower ever since, in all 13 people have been able to achieve a weather tanko with 11 of them doing it in the time trial mode the fastest time comes from the aforementioned world record and the slowest time comes from theodore fifth nine another couple of quick things i have to mention that this game was released in japan before it was released anywhere else in the world by which Japanese players had their records before anyone else and they may have had faster times than the rest of the world for a while, however it's not documented anywhere online so it's impossible to add them to the line of time and, of course, there is a completely different side, the choco. mountain the side with no shortcuts currently dominated by mathias rustemeier no wall jumping, hill jumping or tanks allowedweather just perfect driving around the field matisse is definitely one of the best people ever played mario kart 64. maybe the best next time you are playing mario kart 64 try to play choco mountain see if you can jump over the walls or skip anywhere on the track maybe you'll be the next david juan and discover new shortcuts or the next apne and you'll defy the odds to hit three weather cues in a row again whatever it is you can be sure you've made it on the track most
infamousin the game thanks for watching if you like watching sprint races make sure you follow me on my twitch channel twitch.tv summon salt thanks
If you have any copyright issue, please Contact