SuperTux Story Mode too easy? Try the Handicap Challenge!

SuperTux Story Mode too easy? Try the Handicap Challenge!

Postby Wuzzy » 02 May 2019, 00:01

This is probably one of the hardest singleplayer challenges in SuperTuxKart. It's not official, yet it is secretly part of the game.
It's not for the faint of heart. Forget your shiny collection of platinum cups! It's worth nothing compared to what awaits you … You must know every track by heart, you need to drive them perfectly, and you need to drive them fast, but there's a catch: Your kart is crippled. Imagine you are SuperTux, but with 10kg attached at your fins and you still need to speed through the tracks like a madman. And the worst of all? There will not even be a trophy. Just your own pride and accomplishment.

Handicap Challenge
To beat the Handicap Challenge, you have to complete all Story Mode challenges (except Grands Prix) by beating the SuperTux requirements, but while playing in a difficulty LOWER than SuperTux.

For example, for Cornfield Crossing, you have to finish first and beat the SuperTux time of 2:08:00 (because that's the requirement to beat the challenge in SuperTux), BUT you must do so by playing in either Novice, Intermediate or Expert difficulty.

This challenge is NOT easy. Before you try it, first try to collect all platinum cups first. Because the Handicap Challenge is even harder!

The rest of this post is non-essential to the challenge. You can skip the rest of this post.

Q: “Wait, how does playing in a LOWER difficulty make the game HARDER?”
A: Simple: The lower the difficulty, the slower the karts. And since most SuperTux challenges come with a time limit, a slow kart is a serious handicap. Hence the name. :p

Q: Do I also need to collect all nitro in nitro challenges?
A: Yes.

Q: What do I have to do in Fort Magma?
A: Just complete it in Novice, Intermediate or Expert. STK has no time limit set for this one.

Your progress
Believe it or not, SuperTuxKart actually keeps track of this! But not as you think … Nothing will be displayed in the game itself. There's not even an achievement for this. It is handled 100% internally.
It just saves it in your profile file. Internally, SuperTuxKart calls this “best_while_slower” in players.xml. If you see a “best_while_slower="true"”, this means you have beaten this track. Note it's not possible to get a “best_while_slower” for the Grands Prix and those strange lines with “unlock_” (which are not actually challenges).

The developers swear that yes, it is possible to get a “best_while_slower” for all non-GP challenges. If you want to see your progress, you must look into your players.xml file. Sorry, there is no better way yet. :(

The reason why STK saves this at all is because of a hidden feature: If you got a “best_while_slower” for 5 challenges, the SuperTux difficulty is unlocked early. It's a little secret I just told ya! :)

If you want to figure it all on your own, you can skip this section. GLHF! :D

First, I state the obvious: You want to play on Expert. You want your kart to be fast.
If you want to give it a try, try Zen Garden first. This is by far the easiest one to beat, while the others are much harder.
You must know each track by heart. Practice. Repeat. Learn how to not crash, avoid bananas. Otherwise you have no chance.
Also learn to escape your opponents as fast as possible. You want to concentrate on the race against the clock instead of the battle behind you. It is critically important to not explode at the first phase of the race, because the clock is ticking mercilessly. If you can't manage to get past your opponents in the first few seconds, try again.
Also, to stand any chance, you have to aim for perfection. 1 banana = game over. Try again. 1 crash that brings you to a complete standstill = game over. 1 hit by cake/bowling ball/whatever = game over. Not using enough nitro = game over. Not skidding = definitely game over. Everything must be perfect.
Luck may play a role as well; even a parachute triggered by one of your opponents can mean a game over. Have your bubble gum or swatter ready, but the downside is that you lose the chance to collect zippers. Pick your poison.
You DEFINITELY WANT to use zippers if you got them. They may not always be neccessary, but these make your life so much easier. Sadly, if you're in 1st place (and you absolutely have to be in first place), zippers are rare. However, they are much more common if you're still on the last place, with the chance to even get 3 zippers at once. This can be handy to keep in mind at the start of the race.

Another important hint to avoid frustration: If you constantly explode or fail at the start or just get unlucky with the bonuses your opponents get (millions of basketballs or parachutes), exit the race and start it again. This leads SuperTuxKart to re-shuffle your opponents and probably the gift boxes as well. Sometimes, bad luck just makes it impossible to win.

The hardest challenge is probably Cocoa Temple, because I have not gotten the “best_while_slower” award yet. Yet. :)

So now about you: Did you attempt the challenge yet? How far did you come?
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Re: SuperTux Story Mode too easy? Try the Handicap Challenge

Postby Alayan » 02 May 2019, 01:03

Nice post Wuzzy :)

If you want to give it a try, try Zen Garden first. This is by far the easiest one to beat, while the others are much harder.

If anyone wonder why this is : Zen Garden was supposed to be upscaled in 1.0. The standard replay and the SuperTux time requirement were updated for the upscaled version. The upscale was of 20%, so this is about how much additional time the challenge got.

However, the upscale of the track was wrongly reverted towards the final stages of the release preparation. The SuperTux time requirement and the standard replay were of course not changed back.

The team became aware of this issue only after the 1.0 release.

If you constantly explode or fail at the start or just get unlucky with the bonuses your opponents get (millions of basketballs or parachutes), exit the race and start it again.

When using restart, the opponents are the same, and the way they drive at the start is the same (it hasn't randomizing code, so it's up to differences snowballing, the player usually introducing these differences). Add to this that item boxes are deterministic (same time and position gives always the same item for a given item box), and it can be that there is a kart who always fire that bowling ball right towards the spot where you want to go. So indeed, exiting before going back in can be useful.
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