Chariot Chase: Altador's Forgotten Gem
In these times Altador is everywhere you look as everyone from all over Neopia is talking about the Altador Cup. While you are there to witness the spectacle for yourself, why not check out some of the other activities Altador has to offer? Chariot Chase is another incredible game taking place in the same colosseum as the prestigious cup. How they pull that off is beyond me, but once you've been to Altador for yourself you will know that there are many wonders to this fantastical place. Though with that said, Chariot Chase is quite unique and definitely worth a visit. If you have what it takes you might even leave with one of its most sought-after souvenirs, the gold trophy. Now I'm not here to make you drool over the thought of adding this exceptional trophy to your collection, but rather to give you some tips on how to achieve it.
So first of all, what is the game all about? It's an infinitely long game on an infinity shaped racing track. Well, it's infinitely long in theory; you only have five lives and once they are gone it's all over. There are seven chariots each with an Alabriss drawing it along the track. Your goal is simply to finish as many laps as you possibly can without colliding with the other chariots as that will steal a life.
As with every game you need some basic knowledge before you go out on your adventure. In this game you control your chariot with the arrow keys, and that's all you need to think about in terms of controls. The scoring in the game is plain and quite simple, you get 100 points per lap you complete and 10 points per second you spend doing so. There is a catch though, to avoid players finding a safe spot and collecting seconds there is a need to have an average of 10 or less seconds per lap for the bonus score to add up. The difficulty you choose has no impact on score, only on the racing lines the other chariots will follow. You can hit the corners of the track as much as you want. It's only the other chariots that can do damage, and once you have lost a life you are invincible as well as unable to pick up power ups for a few seconds. Speaking of invincibility, there are also four power ups in the game: cloud, sun, clock and dung. The cloud is arguably the best power up. It increases your speed and makes you invincible at the same time. The sun also makes you invincible and is also a power up you would want to pick up, should it appear in front of you.
The last two are a bit more questionable. The clock is only a power up you would want if you are ahead on time and can waste some. It slows all the other racers down, but it doesn't slow down the clock itself. So it all depends on how comfortable you are with the other racers around you slowing down and then speeding up again later, as well as how far ahead you are on time to get your bonus score. The dung is a no-brainer, it's generally something you want to avoid. All it does though is make you lose control of your chariot and slide off to the corner of the track, so it's also situational. There is no need to sit around and wait for it to disappear though, it should be easy enough to ride around it. In a worst case scenario where you hit the dung, you're likely to slide off the track and stay outside your opponent's racing lines regardless. Though this is by no means guaranteed and if you want to be on the safe side you don't want anyone closely behind you when you're in the near vicinity of a dung.
Now that you know the basics of the game, there are a few things that will make it easier to take those final steps to the top of the high score list. First of all there is no way to cheat the game by taking detours; you need to complete a full lap to get your points. There are also no cheat codes involved. So to master this game there are a few things you will want to do. First of all pick a difficulty you would like to focus on. I personally used normal, but it doesn't get that much harder on hard. The difference between the two is the racing line the other chariots follow and they are also a bit faster on hard. So it's all a matter of finding a difficulty you have an easier time with; I would recommend going with normal, though. You will need to get used to their lines so you can find safe spots where you can pass them or let them pass you, though, and these will be different on another difficulty. My favorite safe spot is on normal difficulty right after finishing a lap. From there you can go straight forward to the corner of the track and no other chariot will hit you. You can even use the entire outer track on the very left side of the screen and let all except one of the chariots pass you there. The only one that would hit you there is the fire Alabriss, but if you pick that one for yourself nobody will. If you want to see for yourself what I mean start a game on normal with the fire chariot and just let it remain there in its starting position. If done correctly though you can always let the chariots coming up behind you pass you on that side of the track, regardless of which Alabriss you chose. There will however also be emergency scenarios where you will have to let them pass you elsewhere on the track. So I would recommend trying out a couple different safe spots you feel comfortable with in each corner of the map, before you go on any serious attempt at a high score.
Why am I insisting on letting other chariots pass you in a racing game? This is a good question, but because you aren't exactly racing your so-called opponents in this game, but rather the time it doesn't matter. All that matters is taking as few risks as possible. The way you want to go about doing this is to always stay behind a large pack of chariots, never in the middle. You will want to have as big of a gap as possible behind you so you won't have anyone coming up from behind and stealing a life. Use the invincibility power ups to pass the bigger packs, and if you feel safe you can try to pass some of the slower chariots by riding on the inside or around them. The same colors will always ride at the same speed, so you will want to let the fastest chariot pass you. The four fastest in the game are electric, faerie, lime and white in that order. There is a little workaround to make this a little simpler, though. You are allowed to pick your desired Alabriss, with your options being electric, faerie, white and fire. So if you pick the electric Alabriss you won't have to deal with the fastest one of them. I prefer to pick electric, knowing that fire has a completely different advantage as mentioned above.
So with the electric Alabriss you will now have one less fast Alabriss to worry about. Find a pack, stay at the back and only if you notice someone closing in on you, you stop at a safe spot and let them pass you. If the chariot behind you is slower, there is no point in this action, as they won't come up behind you and risk stealing a life. If you stay safe and take as few risks as you can while still having a decent speed to get your bonus points for time you're far on your way to a trophy. You also now have the fastest Alabriss out of the way, and a good safe spot. Yet you still need more to master the game. Besides knowledge, the crucial skills of the game is timing your intersections and being calm enough to avoid taking unnecessary risks for a good while. You will probably need to remain calm for fifteen minutes or more if you want a gold trophy.
Timing your intersections comes with a bit of practice. It's the other dangerous part of the game, alongside the scenario with a chariot coming up behind you and you have no safe spot within reach. You need to be able to know exactly how much room you need to be able to cross without getting hit. My tip here is to only pass when you know you're safe, as you play the game more and more you can be riskier and riskier because you will know the game better. Just don't go over the top with it, make sure you aren't taking an unnecessary risk regardless of skill. All you want is to be able to cross fast enough to be able to make the time cutoff for your bonus points. So if you're not safe to cross, what do you do? You need to experiment a bit with this before you go on your serious runs. But there will be safe spots on each side of the intersection where at least most of the chariots will be unable to hit you. If you can map this out and remember it, you will just need to wait there until the time is right for you to cross. If you can do all this right, there is nothing that can stop you in this game. You will be able to go on forever and get as high of a score as you want. Only give it a little bit of practice and you will be up there on the high score lists in no time.
Good luck, and I hope to see more competition for the high scores in the near future.