Ah, Banjo-Tooie. I’ve only just completed the game for the first time finally, and I was glad that I finally did it!
But, there was something so atrocious and vile that nearly caused me to forgo from completing the game 100%…
In the second world, you first encounter Canary Mary and do a few races against her, quite easily in fact, but then she decides to fly away toward the clouds, which contain the races that have brought so many people to tears because of how ferociously she flies compared to your small mouse kart.
Well, I’ve figured out a strategy or two for beating both Canary Mary races.
Strategies for First Race:
The first race starts off much harder than the whole race really is. As you start the race, Canary Mary will fly off very quickly, and you may get the “Where are you?” message from her quite a few times before getting accustomed to the button mashing present in the race.
As you start, mash the buttons until you are at the same position as Canary Mary. Once you reach this equalized position, keep pressing the button at the correct speed to only keep up with her. If you get too far ahead of her, she will “rubber band” in front of you faster than you are going at the moment. She will keep her rubber band speed for the entire race after this, which causes an increase in button presses needed to beat her. Once you near the end of race is when you should finally begin full button mashing again.
Of course, if you hate yourself, you could just button mash your way through the whole race, which is actually possible, but still, it’s very painful and would take many tries for anyone playing the XBLA version.
Now, with the easier, Jiggy-awarding race out of the way…
Strategies for the Second Race:
This is the race that nearly made me quit my 100% completion attempt for this game. I haven’t seen such a tedious and completely unfair race in a video game in my entire life.
Canary Mary will start off the race much more forgiving than last time, gladly, but she will absolutely demolish you if you take advantage of this more-forgiving start. Once again, she will rubber band ahead of you if you go too far ahead of her at a few select points, but this time, her rubber band speed will be nearly impossible to surpass, unless you have a turbo controller (but then you obviously wouldn’t be reading this guide, would you!). Because of this, you can never surpass her after a certain point or else the race will be almost impossible to beat. Instead, keep just barely behind her or just at the same position as her at all times, and do not button mash (except to catch up to her at the beginning). This will be very easy to keep up until the end of the race. At the end of the race, you will arrive a mere distance away from Wumba’s Hut, and Canary Mary will turn sharp towards the finish line regardless of where you are and speed up also if you try passing her. Even if you’re speeding up within four or five seconds of the finish line (while still being just barely behind her), she will most likely finish near milliseconds before you. Instead of this torture, right as the second-to-last camera angle change in the race happens (the camera should have just begun looking up toward Banjo and Canary Mary), pause immediately. Pausing will allow your fingers to take a small break before the final push to the end. After your hands are rested, start pressing at the same speed as before, unpause, and count to seven or eight (yes, this sounds crazy, but it’s the only way I managed to beat her). Once you’ve gotten to eight, stop pressing the X (or A for N64) button at all. Now, count to four or five, and (here’s the final part), mash X (or A) as fast as you absolutely can until the end of the race. She won’t have enough time to screw you over by speeding up right at the end, and you will have built up enough speed by stopping and letting her get ahead to be able to finally win the race.
I can’t recommend just button mashing through this race at all. A turbo controller obviously would be able to surpass her, but your hand will be a lifeless, carpal tunnel brick by the end of it all if you try this normally.
The sad thing is that this race has become near impossible in the XBLA version, and that’s why I made this guide in the first place. Rareware used the N64’s button lag to its advantage in these races (and in other games as well), and without it, you can’t move quite as fast in the XBLA version without pressing the button much more.
Hopefully this guide helps someone in taking down this horrendous creature, mainly in the XBLA version, but I wouldn’t doubt that some definitely would still have troubles in the original, regardless of button lag.