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Cro-Mag Rally is different from most cart racing games, both because of its intricate and specifically themed design and the fact that it has a unique set of vehicles and special items. These items are a key part of being successful when racing each track and can help you ensure a win on all difficulty levels.
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The most important thing to remember is that none of these items is a sure bet on its own, and instead you need to plan ahead for exactly the type you are going to shoot for. If you decide to go with a vehicle that has great speed but poor tire traction then you can spend most of your time shooting for the Sticky Tire item. On the reverse side, if you have a somewhat slow cart with great stability then you should only focus on power ups that will make you jet past the level.
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Weapons are great because they let you challenge you opponents directly. Try to plan out the use of them before hand, always using them immediately if there are racers directly behind you. Try to drop land mines when you first get them because they only stay around for a limited time and it is not likely that you will hit your own mine. If you have a range weapon like the Homing Pigeon you should only use this if there is an enemy near to you otherwise it will end up a complete waste. This is especially true of the freeze bomb.
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Try to focus speed tools like the Nitro on areas that need help. For example, if you are having difficulty passing a certain character wait until you are coming right out of a turn and then slam that power up. This will take you by them quickly and it will be more difficult for them to regain their spot.
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Use the power ups at your discretion, but don’t over use. The Roman Candle is great but should not be fired over and over again. Oil Slicks are effective, but stick around for the entire race so watch out for them after you lay them down. The best way to approach all of the special items is consciously and thoughtfully so they are used in a fashion that best helps you win.