A Cappy return cancel, often abbreviated as CRC, is a technique that can be exploited to allow Cappy to gain an extremely large amount of distance away from Mario in two-player mode. This distance can be used to activate Checkpoint Flags, trigger captures, and perform other actions at a great distance. Cappy return cancels were discovered by glitch hunter Syrkl.
Playing in two-player mode allows Cappy to be separated from Mario. After this is done, Cappy enters "flight mode", which allows him to be moved around using the second controller. Normally, Cappy has a limited range and cannot exceed a certain distance away from Mario. However, if Cappy becomes stuck behind something, his path back to Mario will be blocked and he will be able to exceed this normal range. When this happens, it may not be possible to directly move Cappy, despite him still being in flight mode. It is important to note that if Cappy regains a clear path back to Mario, he will begin moving back toward Mario until he is back within the normal range.
If the X or Y button is pressed while Cappy is in flight mode, Cappy will enter "returning mode" and attempt to return to Mario's head. Normally, when Cappy enters returning mode, he will simply fly back to Mario's head. However, if this is done while Cappy is either stuck behind something or extremely far away, Cappy will not be able to fly back to Mario's head in time and will simply teleport back to Mario after a brief moment (approximately three fourths of a second if stuck, or three seconds if far away).
It is possible to cancel this teleportation in order to revert Cappy back to flight mode. This is what is known as a Cappy return cancel. In order to perform one, the X or Y button must be pressed on Cappy's controller within a five-frame window at the moment that Cappy attempts to teleport back to Mario. Additionally, at the moment of the CRC, Mario must perform an action that will prevent the animation of him placing Cappy back onto his head: generally crouching, rolling, diving, or a backflip is used for this purpose. Once the CRC is performed, Cappy will not reappear on Mario’s head, but will instead teleport to another position away from Mario.
The following is a list of actions that Mario can perform at the moment of Cappy's return that will enable a CRC to be performed:
- Diving (excluding automatic dives into water)
- Performing a backflip
- Performing a sideflip
- Performing a spin jump
- Jumping on a Bounce Flower
- Bonking (including underwater)
- Wall sliding
- Sliding down a slope
- Ledge grabbing
- Climbing up from a ledge grab
- Jumping up from a ledge grab
- Climbing a pole or tree
- Swinging from a pole
- Holding an item
- Damage from an enemy
- Damage from lava
- Sitting on a bench
- Riding a scooter
- Riding Jaxi
- Riding a Seaside Kingdom fountain
While the location Cappy teleports to may seem random at first, it actually follows a consistent geometric rule. Once this rule is learned, it can be exploited to teleport Cappy to arbitrary locations.
The rule depends on the direction Mario is facing, referred to as his "line of sight". This is imagined to be a line that goes through Mario and extends infinitely both in front of and behind him. This line is normally horizontal, but can extend diagonally upward or downward if Mario is standing on a slope.
There are two equivalent geometric interpretations of the rule:
- Line analogy: After the CRC, Cappy will teleport to the location on the line of sight that he is the closest to.
- Sphere analogy: Imagine a sphere such that Mario and Cappy are at exact opposite points of its surface. After the CRC, Cappy will teleport to the far point on the surface of the sphere that is intersected by the line of sight.
The diagrams to the right provide visual explanations of the two rules, and it is evident from the diagrams that both rules describe the same phenomenon.
Although not necessary to gain an intuition for the mechanism, the geometric rule can be described mathematically. The location Cappy will teleport to is determined by the following vector formula, where is Mario's position, is Cappy's original position before the CRC, is Cappy's new position after the CRC, and is a unit vector representing the direction Mario is facing:
If a direction is being held on the left joystick on Cappy's controller at the moment of the CRC, the vector will instead be equal to that direction rotated onto the plane Mario is standing on. This is also a unit vector, and must be parallel to the surface Mario is on, meaning that this technique cannot be used to send Cappy to a location that would not be possible from simply angling Mario in the desired direction.
Using the sphere analogy, Cappy return cancels can be abused to send Cappy to distant locations along the imaginary sphere's surface. However, since the size of the sphere depends on the distance between Mario and Cappy, the uses of the trick are limited unless it is possible to get Cappy very far away from Mario. Usually, getting Cappy far enough from Mario requires getting him stuck behind a wall, which would mean that Mario would initially need to walk near that wall to get Cappy stuck. This is often impractical; fortunately, there are a few ways to get Cappy far from Mario without Mario needing to travel to that location.
If any of the four face buttons are pressed on Cappy's controller the exact frame that Cappy becomes controllable (such as after warping to a Checkpoint Flag), Cappy will instantaneously teleport to the Odyssey. When this happens, Cappy will be in returning mode, meaning that a CRC will need to be performed to prevent Cappy from teleporting back to Mario. This is most useful if Cappy gets stuck behind something on his way back to Mario, but if Mario is sufficiently far away from the Odyssey, Cappy can repeatedly ground pound to retain his distance.
Another way to gain distance as Cappy is to repeatedly ground pound into the void many times. Because there is no limit to how many times Cappy can ground pound, Cappy can reach an unlimited vertical distance below Mario.
Normally, the direction that Mario is facing is strictly horizontal. This means that using the line analogy, if Cappy is directly beneath Mario due to repeatedly ground pounding, the point on the line of sight that Cappy is closest to will simply be Mario's position. This means that after the CRC, the location that Cappy teleports to will simply be right next to Mario.
However, if Mario is standing on a slope, the line of sight will point at a diagonal angle. This means that the point on it that Cappy is closest to will be farther down the line from where Mario is, allowing Cappy to teleport to a distant location. Combined with repeated Cappy ground pounds, slopes can allow one to send Cappy an extremely great distance away from Mario. As seen in the diagram to the right (which depicts the sphere analogy), the optimal horizontal distance is achieved when Mario is sloped at a 45-degree angle, and the horizontal distance diminishes the flatter or steeper the angle becomes.
There are two distinct methods that can be used to cancel Cappy's return.
The simplest way to perform a CRC is to press X or Y once to call Cappy back to Mario, then time a second X or Y press to cancel the return at the moment that Cappy attempts to teleport to Mario. After the first button press, Cappy will transition from flight mode to returning mode, while the second press will force him back into flight mode.
For CRCs where Cappy is too far away from Mario, the second button press must occur around three seconds after the first. For CRCs where Cappy is stuck, the interval is approximately 0.75 seconds. Many players use a metronome or beat to assist in timing the second button press, since the window to execute it is only five frames.
This method is useful for setups that involve more than one individual CRC. This is because Cappy ends up in flight mode afterward, giving the player time to adjust Mario's position in preparation for a subsequent CRC.
There is a second method that eliminates the need to perfectly time the second button press. This method is known as the "shake-to-win" or S2W method, and involves repeatedly shaking the controller or mashing the X/Y buttons to cancel Cappy's return.
However, there is a drawback to this method which makes it nonviable for certain setups. When performing a timed CRC, the X or Y button is pressed exactly once to cancel Cappy's return, which causes Cappy to transition from returning mode back to flight mode. However, during a shake-to-win CRC, the repeated inputs will cause Cappy to immediately revert to returning mode again. Therefore, the player will only have around three seconds from that point until Cappy returns to Mario's head, unless Cappy's return is canceled again. For setups that utilize multiple CRCs, this means the player only has a three-second window to properly adjust Mario's position between CRCs.
Furthermore, Cappy cannot perform certain actions such as ground pounding while in returning mode. This means that shake-to-win setups cannot be used for CRCs where Cappy is required to ground pound after teleporting.
Sometimes, Cappy will stay in his current location instead of teleporting. The exact cause of this is not known, but it seems to only occur when there is collision between Mario and the targeted position of Cappy.
It was previously believed that this occurred whenever there was collision between Mario and the targeted position with a surface normal facing away from Mario, meaning that Cappy would not have a clear line of sight back to Mario after the CRC. This became known as the reverse collision theory. However, despite this theory sometimes being able to predict whether a CRC will be blocked, it has been noted that it is not entirely true, since sometimes a CRC will be successful despite the presence of so-called reverse collision.
While a blocked CRC is normally disadvantageous, it can be useful in some cases to reset Cappy from returning mode to flight mode without changing his position.
Cappy return cancels are used in various Minimum Captures runs (most notably Minimum Captures Any%) to access Morning Metro to skip the Sherm capture, as well as skip five spark pylons in Bowser's Kingdom. One can also be used to make Madame Broode Skip much easier.
However, the usage of Cappy return cancels is not limited to Minimum Captures. Cappy return cancels can also be used for other Low% categories, including Minimum Jumps and Minimum Left Stick, or to reach Warp Painting islands early, among other uses.
The following is a list of instances where Cappy return cancels are useful:
|Mushroom Kingdom||Warp Painting bypass||Activates the Checkpoint Flag on the Warp Painting island from the mainland.||Link|
|Mushroom Kingdom||Early Mushroom theories||Captures the far pair of binoculars on the mainland from the Warp Painting island.||Link|
|Cap Kingdom||Minimum Left Stick, Minimum Music, loading zone bypass||Activates the Checkpoint Flag at the top of Top-Hat Tower to skip the interior section as well as the bridge.||Link|
|Cap Kingdom||Minimum Captures All Moons||Captures a distant spark pylon in the Push-Blocks room in order to skip the first wire.||Link|
|Cascade Kingdom||Minimum Captures, Warp Painting bypass||Activates the Checkpoint Flag on the Warp Painting island for an extra moon. Known as Madame Broode Skip.|
|Cascade Kingdom||Boss arena escape||Activates the globe on the Odyssey during the Madame Broode fight, in order to escape the arena.||Link|
|Sand Kingdom||Warp Painting bypass||Activates the Checkpoint Flag on the Warp Painting island from the ground.||Link|
|Wooded Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Activates the Checkpoint Flag on the Observation Deck in order to reach it early.||Link|
|Metro Kingdom||Minimum Captures, Star%||Activates a Checkpoint Flag on the mainland from the Warp Painting island to access the kingdom early. Known as Morning Metro.|
|Metro Kingdom||Star%||Captures a pole on the mainland from the Warp Painting island. Faster variant of Morning Metro known as Pole Snipe.|
|Metro Kingdom||Star%||Captures a spark pylon on the mainland from the Warp Painting island. Fastest variant of Morning Metro known as Pylon Snipe.|
|Metro Kingdom||Loading zone bypass||Activates the Checkpoint Flag at the top of New Donk City Hall to skip the interior section.||Link|
|Metro Kingdom||Minimum Captures All Moons||Captures a distant spark pylon in the outfit room in order to skip the first wire.||Link|
|Seaside Kingdom||Minimum Captures shortcut||Activates the Checkpoint Flag on the Warp Painting island, allowing early access to it without the use of a Gushen.|
|Seaside Kingdom||Minimum Captures shortcut||Activates the Checkpoint Flag on top of the Lighthouse in order to skip the underwater tunnel without the use of a Gushen.|
|Luncheon Kingdom||Warp Painting bypass||Activates the Checkpoint Flag on the Warp Painting island from the mainland.||Link|
|Ruined Kingdom||Minimum Jumps||Captures the Mini Rocket at the top of the Roulette Tower room in order to skip the 2D section.||Link|
|Bowser's Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Activates the Checkpoint Flag at the Third Courtyard Rear from the start. Known as 1 to 3.||Link|
|Bowser's Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Activates the Checkpoint Flag at the Third Courtyard Rear from the Third Courtyard Front.||Link|
|Bowser's Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Activates the Checkpoint Flag at the Second Courtyard from the Third Courtyard Front.||Link|
|Bowser's Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Activates the Checkpoint Flag at the Second Courtyard from the Third Courtyard Rear. Known as 3 to 4.||Link|
|Bowser's Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Activates the Checkpoint Flag on the shop island from the Second Courtyard.||Link|
|Bowser's Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Activates the Checkpoint Flag at the Main Courtyard Entrance from the shop island.||Link|
|Bowser's Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Activates the Checkpoint Flag at the Main Courtyard from the Second Courtyard.||Link|
|Bowser's Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Activates the Checkpoint Flag at the Inner Wall from the Second Courtyard. Known as 4 to Inner Wall.|
|Bowser's Kingdom||Warp Painting bypass||Activates the Checkpoint Flag on the Warp Painting island from the mainland.||Link|
|Moon Kingdom||Minimum Capture Types||Captures the spark pylon near the treasure chest to bypass the Banzai Bill capture.||Link|
|Darker Side||Minimum Captures Darker Side||Captures a frog at the end in order to skip the entire interior section without using the version-exclusive Frog Airswim.||Link|
There are a number of unproven Cappy return cancels that would be useful in various contexts:
|Cap Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Collects a cluster of three regional coins in the back of the Poison Tide level from the starting platform.|
|Cap Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Collects a cluster of three regional coins in the Push-Blocks level from the starting platform.|
|Luncheon Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Activates a Checkpoint Flag on the mainland from the Warp Painting island.|
|Ruined Kingdom||Boss arena escape||Activates the globe on the Odyssey during the Ruined Dragon fight, in order to escape the arena.|
|Bowser's Kingdom||Boss arena escape||Activates the globe on the Odyssey during the RoboBrood fight, in order to escape the arena.|
|Bowser's Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Activates the Checkpoint Flag that appears in the arena after completing the kingdom from the Main Courtyard.|
|Moon Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Collects a cluster of three regional coins on the second island in the Underground Moon Caverns from one of the other islands.|
|Moon Kingdom||Minimum Captures||Collects another cluster of three regional coins on the second island in the Underground Moon Caverns from one of the other islands.|
|Darker Side||Minimum Capture Types||Captures a spark pylon at the end of the interior section from the starting island.|