Strategy Guide - Guide for Chocobo Racing

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Chocobo Racing Guide, version 1.7
May 19, 1999
Written by Joe VanPelt ([email protected])

Chocobo Racing is one of the newer Japanese games that have special encoding so
that they only work on a Japanese Playstation system (these games will not work
on a US system with a mod chip or anything similar to that). To play the game,
you need to use the Gameshark code listed below:

D00AB72A 1040
800AB72A 1000

Basically, this game plays quite a bit like Super Mario Kart. There are eight
characters with varying abilities for acceleration, speed, turning, etc. There
are items and weapons that you pick up off of the road by driving over them,
things like that. The races are a little over-dependant on magic and not quite
dependant enough on racing skill, but it certainly takes skill to win. It's a
lot more fun than Mario Kart IMO, especially since you get to use Final
Fantasy characters.

                              The Characters-

Chocobo- Being the star of the game, most people are probably going to use
     him... but he's not really the best choice for beginners. Good
     acceleration, good speed, but not too easy to control. The chocobo is one
     of the best characters once you learn to control him, though.

Moogle- Good acceleration, and seems to have the highest top speed of
     everyone, but he's difficult to control.

Fat Chocobo- Great acceleration, low top speed, and his turning is weird. It's
     hard to make small turns, he always wants to do a big swerve.

Golem- Decent beginner character. Slow acceleration, average speed, but very
     easy to control.

Behemoth- About the same as the Golem... accelerates a bit faster, control is a
     bit different.

White Mage- All around average. She can fly over ice slicks.

Black Mage- Pretty average, too. Faster than White Mage, but a bit harder to
     control. Also can fly over ice.

Goblin- Best acceleration in the game, but the control on him is terrible (for
     me at least). He controls just like Yoshi in Super Mario Kart.

Bahamut- Slow acceleration, but high top speed and pretty good control once you
     get him moving. Can fly over obstacles like ice. To use Bahamut, you must
     beat Story mode first.

Squall- He would be the best character by far, if he could get a new set of
     tires. Good acceleration, good turning, good everything... except for his
     tires. He slips and slides on turns a lot. This can be used to your
     advantage, however...  To use Squall, you must beat Story mode a second
     time. Thanks to Robert Rountree ([email protected]) for this info.

Beginners may also want to try one of the Mages, since they can fly over loose
dirt or grassy areas (off the track) without losing speed.

More secret characters have been found! Thanks a bunch to Gab Estacio
([email protected]) and Ruri ([email protected]) for the information.

After beating Story mode each consecutive time, you get another hidden
character. To use them, highlight Squall and press a certain button.

3rd time- Cid (in the tank from Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon 2), press L1
4th time- Mumba (secret Guardian Force from FF8), press L2
5th time- Cloud (main character in FF7), press R1
6th time- Cactuar (a.k.a. Cactrot, from many FF games), press R2
7th time- Aya (from Parasite Eve), press L1+L2
8th time- Original Chocobo (non super-deformed cutesy style), press R1+R2

Even more secret characters! Thanks to chibi Chocobo ([email protected])
for letting me know about them.

9th time- IbenSuper (not sure about the name, it's an airship with super
     speed), press L1+R1
10th time- Jack (weird man in a green uniform, runs forward very slowly, but
     runs backwards quickly), press L2+R2

                              The Controls-

Pretty basic stuff...

Square   = accelerate
X        = brakes
Triangle = reverse (rarely necessary)
L1       = use special ability
R1       = use item/magic

This game also works great on the Dual Shock analog pad.

                              Game Modes-

Option- As you might expect, you can select game options. The list of options
     are: Course Records, Controller Configuration, Soundroom, Movie, Sound:
     Monaural or Stereo, and what appears to be "Hand/1P and Hand/2P", and
     Exit. I have no idea what "Hand" is, or if I even read that correctly.

Story- This mode is pretty fun. You start out with just Chocobo, and you go on
     an adventure to collect 8 Crystals. (I wish I knew more than that...
     hopefully someone will translate the story sometime). After beating this
     mode, you can play as Bahamut, and you can also race on Bahamut's track.
     You also get a Parameter Edit option, where you can select a character,
     choose a color, modify the characters abilities (speed, turning,
     acceleration, etc.) as well as give the character a name (English letters
     are included). Once you beat this mode, you can watch the ending in the
     Options movie menu. Beat Story mode twice, and you get another hidden

Time- Much like Time Trial in Super Mario Kart. Race by yourself and try to set
     new personal records for fastest lap or faster set of three laps.

GP- Gran Prix mode... race against computer opponents on various tracks, you
     get a certain amount of points depending on what place you get. After four
     races, whoever has the most points wins. If you win, you get to see a
     short movie for your character. Once you beat this mode, you can watch
     that character's movie in the Options movie menu.

VS- One on one racing against each other. In my opinion, GP or Relay modes are
     more fun...

Relay- Like VS mode, except you choose a team of characters. For instance, you
     could have a Golem doing the first two laps, then you pass the baton to
     your next character the Black Mage for two laps, and so on. If you run
     directly into your next character when it's time to switch, you get a
     burst of speed. Otherwise, it just goes on normally.

Data- Save and Load game data.

                              Special Abilities-

Yellow burst/red background- 5 second speed burst. Chocobo specialty.

Wings- Temporarily fly... it's useless for mages. Moogle specialty.

Blue hand- Steal an opponent's magic spell. Goblin specialty.

Barrier- Tired of losing to magic, instead of skilled racing? When your meter
     is full, you get a shield that lasts until you are attacked. Once the
     shield is gone, your meter starts building again, so you can get another
     shield. Especially useful in GP mode, where you get attacked almost
     constantly... White Mage specialty. 

Magic Up- When your meter is filled, your current magic will go up one level.
     VERY useful ability, especially for the Ice spell. Black Mage specialty.

Tire- Pretty much useless. When it's activated, you can bump into the walls on
     the side of the track and you'll be bumped towards the middle of the track
     again without losing speed. You also get a tiny boost in speed. Golem

Red burst/yellow background- Short burst of speed, you can wreck an opponent by
     hitting them while this is activated. It builds really fast, too. You get
     more overall speed with this than with the yellow burst. Behemoth

Green hand- When you get hit by any magic, then you gain one of the spell that
     you were hit by. Useful in GP races, since you'll be getting a powerful
     spell every few seconds because of the constant barrage of attacks in that
     mode. Fat Chocobo specialty.

Mega Flare- Builds v e  r   y       s  l   o    w     l      y. Then when it's
     full, it's a free level 3 magic hit on every opponent. Bahamut specialty.

Gunblade- It builds up at maybe one-half to one-third of the speed that Mega
     Flare does. When you finally have a full meter, activate the Gunblade and
     you basically get a free ride to first place in the race. You get turbo
     speed while it's activated, you'll be up over 180 kph. Whenever you pass
     someone, they automatically get sliced for a level 3 damage hit. You keep
     these abilities until you past the person in the lead, and take over 1st
     place for yourself. As you can see, it has the potential to be very BS...
     but I think that it's usually not worth the long wait. The Gunblade has
     some strange invincibility properties... if you get hit while using it,
     for small spells, you just slow down to 120 kph for a second and then
     continue on. For level 2 and 3 spells, you take the hit but you
     immediately accelerate up to 180 kph afterwards. The Gunblade hits
     through the Barrier ability, but it won't hit someone using Reflect... in
     fact, it won't even dissipate the Reflect spell. If someone has a Reflect
     spell but isn't using it, then you'll steal all of their spells (including
     Reflect), but the opponent won't get hurt. If two people are using it,
     then the person closest to 1st place will get hit, but he'll keep his
     Gunblade and accelerate quickly afterwards. The Mega Flare ability is the
     only consistent way to beat the Gunblade... if someone has it and is hit
     by the Flare, the blade disappears. If you get hit while using it and
     someone passes you, it disappears. If you're in first place, it disappears
     by itself after 5 seconds. (This thing needs its own FAQ...)

     Additional Gunblade note: It seems that sometimes a regular magic spell
     will hit the Gunblade user and cancel the Gunblade. But at other times,
     the person will take the hit but Gunblade remains active afterwards. This
     makes no sense... it seems to be completely random as to whether the
     Gunblade will still be there after the person gets hit.

                              Magic Spells-

I like the how magic was implemented in this game, it was a pretty cool idea.
Pick up one spell (Fire, for instance) and you cast Fire 1. Pick up another
Fire spell, and you have Fire 2. Get a third, and you have Fire 3. The level of
the magic affects how hard you get smashed if you get hit by it. Level 1 will
make you spin out... Level 3 will launch you into the air, you'll bounce
around, and finally land after a long delay. One other thing... you can steal
an opponent's magic by touching the spell that's right behind him. You can hold
a maximum of three spells at a time, and high level magic counts as multiple
spells. For instance, you could hold Fire 1, Blizzard 1, and Death... or Fire 2
and Thunder 1... or just Fire 3. Once you are at the limit, you can't pick up
any more spells. But the spells on the track still do temporarily disappear
when you run over them, so you can still try to keep your opponents from
getting a spell.

? mark- a random spell.

Fire- One of the weaker spells. 1 gives you a straight fireball shot, 2 makes
     it heat-seeking, 3 is heat-seeking and extra fast, not to mention more
     damage. Fire 2 never misses, it will seek out the opponent in front of you
     and keep going until it hits. Fire 3 is pretty nice, especially when
     you're behind in the race. It never misses, and will seek out the opponent
     in front of you, just like Fire 2... but then it keeps going until it hits
     the next opponent, and the next, and it'll keep going until it has hit
     whoever is in first place. Blizzard and Thunder are still better, though.

Blizzard- 1 gives you a small ice patch on the road (fairly useless), 2 drops
     down six ice slicks on the road (not bad), 3 is an unescapable instant hit
     on every opponent (great). Try using Blizzard with the Magic Up ability.

Thunder- 1 is a small lightning bolt that hits maybe 50% of the time, 2 is a
     set of three bolts, pretty useful... 3 is a set of six bolts, which are
     impossible to avoid. Thunder 3 also hits all opponents.

Death- Only has one level. Using it causes the person in front of you to get a
     countdown over their head, which does level 1 damage when it gets to 0.
     You can pass the countdown to an opponent by bumping their car.

Ultima- Looks like a snowflake, I mistook it for an ice spell at first. It
     usually only appears when you are behind in the race. It never misses,
     even at level 1 (unlike other spells), though a Shield or Barrier still
     stops it. It hits all opponents, even at level 1.

Reflect- Sort of a pinkish colored item. It's very useful, since all magic
     attacks will eliminate your shield, instead of you... and the person who
     cast the spell gets hit instead! You don't even have to activate it, it
     works by itself if you have one and you get attacked. It won't stop the
     Death spell if you pick up Reflect after you already have the countdown.

Haste- The arrow item. A short burst of speed. At higher levels, the speed
     burst lasts longer.

Minimal- The purple colored spell. When used, some fairies appear around all
     opponents, and soon afterwards the opponents will shrink and lose speed
     accordingly. Minimal 1 is a 25% reduction in size and speed, Minimal 2
     makes them half size and half speed, and if you bump an opponent he will
     spin out. Minimal 3 makes them one-quarter of the original size and speed
     tiny, and they can also be run over. Level 3 shrunken racers can barely
     move up hills at all. This spell hits all opponents at all levels.

                              Course Information-

Cid's Test Course
Difficulty: *
Length: 1220 meters
Tip: Cut corners with flying characters.

Mogri Forest
Difficulty: **
Length: 1330 meters
Tip: Try to slow down as little as possible, only giving the brakes a
quick tap when it's absolutely necessary to make a turn. Flying characters
don't have to use the brakes at all.

Giant's Ruins
Difficulty: **
Length: 1340 meters
Tip: At the part with two passages, always choose the right-side tunnel.

Misuriru Mine
Difficulty: **
Length: 1640 meters
Tip: Look for the tunnel shortcut.

Black Mansion
Difficulty: 1860 meters
Length: ***
Tips: Tap the brake once in a while to avoid hitting the wall on the long right
turn. Don't worry about the cage trapping you, you'll probably spend more time
trying to avoid it than you would if it did get you. Stay to the left after the
big jump, the track is sloped and you could fall into the lava. Try attacking
opponents while they're on that section of the track... sometimes after they
get hit, they slide into the lava so you get two attacks in one.

Difficulty: ***
Length: 1860 meters
Tips: Don't worry about bumping the side of the track now and then, just keep
your speed up through the winding turns.

Hungry Land
Difficulty: ***
Length: 1880 meters
Tip: Look for the shortcut on the map, be sure to always take it. If you come
out of it at the right angle, you can pick up multiple items at once when you
reach the track again. There's one jump on this course, and if you're not going
fast enough, you'll fall down to a spot about 1/3 of a lap behind. Try
attacking an opponent right before he gets to the jump, there's a chance that
he'll fall down below.

Gurugu Volcano
Difficulty: ****
Length: 2475 meters
Tips: Learn where the turns bordering the lava are, and get ready to brake hard
when you get to them. Use double- or triple-taps on the brake to turn quickly
at the part with the tall walls and consecutive sharp turns.

Bahamut's Course
Difficulty: *****
Length: 2605 meters
Tips: Keep your speed up, and use double-taps on the brake to make the sharp
turns... if you slow down too much, you'll never have a chance. The shortcut is
right before the downhill hairpin turns, but it's probably better left alone
since it's very difficult to use without falling.

FF8 Circuit
Difficulty: *****
Length: 2325 meters
Tips: Don't look at me... this track is just plain hard. Squall may actually
be the best character here... if you're good, you can use his sliding abilities
to get through the turns without having to brake constantly. Besides, if you do
hit a wall, he's got great acceleration. Just don't be afraid to use your
brakes to make the turns, it's much slower if you hold in the gas and just try
to bump off of the walls. The Golem's "tire" ability is actually useful here,
for once.

                              Parameter Edit

After beating Story mode, you get a chance to create a personalized character
of your own. You get a certain amount of points to distribute to your
character in five different categories. I can only guess that you get more
points for doing better in Story mode, but I really can't tell. First, you
select which character you want, and then you choose the color scheme you like
best for that character. Then, you can modify the character's abilities by
distributing the points you earned. Here are the categories:

Speed- Fill it up to 20 right away. Without it, you're pathetically slow...
     with it, you average around the same speed as you get for a Haste spell.

Acceleration- You really don't need to spend much here, the points are better
     used elsewhere. It hardly makes any difference at all.

Grip- Get lots. With none, you slide all over the track as if it were made of
     ice... and the more you have, the closer you can take those corner. I
     personally filled this up to 20, also.

Drift- The ability to slide while holding in the brake button for a longer
     period of time. Without any, if you touch the brakes you'll immediately
     spin out. I recommend maybe 6 or 7 points spent here, unless sliding
     while holding your brakes down is part of your racing strategy.

AGS- The speed at which your ability meter increases. Spending points on it
     doesn't make a whole lot of difference, but it's noticeable. I spent
     a bunch of points on it, just because I didn't use any on acceleration.

After setting everything up how you like it, you get to name your character.
Press L1 or R1 to scroll through the different Japanese characters, and you'll
get to the screen with English letters. You get 8 spaces for the name. After
you're done there, you get to try out your character on Cid's Test Course.
Quit out of that mode once you see how your character drives, and then you can
choose the first option to go back into the Edit screen, or the second option
to save your characters. Take your time here... once you've saved the
character, you can't change the options any more. The only way to access the
Parameter Edit mode is to beat Story mode all over again from the start.

                              General tips and hints-

To make somewhat sharp turns, hit the brake button once and turn while keeping
the gas held down. For very sharp turns, tap the brake button two or three 
times and you'll turn very quickly. I did say earlier that you can't hold in
the gas all the time for every track... but you can hold it in about 99% of the
time. (and I may still be wrong about that.)

You can get a burst of speed right at the beginning of the race if you start to
hold in the accelerator at just the right moment... Use the first three lights
to get the timing down, and hit the accelerator right as the race begins.

Generally, it's better not to use Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, or Minimal until
they're at level 2. They're not very useful until you've built them up...
well, Minimal is all right by itself, and it's harder to get a second one
since it doesn't appear as often as other spells... but still, get two and it's
more than twice as good.

If you see the Blue Hand coming to snatch your magic, you might want to use up
everything you have quickly, so that the opponent doesn't get anything. The
computer is especially good at stealing higher level magic spells, and then
using them against you.

Don't worry too much about getting hit by magic... it's going to happen, it's
usually unavoidable. Just get back on track as soon as you can and catch up.

Beat Story mode! It's fun, there are some cool movie clips, you get a hidden
character and hidden track, the ending is cool and so is the music at the end,
and it's entertaining watching the characters act too. My favorite, the moogle,
has kind of an annoying personality in this game, though...

Some tracks have hidden shortcuts. For instance, on the Giant's Ruins, look to
the left just as you enter a tunnel about halfway through the track. There are
plenty of shortcuts, including some insane ones on Bahamut's level. These
always save you a couple of seconds, at least.

Bahamut's track is difficult for most characters. I suggest the Fat Chocobo,
with the Magic Up ability. Try to get Ice 3 as often as possible. The Fat
Chocobo works best for me since his top speed is low, and his oversteering is
useful for the track's many sharp turns. Enter the hairpin turns at full speed,
hit the brake for just a second (you'll slide without turning much) and then
let go of the brake (he'll turn very sharply, and you'll make the turn at just
the right angle). The other characters can make the turns by tapping the brake
button a few times for each turn, but since the Fat Chocobo is braking less,
his speed stays higher.

If you have a Dual Shock pad, use the analog controllers... they're really much
better than the normal controller.

If you can't read any Japanese... "yes" is the word with two symbols, while
"no" has three symbols (the first two are the same). The first symbol in
"load" is a square, so "save" will be the other choice.

Have any questions, comments, or things to add to the FAQ? Please email me at 
[email protected], I would really appreciate it. If you have anything to
add to the FAQ, I'll be sure to credit you with it.

This guide is ©1999 Joe VanPelt. Feel free to use the guide for whatever
purpose you want, just give me credit for writing it.

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