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Based on one of Squaresoft's most famous Final Fantasy characters, the chicken-like Chocobo, Chocobo Racing marks a departure from the company's trademark role-playing titles. Instead, they have driven into the racing spotlight to give the Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing titles a run for their money.
Along with the loveable Chocobo, Mog makes a glorious return to videogame action. For those unfamiliar with the character, the white-furred critter made his debut in Final Fantasy VI (released as Final Fantasy III on American shores) for the Super Nintendo. Together, they set off on a grand adventure looking for pieces of the legendary Blue Crystal. In order to obtain the pieces, they must defeat other wacky racers including the Chubby Chocobo, White Mage, Behemoth, and more (eight in all).
There are also eight various racetracks, each unique in design and location. Cid's Test Track is a simple high-speed circuit; Moogle Forest is located throughout Mog's homeland; the Mythril Mines track is set in a deserted mining town; and The Black Manor is a racing romp through a haunted mansion.
Players have the ability to drift their vehicles (like power sliding) and pick up special items and magical stones. Magical stones are scattered around each track; by picking one up, players are able to cast magical spells on their opponents. There are Fire stones, Thunderbolts, Minimize spells, Doom (curse your opponent), Reflect, and more. Each vehicle can hold up to three stones; by collecting multiple stones of the same type, players can cast even more powerful spells. For instance, one Thunderbolt stone will cast Thunder; two will cast Thundara; and three will cast Thundaga — the most powerful form of Thunder.
In addition to the stones, each racer has a special ability. Dash allows players to travel faster via turbo-blast; Flap protects racers from hazardous material on the track; Mug allows you to steal an opponent's magical stones; and Magic Plus increases a magical stone's casting power.
Chocobo Racing features a few different gameplay options including the Story, Time Attack, Grand Prix, Versus, and Relay Race modes. A Relay Race involves a team of three racers against another team in a tag team sort of match-up. When a character reaches a specific point where another racer is waiting, that racer then takes over until the next checkpoint.
The Grand Prix is a tournament style league in which six racers compete in over four tracks. By finishing a race, players are awarded a certain point total — whoever has the most points at the end of the Grand Prix wins. Time Attack allows players to race against the clock and/or a phantom racer (your best time).
What Squaresoft game would be complete without a story of some sort? The Story mode documents Mog and Chocobo's quest for the Blue Crystal pieces. Their adventure involves meeting up with new characters, racing them, and moving on; completing the story will unlock hidden goodies.
Chocobo Racing also comes with a non-interactive demo of Chocobo's Dungeon 2. ~ Matthew House, All Game Guide