I’ll put 50 Gil on Superchicken to win.
Do you remember Big Bird? Back before all that Barney and Teletubby crap,
the Bird was the big kahuna of the children’s television world. He was a major
player, with his own licensing deals, movie plans, and numerous Swiss bank accounts.
Nowadays, he’s more like the second fiddle, what with that glory-hog Elmo grabbing
all the attention. Ehhhh. . . not that I still watch, or anything.
If you’ve been playing Final Fantasy rather than watching Sesame Street,
you’ll be familiar with everyone’s favorite video game second fiddle, Chocobo.
He (or she, or it) has been around since the Famicom’s Final Fantasy III
and even has two RPGs of his own: Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon 1 and 2
(to be released in the US in the future). I guess Chocobo felt the urge to spread
his wings, which is the only explanation for his starring role in yet another
go-kart driving game, Chocobo Racing.
The main game within Chocobo Racing is a 1 player story mode. Chocobo is given a pair of jet powered roller skates by Cid, the inventor. Mog soon joins Chocobo, and they go on an adventure across 9 courses, searching for friends to race against. Pretty lame, but good for a few laughs. There are other modes as well, like Grand Prix, Time attack, Versus, and a Relay mode where you switch between three characters on every lap.
The characters are deformed and cartoony versions of classic Final Fantasy
characters: Chocobo, Mog, and the black and white mages. There’s also a behemoth,
a golem, a goblin, and a fat Chocobo from the Chocobo Mysterious Dungeon
games. When you beat the game, you unlock more characters from other Square
games, such as Squall, Cloud, and Cid.
Based on your game’s performance score, you are given the option of making
one custom character. You select one of the initial nine characters and distribute
points to attributes such as acceleration, drift, and maximum speed.
The control is focused on drift style racing. It plays much like Mario
Kart, but the track design forces you to make numerous sharp brake assisted
turns. Attacks and power-ups are gained by collecting power-orbs; when you collect
more of the same orb, the orb’s power increases. For example, if you collect
three “dash” orbs, you’ll be able to dash (speed up) longer. Whoo.
The graphics are colorful, but not particularly impressive. In some areas
they border on simplistic, but overall set the mood of each track nicely. The
tracks seem a bit too similar to Mario Kart (haunted castle, lava, rainbow
road, etc.), though it doesn’t get in the way.
music is average, with plenty of Final Fantasy oriented tunes. The best
music is when you beat the game; there’s an ending ballad that is strikingly
more beautiful than the rest of the music.
So why isn’t this game worth it? For starters, it’s way too easy. I
beat the Story mode in less than two hours. After mastering the controls, the
second time through took much less time. After that, there wasn’t anything to
compel me to keep playing the same game over and over again. The challenge of
the Story mode doesn’t increase. Times aren’t recorded. The only reason to play
it again is to unlock more secret characters.
The two player mode (that’s only two players, no more) is limited by only
ten tracks and the lack of a Battle mode. The orbs and ability attacks isn’t
always even; sometimes they feel too cheap, and the only thing that really counts
is speed and getting to the end.
Further, the custom character option could have been much better. If there
was some way to keep building up one character, the depth would have increased
Sadly, Chocobo Racing only amounts to yet another go-kart driving game.
The game never steps out of its Mario Kart clone roots enough to make
a lasting impression. Alas, Chocobo is not the big bird of the mascot racing