Chocobo racing is a minigame in Final Fantasy X. The player can play four types of chocobo races on the Calm Lands, used as a method of taming and training wild chocobos. The player can find an NPC on the plains that lets Tidus race chocobos to train them. After having tamed a chocobo, the player can take the chocobo for a ride around the Calm Lands.
List of races
The Wobbly Chocobo is a beginner's race straight to the finish. To add a degree of difficulty, the racer is given a chocobo that tends to wander off the track.
With the Dodger Chocobo the race gets harder in difficulty as blitzballs are thrown onto the track and must be dodged, as being hit slows the chocobo down.
Hyper Dodger Chocobo
Blitzballs and homing birds are pelted at the racer, which must be dodged.
In Catcher Chocobo the racer must catch as many balloons on the track as possible while avoiding incoming birds. The racer with the better final time wins (a bird adds three seconds while a balloon removes three seconds from the racing time). However, even if one wins the race, they only get a reward if they beat the current record.
- Prize for first time: Lv. 3 Key Sphere, Sun Sigil
- Prize for a tie/beaten record: Turbo Ether, Sun Sigil
For the Sun Sigil a time of less than 0:00 is required.
If the player beats the trainer's time in Catcher Chocobo, a man on a slope in the northwest of the Calm Lands will move, allowing the player to acquire Caladbolg, Tidus's Celestial Weapon. If the player beats the trainer's time, but leaves the Calm Lands before obtaining the Caladbolg, the man will again block the path to the weapon. To solve this, the player can race the trainer again. They don't have to win this race, just trigger the phrase "You already hold the record".
Completing all chocobo training to become able to ride a chocobo on the Calm Lands earns the trophy/achievement Chocobo License in the Final Fantasy X HD Remaster version. Winning a chocobo race in perfect time earns Chocobo Rider.
The Catcher Chocobo minigame has a bug in the original Japanese version for the PlayStation 2 where the player can hang the chocobo at the edge of the Calm Lands until the limited time (2 minutes) is almost up, then continue the race and take a hit from the bird on purpose just right before the time is up. By doing this the player will never get hit by birds in the next race.
- Muting the TV may help one concentrate on the minigame better.
- It is better to use the D-pad as the analog stick does not allow fast enough turns. It is best to only tap the directions, not hold them. The chocobo is always running at top speed so pressing is pointless.
- Hitting the invisible walls causes the chocobo to veer at an almost 90-degree angle away from it. While sometimes desirable to avoid birds, it should usually be avoided.
- A perfect run is ~35 seconds. To get 0:0.0 the player must get 12 balloons and hit no birds. A more likely winning scenario is to finish in ~37-38 seconds, getting 14 balloons and allow one hit from the last pair of birds.
- The balloons are placed randomly, but the bird strikes happen in set places and they always aim for the same target. With some practice, the player can learn to never get hit more than once at the end.
- Even if the balloon positioning is unfavorable in the beginning of the race, the player need not get discouraged. This can be used as an opportunity to practice the rest of the stages of the race.
- The player should collect at least three balloons immediately. The player should never go to the trainer's side, but line up for the first balloon on the player's own side and then make minute adjustments to get the rest. The key is to get ahead of the trainer. Sometimes the last balloon of the first stretch will be way to the left, or at the turn. It may be better to give those up.
- At the first turn the player is supposed to do a sharp turn around the corner and then immediately tap left to center themselves and get the 1 or 2 balloons around the corner. It is not critical to get these "turn balloons", however, and many players do not even attempt unless they are right in front of the chocobo. The player should be ahead of the trainer by this point, and to stay ahead one will need to make a perfect turn.
- When rounding the corner and trailing the trainer, the first wave of 4 birds will arrive; 2 will go for the trainer and 2 will go for the player. Rather than worry about the balloons coming out of the curve, the trainer needs to be hit by a bird, while the player themselves need to not be hit. The first is determined by chance, but she gets hit more often than not. The player can avoid getting hit by tapping when coming around the curve.
- If there is a balloon right in front one can try for it, but there is only about 1 second window before the two birds meant for the player will fly out. If all goes well, most of the time what will happen is the trainer will get struck and the player won't.
- After passing the first straight and the first turn after dodging the first pair of birds, the sharp right tap has likely destabilized the player's chocobo. After dodging the two birds the player needs to immediately tap gently to straighten up. The player must avoid over-correcting and potentially cause the chocobo to go too far left. The aim is to stay slightly to the right side of center.
- Being ahead of the trainer again, the next two birds are guaranteed to go after her, and with some luck will hit her. Thus, the player has a few seconds to align and pursue balloons.
- The player needs to collect some balloons in the second straight while gently tapping to control the chocobo's trajectory to grab them. It is acceptable to go after balloons in the center as well as the right. The player should not go far to the left as that will drastically increase the chance of a bird hit. The player must neither stick too far to the right and risk hitting the invisible wall to bounce off, likely right into a bird hit.
- After picking up a few balloons in the 2-3 seconds the 3rd pair of birds flew after the trainer, one can anticipate the 4th pair aiming for the player. The player's position should be around the center or slightly to the left or right of it, depending on balloon positions. When the 4th pair of birds show up the player should tap right and have room to dodge. Afterward the 5th pair of birds is aiming for the trainer. The player should not pursue any more balloons as the second turn is approaching, which is more gradual than the first turn was.
- The second turn coming up is heralded by the shadow of the mountain. There is almost always a balloon here. The player should gently hug right and the screen is going to rotate while the 5th pair of birds is off hitting the trainer, giving the player a free pass to get through the curve and line up. A 6th pair of birds targeting the player will show up, but being in the middle of the screen they will miss most of the time if the player is hugging right.
- It is not critical to pick balloons in the second turn. After the turn the player should aim to straighten the chocobo out by gentle tapping and get ready for the last stretch to the end.
- The player will need there to be a couple of easy balloons lined up near the center or right. The player has about 2 or 3 seconds to align appropriately and pick them up, because birds are approaching. The first pair will always go for the player and one must dodge them by shading right by gently tapping the d-pad, and when the birds begin to approach, the player must tap hard to the left to go 90 degrees across the path. This will avoid both birds meant for the player most of the time.
- The next pair of birds, or pair number 8, will aim for the trainer who by now has made the turn. There are a few seconds of breathing room to straighten the chocobo out and to survey the field. The end of the race is in sight when the corridor begins to narrow, making bird dodging challenging if not downright impossible.
- There will be a few balloons near the end of the race. The player must hope for a configuration where they line up 3 or 4 in a row either on the right or the left. If the balloons are instead scattered, the player will have to pick up what they can.
- 9th and the player's last and hardest pair of birds appear right before the end. Ideally, while the 8th pair of birds are off hitting the trainer, the player should use the time to straighten the chocobo out and get it around the center again, so when pair nr. 9 comes on, the player can do another hard left to dodge them (hard left is the only realistic way to dodge them). However, there is hardly ever the chance to do this because the player needs to pick up those last balloons.
- The worst configuration of balloons at this stage is scattered, but the second worst is a line of balloons on the left side, as it is almost right at the left wall. While getting them, there is a good chance of bouncing off the wall and getting hit by the last birds as well as missing the last balloons.
- How the last balloons are arranged has a big effect on the success of a run. Some players opt to get hit by the bird on purpose if they had a perfect run so far, as it is more important to pick up all 2 or 3 balloons.
- Bird pair nr. 10 will go after the trainer so the player should have an open run to the finish after the 9th pair of birds.
- If the player is very lucky, the last balloons will be lined up so far away the player can grab them and then hang a sharp turn left to avoid the 9th pair of birds.
- If unlucky, the player can get hit by a pair of birds meant for the trainer. This happens most frequently in the last straight.