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                  .hack Grunty Racing FAQ by Halibut
                                              v. 0.4
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                  [Insert crappy ASCII art here. >P]

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 [TOC] Table of Contents
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[TOC] Table of Contents
[COP] Copyright Information
[INT] Introduction
[HIS] Revision History
[FAQ] Frequently Asked Questions
[GRU] About Grunties
[PRI] Prizes
[BEF] Before the Race
[TIP] Tips for Running the Race
[RUN] Running the Race
[CRE] Credits

     Press Ctrl+F and do a search on the [***] to zip to a particular 
section.



======================================================================
 [COP] Copyright Information
======================================================================

Copyright 2004 Halibut (HalibutATGameFAQs@hotmail.com)

     This document may only be reproduced for personal, private use in 
its original, whole and unaltered form. It may not be placed or 
distributed on any public or commercial forum, such as a web site or 
magazine without the expressed written permission of the author. At 
this time, only the website GameFAQs (www.gamefaqs.com) is permitted 
to host this document publicly. Any other use of this document is 
strictly prohibited by copyright law.

     All trademarks and copyrights in this document are the property 
of their individual owners.



======================================================================
 [INT] Introduction
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     This FAQ was created when someone asked for some advice on how to 
win the Grunty Races, and after giving some hints, I found that there 
were no guides at GameFAQs on how to win at the Races. I thought this 
odd, and decided to remedy this by writing a FAQ, not to mention that 
this was my first FAQ I posted on GameFAQS.

     So here it is, if you need some help getting 1st place in the 
Grunty Races and showing that jerk Balmung a thing or two, here's 
where it all begins.

     If you have any help or advice you want to appear in the FAQ, I'd 
really appreciate it. I still need to know the bonus prize for 
finishing 1st on the Theta server race 4+ times. Here's my e-mail:

HalibutATGameFAQs@hotmail.com



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 [HIS] Revision History
======================================================================

ver 0.4: Complete data entered for Theta server.

ver 0.3: Complete data entered for Lambda server.

ver 0.2: Most data entered for .hack//Mutation.

ver 0.1: Started this FAQ and laid out the topics.



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 [FUT] Future Updates
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*  I will add info on the last two servers when I play .hack//Outbreak 
and .hack//Quarantine.



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 [FAQ] Frequently Asked Questions
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Q1.  How do I get to race?

     The races open when you raise each of the three Grunties 
available in each server. The Theta Server has Iron, Poison and Noble 
Grunties; the Lambda Server has Bony, Snakey and Noble Grunties; but 
the Delta server has no Grunties. When all three are raised, go to the 
Grunty ranch and the man there will let you race.

     You could have raised the Theta Grunties back in 
.hack//Infection, but the races weren't available until now.


Q2.  How do I raise Grunties?

     Go to the ranches found in the Theta and Lambda servers and talk 
to the man there. He's got a baby Grunty who's hungry for the various 
kinds of food you've found, like Golden Eggs, Piney Apples, and 
Twilight Onions. You can find these items in your inventory under "Key 
Items".

     As you feed the baby Grunty, its stats will change, especially 
it's size; when it's size reaches 40, it matures into an adult. What 
kind of adult depends on the other stats. I'm not going into the 
details of exactly what stats are needs for each Grunty, or what you 
should feed it; you'll find all that in the Extras FAQ here at 
GameFAQs.



======================================================================
 [GRU] About Grunties
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     Grunties are a strange breed of animal found in The World, a 
variety of these horse/hippopotamus mutates exist. In .hack//Mutation, 
a mini-game was added where you could race these beasts around town 
and capture flags for prizes.



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 [PRI] Prizes
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     There are 9 prizes to get from each of the races. First, you get 
prizes for finishing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd; these can be collected as many 
as three times each. After that, they are replaced with other less 
valuable but still rather rare items for the 4th time you get that 
rank and on. There are also consolation prizes you get if you finish 
less than a second out of place, and a booby prize if you finish well 
out of place or quit the race. Finally, each race has an unlockable 
prize on your desktop, a special Grunty Race picture that you get when 
you beat Balmung for the first time.

     Note: you have to beat a time to place, a tie isn't enough. Also, 
if you are exactly 1 second behind 3rd, you get the booby prize.


     Here are the prizes available:

Theta Server Race:
              |  First 3 times            |  Fourth time on
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1st Place:    |  Golden Grunty            |  Ivory Barette
2nd Place:    |  Silver Grunty            |  Silver Scarab
3rd Place:    |  Divine Cross             |  Yellow Ribbon
Consolation:  |                     Speed Charm
Booby:        |                     Fortune Wire
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Lambda Server Race:
              |  First 3 times            |  Fourth time on
----------------------------------------------------------------------
1st Place:    |  Golden Grunty            |  Stonecall
2nd Place:    |  Silver Grunty            |  Summon Water
3rd Place:    |  Emperor's Soul           |  Light Cross
Consolation:  |                     Fairy Orb
Booby:        |                     Fortune Wire
----------------------------------------------------------------------

     The 3rd place prizes are some nice rare items, but you really 
want the 1st and 2nd place prizes, those will net you some Grunty 
Trophies that permanently boost your stats when you use them. Golden 
Grunties give you 30HP while the Silver Grunties give you 15SP. There 
are two races available in .hack//Mutation, and with an extra Grunty 
Trophy to trade from each of the Snakey and Bony Grunties, that's 7 of 
each you can get for an extra 210HP and 105SP. Now your puny little 
Twin Blade has the HP of a Heavy Axeman and the SP of a Wavemaster.

     It can be really hard to snag 1st place in a race three times, 
but it should be easy enough with some practice to take 2nd. Frankly, 
I like the Silver Grunties since I use Special Attacks a lot, and hate 
running out of SP.
 


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 [BEF] Before the Race
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     Here are some things to do to ready yourself before running any 
race.

1)   Come Alone!

     One of the main reasons people fail to get first in a race is 
that they keep running into people on the track. Since you are running 
around in the server hubs, you have to contend with the normal 
pedestrian traffic, not to mention other Grunties in the way. Grunties 
are usually gentle creatures, so when they run into someone they stop 
instead of just bowling them over. This is why you should disband your 
party before starting a race; if you have any party members when you 
start, that's two more people that'll be wandering around town that 
you might run into.


2)   'She's the Fastest'

     Simpson's reference aside, each town gives you the choice of 
three Grunties; the Noble Grunty is of average skill, the 
Poison/Snakey Grunty has increased acceleration and turning in 
exchange for lousy max speed, and the Iron/Bony Grunty has maximum 
velocity but handles like a three-legged mule. Controlling the 
Iron/Bony Grunty may be the hardest, but it's the only one who has any 
chance of taking 1st place. When you get the hang of taking turns 
using the Iron/Bony Grunty, you'll be easily taking 2nd place, and 
with some practice and luck can snatch 1st place too.


3)   Get off my Server!!!

     I'm trying to avoid any spoilers here, but at certain points of 
the story in .hack//Mutation, the Lambda server is empty of its normal 
traffic. This gives you an optimum time to run the Grunty race with 
almost no interference.


======================================================================
 [TIP] Tips for Running the Race
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1)   Slide to victory!!!

     This is easily the biggest trick you'll need and is crucial for 
finishing in top spot.

     Grunties, like many things in the real world--even though they 
are not real--have something called momentum; this means that they 
can't turn or stop on a dime. When taking a sharp turn, you have to 
start turning before you actually get to the turn; the Grunty's 
momentum will keep it going in the same direction for a little bit 
before they are able to change direction completely.

     This is crucial for capturing flags. The paths you follow will 
have you capturing a flag, and then turning 180 degrees to go back 
where you came to get the next one. If you turn AFTER grabbing the 
flag, it takes you half a second to stop and get going back in the 
other direction, a whole half-second you just wasted. What you have to 
do is turn around BEFORE grabbing the flag. If you time it right, the 
Grunty's momentum will carry it right to the flag and stop there. This 
manoeuvre is the key to beating these races.

     Obviously, you don't do this for the last flag, since that's the 
end of the line.


2)   Keep it straight

     Try to avoid obstacles as best you can and go as straight as 
possible, you'll waste a lot of time if you're zigzagging around 
obstacles, especially when using the Iron/Bony Grunties.


3)   For maximum prize potential

     You can win the same prize for each place three times, so you 
could net 3 Golden Grunties and 3 Silver Grunties if you take 1st and 
2nd place 3 times. The problem is that when you place, your time 
becomes the new time to beat; so if you post a stellar 1st place time, 
you may find it impossible to beat the next time. What you want to do 
it try to get progressively better times, shaving a few hundredths of 
a second each time; that way it's not too difficult to keep beating 
your time and score what ever position you want over and over again.


4)   Analog vs. Digital

     You can run the race using either, but my personal choice is the 
analog stick, it's much more natural than the digital pad.


5)   I can't see!!!

     You always want to be able to see what's ahead to avoid running 
into obstacles that can slow you down. So use the right analog stick 
to zoom away and the L1 and R1 buttons to pan the camera around to see 
what's ahead.



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 [RUN] Running the Race
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Theta Server Race:

     Getting to the first flag without any slip-ups is crucial, since 
there's a trap there that can really mess you up. Run as fast as you 
can and make the sharp turn. Try to turn a little early so you don't 
hit the (invisible) walls and slow down. When you get around the bend 
and reach the island with the Elf's Haven on it, run for the flag. 
DON'T hug the cliffside, try to stay in the middle of the shop and the 
cliff. Although there might be someone running past that you have to 
avoid; if you go for the cliff, there's a rock in the way that'll stop 
you cold. Just past the rock, pull the control stick in the opposite 
direction, and the Grunty's momentum will carry it right to the flag. 
Your time at this point should be a bit over 6 seconds.

     Race back to the wooden planks while avoiding that rock, and head 
for the Chaos Gate for flag two. There are some tricky spots here; 
usually there's some people in the bridge, the worst place being right 
at the sharp turn. Worse than that, there are Grunties that hang 
around in this area, so be careful when you pass the bridge in front 
of the Recorder's shop; there's one rather annoying Grunty hanging out 
right there! Get to the Chaos Gate, and like the first flag, turn the 
control stick back to slide into the flag and get going in the 
opposite direction. The clock should be at 14 seconds for this one.

     Finally, run back past the first bridge and turn at the second 
towards the magic shop, the last flag is way in back. Be careful as 
there's usually a Grunty prancing about in front of the weapon shop 
and a person running around the flag. If you can avoid both and 
maintain a fairly straight path to the flag, you should nab 1st place.


Lambda Server Race:

     The first flag is right in front of you in the door of the Grunty 
Pen. Since you should be using the Bony Grunty, the Noble Grunty will 
be in there, but it won't be in the way. Run at it at top speed, and 
just before you reach the door to the pen, pull the control stick 
back; the Bony Grunty will slide into the flag and come back in the 
other direction. Your time should be around 4.2  4.3 seconds, any 
less than that and you likely charged at it and overshot the thing.

     When you come back and reach the point where the path widens, 
start turning here; the Bony Grunty's momentum will carry you right 
into the next path. You should also swing the camera around so that 
you can see where you're going. Run right down the lane, making small 
adjustments to avoid people and head for the flag in front of the 
magic shop. If you look on the ground, you'll notice some dark spots 
before and after the flag, turn around between the brown spot and the 
flag, and you should slide into it, just like the flag above. Your 
time should be a bit over 13 seconds here.

     Rotate the camera around because the last flag is in front of the 
weapon shop. After making the turn to the last path, you'll find that 
it can be quite congested; especially with the Snakey Grunty standing 
in the middle of the path. The Bony Grunty's bad turning means you'll 
have to aim left. Keep an eye out when you go for the flag, most of 
the time there's someone standing in front of it and running towards 
you. Avoid them and grab the flag.



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 [CRE] Credits
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Bandai, creators of the .hack// video games and anime.

GameFAQs and all who run it, for their great work in creating an 
awesome video game help site.