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                  .hack Grunty Racing FAQ by Halibut
                                              v. 1.0
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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
======================================================================

     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.

HalibutATGameFAQs@hotmail.com



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

ver 1.0: Complete data entered for all servers, and added the desktop 
images you unlock.

ver 0.5: Complete data entered for Sigma server.

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.



======================================================================
 [FUT] Future Updates
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*  This FAQ is basically finished, and I have no further update plans.



======================================================================
 [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; the 
Sigma Server has Aqua, Milky and Noble Grunties; the Omega Server has 
Rocker, Woody 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 
.hack//Mutation.


Q2.  How do I raise Grunties?

     Go to the ranches found in the Theta, Lambda, Sigma and Omega 
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
======================================================================

     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.

     Not only are Grunties good for racing around town in, but they 
also serve a purpose in game. Using the Grunty Flute, a Key Item that 
you get after raising a Grunty, you can call a Grunty onto a field and 
ride around on it. Grunties do not get into battles so you can make a 
quick break for a dungeon without having to waste time or risk your 
neck by fighting the field monsters. Also, the Grunties have the 
ability to search the field for Grunty Food, portals, or the dungeon 
entrance; mind you that to collect food or trigger portals, you must 
dismount the Grunty. If you just want to go to the dungeon, you can 
ride the Grunty right in, but it'll leave you at the door.



======================================================================
 [PRI] Prizes
======================================================================

     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. And when you beat all four, you 
get one more Desktop Image #55 to complete the set.

     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
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Desktop Image:|                     Image 51*
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
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Desktop Image:|                     Image 52*
1st Place:    |  Golden Grunty            |  Stonecall
2nd Place:    |  Silver Grunty            |  Summon Water
3rd Place:    |  Emperor's Soul           |  Light Cross
Consolation:  |                     Fairy Orb
Booby:        |                     Fortune Wire
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Sigma Server Race:
              |  First 3 times            |  Fourth time on
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Desktop Image:|                     Image 53*
1st Place:    |  Golden Grunty            |  Infernocall
2nd Place:    |  Silver Grunty            |  Summon Wood
3rd Place:    |  Divine Cross             |  Hale Cross
Consolation:  |                     Health Charm
Booby:        |                     Fortune Wire
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Omega Server Race:
              |  First 3 times            |  Fourth time on
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Desktop Image:|                     Image 54*
1st Place:    |  Golden Grunty            |  Thundercall
2nd Place:    |  Silver Grunty            |  Summon Night
3rd Place:    |  Emperor's Soul           |  Divine Cross
Consolation:  |                     Soul Charm
Booby:        |                     Fortune Wire
----------------------------------------------------------------------

*  Desktop Images are won when you take 1st place the first time; you 
obviously can't win the same image twice.


     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 four races available in .hack//Quarantine, that's 12 of each you 
can get for an extra 360HP and 180SP. You can also trade with the 
Snakey, Bony, Milky, Aqua, Woody and Rocker Grunties for more Grunty 
Trophies; and you could have traded with the Snakey, Bony, Milky and 
Aqua Grunties in previous games for even more Silver and Golden 
Grunties. That's 18 of each for an extra 540HP and 270SP. Now your 
puny little Twin Blade has more HP than a Heavy Axeman and more SP 
than 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.



======================================================================
 [BEF] Before the Race
======================================================================

     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)   Pick the winner

     Each town gives you the choice of three Grunties; the Noble 
Grunty is of average skill, the Poison/Snakey/Aqua/Woody Grunty has 
increased acceleration and turning in exchange for lousy max speed, 
and the Iron/Bony/Milky/Rocker Grunty has maximum velocity but handles 
like a three-legged mule. Picking the right Grunty is crucial for 
finishing 1st in each race; the Grunties you should pick are: Iron 
(Theta), Bony (Lambda), Aqua (Sigma), and Woody (Omega).

     Controlling the Iron/Bony Grunty may be the hardest, but it's the 
only one who has any chance of taking 1st place on the Theta and 
Lambda Servers. 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.

     The Sigma and Omega Servers are a whole other kettle of fish; 
there are no good long stretches to build up speed and some tight 
turns to make, so you'll need the tight cornering ability of the 
Aqua/Woody Grunties.



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 [TIP] Tips for Running the Race
======================================================================

1)   Slide to victory!!!

     This is easily the biggest trick you'll need and is crucial for 
finishing in top spot, especially on the Theta and Lambda Servers.

     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.

     On the Theta and Lambda Servers, 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.

     For the Sigma and Omega servers, there are no 180 degree turns, 
but you have to turn while taking each flag; so start turning early 
and clip the flag while passing it. You will also be using the 
Aqua/Woody Grunties as opposed to the faster Milky/Rocker Grunties. 
Since the Aqua/Woody Grunties have tighter turning ability, you don't 
have to worry so much about sliding, but it'll still shave of a few 
precious hundredths of a second.

     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. 
And remember, to place you must beat your time; if you tie, you fall 
back to the last place that you beat.


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. This is very difficult to get down on the Sigma Server, 
but it'll be a big help.



======================================================================
 [RUN] Running the Race
======================================================================

Theta Server Race:

     Just to reiterate, use the Iron Grunty for this 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:

     Use the Boney Grunty for this 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.


Sigma Server Race:

     This race is different for a number of reasons. First of all you 
don't have to perform the 180-slide because you never have to double 
back. Also the Sigma Server has lots of connecting paths, so there are 
multiple paths to get all three flags, but only one really works well. 
Finally, there are no good straight paths, and the fastest route has a 
lot of turns in it; so the tight turning Aqua Grunty is better than 
the speedy Milky Grunty. Using the Aqua Grunty all but eliminates the 
need for sliding, plus the Aqua Grunty doesn't have a psychotic smile 
over it's face. (I call the Milky Grunty the "Urusei Yatsura's 
Revenge" Grunty because of its cheerful nature, and it constantly 
calls me "Darling".)

     At the start, you don't go straight, instead take the left path 
to get to the first flag. Press left on the controller, but don't 
shift the camera yet; when you see the cannon, press up to turn into 
the path. Stay right of the line as you make the slight bend in the 
path, there's often someone walking along the left side of the path; 
then inch towards the center line. You don't actually have to touch 
the flag, if you just whiff by it, that should be good enough. Your 
time should be about 5 seconds even.

     Turn right towards the center of the Server, where the Recorder 
is. When you aim for the short path between Elf's Haven and the 
Recorder, try to line yourself up so that you enter right of the line, 
and exit left of the line. You have two ways to go to get around the 
Recorder's, but the Noble Grunty is waiting in back and will prevent 
you from going tight to the wall, so head for the left and get as 
tight to the wall as you can without brushing up against it. When you 
get around the Recorder's and can see the path leading to the Magic 
Shop and the purple flag, aim for the left side of the line, and head 
straight for the next flag. Your time should be no more than 12 
seconds.

     When heading for the path to the third flag, aim for the left 
corner and creep towards the right while following the path down. Like 
the first, there's probably someone walking down the left side; you 
should already be far enough to the right to avoid them, then it's 
smooth sailing to the flag.


Omega Server Race:

     This is possibly the hardest because it's the shortest, and 
leaves almost no room for error. By that same token, it could be 
easiest as there are fewer opportunities to screw up. For this one 
you'll be using the Wooden Grunty.

     Make a mad dash to the red flag in front of you. You'll want to 
turn just before reaching it so that you clip the edge of the flag. 
Your time should be around 2.5 seconds.

     Make a hard turn right and head for the Green Flag next, it's the 
one located near the weapon shop. Although you can see the Purple Flag 
as you turn while picking up the Red Flag, the Purple one's the wrong 
one to go after. While heading for the Green Flag; watch out, there 
might be someone running straight at you. Again, turn before hitting 
the flag and just snatch the edge of the flag while turning left. Your 
time here should be under 6 seconds, try for 5.7 seconds.

     Run for the Purple Flag which you saw earlier, and is now to your 
left. There are two things to watch out for while running for the 
flag, the boxes stacked up along the side of the wall and a person who 
may be running across your path as you approach the flag. Avoid all 
that and head for the goal. See if you can beat 8.0 seconds. 



======================================================================
 [CRE] Credits
======================================================================

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.