The Amazing Race:
Nintendo Universe

By Stephen Stephano


Race Leg #9 – Hocotate


Crimea Castle.  This mecca in the heart of the city of Melior is the site of the throne of the Kingdom of Crimea, the kingdom in the northwest of the continent of Tellius.  This amazing structure of Crimean architectural might is the start of the ninth leg, in a race around the world.”


Ike and Lady Lyndis stand at the start line of the ninth leg alongside Queen Elincia of Crimea, awaiting the signal from the production truck.  It is 3:47pm. 


Elincia: I trust that you will return soon.

Ike: Not until we win the race, highness.

Elincia:  Of course.  You two are a great pair.  Just don’t stop fighting forward and victory will be yours. 

Lyn: It is our intention to bring the championship back to Crimea.  It’ll sit at the royal table as we celebrate our victory. 


They get the signal from the producer standing in the corner of the room.  Link and Zelda, the second team set to depart, look on as Ike reads the opening clue.


Ike: Head to the courtyard and board a freighter bound for the Distant Planet.

Lyn: Distant Planet? 

Ike: I don’t know either Lyndis, but we might as well check it out. 


When Ike and Lyn get to the castle courtyard, they see a giant spaceship sitting upon the grass. 


Lyn: This is otherworldly…I’ve never seen anything like it. 

Ike: So when does this ship depart? 

Engineer: The ship departs at 6pm sharp.

Lyn: Oh…that’s still 2 hours from now.

Ike: Darn, looks like we’ll all be on the same ship.


One by one, the teams arrive in the courtyard.  At 5:30pm, all teams board the freighter, which lifts off at 6pm.  The journey will take approximately 13 hours, so the teams get as comfortable as they can within the relatively cramped passenger quarters. 


Mario: Momma-mia!  There’s-a not much space in here.

Falcon: My Blue Falcon is bigger than this.  What are we, caged rats?

Olimar: Sorry guys, looks like HFP sent in a cargo ship instead of a passenger liner.  This baby is equipped to hold boxes and heavy, dense cargo, not really designed for people. 

Zelda lies down in the compartment, only to notice a spider crawling up her arm. 


Zelda: Uh…Link.

Link: Yes Zelda?

Zelda: There’s a spider crawling up my arm.

Link: Spiders huh?  Are they big and brown like the skulltulas in Ordona? 

Zelda: Very funny Link…now get over here and kill it.

Link: But Zelda…

Zelda: NOW!


Link makes an exasperated face as he makes his way to Zelda’s compartment. 


Summer: Man she’s got him on a leash.

Falcon: Totally.  I could never be with a nagger like that. 

Summer: So you’re saying I’m easy?

Falcon: Wait…that’s not what I said at all.  Stop taking my words out of context!


By morning, most of the teams are tired and sore from the poor night’s sleep.  Upon entering the atmosphere of the Distant Planet, several astronauts from Hocotate brief the teams.  It is made clear that they will have to wear spacesuits for this leg, and that all challenges there must be completed prior to nightfall because of the carnivorous nocturnal creatures that live there. 


Upon touching down, five of the teams run down the ramp and onto the surface.  Captain Falcon gets to the clue box first. 


Falcon: Detour, caution double u-turn ahead!  Seed em or feed em.


“This is a double u-turn, where two teams will have the opportunity to u-turn two other teams, forcing them to go back and complete both sides of the detour.  The Distant Planet is overrun with small plant-animal hybrids called Pikmin.  This detour requires teams to perform one of two challenges in taking care of the giant herds found in every corner of the planet.  Their choice, they can seed them, or feed them.”


“In seed em, the teams must collect one hundred seeds from the briar patch adjacent to the freighter ship landing area.  They then must transport them to a field a quarter mile away, where they will dig up holes in the soil the old fashioned way, and then plant them.  They then must turn on the water sprinklers.  Once the teams have properly planted the field and have it watered, they will receive their next clue.”


“In feed em, the teams must collect five color-coded packages of feeding mix in the feeding shed adjacent to the freighter ship landing area.  They then must transport them to the Pikmin pen over a half mile away.  Once there, they must feed one hundred Pikmin, using the proper feed from the proper bag for each color Pikmin.  Once the teams have fed their quota, they will receive their next clue.”


Fox: Let’s do feed em!

Link: Definitely seed em for us…I was raised on the farm.

Mario: Feed em!  Why aren’t-a you coming with us? 

Olimar: Because we have a penalty to serve.

Luigi: A penalty?  How-a long? 

Louie: 2 hours.

Luigi: Owowowowowowow!  That’s-a painful.


Link, Zelda, Fox, and Krystal all go collect seeds.  The other three teams start stacking up the bags of feed.  The seeds are much lighter and easier to collect and transport.  Zelda and Krystal do the counting while Link and Fox load the wheelbarrow.  Once the requisite seeds have been loaded there are off for the fields.  The other teams struggle with the heavy bags, with the possible exception of Ike, whose strength is second to none.


Ike: **thud.  Alright, that’s all five of them.  Let’s get going. 


The journey is long though, at over  a half mile, and it forces them to go uphill for a stretch.  Lyn tries to hold one end of the wheelbarrow, but they end up out of balance and tip over.


Lyn: Oh dear…that’s my fault. 

Ike: No worries Lyndis, the bags are just really heavy.  Give me a minute and we’ll try again.


On the farm, the Lylatian and Hyrulian pairs dig holes as quickly as they can, but the work is difficult.  The temperature is warm, the humidity high.  The two teams tire quickly. 


Krystal: This is quite a bother.  The ground is hard, the shovels don’t dig very well.  Hey wait, I have an idea. 


Krystal runs off back to the freighter ship.  Fox wonders for a moment what she is doing.  He gets antsy as he watches the hyrulian pair dig and plant seeds, albeit not at the fastest of pace.  Krystal finally returns with her staff in tow.  She uses the tuner on the side of it to adjust the power of the staff. 


Krystal: Watch this!

Fox: This better be good.  You just wasted at least five minutes of time.


Krystal uses her staff to shoot a small fireball right into the soil.  The soil parts, revealing a hole in the ground about the size of one of the seeds.


Krystal: It’s perfect. 

Fox: I like the way you think.  Let’s finish this.

Zelda: So they think they can magic their way through the challenge?  I see how it is. 


Zelda takes off for the ship as well.  Link calls out to her but she does not respond.  He waits for about five minutes before she returns with a bow and a bottle of green potion.


Link: My bow?

Zelda: Your bow alright. 


Zelda loads up an ice arrow and shoots it into the ground.  Parts of the ground freeze where the arrow connects.  She beckons to Link, and with his gauntlets he pulls the arrow out, pulling out a seed-sized piece of earth with it. 


Link: Great thinking Zel!  I didn’t think there was enough moisture in the soil for the ground to freeze and hold together like that.

Zelda: Down in Ordona you don’t have winters like we do in Lanayru Province.  And let’s not forget, I’m pretty well versed in magic too.


Back near the Pikmin coup, Lyndis uses her strong legs to pull the heavy wheelbarrow from the front.  Ike pushes forward, careful not to run into his partner.  With great effort, they do get the wheelbarrow to the top of the hill and continue on to the coup. 


Ike: Okay, let’s figure out which bag goes with which breed.  

Lyn: There’s five of them it looks like.  There’s red, yellow, blue, white, and purple. 

Ike: Load the tanks!


Back on the hill, Captain Falcon and Jody Summer strain with effort.  Before they get far, the wheelbarrow tips over, spilling the bags of seed onto the grass.


Summer: Doggone it, this is really hard work.  This is the kind of work that we have machines for.

Falcon: I agree.  Come to the opposite side, see if you can pull from the front side. 


Jody tries to deadlift the weight the way Lyndis did.  The problem is that Summer’s lower body hasn’t gone through the physical training that Lyn’s has, and her legs soon give out, sending her to the ground.  Not prepared, Falcon is overcome by the heavy load and dives out of the way as the wheelbarrow rolls down the hill and crashes.  When they get to the bottom, they find that two of the bags have been severed, dropping seed all over the place. 


Falcon: Great!  Just great, now we have to go back!  If only…


Jody gives Falcon a look of death, which scares him out of his oncoming comment. 


Ike and Lyn complete their challenge, loading the last of the bags into the feeding tanks  At about the same time, Fox and Krystal as well as Link and Zelda complete their tasks in the field.  Lyn, Fox, and Link receive their clues.


Lyn:  Travel by merchant ship over to the Bulborb Ship Repair Depot.


“Teams must now take a merchant’s taxi over to the Bulborb Ship Repair Depot.  This shipyard is the biggest shipyard on the Distant Planet, and is a major hub for the repair of cargo and merchant ships traveling to and from the major population centers of planet Hocotate.  Once here, the teams must identify fifteen common spaceship parts.  They then must travel into the shipyard’s docking bay, where they must work with engineers and mechanics to place the parts in the proper position on the broken ships.  Once the teams have identified the parts and overseen the ship’s repair, the teams will receive their next clue.”


Mario and Luigi work to feed the Pikmin.


Mario: Okey-dokey Luigi, one full bag into the loader for the red.  Now onto the next color.

Luigi: It’s-a me, ze yellow ones.  Eat up to your heart’s content!


The brothers are about to load the next bag into the loader when they notice that the Pikmin are making some strange noises.  Others are seizing up and dropping to the ground.  Several of the workers in the coup start to run around in distress, entering the pens and scooping up Pikmin.


Mario: What’s-a happening? 

Luigi: Did we give them the wrong bag of food?  Luigi goes back and checks the bags near the loader for the red and yellow Pikmin.  To his horror, he realizes that the bags have been reversed.

Luigi: Oh my ducky, not good.  Workers start to close in on the brothers, to which they run.

Mario: Wwwwooooohhhaaaahhaaoooooooo!


Falcon and Summer finally arrive at the coup to see workers in haz-mat suits cleaning up the pens and vacuuming up the dust of dead Pikmin in the air.


Falcon: Uhh…what?


A worker approaches them, explaining that the brothers have ruined the pen, and that the food arrival is good enough.  He hands Summer the clue and then runs away hurriedly.


Summer: Well that was awkward, but it works!  Travel to Bulborb Ship Repair Depot!

Falcon: This challenge will be easy…I work on F-Zero cars all the time.  Let’s go!


The taxis containing three teams, those from Corneria, Hyrule, and Tellius, all converge on the depot. They all reach the u-turn board simultaneously.


Krystal: What do you think, should we u-turn anybody? 

Zelda: That’s not nice, and we’re in the lead, there’s no need for that. 

Fox: You never know what could happen up ahead though.

Ike: Is better to fight with chivalry and lose than cheat and prosper. 

Link: It wouldn’t be cheating to u-turn the others, but Zelda’s right, it would be rather evil-hearted.  I say go forward without. 

Lyn: Fair, let’s all stick together on this one.


The three teams proceed to the depot’s tool crib, where on a giant whiteboard there are drawings of parts and their names listed.  Fox and Krystal, being very knowledgeable with regard to spacecraft, spring into action quickly. 


Fox: Link, pull three of the green ones out of that box.  We need those.  They’re for the rear propeller device.

Krystal: Lyn, get three of the yellow pipes and three purple screws, we’re going to need those to assemble the valves for the jet engine.

Fox: Zelda, grab the three blue airfoils, we’ll need those to…

Zelda: Assemble the hyperdrive airfoil that is mounted to the internal accelerator?

Fox: Shoot you’re good.  I thought you were from the medieval country, how’d you know that?

Zelda:  **holds up the ship’s instruction manual…It only took me a few minutes to read through.  Though I must say reading books like these is much more homely by candlelight.


While the three teams are pounding away at making their ships space-ready, Olimar and Louie finally get to begin their leg.  They head to the feeding facility, dragging the heavy bags of feed along in the wheelbarrow.  But once they get near the building, they notice heavy plumes of colored smoke in the air. 


Olimar: Oh my, what happened here??  The Pikmin!!


They enter the building to see that many of the pikmin have passed, and many workers in haz-mat suits.  Olimar immediately recognizes one of the workers, a transplant from Hocotate named Tara. 


Olimar: Tara what happened?  Somebody gave the wrong food to the wrong breed didn’t they?

Tara: You know it.  There wasn’t much we could do, it happened so fast. 

Olimar: Did you at least seal the other chambers from the exhaust of the dead? 

Tara: We did the best we could, but there was some leakage into the yellow and purple chambers.  Believe me we did all we could, but we lost several hundred of each at least.

Louie: Great, well now we have to do the planting.

Olimar: It’s not even about that…I want to know who did this.  We’re going to knock those scumbags out of this race if it’s the last thing we do!  Come on!


Falcon and Summer get to the tool crib as the other three teams depart for the docking bay.  They hit the u-turn board.


Falcon: We’re behind, we got to u-turn somebody!

Summer: I say these guys.

Falcon: **Picks out Olimar & Louie.  Sorry helmetheads, not a happy homecoming for you!


The engineers finish up the ships in the docking bay.  Drivers show up to give them their clues.


Ike: Travel to Hocotate Space Distribution Center where you will receive your next clue.


“Teams must now ride in their repaired spaceship through space from the Distant Planet to the nearby planet of Hocotate.  Once there, they will land in the docking bay of the Hocotate Space Distribution Center.  Once there, they must travel from the docking bay to the warehouse, where they will receive their next clue.” 


Fox: Aw come on man, go faster!  They’re pulling ahead of us! 

Driver: You can’t drive these things any faster, there’s an asteroid field ahead.


Fox continues to watch as the other teams’ ships draw further ahead. 


Fox: Look, the other teams are nearly out of sight!  We’re in a race, step on it!

Driver: It’s against protocol for me to travel at any faster speed, and I cannot…


Krystal cuts the driver off by whipping him in the side of the head with her blaster.  She takes the wheel and cranks up the hyperdrive, sending them way ahead of the other teams.


Krystal: I hate people that make rules just for the sake of making rules.

Fox: Gee Krystal, you have no idea how much I wanted to do that.

Krystal: So why didn’t you? 

Fox: Good question.  Look out!  Asteroid field ahead!


Back on the surface, Olimar and Louie have farmed out their 100 seeds and received their clue.  Following the taxi drive they arrive at the tool crib of the Bulborb Station, where they see Mario and Luigi figuring through the challenge. 


Mario: This-a one is a propeller blade, we’ll-a need this one for sure. 

Luigi: And this-a one is the screw socket for the hydraulic valve.  That one’s on a Mario Kart, it’s-a needed that’s for sure. 

Mario: Where do you suppose all those-a pikmin went? 

Luigi: You mean-a those at the feeding house?  Yeah, it was a real shame to be sure. 

Olimar: It was them, the plumbers.  They were the ones that screwed everything up.

Louie: Well, we got u-turned.  **points to the u-turn board.

Olimar: Doesn’t matter, we’ve already done both sides of the u-turn.  Louie, get your game face on, we’re going to get our revenge right here, right now. 


The plumbers get their parts to the engineers ahead of Louie and Olimar, but the duo from Hocotate, thanks to their vast knowledge of freighter ships, close the gap considerably. 


Krystal: This city reminds me of Corneria City…very similar design in the buildings and traffic flow.  Where is that warehouse?  Fox check the map again!


Fox looks over the map again as they bound through the city center.  Then he notices a large sprawling building about a mile down on the left.  He motions to Krystal, and they steer the ship into the building’s docking bay.  They are greeted by several workers, who lead them into the vast warehouse, which is gigantic and houses racks upon racks of product sprawling for miles.  In the central area is a giant conveyor belt about the size of an outdoor running track with pipelines leading out from it to all sections of the building.  The clue box is at the front of the belt loop.


Fox: Roadblock!  Who’s got the whole package?  I’d say you do Krystal.

Krystal: Thanks for the complement.


“This roadblock involves one member of each team grabbing ten specially marked packages from this fast moving conveyor belt and putting them on a pallet, which is then wheeled over to the other end of the building to the docking bay, where it is readied for shipment.  Once the teams have collected the ten packages with their team colors and readied them to be sent off to the world, they can proceed to the control room.” 


“This control room is the heart of the logistics operation in Hocotate, responsible for making sure all product and transportation goals are met.  This information hub is now the Pit Stop for this leg of the race.  The last team to check in here…may be eliminated.” 


Krystal: Going to get me some packages!  Come on orange and blue!


Not long after the foxes hit the factory floor, the two teams from yesteryear arrive.


Link: Roadblock…who’s got the whole package? 

Zelda: It’s definitely you Link.

Lyn: I think you should do this Ike.

Link: Alright, just got to look for the green and purple ones.  They should be coming any minute now.

Lyn: It’s blue and silver for us Ike, wait for them and pluck them off the line.


Krystal identifies her first package and attempts to grab it, but the belt moves quickly and her hands only get a passing grasp on it, leaving it sideways on the belt.  Link sees his first and gets a better handle, only he struggles with the package’s weight, dropping it awkwardly back onto the belt where it tumbles off the edge.  A buzzer blares, and a crane drops down to pick it and take it across the room to the rework area. 


Zelda: Come on Link, you can do this, don’t worry about it!


Meanwhile, Ike hasn’t gotten close to the belt yet.  A blue and silver package flies by without him even going for it.


Lyn: What’s wrong Ike?  You need to get the packages!

Ike: I’m too tall, I can’t get my head underneath these pipes, my space helmet is banging against them!

Lyn: Get down on your knees then.

Ike: Well I guess that works, I can still reach them then…but, how will I be able to see them.  My head would be below the belt.

Lyn: I’ll call out when they are coming, I’ll give you a countdown.  See, here comes one now.  Get ready.  Five, four, three, two, one…


Ike reaches up and grabs the package, taking it off the belt.  Alas, it is plain brown cardboard.


Ike: Aw man.  How close was I? 

Lyn: You were one too early, but nice try.  I’ll count a little slower next time!


Meanwhile, at the docking bay at Bulborb Depot, tempers flare.


Olimar: How could you give them the wrong food?  How could you be that stupid?

Luigi: Look mister-a freighter, we were going quickly and-a made a mistake. 

Olimar: Because of you hundreds of innocent pikmin are now dead and a whole feeding plant is contaminated.  This could impact the growth of pikmin creatures all over the Distant Planet!  Do you have any idea what a huge problem that is!

Mario: Now-a you listen here, I a-told you that we’ve-a never been to this country.  The clue did-a not tell us the consequences for a mistake.  We-a feel very badly about this, but don’t-a tell me about loss of life when-a Mushroom Kingdom has been invaded countless times in the past 27 years. 

Luigi: Yeah…a 27 years!  How many problems has your country had in that time.  How-a long has your country even existed anyway?

Louie: It’s not hard to see why your country always gets invaded, you’re the most insensitive people, and you’re fat too.  Go and eat some more pasta you fiends!


Back in Hocotate, Captain Falcon and Jody Summer have arrived. 


Falcon: Roadblock, who’s got the whole package?  Definitely me. 


With Lady Lyndis’s help from afar, Ike has collected eight packages.  Krystal and Link however have 9 and are close to the end.  Link eyes his tenth package coming in.  He is about to grab it, but further up the line Krystal grabs it instead.  She then quickly pivots to see her tenth package coming in. 


Link: Hey, you can’t take my package!


Krystal grabs her tenth package off the belt. 


Krystal: All’s fair in love, war, and the Amazing Race. 

Link: Now look, I’m a defender of peace and justice.  I demand what is rightfully mine! 

Krystal: And I’m a mercenary.  I care about little except payment for my services.  Your package could prevent this from happening. 


Link turns to look at Fox.  Krystal sees this and puts the package back on the belt.  Without thinking, Zelda rushes in to grab the package before it can get away.


Fox: Hey that’s cheating, only one of you can complete the roadblock.

Zelda: Such a rule no longer applies when another team tries to cheat.

Fox: We’re not cheating, we’re doing what we have to do to win.

Zelda: And you say you fight against evil forces in Lylat?  You could’ve fooled me given your antics on display here.


Fox turns back and notices that very quietly, Ike and Lyn have left the room. 


Fox: Wait, did they get their packages while we were arguing?  Quick, get after them!


While the other teams run away, Jody Summer laughs herself silly. 


Falcon: They don’t get along very well do they Jody?

Summer: And to think I thought we liked to quarrel.  Too bad we weren’t down to our last.


In the control room is a giant LED screen, which sits behind Phil and the president of the distribution center.  He greets the first arriving team. 


President: Welcome to Planet Hocotate.


“Ike and Lyn…for the second leg in a row you are team #1!” 


Ike & Lyn: Yeah…we did it again!  Ike picks Lyn up and gives her a strong bear hug as only he can.


“As the winner of this leg of the race, you have won in your native currency, $20,000 each!”


Ike: Oh wow...that is a big deal.


“Is it now?” 


Lyn: Well, most of the teams here come from money, we don’t.  This is a big help to us.


“Well you’ll definitely want to win the million then?” 


Ike: That’s what we’re here for, every day.  We’re going to keep getting first place till the end!


In space, the two teams in the back are about to enter Hoctatian airspace. 


Olimar: I know how we can get our revenge. 

Louie: Really? 

Olimar:  Yeah watch this.  **turns to driver.  Hey driver, do you suppose that you could stop, or perhaps take us out of our way?

Driver: Why sure…but, why do you want to do that?

Olimar: The other driver carrying the plumbers…I know that guy.  He gets lost all the time.  If he doesn’t have us to follow, they might get lost.  Just take us back into space for a few minutes and then take the back route into the plant. 

Driver: Okay…will do Olly.

Louie: This is crazy dude, if they do get straight to the plant on the first pass we’re screwed. 

Olimar: Please, when has Nathansen ever gone straight to the plant?  He’s a complete tool.

Louie: Well, you do have a point there…


Back at the factory floor, the 2nd and 3rd teams arrive. 


“Link and Zelda…you have arrived at the mat in 2nd position.  However, Link, you did not collect the 10th and final package yourself, you needed Zelda’s assistance.  You will need to go back and collect a replacement 11th package before I can check you in.”


Fox and Krystal give devious smiles to the Hyrulian pair.  Link gives Fox a look of death. 


“However, you have not completed the speed bump that you were required to perform at the conveyor belt.  You must complete the speed bump before I can check you in.”


Now it is Link and Zelda that are grinning mischievously.  Fox and Krystal respond by running from the room wordlessly.  Zelda and Link move quickly on their heels.


Meanwhile, in the city, Mario and Luigi begin to realize that their driver has lost his way. 


Luigi: A-excuse me, Mr. Driver, but do you know-a where you are headed?

Driver: Yeah, it’s right across the bridge from here.

Mario: Bridge…I-a don’t see no bridge.


Several minutes pass, and they pass a park, several skyscrapers, what looks to be a domed stadium of some kind, and many homes and businesses.  The minutes drag on further, and before long they are nearly at the city limits.  Farmland lies beyond the limits.


Luigi: Oh my ducky, just ask somebody already!

Driver: I know where I’m going!


Meanwhile, back at the plant, the next team arrives.


“Summer and Falcon, you are team #2.” 


Summer: 2?  Great, that’s better than we thought!”


They turn around and see Link and Zelda trudging in behind them.


Falcon: What happened to you guys? 

Link: Ask the foxes why they turned to the dark side.


Falcon grins as he realizes the possibility of tension developing between the teams.  Fox and Krystal arrive about a minute later, unaware to their competitors’ unhappiness toward them.


The night grows long, waiting for the final teams to arrive.  The fifth place team shows up feeling fairly nervous.  They had not seen the other team arrive at the conveyor belt and thus fear the worst. 


“Olimar and Louie.”


Olimar: Please, please let it be.  We can’t be eliminated, not here, not where we work and live every day.  It can’t be!


“Well I have some good news, you are still in this race, you are team #5.” 


Olimar and Louie let out a cheer.  Then they immediately drop to their knees, holding each other by the shoulders. 


Olimar: We did this for the pikmin.  Remember this day.


Several hours later, a frustrated Mario and Luigi enter the control room.  Their faces show exasperation and pain. 


President: Welcome to Planet Hocotate.


“Mario and Luigi…I am sorry to inform you that you are the last team to arrive.”


Luigi: This-a was a very tough day.


“And I regret to inform you that you have been eliminated from the race.”


Luigi: And-a just got worse.


“What happened out there guys?”


Mario: We-a struggled with the feeding challenge, so we-a had to do both sides of the detour, and then coming here we got lost for hours because our driver was-a total idiot! 

Luigi: Well Mario, we gave it our best shot.  Everybody has bad days.  We still have our homes, our families and friends, and-a we still have our Mario Karts.  Besides, after all this travel, I really would like a mushroom pizza and pasta right about now. 


Mario: Okey-dokey Luigi.  **turns to camera.  Hey, we’re pretty good.  See you next time!


Results for Leg #9:

1.Ike & Lyn

2.Falcon & Summer

3.Link & Zelda

4.Fox & Krystal

5.Olimar & Louie

6.Mario & Luigi (eliminated)



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