Chocobo Hot and Cold (ここほれ!チョコボ, Kokohore! Chokobo?, lit. Dig here! Chocobo!) is a sidequest and minigame in Final Fantasy IX. It is regarded as the game's biggest sidequest, spanning a number of locations across the world map and being the means to unveiling a number of new locations otherwise unvisitable. The minigame itself appears in two forms, one played in chocobo forests, and one played on the world map.
To start the sidequest the player needs Choco, the game's chocobo. This is done as early as the party leaving Lindblum for the first time, and entering the Chocobo's Forest on the Mist Continent. They will meet a moogle named Mene and earn the ability to ride Choco. After this point the player can use Gysahl Greens, which can be bought from the forest or earned during the minigame, to call Choco when standing on chocobo tracks on the world map. The player can then enter the Chocobo's Forest while mounted on Choco to play the minigame.
At a cost of 60 gil per game, Mene will allow Zidane to have Choco dig in the ground to find as many items as possible within 60 seconds. As Choco digs up items, the party earns points which can be redeemed with Mene for items, and Choco's beak will grow stronger allowing him to dig faster. Finding Chocographs reveals the sites of treasures hidden on the world map, which can be found by having Choco dig at the appropriate spot. The treasures include rare items and can upgrade Choco with new powers that let him dig in new areas.
The player starts off only being able to access the Chocobo's Forest. With the Reef upgrade Choco can reach Chocobo's Lagoon. With the Mountain and Sea upgrades Choco can reach new areas in the Forest and Lagoon, eventually finding the Sky upgrade that allows entry to Chocobo's Air Garden, the final digging site. Eventually the player can find Chocobo's Paradise, a chocobo utopia ruled by the Fat Chocobo with various rewards from him for Choco's performance in finding treasure.
The player can dig up other treasures as well as Chocographs, which give points used to buy other equipment. The more points an item is worth, the rarer it is and the deeper it lies in the ground, thus taking longer to unearth. Dead Peppers cannot be obtained until Choco obtains the Mountain upgrade. Some rare items appear to require certain unknown requirements be fulfilled before they can be found.
Points are earned every time the player digs up an item. The points won for items as listed above are their base values, won for digging in Chocobo's Forest. Item point values are doubled in Chocobo's Lagoon and tripled in Chocobo's Air Garden. The additional 5 points awarded for Chocographs and Chocograph Pieces are not affected by the multiplier. A further five points are available for finding an item within 5 seconds of finding the previous one. The bonus may also be subjected to the time and area multipliers.
If the player finds four items within the time limit, Mene will allow an additional ten seconds on the clock and all subsequent points will be doubled. The exception is Chocobo's Lagoon before the Sea ability is obtained; in that case, the game will end after four items.
It is not permitted to find more than eight items at a digging location, four in the Lagoon without the Sea upgrade; if the player reaches the quota within the time limit, Mene will complain that the player is driving him out of business and the remaining time will be exchanged for bonus points according to the following formulae:
- Chocobo's Forest (before mountain upgrade):
- Chocobo's Forest (after mountain upgrade):
- Chocobo's Lagoon:
- Chocobo's Air Garden:
The value for "chocobo type" is as follows:
- Field = 8
- Reef = 7
- Mountain = 6
- Sea = 5
- Sky = 4
Points can be exchanged for the following items:
|Robe of Lords||10,000|
The best place for earning points is Chocobo's Lagoon, assuming Choco has a high beak level. The player should be able to achieve the limit bonus in most games, earning several hundred points. By contrast to the Lagoon, Chocobo's Forest has hills that hide treasure, wasting time, and has a lower limit bonus, while Chocobo's Air Garden is luck-based due to being separated into two sections, and traversing the two repeatedly wastes time.
When digging, the player needs quick reflexes and should keep a mental track of where they have already dug so they do not waste time retracing empty ground. Treasures can hide in any small corner of the area, so the player must be thorough. Once the player has a "feel" of how wide an area Choco can detect treasures in, they can cover large areas with few pecks, optimizing the location of the pecks to cover maximum ground in minimum time. When Choco picks up the general location, it is a mere matter of digging around that area to close in on the treasure's exact spot. Location can be precise, so the player should edge Choco about while looking for the treasure once Choco knows it is nearby, being sure not to miss an area.
When digging in Chocobo's Forest, the player should cover the ground before heading up the two hills, as climbing them takes time and they are small areas and not worth going out of the way to access unless the player is certain the treasure is not on the ground. Choco cannot detect treasures on the hills while on the ground and vice-versa.
In Chocobo's Lagoon, an area that is easy to overlook is the passage out of the Lagoon, and the passage right up to the spot of light marking the exit can be dug in. When digging in Chocobo's Air Garden, it is best to only travel between the two areas if the player is certain the item is not in their current area, as it takes 7-8 seconds to cross over at max speed. There is never anything hidden in Ozma's corner.
Ultimately, the treasures are randomly placed in every location and the items dug up are random, so it comes down to luck. The best advice is simply to not be discouraged and be willing to play several games with little success without giving up.
Choco's beak level, area he digs in, and chocobo type determine how deep he digs() with each press of the button. Finding rare treasures and accumulating more points will augment his beak level. Level 99 is reached at about 14,000 points. In the mobile/Steam versions, increasing maxing out beak level earns the achievement Follow Your Nose.
The formula for determining how far Choco digs is as follows:
The modifiers are as follows:
- Forest = 1
- Reef = 2
- Air Garden = 3
The value for is as follows:
- Field = 0
- Reef = 1
- Mountain = 2
- Sea = 3
- Sky = 4
For example: Chocobo's Beak is Level 24, he has the mountain ability and he's digging in the lagoon.
Earning the limit bonus will often grant an additional beak level, and earning it with a particularly fast time will sometimes earn two beak levels. A beak level bonus may also be granted for finding a Chocograph or Chocograph Piece. Repeatedly earning the limit bonus with a fast time is the quickest way to max the beak level.
The world mapEdit
Choco can find treasure on the world map while being ridden by the player. There are two types of treasures: Chocograph treasures, and Dead Pepper treasures.
Whenever the player digs up a Chocograph, it can be used to find treasures on the world map. There are three clues: the picture on the Chocograph, the Chocograph's name, and a hint given by the Help-Moogle by pressing in the menu. The first Chocograph found will always be "Streamside", and upon being dug will be called "Stone with Patterns", which prompts Mene to explain what it is. Chocographs become available at different times and Mene will tell the player when there are no more Chocographs to be found in an area—this does not mean there will not be more after the player progresses further in the game.
Sometimes, instead of digging up a Chocograph, Choco digs up a "Chocograph Piece". Chocograph pieces are stones that give the player a hint as to the various places where Chocobo's Air Garden floats on the world map, as the entrance is always shifting. Once the player had collected all six pieces they are assembled into a Chocograph that rewards the Sky upgrade needed to reach the Air Garden.
Certain Chocographs contain upgrades that send Choco into Chocobo's Dream World, where the Fat Chocobo will upgrade him with a new ability so he can explore new areas on the world map and in the digging sites. This in turn allows more Chocographs to be dug up. Choco changes color to denote his current ability level.
|Field||Yellow||Can run across land.|
|Reef||Blue||Can run across reefs and rivers.|
Must access from beach.
|Mountain||Red||Can run across mountains.|
|Sea||Navy||Can run across the sea.|
Must access from beach.
|Sky||Gold||Can fly into the sky.|
Must take off and land in forests.
At some areas of the world map, the player may find foaming water or a mountainside with a crack in it. Using a Dead Pepper at these locations causes Choco to dive into the water or dig into the mountain, finding treasure. These treasures are separate from the Chocographs. The various chocobos at Chocobo's Paradise will hint at their locations after speaking with Fat Chocobo for the first time.
- Beneath Quan's Dwelling
The player must enter Quan's Dwelling and use a Dead Pepper on the ledge overlooking the water in the back of the dwelling.
- Directly North of Iifa Tree
- Between Mist Continent and Outer Continent
- South Tip of Forgotten Continent
- Eastern Part of Lost Continent
- Northeastern Part of Forgotten Continent
- Near Oeilvert
- Hidden Island in the Northwest corner of the Map
- Entrance to Chocobo's Paradise
- Island North of Outer Continent
- Entrance to Mognet Central
There is one treasure to which there is no indication to where it lies in the sea. It is found in the exact former location of Shimmering Island after it disappears on disc 4. To find the treasure, the player needs to check the larger version of the world map where Shimmering Island is still marked.
Fat Chocobo's rewardsEdit
After the player finds all 24 Chocographs and all hidden treasures they can talk to Fat Chocobo in Chocobo's Paradise to get Fat Chocobo's Tetra Master card, and all the other cards the player recovered from Chocograph treasures but was unable to keep because their card quota was full.
The player can now talk to Fat Chocobo (using instead of ) at Chocobo's Paradise, and he will tell Choco to go around all the beaches in the world. There are eight beaches in the Mist Continent, four in Forgotten Continent (they aren't in the continent itself, but in the islands), seven in the Outer Continent and two in the Lost Continent.
The player must dismount and press or (Steam version) on each beach. A chime will sound and at the last beach a message appears. After finding all the beaches, whenever the player presses or (Steam version) on any beach, the party's HP and MP will restored and all abnormal statuses will be healed. In the mobile/Steam versions of the game, visiting all beaches and unlocking this ability earns the achievement Beach Bum. The achievement's description has led to confusion for some players, as its requirement states simply "Visit every beach in Gaia."
- The maximum number of points one can have in the minigame is 99,999. Mene also gives the number of games played in each location, and this counter stops increasing after reaching 9998.