Upon setting out from Lindblum's Dragon's Gate, you can venture due east over land to the Chocobo's Forest. This is where you get to meet Mene and his pal Choco. They need your help in order to get to Chocobo Paradise. This section covers how to get there...
Many of the side quests described in this section depend entirely upon your progress in FFIX and in the Chocobo Hot and Cold game. Your party will not be able to reach certain areas or find some powerful items until you have commandeered certain vehicles and Choco has acquired the necessary skills to swim, climb mountains, or fly.
Each time you pay Mene 60 Gil, you get 60 seconds to search the Chocobo Forest for valuable items and Gil. To search, ride Choco around the area and press the Square button to dig. Choco will let out a "Kweh" sound each time you dig to indicate how close or how far you are from a buried item. Choco makes a variety of sounds, each with its own meaning. Here's what they mean:
When Choco screams "K-KWEHHH!!!" (all in caps), you have struck the spot where an item is buried. Different items are buried at different depths; obviously, the better items are deeper down and take longer to dig out
For each item or amount of Gil you find, you receive points. If you find four items in one sixty-second game, Mene will add 10 seconds to the clock and double your points for each item found thereafter. If you dig up two items within five seconds of one another, you receive additional bonus points.
Choco's beak level will increase occasionally, depending on the total number of points you've earned. As Choco improves, finding items and digging them up become much easier and faster.
There are certain items buried deep beneath the ground in the forest called Chocographs. Chocographs are items that provide clues to the whereabouts of buried treasure that Choco can dig up on the World Map. During your first visit to the Chocobo Forest, you may find the first Chocograph within 3 or 4 games. The first Chocograph, labeled "Streamside," lets you dig up a treasure chest buried on the beach near the river just outside the Chocobo Forest.
To use a Chocograph to find buried treasure, leave the Chocobo Forest riding Choco. Press the Triangle button to open the Chocograph menu, select the treasure you want to search for, and exit the menu. Now toggle the Select button until the mini-map appears in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. The picture of the treasure's location should appear just above the mini-map. Ride Choco to that location and begin searching for the treasure by pressing the Square button. Choco will make similar sounds as in the "Chocobo Hot and Cold Game" to indicate the proximity of the treasure.
A Chocograph also lists the skills your Chocobo must possess in order to find that treasure. The Chocograph will appear grayed out on the menu until Choco has the proper abilities to find it.
For more information about chocographs, please see our page on Chocographs.
A few Chocographs provide hints about locations where Choco can dig up a "Power Up." In this case, instead of finding treasures, Choco will fall asleep and go to Chocobo's Dream World for a moment.
Here, Fat Chocobo (god of all Chocobos) bestows upon Choco a new ability, which in turn changes Choco's color. Each color indicates that Choco has attained a new ability. The abilities are cumulative, so Choco will not lose a previously gained ability just because he has turned a new color.
When Choco is light blue, he has the REEF ability and can search the reefs (light-blue areas of the ocean) just offshore. A red-colored Choco has the Mt. ability and can run across mountains and ridges, which were previously impassable. This also enables Choco to search the high ledges to the left and to the right in the Chocobo's Forest area. However, you should only search up there when it appears that there's nothing on the ground. A dark-blue-colored Choco with the SEA ability can swim across any part of the ocean. Finally, a gold-colored Choco with the SKY ability can lift off from or land in any forest area; simply press the X button to do so. This enables a gold Choco to reach islands and areas that not even an airship can access.
Continue digging up Chocographs in the Chocobo's Forest until Choco tells Mene that there are no more Chocographs to find. Once the party has a vehicle, pilot the party to the small strip of islands south of the western Forgotten Continent. Land on the island where you see chocobo tracks, and use a Gysahl Green to summon Choco.
Choco must have the REEF ability to travel in the light blue colored water areas to find Chocobo's Lagoon. Ride Choco north across the reefs in this area, curving south until you reach an island with a cave visible in the side, close to the reef. When you see the "?" appear, ride in with Choco. This is Chocobo's Lagoon!
Mene appears and offers to let you search the area for 30 seconds at 30 Gil a shot. With the REEF ability, the light blue colored chocobo can only search the shallow portions of the area. Once he earns the SEA ability, the dark blue chocobo can search the entire area for 60 seconds at 60 Gil. Note that, you must have a red chocobo before you can have the ocean chocobo. To acquire the ocean chocobo, you must return to Chocobo Forest with the red chocobo.
After finding all of the Chocographs in Chocobo's Lagoon, Mene indicates that it's time to find Chocobo's Air Garden. The whereabouts of this mysterious place is indicated by the clues inscribed on the back of the six Chocograph Pieces. You must dig up all six of these pieces in the "Chocobo Hot and Cold game." After finding them all, the Chocograph that leads you to the gold-colored chocobo SKY ability immediately becomes available.
Most of the Chocograph Pieces indicate a location on the World Map. Fly to each location with the gold Choco and search for a small black shadow on the ground. The five possible locations are indicated on the following map:
When you find the shadow, hover Choco directly over it and then take Choco up into the sky. Feed Choco a Dead Pepper, which temporarily increases Choco's abilities, to find the Air Garden. After Mene arrives, you can play the "Chocobo Hot and Cold Game" here to find the remaining Chocographs. Search along the two islands floating among the clouds, but don't hop to the other one until you're sure there are no more treasures on the isle you're currently on.
After finding all of the Chocographs and digging up their corresponding treasures, it's time to head to Chocobo's Paradise. You'll need a Dead Pepper, an item you can find while playing "Chocobo Hot and Cold."
Pilot your gold chocobo to the most northwestern part of the World Map, where you'll find a hidden island. There's a forest for Choco to land in and a small mountain nearby. Look for a large crack on the side of the mountain. Move Choco across the ground to the crack, and then open the menu (press the Triangle button) and use a Dead Pepper. Choco will dig open the entrance to Chocobo's Paradise.
Now ride Choco to the right, where he will use the fountain as a springboard to leap up to the high platform. This is where Fat Chocobo presides. At this stage, the Fat Chocobo will indicate that there are still treasures to find on the World Map. Also, you are now able to understand all of the chocobos when they speak. The chocobo seated to the left of Fat Chocobo will give you 99 Dead Peppers. All the rest of the chocobos, including the two near the entrance, provide clues as to the whereabouts of treasures hidden in the world that you can find by using Dead Peppers.
If you've found all of the treasures, Fat Chocobo dictates that Choco must stay in Chocobo's Paradise. He gives you the ultra-rare Fat Chocobo Card, as if it's any consolation. But don't worry, Choco won't abandon his friends. When you move back to the entrance, Choco rejoins you for more adventures!
As an added bonus for completing the "Chocobo Hot and Cold" game, Choco can learn to completely restore your party's HP and MP, as well as remove any status abnormalities. All you need to do is visit a beach.
First, find every treasure on the World Map and all of the Chocographs. Then visit Chocobo's Paradise and challenge Fat Chocobo to a card game. When you challenge Fat Chocobo to a card game, he will give you clues to the beaches. It isn't necessary to even play against him, as long as you challenge him.
Ride Choco to a beach and dismount. Then press the Circle button and you will hear a chime. After you repeat this process on every single beach, you will heal your entire party. You can now heal your party completely just by visiting any beach and pressing the Circle button!