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.
How to play
To start the sidequest the player needs Choco, the chocobo. This is done as early as the party leaving Lindblum for the first time, and entering Chocobo's Forest on the Mist Continent. Zidane will meet a moogle named Mene and earn Choco as a steed. The player can then use Gysahl Greens (bought from the forest and earned during the minigame) to call Choco when standing on chocobo tracks on the world map. The player can then enter Chocobo's Forest while mounted on Choco to play the minigame.
At a cost of 60 gil per game, the player can direct Choco to unearth items within a 60-second time limit. As Choco digs up items, the party earns points that can be redeemed with Mene for items, and Choco's beak straightens, allowing him to dig faster. The treasure location is determined by where Choco's feet are, not where the beak is pointing. When a game starts, the treasure locations and the treasures themselves are random. The first peck (either at the beginning of a game or the first new peck after unearthing a treasure) sets the location of the next treasure, but not what the treasure will be. Once the player has found the spot (KWEEH!), the treasure is locked, including which Chocograph it is if the treasure is a Chocograph.
Chocographs reveal the sites of treasures hidden on the world map, which can be found by having Choco dig at the appropriate spot. Chocograph 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 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 the Lagoon, and the Sky upgrade allows the player 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 who gives out various rewards for Choco's performance in finding treasures.
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.
The chance of digging up a Chocograph (if there are any currently available) depends on how many items the player has unearthed in that particular Chocobo Hot and Cold game. The probability starts at 1/16. After unearthing 3 items, the chance goes up to 1/14. After 4 items, it is 1/9. After 5 items, it is 1/5. After 6 items, it is 1/3. On the last item, the probability is 1/2. The player can find one Chocograph per game of Hot and Cold. After there are no more Chocographs to be found as of yet, Mene will inform the player.
The Chocograph Piece is in a different "treasure pool" than the regular Chocograph. The Chocograph Piece is in the pool with the treasures worth 2 points in the table below. After finding all the Pieces, the player will earn the full Chocograph (see below).
Dead Peppers cannot be obtained until Choco gains the Mountain upgrade. If the player digs up what was supposed to be a Dead Pepper before Choco changes color to red, the treasure changes into a Gysahl Green, effectively doubling the chance for the player to obtain Gysahl Greens before Choco becomes red.
After the player has found all currently available Chocographs, there is a slightly higher chance of finding a treasure worth more than 1 point (besides the 8-point treasures; see below). This "bonus" is reset every time the player visits Chocobo's Dream World (this is where Choco's color changes). The best chance for finding high-point treasures is after the player has discovered every Chocograph in the game. The game first checks whether the treasure is a Chocograph. If this fails, or the player has already found all available Chocographs, the game next rolls for treasures worth 16pts, then for 8pts, 4pts, and 2pts (Chocograph Pieces are in this group). If all of these rolls fail, the player gets one of the default treasures worth 1 point.
The treasures worth 8 points do not get the "bonus" chance from having discovered all available Chocographs already, meaning these treasures are often the rarest to come up, having only the base chance of 1/256.
Points and quota
Digging up items earns points. 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. If the player unearths four items within the time limit, Mene will allow an additional 10 seconds on the clock and all subsequent points will be doubled (the exception is Chocobo's Lagoon before the Sea ability, where the game will end after four items). A further 5 points are awarded for finding an item within 5 seconds of unearthing the previous one. This bonus is also subjected to the time and area multipliers. On the other hand, the additional 5 points awarded for Chocographs and Chocograph Pieces are unaffected by the multipliers.
The maximum treasure yield per game is eight items (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 formulas:
- 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
The maximum amount of points one can have is 99,999. Mene also gives the number of games played in each location, and this counter stops increasing after reaching 9998.
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 quota bonus in most games, earning several hundred points. By contrast to the Lagoon, Chocobo's Forest has hills that hide treasures, wasting time, 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. AS the treasure location is determined by Choco's feet and not where he pecks, turning on the spot to dig is pointless.
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, which can be dug in right up to the spot of light marking the exit. 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 the outcomes come down to luck. The best advice is simply to not be discouraged and be willing to play several games even with little success without giving up.
In the versions with in-game boosters, the player can use the 3x speed mode without affecting the 60-second timer, making the game much easier.
Choco's beak level, the area he digs in, and his 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 latest versions, maxing out the beak level earns the achievement/trophy Follow Your Nose.
The formula for determining how far Choco digs is as follows:
The modifiers are:
- Forest = 1
- Lagoon = 2
- Air Garden = 3
The value for is:
- Field = 0
- Reef = 1
- Mountain = 2
- Sea = 3
- Sky = 4
For example: Choco's beak is level 24, he has the Mountain ability and he is digging in the lagoon.
Earning the quota bonus will often grant an additional beak level, and earning it with a particularly fast time will sometimes earn two beak levels. Repeatedly earning the quota bonus with a fast time is the quickest way to max out the beak level.
The world map
Choco can find treasures on the world map while being ridden by the player. There are two types of treasures: Chocograph treasures, which can be found thanks to the hints given by Chocographs, and hidden treasures, which require the use of Dead Peppers to be obtained.
Whenever the player digs up a Chocograph, it can be used to find a treasure on the world map. There are four clues: the Chocograph's name, its associated picture, a short description below it, and a hint given by the Help-Moogle when pressing in the menu. The first Chocograph found is "Streamside", which 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 will dig 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 has collected all six Pieces, they are assembled into a Chocograph that hints at a treasure which rewards the player with the Sky upgrade needed to reach the Air Garden.
Certain Chocograph treasures 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 for more Chocograph treasures to be dug up. Choco changes color to denote his current ability level.
|Field||Yellow||Can run across land.|
|Reef||Light blue||Can run across reefs and rivers.|
Must access from beach.
|Mountain||Red||Can run across mountains.|
|Sea||Dark blue||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. Using a Dead Pepper at these locations causes Choco with a Sea upgrade to dive into the water or dig into the mountain, finding treasures. These treasures are separate from the Chocograph treasures. The various chocobos at Chocobo's Paradise will hint at their locations after speaking with the Fat Chocobo for the first time. Locating all hidden world map treasures yields the Diggin' It achievement/trophy in the latest versions.
- 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 a treasure for which there is no indication as to where it lies in the sea. It is found in the exact former location of Shimmering Island after it has disappeared. The player can check the larger version of the world map where Shimmering Island is still marked to position themself.
Fat Chocobo's rewards
After the player finds all 24 Chocographs and all hidden world map treasures, they can talk to the Fat Chocobo in Chocobo's Paradise to get his Tetra Master card, as well as all cards recovered from Chocograph or hidden treasures that the player was unable to keep because their card quota was full.
The player can then talk to the 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 on the Mist Continent, four on Forgotten Continent (they are not on the continent itself, but on the islands surrounding it), seven on the Outer Continent and two on the Lost Continent.
The player must dismount and press or (Steam version) on or near each beach. A chime will sound, and at the last beach, a message will appear. After finding all the beaches, whenever the player presses or (Steam version) on or near any beach, the party's HP and MP will be restored and all abnormal statuses will be healed. In the mobile/Steam versions, 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 simply states to "Visit every beach in Gaia".
食う / くう / kuu is a rough way to say "eat", whose volitional casual form is 食え / くえ / kue ("let's scoff 'em down!"), leading to Kweh!
Hot and Cold is a party game, it is also known as Hunt the Thimble in which all but one partygoer leaves the room. The person remaining in the room hides a thimble, or other small object, somewhere in the room. When everyone comes back in, they must locate the hidden object.