...Kuja's secret palace is on the eastern side of this continent. It's buried under quicksand. You'll need a ship to get there.
Black Mage No. 288
The Desert Palace is Kuja's lair in Final Fantasy IX, located in the desert on the Outer Continent. It is an immense underground fortress filled with traps entered through a mock Antlion pit. If the player tries to enter the Desert Palace for the first time through the main entrance instead of the quicksands, they cannot go further as the ladder isn't lowered.
Navigating the dungeon is tricky and requires the completion of several puzzles, which involve candle lights and hidden passages. The palace security system is the Valia Pira, which the party can weaken by turning off the Bloodstones scattered across the palace. The Bloodstones also yield treasure.
Desert Palace is one of only two places where one can obtain the Namingway Tetra Master card, which can be shown to a man in Daguerreo to rename player characters. In endgame, the palace becomes inaccessible due to an Iifa root blocking the entrance.
- 1 Story
- 2 Party makeup
- 3 Locations
- 4 Quests
- 5 Enemies
- 6 Items
- 7 Shops
- 8 Musical themes
- 9 Other appearances
- 10 Behind the scenes
- 11 Gallery
The party enters the palace via an antlion pit but they are immediately captured by Kuja. He blackmails Zidane into going into Oeilvert to fetch the Gulug Stone for him holding the lives of his friends hostage. When Zidane's party is away Kuja betrays his promise and attempts to kill the remaining party members by dropping away the floors of their cells leading to a pit of fire. Regent Cid saves them by releasing the cells, and the party searches for a way to escape Kuja's fortress. They disable Valia Pira, the palace security system, and reunite with Zidane as he returns with the Gulug Stone. Kuja snatches the stone and absconds with his lackeys Zorn and Thorn kidnapping Eiko.
After Kuja destroys Terra the Iifa Tree goes berserk and its roots block the entrance to the palace.
When Zidane is choosing his party for his trip to Oeilvert, the order in which Kuja calls them in their cells depends on the characters' priority. Eiko has top priority over the non-Zidane party members. Steiner has the next highest priority, followed by Vivi, Freya, Quina, Amarant, who can only be called as early as second, and Garnet, who will always be called last.
The leader of the party in this area depends on whom the player chooses to send with Zidane to Oeilvert. The party leader will depend on its members, as well as who has priority. Quina, Amarant, and Garnet, the three characters with the lowest priority rankings, cannot lead the party in this area. If Steiner is the party leader in this area, and Garnet is in the party with him, he will immediately ask her if she is all right after they escape from their cells thanks to Cid, although she will be unable to answer since she is without her voice at this time. He is the only party leader who shows Garnet concern if she is in the party with him, as Eiko, Vivi, and Freya will not.
To enter the Desert Palace the player must find the four quicksand pools in the Kiera Desert on the Outer Continent. The three pools shooting clouds of sand contain Antlions, the northwest most pool will allow entry to the depths below.
Zidane wakes up to find he is trapped in a room with Cid. Kuja was expecting the visit. He leaves Zidane no choice, to save his friends he must run an errand. Leave the room and follow the path to a pair of black mages to be teleported to Kuja's room.
Walk to the right to speak with Kuja. When the party to accompany Zidane has been selected, they will be summoned from their cells and teleported to the dock.
The party left behind in the prison cells are told by Kuja that a timer has started opening the cell floors, and will only be stopped if Zidane is back in 10 minutes. Cid on the outside of the cells hears this and has to save them.
As Cid follow the path to the right to enter the Torture Chamber. A timer will start at 6 minutes for Cid to inch towards the Hourglass Key leaning against the caged Hedgehog Pie. Once retrieved Cid moves to the scales and must choose the correct combination of weights to imbalance the scales and allow him to climb up to the hourglass mechanism. Once turned it frees the party.
Through the right door Cid just left the party will find a moogle to save and shop.
Light the candles on the left by the statue, to illuminate the bloodstone on the right. Examine the bloodstone to receive the Promist Ring.
There are three statues in this area, the front two follow the party's movements, but they can't follow movement that is close to the balcony. Have both heads facing out to conjure a path of light behind the third statue. Follow the path to reach a balcony in the palace lobby where there is another candle. Light the candle and return down the path to find a chest containing Fairy Earrings.
Have the party light the first three fire bowls on the left side, and then proceed through the door. This takes the party to the other side of the room, where they can light the bowl on the left, to make the statues on the left disappear. Go back around and light the two bowls in the middle to make the right statues disappear also, all other bowls on the right must be lit before the last center bowl can be. When all bowls are lit a bloodstone will appear, examine to receive an Anklet. The party can leave through the right door.
Light the last candle in front of the statue to illuminate a bloodstone, examine it to obtain Shield Armor.
Follow the path around and up the stairs to find another candle, then keep going to the library.
Light the candles on the lower left side to conjure a staircase on the right. Use them to light the candles on the upper left and open a doorway. Examine the bloodstone to receive N-Kai Armlet. Go back and climb the small steps on the left to find a hint to to a future puzzle in the bookshelf. Then light the candles to open another doorway. Light both candles in this passage and return to the library. Light the last candle on the lowest level to open a doorway to another candle, once lit the party can return and walk through the stained glass window on the left to see a moogle.
Light both candles for a bloodstone containing a Black Hood. Go through the door to the left side and do the same again for a Venetia Shield. Extinguish the left candle under each statue to make a staircase appear, climb it and light the last candle to fight Valia Pira.
Cid's quest to save the prisoners
After Kuja has decided to let his prisoners fall to the fire at the bottom of their prison cells, Cid sets out to save them. He has six minutes to complete the scenario.
To sneak past the Hedgehog Pie the player must tap when the monster is looking away to move forward. If the player moves when the Hedgehog Pie is looking at Cid, they must start again from the beginning. After getting close enough Cid will get the Hourglass Key item.
The next step is to place the weights on the scales. The correct combination is: clay, stone and iron. After placing the weights the player must climb onto the scales and turn the hourglass.
Mojito is a moogle in Desert Palace, who delivers a letter to Mogsam in another part of the palace:
|Stiltzkin, On the Move|
From Mojito to Mogsam
According to rumors, Stiltzkin is
I'm sure Stiltzkin will find out
The Namingway Card can be obtained from Kuja's room in Desert Palace after Zidane and his party have returned from Oeilvert, and after Eiko has been kidnapped. Before exiting the room the player can search the left side of the room to find the card.
Every enemy in the Desert Palace, save for Valia Pira, has a multiple of five. Thus, if Quina is in the party and knows LV5 Death, the party will have little to no trouble progressing.
- Hourglass Key
- Promist Ring
- Fairy Earrings
- Shield Armor
- N-Kai Armlet
- Black Hood
- Venetia Shield
- Namingway card
Items purchased in Mojito's Mogshop.
|Diamond Sword||4,700 gil|
|Mythril Claws||6,500 gil|
|Magic Racket||1,350 gil|
|Healing Rod||1,770 gil|
|Fairy Flute||4,500 gil|
|Cypress Pile||3,200 gil|
|Silver Fork||7,400 gil|
|Rising Sun||500 gil|
|Chimera Armlet||1,200 gil|
|Egoist's Armlet||2,000 gil|
|Diamond Gloves||2,000 gil|
|Mantra Band||1,500 gil|
|Dark Hat||1,800 gil|
|Green Beret||2,180 gil|
|Cross Helmet||2,200 gil|
|Judo Uniform||5,000 gil|
|Gold Armor||2,950 gil|
|Phoenix Down||150 gil|
|Echo Screen||50 gil|
|Magic Tag||100 gil|
Multiple themes play during the party's time at the Desert Palace, beginning with "The Devil's Ambition," a variation of "Kuja's Theme" also known as "Footsteps of Desire." When Kuja asks Zidane his favor, "Immoral Melody," another variation, plays. "Kuja's Theme" plays as Zidane and his chosen party make their way to Oeilvert. During Cid's "red light, green light" minigame, the cheerful "The Sneaky Frog and the Scoundrel" plays. For the rest of the time spent in the palace, "Kuja's Theme (Millennium Version)" plays.
Behind the scenes
Complementing Kuja's tastes, the Desert Palace contains many works of fine art, including a trio of statues arranged in a triangular fashion. Two of these are decidedly demonic-looking, replete with bat-like wings and tridents, and are referred to as the "Promise of the Evil God" and "Truth of the Devil." The white angelic statue in the middle is called the "Illusion of the Goddess." This is an allusion to the Warring Triad from Final Fantasy VI.
- Backgrounds and Screenshots