Part 102: Part One Hundred and Two: Chocobo World TourPart One Hundred and Two: Chocobo World Tour
Let's start this one off by renaming some GFs. The first is Cactuar, who is named now for the Cactuar Conductor in World of Final Fantasy.
Then Bahamut, who's named after some meme guy? I dunno.
By the way, we only have one slot left on our GF page, for a sixteenth GF...
We'll get to it.
In more immediate news, I decided to top up Rinoa's stock of Full-Life by refining a spare Regen Ring. Since you can make Regen Rings from 10 Chimera cards, you can get all the Full-Life you want as soon as you first get cards in Balamb Garden, as long as you don't care about wasting your life.
I also made Squall a bunch of Reflect. After Ultima and Full-Life, it's the best Spr junction, adding 0.72 points per spell. Dragon Skin's easy enough to come by.
Or, if you're in a hurry, you can always refine the Carbuncle card into 300 Reflect right away.
Also handy for Squall is that Obamamut comes with Abilityx4, so I can have more bonuses. Thanks, Obamamut.
The next thing I want to do has to do with the Queen of Cards. She's an NPC in Balamb, we talked to her ages ago. There's a quest associated with her.
That quest starts with a game of cards.
Unfortunately, in order to complete that quest, I have to complete this one.
Nothing's ever easy.
This is, as Chocoboy announces, a Chocobo Forest. After not appearing in Final Fantasy VII, this was the first appearance of Chocobo Forests in 3D, and as such it was the first appearance of the small, dome-shaped Chocobo Forests. It's a shame that in this game, they fuckin' blow.
Having to send the non-Squall party members away isn't what sucks.
But here we are.
Unlike most games in the series, there's a gimmick to catching chocobos in Final Fantasy VIII. The centre of this gimmick is the ChocoWhis.
Chocoboy: Nah, I won't charge you. Here, there's two types, ok?
That's how they get ya. The lecture's not strictly necessary, you can look the mechanics up online or just remember them, but I'll let Chocoboy do the liftin' here. God knows I'm not short on Gil.
Chocoboy: Thanks. Allow me to explain. The 2 whistles are for location, which is the ChocoSonar, and action, which is the ChocoZiner. If you sound the ChocoZiner somewhere in this forest, 'chicobos' will fall from outta nowhere. You can tell where by the ChocoSonar's sound. Select the whistle with the [square button] and hold [circle] while walking and sounding.
That's the basics of the whistle. Sonar to tell you where they are, Ziner to make 'em come out.
'Course, we're not looking for the chicks.
...And there's the puzzle.
: So that's when you catch it...
Chocoboy: EXACTLY! They're quite well behaved.
I don't know why he has to review this at this point.
Chocoboy: A different sound tells you where the chicobos are. Then, [square] for the Ziner and [circle] for them to fall. When you talk to the lone 'chicobo', BOOM! The mother appears.
He also shows you the different sounds the sonar makes, but that doesn't translate well to text.
Yeah, I got it.
I don't think this is enough to flip the event flag, and it's easy enough without his help.
Of course, if they didn't add in this little wrinkle, you'd be able to just walk around and use the Ziner everywhere instead of solving the puzzle.
Chocoboy: Well, good luck to ya!
Once the tutorial's over, Chocoboy has a different menu. Hint is pretty self-explanatory, Gysahl Greens are a battle item you'll probably never need to use.
And asking questions gets you some flavour text.
Love to learn about people.
The ChocoSonar is a whistle that reacts to the scent of chocobos.
The Ziner's just a standard dogwhistle. Uh, birdwhistle.
We get to visit all six. That's what we have to do, go to each forest and catch a chocobo.
This is the hint for this particular forest. In a way, I sort of screwed up. This is the second easiest forest. Whoops.
Anyway, this is how I did the puzzle.
Blow the whistle up here, two birds fall down.
Down in this area here,
it was two in that shot, but actually three more birds show up.
Then you can blow the whistle at the top two and the bottom two. That leaves just the one.
And there's mum!
Chocoboy generally says this when you've caught a chocobo.
There's a reason to stay in the forest, but I, uh, wanted to show off chocobo riding. Shut up. You made a mistake.
Chocoboy: It's my special way of saying thanks!
What he's referring to is the fact that it starts playing the game's chocobo theme here:
Now, I don't know if I turned my volume up too high or what, but the chocobo theme was way too loud when I was playing the game. It also replaces the default music whenever you're in a chocobo forest from here on, which makes it hard to hear the sonar. To add insult to injury, I don't like this particular chocobo theme very much.
See ya later, Chocoboy.
Chocoboy: To celebrate your first catch, I wanna give you a 'chicobo' as a present.
You shouldn't give pets as presents.
: No, I'm not interested in a sma...
It's a good answer.
I'm leaving this as-is, because it doesn't matter.
Theoretically, though, here's why it would matter.
Chocobo World is a minigame for the PocketStation, which was a peripheral for the PlayStation. It was basically a memory card with a tiny screen and a few buttons on it, which could be used with some save files to play minigames. It was, however, never sold outside of Japan.
So you can't do this.
The menu option is there, though. I don't know what would happen if you had a Japanese PocketStation and a North American PlayStation. Were they region-locked? Would anything be translated?
Editor's Note: thread poster Hoyota let me know that PocketStations were not region-locked and Chocobo World was translated on the game discs, so I guess you could have played it as early as 1999 if you were dedicated.
Something else about Chocobo World is that it has its own version of the chocobo theme, which also plays on the road in Winhill with the chicobo crossing:
I read that Chocobo World was added to the Steam release of the game in 2013, but I've never played that version, so I can't confirm it. Anyway, I've never played Chocobo World and I've never seen it played. There are a few items, of course, that are only available from Chocobo World, so those were unavailable outside of Japan at release.
Anyway, that's what it's like to catch a chocobo.
Now we can ride a chocobo. This is never necessary to complete the game, but has two extremely marginal use cases.
The reason that riding a chocobo is useless is primarily because of the location of chocobo forests. Three are on the Trabia continent, the other three on Centra. These are the only two continents in the game where you will never be without access to a vehicle.
But chocobos can do one important thing, and that's run in shallow water. This is key to their usefulness, which borders on the theoretical. You can use chocobos to do tedious, low-reward quests. We've started the first just now, and we'll see the second later.
Once you've met Chocoboy, he does this BS whenever you enter a forest.
Talking to him a second time once you've caught the chocobo, Chocoboy says this and hints that there's something else to find.
Again, use the sonar and ziner to call the chocobo over to a secret area.
It'll dig up an item for you! This is the "reward" for solving the chocobo forest's puzzle, but it's not much of a reward. Every reward is some combination of spell stones, which are better than nothing, but like chocobos, only marginally.
Chocoboy: The chocobos in this forest see you as 'one of them'. You won't need to find anymore here.
This is also a reward, I guess. Now I don't have to do the puzzle a second time if I want a chocobo.
You can also bring your whole party into the forest once you've found the treasure. I'll admit I find it a bit charming that the chocobos consider Squall "one of their own" but it's not really worth what you have to do to get there.
Now, off to the second forest.
At least the background is pretty. You don't actually get a lot of wintry backgrounds in the game, since Trabia Garden is all destroyed and Shumi Village is underground.
This is the easiest forest.
If you blow the whistle here, one chicobo falls down.
Gettin' paid while doing dumb crap is a SeeD tradition.
The treasure here is just an Aura Stone.
Next up is over here.
This forest starts out with birds already on the ground. I believe it's the only one that does.
Point of minor interest: Chocoboy will sell Gysahl Greens in different quantities in different places.
Also, fuck this hint. This hint blows.
Step one: blow the whistle over here. A bird falls down, two birds ascend.
Then the third bird ascends. Now there are no birds.
Step two: get your whistle stolen for your LP.
Step three: blow the whistle down here, and only one bird appears.
The treasure is up here. Holy Stone is okay, Shell Stone is just another trash reward. There are plenty of items in the game that are rare and I wish that some of them were in these forests.
Now that we're done with the Trabian forests, let's explore the Centran.
Forest of Fun is probably the most interesting in terms of how the puzzle works.
You can also get a lot of Greens here, if you need them.
Anyway, what you do is blow the whistle here.
Then over here. It's hard to see, but a fourth chicobo comes down.
At this point, you can blow the whistle by Chocoboy to call down the last chick.
He'll kindly chase the others back into the trees. It's a "strike". Kind of cute, at least, though the puzzle is kind of annoying because it's a little finicky about the fourth chicobo.
This is the best treasure, too. Forest of Fun is my favourite, for all that's worth.
Now for one that sucks! You actually can't get to this one without the Ragnarok, and you can't get over those mountains on a chocobo. Why even put this here?
Oh, another shitty hint. Thanks.
The reason the Forest of Solitude sucks so much is that it's extremely fussy about where the chicobo is (there's only one chicobo).
Once you get the mother to show up, the baby runs over to the exit.
Chocoboy is also being cagey this time. The sonar goes off if you're near him, the treasure is under him.
And to get it, you have to challenge him to cards! In any other forest, he just responds with his normal line if you try! Fuck you, player!
He's also really pissy about moving. I don't like Chocoboy, so I don't find his little skit as charming as I think I'm meant to.
: Sorry, but...just a little more.
The treasure also kind of sucks, but at least you've all been spared the time it took me to find the specific pixel it wants you to stand on.
Chocobos don't like Chocoboy. It's kind of sad.
This is the last one!
(It's behind the larger forest, if you can't see it.)
Again, the forests are at least pretty to look at.
So, like he says, you start by going around the outer edge to make all those birds show up.
Then, if you blow the whistle in the centre of the clearing, you've won.
Depending on how you feel about Holy vs. Flare, I guess you could say this is the best treasure.
Anyway, now back to Trabia. I actually have to ride a chocobo to get to the last forest - remember, Chocoboy said there were seven, and one was holy.
By the way, chocobos can't cross the crater, so you can't even use them to get across the mountains without the Ragnarok. If you could, you'd be stranded, because they can't enter area screens like the Trabia Canyon.
Oh, a nice touch is that Boko follows you around the world map while you're riding a chocobo. It's sweet.
From Trabia, there's a beach you can reach that leads into an enormous forest. Deep in the forest is this small forest dome.
This is the Chocobo Sanctuary.
When you get close, the chocobos start doing a dance.
Honestly, their dance is a little long. Especially if you're annoyed about forests.
Eventually, though, only a single chicobo is left.
Finally, we can get our ultimate reward.
It's a card.
A card they mislabelled in the message.
You can also buy Gysahl Greens here, if you need to.
See, this is our last chance at seeing Chocoboy. After you find the treasures, he disappears from the forests, and I think you need all the treasures to get the card.
Sure, kid. Just find me a bird, I can't swim.
Chocoboy: Well, this is the last time you'll see me in action.
By the way, this is how Chocoboy catches chocobos.
You can barely see the chocobo in this screen. For a second, I thought he'd cheated me.
Now we can ride this bird back to our stolen spaceship. That's the end of the chocobo forest questline, and I gotta say, it sucks. The forests are located too closely together, riding the chocobos doesn't give you any particular advantage, and the treasures are all pretty weak. I could appreciate having forests near Winhill or Timber or wherever, spread out around the place, and you could catch a chocobo to save money on gas. But as it stands, it seems like the chocobos were a low-effort addition to the game that was more contractually-mandated than a result of any particular design goal. It's a real shame.