A common mechanic in tactical role playing games is the ability to recruit monsters to your party. Final Fantasy Tactics is no exception to this rule. In fact, you get the first monster in your party almost from the start of the game. A Chocobo might not seem like a very effective party member, but it is actually quite versatile and easily deals as much damage as any human party member during the early sections of the game. The following guide to Chocobos in Final Fantasy Tactics will help you optimally use this monster in your party.
How to Acquire – You will get a Yellow Chocobo for free as part of the story. If you are patient this Chocobo will eventually lay eggs which can potentially get you a Black Chocobo and that Chocobo will also lay eggs which will eventually earn you a Red Chocobo. Alternately, you can find Chocobos at Mandalia Plains, Bariaus Hill, and Grog Hill.
Innate Ability: Counter (All) – All monsters have the ability to counterattack. In the early portion of the game, when you are most likely to be using a Chocobo, this makes a Chocobo at least as good a warrior as a Knight.
Innate Ability: Mount (All) – Chocobos are rather unique among monsters because they can act as a mount for a human character. If a human character enters the square of a Chocobo, it mounts the Chocobo. Then the human character can use the Chocobo’s exceptional movement speed and jumping ability to move around. The downside of this trick is that the Chocobo can no longer use attacks or special abilities. This is particularly handy for slow moving characters early in the game.
Innate Ability: Walk on Water (All) – Chocobos can move over and end on water. Combined with either a mounted ranged unit or the ranged abilities of some Chocobos, this can allow Chocobos to attack enemies without any fear of retribution.
Innate Ability: Fly (Black Chocobo) – The ability to fly allows a Chocobo to move to or through any type of terrain and to move through spaces that enemies occupy. The latter ability is especially useful for striking at enemies in the rear. Mount a Knight on a Black Chocobo and you have a vicious character that can easily kill enemy spell casters and archers.
Innate Ability: Ignore Height (Red Chocobo) – This ability allows a Red Chocobo to jump to any height. The Chocobo still needs to be capable of standing on that type of terrain, but the height doesn’t matter at all. This is especially handy in many of the battles that take place in cities and castles.
Special Ability: Choco Attack (All) – This attack is weaker than the average human character at any given level, but since it is also used to counterattack, Chocobos tend to deal comparable damage to human warriors during the early portion of the game.
Special Ability: Choco Cure (Yellow Chocobo, Red Chocobo w/ Monster Skill) – Choco Cure is comparable to the Cure spell but doesn’t cost any MP. This is the main reason to use a Chocobo during the early part of the game. You can save gil on potions and you have a character capable of healing multiple party members at once.
Special Ability: Choco Esuna (Yellow Chocobo w/ Monster Skill, Black Chocobo) – Choco Esuna can cure roughly the same ailments as a remedy and also cures multiple allies at the same time like Esuna. In the early game, remedies are incredibly expensive and Esuna costs a lot of MP. It is much more efficient to train a Thief and acquire the Monster Skill ability and then just keep that character near the Chocobo. This trick should serve you well until both gil and MP are no longer a concern.
Special Ability: Choco Meteor (Red Chocobo, Black Chocobo w/ Monster Skill) – Choco Meteor deals rather high damage at a range of five squares. This is both one of the longer range abilities in the game and one of the higher damage abilities, especially when you take into account the fact that it has no cost to use.
Special Ability: Choco Ball (Red Chocobo, Black Chocobo) – Choco Ball does roughly the same damage as Choco Attack, assuming the Chocobo in question has a Brave of 50. A Chocobo with a higher Brave does more damage with Choco Attack and on with a lower Brave does less damage. Since the ability has a range of four squares, it is almost always optimal unless the Chocobo has a very high Brave.
Strategy – A Chocobo is effectively a limited Priest with amazing movement and good attacks. The Yellow Chocobo has the weakest attacks, but this won’t matter during the early portion of the game. The ability to cast Choco Cure every round is exceptional during the early game. If you can unlock Choco Esuna, then you basically don’t need any other healer in the early game. The Black Chocobo can’t heal hit points, but can still heal status. Pair it with an Archer that knows Monster Skill and you have a very powerful ranged attack team. Finally, the Red Chocobo is actually a nearly perfect archer unit. It is fast and can scale any height. Put it on top of a high point and rain meteor death down on enemies. The other main way to use a Chocobo is to give mobility to a human character. This can be especially important for slow moving Knights or vulnerable spell casters.