Final Fantasy 9 has numerous side quests that will excite you (and sometimes bore you) throughotu the game. While most side quests are completely optional, we recommend that you at least try every one of them. Most land you a great reward!
In the beginning of the game, when Baku explains the kidnapping plan to Tantalus, choose the option "That's when I kidnap Queen Brahne, right?" 64 times. Once you're done, Ruby will pop in and you can witness an extra scene with her.
One of the big secrets of the game is that Princess Garnet's true name is engraved on the Eidolon Wall at Madain Sari. There is a very complicated way to reveal the truth at the beginning of Disc 4.
First, form a party with Dagger and visit Lani who is standing on Eiko's back porch. Upon arriving Lani will run away. Exit the village and return with anyone except Dagger or Amarant and talk to Lani twice. Read the message and go to the Eidolon Wall. Walk clockwise from the entrance (heading to the right) until you return to the entrance. Move just past the "!" until you hear a chime. Then walk counterclockwise back to the entrance, just past the "!" again. Repeat this 9 times, going back and forth. Make sure you hear a chime each time. On the ninth round, your HP/MP will be recovered and all status abnormalities removed.
Now read the paintings. You can read them in any order, as long as you read them all. A whole slew of extra messages appear this time. At the end, return to the Ifrit drawing and look for an extra message, revealing Dagger's true name which is... Dagger's true mum is -spoiler- and her dad ? Oh yeah... Dagger's real name is...
If you go into the Weapon Shop with Zidane in Alexandria at the beginning of Disc 3, you will encounter the Nero Brothers (Benero, Genero, and Zenero). They will ask you to play a game similar to the shell game. You only receive Gil as a reward for playing, maxing out at 25,600 Gil. The best tip to provide for this mini-game is to use the Pause function. Recording the game with a VCR and then reviewing the playback in slow motion makes things vastly easier.
Read the Alexandria Book Survival Guide by Ruk Chan
The first mini-game encountered during FINAL FANTASY IX is the jump rope mini-game in Alexandria. To participate, have Vivi approach the little girls jumping rope to the left of the ticket booth. Once he has done so, the girls offer to let him join. This is a good opportunity to earn some Gil, get extremely rare cards, and obtain a Key Item very early in the game. After Vivi moves over the rope, press the Circle button to begin the game and press the X button again to jump each time a "!" appears over Vivi's head.
Jumping rope is fairly easy, but don't underestimate the game! The speed at which the rope moves increases at 20 jumps, increases again at 50 jumps, and then once again at 100 jumps. At 200 jumps, the speed subsides a bit, but the timing is different. After 300 jumps, the speed and timing of the jumps remain the same.
You can play the jump rope mini-game at the beginning of Disc 1. At the beginning of Disc 3, the jump rope girls move their game to the moogles' bell tower. You can only play during Disc 3 and 4 if you have Eiko or Vivi in your party.
You can only win each reward one time. You will not receive the same reward again if you start over and match the number of jumps you achieved previously.
Each time you receive a Kupo Nut for delivering mail between the moogles, return to Gizamaluke's Grotto and feed it to the father of the moogle family. You'll receive a random item in return. During the Chocograph treasure hunt, one of the stashes contains a full set of Hawaiian gear, but only 7 Aloha T-shirts. That leaves one of your characters out of the luau! Return to Gizamaluke's Grotto with a Kupo Nut during Disc 4 and the moogle gives you the 8th Aloha T-Shirt.
Depending on when you visit the Weapons Shop in Treno, you can have one character duel with a monster that the owner has caught and caged under the floor. You can fight one monster during Disc 2, one of two different monsters during Disc 3, and only one monster on Disc 4.
Here are some fighting strategies for each of the monsters.
Use Steiner and equip the following: Gold Choker, Auto-Potion ability, and Bird Killer ability. If you have five or more Hi-Potions, sell all of your Potions so that your Hi-Potions are used when Auto-Potion kicks in. Make sure Steiner is at least level 7. Use a tent on the monster (see the Catoblepas strategy), and it will receive every status effect that it cannot Guard against.
Equip the Jelly ability and Beast Killer ability, and use equipment that defends against Thunder and Earth or use the Auto-Float ability. Catoblepas remains in Treno until the end of Disc 3 or until you defeat the monster. Use a Tent on him until the beast bites him (this happens one-third of the time) and he will receive every status effect that he will not GUARD against. You can also use the Blue Magic Roulette if available. Since there is no consequence for losing the battle, use this ability until the happy little finger lands on Catoblepas.
Amdusias casts Lv4 Holy, so avoid levels that are multiples of four or equip equipment that defends against Holy. Equip the Antibody ability, and defend when it's in the air because it will only use physical attacks at this point. Equip Auto-Reflect if possible, because it only uses magic on the ground. Also, equip Auto-Regen or Auto-Potion and the Counter ability if possible. If you have Reflect, Amdusias will kill itself and you can just defend. At this point, use a Tent on the beast until the snake bites him (this happens one-third of the time) and he will receive every status effect that he will not GUARD against.
This monster is extremely difficult, even at high levels. It's best to use an attack that kills the Behemoth instantly. You can use the Blue Magic Roulette or Zidane's Soul Blade attack when he has the Sargatanas weapon equipped. This will instantly petrify him.
The Weapon Shop monsters don't reward you with any EXP or AP, but the store clerk will give you a prize for each monster you defeat.
After leaving the Ice Cavern, head to the Observatory Mountain before going into Dali. There's an elderly fellow named Morrid inside the hut, who's just dying for a good cup of java. Find the three coffees at different locations in the world and return to Observatory Mountain with them, before the end of Disc 3, and Mr. Morrid will reward you.
To get the Burman Coffee, Zidane must leave Treno during the card tournament and head through South Gate to Dali. The mayor is not at home at this time, so search his house for his key. When you enter his house, Zidane spots the mayor's son napping on the sofa in the middle of the room. If Zidane moves too hastily, he'll awaken the boy and have to start the search over again.
Start by searching the mayor's desk. You will find the Mini-Brahne here. Search the desk two more times until the boy says "Zzzz." Move to the stove and search it to find the Mayor's Key and then leave. Go to the locked door in the windmill and use the key to open it. Move around the chocobo pen to the right side, where a hidden treasure chest contains 30,000 Gil. Check the same chest again to find the Burman Coffee. Now return to Observatory Mountain and give the three coffees to Morrid. He promises to send you the Mini-Prima Vista model ship. The next time you're in Lindblum, return to the Tantalus hideout to find it sitting on the floor near the bed. Again, you must get the Burman Coffee during the card tournament in Treno. Otherwise, it will be too late. You can visit Morrid to complete the side quest any time before visiting Terra.
When you enter the frog pond area of any Qu's Marsh, Quina asks to spend some time catching frogs. Quina must be in your party for this to occur. If you agree to let him/her catch frogs, you can control Quina as s/he runs around the pond attempting to catch the frogs that leap onto the ground out of the water. There's no real strategy to this; you just need to be swift.
As Quina catches more and more frogs, Quale appears occasionally and congratulates Quina on his/her progress. The master Qu then bestows items upon Quina as rewards for catching frogs. If you can catch 99 frogs, Quale challenges your party to a battle.
The trick to this side quest is to always leave a male and a female frog in the pond. Otherwise, it will take an incredibly long time for the pond to repopulate with frogs. The spawning rate is also much faster if you leave the Golden Frog with a male and a female frog.
One strategy for chasing the frogs is to learn the differences in color. Female frogs are usually a much brighter color than males, while baby frogs are smaller and more olive-toned. You may want to change the Contrast on your television or monitor to distinguish more easily. Avoid chasing baby frogs, because they will grow up to become adults and will be much easier to catch then.