Final Fantasy IX is something of a compromise. It's not as hated as VIII, but it's certainly not as well-loved as VII. It's actually intended as a return to roots for the series; after two games of moody main characters and a focus on technology and politics, IX goes back to the 'Fantasy' aspect of the title (because the 'Final' part hasn't seemed to catch on yet), with the first enforced Character Class system since Final Fantasy IV and a focus on a more fairy-tale, aesthetic story that indulges in the high points of the series' back catalogue.
If you've read my Final Fantasy X Walkthrough (shameless plug, fight me), you'll know that I love:
- Split infinitives
- British comedy
So expect a lot of that.
I'll be covering everything relevant to beating the main game, as well the superboss. That means I won't be covering mini-games like Tetra Master; if you wish to immerse yourself in that specific brand of self-flagellation then there are in-depth guides online, written by people who don't realise what an utterly pointless endeavour it is; you gain nothing for winning except more cards.
Hell, at least Triple Triad was worth playing, what with the Card Mod ability and freakin' awesome music.
Links to what I'm not covering:
- After Final Fantasy VIII's car accident of a levelling system that encouraged you to gain no EXP whatsoever for a significant amount of time, and allowed made levels in themselves almost completely irrelevant, Final Fantasy IX goes back to the gain EXP → increase levels and stats together → fight stronger enemies than before schtick, which is outperformed only by Final Fantasy X's Sphere Grid, which is the optimised combination of both levelling up and the Job System.
- One of the game's new features is the inclusion of ATEs (Active Time Events) that allow you to view what your other party members are getting up to when you're in a town. I like the concept; the idea that a group of travellers wouldn't split up temporarily to go shopping or whatnot is ludicrous -- it adds a nice touch of familiarity.
- The game uses an ATB (which I always thought stood for 'A to B' in reference to the action meter) battle system, so while you're making your battle decisions, the enemies will be attacking you. You need to have your shit together!
Looks like a police lineup. Well, the main character is a thief after all. We'll meet them all in detail at some point.
- Your main character is a Thief. So naturally, the game wants you to steal stuff. A lot. All bosses have three items to steal, and it is in your best interest to nick all of them. Both special moves and passive abilities are found attached to weapons, armour and other equipment. Just note that the Steal rate for some bosses (looking at you here Hilgigars) is eye-wateringly low. Still, stiff upper lip and all that.
- Watch all the ATEs. You may receive items and useful information (but more importantly, items. Am I right?)
- Don't take it too seriously. This game is meant to emphasise fun rather than an achievement grind. It has only one properly long sidequest, and even that one's pretty fun.
- There's no affection mechanic (thank god) so feel free to be an utter dick to whomever you choose. If that's your thing; you might want to be nice to everyone.
- Part 1 - Prima Vista → Alexandria: Asking around Alexandria.
- Part 2 - Evil Forest: A Blank Slate.
- Part 3 - Ice Cavern: Waltz 'r' Us.
- Part 4 - Dali: A Dali Dolly Dilemma.
- Part 5 - Lindblum: Good Will Hunting.
- Part 6 - Sidequest Shenanigans Part 1: Avenue Qu.
- Part 7 - Gizamaluke's Cavern: For Rats the Bell Tolls.
- Part 8 - Burmecia: Rain of Terror.
- Part 9 - South Gate → Treno: Garnet Gets Soft.
- Part 10 - Cleyra: Desert Rats.
- Part 11 - Alexandria Castle: Beatrix Potter and the Prisoner of Alexandria.
- Part 12 - Pinnacle Rocks: Pinnacle of Power References.
- Part 13 - Fossil Roo: Gainaxing.
- Part 14 - Conde Petie → Black Mage Village → Conde Petie Mountain Pass: Lord of the Wedding Rings.
- Part 15 - Madain Sari → Iifa Tree: So awkward, kupo.
- Part 16 - Madain Sari Take 2: Summoners' Art.
- Part 17 - Iifa Tree Take 2: Exeunt, pursued by a dragon.
- Part 18 - Alexandria: Throne Stones.
- Part 19 - Treno: Noble Nights.
- Part 20 - Lindblum: The Queen's Speech.
- Part 21 - Black Mage Village → Desert Palace: Puppets on a String.
- Part 22 - Oeilvert: Parallels.
- Part 23 - Desert Palace: The Sneaky Frog and the Scoundrel.
- Part 24 - Mt. Gulug: Twin Peaks.
- Part 25 - Sidequest Shenanigans Part 2: Coffee and a Good Book.
- Part 26 - Ipsen's Castle: The Pillars of a Society.
- Part 27 - Elemental Shrines: Mirrors, mirrors, in the shrines, who's the one that 'cool' defines?
- Part 28 - Terra: The Human Genome.
- Part 29 - Sidequest Shenanigans Part 3: Final Preparation.
- Part 30 - Memoria: Thanks for the Memories.
- Part 31 - Crystal World: Meaning of Existence.
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