Excalibur II is the strongest weapon in Final Fantasy IX. The sword has 108 attacks and is for Steiner only. To get the sword you have to reach its destination before 12 hours expires in the game. Before you even attempt know that in real time you will never acquire Excalibur II in 12 hours the actual hours for getting it easily range between 100 - 200 hours. In terms of difficulty, getting the weapon is hard. What really makes it so difficult?
- Avoid random encounters
-Unfortunately, there’s no fixed or guaranteed methods that works against random encounters. You cannot afford to have random encounters because a single one easily takes 30 - 45 seconds from your time. On the world map you can avoid battles by using transportation methods such as airship or Chocobo. But in other places you can’t help it. You can try the followings ways but it doesn't work all the time.
-Exit and re-enter the same screen
-Run and stop
-You most definitely will find your own method. This will happen when you are trying to have zero encounters at some areas. Countless number of tries will force you to create your own method to avoid random encounters. Seriously, the number of times you have to reset for this trial is frightening. Reset buttons: R1 + R2 + L1 + L2 + Start + Select.
- Acquiring Gil
-Gil is really important for this trial because you will have to buy weapons and equipments for your party. Without battles you won’t acquire much Gil. That is why you need to win 10, 000 Gil from the swordfight early in the game. That amount is really a boost. This allows you to abuse of the Cotton Robe trick the earliest.
- Learning abilities
-Character’s abilities are another important aspect. The best way for you to learn them is against bosses. Ability Up will speed up the process so you might consider learning that first. Some abilities you need to learn; Auto-Life, Distract, Auto-Float, Reflect, Insomniac, Jelly, etc… Auto-Life is a must on Quina and Zidane. Quina can acquire Auto-Life as a blue magic also. Always switch the add-ons or equipments between your characters so that all of them are learning the needed abilities.
- Equipments/ Items
-You should always have plenty of Phoenix Down in your inventory. You will be killed or have to self annihilated often during the run-through. Equipments also play a vital part against most bosses. You would want to buy the right ones that absorbs or nullifies attacks. It is also likely you won’t have enough Gil at times to afford some equipment. When that happens you can start selling items such as Phoenix Pinion, Remedy, Ether, etc…
- Experience Points
-EXP is to be ignored because the amount you will receive during the run-through is little. The levels you will attain won’t be enough against late bosses. So you will only accept EXP when it’s coming in your way. You can level your characters after you have acquired Excalibur II.
-Adding abilities, changing equipments, switch party member, buying and selling, etc… all of these have to be carried out quickly. No, you don’t have to be lightning fast but at least quick enough. You can always do the same things repeatedly to improve your time.
The list above might not be enough; you will find more minor things in the game that makes this run-through difficult. Luck can save you from some difficulties but you don’t get lucky all the time. If you got lucky at one point in the game then make sure it really does count. The fact that you have to reset a lot won’t make your luck shine again at the same point. Other things you need to know;
- Skip ATE
-Skip all active time events during the run-through unless mentioned otherwise in the guide. By watching some ATE you can receive valuable items.
- Skip conversation
-Skip all conversations by pressing the square and cross buttons real fast. The run-through is already guiding so you don’t have to read all dialogues or rather you cannot afford doing so.
- Skip FMV
-Full motion videos must be skipped as they add too much time unnecessarily. FMV can be skipped differently based on what console you are playing.
-Play station 1 - Open the cover lid when the FMV is on and close it immediately.
-Play station 2 - Optimize your PS2 first. Power it on without a disk. Enter Browser then Play station driver and set disk speed to fast.
-FAT PS2; open the disk tray when the FMV is on, wait a few seconds then close the disk tray.
-Slim PS2; open the cover lid when the FMV is on then swap the disk with another FFIX disk and close the cover lid. Wait for a few seconds then open the cover lid again and put the correct disk in.
-Play station 3 - Use the same method as Slim PS2
-Emulator - Play from a virtual drive. While the FMV is playing dismount the ISO. Let the emulator run for half a second then quickly mount the ISO again.
This run-through attempts at covering mostly everything, such as; treasure chests that will disappear in time, weapons that will no longer be available at certain points and side quests that cannot be accomplished in the last disk. All these attempts are included in this run-through. For a first attempt to get Excalibur II you can consider ignoring treasure chests and side quests this will greatly reduce time. However, if you are attempting everything mentioned in the guide then remember that you cannot accumulate time higher than the run-through times. Excalibur II was acquired at 11:59:07 in this guide. As you can see the time is too close to 12 hours so your time should be equal or lesser then the one specified in the run-through. The purpose the run-through covers other things is to make the game still enjoyable. That is once you have obtained the sword you can still cover everything the game has to offer on the last disk. Other thing you would want to know; Save only when needed or specified because saving take a few seconds. Look at the main walkthrough maps to have an idea where the treasure chests are exactly. You should also always do things repeatedly to improve your time even if it’s by second. You probably will not have major difficulties in disk 1 & 2. But disk 3 is where time will start accumulating out of nowhere. That happens because the time you have to spend at a place is longer. For instance, The Desert Palace in one place where you will definitely lose time. So it would be best you improve your time in previous disks so you can afford to lose time in disk 3. One last thing, it will take more than just determination and patience to get Excalibur II.
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