Final Fantasy IX – Antlion’s Den

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Completed the events in Clerya, fought a boss from Final Fantasy IV, watched an evil elephant lady break my tree fort.

Well the game just took a turn for the dark, what with the effective genocide of Freya’s entire race… Throw in the assault on Linblum and Queen Brahne is shaping up to be a pretty nasty villain, even if she is just an ugly puppet.

I finally got to beat on Zorn and Thorn, if only for a little, and Steiner and Beatrix are fighting on our side now. I always thought it was unfortunate that you couldn’t spend more time with Beatrix, as she’s obviously the best character in the game, and it almost makes me want to dust off my actual PS1 just to throw in a GameShark and get her in the party! Aeris, too, while I’m at it…

I decided to stop just before setting off for the new Outer Continent, having just upgraded Garnet to a full-fledged summoner.

Final Fantasy IX – Eye of the Sandstorm

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Caught some frogs and climbed a tree!

I got a late start and therefore wasn’t able to play as long as I’d normally like to. Instead I backtracked to Qu’s Marsh for some more frog catching, then headed back to Cleyra to at least get to the town section of the tree, which I did.

I spent most of my time hunting for items and using all that new auction house equipment to learn new abilities. Some things about the ability systems are starting to feel a little… odd though. Like, why can’t Garnet learn Regen? Or, more alarmingly, why the hell can’t Vivi the Black Mage learn MP +10%? I mean, it’s fine… just… you’d think… oh well.

Final Fantasy IX – Astrology Pays Off

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Played through Treno, making a ton of gil and gaining some pretty major equipment upgrades. Preparing to enter Cleyra.

Treno was a fun as I remember it being, and some preparation in Dali allowed me to once again abuse the Synthesis system, netting me over 100,000g in the process! I was also able to exchange the five Stellazio pieces I’ve picked up so far, another thing I’ve ignored in previous playthroughs, and scored a Blood Sword for Steiner out of it. I’m sure it’ll lose value in time, but right now it’s making the knight pretty overpowered, especially in conjunction with element resist accessories and self-healing abilities.

Now I’m back in control of Zidane’s party, but before I go exploring the big dusty treehouse that is Cleyra I have to go catch a few frogs…

Final Fantasy IX – KWEHHH!!!!

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Spent an… uncomfortable amount of time playing Chocobo Hot & Cold before fighting my way through Burmecia and switching over to Garnet’s party. Saved and quit in front of Treno.

For some reason I remember really disliking the Grotto, but playing through it wasn’t a problem at all, so I wonder if it’s another part of the game I’m thinking of. In any case, none of that matter, because Chocobo treasure hunting. I could have easily sunk more time into playing this stupid game, but forced myself away for my own sake.

I’m spending more time investing in Quina this playthrough, something I’ve never done in the past, and while eating enemies can be extremely annoying I’m finding that her blue magic is really paying off. In fact I want to make an effort to really max out my entire party this time around, rather than sticking with the standard issue Zidane/Garnate/Vivi/Steiner team.

One thing I’m finding myself reevaluating is the need to steal from bosses. It was really useful early in the game, but too many times recently I’ve spent what felt like FOREVER failing to steal a rare item off a boss, only to find that same item in a shop not 20 minutes later.

Final Fantasy IX – Of Rat Faces and Monkey Tails

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Defeated the final of the Black Waltzes and stole his stuff. Made it to Lindblum and (deliberately) placed second in the Hunting Festival. Now I’m off to go save rat people, and also the princess.

Despite spending about 3 hours with the game last night, the majority of it was more or less on rails. On one hand this is fine, as I don’t mind just sitting back and enjoying the story. On the other hand I have tons of new gear and abilities to learn from it! Oh course, that’s why I have both The Grotto and Burmecia to look forward to.

The synth shop is a lot of fun, as is exploiting it for profit, and I’m generally finding shopping to be a lot more fun in this game than any other Final Fantasy so far. I’m also noticing that FF9 is a lot more liberal with throwing around CGI cutscenes, which is just fantastic.

Final Fantasy IX – I Put on my Robe and Wizard Hat

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Made it through the black mage manufacturing village and defeated the second Black Waltz boss.

I actually forgot that this plot point came up so early in the game, but then again I’ve forgotten a lot about this game. One thing I’m finding myself conflicted with is the fact that I’d really like to stop and grind both EXP and AP, but the mechanics in this game kind of dissuade you from doing that, and the difficulty isn’t so high that you actually ever have the need to. I’m still in the opening hours of the game, but I know Lindblum is right around the corner, at which point more things (like synthesis!) become available.

Final Fantasy IX – Endless Waltz

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Made it through the Ice Cavern and took out the first Black Waltz boss.

I’m still well into the honeymoon phase with this game, loving most every minute of it. Yeah the card game isn’t as fun as I remember and I can already tell the number of missable items is going to start bothering me, but aside from that, I’m still having a great time.

Final Fantasy IX – Queen Brahne is Very Impressed

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Made it past the intro, into the misty woods.

I am so happy to be playing this game again. It’s one of my favorite (possibly my actual favorite) Final Fantasy games, but it’s been several years since I actually sat down with it. The music, the graphics, the characters, theĀ feel. Everything about this game epitomizes what Final Fantasy is to me and I love getting to play a game like this again.

I only had about an hour and a half to play tonight, so I only made it as far as the forest, but I’m looking forward to setting aside a more sizable chunk of time for this one.