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Final Fantasy IX: moving on

Warning: mild-spoilers of a 22 years old game!

So I’m at the end of Crystal World and my next fight is Deathguise –I don’t know this one–, followed by Kuja, and then Necron –I don’t know this one either–. Looks like I’m under-equipped, and I can only go back to the previous area (Memoria), and that’s it.

My final save

Using the default names

According to the save game, that was almost 42 hours –in reality a bit more, as I used save-states as I thought it was useful–. I didn’t read any guide, so I would say the game is not hard.

I guess I could go back to Memoria and grind for a couple of hours until the end bosses are easier, although Deathguise uses attacks that can wipe half of my party in one hit, and that suggests I’m not using the right protections.

If I had used a guide, that would have helped to prepare my party for these boss fights. Some things can be found by trial and error –for example: the Soft potion will remove paralysis effects–, and I’m very proud of killing the undead type of boss at Lifa Tree by using Life spell, but I don’t think the equipment names give enough information on what they do.

Other than not being able to beat the game, I think I got most of what the game had to offer –and I can always watch the end on YouTube–. I enjoyed Final Fantasy IX, although I spent most of my play-through wishing it was better at some things.

The story is all over the place –which to be fair, could be considered your usual anime thing–, but the game is almost completely lineal –I know a side quest I didn’t do–, with a lot of “press X to read” parts with sprinkles of combat kind of to justify the RPG elements. I don’t know if it was because I was playing with the boys and they can’t read, but some of those pieces of exposition felt too long –for example, during the battle of Alexandria–.

But on the other hand the characters are well developed, the story is OK –including who’s the baddie now parts–, and there’s also a good amount of world building. With the combat not being too complicated, what I ended missing was a bit more RPG.

The 3D graphics are dated –it is a PlayStation game after all–, but I found them to be good enough to my eyes –and the boys really liked the big monsters: cute but a bit scary–. The pre-rendered background look great, but this was my biggest problem with the exploration: I got stuck at least 3 times just because I missed that there was an exit on a screen. That was half the scenes being very busy and half the camera angle, but it is a shame that it was the only times where I felt I didn’t know what to do or where to go.

I’m looking for my next game, continuing to research JRPGs. I tried a bit of Final Fantasy VI on the SNES –a patched ROM that improves the translation and adds a few bug-fixes–, but going back to those 16-bit graphics and the UI being a bit less refined felt too hard. So I’m going to try something different: Breath of Fire IV on the PlayStation. Those Capcom hand-drawn sprites look beautiful!

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