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World of Final Fantasy Part 08

Intervention Quests Part 1
Initial Stream: 11/10/20



3:00 – Everyone had two weeks to vote on whether or not they wanted to see additional story progress or the Final Fantasy character vignettes/side quests… and I didn’t see a single vote. Turnout is terrible this year. So we held a vote on the stream, and fanboymaster and BEAT both agreed it was time to hit the Final Fantasy Intervention Quests. As a reminder, these are all “out of time” moments provided by The Girl Who Forgot Her Name, and our heroes only pitch hit for the featured Final Fantasy character during battle, and the rest of these sections are simple “slice of life” stories (that often involve giant, malevolent sea monsters). First up are Tidus and Yuna aping some Final Fantasy X plot beats.

16:00 – The “bullet points” for the Intervention Quests are going to be mostly here to let you know when a new vignette starts. At approximately the sixteen minute mark, we are discussing “politics” and/or Quistis while Squall gets a featured story about future planning.

25:00 – Discussing Tidus while Faris and Edgar discuss something other than Tidus. And then it’s time to point out how Edgar is a pedophile.

33:00 – Terra encounters a certain unpleasant octopus while another bot invades the chat.

39:00 Bartz and Rikku is the crossover event you didn’t ever know you needed. It is mostly ignored in favor of Dragonball Z discussion.

46:23 –


What actually happened in the plot:

All Intervention Quests are canon in World of Final Fantasy, but are (almost) all considered “sidequests”, so this is all “optional” plot. That said, here’s what happened in this update:

• Yuna and Tidus, who met for the first time as part of the main plot, bond over repelling Bismarck (not the nazi ship) from Besaid.

• Squall, unlike his fellow Final Fantasy buddies, doesn’t have future plans, which worries his bulbous little head. Squall and Shelke go on a monster hunting mission, and Shelke tricks Squall into caring and planting a garden. This somehow makes Squall smile.

• Faris’s ship is attacked by Omega Bane, and she tracks it back to a potential dimensional gateway at the center of the desert. Edgar is familiar with the area, so he banishes Omega Bane with the help of Vivi.

• Terra teams up with, and then realizes she must destroy, Ultros, the least prime octopus.

• Bartz and Rikku try to rob Ifrit’s cave, but wind up inadvertently becoming friends with the fiery summons when they team up to repel some behemoths.


Intervention Quests Part 2
Initial Stream: 11/10/20


1:00 – Rikku is sailing the seven seas, and, hey, we’re actually discussing Rikku! It’s game related! It’s a game related, on-topic discussion! That hardly ever happens!

5:00 – Eiko makes a new wolf friend, so let’s talk about Justice League. The animated series, to be clear, as that is clearly the best iteration of the ol’ hero club.

10:00 – Tifa meets some zealots. How old would you be in the Final Fantasy universe? And would your hat stay on your head?

16:00 – Yuna and “The Sad Spiral” sounds like a good time. Final Fantasy characters need therapy, and so do we after discussing Fountains of Wayne.

26:00 – After some wedding discussion, here are Yuna and Rydia in a Volcano. Then BEAT gets hungry, and we fight Lady Ifrit.

32:00 – Cloud and Lightning are palling around while we discuss terrible streamers, teenage sins, and how we’re all attractive. Also, please remember the duck stream.

What actually happened in the plot:

• Rikku battles the Mimic Queen and discovers that literally all the treasures across the sea were a bunch of (now dead) mimics.

• Eiko investigates a “weird feeling” and discovers her ancestors’ “Fenrir” mirage, Elefenrir, who offers a cryptic warning.

• Tifa fights off a gigantic, robotic hand, and tells some religious fanatics that Enna Kros helps those that help themselves.

• Yuna helps Ami of Green Gables (thanks, Zef), a poor woman who wants to sacrifice herself for the good of her hometown. Valefor’s non-union equivalent, Nirvalefor, guides Yuna to help Ami by defeating Ultima Weapon. Thus, Ami no longer has to be a martyr, and she didn’t even have to lose her imaginary dream-boyfriend to do it.

• Yuna and Rydia enter a volcano to find Ifreeta, Ifrit’s cousin who has been possessing humans to be a general nuisance in the world. The two summoners banish the fire cat girl.

• Cloud and Lightning investigate a mirage (Iron Muscles) menacing a local village, but apparently Sephiroth has been in the area repelling the mirage. Cloud ventures off on his own to hunt his mortal enemy, but Terra convinces Cloud to go back and help Lightning. Cloud and Lightning destroy Iron Muscles, and Sephiroth is never seen.

Intervention Quests Part 3
Initial Stream: 11/10/20



0:30 – Vivi and Golems accompany a brief description of quests that have gone before. Long story short: when boiled down to their base archetypes, nearly every male Final Fantasy protagonist becomes Zidane. It’s weird!

5:00 –


13:30 – Discussing Fire Emblem/Lucina /Gachas while Quistis and Squall hang out in Garden.

16:00 – Ample Vigour arrives, and then leaves us wanting as Einhänder shows up again.

20:00 – Penguin time means we have to repeat a whole dungeon. There’s crying underwater from that stupid queen and yours truly, as this Intervention Quest contains an entire “level” that we already completed once. And it wasn’t that good the first time! Regardless, this appears to be the only Intervention Quest that is so intensive, so it’s at least noteworthy.

28:00 – “We’re going all in on this fried bread thing.”

41:00 – And the moral of the story is we’re never going to stop talking about that mysterious liquor lady.

What actually happened in the plot:

• Vivi stops a golem uprising and decides to live another day, confident he is not a mere golem (which makes sense, as golems in this game are basically just Pokémon).

• Celes tries to cheer up the still-recovering-from-vampirey folks of Tome Town by performing an opera, but Ultros arrives, and messes it all up. Ultros is repelled, but, sorry, Celes won’t be singing in this one.

• It is confirmed that Balamb Garden is apparently a mirage, Eden, even if stuff discovered there, like the Gunblade, could be Cogna related.

• Shantotto attempts to open a secret vault by killing the Quacho Queen, but Lann and Reynn convince the Quacho Queen to open the door without bloodshed. Unfortunately, there’s a monster in the vault that could potentially explode and crack the continent in half… but Shantotto uses a spell to disarm the volatile kraken. The day is saved, and our heroes loot the vault.

Intervention Quests Part 4
Initial Stream: 11/10/20

00:00 – There is some interesting discussion regarding the production of Marvel vs. Capcom/Howard the Duck opposite Bartz and Gigglemesh saving a town. Eventually, there is discussion of Spider-Man arcade, a game near and dear to my videogame preserving heart.

8:00 – Additional discussion of Marvel vs. Capcom and what could have happened to Street Fighter 3 while Snow and Celes do… nothing.

14:30 – Moonboy and Devil Dinosaur are not Edgar and Vivi, but they’re not Primal, either.

19:00 – There’s no battle in this vignette, just cutscenes. This is weird, and prompts a discussion regarding Mr. Bucket, and how he wants you to put your balls in his mouth.

21:00 – Faris, Ifrit, and we’re apparently not worshipping Satan.

25:00 – Refia and Sherlotta venture into the snow while we discuss children’s cartoons and fetishes and let’s not talk about Totally Spies.

30:00 – We are done talking about Goodfeathers and how much we hate aspects of Animaniacs just in time to watch the ongoing adventures of Undead Princess.

34:00 Goblin Princess and the immortal question: is high school worse than working in The Simpsons writing room?

What actually happened in the plot:

• Gigglemesh and Bartz are more or less tricked by Bahamutian Soldiers, but team up to recover a victory.

• Snow and Celes fight Gigglemesh over absolutely nothing. Typical crossover fight, I suppose.

• Edgar and Vivi win over the support of the Figaro guard ostensibly through Vivi being annoying.

• Faris sponsors “Underdog Day”, a day when her crew can challenge the captain for control of the ship. An overeager moogle accidently summons Ifrit, whom Faris has to knock off the plank.

• Refia and Sherlotta battle Undead Princess (another refugee from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time), and then hire her to promote the Inn. Then Sherlotta and Undead Princess work together to stop some Metalliskulls that are haunting the area.

• Princess Sarah was kidnapped by Princess Goblin, who apparently has a crush on Warrior of Light. Warrior of Light lets Princess Goblin down easy, and rescues Princess Sarah.

Additional note that seems to explain a lot: In game, there is a running encyclopedia for characters encountered in World of Final Fantasy. The entry for Undead Princess reads:

Hey, Wait a Second…
You may be wondering why so many characters from the CRYSTAL CHRONICLES series have been popping up in Grymoire. Well, take a look at the person doing character design, and you may have your answer.

So that solves at least one unsolved mystery of World of Final Fantasy.

Intervention Quests Part 5
Initial Stream: 11/10/20


00:00 – Refia tries to build a bridge while we discuss how to own people on the internet. Or maybe we’re just looking at Dril tweets again. Or Spider-Man?

6:00 – Time for (what I’m pretty sure is) the DLC event. It is not a Gundam.

9:30 – Kishi joins us. Kishi is not a Gundam.

22:00 – We finally win as Omega God bonks over.


“He” is now Ted Woo, author of Shadow Mad.

31:00 – Kishi requests a repeat performance, so we’re watching the Faris bit again. Let’s consider this an example of how you can repeat these quests unlimited times.

36:00 – In an effort to torture fanboymaster, we close this stream out by taking a look at the World of Final Fantasy pokédex.

What actually happened in the plot:

• Refia tries to build an ice bridge, so she recruits Sherlotta to additionally recruit Shiva. The bridge is built, but doesn’t last long.

• Enna Kros has a conversation with Alexander, the gigantic mirage currently serving as a motionless bridge. Apparently they fought “for the throne” at one point. Eden of Balamb Garden, Lute of Ragnarok in Cornera, and Midgardian Ormr (presumably) of Midgar are all mirages, too. Alexander had Omega God hanging out on it in a pocket dimension (or something), so Enna Kros summoned Lann and Reynn to fight him off. Omega God is defeated and captured, and now, having completed all available Intervention Quests, Lann and Reynn are free to journey on to the endgame.

Next time on World of Final Fantasy: This stream was the same week I got married, so BEAT is responsible for the Bad End.

World of Final Fantasy Part 05

Chapter 15: Mako Reacting
Initial Stream: 10/14/20



BEAT is missing, so guest commentator Abby Denton has joined us for the night as we raid a Mako Reactor.

2:30 – Spoilers: This game may or may not eventually tie into the one and only Xenogears in the exact same way that Xenosaga tied into the one and only Xenogears. Or maybe it won’t. It is a mystery.

12:00 – Apparently there is a Lupin III Sega Saturn game. It’s not Fighter’s Megamix, though, so that is a point against it.

21:00 – This dungeon is mostly a throwback to Final Fantasy 7’s initial “bombing run” level. That said, if you were expecting it to end with a FF7 cameo, or something from its extended universe (Shelke is apparently still here), you’d be disappointed, as the finale features the Black Mages. Er… to be clear, that is the black mages of Final Fantasy 9, not the musical group.

26:00 – More anime that is weirdly CG-based, while we discuss Plumed Knight during one of the few chapters where she doesn’t appear.

29:00 – BEAT steps in to point out Funko Pop sex is terrible (and so is this game)

What actually happened in the plot: After regaining their powers thanks to irrelevant Dirge of Cerberus Guest Character Shelke, the twins venture through a Mako Reactor (which, incidentally, is later named by Edgar as a discovered, unknown technological area called “Midgar”). Apparently the reactor is being protected by a group of black mages led by Vivi. After attempting to capture Vivi in a pokéball, Vivi “awakens”, and then leads his black mage buddies to destroy the reactor. This frees Figaro, which leads to King Edgar offering his thanks and an apology for the whole “tossing everyone in a dungeon” thing. Vivi was also apparently holding onto the Earth Key, so now we’ve got half the necessary elemental macguffins in this world. We’re told the next key should be past the Big Bridge, so we head off there after Bahamut makes an ominous, split-second appearance.

Chapter 16: A Bridge Too Boring
Initial Stream: 10/14/20


1:46 – Eiko appears, and she introduces a bridge that is fairly big. It’s apparently this world’s Alexander summon all bridge-ified, so I guess we should be thankful we get a summoner that is at least marginally related to Alexander’s big Final Fantasy 9 moment.

5:40 – Some great animation here right before the second summoner in this game gets kidnapped while the heroes aren’t paying attention.

15:30 – GIG-AN-TAUR!… is at least something to brighten up this boring dungeon. It’s a straight line from toe to tip.

26:00 – Let’s talk about the Super Mario Bros movie while nothing happens and I get lost. Apparently I was supposed to trigger a cutscene somewhere up at the top of the bridge, but I missed that, and now I’m stuck wandering around like an idiot. This happens a lot this night.

34:00 – fanboymaster provides a detailed explanation of How Final Fantasy 7 hidden characters could have worked. I for one welcome a Yuffie that is impossible in every way.

38:36 – Finally back to plot. It’s Buttz and Boko!

45:00 – Abby explains that she was the person who originally named all the Pokemon. This story may or may not be accurate.

55:00 – Talking about voting opposite Gilgamesh showing up. Will we be streaming on election night? I have no earthly idea. (Spoilers from the future: nope!)

What actually happened in the plot: The Big Bridge was apparently summoned by a jiant some time ago, so that’s probably another oblique reference to the mysterious and missing mother of the twins. Eiko is keeping track of the bridge, but Plumed Knight (who has some enigmatic connection to mirages) fights and kidnaps the tiny summoner. As a result, the twins have to cross the bridge on foot, and they meet Bartz, who is searching for someone who is posing as him. Apparently it’s Gilgamesh, and he’s not so much posing as Bartz as just shouting “Bartz!” over and over again while causing mayhem. Did people think he was a Pokémon? Regardless, Gilgamesh is banished from the bridge, Bartz retires to parts unknown, and the team moves onto a dark area that hopefully holds the next key.


Chapter 17: THE TRAIN GRAVEYAR- WAIT A SECOND! YOU CAN’T BE HERE! YOU WEREN’T EVEN IN THIS VIDEO!!!!
Initial Stream: 10/14/20
As relayed by BEAT



You know, when I yelled at Gogglebob to let me do this one, I hadn’t realized that the video was an HOUR AND A HALF LONG WHAT THE FUCK GOGGLEBOB WE TALKED ABOUT THIS OH MY GOD.

00:00 – So I haven’t watched the prior two videos and only caught enough of the stream to get SUPER PISSED OFF at the idea of Funko Pops Fucking, so I’m not 100% sure on how the anime teens found a train to Halloweentown. I’m just gonna roll with it.

01:00 – Up till this point, both Anime Teens have been completely devoid of anything resembling personality, so it’s kind of equal parts refreshing and shocking when the girl completely loses her shit and swears one thousand times revenge on the Halloween train’s Cactuar Conductor.



And like, it comes out of literally fucking nowhere, and has actual effort and CRAFT put into the animation, while adding literally nothing to the plot? When was it established that her personality is ANGRY GIRL? What the fuck just happened?

06:00 – The murder attempt aborted, The anime teens and their horrible mascot ride the train to some Parthenon looking building called… TOMETOWN OF THE ANCIENTS. Anyways some vampires threaten them, but then some dork who uses too much hairspray (Editor’s Note: it Cloud) shows up and saves them I guess whatever.

10:30 – Cloud takes the kids to Celes, who’s wearing what APPEARS to be the Funko pop version of Cammy’s outfit from street fighter. Also a CID, but it’s not the Cid who likes rockets and swear words, so it’s the WRONG CID. Anime boy is racist against robots. Anime girl has interesting ideas about English syntax.

19:50 – So I seriously thought it was gonna be a LIBRARY DUNGEON, but instead the official dungeon for this area is some kinda train graveyard. I genuinely like the visual design, with the misty blue backdrop of rusted, decaying train cars in stacks hundreds of feet into the sky. as far as places to wander around and accumulate XP go.

21:00 – Fanboy takes the very reasonable stance that the Train Graveyard in FF7 isn’t in his top 10 locations from the game. Abby calls his bluff, which was a mistake because Fanboy never bluffs.

34:20 – I zoned out for awhile during my listening session, so I’m honestly not sure why the commentary crew is suddenly talking about public urination. I’m willing to concede that the commentary crew is probably right on the basic point that you could learn a lot about someone by how they react to uh.. that. But also, what the fuck no stop.

45:00 – I’m learning a lot about a Magical Gay Vampire Queen? And her cotton candy girlfriend? Good for them.

1:04:20 – The following exchange has been preserved with only minimal editing.
PAST GOGGLEBOB, IN THE VIDEO: I could make a political Joke right now…
PRESENT BEAT, LISTENING TO THE VIDEO: Don’t you fucking dare.
PAST GOGGLEBOB: …but it would be way too obvious.
PRESENT BEAT SIGHS AND THEATRICALLY WIPES HIS BROW IN RELIEF.
PAST FANBOYMASTER:
So let’s not.
PRESENT BEAT: Thank you Fanboy I knew you were my realest friend for a reason.
PAST ABBY: We’re all gonna die, go for it.
PRESENT BEAT: What the fuck Abby, I trusted you!
PAST GOGGLEBOB: "The democratic party…"
PRESENT BEAT: NO! NOOOOO!!!!!
PAST GOGGLEBOB: "…is hoarding its Elixirs"
PRESENT BEAT ASCENDS TO HIGHER LEVEL OF RAGE, SCREAMING FIE AND DAMNATION, SWEARING VENGENCE.

1:04:54 – Gimmie Gimmie!

1:07:45 – This game’s cutscenes keep getting ALMOST good and its FRUSTRATING.


Like I keep going "WAIT SHIT IS THIS GAME… GOOD?" and the answer is always "NO" and it’s starting to get on my nerves.

1:10:00 – Time to kill a vampire I guess.

1:13:20 – For like a good 3 minutes I really thought they were just gonna say "Hahah good thing we killed the vampire before you had a chance to turn since we established that killing him would restore everyone he turned 3 cutscenes ago." That would have almost been clever. Instead they had her turn in the post fight cutscene, and then the vampire is stabbed immediately afterwards, and she turns back. I have NO IDEA why that whole runaround was in the game at all.

1:19:00 – Tometown is much more visually appealing when its not full of vampires.

1:26:10 – "LOVE YOURSELF, BITCH!"

What actually happened in the plot: The anime Teens ride the Halloween train to Library Land, meet the MOST POPULAR FINAL FANTASY CHARACTER EVER (And Celes (And a fake Cid)) and conclude that it’s time to hunt a vampire. After like an hour or so of dungeon wandering, the sister gets kidnapped, and turned into a vampire for exactly 30 seconds. Then they kill the vampire and she’s fine. Then they go back to library land and get the exposition. Editor’s Addition: And they also obtain the Key of Darkness, bringing the total magical key count up to three out of four.

Next time in World of Final Fantasy: You gonna get wet.

FGC #476 Final Fantasy 9

Fantasy Time!Final Fantasy 9 doesn’t get enough respect for being the top of its very specific, very forgotten class.

It’s easy to see why someone would have issues with Final Fantasy 9 at its initial release. For starters, it was a JRPG right there at the end of the Playstation 1 JRPG boom. This meant it had a healthy amount of competition from all angles (including an in-house rivalry with Square’s own Chrono Cross). And, honestly, a “throwback” JRPG in that environment was the worst possible idea. Yes, the Final Fantasy franchise had drifted very far from the medieval fantasy origins of Final Fantasy (give or take a floating techno city), but that didn’t mean the rest of the genre had moved on with it. Medieval fantasy JRPGs were a dime a dozen in 2000, and practically everything in Final Fantasy 9 had been done by other JRPGs of the eon. Fantasy world with a whole bunch of depressed furries? We’ve already got Breath of Fire. Your Princess suicidally depressed into a haircut thanks to being responsible for the destruction of her kingdom? Straight out of the Wild Arms playbook. Hell, even some seemingly unique flourishes are improbably specifically from other titles of the epoch: the malevolent monster fog that initially rescinds and then blankets the world in a time of crisis is the entire premise of Legend of Legaia. In short, there’s a thin line between “retro” and “derivative”, and then it’s an even shorter hop to “outright theft”. And it probably didn’t help that Final Fantasy 9’s hero is a thief…

And, come to think of it, that thief was a problem, too. Every protagonist, from Beatrix to Zidane, is deliberately evocative of other heroes in the Final Fantasy franchise. Vivi might go through an interesting journey from “9 year old” to “inspiration for an entire society”, but a quick glance reminds you he’s still just a generic Final Fantasy Black Mage. Freya is a dragoon obsessed with her potential lover, and Dagger is a princess with global responsibility issues. And Eiko? Look, I’m sorry, but Rydia called, and she wants her everything back. And it’s kind of hard to not be cynical when you’ve seen these characters before and liked their games better. With very little exaggeration, by the time some people played Final Fantasy 9, they had already played Final Fantasy 6 for approximately 500 hours. BORKYou want your protagonist to fill the shoes of Locke Cole, you damn well better be sure he’s going to bring something new to the table. Oh? At one point in one dungeon he gets sad about being a monkey? But then he instantly recovers? Wow, Final Fantasy 9, you phoned it in so hard, Steiner just learned the rotary-dial ability.

But now it’s twenty years later. Time has passed, and, for better or worse, the world is very different. Now JRPGs are only medieval when they’re also showcasing anime high school students. Now Final Fantasy is a brand that includes more spin-offs and “experiments” than it does actual numbered entries (and those numbered entries get their own, specific spin-offs, too!). The idea that any one game could capture the zeitgeist of the franchise and its most prominent age is no more possible than you could now produce a film that somehow featured every movie star back to the dawn of Hollywood. The Final Fantasy franchise is now so much more than “there used to be crystals, right?”, so Final Fantasy 9 being some kind of deliberate nostalgic journey seems… quaint.

… And it’s not like anyone is going to compare FF9 to Legend of Legaia anymore. Nobody remembers Legend of Legaia.

So now, divorced from the expectations of the bygone year of 2000, it’s easy to play Final Fantasy 9 and see that the real innovations could never be found by watching this…

Weeeeee

But by playing through this…

What's the haps?

In case you’re unfamiliar with the intricacies of Final Fantasy 9’s plot and its various scenarios, let me explain what you’re seeing there. Ultimately, this is not a complicated scene: it’s Darth Vader telling Luke he’s his daddy. Zidane has just discovered his home planet, and Garland here is explaining how he created Zidane to destroy the (or at least one) world, and souls have to migrate through a magical tree, and Zidane’s brother is another destroyer-monkey that apparently exists with an expiration date, and… Actually, come to think of it? Maybe this scene is a little complicated. This happens a lot in JRPGs: the crux of the plot involves a lot of metaphysical and metaphorical ideas, and there’s really no way to get that information to the player without evoking some kind of massive info dump. In this case, Final Fantasy 9 has wholly invented its own version of the afterlife/reincarnation, and, in order to simultaneously explain the details of that system and how the villains are gumming up the works, you basically need an introductory course on Final Fantasy 9’s religion. Christians don’t know how easy they have it when they can just toss off a line like, “I’ll send you to Hell!” without having to follow it with, “Which is a location where the greatest sinners are eternally tortured by Satan, a demon that once fell from Grace when…”

BORKBut what is being explained isn’t important (sorry about the previous paragraph, I’ll try not to waste your time with asides in the future… wait! Dammit!), what’s important to the entire genre is how it’s being explained. Garland is not confined to a mere text box, nor is Garland a giant cut-out that encompasses half the screen. Garland is hovering across a magical mushroom patch (or… something) and explaining the why of Final Fantasy 9 while “escaping” Zidane. This is inevitably leading to a showdown of some sort, and requires the player to actively “play” while listening to Garland. Want to know more? Of course you do! Follow the floating evil dude. You’re actively playing a videogame, after all, and a role-playing game at that. You think Zidane wants to know more? Of course he does! You’re playing as Zidane! Your goals are one in the same. Now go on, scoot, follow that bearded knight and get the whole story. After all, if you’re Zidane, you’re part of the story.

And that’s something we never saw again.

The very next Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy 10 (yes, I know stating sequential numbers sounds obvious, but please remember that the next FF after that was Final Fantasy 10-2), relied on voice acting and dedicated cinema scenes for its plot advancement, thus making the franchise “like a movie”. And that’s great for anyone that uses their PS2 to play DVDs, but maybe not the best for the person picking up a controller to actually play a game. Regardless, we were all very excited about Final Fantasy 10, its movies, and other similar games like Metal Gear Solid 2 or Xenosaga. Game-movies are the future! It’s like the moving pictures! Videogames can finally be as respectable as Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2! Games are art! … Except we weren’t lauding the “game” part of our videogames, we were just excited about the occasional moments when a videogame could feature a mini-movie… and whether or not any sort of player participation was involved was completely moot. Grab some popcorn! It’s time to play a videogame!

PLORPBut I’m not telling you, dear audience, anything you don’t already know. We remember the bygone Playstation 2 years, and we remember the gradual drift from “movie games” back to “games you actually play”. Yes, we still deal with the latest games touting sparkling stars performing minor voice acting, or “deeply cinematic visuals”, but, by and large we’ve gotten away from action games just sitting back and letting Norman Reedus deliver a soliloquy about baby carrying… Except for in the genre that started this whole mess. JRPGs are still considered plot-delivery devices, and, whether you’re playing a game featuring a lady trying to organize her armies against a dragon goddess, or some title where everyone inexplicably wants to %&*# the dragons in a wildly different way, you still wind up with “sit here and watch” cinema scenes for everything from tea parties to castle storming. Somewhere along the line, it was determined that JRPGs are closer to visual novels than any other genre, and would you care to sit down and have some exposition today? It might be explaining a planet’s apocalyptic backstory, or it could simply be the recounting of a supporting player’s daddy issues, but it still means you’re just sitting there smacking X to advance.

And what’s worse? In the absence of the seemingly unlimited budget of pre-Spirits Within Square, everything has flattened out to this…

So brave

And it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a “retro-throwback”, or a JRPG so popular that it apparently earned its spot in Smash Bros history…

What a bunch of jokers

The directors of Final Fantasy 9 knew exactly what they were doing. Final Fantasy 9 is a game that never loses sight of being a videogame, and uses every “trick” that surfaced in the thirteen years that had passed since Final Fantasy. From multiple character animations, to dynamically moving villains, to even something as simple as “interrupting” text boxes, Final Fantasy 9 does everything it can to keep the player engaged in every conceivable way. After all, why would you bother with another goofy sidequest or “Active Time Event” if each wasn’t vibrant and remarkable?

Final Fantasy 9 truly was the end point of all JRPGs that came before. It’s just a shame it was also the end of the dynamic JRPG.

FGC #476 Final Fantasy 9

  • System: Playstation 1 in its first go, but it’s made it to the Playstation 3, Vita, Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Switch in the intervening years. May I recommend any version that involves a fast forward button?
  • Number of players: Oddly enough, Final Fantasy 9 has the ability to assign combat controls to either controller port, so you can technically co-op play FF9. Yay! I called Vivi!
  • Remake Reproblems: I very much appreciate everything that is involved in the HD remake of Final Fantasy 9. Fast forwarding is amazing for a game that has always had absurdly slow combat. Automatically maxing your levels and abilities for when you don’t feel like grinding from square one is something I have wanted forever. And the graphical touchups add a new volume to a game that a lot of us originally played on ancient televisions that could barely handle three colors. But, man oh man, someone didn’t put nearly enough time into making sure the new HD sprites match the “HD” cinematics. Some of the most dramatic scenes in this game now appear to be animated by the folks behind Monty Python, and it’s not the best look.
  • HUNGRY!Cool Car: Your final airship is the Invincible, a destructive “monster ship” from Zidane’s home planet (and another Final Fantasy reference). It is also the ship that obliterated Princess Dagger’s home on two separate occasions. Dagger lampshades the situation if you chat with her aboard your new ride, but it’s still more than a little weird that the first princess of PTSD is totally cool with riding around on her own personal atomic bomb.
  • Favorite Dungeon: Gizamaluke’s Grotto is the best name for a dungeon ever, and I will hear no objections to this apparent fact. The fact that it contains multiple exits and a moogle wedding is just gravy.
  • What’s in a name: Pumice is the stone that eventually allows you to summon the combat airship, Ark. However, in the original Japanese, Pumice is known as the “Floating Stone”. That makes a lot more sense for this franchise.
  • What’s in a name Part 2: One of Kuja’s pet dragons, Nova Dragon, was originally named Shinryu, ala the chief reptilian super boss of the series. Given Nova Dragon provides such a lackluster fight, It’s probably for the best that this one got changed…
  • So, did you beat it: I got everything on the original hardware, including the Strategy Guide that is a reward for murdering the super boss. And I did that all without a real strategy guide, because the official strategy guide for Final Fantasy 9 is the worst thing to ever happen to the medium.
  • But you still own it, right? I got the collector’s edition!
    I hate this thing

    Visit Playonline for more information on how my life is a lie!
  • Did you know? There are nine knights of Pluto! And Pluto is the ninth planet in our solar system. Or… at least it used to be…
  • Would I play again: This… is not my favorite Final Fantasy title. I love exactly what it did, but the speed of everything kills me, and my knowledge of all those sidequests I’m ignoring if I ever want to finish the game again within my lifetime is terrible for my conscience. Final Fantasy 9, you’re an amazing game, but I just can’t deal with you right now.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Stretch Panic for the Playstation 2! …. God dammit. Please look forward to it, if you must.

WARK