^ *clicky!* ^
Yeah, I don't really have the spare change for FF8 right now and I...just don't really wanna at the moment. I also have some spare time while getting my computer back in order. So I thought it was time for a Final Fantasy IX LP Journal!!
I'm not sure which game of the PSX era is best. I will say that, despite the positives it DOES have, it's probably not Final Fantasy 8, but I can honestly see the 7th and 9th game really duking it out for my personal top spot. And certainly over the years, FF9 was probably the Final Fantasy game that fans were kind of slow to warm up to, but came out hotter as the years went on (dumb analogy, sorry).
Right off the bat, I want to add that as a kid I loved the Narnia and Lord of the Rings series', and I loved fairy tales and princessess, and medieval settings and video games, and so on. This game brings all these elements together and I love the amount of nostalgia I felt playing FF9 for the first time, and how strange I felt nostalgic about it even before I beat it simply because it evokes the things I enjoyed as a child.
Anyways...Shall we? I promise other 'entries' won't be this long...
It's just that this is THE START of FF-freaking-9, so fuck yeah there's a lot to say.
As usual, I"d love to hear your thoughts and comments (good and bad), and I'll attempt to respond to anything and everything.
Part I: A Voluntary Kidnapping
= Muthafucken classic colour
= To begin, I will say that this may be one of the most painstakingly designed FF titles. From top to bottom, head to toe, near and far, and so on. As if villages weren't fleshed out with gorgeous tiny details
, so are its 'motley crew' of denizens scattered around the world.
Vivi's small "how he got to the party" segment has him run across a little girl that helps him when he "dwopped his ticket
", some large hippo child (creatively named 'Hippaul'), a bird-man guiding nobles from Treno
*), had "Dante the Signmaker" berate me for being a klutz while he was working (love the added touch the he climbs down the ladder to do it), and met a punk rat kid who takes me under his wing...as his slave (but as his 'first
' slave, fortunately). I love that Puck similarly has amazing animations when it comes to adjusting and lugging
around that same ladder.
= This game is also great with NPC interactions and introducing them in very fun ways. Certainly "Alleyway Jack" sort of just 'pops in' here and there. The game also abruptly [re-]introduces Moogles after one crashes down on Vivi. Moments later, Stiltskin (a Moogle dressed up in some fine travelling gear) sort of passes by telling his grand plans to traverse the globe. Seriously, the way scenes are done with random NPCs coming in and out or just these general interactions are SO damn charming
and made only more apparently by the long-lost ATE scenes.
= Moogle saving is the best
kind of saving.
= Good god the details, people. This tragic moment for Vivi shows a very lovely medieval Illuminated Manuscript
-esque poster off to the left side.
I also love reading a lot of the signage around towns too (here's
a particularly amusing one; fight the power!!).
= I love looking at games at the start and end of a console's run. Compared to FF7, graphically, yeah, it's nice to see better detailed character models (and this game truly pushed the envelope here)... But also the dialogue is about a hundred times better, has a much better flow, and a better sense of characterization.
At the best of times, it's just damn funny as well.
= Honestly, I can't geek out enough about how wonderful the opening sequence is and how it finishes with your first big party together through a series of mishaps, twists of fate, and sheer dumb-luck. I also love how the Tantalus is like a "performance vehicle" putting on a show in the Castle's backyard. And I think it's just the coolest thing
that you run circles around both places so that the pieces steadily fall into place that everyone will be at the right place and the right time. Setups this good can only be written and sets a great and more light-hearted atmosphere very effectively (especially compared to FF7 and 8's more serious atmosphere and deliberate pacing).
= I love that "stage magic" does no damage, but is added as a cute little detail. I also like that Zidane and the Tantalus crew all have the 'steal' command.
= I've never impressed all 100 Nobles during the beautiful Blank vs Zidane sequence. Any of you have? I got 92 (no mistakes), and I think that was my best. I also love the crowd cheering as you perform (specifically hitting swords with O
= Blank complaining about the Knight outfit is great. He's got an itchy back, sweaty helmet, too much room in the chest.... and cookie crumbs in the pocket. Ah, the honourable Knights of Pluto still sneaking in cookies on the job! ...Mmmm
, bless 'em.
= Despite my endless praise for the game, I actually find the main battle theme "just alright" (of course, few reoccurring battle themes have a hard time not becoming exhaustive). Meanwhile, I wish "Feel My Blade
was incorporated again (particularly around the 50sec mark and on). And although charming, the pan flute version of the victory theme is sort of a strange choice..
= Alright... The Play "I Want to be Your
". I honestly think Steiner is one of the best things in this game, and his thinking the play is REAL
is just the funniest thing ever. I love how Garnet 'jumps' a little at the fake stabbing, and I love that Steiner falls to his knees over the tragedy (while Baku is merely acting the same emotion).
= I could go on forever about this whole sequence and how perfect it is, but I'm sure you get the idea. Anyways, so we're attacked by a giant Bomb (cannonball) and barely make an escape and left to saunter off (ie; crash) into the Evil Forest... Aptly named, I'm sure, for its beautiful flora and fauna!
^ *clicky!* ^
Today in Final Fantasy Referencing
Despite being only the ninth title (I say that in comparison to how the game has had another 14 years worth of titles since this one), references to the series are everywhere! I can't promise I'll nail them all though, especially stuff from the first three games...
= A Red Mage sits at the bar in Alexandria is a great start to NPC sightings.
= I don't know why, but the identity of the Four-Armed Man
stumped me when I first played.... d'oh. But again, I like this somewhat 'friendlier facade' he has on now as an NPC than a hard-hitting boss or summon.
= I doubt it has to be said, but I love Garnet dressed up as a White Mage when she's trying to run away, great choice especially for her.
= The Theatre Ship is 8,235 tons and can hold up to 288 passengers... They also divide by 9
= There are 9
Knight of Pluto
= Perhaps not, but I like that the Pluto Knights you steal from are left in the underwear. Reminds me of Locke (FF6) doing the same and getting a seperate enemy sprite that's dressed 'in their shame' (in addition to that shame, I love how the Pluto Knights look away from Steiner when they are in their underwear).
= We leave Alexandria with a Thief, a Knight, a White Mage, and a Black Mage.... wait a second