Author Topic: *DONE* Dice Plays FFIX (1st post w/ Table of Contents & Plot Summaries!)

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Andrew

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Re: Dice Plays FFIX
« Reply #60 on: July 03, 2015, 01:00:31 AM »
Just wanted to say I enjoy reading your IX journal at work, Dice. Good when I need a break for a few minutes!



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@Andrew Thank you so so much. :)  Always happy to make irritatingly small observations to the pleasure of the minority reading! Haha  But I'm happy it generates discussion and people actually enjoy reading it.


^ *click the pic!!* ^ Track: Unrequited Love (from the Melancholy Tribute Album)

Part VII: Save the King??

Quote
Brief Synopsis: Queen Garnet ascends the throne and the party goes to see her; Zidane gets tongue-tied and is unable to confess his feelings so the party blow off some steam in Treno.  After meeting Cid the Oglop we learn Alexandria is under attack from Bahamut! Garnet, led by 'magical music' to the top of her castle, summons Alexander in an epic showdown, but is immediately thwarted by the EVIL FLYING EYE IN THE SKY that's controlled by a mysterious new villain seemingly connected to both Kuja and Zidane.  With Alexandria destroyed and her mother gone, Garnet loses her voice due to despair; meanwhile the party decides to get Cid back to 'normal' so we can [eventually] get ourselves a new airship!

A lot of it is just 'fun stuff' and not-plot stuff.  As usual, I'm sorry for the length... and for all the animated gifs this time around.


= Zidane is a changed man over the course of his journey thanks to one Princess.  Both "After Garnet" eras have Zidane go from Lothario to lovelorn:

I actually thing it's really sweet that everyone supports Zidane's feelings for her.  Their class difference be damned!  Everyone sees they're a good match.


= I mean, what do I really have to say about the "Love Letter"?  It's a 'comedy of errors' done to perfection having "cast clowns" pit against the "serious soldiers".  I was smiling the whole time.
I love how the camera completely off-sets the symmetry in this scene as soon as Baku interrupts 'the moment':


   Particularly great is how it has the top two Alexandrian Knights (who are serious to a fault) become pretty darn smitten with one another after a simple love letter winds up in the wrong hands.  I feel Steiner gets a lot of crap throughout the game, so I'm really happy they worked to give him a happy ending.  


= Final Fantasy games always do well with leisure time.  Maybe a part of why I think Treno is such a great city is because it emphasizes the basic reason people love RPGs 'towns' (and why they were sorely missed in FF13).  Both times you visit Treno it's at sort of a 'down time' where the player is free to enjoy and explore and see the characters get into some shenanigans.  Moving the plot isn't a matter of time but a matter of choice for when you, the player, are ready to move on with it.
   I think most of all though, I love that the party unanimously visits the city to blow off some steam.


= Yay Amarant's back story is covered in an ATE...  Which is a little unconventional, but okay.  I kinda like this ill-fated relationship the game sets up with him and Zidane; he frames him one night and Amarant is thus labelled as a criminal while Zidane runs free (Zidane has conveniently forgotten this, or perhaps it alludes to him having too many misdeeds that he literally can't remember them all).  Zidane is simple in some ways, and Amarant cannot understand his motivations or free-spirited attitude for the LIFE of him.


= Vivi time!  I actually have a few things to say here.  First, and on a shorter note, I like how 'vividly' (hah) he reacts when he hears the Black Mages (the 'good ones' from the Black Mage Village) consciously joined Kuja's forces.  Vivi, as a sort of 'representative black mage' fighting for his people and 'seeker of the truth' takes it quite personally.

   But also a small, minor sidequest can fill you in on a small but key part of his backstory.  
At the start of the game Zidane and Tantalus get to Alexandria to kidnap the Princess, Garnet was escaping, and Steiner followed close behind.  ...but what about Vivi?  We learn through an ATE that Vivi got a ride to Alexandria with a courier ship leaving out of Treno.  Vivi, feeling nostalgic, decides to pay a quick visit 'home'.  The player, Zidane, can take the hint from this and go find Vivi at Quan's Dwelling where he's sort-of paying respects.  The trip is brief but informative:
  • Vivi was 'hatched' like his other Blk Mage brothers, but he (as cargo) fell overboard and was 'fished out' by Quan (a Qu like Quina).
  • Apparently Quan wanted to eat him?  I wouldn't be surprised, but.. that's kind of a creepy detail that Vivi was fortunately oblivious to
  • Quan recorded his "grandson's" height and takes the last measure when Vivi was 6 months old
  • A big Grandfather clock can be found in Quan's Dwelling and Zidane remarks that it 'stopp'd' a week before the Tantalus visited Alexandria to kidnap Garnet... Anyone remember the nursery rhyme "My Grandfather's Clock"?  I think the reference is pretty clear.
  • Fortunately, if we 'connect the dots' this tells us EXACTLY how "Vivi got to the party" at the beginning of the game.  Vivi's grandfather dies, he decides to see the world, and he goes from Treno to Alexandria and gets caught up in a life-changing adventure.  This also explain his surprise when meeting Quina and how she looked exactly "like his 'grandfather" (a cute/peculiar detail for a cute/peculiar character).
  • Unfortunately, given that Black Mages seem to have an unnaturally short life (implied to last only about a year), Vivi is...likely hitting his 'golden years' all too soon...
 Finally, I forgot to post this monumentally important gif earlier so I'm doing it now. :'(


= Eiko is great.  The balance she manages to strike between adoring Zidane and being Garnet's "sister" cannot be understated since the two are treated as mutually exclusive.  She's not a brat to Garnet for stealing her beau, and simply tries to 'gracefully' move on.


= Despite the leisure time in Disc 3, I love that there's a big 'wham episode' during the Alexandrian attack.  It puts a lot of crazy in an instant and instead of having the party run around town taking out enemies I like that it almost literally throws you into meeting Garnet right away.  I don't really need to talk about the Bahamut and Alexander showdown... you know it's good (and here it is in case you forgot how good it was).  I always loved how the shot begins with Alexander's wings gracefully reflecting off the body of water in front of the kingdom before panning up to reveal the pleasant 'surprise' (especially to loyal FF fans who might have 'clued in' to "Alexandria's namesake" belonging to the popular summon).  But then it's followed up almost IMMEDIATELY with the BRUTAL attack on the mechanical being from the mysterious soaring eye that also destroyed Madain Sari.  The sequence of events do so well to have Garnet protect her Kingdom and fight for it with her own power -- only for a new enemy to launch a surprise attack and quickly steal that victory right from her.  Understandably, she has trouble coping afterwards with a psychologically involuntary 'silent treatment'.


=

This is too cute.  That 'happy hug' from Garnet and Eiko's little pout are beautifully worked into one FMV (details that would have been lost unless they did go full CG for it).


= If the FF series brings back a sci-fi setting, I want a dedicated CITY to be Alexander himself.  No other summon has come close over the years to being so cool (oh, but FF12's Zodiark is up there though).  


= Shit... I missed doing the Dali Mayor Sneaking bit... were the prizes worth it?  This game attaches some dubious returns to sidequests sometimes...  Fuck it.  That Mayor weirds me out (ironically because he's like the only NPC to 'kick you out' for busting into his private residence....it feels suspicious to me even though that's probably the most 'sane' response to some asshole sneaking around your house).
  On that note: Good LORD, are you kidding me? Assigning The Knights of Pluto to 'rescue tasks' while Alexandria is under siege?  
HEY PLAYER, REMEMBER TALKING TO ALL 8 KNIGHTS AT THE START OF THE GAME 20 HOURS AGO?  ME NEITHER!


= I did like fighting Tantarian.  It's hard as hell but a great challenge, a unique gimmick, a fantastic design that references a boss from FF5, and a proper pain in the ass while both of your valuable White Mages are busy elsewhere.  Mid-game secret bosses are not seen enough in games.  I...used up a lot of elixers.






= We found out that, through no fault of her own, Garnet has lost her voice because she blames herself for everything (a dead mother and a kingdom in ruin).  It's very tragic, and the Princess is taken to Lindblum along with the rest of the gang to recoup and regroup.  I like that restoring Cid back to human is a completely pointless endeavour.  It could have been cut from the game and nothing would have changed to the plot... but it was in there.  This feels 'kinda sloppy' (certainly I would have rather seen some other events expanded on), but this is pretty innocent filler with a fun result.  The potion doesn't work, and King Cid Fabool IX goes from bug to frog... well, at least he's moving up the food chain.... Well, till Quina shows up again (positively stupefied by a talking frog).



^ *click the pic!!* ^ Track: More from the Melancholy Album (honestly, it's so damn good)
Till next time!
« Last Edit: July 11, 2015, 04:05:26 AM by Dice »
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Klutz64

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I think most of all though, I love that the party unanimously visits the city to blow off some steam.

It's amazing, literally a fantasy version of "I'm sad, bro. LET'S GO TO VEGAS!!"

Okay, let's see if I can still do this from memory....

Peace is but a shadow of death
Desperate to forget it's painful past
...
... ... years
Yesterday's sorrow constantly nears
And while the moon still shines blue
By dawn it will turn a crimson hue


*wracks brain for a bit*
Damn. Guess I need to replay the game again as I seem to have let one of the greatest villain monologues in the franchise's history escape my memory.


So up next is, as far as I'm concerned, the single most annoying dungeon in any Final Fantasy (post NES era) ever.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2015, 09:25:08 AM by Klutz64 »

Rucks

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This picture got me thinking...

more beloved side character that actually has very little to do with the plot? Blank from FFIX (who gets petrified in the forest while saving the main characters' lives) or Jessie from FFVII who dies on the pillar under section 7 while fighting with Shinra and the Turks?

I have a soft spot for both and I think a lot of other people do too.

Any other beloved side characters out there than anyone can think of?


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Jawsh, if you've seen any of my posts in an FF7 related discussion, you know I have a soft spot for Jessie.  Put "sweetie pumpkin" in the search bar and you'll see I talk about her too much. 

Here's a goofy parody fic of Zidane hangin' out with his crew.  I love how "Shut up, Cinna!" is a running gag.  Yes, I'm a fan of Mooncalf's parody fics, can you tell?  http://mooncalf.org/library/parody/hangingout.html

And I like Dice's version of Agahnim.  He looks like a  stoner Kids Next Door.  Sorry Link, but you don't steal Agahnim's harvest without retribution. 
"I think I'm losing it.  I'm pulling out my hair trying to figure out what couch defines me as a person.  This is freaking madness.  This is hopeless.  This... my perfect little habitat here, and I still don't even know who I am."  - from Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom by Burnt By The Sun

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Re: Dice Plays FFIX (1st post now with Table of Contents & Plot Summaries!)
« Reply #65 on: August 02, 2015, 02:28:14 PM »
This picture got me thinking...more beloved side character that actually has very little to do with the plot? Blank from FFIX (who gets petrified in the forest while saving the main characters' lives) or Jessie from FFVII who dies on the pillar under section 7 while fighting with Shinra and the Turks?

I have a soft spot for both and I think a lot of other people do too.
Any other beloved side characters out there than anyone can think of?

I don't really know.  This got me thinking of what characters I definitely love in the FF series, but certainly the precedence put on the main cast is very strong, supporting (aside from villains) isn't nearly treated as big a deal besides a few Cid's in the series maybe.  And stop me if I'm wrong or am completely missing someone I'm trying to think of an FF title otherwise that had a strong supporting cast (again, sans villains) and I'm coming up a little short besides ones I could (but don't wanna) say for the sake of argument.  I could say Brother (FFX), but fuck him, he's annoying.

When I think of a killer NPC, I think of Ion from Tales of the Abyss for his constant support and presence throughout the whole story, or the Zelda series for practically being a world filled with unique NPCs (both vital and minor to the story).  I'd love us to make an NPC topic to explore the more interesting ones.

I think most of all though, I love that the party unanimously visits the city to blow off some steam.

It's amazing, literally a fantasy version of "I'm sad, bro. LET'S GO TO VEGAS!!"

Okay, let's see if I can still do this from memory....

Peace is but a shadow of death
Desperate to forget it's painful past
...
... ... years


....
Quote
"Peace is but a shadow of death
       Desperate to forget its painful past...
       Though we hope for promising years
       After shedding a thousand tears,
       Yesterday's sorrow constantly nears.
       An while the moon still shines blue,
       By dawn, it will turn to scarlet hue."

I won't lie, I wrote this off as the sami-ramblings of "the beautiful character" so I quickly X'd through it... but yeah, I think you're on to something, it's actually quite a lovely soliloquy.  

Working on the latest update.  Got some editing to do x_X





^ *click the pic!!* ^ Track: Oeilvert

Part VIII: Those who Fight Further


Quote
Brief Synopsis: So we check out the Black Mage Village is nearly empty as most have gone to work for Kuja in order to see if they can prolong their life expectancy (topping at a little over a year).  We get word that Kuja's base of operations is close by, but the party is lured into a trap.  Kuja makes a deal to let the party go if half of them go get 'the Gulug Stone' from Oeilvet, a mysterious temple and planetarium that shows Gaia (the FF9 planet) as well as another strange world.  We retrieve the stone, and the other half of the party attempts to escape the Dessert Palace, a pain in the ass dungeon.  Both parties reunite by the end, and Eiko gets kidnapped and taken to Esto Gaza's Mount Gulug.  We save her, but Eiko loses her moogle pal Mog.  Hilda was held captive in Gulug, and eventually this reunites Hilda and Cid, Hilda forgiving her husband, and changing him back to a human so he can finally make us an airship!


= A marvellous thing has finally happened!  More than halfway through the game....!!!  THE PARTY SELECTION SCREEN!!!


= Honestly, they could have made another two Choco Hot & Cold locations and it wouldn't have stopped me from playing it all the way through.  Qu's Marshes on the other hand... I don't mind frog catching, it's easy enough... But I hate that you have to walk through them each time and it's the same load of nothing till you finally get to the mini-game area.  I explored one of them and all I found was random battles.  They should have kept some super weapon hidden away in the corner of one just to fuck with players (or reward the ones who do search high and low for treasures).


= Speaking of... how the FUCK is ANYONE supposed to figure out the Ocean Chocographs without a guide or spending an unreasonable amount of time on it?  Dice says no!  Dice goes on Gamefaqs.


= The Black Mage Village (lol, BM for short) is empty as they've all gone with Kuja in hopes that his promise to extend the short life expectancy provided they work for him.  It's not true of course, just the hope of it drove them to go with him anyways.  It's sad.  I do like that the 'leader' black mage and the two "parents" stayed behind because they wanted to see a Chocobo egg hatch.  And it does and it's so freaking cute.


= I love "The Place I'll Return to", I think it's a great tune, and has many beautiful renditions within FF9... that said, did it HAVE to have so many renditions in FF9?
  And with THAT said I'd have loved if FFX's Cloister of Trials went with a 'mood change' for each temple you visit  --- it'd make visiting each place slightly less repetitive (slightly).  They did it for the Hymn of Fayth themes.  ...But now I'm rambling.


= Fuck you Kuja!  Yeah yeah, you think it was SOOO EVIL to drop me off on the OPPOSITE SIDE OF A CONTINENT AND WALK (FOR LIKE WEEKS PRESUMABLY-MAYBE, IN REAL LIFE) TO A DUNGEON YOU NEED US TO GO TO... BUT NO!  NO!  I FOUND SOME GODDAMN CHOCOBO TRACKS SO JOKE'S ON YOU!!!! FUCK YOU.  HAI-HO RED CHOCOBO...B-LINE OVER MOUNTAINS!!!!!


= Oeilvert is a cool place.  Great design, great (even if redundant) theme, some tough enemies, and an area-wide 'silence-effect' makes the dungeon interesting (especially later for the leftover party members).
   The 'room of faces' is just genuinely cool as well as all the 'planet holograms' that tease (but don't tell!) exactly what's happening to FF9's main planet of Gaia... and hints of another mysterious planet in close proximity to it.  I also love that Zidane can read the 'unreadable language' on the walls; it's not treated as a big deal, but players might clue in that it's 'peculiar'.



​= I kept reading "Mogsam's" name as "Mog-asm"..... Brr-rr-rr.. xS
...Time to quit the computer to day I think.


= Geezus H, Mount Gulug is a proper difficulty hike for a game that's otherwise pretty tame.  And honestly, I feel like it's only when Kuja takes the party hostage and splits them up do the dungeons in this game ever feel like they're 'finally happening'; I guess since exploring the final two continents means the game has "run out of towns" to waste time in.


= This is another 'nothing', but I wish Esto Gaza captured at night... It'd have made the Shimmering Island more interesting to see.  Also, Esto Gaza wins the award for "why does there have to be random battles here"?  It's two freaking screens of repeated enemies seen in Oeilvert!  BOO.
   Also, I mentioned this back in the Ice Cavern, but goddamn, of all things FF9 captures ICE very beautifully.  



= Love this version Mount Gulug tune.  LOVE.  The theme has always been a little strange, but very charming and very catchy, and it's a great remix to the classic FFI tune.


= So Mog's grand identity is an Eidolon, which is super cute and makes a lot of sense (well not really, but let's just roll with it), and makes me think Moogle's are secretly muscular lion men with laser powers.  What DOES weird me out is that Moogle still seem to add 'kupo' to their inner thoughts. x)
Despite the tragedy, I oddly wasn't too blue about this event.  I think the fact his lack of screentime, proper dialogue, and the fact you're given a freakin' Ribbon after Mog's death is (an innocuous item made fucking awesome in the FF world)....it's just too good an award as compensation. :/


= Cid and Hilda reunite and Cid is made human again by the power of a kiss from his beloved!!!  I like this weird post-happily-ever-after scenario since the couple is ALREADY married... And I like that she cursed her husband by transforming him into an Oglop/Frog for cheating in the first place (threatening worse if he does it again).  They're... an interesting couple??  I also like Hilda as a hostage for Kuja, she's set up in a pretty nice cave, adorned with everything a Queen's room would have, and she cared little for how much he talked.
Nice to have you back Cid!  I hope you can stop saying 'ribbit' eventually!



​= I'm happy to say there really isn't a lot to write up here.  I mean, it took a while to complete, but this was probably the most gameplay-oriented entry thus far.  You can see it as a problem that it took DISC 3 for this to happen, and indeed, the game doesn't really have any 'new towns' to offer up at this point, but it still manages to keep things pretty exciting and I think the story and character focus of FF9 a huge bonus in its own right.

I think all the Terra shenanigans are coming up next though.



^ *click the pic!!* ^ Track: Mount Gulug
Yeah I realize I used a Desert Palace picture for Mt Gulug's theme, but hey look, it's the Warring Triad!
« Last Edit: August 02, 2015, 05:25:29 PM by Dice »
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Klutz64

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Re: Dice Plays FFIX (1st post now with Table of Contents & Plot Summaries!)
« Reply #66 on: August 02, 2015, 03:41:06 PM »
Kind of shocked that you didn't say anything about the Desert Palace. I want to quit the game every time I get there. You're stuck with one character that might as well not even be participating in battles, you have to work through annoying puzzles while dealing with random battles, and you have to fight those damn totem enemies that can change their vulnerability between physical and magical.

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Re: Dice Plays FFIX (1st post now with Table of Contents & Plot Summaries!)
« Reply #67 on: August 02, 2015, 03:52:12 PM »
Oh? I actually love the desert palace! Treasureeeee. Though I never clicked that that was the Warring Triad - D'oh! Of course.

I remember the first time the Chocobo Egg hatched in Black Mage Village and I when the two black mages said "I feel weird..." - I was like NO DON'T DIE NOW. Thankfully they were just crying from happiness, which was super cute.

"You're too STUPID to use magic" - Kuja to Zidane

*Star looks at Quina*


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Re: Dice Plays FFIX (1st post now with Table of Contents & Plot Summaries!)
« Reply #68 on: August 02, 2015, 05:14:52 PM »
Kind of shocked that you didn't say anything about the Desert Palace. I want to quit the game every time I get there. You're stuck with one character that might as well not even be participating in battles, you have to work through annoying puzzles while dealing with random battles, and you have to fight those damn totem enemies that can change their vulnerability between physical and magical.

I could have.  It's probably the 'meanest' FF9 dungeon for sure just because it's super easy to miss the candelabras.  But I've got an easy list of dungeons that are much worse --- hell, most of first few FF games easily are much worse because they offer next to NOTHING to do beyond 'traversing them' (and MAYBE hitting a switch), and usually it's multiple floors worth of nothing --- The Desert Palace is (1) only about ten screens "big", (b) like Mongoose said it has a ton of treasure chests, and (III) it's pretty pretty to look at. 

But I've complained a lot about the state of dungeons these days being too empty and with absolutely nothing to do, the Desert Palace (or as I like to call it Dessert Palace :D) at least offers up some puzzle that scramble your brain.

The totem enemies I fought or just ran away from.  They are annoying.  If I didn't kill them right away (ie; I did 5 damage with my first hit), I just ran.  Funny enough they only appear for the first half of the dungeon though.  I actually found the Mirror enemy in Oeilvert much more annoying due to the high likelihood of an OHKO when it summons up a party member enemy, and the two orc enemies often hit you with the 'trouble' ailment which means if it hits the player with the ailment then your whole party gets hit (and with no white mage, it's hard to reliably heal everyone easily).

Oh? I actually love the desert palace! Treasureeeee. Though I never clicked that that was the Warring Triad - D'oh! Of course.

I remember the first time the Chocobo Egg hatched in Black Mage Village and I when the two black mages said "I feel weird..." - I was like NO DON'T DIE NOW. Thankfully they were just crying from happiness, which was super cute.

"You're too STUPID to use magic" - Kuja to Zidane

*Star looks at Quina*

I giggled, of all the lines in the game you seem to remember. xD
And I'm not sure Quina herself really gets her own ability.  She eats, she uses spells.  It's a mysterious circle of life.

I think it's real sweet the Black Mages kinda forget their problem because Choco-baby is too precious.  I agree the scene was super sweet.  But I do think it's a nice message how instead of their fears about their mortality they were more concerned with the life they have and the life of another.  It's about midway through the game, but the conscious look at life and death in FFIX can't be appreciated enough (unlike FFX which, although its message is much different, basically has half the cast as 'unsent' ghosts :P ).

EDIT: Honestly I can't get enough of this picture: 

A long bridge towers over an enormous gorge with a mysterious holographic device showing a projection of Terra.  The lack of colour is made up with all sorts of unique lighting I can't take my eyes off it.  It honestly tickles my brain on a creative level.

EDIT2: And fun fact, I had to fight Ark (the Oeilvert boss) 4 times.
1) Forgot to equip Confuse-wards.
2) The game glitched and the menu didn't pop up (it functioned, but I couldn't see the options).
3) I equipped only Amarant with confuse ward, Quina and Freya already had it on, but Zidane got hit and I didn't want to spend the battle healing his confusion when he had the important task of stealing.
4) Finally killed him.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2015, 05:23:01 PM by Dice »
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Re: Dice Plays FFIX (1st post now with Table of Contents & Plot Summaries!)
« Reply #69 on: August 06, 2015, 05:45:24 PM »
I have not said much here in a while but I am following along and it fills my heart with glee.
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Re: Dice Plays FFIX (1st post now with Table of Contents & Plot Summaries!)
« Reply #70 on: August 07, 2015, 06:13:04 AM »
I'd love to follow this thread but FFIX is still in my backlog and I don't want them nasty spoilers.
One thing is certain, you put a lot of effort into these posts so I'd just like to say...stop.
no really, stop. You're making me and my wall of unfinished text look bad :)
NOW PLAYING:
I can't tell you

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Re: Dice Plays FFIX (1st post now with Table of Contents & Plot Summaries!)
« Reply #71 on: August 25, 2015, 01:00:18 PM »

^ *click the pic!!* ^ Track: Daguerreo


Part IX: No take mirror!!!

Quote
Brief Synopsis: We learn that a 'clue' for Kuja's mysterious homeworld "Terra" lies in Ispen's Castle!  We get there, Amarant splits saying teamwork is stupid, he eats his words after "winning like a loser", and we join up after finding four artifact mirrors that tell us how to get to Terra.  RELEASE THE ELEMENTAL SEALS!!

Sorry, not much plot here, but I think the Terra event deserves its own Chapter and there's a lot of little crap to talk about meanwhile the way.  And we're coming to the end of the game, so why not cover a few other misc details??


= "Alright let's go find the Chocobo Air Garden...Damn it's gonna take forever to find a moving shadow on the world ma---- oh shit there it is."  *dead pepper*


= ​This sequence of events is the best.  Never has treasure hunting been so intuitive.​

(link to the full ordeal)


​= Ipsen's Castle is one of those places that looks long and confusing but I manage to find the boss within about 10 minutes.  Go up-up-up.  And...Tada~.  Also, I'm sure it doesn't need to be said, but an upside down castle (where the 'weakest weapons' are the 'strongest') is just too fucking cool.  I MEAN C'MON LOOK AT IT.


= Furthermore... HMMmmm. I wonder why all of Gaea has wooden chests, but Ipsen's Castle curiously has these fancy 'blue' ones.  The FF9 world is somewhat curious in that way, I'd reckon more than half of the stuff outside of the Mist Continent only exists due to the connection with Terra.


= Seriously, how cool is this battle ground?  It's a side room to a 'grand hall'.  The screenshot here and for the next battle screenshot really don't do it justice, but a lot of FF9 battle grounds are beautifully intricate like this.  ...and it gives ya something to look at while the battle 'loads up'. : /  (it may not sound it, but I actually get lost in the visual detail -- they're quite lovely)

(I also tend to watch Netflix in the background during the game's many "wait times")


= Again Zidane proves to be a tip-top character that avoids common JRPG hero tropes.  When Amarant decides to 'do things his way' (leaving the party in favour of working alone to find the treasure in Ipsen's Castle), Zidane doesn't give him any sort of "B-b-b-but--!!" or "we're a TEAM" shenanigans.  He lets him do thing his way and doesn't put up a fight --- Amarant's an adult, Zidane knows that, and he lets him do what he wants.  When Amarant 'falls behind' Zidane comes to get him, not to gloat, not to rescue him, but just to check up on him (indeed, "You don't need a reason to help people" rings true to his character).  I also like how the situation resolves, there's no grand apology and no big friendship/teamwork speech --- it just is was it is.


= Can't say I'm crazy for the Airship Theme in this game.  I think it's that really rough-sounding synthesized electric guitar at the beginning that sorta kills it. xS
   A little off-topic, but holy crap I forgot how awesome the Tales of Vesperia worldmap and its (literal) airship looked.


​= Whale....  Zombie.  WHALE-ZOMBIE.  WHALE-FUCKING-ZOMBIE.

I mentioned above that I tend to watch stuff while I​ play games, this is one of those times where the battle was getting started, I turn my attention to the TV, look back and this fucking thing appears giving me a good jump.  Of all the weird fiends in this game, this is surprisingly ... random and pretty freaky looking (daresay not very "fantasy-esque").  Definitely cool and creepy.


​= Quan's Dwelling I always felt is a weird place, it's completely optional, looks awful, but you get a ton of Vivi backstory, some Quina and Qu-race details, and you get a number of items from here.  I think it does help answer two things: Why Vivi is sort of 'different' from other black mages (apparently surging 'imagination' within Quan perhaps working reciprocally with the peculiar upbringing of Vivi himself)
And perhaps literally seeing the world through Quina's eyes:

I'm not really sure I made much sense of the "using your imagination bit" which is why Vivi can see Quan's spirit or why Quina sees a giant smorgasbord of food piled up, but it's a charming sidequest that I *totally* had no idea existed my first two runs of the game. ô_ô  (what can I say? I never really paired a party with Vivi and Quina together nor did I think to bring them to Quan's place).


= Hey I think Daguerreo is as great as the next person does, but BOOKS AND WATER SHOULD DO NOT GO TOGETHER DAMMIT. >:(
It makes me all nervous :(
Nevertheless, I am a huge fan of plot-unrelated villages.  They tend to be the coolest places.  As seen in the header image, Daguerro itself beautifully meshes a very tranquil water environment with an old and ancient library; the warmth from the lights collides beautifully with the dark blues of the water.


= I FORGOT to mention this time and time again!  But the game's dialogue is DEFINITELY made even more effective by it's "timing".  I've posted a few gif'd scenes where this happens and they make it work to a comedic/dramatic element all the time.  At times the dialogue boxes take pauses between words to visually[?!] represent how speech is said.  Another effective instant of this is when dialogue gets, literally, interrupted by someone else's dialogue [box]. 

   This can make a voiceless game feel surprisingly 'natural' and it definitely make it more interesting than having the whole text box come up right away.


= There is nothing more pleasant than hearing the battle SFX swoop, followed by the cutesy harps and orgels that sound off when a Friendly Monster battle happens, I always loved how it completely 180's my battle expectations and makes me smile a little.  I'm not sure if I like whether or not the trivia itself is SO DAMN SPECIFIC, you literally need to read and remember every detail written on random statues and books you pass by.
A small shame the FF10 battle theme wasn't proactively called "GUTS", like the Ragtime Mouse's trivia card implies :P


Oh and here's some fun trivia about the peculiar amount of EXP the battle rewards you:
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The money and the EXP received from the Ragtime Mouse is a Japanese language pun. Gokurosan is "good job"; the number five in Japanese is Go; the number nine is Ku; the number six is Ro; and three is San. Writing 5963 can thus phonetically be pronounced "good job". The Ragtime Mouse gives 23852 EXP, which divided among four party members is 5963 EXP each. It also gives 59630 Gil.


= THE MIRRORS TO TERRA.
I love this segment and I've wanted to talk about it ever since I started this playthrough.  Particularly I love how the characters get divided up into parties of two in order to fight the elemental guardians.
Garnet and Eiko: The girls!  The 'sisters'!  They got things to chit-chat about!  It's funny that in some ways Eiko is much bolder character than Garnet.  I imagine an 'older Eiko' would be a unique character to see.
Freya and Amarant: They're quiet, but efficient workers; and well Amarant would prefer Freya to working with any kid. I do like that Amarant's a "changed man" now, Zidane finally rubbed off on him and he wants to fight to help people. Aw. <3 :P
Steiner and Vivi: Steiner respects the black mage!  Plus if you're going to a place called "The Wind Shrine", it'll be good to have tag along with a man in heavy armour to keep you grounded ...literally.
Zidane and ...Quina??

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Quina: "Ah, Zidane. You want go with me!"
Zidane: "Well... I sort of got stuck with the leftovers..."
Quina: "You no have to explain! I so happy."
Zidane: "Huh?"
Quina: "There old saying in my tribe... 'Leftovers good!'"

​    Someone said it better than me, but Quina is an underrated character because "...​[while] she may appear to be only about that grub, she has her layers too. Quina is representative of the joy in life. She is way more free-spirited than Zidane and decides to dedicate most of her time on enjoying the little things in life. That's what we learn from her. In spite of the chaos and grief that is present throughout the game, she keeps a relatively positive head most of the time. The time she diverts from her happy nature is when those aim to take it away from her.​"​​​

   The whole sequence is quite thrilling anyways, I love how it chops itself up between the teams to check on how they're all working together. I'm a LITTLE disappointed that only ONE boss is playable, as it would have been a fun challenge.  I mean, the "bosses" you don't fight look pretty legit (a special shout out goes to the Fire-Naga Amarant and Freya see; her "hair" is made of a snake's body and she can lift herself up with it; see it here).   *Thanks Mongoosey!


^ *click the pic!!* ^ Track: ??????????????
Till next time!
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 05:34:53 PM by Dice »
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Starmongoose

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Re: Dice Plays FFIX (1st post now with Table of Contents & Plot Summaries!)
« Reply #72 on: August 25, 2015, 03:15:21 PM »
Awesome post as usual Dice - your eye for detail is so good. I'm happy you point out the things like the cool backgrounds and stuff for us. :)

Oh, and you do fight those other 3 elemental bosses later. You fight them in Memoria.


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Klutz64

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Re: Dice Plays FFIX (1st post now with Table of Contents & Plot Summaries!)
« Reply #73 on: August 25, 2015, 05:58:27 PM »
Awww... you stopped mentioning past FF homages before getting to the most important one...

Terra's Guardians are the Crystal Guardians from the original Final Fantasy! I loved that little detail, especially since I played FFIX before FF1 and therefore found this out after the fact.

Also, you reminded me that there's a piece of music that plays at only the part where the teams are confronting the guardians that I remember really loving but haven't heard in forever. Now I can't even remember the name of it.
EDIT: Nevermind, Found it! Some of my favorite tracks in video games are these "Put the Plan into Action" themes, such as Stage is Set from FF8 or Judgment Day from FF7.
EDIT 2: Just realized a lot of Successive Battles can be considered a preamble to Skirmish of the Silver Dragons. Lots of similarities.

Number puns seem to be pretty common in Japan, that's why March 9 is Miku Day/Giving Day.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 08:09:49 PM by Klutz64 »

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Re: Dice Plays FFIX (1st post now with Table of Contents & Plot Summaries!)
« Reply #74 on: August 26, 2015, 01:46:18 PM »
Awesome post as usual Dice - your eye for detail is so good. I'm happy you point out the things like the cool backgrounds and stuff for us. :)

Oh, and you do fight those other 3 elemental bosses later. You fight them in Memoria.

I'm really, really happy people are enjoying it or reading what they can... I know I write WAY too much, and believe me, some of I edit out. T_T
I feel like you can't do a video series for this kind of stuff without it being super weird.  I definitely admire your LPs.

And thanks for reminding me that, I editted the post for that. xD

Awww... you stopped mentioning past FF homages before getting to the most important one...

Terra's Guardians are the Crystal Guardians from the original Final Fantasy! I loved that little detail, especially since I played FFIX before FF1 and therefore found this out after the fact.

Also, you reminded me that there's a piece of music that plays at only the part where the teams are confronting the guardians that I remember really loving but haven't heard in forever. Now I can't even remember the name of it.
EDIT: Nevermind, Found it! Some of my favorite tracks in video games are these "Put the Plan into Action" themes, such as Stage is Set from FF8 or Judgment Day from FF7.
EDIT 2: Just realized a lot of Successive Battles can be considered a preamble to Skirmish of the Silver Dragons. Lots of similarities.

Number puns seem to be pretty common in Japan, that's why March 9 is Miku Day/Giving Day.

Argh, won't lie I barely played FFI besides what I saw my brother play as a wee lass.  And this is why I have you all here to help!! And damn, that's really cool, I'm sure people who are avid FFI fans probably were able to make the connection, and that would have been something if I could too.

I actually got a bit sad that The Four Medallions didn't play during the segment (and for the period it does in-game barely lasts the length of the song itself).  But I already complained way too many songs take from the main theme (this same issue plagues Zelda music too IMO).  But then I realized how much better that suits everything happening.  Again, I thought it was really cool the game cuts between the characters to show how they're in-sync.
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