Throwback Friday: Final Fantasy IX


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A good ten years ago now, a little game named Final Fantasy IX utterly consumed my life. The ninth game in the ever increasingly popular Final Fantasy series, and the last in the series on the PS1, took the series back to its roots by introducing classical style characters and locales. And by Classical, I refer to Final Fantasies I through VI. The two previous games, VII and VIII took the series in an almost futuristic direction, leaving behind the days of mages with big pointy hats, and a moogle on every street corner. The series was also taken back in the way that it was absolutely rock hard and an immense amount of grinding was involved if you wanted to beat some of the games harder bosses.

My love affair with Final Fantasy IX ended about 30 hours into the game, on the last of the four discs. The whimsical characters that I had grown to love over the past months had headed into a mystical world called Memoria, where castles were upside down and beasts had thousands upon thousands of hit points.

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Heading deeper into this whimsical realm, I came across a beast called the Marilis, a 4 armed fire demon with the body of a serpent. Being the evil snake that it was, it wouldn’t let me pass, blocking the way with its evil slithery self. I knew what I had to do. Unfortunately for me, Marilis was a massive level 65 creature, and my puny humans were a mere level 40 by this point. I was absolutely annihilated, and my party hadn’t known what hit them after only a few rounds. The creature has an incredibly sneaky attack called mustard bomb, which, if not properly protected against, kills all of your characters in seconds. A popular move by bosses late on in Final Fantasy games, I’ve noticed. Refusing defeat, I tried this battle over, and over, and over again until my thumbs were nigh on bleeding. Even with protection against Mustard Bomb, my party lay defeated. It was over…

Final Fantasy IX lay under my bed for many, many years. I attempted to start the game again from scratch about five years after, but lost interest relatively quickly. It seems the Marilis had not only defeated my party, but my confidence too.

Dateline: May 2009. Final Fantasy IX finds its way back into my Playstation (a PS2 by this point), after a severe bout of boredom with all of my newer games. I refuse defeat. I will conquer you, Marilis.

Final Fantasy 9

The game powers up, I load my file, nearly 10 years old now. I entered the battle…raring for a bloodbath…and completely destroyed the creature. Obliterated it. Barely took a scratch. My characters whooped in triumph over the dead body of their previous victor. I immediately saved the game and turned the console off. I have absolutely no idea how I did it after all these years. All I know is that it felt really, really good.

And if there’s anything that can be learned from this, it is thus: If there was a game you were stuck on back in the day, give it another shot, you never know what the outcome may be.

 Feels good getting past a bit you’ve been stuck on for ten years, doesn’t it?

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