Final Fantasy IX

aka: FF9, FFIX, Finalnaja Fantazija 9, Zuizhong Huanxiang 9
(prices updated 9/29 2:38 AM )

Description official descriptions

Final Fantasy IX tells the story of Zidane, the member of a team of theater actors who also happen to be a gang of thieves, and Garnet, the princess of Alexandria. Zidane and his buddies first plan to kidnap Garnet from her mother's palace. But shortly after the kidnapping, they realize the queen of Alexandria is up to something evil. Zidane, the princess, and other characters they encounter on their journey decide to join forces and find out what can possibly drive the queen to commit her cruel deeds.

The game's visual style is similar to the previous entry in the Final Fantasy series, with 3D character models, world map, and battle stages, pre-rendered backgrounds in individual locations, and CG cutscenes that advance the story. However, from the point of view of overall atmosphere and gameplay, the game tends to resemble older installments more. Like in Final Fantasy IV, each character belongs to a specific class (e.g. thief, black mage, summoner, etc.) which cannot be changed, having his or her own unique abilities. Combat utilizes the series' trademark ATB (active-time battle) system. Battles allow for the participation of four player-controlled characters. The player is able to choose these from a larger amount of available characters during later parts of the game.

Character abilities (magic spells, immunity to certain status changes, etc.) are contained within weapons and armor. Each of these allows the player to learn one or more abilities by equipping the item on a character and continuously participating in battles. Ability points are awarded after battles along with experience points, gradually filling the ability bar of the equipped part. Once the bar is full, the ability can be used by the character even after the equipment that allowed him or her to learn it has been removed.

The card mini-game from the previous installment is now called Tetra Master and is featured more prominently. Cards are now placed on a 4x4 grid and can attack other cards on diagonals as well as cardinal directions. Cards no longer have set stats, and instead have a range of values and arrow positions, making every card unique. Regional rule variations are gone, but at the start of every match one to five positions on the grid will be blacked out, changing the player's offensive and defensive strategies with every game.

Spellings

  • フアイナルファンタジーIX - Japanese spelling
  • 最终幻想9 - Chinese spelling (traditional & simplified)

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Screenshots

Promos

Credits (PlayStation version)

638 People (549 developers, 89 thanks) · View all

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[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 90% (based on 70 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.3 out of 5 (based on 213 ratings with 8 reviews)

Putting The Fantasy Back Into Final Fantasy

The Good
I have never been a huge Final Fantasy fan. Those who know me are well aware of this. That is not to say however, that I dislike all Final Fantasies. To me the Final Fantasy series is kind of like Halo. As serious FPS fans pay little attention to Halo, it seems to me that most serious RPG fans play little attention to Final Fantasy, as I do, and I am a hardcore RPGer, and FPSer, for that matter.(I prefer the term “Fragger”.-MM-)

However I did enjoy Final Fantasy IX on the PSX. Released in 2000, FFIX harkens back to the good old days of RPGS. And brings back the whole “fantasy” thing. Square’s goal with this one seemed to be to mix the best of the old and the best of the new. In many ways they succeeded, but in other ways the failed. I plan to discuss this duality in full in my review.

Old Skool is the best school….

The plot in FFIX revolves around Zidane, and Tantalus. A trope of actors, that are more like a band of thieves.(Not the cool ones like Garrett, of Thief fame however.-MM) It would seem that Tantalus has a scheme to kidnap the lovely Princess Garnett, from the city of Alexandria. Alas the wayward Princess has plans of her own, that are about to make hell for Zidane and company. Further complicating matters is Captain Adelbert Steiner.(No relation to the badass Rudolf Steiner, of Phantasy Star II.-MM) He will protect the Princess at all costs.

We are also introduced to Vivi, a black mage, and a nod to earlier Final Fantasies. His innocence and Phil Dickian question of his humanity is central to the plot of FFIX.(That’s Philip K. Dick, look it up.-MM-)

So it is safe to say that one of Final Fantasy IX’s strengths is a good cast of characters. Note that I said good and not great. I also thought that Freya was a cool character, albeit a bit underused. Each character has there own back story some better than others. Not only that but in the Gameplay, each character, is useful in various ways, unlike in the previous PSX, Final Fantasies.

Allow me to further explain, the Gameplay. Like the majority of eastern RPGS, FFIX, has random battles with monsters. And of course there is the obligatory, NPCS, world maps, dungeons etc. We all know the RPG drill by now.

What I want to focus on here is what makes FFIX unique. Firstly there are ATE’s. Which stands for Active Time Events. They are NOT as cool as they sound. Basically when exploring a new town, or city the party splits up. During which you get to see what other party members are up to. I felt that these were a mixed bag. At best they offer more back- round info on the people and places. At worst they can be annoying and feel like a waste of time. As in some areas they keep popping up.

Better done is how the party members are used in battle. Unlike in FFVII, in which your entire party is interchangeable. In FFIX all of the party is useful is some way. For example only Vivi can cast black magic, Zidane is the only one that can steal, and only Freya can use the “jump” command. So when forming a party the player has more to choose from that the way a character looks. (Interchangeable party members is one of the things I hate the most in newer RPGS.-MM)

Furthermore, Vivi and Steiner can use magic sword combo attacks. Which is cool. I just wish that there were more things like this in FFIX.

A word or two about abilities….

Now I would like to talk about the abilities system of FFIX. While it is not original per se. As FFVI, Grandia, and Lost Odyssey, to name a few, use a similar system. Say you want to learn a new spell for Vivi, or a stat boost for Zidane. Well first you must equip the proper weapon, boots, what have you. Then as you win battles you gain AP. Or Ability Points. These are key to learning new spells and or skills.

This system succeeds to a point, as it makes combat feel more rewarding. However it can be a double edged sword, as it also means that you pretty much CANNOT SELL any old items, as a particular party member may need it later. So unlike in say Grandia, you end up carrying all this junk around with you, and do not have as much money to buy new items. Which can be quite frustrating.

There are many abilities in FFIX. And they can be broken down into two types. There are “action” and “support” abilities. Black magic would be an example of an “action” ability. While counter would be an example of a “support” ability. Making the system even more complex is the combining of support abilities. For example Auto-potion+ Chemist= more defensive battles that keep up your party’s HP. On the down side this can make the game a bit too easy.

Low choleric eye candy….

The graphics is FFIX are quite good for the PSX. While it offers little that has not been done before, they still get the job done. I particularly liked the character design. And yes it is true that Square brought back famed artist, Yoshitaka Amano, also known for his award winning work on Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman”, graphic novels. But they had others redo his work. So it looks less like his style. Which makes no sense to me, as Mr. Amano’s art was one of the few things that made pre FFVII, Final Fantasies stand out.

And yes the CGI looks good, if a little over the top. So in closing FFIX, is the best looking PSX, Final Fantasy.

Magical Sound Shower

The music is FFIX is pretty good. I have never seen what is so great about Mr. Uematsu’s style as such. I feel he is a bit overrated. Especially seeing as many other RPG composers are more talented yet there praises go unsung. However I did enjoy most of the score from FFIX. And many of the tracks still stand out in my mind, which is rare for me.

The sound effects are also up to par. Nothing new, but the get the job done.

The Bad
The Bad and The Ugly

There are tons of things to see and do in FFIX. This is partly a good thing, but not entirely. Many of the side quests are way too long and tedious. When collecting the best gear for your party at the end of the game. Instead of like in most old skool RPGS, in which you find the best stuff in the difficult end dungeons, you must play mini-games.

“Kweeh!?!”-Chocobo speak for WTF!?!-

Namely a game called, “Chocobo: Hot and Cold”, in which you train a dubious yellow ostrich type thing, aka, a Chocobo. To train it you must dig up treasures. Which range from potions, to rare world map treasure clues. Digging increases his “beak” level. (I can’t make this stuff up.-MM-) Once you find a world map treasure clue, you must, get this, travel to the world map, and try to find the aforementioned treasure. Making this little game even more tedious and a teensy bit contrived, are the different Chocobo types.

Eventually you will find a special box. Pandora’s box? Unfortunately not. Once you open it you and your Chocobo have some sort of acid flash back, in which the Chocobo evolves. Evolution entails him changing color and being able to cross oceans, and eventually fly. You must evolve him at least 4or 5 times to claim the best treasures. Is it worth it? Well yes and no. Playing this very long mini-game, takes about an additional 10-15 hours of Gameplay. Yet it allows you access to the best weapons and items for your party, and thus some of the best abilities. But I cannot help but wonder, could they have done it more like the evolution system of your dragon, Panzer Dragoon Saga? (But I am getting ahead of myself as that review is for another time.-MM)

I also very strongly disliked the story/characters after a certain point. What starts off strong quickly becomes weak and contrived. Most of the heroes were cool, with a few exceptions. Like Quina Quinn, a Pac-man type creature that likes to eat frogs. There is also Amarant, and assassin of sorts, that looks sort of like a giant Chicken-man. I saved the worst for last friends. Lastly there is Eiko. She is an annoying bastard child that is about 7 or 8 years old, and she has a childish crush on Zidane, whom is about 12 years her senior. Her only real use is summoning, and dying often in boss fights.

This weakness in plot is exacerbated by idiotically weak villains. There is Kuja, whom is some sort of wanna be Kefka, or The Joker. Then there is his boss Garland. Now if you thought Garland was lame the first time, wait till you see this one. His evil scheme really makes no sense. His penultimate goal is vague, at best, as are his motivations. I like RPGS to have strong villains with lot’s of presence. Like Laschic, in Phantasy Star, or Darth Ninhilus, from KOTOR II. FFIX lacks this.

Often I felt what was the point? Am I only doing this quest because the bad man told me so? “The Desert Palace” was one of these parts that felt pointless. They make it seem as if the party is in peril, yet is hardly convincing.

Finally, one of the huge areas in which FFIX fails in the plot department, is it’s over reliance on plot points and devices from previous Final Fantasy games. Some are well done. But most do NOT fit the game. For example there is a FFVII, reference, that feels out of place, seeing as FFVII never happened according to FFIX.

Many people complain about Phantasy Star IV’s over reliance on devices from the previous games in that franchise. But at least those fit as PSIV, was the final chapter in that series, and takes place in the same timeline, therefore it fits into the overall story arc.

FFIX, does not have that advantage. As every Final Fantasy game is a standalone game. Set in a different place and time. Now if this were the “final“, Final Fantasy then I could see the point of it’s reliance on previous games. Thus the standalone nature of the series is both it’s best and worst advantage. As I just laid bare using my flawless logic.

Final Fantasy IX, is a very lengthy adventure, easily taking 70-80 hours perhaps more. Which kills any and all replay value it may have had.

What is with the lack of voice acting? It just seems lazy to me. And proves my point that Square is rarely on the ball when it comes to this sort of thing.



The Bottom Line
In closing, I must say that overall I enjoyed Final Fantasy IX. Despite it’s many flaws. It remains, the only post FFVII, Final Fantasy that I have played and actually enjoyed. The only one I have yet to play is FFXII. Have I played better RPGS? Yes. Have I played worse? Again, yes. Does FFIX succeed in it’s attempt to mix old and new skool? Not really. I would recommend either playing a real old skool RPG if you prefer that style. Otherwise Final Fantasy IX, is worth a try, as for I, was pleasantly surprised by it.

PlayStation · by MasterMegid (723) · 2008

A fair game.

The Good
I say it has the best storyline out of the series 8, 9 and 10, i have played. There is nothing in the game that is hard to understand or confusing. They have a bunch of good-nature characters (even Amarant) which is a relief. The music and theme is good as usual, but i think, ought to have another battle theme as it may become too repetitive.

The Bad
Nothing bad to speak of, it's just a few alterations that is needed, nevertheless it's just a typical FF game of which each series have different features. I prefer picture to be less cartoon and more realistic like FF8 and FF10. It would also need to be consider for the number of sidequests available, there are too few available but too many in one quest. I say there are too few 'hard' creatures to fight once you're in the high levels. Also, it would be great if more mysterious items with special abilities is presented. Boss in FF9 lack HP; if they grow a bit more HP and have characters with multi-hits, it would dearly improve.

The Bottom Line
It is not as popular as 7,8 or 10. Yet i think it is matter of realism that would improve the standard and expectation of this game.

PlayStation · by Mike Wazoski (7) · 2005

An Unforgettable Epic Adventure!

The Good
FF9 was my first traditional, console RPG and the start of my interest in story-driven games. I remember when my cousin had borrowed it to me one day a few years back and I was a little reluctant to give it play. When I started to play, I couldn’t put it down. It was unlike anything I had ever played before.

Graphics: First you thing you’ll notice when you start this gem up is the beauty of the FMVs. Characters are cartoon-styled (not that I’m complaining, they still look neat) but the environments are quite believable. Same goes for the in-game graphics. I guarantee that FF9 is one of the most visually impressive games on the console available. There is detail that is well implemented in both characters and areas. The way the graphics are is full-polygonal characters in pre-rendered environments, which I may add are truly works of art.

Gameplay: The game involves exploring environments, interacting with NPCs, creating weapons/equipment, building up your characters (by combat), and engaging in turn-based combat for leisure or to advance the story. Plus there are some mini-games here and there that give you items. Some of them are optional while others like combat are used to advance the story. Did I mention you get to fly airships in the overworld map? It’s truly fun and offers a change of pace from traveling on foot instead. You really get that sense of soaring through the skies!

Story: This was the game’s strongest point. It was what hooked me into it the first place. Both the story and its memorable cast of characters was what made the game magical. The dialogue between them was enjoyable and well-written. The story goes at a solid pace and there’s constantly something unexpected happening. That’s another great thing about this epic story…the unexpected twists and turns. A lot of mysteries to encounter here folks! But don’t worry, questions are answered and this epic tale comes to a powerful close which will leave you satisfied. Plus there’s a bit of philosophy implemented into the story’s themes and characters. Some people may think they were just put in to make the game seem intelligent, but to be honest it does just that. The themes are well implemented and complement the story and its characters well. The themes include powerful ones like courage, love, existence, and corruption.

Music: Ahhhh…the music! Its’ so well done that you’d probably wouldn’t mind owning the soundtrack. There is a huge variety of musical themes that fit well with the scenes. The tracks range from ones that are comical, emotional, dramatic, action-packed, or just plain evil sounding.


The Bad
Alright that’s enough praising this gem and time for the negatives. Actually to be more specific, I only found two negatives with this game. First is the battle system. It was enjoyable but you don’t really get to control your attacks on the enemy. It would’ve been neat if they had put in attack options instead like Chrono Cross. Second are the random encounters, they tend to get annoying at times but that’s something I overlooked.

The Bottom Line
If you’re looking to get into the console RPG genre then give this gem a rent! If you’re the cautious type then rent to see if it’s to your liking. Above all if you’re looking for a game with an engaging epic story/characters, beautiful visuals/audio, plenty of places to explore, and long length, then this is a dream come true for you.

PlayStation · by Ocram (7) · 2004

[ View all 8 player reviews ]

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The PS1 version of Final Fantasy IX appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cancelled PC port

Final Fantasy IX, like FFVII, and FFVIII, was to be ported to the PC. However due to poor sales, of Final Fantasy VIII for the PC, the PC version was aborted.

References

  • During a visit to one of the villages is a store. When you walk in there should be a boy talking about a huge blade being used by someone with blond hair. Brief mention of Cloud right there!

  • The name of the main character, rendered as Zidane in the English translated version, is another reference (along with Citan Uzuki from Xenogears) to Dr. Gitanes, the protagonist of Square's very first game, The Death Trap.

Zidane

Because "Zidane" is the name of the most famous french soccer player at the time, the "Zidane" character has been renamed "Djidane" in the French version.

Awards

  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (issue 100) - #43 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll

Information also contributed by MasterMegid, PCGamer77, Rey Mysterio, Unicorn Lynx

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Related Sites +

  • FF-Fan
    A fansite that offers all kinds of information on the entire Final Fantasy franchise, including walkthroughs, game media, discussion boards and fan art.
  • Final Fantasy Extreme
    Site that contains movies, wallpaper, codes, guides, walkthroughs, and general information on the Final Fantasy series.
  • Hint file for FF9
    Question and answer format will help you solve the game.
  • OC ReMix Game Profile
    Fan remixes of music from <em>Final Fantasy IX</em>.
  • Something Awful review
    A humorous review on Something Awful (PlayStation version)
  • Wikipedia: Final Fantasy IX
    Information about Final Fantasy IX at Wikipedia

Identifiers +

Contribute

Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Grant McLellan.

Xbox One added by Cantillon. PlayStation 3, PSP added by Caelestis. PlayStation 4 added by mars_rulez. PS Vita, Android, iPad, iPhone added by GTramp. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. PlayStation Now, Windows added by Sciere. Windows Apps added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: MAT, Xa4, Unicorn Lynx, Indra was here, Jeanne, DreinIX, —-, Patrick Bregger, Thomas Thompson, MobyReed, FatherJack.

Game added April 2nd, 2001. Last modified July 7th, 2023.