Part 80: The Final Chapter
Let's catch up with everyone.
I don't believe it! Vivi!
How do you know that name!?
What are you talking about? It's me, Puck! How could you forget me!?
You know, Puck!
Oh, come on! What's wrong with you?
Even with the Mist gone, Vivi found a way to create more black mages. I don't believe it's explained how, but maybe that's for the best.
Yes. I can hardly wait to see everyone.
Alexandria... I went there many years ago.
(...Yet he still doesn't remember our past.)
Freya has reunited with her beloved Sir Fratley. Though he still has amnesia, that doesn't stop the love the two have for each other, and together they may be able to restore Burmecia to its former glory.
My duty is finished here.
The events of the game have affected Beatrix greatly, to the point where she feels she can no longer serve Queen Garnet.
You're not going?
Both Amarant and Lani have learned the powers of friendship and how being strong together is more powerful than being strong alone.
Good food made with heart!
Quina has used the knowledge they learned from their travels to improve their skills as a chef. It's Quina, what did you expect?
We gotta get there before the play begins!
Ha ha... There's no need to hurry. The theater ship is no match for my new ship. My new Hilda Garde is the fastest ship ever!
Do I have to remind you? You said the same thing about the theater ship!
Eiko... What did you just call me?
Eiko is no longer alone. She has a new family, her adoptive parents being none other than Cid and Hilda.
Please don't ask. My mind is already set.
Wait! Listen to me!
Let us protect the queen together!
Steiner shows the courage of a true knight and confesses his feeling to Beatrix. It's implied Beatrix chooses to remain in Alexandria by Steiner's side.
Been a long time since we saw Alexandria.
Let's give 'em a show they won't forget!
Break a leg, people!
With things settling down, Tantalus goes back to what they do best: putting on one hell of a show.
The game is kind of vague about it (though the Japanese translation makes it a bit more obvious), but these are the final words of Vivi Ornitier. Vivi's time was short, but he learned to embrace what little time he had, and he brought joy to many people in many different ways. What more could you ask for in life?
It's been so long... I can't wait to see everyone. But...
I have to let go of the past...
FADE TO APPLAUSE
And so Final Fantasy IX ends, just how it began, with a play.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Tonight's performance is a story that takes place long, long ago.
She attempts to flee the castle, only to be captured by her father, King Leo. Tonight's story begins when Marcus and Cornelia decide to run away together.
Princess... Wilt thou be happy, married to a lowly peasant such as I?
Prithee, call me 'princess' no more!
Or is such a desire too dear to wish for!? After our nuptials, shall I become no more than a puppet? A mindless puppet, never to laugh, never to cry? I wish to live my life under the sky. At times I shall laugh, at other times cry. For no life is more insincere than that lived as a masquerade.
So much consideration thou hast given it! But worry not!
Never again will I part from thee!
Let us embark on the first ship tomorrow, before dawn can tell of our elopement!
All my fortunes at thy foot, I lay, and I shall follow thee throughout the world!
All I wish is to be by my sweet Marcus's side.
Ne'er will I let their plan come to fruition.
Wist thee of Marcus?
Marcus!? What news dost thou bring?
Worry not, Majesty. I shall make sure Cornelia marries Prince Schneider. Be thou at ease.
At ease, sayest thou? How can I rest, not knowing she is safe?
By my troth, sir, I betrayed none other than poor Marcus!
Thou had the gall to betray thy dearest friend.
Stay thy hand, I merely...
You two... Quickly, find Cornelia and bring her before me!
Where is Cornelia?
Board ye this boat alone, and peace could come to both kingdoms, as Blank so said.
So, the sun is our enemy, too. The eastern sky grows bright. Will we not spread our wings, as yonder birds in joyous flight?
The ship departs!
I must have faith! She shall appear if I only believe!
I am so fucking happy this GIF worked out. This might be the best moment in the game for me.
Dagger sees the man she loved, the one thought dead, revealing himself in a most theatrical way. It's only fitting this is how Zidane reveals himself.
Dagger is, understandably, excited.
Remember what sticks-in-the-mud Steiner and Beatrix are?
Yeah, not so much anymore.
Of course, the queen has to fight her way through the crowd...
...becoming more and more forceful the closer she gets...
...to the chagrin of her subjects.
During her rush to the stage, her pendant, part of her heritage, is knocked away from her.
She panics for a bit...
...and leaves it behind for what's important to her.
And so Zidane and Dagger are reunited.
Dagger is...not as pleased as Zidane was about his grand entrance.
But all is forgiven.
Everyone celebrates. This is the only FMV that Amarant and Quina (and Baku) get, and the second for Freya. The game really was not kind to those three.
But in the end, the game gets the happy ending it so deserves.
Ladies and gentlemen, Final Fantasy IX.
CHOOSE YOUR FLAVOR! |
Make sure you click one of the music links. This is the requisite FF song with lyrics, and it goes quite well with the credits FMV.
The credits themselves are a compilation of the FMVs we've watched throughout the game. Dagger features heavily in these, of course, since in a way this game was just as much her journey as it was Zidane's.
In case you didn't notice reading this Let's Play, Final Fantasy IX is a fantastic game.
The characters are charming as hell, the story lighthearted and goofy yet still able to pull those emotional heartstrings quite well.
The entire setting is fantastic with the huge variety of NPC races. It's kinda crazy they haven't revisited the world with a sequel, though considering SE's track record with those maybe that's for the best.
The graphics are gorgeous for a PS1 game, and they went all-out with the FMVs. Even the battle arenas have a ton of care put into them. Look into how many they made just for Memoria!
The soundtrack is fantastic. Uematsu knows how to build on those themes and drive everything home.
The localization in particular was incredibly well done. Square had a pretty poor track record with localizations before this (and were pretty lucky they had Woolsey to pick up the slack in the SNES era). This one manages to ooze charm and come off natural and engaging. Makes you wish the Hawaii branch lasted longer to see what other magic they could've worked.
Even the minigames...well, Chocobo Hot & Cold is a pretty fun way to get power equipment. The rest of the minigames I could take or leave, honestly. At least most weren't as terrible as FF10's.
The battle system was alright. I don't mind it that much, the equipment method of learning abilities and having passives weren't terrible ideas, and as much as I love job systems I also like FF4-style set job classes and adapting to battles with what party members you have available. Still, there's not an exciting amount of customization, and a lot of the end game comes down to using power moves before the boss can ruin your day. It's fine, it just doesn't reach the mechanical heights of other games in the series.
And though the load times don't bother me much, they and the glacial pacing of battles in general are still the game's biggest flaw. It's especially annoying when you're tired of random encounters, and it's weird the game has no way to prevent them at the end considering previous games had that option. At least the later releases speed battle transitions up a bit.
It's really impressive how much effort they put into callbacks. FF2 was not a popular game by any means, but they still inserted one of the game's storylines into FF9's narrative, implemented the bell system of unlocking doors, and even plugged in that game's final dungeon theme into FF9's penultimate dungeon. FF3 got an airship name callback and an optional song triggered by two key items named after important characters from that game. Dagger's real name is based off the princess from FF1.
I also like the way they handled the love stories in this game. Zidane and Dagger both evolve into much different characters by the end, and going through so much shit together and helping each other out at their lowest points made them bond and grow closer until by the end they could barely be apart.
Steiner and Beatrix was simply goofy as fuck, but that works well for those two.
Vivi's storyline in particular is one of the best in the series. Poor kid gets fished up by a hungry Qu, who raises him until they die. Then the kid gets sold a fake ticket and ends up roped up on this crazy adventure where he quickly learn he's a golem manufactured for war, then later learns he's fated to die soon. This would break any normal person (look at Kuja!) but Vivi manages to show true strength and serves as an inspiration for the other black mages, a beacon of courage and hope for a race misunderstood and cruelly manipulated.
Kuja was one hell of a villain. The whole Terra thing with Garland was a weird left turn, but I felt it worked well enough for a way to set up the final stages of the game. Kuja was a great, complex villain, hamming it up at first like some Shakespearean villain, embracing his devious actions in a ploy to gain the upper hand against the man who made him to serve his bidding. Once he wins only to find out his fate to die, he panicks and loses it, using his newfound power to try to destroy everything he can since it's not fair for him to die. Despite all his actions, you can understand where he's coming from and see how, despite all the cruel things he does, he's not actually wholly evil. His redemption doesn't quite stick out as much as, say, FF4's Golbez's, but even for his faults the genomes see him as a sort of hero for defying his fate and proving they can follow their own destiny.
At this point, Melodies of Life cuts out and we get one of the big FF staple pieces, the Prologue.
Finally, Zidane and Dagger are easily my favorite pair of protagonists in a game simply because of how much they grow and change, and just by their personalities. Dagger's more reserved but is not afraid to be goofy and flirty with Zidane. Her travels make her stronger, wiser, and a much better leader than she would've been if she stayed home. Her naivety and inexperience lands her in trouble a couple times, but she never gives up and ends up a stronger person from her experiences.
Zidane starts off cocksure and a bit smarmy, but it's clear from the start he cares about his friends and people in general, willing to help out in any way he can. He matures as the game goes on, cutting down his sweettalking women and teasing nature while still keeping his loyalty to his friends. Even at his lowest, his compassion pays off as those he fought so strongly for end up saving him from the abyss. This game as much as anything is about the power of friendship and how we stand stronger together than apart, and Zidane embodies that perfectly.
Finally, on a personal note, a huge thank you to everyone who followed along this crazy ride. It's certainly been a bizarre journey, going from abandoning this LP for months due to burnout before I finally got talked into resuming it after much demand (including a fundraiser based off the Doctor Tot thing from this LP (you haven't forgotten him, have you?) that raised some good money). Then I somehow ended up a mod which is neat.
At any rate, I'm definitely glad I came back and I got to finish this thing. It reinforced for me that FF9 is a classic game, and I'm glad many people got to experience it once again (or for the first time!) due to this LP. I also feel this is the best LP I've done yet, and hope to make even better ones in the future.
But seriously, pick this game up on Steam or iOS or PSN or whatever at some point. My LP can only do the game so much justice. It's definitely worth experiencing for yourself.
Thank you very much for following this Let's Play of Final Fantasy IX!
And with that, there's only one thing left to say.
Blackjack is one of the most well-known card games in the world, and a staple in casinos.
The basics are pretty simple, the dealer deals out two cards to each player and holds two cards for themselves, one of which is hidden. Ignoring advanced options, each player has two options: Hit or Stand.
If the player hits, they are dealt another card. The goal is to get as close as you can to 21 without going over. If you go over, you lose. Number values are their values, face cards are 10, Aces are either 1 or 11, depending on whether the 11 would make the player go over 21 or not.
A blackjack happens when the two cards dealt add up to 21 (so an Ace and a 10 or face card).
If you Stand, you're done. Then the dealer reveals their hand.
The dealer hits until they reach 17 or higher. If they bust, the players that didn't bust win. Otherwise, it comes down to who has the higher value. Bets break even at ties.
There's also Double and Split, but those are better for a more dedicated Blackjack LP.
Thanks for reading!