Enduring Final Fantasy IX - Episode 1a: Once Upon a time....

Posted by SamStrife (1282 posts) -

 Episode 1a - Once Upon A Time....
First of all a big thank you for people reassuring me I should write this, I know it's been a while since the prelude, but I've had a few complications that are all sorted out now.  
 
Secondly, check out Dankempster's FFVII blog which inspired me to do this, and if you haven't already, check out the episode 0 of this very run for a little bit of back story. 
 
Finally, let me just explain the part 1a part.  Basically I've got a lot to write but I don't want to bog you guys down with huge walls of text, that's fun for no one.  S what I'm doing is a breaking up episodes which are story heavy into parts, so I can explain what's happening and evaluate it in more detail.  These parts will be released in a shorter space of time than main episodes, probably within 24 hours of each other, where-as differant episodes will probably come every 2 to 3 days.
 
And with that...
 

Our Fantasy Begins

 As soon as the "New Game" chime kicked, I couldn't help but smile.  The little bit of extra effort they put into it, as with any FF game, let's you know you're in for an epic adventure.
 
The game starts you off with an FMV, which when compared to the previous 2 games, isn't nearly as spectacular.  It doesn't have the epic feel that VII had, and it doesn't have the high octain action of VIII's.  What it does instead, is focus on one specific character, quickly letting the player know this is a character driven story, even more so
 Moogle's play a much bigger part than they did in other games ^_^
than the last 2.  It focuses on a girl as she rides on a raft-like-boat through a torrential storm.  A quick camera cut reveals what looks to be the same girl years later (she's actually very pretty) wearing an elaborate dress, and as she stands up and looks out of her castle window, it doesn't take much to put two and two together to work out she's the princess of this game.
 
The camera then pans to an airship, inside of which our monkey-tailed protagonist slides down a ladder and walks into a dark room.  It's here we first get to controll him, and after lighting a candle, we get to name him.  After making the mistake of renaming Cloud in VII, I've always stuck with the default, and this game will be no excpetion.  And with that, you get to read my first feature of the blog:   

A quick chat with Zidane's companions is interupted by...OH SNAP A DRAGON!  I remember when I was a kid, and first saw this scene, I couldn't but thinking, "OH SNAP A DRAGON! This game's gona be intense." 
The first fight of a game is with said dragon, where Zidane and his 3 companions rough it up.  I remember being taken back by this fight, as I'd only ever played VII and VIII before it, I wasn't used to having 4 controllable characters in a battle and I honestly didn't know how I was going to feel about it.
 With Mr. T on our team we  can't lose!

 
After fighting the fight, the dragon's head splits to reveal that he's actually the groups boss in disguise.  Not quite as epic as a dragon, but pretty darn funny.  From the outset the game starts to draw on the players emotions and there's no better one to get straight into than that of laughter.
 
A quick debreifing reveals the group to be the infamous band of theives Tantalus, who's current mission is to kidnap, "The most Babalicious beauty in all of Alexandria" Princess Garnet.  Does that mean we're the bad guys in this game? Awesome!  
To be able to get close enough to kidnap Garnet, they're under the guise of a traveling theater, who are going to preform the hit play "I Want to Be Your Canary" in the castle itself.

The Boy With No Past

Another, quick FMV shows the theater ship fly above the city and the camera pans down to the next playable character, they yet unnammed black mage boy, who's off to see the very play tantalus are putting on. Even though we don't yet know his name, I'm gona go on ahead a introduce you to him:  
 
After a short stroll through the city streets, Vivi discovers his ticket is actually a fake and is immediately distraught.  The ticket master trys to cheer him up by giving him a few cards, but it's no good and Vivi is lead to his own devices.
 
Exploring the city is an absolute charm....where every NPC feels unique and important, and are a joy to interact with.  The game is already full of a wonderful charm and atmoshpere that really helps the player feel the world as a character in itself, feeling far more magical than any FF game prior to it (or after for that matter.)
After a brief bout of skipping, Vivi turns down an alleyway where he runs into a little rat boy who goes by the name of Puck.  Puck immediatly enslaves Vivi, promising to get him into the play.
 
 Kinda cute for a war machine.
Narrowly avoiding getting mugged, Vivi meets a 4 armed chap called Alleyway Jack, though Jack himself admits it isn't his real name, and that he goes by differant names in cities all over the world.  After teaching Vivi to play cards, he teases that maybe he'll reveal his true identity if we get good enough at the game.
 
Following Puck, Vivi bumps into a pair of Moogles, Stiltzkin and Kupo.  Stiltzkin tells the pair that he's off to explore the world before leaving and Kupo teaches Vivi the use of Moogles in FFIX, where they act as the games save points (note: awesome.)  Kupo also introduces Vivi to Mognet, the mailing system between Moogles.  With the Mognet post office in a bit of trouble, Kupo entrusts Vivi to deliver a letter to Mosh.  
 
After climbing up a belltower, a quick dash across the rooftops takes Vivi and Puck over the castle walls and into the play...and with that episode 1a comes to a close.

Feedback

Here's the imporant part and it's all down to you guys....
 
PLEASE please please please let me know what you all think.  Tell me what you liked not only about this part of the game, but what you think about my blog.  Is the format good for you, is there to much writting or not enough.  What did you think about my thoughts of the game, do you agree or disagree with them and why.
 
Any and all feedback is madly apreciated.

Stay tuned, for episode 1b, sometime tomorrow, until then...peace out.
#1 Edited by SamStrife (1282 posts) -

 Episode 1a - Once Upon A Time....
First of all a big thank you for people reassuring me I should write this, I know it's been a while since the prelude, but I've had a few complications that are all sorted out now.  
 
Secondly, check out Dankempster's FFVII blog which inspired me to do this, and if you haven't already, check out the episode 0 of this very run for a little bit of back story. 
 
Finally, let me just explain the part 1a part.  Basically I've got a lot to write but I don't want to bog you guys down with huge walls of text, that's fun for no one.  S what I'm doing is a breaking up episodes which are story heavy into parts, so I can explain what's happening and evaluate it in more detail.  These parts will be released in a shorter space of time than main episodes, probably within 24 hours of each other, where-as differant episodes will probably come every 2 to 3 days.
 
And with that...
 

Our Fantasy Begins

 As soon as the "New Game" chime kicked, I couldn't help but smile.  The little bit of extra effort they put into it, as with any FF game, let's you know you're in for an epic adventure.
 
The game starts you off with an FMV, which when compared to the previous 2 games, isn't nearly as spectacular.  It doesn't have the epic feel that VII had, and it doesn't have the high octain action of VIII's.  What it does instead, is focus on one specific character, quickly letting the player know this is a character driven story, even more so
 Moogle's play a much bigger part than they did in other games ^_^
than the last 2.  It focuses on a girl as she rides on a raft-like-boat through a torrential storm.  A quick camera cut reveals what looks to be the same girl years later (she's actually very pretty) wearing an elaborate dress, and as she stands up and looks out of her castle window, it doesn't take much to put two and two together to work out she's the princess of this game.
 
The camera then pans to an airship, inside of which our monkey-tailed protagonist slides down a ladder and walks into a dark room.  It's here we first get to controll him, and after lighting a candle, we get to name him.  After making the mistake of renaming Cloud in VII, I've always stuck with the default, and this game will be no excpetion.  And with that, you get to read my first feature of the blog:   

A quick chat with Zidane's companions is interupted by...OH SNAP A DRAGON!  I remember when I was a kid, and first saw this scene, I couldn't but thinking, "OH SNAP A DRAGON! This game's gona be intense." 
The first fight of a game is with said dragon, where Zidane and his 3 companions rough it up.  I remember being taken back by this fight, as I'd only ever played VII and VIII before it, I wasn't used to having 4 controllable characters in a battle and I honestly didn't know how I was going to feel about it.
 With Mr. T on our team we  can't lose!

 
After fighting the fight, the dragon's head splits to reveal that he's actually the groups boss in disguise.  Not quite as epic as a dragon, but pretty darn funny.  From the outset the game starts to draw on the players emotions and there's no better one to get straight into than that of laughter.
 
A quick debreifing reveals the group to be the infamous band of theives Tantalus, who's current mission is to kidnap, "The most Babalicious beauty in all of Alexandria" Princess Garnet.  Does that mean we're the bad guys in this game? Awesome!  
To be able to get close enough to kidnap Garnet, they're under the guise of a traveling theater, who are going to preform the hit play "I Want to Be Your Canary" in the castle itself.

The Boy With No Past

Another, quick FMV shows the theater ship fly above the city and the camera pans down to the next playable character, they yet unnammed black mage boy, who's off to see the very play tantalus are putting on. Even though we don't yet know his name, I'm gona go on ahead a introduce you to him:  
 
After a short stroll through the city streets, Vivi discovers his ticket is actually a fake and is immediately distraught.  The ticket master trys to cheer him up by giving him a few cards, but it's no good and Vivi is lead to his own devices.
 
Exploring the city is an absolute charm....where every NPC feels unique and important, and are a joy to interact with.  The game is already full of a wonderful charm and atmoshpere that really helps the player feel the world as a character in itself, feeling far more magical than any FF game prior to it (or after for that matter.)
After a brief bout of skipping, Vivi turns down an alleyway where he runs into a little rat boy who goes by the name of Puck.  Puck immediatly enslaves Vivi, promising to get him into the play.
 
 Kinda cute for a war machine.
Narrowly avoiding getting mugged, Vivi meets a 4 armed chap called Alleyway Jack, though Jack himself admits it isn't his real name, and that he goes by differant names in cities all over the world.  After teaching Vivi to play cards, he teases that maybe he'll reveal his true identity if we get good enough at the game.
 
Following Puck, Vivi bumps into a pair of Moogles, Stiltzkin and Kupo.  Stiltzkin tells the pair that he's off to explore the world before leaving and Kupo teaches Vivi the use of Moogles in FFIX, where they act as the games save points (note: awesome.)  Kupo also introduces Vivi to Mognet, the mailing system between Moogles.  With the Mognet post office in a bit of trouble, Kupo entrusts Vivi to deliver a letter to Mosh.  
 
After climbing up a belltower, a quick dash across the rooftops takes Vivi and Puck over the castle walls and into the play...and with that episode 1a comes to a close.

Feedback

Here's the imporant part and it's all down to you guys....
 
PLEASE please please please let me know what you all think.  Tell me what you liked not only about this part of the game, but what you think about my blog.  Is the format good for you, is there to much writting or not enough.  What did you think about my thoughts of the game, do you agree or disagree with them and why.
 
Any and all feedback is madly apreciated.

Stay tuned, for episode 1b, sometime tomorrow, until then...peace out.
#2 Posted by lucas_kelly (769 posts) -

I love Final Fantasy IX. It's my favorite from the PS1 series. It went back to the roots of being actual Fantasy, not science fiction. They also didn't over complicated the battle system.

#3 Posted by dankempster (2253 posts) -

A brilliant read, SamStrife. A great start to your serial blog, filled with equal parts explanation, evaluation and nostalgia. I love the effort that went into your 'title card' and the little featurettes. A point that I particularly liked was your mention that every NPC looks unique in Final Fantasy IX. This is something that I feel the series hasn't been able to pull off before or since, always falling back on 'stock' NPC designs. The sheer variety of characters and animals that populate the streets of somewhere like Alexandria really breathes additional life into the world of Gaia and makes it feel more organic. 
 
I'm really looking forward to future episodes in this series. Your evaluation of components like the battle system and the Tetra Master card game is eagerly anticipated by this reader in particular. Keep up the good work :)

#4 Posted by SamStrife (1282 posts) -
@dankempster:  Thanks a lot dude ^_^ 
 
Part 1b will be up tomorrow and I got a load of neat features regarding battles and cards.
#5 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6230 posts) -

I'm liking what you've got going so far.  Good luck with future episodes!
Moderator
#6 Posted by CarolinaFan3515 (199 posts) -
@SamStrife: Huh, this is very strange.  I was actually just thinking the other day that I since I have such a large back-catalog, I should keep a Giantbomb journal, and post for every game starting with the game I'm currently running through.  Which just so happens to be Final Fantasy IX.  Well if I do start writing, I guess it will have to wait for my next game play through.  Have fun with FFIX.  Its a spectacular game.
#7 Posted by CommodoreGroovy (555 posts) -

Nicely done. I don't see the reason why this game always gets such a bad rep. FFIX is very underrated, and especially for a game that has no obvious flaws.

#8 Posted by SamStrife (1282 posts) -
@CarolinaFan3515:  Haha sorry dude
#9 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -

Do you agree with me when I say that the abandonment of prerendered backgrounds is one of the biggest crimes of videogame history?

#10 Posted by SamStrife (1282 posts) -
@Meowayne:   I never thought about it, but yeah...maybe.  Back in them days it was a necassary evil, where they could make something look muck better using far less power.  It's an arcahic charm.
#11 Posted by GetEveryone (4455 posts) -

Easily my favourite FF. I've never been particularly keen, but both this and 6 have something really special about them. Keep up the good work, I'll look forward to reading more.

#12 Posted by Synthballs (2193 posts) -

Man, this blog is well wicked. I'm not a gigantor final fantasy fan but, this is a treat to read. I look forward to all the future installments. 

#13 Posted by SamStrife (1282 posts) -
@Synthballs:  Thanks a lot dude, that's been my aim from the very start ^_^
#14 Posted by Symphony (1912 posts) -

Well-written blog :) The graphics were an excellent touch as well. I'm looking forward to seeing more of this, so keep at it!

#15 Posted by Skald (4367 posts) -

Really like the graphics. It ain't a bad read, either.

#16 Posted by SamStrife (1282 posts) -

I'm glad the 10mins of effort I put into them paid off ^_^

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