Enduring Final Fantasy IX - Episode 2: Wood You Believe It?


 Episode 2: Wood You Believe It?
Hey guys, welcome back to my eendurance run of Final Fantasy IX.  I've had a few people asking me when the next episode's going to be up and I'm happy to say....now!  Sorry for the wait, I've had a really busy week and whilst I love writting these blogs, it can be sometimes hard to fit in the time to, especially when you have as busy a schedule as I can...
 
Also I apologise in advance, but this episode will not feature any of my "features" as I'm writting them off my girlfriend's lappy and she doesn't have the image editing software which allows me to make them...sorry again guys.  The plus is I'll fill the others with them even more.
 
Finally, as always, check out Dankempster and his sick-ass-inspirational blog about Final Fantasy VII.  He's just about to bomb through one of my least favourite scenes in the game, the train graveyard, so good luck with that.  Anyway, let's not turn the prelude into a run of its own and get on with it:

Previously On Enduring Final Fantasy IX

If you remember the last episode of the run, you'll remember that everything was going more than perfectly, until an accident with the pyrotechnics (read: Vivi) revealed that the Princess Garnet was trying to escape the castle.  Furious about this, the Queen decided the best thing to do would be to blow the ship up (with the Princess still aboard!) leaving us descending into the forest bellow.  How dangerous can some trees be?  

Castaways

Zidane wakes up on the forest floor, thankfully unharmed but it looks like all that's about to change as we learn that "No one's ever made it out of this forest alive," (gulp.)  Returning to the ship, Zidane learns that Garnet is missing and the game introduces us to one of its best mechinics, the ATE.  When I can I'll write a feature up describing
 Wait a second...This Forest is evil...nobody told me that!
ATE's, but for now let me tell you this; they're optional cutscenes that while are often indirect to the main story, add a helluva lot to the games plot and world....they're awesome, find out more on another episode ;)

Venus Man Traps

Setting off to find them, I grind a bit in the first possible area.  It's a lovely spot to get up a few levels as Zidanes the only member in the party (therefore getting the full share of exp,) he can one hit every enemy with the weapon I stole off Baku and potion drops are common, so it's hard to die and I can stockpile a few up.  After the brief session we move onto the next screen where we find Vivi and Steiner who is confronting a plant moster that's trapped garnet in its head cage!  Battling the plant, Zidane goes into the limit break like Trance mode, which makes him stronger and gives him new abilites to unleash.  With Zidances trance, the team make light work of the plant monster, but unfourtunatly it escapes with the Princess...
 
Just as Steiner is giving up hope, Zidane uses his logic to detirmine that the plant will have taken the Princess to its master, so it's a good chance she's still alive.  Just as they are about to set off to retrive her, another plant monster dives down and swallows up Vivi.  Battling the plant , with Zidane and Steiner's blades and Vivi's black magic (from within the plant) the team defeat it, but in death, the plant releases spores which knowck out both Vivi and Steiner, leaving Zidane stood alone.

Breaking Free

Vivi wakes up in the theater ship, where he learns that Zidane has brought him and Steiner back.  Blank gives him some medicne to prevent the plants spores from hatching within his body and eating him alive...nice.
 
We then see Steiner trying to get out and save the Princess, but is in no state to go do so.  After being locked in the instrument storage room, he takes his medicine and formulates a plan to break out.
 
Zidane also wants to go save Garnet, and after trying to cheer up Vivi, he goes to see his leader, Baku, to gain permission to go save her.  Baku understands Zidane's
 A stump with a Bon-Bon isn't the craziest thing you'll see in these woods.
reasoning but isn't willing to put the safety of his men at risk.  Zidane then decides to leave Tantalus, to go save her her alone, but not without Baku beating him up for breaking the rules.  After a third fight with the leader, Baku can't help but laugh at the situation.  Punching Zidane in the stomach one last time, Zidane realises Baku went lightly on him in their fight and after recruiting Zidane and Vivi to his cause, the three leave the ship in order to go find her.

Through The Forest And The Flames

Leaving the ship, Zidane bumps into Blank, who gives Zidane some medicine to help the Princess.  The two have a little chat and for the first time, it becomes clear that these two are best buds.  Considering I know what's about to happen, I'd have prefered it if it was established a little earlier on, but at least we know now.
 
We get to see an awesome little ATE leaving aswell, with a throwback to FFVII:
 
 
Fighting our way through the forest, we deliver our letter to Monty and see an ATE where Baku reveales he has a plan to escape the forest and Blank leaves to fulfil his own mission.
 
 If that's the brain, I'd hate to see its..........head.
It doesn't take long to find Garnet, but unfourtunatly she's stuck behind the first boss of the game, the Plant Brain.  The battle isn't
Better get moving then Zidane.
particuly difficult, but it doesn't look like it's going to end either.  Suddenly though, the party boosts up to 4 members as Blank also joins in on the action.  I remember being stoked for this, as I really liked Blank from the very begining, he's a cool character and would be awesome in the team.  Dispatching of the boss, Blank says he's come to give a map of the Mist Continent to Zidane, and as the Princess takes her medicine, all hell breaks loose.
 
The screen starts shaking and plants start pouring out of every whole, hellbent on killing our team.  Making a break for it, the team find themselves running for their life.  One last brief chat betweeen Zidane and Blank reveals Zidane's fear of the siutation, and after an awesome FMV, the game suffers it's first casulaty....
  
  
It's a scene that's upset me everytime I've watched it, which is weird because the game never does a great job of getting the player to empathise with Blank, but everyone seems to like him anyway.   It also shows that the quality of the FMV's aren't gona drop, and they'll remain to be action packed and beautiful all the way through the game. 

Camping Trip!!!

Camping just outside the forest, the team laments on what's just happened.  Blank's been petrified they have no idea where they are or where to go and they have no idea what's happened to Tantalus.  Steiner's still convinced he's going to take the Princess back to the castle, but after a breif argument between him and Zidane, the Princess reveals that she was running away from the castle, so Steiner swears he will protect, even if he isn't happy about it.
 
Zidane says how both North and South gates are closed, so the only real chance they have of getting out the poisonus-monster spawning mist that plauges the Mist Continent is through a cavern to the south.  
 Blank!!!! =(

 
It looks like we weren't the only to survive the forest though, as the Moogle we met earlier flys out and praises our survivability.  He gives the team a flute, which will be able to summon Moogles on the world map, who can save the game and pitch out tent for us (why the team can't pitch out tents without their help is beyond me.)
 
So with that we're onto the world map and at the end ouf our episode.  I'm really sorry if it seemed like a wall of text this time around, I promise there will be more features in future episodes, as soon as I can make them again.


 
Please please please leave me as much feedback as you can, what did you think of this section of the game, what did you think of my writting.  
 
Stay tuned over the next few days for episode 3, where we will see if there's a way to get out of this dreaded mist.
 
Until then....Peace.
12 Comments
12 Comments
Edited by SamStrife

 Episode 2: Wood You Believe It?
Hey guys, welcome back to my eendurance run of Final Fantasy IX.  I've had a few people asking me when the next episode's going to be up and I'm happy to say....now!  Sorry for the wait, I've had a really busy week and whilst I love writting these blogs, it can be sometimes hard to fit in the time to, especially when you have as busy a schedule as I can...
 
Also I apologise in advance, but this episode will not feature any of my "features" as I'm writting them off my girlfriend's lappy and she doesn't have the image editing software which allows me to make them...sorry again guys.  The plus is I'll fill the others with them even more.
 
Finally, as always, check out Dankempster and his sick-ass-inspirational blog about Final Fantasy VII.  He's just about to bomb through one of my least favourite scenes in the game, the train graveyard, so good luck with that.  Anyway, let's not turn the prelude into a run of its own and get on with it:

Previously On Enduring Final Fantasy IX

If you remember the last episode of the run, you'll remember that everything was going more than perfectly, until an accident with the pyrotechnics (read: Vivi) revealed that the Princess Garnet was trying to escape the castle.  Furious about this, the Queen decided the best thing to do would be to blow the ship up (with the Princess still aboard!) leaving us descending into the forest bellow.  How dangerous can some trees be?  

Castaways

Zidane wakes up on the forest floor, thankfully unharmed but it looks like all that's about to change as we learn that "No one's ever made it out of this forest alive," (gulp.)  Returning to the ship, Zidane learns that Garnet is missing and the game introduces us to one of its best mechinics, the ATE.  When I can I'll write a feature up describing
 Wait a second...This Forest is evil...nobody told me that!
ATE's, but for now let me tell you this; they're optional cutscenes that while are often indirect to the main story, add a helluva lot to the games plot and world....they're awesome, find out more on another episode ;)

Venus Man Traps

Setting off to find them, I grind a bit in the first possible area.  It's a lovely spot to get up a few levels as Zidanes the only member in the party (therefore getting the full share of exp,) he can one hit every enemy with the weapon I stole off Baku and potion drops are common, so it's hard to die and I can stockpile a few up.  After the brief session we move onto the next screen where we find Vivi and Steiner who is confronting a plant moster that's trapped garnet in its head cage!  Battling the plant, Zidane goes into the limit break like Trance mode, which makes him stronger and gives him new abilites to unleash.  With Zidances trance, the team make light work of the plant monster, but unfourtunatly it escapes with the Princess...
 
Just as Steiner is giving up hope, Zidane uses his logic to detirmine that the plant will have taken the Princess to its master, so it's a good chance she's still alive.  Just as they are about to set off to retrive her, another plant monster dives down and swallows up Vivi.  Battling the plant , with Zidane and Steiner's blades and Vivi's black magic (from within the plant) the team defeat it, but in death, the plant releases spores which knowck out both Vivi and Steiner, leaving Zidane stood alone.

Breaking Free

Vivi wakes up in the theater ship, where he learns that Zidane has brought him and Steiner back.  Blank gives him some medicne to prevent the plants spores from hatching within his body and eating him alive...nice.
 
We then see Steiner trying to get out and save the Princess, but is in no state to go do so.  After being locked in the instrument storage room, he takes his medicine and formulates a plan to break out.
 
Zidane also wants to go save Garnet, and after trying to cheer up Vivi, he goes to see his leader, Baku, to gain permission to go save her.  Baku understands Zidane's
 A stump with a Bon-Bon isn't the craziest thing you'll see in these woods.
reasoning but isn't willing to put the safety of his men at risk.  Zidane then decides to leave Tantalus, to go save her her alone, but not without Baku beating him up for breaking the rules.  After a third fight with the leader, Baku can't help but laugh at the situation.  Punching Zidane in the stomach one last time, Zidane realises Baku went lightly on him in their fight and after recruiting Zidane and Vivi to his cause, the three leave the ship in order to go find her.

Through The Forest And The Flames

Leaving the ship, Zidane bumps into Blank, who gives Zidane some medicine to help the Princess.  The two have a little chat and for the first time, it becomes clear that these two are best buds.  Considering I know what's about to happen, I'd have prefered it if it was established a little earlier on, but at least we know now.
 
We get to see an awesome little ATE leaving aswell, with a throwback to FFVII:
 
 
Fighting our way through the forest, we deliver our letter to Monty and see an ATE where Baku reveales he has a plan to escape the forest and Blank leaves to fulfil his own mission.
 
 If that's the brain, I'd hate to see its..........head.
It doesn't take long to find Garnet, but unfourtunatly she's stuck behind the first boss of the game, the Plant Brain.  The battle isn't
Better get moving then Zidane.
particuly difficult, but it doesn't look like it's going to end either.  Suddenly though, the party boosts up to 4 members as Blank also joins in on the action.  I remember being stoked for this, as I really liked Blank from the very begining, he's a cool character and would be awesome in the team.  Dispatching of the boss, Blank says he's come to give a map of the Mist Continent to Zidane, and as the Princess takes her medicine, all hell breaks loose.
 
The screen starts shaking and plants start pouring out of every whole, hellbent on killing our team.  Making a break for it, the team find themselves running for their life.  One last brief chat betweeen Zidane and Blank reveals Zidane's fear of the siutation, and after an awesome FMV, the game suffers it's first casulaty....
  
  
It's a scene that's upset me everytime I've watched it, which is weird because the game never does a great job of getting the player to empathise with Blank, but everyone seems to like him anyway.   It also shows that the quality of the FMV's aren't gona drop, and they'll remain to be action packed and beautiful all the way through the game. 

Camping Trip!!!

Camping just outside the forest, the team laments on what's just happened.  Blank's been petrified they have no idea where they are or where to go and they have no idea what's happened to Tantalus.  Steiner's still convinced he's going to take the Princess back to the castle, but after a breif argument between him and Zidane, the Princess reveals that she was running away from the castle, so Steiner swears he will protect, even if he isn't happy about it.
 
Zidane says how both North and South gates are closed, so the only real chance they have of getting out the poisonus-monster spawning mist that plauges the Mist Continent is through a cavern to the south.  
 Blank!!!! =(

 
It looks like we weren't the only to survive the forest though, as the Moogle we met earlier flys out and praises our survivability.  He gives the team a flute, which will be able to summon Moogles on the world map, who can save the game and pitch out tent for us (why the team can't pitch out tents without their help is beyond me.)
 
So with that we're onto the world map and at the end ouf our episode.  I'm really sorry if it seemed like a wall of text this time around, I promise there will be more features in future episodes, as soon as I can make them again.


 
Please please please leave me as much feedback as you can, what did you think of this section of the game, what did you think of my writting.  
 
Stay tuned over the next few days for episode 3, where we will see if there's a way to get out of this dreaded mist.
 
Until then....Peace.
Posted by dankempster

Great write-up, as usual. The Evil Forest has always struck me as one of the most quintessentially 'Final Fantasy' dungeons in any of the games. That in itself is a little weird, though, because I can't recall any other Final Fantasy before IX featured a dungeon set in a forest. I guess that's a testament to just how well Hironobu Sakaguchi managed to capture the feel of the franchise with FFIX. I have to agree with you about Blank, too - despite very little characterisation, he's very likeable. Moreso than Cinna and Marcus, definitely. Maybe it's because of his selflessness in the scene you've shown. 
 
I'm also really looking forward to the next couple of episodes of your run. The Ice Cavern and the village of Dali are some of my favourite points from the game's opening hours. Here's to the rest of your run :)

Posted by ZeForgotten

Ah yes, the Rufus coming to town song thingy from FF VII (If only I could remember what that song was called)  
I've enjoyed reading your blogs so much that I started playing IX again just for the fun of it.  
I just recently finished up both VII and VIII(My favorite still!) so this was the only logical choice for me.  
Haven't gotten Blank stoned yet, but soon!  
 
Looking forward to your next blog, dude. Keep up the good work

Posted by gla55jAw

Keep it up man. I really like the next part too in the Ice Cavern and the Village. Can't wait to see what you think. I'm definitely going to go and play this game again after XIII. I always liked IX a lot but I only played completely through it once.

Posted by Synthballs

Another awesome write up duder. 


I seem to be the only person here reading this shizzle without actually playing the game. But I still find it enjoyable, I know it isn't your fault but, I missed the little features :( Will have to wait for part 3 now. I won't get on your back about the next one though *shakes fist*

Posted by SamStrife
@ZeForgotten:
@gla55jAw: 
 Haha it's awesome that you guys are going back to play it.
 
@Synthballs: 
Don't wory dude, ytou'll be able to read them again in a few days and they'll be better than ever, I promise.
Posted by Synthballs

Damn right it will be better then ever! 

I've also decided the moment I get a bigger PSP stick I'm going to play this game.

Posted by SamStrife
@Synthballs: I'm rocking an 8gb stick on mine ^_^ 
 
It allows me to have all 4 discs, Castlevania: SOTN, Prinny: CIRBTH and Street Fighter Alpha 3...is awesome
Posted by Synthballs
@SamStrife said:
" @Synthballs: I'm rocking an 8gb stick on mine ^_^   It allows me to have all 4 discs, Castlevania: SOTN, Prinny: CIRBTH and Street Fighter Alpha 3...is awesome "
Yeah but, are you paying for all of those? =P
Posted by SamStrife
@Synthballs: Technically no, I don't need all four discs at once, but it's nice to have, Street Fighter on a PSP plays a bit crappy and I recently completed SOTN.  As fr Prinny....man i play the hel out of it, it's awesome but not really awesome at the same time.
Posted by CommodoreGroovy

I'm curious who the audience is for your blog? Personally, I enjoy reading about your play through FFIX; however, I would've been more interested if this was your first time with the game — e.g. Jeff and Vinny with the endurance run.  I remember FFIX fondly, and have played it extensively in the past. Therefor that alone places me in the "Played it and loved it" demographic. So the thing that really hooks me to your blog is reading your experiences with this game. That's what you can expect from most of your "Played it and loved it" group. That leaves the people who either dislike or have never played the game.  People who have negative opinions about FFIX aren't really intentionally who you're targeting. So, that leaves the group who have never played the game. This the group you should be targeting. The problem lies with the game's age and worth. Technically, ten years have passed since this game has been released and people who wanted to play it, should have already. 
 
My point is, try writing for the different groups who will read your feature. It's no fun having the same people comment repeatedly for all your entries.

Posted by SamStrife
@CommodoreGroovy:  Cheers for that dude and you're absolutly right...which is why I've been trying to think of ways to hook more and more people with it...although to be honest, if the same 10 guys read and loved every single episode, I'm fine with that.
 
I really need to start writing episode 3, it's kinda bumming me out that I don't have time for it =(