#ThrowbackThursday: Final Fantasy IX playthrough part 23

It’s been a while, for reasons, some of them I discussed here, but also because I really got put off this for a while, which I’ll come to later. So let’s get to it, though you might want to read my last update to remind yourself where I’m at.

Kuja watches on as the Invincible disappears, he accuses Garland of being reponsible, though he questions why he would come to Gaia in the first place, I presume this garland is the mystery man we were inroduced to in my last update.

Zidane arrives at the castle with Cid, Vivi, Freya and Amarant, they immediately decide to search for #dagger and Eiko. In the library Zidane hears a voice, “Challenge me if you dare!” it says. When I accept the challenge I’m thrown into a battle against Tantarian that I’m not prepared for. Tantaraian initially appears to be a huge book which opens on random pages. It’s defence is very high as I’m barely scratching it, with attacks only resulting in taking off double figures of HP. Eventually though, it opens on a page and inside is a blue spherical monster, which when attacked does take alot more damage. Vivi is the strongest here, his Blizarra deals damage somewhere in the region of 1500HP, however I spend most of the fight healing and ultimately I’m defeated.

It’s here where the game tests my resolve, I hadn’t saved in a while, in fact I hadn’t saved since the final round of the card tournament so I have to do all of that again, sit through all the talky sections again and play out Steiner and Beatrix’s last stand just to get back to this point. I do a little research and I could have saved in one of the rooms in the castle once I had control of Zidane, I’d just not done so as I went straight into the library, it being the closest room to where you have this party and ended up in the battle with Tantarian.

I also decide to Google some tactics on how to defeat this optional boss, its something I’ve refrained from doing up until now, but then most of the fights I’ve been able to brute force my way through.

This time out I stick everyone in the back row, Optimise their equipment and also equip the Devil Killer, Counter, Auto-Potion and Antibody abilities for those characters who have them. Once the battle begins I have Zidane stick to using Steal, with Freya casting Reis’ Wind to give provide all of the party with Regen, she also takes over duties of using Phoenix Downs and Ether’s when the need arises. Amarant, usually used for just hitting stuff, now uses his Chakra ability to heal a party members HP and MP, Vivi is the only one who can actually attack Tantarian, with the suggestion being that I use Bio whenever the book opens up on the pages that reveal the creature hidden inside, until that point the party just Defend unless healing is required.

Vivi’s Bio ability allows him to deal out around 1800 damage, though I also start to use Focus when the book is closed, which when I can attack again, increases his damage output to 3800, and so the fight actually becomes a walk in the park despite only one party member actually dealing out any punishment.

Once the fight is over I’m rewarded with a pair of Running Shoes, which allow the wearer to learn Auto-Haste, unfortunately Zidane only manages to steal a few Ether’s and a couple of Elixers. I save again and head in the direction that Dagger originally took, finding my way to the roof where Zidane tells the others to leave him to rescue her and escape from the castle before Kuja destroys it. The rest are reluctant to leave him, but he tells them this is important to him and he needs them to go, Freya resigns herself to leaving her friend behind, though she does so on the condition that Zidane doesn’t confront Kuja alone, he just gets Dagger and Eiko and flee’s the castle with them.

As he climbs the staircase, Alexander covers the castle with its wings in order to try and protect it, though it does so too late, allowing the Invincinble to unleash a pillar of light, blowing up parts of the castle in the process. As Dagger and Eiko are thrown from the balcony they were previously stood on, Zidane arrives in the nick of time to rescue them, using some bunting to swing them to safety. Once on some slightly more solid ground, Zidane apologises to Dagger for not being truthful about his feelings for her, but they’re not out of the woods yet as the remains of the castle begin to shake. The Invincible unleashes another attack, this one more powerful than the last and a huge shockwave spreads throughout the kingdom. On board the ship Garland talks of souls “returning” and states that in time, they will no longer belong to Gaia.

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