Wow, it’s been a long-long time since this was updated, it’s not that I’d forgotten or put the game down, its that other things happened. First I did a playthrough of Alan Wake for “Horroctober” then when I returned to FFIX the left stick on my Vita was acting up. I tried to swap it out (eventually) but that caused more problems, then a hero came to my aid and DM’d me, offering me their unused Vita, how could I say no? And so, that means we’re back, and with the other breaks, I’ve had to this series proceeding since I started this whole thing it meant my FFIX playthrough has been a bit like a TV show with having seasons!
So where were we?
Last time, in part 45, I’d spoken to Kupo, Ruby and Stiltzkin in Alexandria and decided I should investigate Mognet Central. To do that my journey would start in Chocobo Forest where I need to play Chocobo Hot & Cold, a mini-game where you ride a Chocobo, pecking at the ground to find hidden treasure, the closer you are the more intense the Chocobo’s “Kweh”‘s become more intense until you dig something up. It’s kinda fun, but after two hours of very little progress I bin it off. This is where the version of Final Fantasy IX I’ve chosen to play bites me on the arse. I’m playing the “PlayStation Classics” PSN release that was released for the PSP, so it doesn’t have all of the quality of life improvements that have come along with releases on PS4, XBox, Steam and Switch since, namely the optional speed increase (which makes grinding so much more fun in FFXII I should add). It’s really something I should have started much earlier in the game, rather than focusing on just the plot, you’re first able to visit Chocobo Forest really early on and I should have taken any opportunity that I was close to it as a chance to sink half an hour or so into pecking away at the ground hoping to uncover Chocobographs and thus more treasure, a route to Mognet Central and apparently some of the games best equipment.
I still have a few Stellazio coins in my possession, so before I go to the Iifa Tree to continue with the story, I head to Treno. I don’t get a lot for handing in Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Sagittarius, just some Gil, a Black Belt and an Elixer. I check the weapons shop and there’s a new beast to fight, Behemoth, which either misses when it attacks or takes off a good chunk of health, but Zidane has a few abilities equipped that make it really easy, namely Regen, Auto Potion and Counter, he also enters his Trance state and a couple of Dyne attacks takes it down. The shopkeeper gives me a Circlet as a reward for defeating Behemoth, and I then buy Dark Matter from the auction house so that Garnet can learn the Odin summon.
So, seeing as this playthrough has been going on since July 2019, meaning its taken 18 months to get this far, I best try to start wrapping this up, I’ve been playing so long that the in-game clock has wrapped around and started from 00:00:00 again. Off to the Iifa Tree.
Things are weird here, there’s a massive pinkish-purple ball of energy hovering above the tree. As we approach a massive swarm of dragons attacks, but thankfully an equally large armada of airships comes to our aid. Cid, Baku and Beatrix are at the command and an impressively big aerial battle ensues, allowing the Invincible to enter the ball of light. Onboard Zidane comments to Steiner that the latter has fallen in love with “quite a woman”, Steiner gets a bit defensive and basically says “you’re one to talk” (though I may be paraphrasing there), which confuses Garnet, its here that the Nova Dragon attacks.
Early on in the battle Quina and Freya both enter Trance and, honestly, the dragon never really causes us much bother, it can hit for around 1 or 2k of damage, but that’s not even half of even Dagger’s HP. So, with the dragon down its time for the crew to explore what’s on the other side of this ball of light. Onboard the Invincible there’s like a teleport, Quina tells everybody it’s perfectly safe to us, and somehow everybody trusts them. When they emerge they are at the foot of a really tall stone staircase that seems to be floating above a city, or that’s my take on it. Zidane thinks he hears somebody calling his name, but the others can’t hear it. He’s not mistaken though
“…Zidane can you hear me?”
G: “…I am speaking to you.”
Z: “Garland, what is this place?”
G: “Memoria… A place of memories”
G: “Yes, your memories brought forth this place… Here you shall witness the entire truth. you have no choice. No, go…”
Z: “What are you talking about?”
The others are all wondering who Zidane is talking to, he tells them it was Garland and what he said about Memoria, but none of them, including Zidane, really understand whats going on. The party decide there’s nothing to do but climb the staircase and investigate where they are for answers.