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|Final Fantasy IX|
|Release date(s)||JP July 7, 2000|
|Distribution||4 CD-ROMs (PS)|
|Final Fantasy IX|
|Release date(s)||JP July 7, 2000|
|Distribution||4 CD-ROMs (PS)|
Final Fantasy IX (ファイナルファンタジーIX Fainaru Fantajī Nain?) is a role-playing video game developed and published by Squaresoft (now Square Enix) for the Sony PlayStation video game console. Originally released in 2000, it is the ninth title in the Final Fantasy series and last to debut on the original PlayStation console. In 2010 it was re-released as a PSone Classics title on the PlayStation Network. The game introduced new features to the series like the 'Active Time Event', 'Mognet', and a unique equipment and skill system.
Final Fantasy IX's plot centers on a war between nations. Players follow a young thief named Zidane Tribal, who joins with others to defeat Queen Brahne of Alexandria, the one responsible for starting the war. The plot shifts, however, when the characters realise that Brahne is working with an even more threatening person called Kuja.
Final Fantasy IX was developed alongside Final Fantasy VIII, but took a different approach by returning to the more traditional style of the early Final Fantasy games. Consequently, Final Fantasy IX was influenced significantly by the original Final Fantasy game, and features allusions to other titles in the series. It was released to critical acclaim and holds the highest Metacritic score of all Final Fantasy installments. Final Fantasy IX was commercially successful, selling 5.30 million units worldwide as of March 31, 2003.
In Final Fantasy IX, the player navigates a character throughout the game world, exploring areas and interacting with non-player characters. Most of the game occurs in towns and dungeons which are referred to as "field screens". To aid exploration on the field screen, Final Fantasy IX introduces the "field icon", an exclamation mark appearing over their lead character's head, signalling an item or sign is nearby. Players speak with moogles to record their progress, restore life energy with a tent and purchase items—a deviation from previous installments, which used a save point to perform these functions. Moogles may request the playable character deliver letters to other Moogles via Mognet, playable characters might also receive letters from non-playable characters.
Players journey between field screen locations on the world map, a three dimensional, downsized representation of Final Fantasy IX's world presented from a top-down perspective. Players can freely navigate around the world map screen unless restricted by terrain like bodies of water or mountain ranges. To overcome geographical limitations, players can ride chocobos, sail on a boat or pilot airships. Like previous Final Fantasy installments, travel across the world map screen and hostile field screen locations is interrupted by random enemy encounters.
Final Fantasy IX offers a new approach to town exploration with the introduction of Active Time Events (ATE). These allow the player to view events unfolding at different locations, providing character development, special items and prompts for key story-altering decisions. ATE are occasionally used to simultaneously control two teams when the party is divided to solve puzzles and navigate mazes.
Whenever the playable character encounters an enemy, the map changes to the "battle screen". On the battle screen, the enemy appears on the opposite side of the characters; each battle uses the familiar Active Time Battle system that was first featured in Final Fantasy IV. The character's command list is presented in a window opposite the ATB gauge list; while all characters can physically attack the enemy or use an item from the player's inventory, they also possess unique abilities. For example, the thief Zidane can steal items from the enemy, Eiko and Garnet can summon "eidolons" to aid the party and Vivi can use black magic to damage the opposition.
These character-specific commands change when the player goes into "Trance mode", which is activated for a short duration when an uncontrollable gauge fills as character sustains damage in a style similar to the Limit Breaks used in Final Fantasy VII. When the gauge is full, the character's strength is amplified, and the player can select special attack commands. Zidane's "Skill" command list, for example, changes to "Dyne", allowing him to execute powerful attacks; Vivi's "Black Magic" command evolves into "Double Black", allowing him to cast two magic spells simultaneously. Through the Configuration screen, the player can change the Battle Style from Normal to Custom, which allows two players to control any combination of characters during battle. However, two controllers must be plugged into the PlayStation.
A character's performance in battle is determined by numerical values ("statistics") for categories like speed, strength and magical power. Character statistics are driven by experience; when players win battles, they are awarded "experience points", which accumulate until characters gain "experience levels". When characters "level up", the statistics for their attributes permanently increase, which may also be amplified by the types of equipment the character is wearing. Winning battles also awards the player money (Gil), Tetra Master playing cards, items and ability points (AP).
Final Fantasy IX deviates from the style of customisable characters featured in the last two titles by reviving the character class concept, which designates a character to a certain role in battle. For example, Vivi is designated as a black mage and is the only character who can use black magic, and Steiner is a knight and is the only character who can use sword skills.
The basic function of equipment in Final Fantasy games is to increase character attributes; arming Zidane with a Mythril Vest, for example, increases his base defense statistic. In Final Fantasy IX, weapons and armor include special character abilities, which the character may use when the item is equipped (permitting the ability matches their class). Once the character accumulates enough ability points in battle, the ability becomes usable without having to keep the item equipped. In addition to granting abilities the equipment in Final Fantasy IX determines the statistical growth of the characters at the time of level up. Armor not only raises base defense or evasion statistics but raises defense and/or other statistics at level up.
Abilities are classified into action and support categories. Action abilities consume magic points (MP) and include magic spells and special moves that are used in battle. Support abilities provide functions that remain in effect indefinitely and must be equipped with magic stones to be functional. The maximum number of these stones increases as the characters level up.
Tetra Master is a card-based minigame that can be initiated with various non-playable characters in the field. Players assemble a deck of five cards, which can be obtained via chests, given as a reward, or earned from fighting monsters. Each card has various arrows which point to the four sides and four corners of the card, and various stats that vary between cards, with rarer cards being more powerful. Players take it in turns to strategically place cards on a 5x5 playing grid based on the available directions. Battles can occur when players place a card next to another card, depending on where the player places it. If the defending card has no arrows whilst the attacking card has an arrow pointing towards it, that card is placed under the player's control. When two arrows meet with each other, the cards do battle based on their point values, with the losing card coming under the winning player's control, sometimes triggering combos that put multiple cards in the winner's control. After all cards are played, the winner is the player who has the most cards under their control, with a draw occurring if they have the same number of cards. The winning player may choose a card from their opponent's deck out of the ones they put under their control. If the winning player scores a perfect win however, in which all ten cards are put under their control, they will win all five cards from the opponent's deck.
Final Fantasy IX takes place primarily on the four continents of a world named Gaia (homonymous with Final Fantasy VII's Gaia, but not the same world). Most of Gaia's population reside on the Mist Continent, named so because the entire continent is blanketed in thick Mist. Lands outside the Mist Continent—the Outer, Lost and Forgotten continents—are uncharted territories not explored until midway through the game. Several locations on the parallel world of Terra and the dream land of Memoria round out the game's areas. The Mist Continent features four nations: Alexandria, Lindblum, Burmecia, and Cleyra. Alexandria is a kingdom to the northeast of the Mist Continent ruled by a monarchy located in Alexandria Castle. The technologically advanced Lindblum, ruled by a regent, is nestled on a plateau to the southwest where airships regularly fly by. The Kingdom of Burmecia, whose capital is showered by eternal rain is to the northwest and nearby to the isolated Cleyran civilisation, which is nestled in a giant tree in the desert, protected by a powerful sandstorm. Treno, a large, perpetually dark city, heavily populated by both aristocrats and paupers, is located on the southeast part of the continent. The Mist Continent is extremely mountainous resulting in a natural barrier between many of the ruling nations.
Gaia is inhabited by humans and various non-human races. Alexandria and Lindblum are both populated by a mix of humans and anthropomorphic animals. The Burmecians are anthropomorphic rats who value dance, thus accounting for their general aversion to footwear, and live in both Burmecia and Cleyra. The Cleyrans split from the Burmecians when the latter started to appreciate "the art of war". The dwarves are short humanoid creatures who appear as inhabitants of the village of Conde Petie on the Outer Continent. There is also a village of black mages that have gained sentient thought, who reside in the Outer Continent, as well. The Genomes, an artificial race of soulless vessels inhabit Terra; they will house the once-dormant Terran souls when Terra assimilates Gaia. Summoners are similar to other humans, but with a horn on their forehead. In the story, only two summoners remain (Garnet and Eiko); the others were exterminated when the Terran warship Invincible destroyed their homeland of Madain Sari. Lastly, the Qu are large, seemingly androgynous humanoids, who are recognised as fine gourmands. They inhabit marshlands throughout the world where they catch their main source of nutrition: frogs.
The eight main playable characters in Final Fantasy IX are Zidane Tribal, a member of a group of bandits called Tantalus masquerading as a theatre troupe; Garnet Til Alexandros XVII (alias Dagger), the Princess of Alexandria who has a strange connection to "Eidolons", Vivi Orunitia, a young, timid, and kind black mage trying to find the meaning of his existence; Adelbert Steiner, the Captain of the Knights of Pluto and loyal servant of Alexandria and Princess Garnet; Freya Crescent, a dragon knight from the city of Burmecia looking for her lost love; Quina Quen, a Qu whose master wants him/her to travel the world so that s/he will learn about cuisine; Eiko Carol, a six-year-old girl living in Madain Sari, the lost village of the eidolon summoners, and along with Garnet, one of the last two remaining summoners; and Amarant Coral, a bounty hunter hired to return Garnet to Alexandria. Other main characters include Regent Cid Fabool, the charismatic leader of Lindblum; Queen Brahne, Garnet's mother and the power-hungry Queen of Alexandria; General Beatrix, the powerful leader of the female knights of Alexandria; and antagonist Kuja, an arms dealer and enemy of Gaia. Other minor characters and groups also appear, such as Blank, Zidane's good friend and band partner, but their significance and back-stories are revealed as the game progresses.
Final Fantasy IX begins with Zidane and the Tantalus Theater Troupe kidnapping Princess Garnet during her sixteenth birthday celebration. The group learns that Garnet, who is concerned about Queen Brahne's increasingly erratic behavior, actually wanted to escape to Lindblum to meet with Regent Cid,[q 1] and had planned to stow away on the theatre ship. The Troupe's airship, Prima Vista, is damaged during the escape; it crashes in the Evil Forest, prompting Zidane to continue the trek to Lindblum without the rest of Tantalus.[q 2] Zidane and Garnet are accompanied by Vivi and Steiner, who became entangled with Tantalus during their escape from Alexandria. During their journey, Garnet adopts the alias "Dagger" and struggles to mingle with the locals.[q 3] The group learns of a factory inside the village of Dali that manufactures soulless black mage warriors for Alexandria's use. Brahne dispatches three powerful ones called "Black Waltzes" to retrieve Garnet by force, but their mission ends in failure.[q 4]
Upon arriving in Lindblum, the party discover that Regent Cid has been turned into a bug-like oglop by his wife Hilda for his womanizing behavior.[q 5] Wishing to protect Garnet from Brahne's newfound aggression, he had ordered Tantalus to kidnap her.[q 6] The party decide to rest in Lindblum, meeting up with Freya and participating in the Festival of the Hunt. When the group learns that Alexandria has invaded Burmecia, Zidane investigates the situation with Freya and Vivi, while Garnet and Steiner head to Alexandria to ask Brahne to stop the war.[q 7] Zidane's party discover that Burmecia has been conquered by both Brahne and a mysterious man called Kuja, with many of its citizens seeking refuge in the nearby city of Cleyra. The defence of Cleyra is organised by Zidane and his party whilst Garnet confronts both her mother and Kuja about the invasion. They refuse to listen to her and Queen Brahne has Garnet's eidolons forcibly extracted from her body.[q 8] Brahne, travelling on her airship, uses one of Garnet's eidolons, Odin, to destroy Cleyra. Zidane and company, escaping on Brahne's ship, head to Alexandria to save Garnet, only for Brahne to attack Lindblum, destroying the Industrial district and heavily damaging the Business and Theatre districts with another of Garnet's stolen eidolons, Atomos.[q 9]
Afterward, having arrived at Lindblum, the party are informed by Regent Cid about Brahne's enigmatic arms dealer, Kuja.[q 10] The party travels to the Outer Continent, the location of Kuja's headquarters, through an underground tunnel with the help of Quina.[q 11] There, the party meets a young summoner named Eiko, who assumes herself to be the last survivor of Madain Sari. They also discover a village inhabited by self-aware Black Mages. Their pursuit of Kuja leads them to the nearby Iifa Tree, an entity that dissipates a fighting-stimulant called Mist.[q 12] They learn that Kuja uses Mist to create the Black Mages.[q 13] The party defeats the Iifa Tree's core and stops the Mist from flowing. When the party returns to Madain Sari, they confront Amarant, who was hired by Brahne to apprehend Garnet. Impressed by Zidane's strength, Amarant joins the party, whilst Garnet comes to appreciate that she, like Eiko, is also a summoner from Madain Sari. At the Iifa Tree, Brahne turns against Kuja and attempts to kill him with the eidolon Bahamut.[q 14] However, Kuja uses the airship Invincible, controlled by a mysterious old man, to gain control of Bahamut, killing Brahne and defeating her army.[q 15] Before she dies, Brahne and Garnet have a brief reconciliation.
The party returns to Alexandria, and the city makes preparations for Garnet to be crowned Queen. However, on the very evening of her coronation Kuja assaults Alexandria with Bahamut.[q 16] Eiko and Garnet summon the legendary eidolon Alexander, who overpowers Bahamut. Kuja attempts to control Alexander using the Invincible, but is foiled by the mysterious old man whose name is revealed to be Garland. Garland use the Invincible to destroy Alexander and parts of Alexandria.[q 17] Kuja, still intent on mastering a powerful eidolon to defeat Garland,[q 18] shifts his attention to Eiko.[q 19] The party learns of Kuja's Desert Palace and attempts an assault. However, Kuja imprisons the party and escapes with Eiko to extract her eidolons. During the extraction attempt, Eiko's guardian moogle Mog uses Trance to transform into her true form, the eidolon Madeen, disrupting the process.[q 20] Learning of the powers of Trance,[q 21] Kuja escapes to further his aim of defeating Garland. The party rescues Eiko and also finds Hilda, who turns Cid back into a human.[q 22] He is now able to design an airship for the party that does not need Mist for power.
With Hilda's aid,[q 23] the party pursues Kuja to a hidden place called Terra by opening a portal. In the Terran town of Bran Bal, it is revealed that Terra is a parallel world. The people of Terra had created Garland to orchestrate the process of assimilating Terra into Gaia, as the Terran world was dying. Garland created Genomes—intelligent, sentient beings who lack souls—to become future vessels for the souls of the Terrans.[q 24] The Iifa Tree's existence,[q 25] the phenomenon of Mist,[q 26] the eidolon's destruction,[q 27] and even Kuja and Zidane's true purpose of existence,[q 28] were part of the process. Angered by Garland's motives, the party confronts him. However, Kuja has now obtained enough souls to achieve Trance.[q 29] Trance Kuja ends Garland's life, but not before Garland warns him of his limited lifespan, and that Zidane was the ultimate 'Angel of Death', designed to replace him.[q 30] Enraged by this revelation, Kuja destroys Terra while the party rescues the Genomes and returns to Gaia on the Invincible.
The party discovers that Mist has returned and now envelops all of Gaia. Assisted by the combined forces of Lindblum and Alexandria, they travel to the Iifa Tree, where they are teleported to a mysterious location called Memoria. The spirit of Garland guides the party to Kuja as they aim to prevent his destruction of Gaia. When Kuja is defeated, he uses his Trance abilities to target the Crystal, the source of life,[q 31] prompting the appearance of Necron, the "Eternal Darkness" bent on destroying life.[q 32] After Necron is defeated, Gaia is saved and Memoria and the Iifa Tree dramatically collapse. Although Kuja teleports the party to safety, Zidane returns to save him, and is later assumed to have died with Kuja in the collapse.[q 33]
Some time later, Alexandria has been rebuilt, and Tantalus arrives in Alexandria to perform I Want To Be Your Canary for Queen Garnet. [q 34] Early scenes reveal what has happened to many of the main characters. Steiner and Beatrix have returned to their old posts as royal bodyguards and have also become romantically involved; [q 35] Eiko has been adopted by Regent Cid and Lady Hilda; [q 36] Freya is attempting to start over with her former love, Sir Fratley; [q 37] Amarant is reunited with Lani while on his way to Alexandria; [q 38] Quina has now become the head chef of the Alexandria Castle kitchen; [q 39] and black mages looking identical to Vivi are identified as Vivi's sons. [q 40] In between these scenes a monologue is given by Vivi where he reminisces about the adventures they had together and bids farewell to everyone, implying his death due to his limited lifespan.[q 41] The game reaches its final moments with the play being performed. During the performance, one of the performers removes his robe and reveals himself to be Zidane, saved by Kuja's barrier from the collapsing Iifa Tree.[q 42] Garnet rushes onto the stage, abandoning her dropped Summoner pendant, and embraces Zidane.
Development of Final Fantasy IX began before Square had finished development on Final Fantasy VIII. The game was developed in Hawaii as a compromise to developers living in the United States. As the series' last game on the PlayStation, Sakaguchi envisioned a "reflection" on the older titles of the series. Leading up to its release, Sakaguchi called Final Fantasy IX his favorite Final Fantasy game as "it's closest to [his] ideal view of what Final Fantasy should be". This shift was also a response to demands from fans and other developers. Additionally, the team wanted to create an understandable story with deep character development; this led to the creation of Active Time Events. The scenario for the game was written by Sakaguchi. He began early planning on it around July 1998. Director Hiroyuki Ito had the idea to make the protagonist Zidane flirtatious towards women.
In the game's conceptual stage, the developers made it clear that the title would not necessarily be Final Fantasy IX, as its break from the realism of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII may have alienated audiences. This led fans to speculate that it would be released as a "gaiden" (side story) to the main series. By late 1999, however, Square had confirmed that the game would indeed be published as Final Fantasy IX, and by early 2000, the game was nearly finished. The developers made several adjustments to the game, such as changing the ending seven times. Director Ito had designed the battle system used in the game.
The game's developers sought to make the game's environment more "fantasy-oriented" than its PlayStation predecessors. Since the creators wanted to prevent the series from following a redundant setting, Final Fantasy IX distinctly breaks from the futuristic styles of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII by reintroducing a medieval setting. In the game, steam technology is just beginning to become widely available; the population relies on hydropower or wind power for energy sources, but sometimes harness Mist or steam to power more advanced engines. Continuing with the medieval theme, the game's setting is inspired by Norse and Northern European mythology. According to Ito, "[The development team is] attracted to European history and mythology because of its depth and its drama". The main Final Fantasy IX website says the development of the game's world serves as a culmination of the series by blending the "successful elements of the past, such as a return to the fantasy roots," with newer elements. The creators made the characters a high priority. The return to the series' roots also affected the characters' designs, which resulted in characters with "comic-like looks". Composer Nobuo Uematsu commented that the design staff attempted to give the characters realism while still appearing comic-like. To accomplish this, and to satisfy fans who had become used to the realistic designs of Final Fantasy VIII, the designers stressed creating characters with whom the player could easily relate.
Final Fantasy IX's release was delayed to avoid a concurrent release with then rival Enix's Dragon Quest VII. On October 7, 2000, a demo day for the North American version of Final Fantasy IX was held at the Metreon in San Francisco, California. The first American release of the game was also at the Metreon; limited edition merchandise was included with the game, and fans cosplayed as Final Fantasy characters in celebration of the release. In Canada, a production error left copies of Final Fantasy IX without an English version of the instruction manual, prompting Square to ship copies of the English manual to Canadian stores several days later.
The game was heavily promoted both before and after its release. Starting on March 6, 2000, Final Fantasy IX characters were used in a line of computer-generated Coca-Cola commercials. Figurines of several characters were also used as prizes in Coca-Cola's marketing campaign. That same year, IGN awarded Final Fantasy dolls and figurines for prizes in several of their contests.
Final Fantasy IX was also the benchmark of Square's interactive PlayOnline service. PlayOnline was originally developed to interact with Final Fantasy X, but when those plans fell through it became a strategy site for Final Fantasy IX. The site was designed to complement BradyGames' and Piggyback Interactive's official strategy guides for the game, where players who bought the print guide had access to "keywords" that could be searched for on PlayOnline's site for extra tips and information. This caused fury among buyers of the guide, as they felt cheated for the expensive print guide. The blunder made GameSpy's "Top 5 Dumbest Moments in Gaming" list, and Square dropped the idea for Final Fantasy X, which was under development at the time.
On December 18, 2012 the game was re-released as part of the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box Japanese package.
The music of Final Fantasy IX was created by Nobuo Uematsu, his last exclusive Final Fantasy score until Final Fantasy XIV, released a decade later. In discussions with Ito, Uematsu was told "It'd be fine if you compose tracks for the eight characters, an exciting battle track, a gloomy, danger-evoking piece, and around ten other tracks." However, Uematsu spent an estimated year composing and producing "around 160" pieces for Final Fantasy IX, with 140 appearing in the game.
Nobuo Uematsu composed with a piano and used two contrasting methods: "I create music that fits the events in the game, but sometimes, the event designer will adjust a game event to fit the music I've already written." Uematsu felt Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII had a mood of realism, but Final Fantasy IX was fantasy, so "a serious piece with silly, fun pieces could fit in." He felt the theme was medieval music, and was given a break to travel in Europe for inspiration—"looking at old castles in Germany and so on". The music was not entirely composed in the medieval mode; Uematsu claims "it would be unbalanced" and "a little boring". He aimed for a "simple, warm" style and included uncommon instruments like the kazoo and dulcimer. Uematsu also included motifs from older Final Fantasy games "because Final Fantasy IX was returning to the roots, so to speak" and incorporated ideas like "the old intro for battle music" and arranged the Volcano theme from Final Fantasy and the Pandemonium theme from Final Fantasy II. Tantalus' band is also heard playing "Rufus' Welcoming Ceremony" from Final Fantasy VII near the beginning of the game.
Uematsu was twice reported claiming without hesitation that Final Fantasy IX was his favorite score. The original soundtrack for the game has 110 tracks; an additional soundtrack, Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack PLUS, was released with 42 more new tracks. Like Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy IX features a J-pop ballad, "Melodies of Life". The song was composed by Uematsu, written by Hiroyuki Ito (as Shiomi) in Japanese and Alexander O. Smith in English, and performed by Emiko Shiratori. The song itself was sung in Japanese for the Japanese release of the game, and in English for the North American and European releases.
Although at the time it was a top-seller in Japan. and America, Final Fantasy IX did not sell as well as Final Fantasy VII or Final Fantasy VIII in either Japan or the United States. As of March 31, 2003, the game had sold 5.30 million copies worldwide. The game was voted the 24th-best game of all time by readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu and 42nd by the users of the website GameFAQs.
Final Fantasy IX was released to critical acclaim both in Japan and the US. On the review aggregator Metacritic it has achieved a score of 94%, the highest score for a Final Fantasy game on the site. On GameRankings it has received a score of 93%, the second highest of any Final Fantasy title, behind Final Fantasy III (VI) for SNES.
Across the reviews, praise was given to the graphics and nostalgic elements. Critics pointed out the strength of the game within its gameplay, character development, and visual representation. GameSpot noted that the learning curve is easily grasped, and that the ability system is not as complex as in Final Fantasy VII or Final Fantasy VIII. Each player character possesses unique abilities, which hinders the development of an over-powered character. GameSpot describes the battle system as having a tactical nature and notes that the expanded party allows for more interaction between players and between enemies. Nevertheless, IGN disliked the lengthy combat pace and the repeated battles, describing it as "aggravating", and RPGFan felt the Trance system to be ineffective as the meter buildup is slow and unpredictable, with characters Trancing just before the enemy is killed.
The characters and graphics received positive reviews. Although IGN felt that the in-depth character traits in Final Fantasy IX could be generally found in other Final Fantasy games, it still found the characters to be engaging and sympathetic. GameSpot found the characters, up to their dialogue and traits, amusing and full of humor. IGN also noted that the Active Time Event system helps to expand the player's understanding of the characters' personalities as they question many ideas and emotions. Their semi-deformed appearance, which also covers monsters of every size, contain detailed animation and design. They gave praise to the pre-rendered backgrounds, noting the careful attention given to the artwork, movement in animations and character interactivity. The movies are seen as emotive and compelling, and the seamless transition and incorporation to the in-game graphics helped to move the plot well.
Critics acknowledged that the overall storyline was mainly built upon elements found in previous Final Fantasy installments, such as evil empires and enigmatic villains. The main villain, although considered by GameSpot to be the least threatening in the series, was seen by IGN as an impeccable combination of "Kefka's cackling villainy" and "plenty of the bishonenosity that made Sephiroth such a hit with the ladies". Mixed reactions were given to the audio aspects of the game. Some reviewers, such as RPGFan felt that the music was "uninspired and dull" whilst GamePro praised the audio for evoking "emotions throughout the story, from battles to heartbreak to comedy". Some criticism was leveled on composer Nobuo Uematsu who reused some tracks from past iterations of the series. Still, reviewers have come to agree that this and many other elements are part of the overall effort to create a nostalgic title for fans of the older Final Fantasy titles.
The strategy guide also gained criticism; it urged buyers to log onto an online site to gain the information, instead of providing it within the actual guide. The book's given links are no longer accessible on the PlayOnline website. Tetra Master was seen by GameSpot as inferior and confusing compared to Final Fantasy VIII's minigame Triple Triad, as the rules for it were only vaguely explained in the game and there were very few rewards earned from playing it despite its expansive nature.
Square (2000-11-14). Final Fantasy IX. PlayStation. Square.
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