Sunday, October 9, 2016

TEXT PLAY: Final Fantasy IX (PlayStation, 2000, Square-Enix): Issue #002: Zidane Vs. the Evil Forest

We're getting some serious Army of Darkness stuff going on here, and we're not even dealing with undead monsters yet.

Turns out Garnet was thrown clear of the ship when it came down, and it seems that Vivi and Steiner were thrown clear, too. Of course, as things start off here, nobody knows that for sure, because we've got Blank and a few others looking for her in the wreckage, and some guy named Zenero tells Zidane to go looking for her in the woods after Cinna explains the situation.

We get to see what happened to Garnet and Vivi in another of the games Active Time events, telling us where to go looking for her in a moment. By the time Zidane gets there, Steiner has shown up as well, and Garnet has been scooped up by a minion of what will be the boss at the end of this dungeon, a plantlike thing that can really kick some ass.

When Zidane and Steiner try to rescue Garnet, we're introduced to the limit break system in this game. It's an interesting mechanic that allows each character special moves unique to whatever class their character is supposed to be. Zidane's got something called Dyne, which gives him some interesting and powerful moves. Steiner's power level just goes over 9000, to quote the overused meme. Vivi's got something called Double Black, which lets him use his black magic twice in a turn.

Before they can get back to the ship, Vivi also gets captured by one of the plant minions, but with help from his fire spells, Zidane and Steiner manage to get him loose again. The downside here is that when the minion dies, it hoses Steiner and Vivi down with some sort of gas that makes them hosts for monster seeds that will kill them if not treated quickly.

The good news is that Blank has medicine for exactly that back at the ship, and he uses it on them when they get back. While all that's going on, Zidane decides he needs to go rescue the princess, and goes to talk to Baku about it. Baku says no, for a good reason, of course. He's looking after his crew, which is something any good captain would do.

At the same time, Zidane makes a good point as well, saying that they didn't go to all the trouble of “kidnapping” Garnet only to drop her at the first sign of trouble. All the same, Baku tells him that if he really wants to go looking for her all the same, for whatever reasons he may have, he'll have to leave Tantalus and go it on his own. To do that, he'll have to prove his strength by beating on Baku. It's an easy enough fight, and Baku even has a few goodies for Steiner.

One thing I've noticed about the goings on in this little part of the game is that there's quite a lot of stuff specifically for Steiner here, and not a lot of stuff that might be good for anybody else. Sure, there's a few things they can use, but it's not really good stuff, all things considered.

Along the way, we also see Steiner find the doll of Garnet, Ruby realizing she's stuck in Alexandria for now, and Cinna pining for the doll Steiner found earlier, all in ATEs.

As for the trip through the forest, we get enough fights to level our three heroes up a little bit before the fight with the plant boss. I know all these boss monsters have names, but I'd forgotten how to find that out for this particular fight. At first, it seems it's just going to be Zidane, Steiner, and Vivi for this fight, which would have been doable with help from a dual tech move where Steiner gets black magic on his sword from Vivi. Fortunately, Blank shows up to give Zidane a map to Lindblum, though it's essentially the world map for the game, and joins the fight, which makes things easier.

When the monster goes down, it hits Garnet with the same gas that its minions used on Steiner and Vivi earlier. Even though the party does have the medicine to fix that problem, Garnet's still weak from the ordeal. That means that Steiner's gotta carry her out as the party is chased from the forest by weird rose monsters. As they escape, the forest begins to turn to stone. The party members escape alive, but Blank gets trapped and petrified after he tosses the map to Zidane. He had quite the arm, given how far Zidane had to run to actually get the map.

Once out, the party rests for a night, and the next morning, Zidane tells Garnet they're going to get Blank out of there somehow. We'll be back, of course, but not for awhile.

From there, we're to head south to an Ice Cavern that might lead out of the valley, which is filled with something called Mist, which spawns monsters and other creepy things. I should have just saved when I got there, but because I'm a dumbass about things in this game, I got to running around in a forest by the entrance to the cave and wound up getting into one of the special battles that happen from time to time in such places throughout the game. In this case, there's a quizmaster who asks about where the Prima Vista was built. It's a true or false question regarding some of the flavor text that I know I read, but still got the question wrong, which is too bad, because there's some cool stuff to be had if the questions are answered correctly. There are others like this, as well as some with usually friendly versions of monsters who want a specific amount of certain items to give up their rewards. I know there's one such battle where it just takes your shit, but I can't really remember what it is right now.

Once I got done messing that up, I decided it was time to just save and get on with the Ice Cavern next time. It'll be groovy!

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