Sunday, July 2, 2017

TEXT PLAY: Final Fantasy IX (PlayStation, 2000, Square-Enix): Issue #030: The Iilfa Tree, Take One

It's been almost a month again, but real life takes priority, I'm afraid.

With that in mind, I really gotta say, the Marty Robbins song I was going to try to reference in the title really seems to fit right now, in some ways, anyway. I just hope I can get as reasonably happy ending myself.

Anyway, when I left off last time, we were at the start of the Iifa Tree. Like I think I might have mentioned in at least one previous post, this is kind of a recurring thing in a lot of Square games I've played or even owned over the years. There's an entire series called the Mana series in the Western market. I actually own the Secret and Legend titles, and I do believe that one got started on the Game Boy as a Final Fantasy spinoff series. I recall having done at least one article about those at some point in the past, as well as a Text Play of the Legend title back in 2012. I'm going to be too lazy to provide links because, as always, it's a little too late to be working on this when I'm actually doing it.

As this section starts, Eiko explains a little bit about how things are for her tribe of summoners in the game. She says that her people can communicate with their summons and other wild beasts by way of their horns. Eiko can also use this technique to break the seal, which turns into the Ruby accessory, which gives her the Carbunkle summon. I'm really not sure if this is one that Dagger gets, too. I'll have to check that next chance I get.

Eiko says the spoken part of the spell was just for show, and that it didn't take as long to get in because the summon wanted her to get a move on with all this. I know the feeling. I really need to get a move on myself right now.

Once inside, there are a lot of undead monsters. Or, maybe not “a lot”, really, since I only ran into four separate kinds of monsters, and two were undead types. There was one tentacle kind of beast that was listed as stone type. Then there was a zombie dragon monster with high HP, but this one's not so bad to fight, since about the worst thing it does is a party-targeting special attack called level 5 death, which kills any party member who's level is a multiple of five. The worst of the four were the full-on Zombies, because they have this melt attack they do if you don't kill them in the first couple rounds and always seem to attack in groups of three. There was one plant sort of thing that I almost forgot about because I only ran into one of them this time.

About halfway down the tree, there's a save point that I took advantage of. It'll factor in again in a bit, but for now, I'll say that now that all's said and done, I kind of wish I'd just stopped there for the night and made this a two-session entry instead of a two-parter.

Past the save point, there's an elevator that the party debates how to go about using. Zidane wants to go alone first to see what's down there, but once Eiko insists on going with him, the whole party goes ahead as well. The bit after is a little darker and harder to navigate, and once the party gets to the end of this section, they notice how the part that's to come is much brighter. So bright, in fact, that they can't actually see the bottom. Fortunately, there's another elevator there. Eiko stepped on to test it while everyone else was looking for the bottom. She says the whole party has to be on it to get it to work. On the way down, they discuss what's going on and that there's more and more evidence that there's a link between Kuja, the Mist, and the Black Mages. There's also a couple fights.

The discussion of it all continues at the bottom of the tree, where the party discovers what looks like a fluid of some sort that the Mist rises from. Zidane, Vivi and Dagger are looking at their surroundings, but Eiko's looking at Zidane as much as anything else. Still a little creepy, if you ask me.

There's a box with an Elixer down there that'll come in handy. Once that's collected and everybody's been talked to, there's a point off to the left that triggers the boss battle for this dungeon. It's against something called Soulcage. This monster explains that it's been causing the Mist as a byproduct of it's goal of fostering the fighting instinct amongst world leaders in order to cause war and death. It doesn't go into why, exactly, it wants to do that, but says that he knows of Kuja and his using the Mist to make Black Mages.

If I hadn't made the stupid decision to start this after midnight, I might have made a second attempt at beating this thing, since it kicked my ass rather handily, in line with it's saying that it wasn't near the end of it's thousand-year life span. But, as I said, it's late, so I'll end this here and just come back to it another time. Hopefully, it'll be less than a month this time. See you then, and until then, stay safe, keep gaming, have fun, and DFTBA!

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