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 Background infos

Well, it's finally here, the long awaited 9th part of the Final Fantasy serie is here. The hardcore fans who already finished the japanese version (although they often don't understand one word of japanese, like me) and couldn't wait to finally understand the story behind this great RPG. But let's start from the complete beginning :

In Final Fantasy 9, Squaresoft finally found their way back to the original style the FF series was completly made in. While part 7 and 8 more and more had realistic, real-life characters, FF9 is back to full manga graphics, like you can see on the following shots :

       

After starting the game, you'll see another beatiful movie, like you're most probably already used to from the previous parts. Perfect animations make this an enjoyment to be watched again and again. Only critic point : When you're finally sick of the movie, you aren't allowed to skip the intro movie, the same problem gamers already experienced in the previous parts. After the intro, which is like in most other FF games, hard to understand without having played the game ever, you're starting your game as a young boy called Zidane and already encounter your first battle against an enemie with 3 other, so far unknown friends ...

After playing the game for two hours, you've already met most of the games' characters, like the beautiful princess, the knight Steiner and all your friends from the pirate crew. You get the order from the princess herself to protect her from her evil queen mother and of course, you can't decline such a job. While trying to escape from the castle, it becomes a big hectical and you take control of other persons in the meantime (you'll do this fairly often during the game), which shows the complete game from another perspective.

During the complete game you travel through the country and meet many different characters and visit many different places. Like in previous FF parts, you're always able to learn new magic spells and cast powerful spells on yourself to hearl your wounds or on your enemy. Every character has different abilities and learns different speels : While the small magician Vivi most is able to cast spellings, Steiner is able to attack enemies with his sword and cause heavy damage by that. Alltogether you should be able to compile a crew with many different possibilities to defend themself or to attack the enemies.

During the game, you'll also get to several small games you can play which give you aditional earnings and sometimes even attacks. For example the card game found it's way back into the game, but it has changed rules (sorry, don't have a screenshot of the card game yet). There aren't numbers any more, there're arrows. This allows a much complexer gameplay for those and increases the difficulty quite a bit when playing against more difficult enemies - The normal ones are good for beginners though. But there're also other small games like rope jumping or a battle where you can earn plenty of money :

     


Another added features are the so called "Active Time Events". When at another place then the current one there's something happening you should know about, you can take a look there by pressing "Select" after the ATE signal pops up at the bottom on the screen. This can be annoying at certain times but mostly is there to keep the story going.


Basic main characters


At the beginning you already get to learn most of the games main characters, which are listed below :


 
Zidane

 


 
Princess Garnet

 


 
Steiner

 


 
Vivi

 


 
"The bad ones"

 




Game motivation



 Graphic rating

As you can see at the screenshots above, the graphics in Final Fantasy 9 are simply amazing. After talking with many friends we all agreed that this is certainly the best game on the PSX EVER. But, like always, we mostly care how this game runs in emulators and if there're any problems.

And here comes the sad part, no normal user is able to play this game on ANY emulator yet. All the pics taken for this page for made using a special beta of ePSXe calb sent me for assisting him fixing that battle crashing bug you all encountered. It needs some heavy configuration, but it gets things done very well afterwards.

Now please, neither ask me nor the ePSXe developers if you can get this version or when they'll release it - We don't know it yet. When it's of public knowledge, you'll of course find the announcement on PSXEmu.com ! And here're some more great screenshots from the early beginning of the game (you'll encounter much more great effects later on when you're able to summon guardian forces) :

     

     

The MDEC pictures surely look amazing, and the good news about this is : They also play pretty fluent. On my Athlon 800, I was getting constant frame rates most of the times. The sound also played very well during the movies, since the ePSXe team improved the internal SPU plugin which allows a much better sound playback (and less buggy in FF9, where you don't hear sound during many MDECs with other plugins). So the graphic rating can only be a full thumb up, 5/5 points !

Graphics



 Sound rating

The music in this part is done by the same author like in all previous parts. And therefor, not much has changed since Final Fantasy 8 : The sound kicks ass, nearly fits all the time and keeps you interrested. Of course, the OST will be released, it should be out around the 23th of November in the US. To get an impression of the sound, below are two midi files (which are available of public domain), the first one from the battle, the second one is the main theme of FF9 (which is available in 3 versions). Not only the music but also the sound is very well done, so all we can do for this section like for the previous two is to give a 5/5 points rating !

Sound/Music rating



 Final word

Sadly enough, no currently available emulator plays this game yet, but the next version of ePSXe will surely hit the net before X-Mas again. Neither bleem!, nor VGS are currently able to only get into the game itself (yes, although v1.41 of VGS played the japanese version), the available ePSXe version crashes once you enter a battle.

As for the final rating, it's not difficult to guess it : Of course, Final Fantasy 9 gets 5/5 points, since Squaresoft finally managed to get back to the old gameplay we all loved so much in part 5 and 6 (and particularly in 7 as well). The graphics are amazing, the gameplay is fun and exitment at the same moment ... there's only one single point I noticed as disturbing, and that was the short gameplay time - Experienced players will be through this game within 40 hours. But hey, there're so many side quest that it's worth while being played a second and maybe a third time again.

So in case you have a private and normal life, arm your playstation, tell the post office and all friends and neighbours you don't want to get disturbed, put the number of the pizza service and your telephone next to your TV and get this game now - It'll keep you exited for hours and days, belive me !


Gameplay
ePSXe rating



Quick facts


Final Fantasy 9
Buy for $39.99

 Motivation
5
 Graphics
5
 Sound
5
 Gameplay
5
   
 ePSXe
5


Pro
Great graphics
Very well made movies
Fantastic storyline
much more ... read the review

Contra
Game is a bit short

Result
Most probably the best game for the playstation that has ever been released. Absolutly amazing !


       
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