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Final Fantasy IX
Released in July 2000 in Japan and November 2000 in North America, Final Fantasy IX was the last Final Fantasy for the PS1. It brought back many classic elements of the Final Fantasy series, such as crystals, castles, and character classes, and is also notable for having references to every previous Final Fantasy game. The story starts out with kidnapping a princess, but, as is typical, turns into a quest to save the world.

 

Run: 8:32:xx by Kari 'Essentia' Johnson, done in 68 segments

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I would like to thank the following people:

Final Fantasy IX is one of my favorite Final Fantasy games, and I thought it was a shame that there wasn't a run for it on SDA, especially since it sort of has a built-in speedrun for the Excalibur II anyway. This is quite different from an Excalibur II challenge, though.

This run was done on the NTSC version of the game and played on a PS2 with the fast disk speed and smooth texturing options set. This run does not skip FMVs, because it isn't allowed by SDA's rules. I also did not use the gold chocobo bug (where you skip a lot of the plot by getting a gold chocobo early), mainly because it doesn't seem to work on my version of the game, but also because it doesn't seem to be worth it.

You might wonder why there are so many segments. The main reason was to avoid random encounters; it's amazing how you can get through this game with very few of them. Each time you get into an encounter, it wastes at least 30 seconds, whereas saving and reloading takes about 14-18 seconds; thus, with one exception (in the Ice Cavern), it was faster to save than to get into an encounter. Besides one planned encounter to learn Limit Glove, I get into only 10 random encounters in this entire run. The chance to get into an encounter is reset every time you enter a new screen, so whether or not you get an encounter on one screen doesn't affect whether or not you'll get one in the next screen. With two exceptions, the only places I allowed encounters were on screens where I had never made it through without any encounters (after trying a whole lot, of course), and then I allowed only one. The exceptions are the Iifa Tree and Ipsen's Castle, where those segments depended on a lot of luck for the bosses.

I don't ever go out of the way to level up, and high levels aren't really needed on this run anyway. Even at low levels you can still deal lots of damage by having strong weapons, using killer abilities (e.g. Devil Killer, Man Eater), and taking advantage of elemental weaknesses. (If you want an example of this, watch the last segment, where a party with an average of level 24 defeats Kuja and Necron pretty quickly.)

Money was not really a problem in this run. To make sure I had enough, I got 10,000 gil at the beginning for doing the swordfight scene perfect, gave Quina the Millionaire ability as soon as possible, picked up two Angel Earrings (which sell for 10,000 gil each), and picked up a lot of gil hidden around (although I probably picked up more than I should have).

My goal for this run was sub-8:30, which I missed by just a few minutes. While I didn't make any mistakes that I would call "major", it's definitely possible to get below 8:30 with more luck. This would require getting fewer encounters, more preemptive battles, and more critical hits, all of which require a lot of luck. So lots of luck to anyone who tries to do it!

Comments by segment:

  1. Start - Alexandria/Steeple
    I wanted to steal the Mage Masher from Baku; not only does this save time by not having to pick it up in the Ice Cavern, but its higher damage speeds up the next few battles as well. The likelihood of stealing it quickly, however, is pretty small. After many tries, this was the quickest that I was able to steal it (took one extra turn). When you follow Puck into the steeple, if you're fast enough he won't actually tell you to keep up; usually I'm fast enough, but this time I wasn't.

  2. Alexandria/Steeple - Prima Vista/Crash Site
    I really should have retried this segment until no one used any stage magic, but oh well. (I think I was more lenient at the beginning of this run and got stricter as I got further.) The sword fight was perfect and I got 10,000 gil out of it. The first two battles with Steiner go quicker with the Mage Masher equipped. I don't have Cinna attack because he doesn't do enough damage to make it worth it, although I didn't realize until after I'd gone on to further segments that I should have had him steal a Silk Shirt. (I buy one in Dali instead.) In the fight against Steiner and the Bomb, it's quickest to kill off everyone except Garnet so you don't have to sit through their dialogue.

  3. Prima Vista/Crash Site - Prima Vista/Crash Site (after fighting Baku)
    Both Prison Cage battles go nice and quick. In the Baku fight, I needed him to attack Zidane 3 times in order to fill up his trance gauge as much as possible; this makes the Sealion battle go faster.

  4. Prima Vista/Crash Site - Evil Forest/Spring
    This segment is only about a minute long, but you wouldn't believe how hard it is to get through those three screens without any encounters.

  5. Evil Forest/Spring - Gunitas Basin
    Against the Plant Brain, Zidane commits suicide so that Blank appears immediately. The boss then goes down in one round. Zidane is revived afterwards so that he'll gain a level. I wanted to fight 4 Plant Spiders, and I did, but unfortunately they all got a turn before Vivi did. It's nice that you can't have any encounters as long as the words "Mist Continent" are on the screen, but you can't save as long as they're there either.

  6. Gunitas Basin - Ice Cavern/Cave
    This is the one place where it takes longer to save than to get into an encounter (because of the conversation with the moogle and the tutorial afterwards). I saved here, however, to preserve my sanity against Sealion (see next segment). Since I was saving here, though, I made sure not to get any encounters throughout the entire Ice Cavern.

  7. Ice Cavern/Cave - Nolrich Heights
    The boss battle here is annoying in that even if you do everything correctly, your last attack may or may not do enough damage to beat it (due to randomness). The Black Waltz stays alive as long as possible so he'll help to fill up Zidane's trance bar. After taking the Black Waltz out, Zidane needs to attack the Sealion once from the front row, once from the back row, and steal the Mythril Dagger, all before getting a trance. (Doing any more damage than this will cause the Sealion to wipe you out with Blizzara or Tidal Wave.) I was very lucky to steal the Mythril Dagger on the first try, but then of course I made a mistake. The battle could have ended a turn earlier if I hadn't used that last Potion; I wasn't even planning to use it, but I must have had a brain cramp. Still, Zidane got his trance about 4 turns earlier than usual, plus I got no encounters in the rest of the Ice Cavern, which make up for it.

  8. Nolrich Heights - Dali/Storage Area
    I chose to end this segment at the Dali storage area because the next segment is so long. Dagger doesn't appear in the weapon shop until you visit all those places and talk to Vivi. The Mage Masher and Feather Hats that I buy are for synthesis later on, and I have to buy a Silk Shirt since I forgot to steal one from Steiner in segment 2. I've got avoiding those kids in the town down to a science.

  9. Dali/Storage Area - Lindblum Castle/Dragon's Gate
    This is the longest segment of this run. I could have split this in Lindblum, in order to get a faster time in the festival hunt; however, any time saved from that would not be enough to offset the time of saving and reloading. As Steiner, you have to wait for Morrid to walk so far down the steps before he'll enter his hut, so I have just enough time to pick up 135 gil and a Hi-Potion. Observing the barrel is about 6 seconds faster than poking it with the sword, but may not be as humorous. I never did quite figure out Black Waltz 2; most of the time he casts Fira on everyone, but sometimes he doesn't. I needed to steal a Steepled Hat here (or so I thought--see Black Waltz 3 battle) so that I wouldn't have to visit the weapon shop in Lindblum. The battle went all right, I guess. Black Waltz 3 went perfect, although I was expecting Zidane to steal a Linen Cuirass (but not depending on it). The Zidane loses the Festival of the Hunt when he is unable to distinguish between foe and self, but at least Freya will share her Coral Ring. Buying 11 Potions and 11 Phoenix Downs was for safety reasons, but looking back, I probably didn't need to buy them.

  10. Lindblum Castle/Dragon's Gate - Eunorus Plains
    Now onto some side events that will end up saving time. Getting Quina allows for using Limit Glove to significantly shorten some boss fights. Leaving Quale's hut to the right prevents Quina from asking to catch frogs.

  11. Eunorus Plains - King Ed Plains
    I stop by the forest and get a chocobo out of it, who will help to avoid random encounters in a few spots later on. There's no need to buy Gysahl Greens from Mene, since I'll be picking up what I need.

  12. King Ed Plains - Eunorus Plains (after learning Limit Glove)
    Getting Limit Glove with level 2 characters isn't the easiest thing to do. This could have been better in a lot of ways. First of all, it would have been faster to fight 2 mandragoras instead of 3. Second, there's no reason at all for Quina to gain any levels, so it would have been better if s/he had died in place of Vivi. Third, Freya and Quina took some extra turns, which wasted time. I probably could have redone this segment, but I was just happy to finally get Limit Glove.

  13. Eunorus Plains - Gizamaluke/Cavern
    The Potions I used were a precaution, but I probably shouldn't have used any on Zidane or Freya. It's fastest to have only Zidane attack the black mages since he can kill them in one hit. Quina must die for the next segment to work. You have to talk to the first moogle or they won't give you the bell (in the next segment), but I accidentally talked to him an extra time.

  14. Gizamaluke/Cavern - Daines-horse Basin
    It can take quite a few resets, but it's nice that Phoenix Downs can revive you with 1 HP. Gizamaluke seems pretty pathetic here. I kind of forgot what I was supposed to do right after Gizamaluke since it took so many tries to get this far. It took me a moment to realize I was talking to the same guy over and over (rub-a-dub!), and I had to backtrack a bit to pick up the Multina Racket. So this little section could have been better, but it didn't lose very much time.

  15. Daines-horse Basin - Burmecia/Vault
    The black mage battle is something we've seen before. Me like Burmecia with no random encounters. There's one point where I lost my grip on the control stick--see if you can spot it!

  16. Burmecia/Vault - Start of DISC 2
    The battle against Beatrix...well, let's just say that I forgot the battle doesn't end right after Limit Glove. (Poor Zidane, no one likes him...) Still, I stole the Chain Plate like I wanted, so I kept this segment. End of Disc 1!

  17. Start of DISC 2 - Bentini Heights
    Marcus gets humiliated when Dagger deals more damage than he does to Black Waltz 3. (By the way, this is Dagger's final equipment for the rest of the run.) I pick up 1610 gil from a treasure chest on the way out.

  18. Bentini Heights - Gargan Roo/Entrance
    I watch the first ATE in order to get a Power Belt (500 gil is a reasonable price to pay). The Mage Masher, Leather Wrists, and Glass Armlets are for synthesis later on, and the Magus Hat is to raise Vivi's ice damage. There happens to be 2225 gil in front of the auction house, which is mine for the taking. Not much else here besides skipping storyline.

  19. Gargan Roo/Entrance - Daines-horse Basin
    You wouldn't think that getting through Gargan Roo with no encounters would be that hard, but it seems to have a higher encounter rate. Ralvurahva cooperated this time by not killing Steiner (at least, not until it didn't matter anymore).

  20. Daines-horse Basin - Cleyra/Tree Trunk
    No encounters; picked up Magician Shoes to boost Vivi's magic attacks.

  21. Cleyra/Tree Trunk - Cleyra/Inn
    Quina could have learned Auto-Life in this segment, but I decided against it. The only fight where it would be useful is against the Antlion, but with some luck it isn't needed at all. It took only one try to get out of the quicksand hole this time. Lots of stuff to pick up in Cleyra: 970 gil, Thunder Gloves, Gysahl Greens, Yellow Scarf, and 1250 gil respectively. The Chain Mail is for synthesis later on; I buy it here instead of at Treno so that Steiner could equip optimum without equipping the Chain Mail (saves a tiny bit of time). Unforunately, I accidentally talked to the priest in the cathedral twice, even though I was specifically trying not to.

  22. Cleyra/Inn - Cleyra/Inn (after Antlion)
    Without Auto-Life, Quina must get exactly 1 HP in one of two ways (both of which require a lot of luck): by being killed and revived with a Phoenix Down or by Antlion using Sandstorm (which reduces HP to <= 10). It would have been better if one of these had happened first thing in the battle, but at least this really didn't take any longer than if I had used Auto-Life. (Besides, this battle took MANY resets to get.)

  23. Cleyra/Inn - Cleyra/Cathedral
    First, I pick up some Gysahl Greens and 900 gil that I skipped earlier. Once again, Quina must die. (Don't worry, s/he's used to it by now.) The battles went pretty much as I expected; some were quicker than others, but everything went down in one hit. I save all the Cleyrans because I'm nice (and it's quicker than not saving them).

  24. Cleyra/Cathedral - Red Rose/Cabin
    Beatrix goes down the same way as last time. I really should have stolen the Ice Brand from her, though. Since I didn't, I have to spend a little extra time in Alexandria Castle picking it up. Poor Cleyra...*sniff*

  25. Red Rose/Cabin - Alexandria Castle/Chapel
    This is the fastest way I've found to escape with Steiner and Marcus. I believe it's possible to avoid both guards, but I've never been able to do it. So I fight one battle and kill off Marcus so Steiner will gain one extra level.

    I'd make a joke about all the Alexandrian guards here being blonde, but I have blonde hair myself, so... Against Zorn and Thorn, Vivi shouldn't have had to take a turn, but annoyingly, Zidane didn't do as much damage as he normally does.

  26. Alexandria Castle/Chapel - Alexandria Castle/Chapel (after a bunch of battles)
    Finally there's an actual fight against Beatrix, but it still goes pretty quickly. When I practiced this segment, Beatrix always killed Bandersnatches in one hit, but of course when I record, she doesn't. (Grr!) It would have been nice if Freya hadn't died so she could get some more experience, but I dealt with it. Zidane gets to level 13 at the end of this segment, and just "happens" to have max HP that ends with 7! (This was planned, of course.)

  27. Alexandria Castle/Chapel - Eunorus Plains
    It takes 2 Blizzaras and one attack from Zidane to take out Ralvuimago; Zidane attacks last so it doesn't go into its compact form. Stealing the Adaman Vest was a nice surprise, meaning I don't have to buy it later. Ramuh is useless (as well as all other eidolons), so he gets skipped. It's very easy to not trigger the conversation with the people standing around the black mage in Lindblum, but I guess I had to make a mistake in this segment somehow... Because of my earlier shopping, I don't have to visit the weapon shop in Lindblum. The Exploda is for Lucky Seven, the Glass Buckles are for Power Belts, and the Power Belts are for...well, power! (Well, and also for MP Attack and Counter.) This time I save on the world map instead of at the moogle near the exit because it can be difficult to get to Qu's Marsh without any encounters (as I found out in segment 10), and the next segment is already annoying enough.

  28. Eunorus Plains - Fossil Roo/Cavern
    There are a couple small mistakes in this segment that bother me. I can dodge the pendulums just fine almost every time, but of course the time I do the worst is when I get lucky with Lucky Seven against Lani on the first try. (In case you don't know what Lucky Seven does, it randomly deals 7, 77, 777, or 7777 damage if Zidane's HP ends with 7, and deals 1 damage otherwise.)

  29. Fossil Roo/Cavern - Dyshnose Shores
    A pretty boring segment, if you ask me. I get through Fossil Roo with no encounters. As long as the words "Outer Continent" are on the screen, you won't get into encounters, so I manage to get pretty far before saving.

  30. Dyshnose Shores - Magdalene Forest
    Chocobo = no encounters, which I like. I pick up 2700 gil, and then follow a black mage out of town.

  31. Magdalene Forest - Mountain Path/Roots
    It's pretty much impossible to get through the forest without any encounters, so this is the first segment where I allow one (besides the one encounter for acquiring Limit Glove, that is). I pick up Gysahl Greens in the chocobo stable, and because of earlier shopping, I'm able to avoid going to the synthesis shop (which would have triggered a time-wasting conversation). If I would have planned a bit better, though, I would have bought the 2 Glass Armlets earlier when I bought the others in Treno; they aren't needed until Disc 4, but this is the last chance I'll have to buy them. Magic Armlet and Magician Cloak are for raising Vivi's magic and ice damage, respectively, and the Headgear is for Undead Killer. (Although Ritual Hat also provides Undead Killer and has higher defense, you'll see in segment 37 why I bought Headgear.) Too bad there isn't time for Vivi and Quina to get married... The only mistake of this segment is right at the end, where instead of talking to the save moogle I accidentally talked to Stiltzkin as well as accidentally bought his deal for 666 (coincidence?) gil.

  32. Mountain Path/Roots - Banyano Shores
    Despite getting this segment many times in practice, once I started recording it took forever to get. 7777 damage isn't quite enough to take down Hilgigars, so Vivi helps with Blizzara. Zidane speeds things up by asking Dagger to come with him to the Eidolon Wall before he actually decides to have her come. (The dialogue is messed up because of this, but it's too fast to read it here.) Poor Vivi looks like he's getting whiplash during the dinner conversation.

  33. Banyano Shores - Pualei Plains
    No encounters on the way to the Iifa Tree--short and sweet.

  34. Pualei Plains - Iifa Tree/Roots
    This segment was a fluke, but a good one. The Iifa Tree has one of the highest encounter rates in the entire game. Previously, the fewest encounters I'd gotten during this segment was 3, and I was about to accept that when Lag.Com urged me to try to get it down to 2 encounters. So I tried just a couple more times, and somehow I got really lucky and got through with only 1 encounter!

  35. Iifa Tree/Roots - Pualei Plains
    This was one of the hardest segments of this run. It's possible to get through with only 1 random encounter, but so many other things depend on luck as well that I finally gave in and allowed 2 random encounters. Zidane MUST have his HP end in 7 at the end of this segment, which pretty much means he can't get hurt during the two forced encounters. Zidane also must be at level 17 at the end of Disc 2, so in order for him to get enough experience, the first forced encounter had to be against 3 zombies instead of 2 (it can randomly be either) and Dagger needed to be dead (which I didn't have to worry about, thanks to the previous segment). Finally, Soulcage's first move is always L.5 Death, which will kill Zidane at this point, and so I needed the first turn in that battle. Needless to say, I was very happy when all of this finally happened.

  36. Pualei Plains - Lucid Plains
    Same as segment 33, except backwards.

  37. Lucid Plains - Banyano Shores
    This is why Zidane's HP had to end with 7 at the end of segment 35. When Zidane's defense is exactly 21, Amarant's attacks will always be a multiple of 10, so I don't have to worry about Lucky Seven getting messed up. With the Survival Vest that I pick up and his other equipment, his defense becomes 21. It takes one extra attack after doing 7777 damage to finish Amarant, so you can see that this battle is the fastest scenario. Although Amarant isn't any more useful than Dagger in the upcoming battles, he needs to gain some exp. and AP, so I put him in the active party.

  38. Banyano Shores - Pualei Plains
    If you've watched segment 33, this will seem very familiar. The only difference is I do some equipping in the menu at the end.

  39. Pualei Plains - Iifa Tree/Tree Trunk
    I was unlucky with the first Mistodon battle in that both Mistodons got a turn before my characters. Still, I got through the first part of this segment with no encounters, so I'm not complaining.

  40. Iifa Tree/Tree Trunk - Start of DISC 3
    I've never gotten past this part without at least one Mistodon battle, so I made sure it was ONLY one. End of Disc 2!

  41. Start of DISC 3 - Treno/Knight's House
    This segment is mostly skipping storyline. The only things of note are picking up 3927 gil at the dock and tossing all my cards in order to get better ones from Tot.

  42. Treno/Knight's House - Gegalrich Shores
    The card game is not one of my favorite parts of this game, and I've never been that great at it. I depended more on luck than skill to win the tournament--and I needed to win in order to get the Rebirth Ring. I also acquire some Angel Earrings when Dagger gives the correct orders, which are only good to sell for 10,000 gil later. I avoid the first Mistodon battle by luring it over so it gets stuck, which can be kind of tricky. All the battles with Steiner and Beatrix go well; it's too bad that Steiner's automatic trance in the last battle is useless. The rest of the segment is just a ton of storyline. It doesn't matter at all who I choose for my party at the end, because it's going to be changing again soon anyway.

  43. Gegalrich Shores - Kiera Desert
    Once again, Choco saves the day.

  44. Kiera Desert - Blairsurpass Plains
    Here is the first time where choosing the right party really matters. I can't say for certain that I made the best decision here, but it seemed to work pretty well. Ark has more HP than Valia Pira, so the group going to Oeilvert gets more heavy hitters. The screen right before getting onto the Hilda Garde 1 is another screen that's impossible to get through with no encounters--and they make you go through it 3 times! Too bad the words "Forgotten Continent" disappear before you get a chance to walk. The chocobo tracks are pretty far away, so I have to walk quite a ways before saving.

  45. Blairsurpass Plains - Oeilvert/Outside
    This is the last time we'll be seeing Choco...

  46. Oeilvert/Outside - Oeilvert/Star Display
    It may not seem like it, but the hardest screen in Oeilvert to get no encounters on is the very first screen. I had a little trouble in the room with the airship holograms, but nothing too major. The only treasure I pick up is the Shield Armor.

  47. Oeilvert/Star Display - Desert Palace/Rack
    This here is another very annoying segment. The two things Ark could do to mess things up were to use Propeller Wind (which would confuse everyone since no one has Clear-headed) or Photon on Zidane (reduces HP to 1). At least I was able to get Zidane's defense just right again so that Ark's other attacks always dealt damage that's a multiple of 10. I wasted some time using Lucky Seven a second time, but other than that this battle went very well. I really wish the hedgehog pie minigame weren't right after the Ark battle, though; of course, I got nervous and lost about 20 seconds.

  48. Desert Palace/Rack - Desert Palace/Library
    The only treasure picked up here is the Shield Armor. It's not too difficult to get through here without any encounters.

  49. Desert Palace/Library - Gulug Mountains
    Since I picked up the Shield Armor in the last segment, Valia Pira doesn't get its defense enhancement; now it takes one Limit Glove and two attacks from Freya to finish it. I was VERY lucky to get only two encounters in this segment (I was expecting more). It takes about the same amount of time to kill one Ogre as it does to Flee. The first time that I was able to change my party, I put Freya in, hoping that she would gain a level from some Ogres. At the end, I put Vivi in the party so that it wouldn't bring up the change party screen in the next segment when he forces his way in.

  50. Gulug Mountains - Esto Gaza/Terrace
    There are some chocobo tracks nearby, but unfortunately I don't have any more Gysahl Greens. For some reason, you can get attacked in the first screen of Esto Gaza, which is kind of annoying (didn't happen here, though). During the flashback, you have to wait for the scene to complete, so it doesn't matter how fast you skip through the dialogue. This is the first time I don't have enough money to buy everything I need; luckily Angel Earrings sell for 10,000 gil.

  51. Esto Gaza/Terrace - Hadris Basin
    By my calculations, I figured I didn't need to pick up the 9793 gil near the entrance of Mount Gulug, but not picking it up proved to be a small problem later on. Steiner equips the Coral Sword and Coral Ring in order to learn Charge! and Man Eater, and Amarant equips the Chain Plate so he'll have Devil Killer. I was hoping Amarant would inflict Venom on one of the Red Ragons, but unfortunately it didn't happen; however, I was happy just to defeat them. I couldn't have asked for a better Meltigemini battle, although I wasted a turn healing Amarant. Besides Steiner, it doesn't matter who goes to Ipsen's Castle (although it'd be foolish to put Amarant in the group at this point). At the very end of this segment is one of my worst mistakes of this run; it just shows that I should have practiced flying from Lindblum to Ipsen's Castle...

  52. Hadris Basin - Ipsen's Castle/Small Room
    Amarant leaves, but it doesn't affect my current party.

  53. Ipsen's Castle/Small Room - Ipsen's Castle/Small Room
    I had been planning to steal the Orichalcon from Taharka, but this proved so difficult that I finally gave up on it (which caused some strategy changes later on). I don't think it's possible to defeat Taharka much faster than this. (Yay for Heat!) Since I was so lucky with Taharka, I allowed one encounter on the way back.

  54. Ipsen's Castle/Small Room - Triquai Plains
    This time I made sure I practiced flying the airship between the shrines before recording this so I wouldn't have another blunder like at the end of segment 51...

  55. Triquai Plains - Blairsurpass Plains
    If I'd had the Orichalcon, it would have taken 3 hits from Zidane and 1 Limit Glove to finish the Earth Guardian. Without the Orichalcon, the fastest way is 2 Limit Gloves and one hit from Zidane, which is a bit slower due to Limit Glove's long animation. Zidane equips Gaia Gear to absorb earth damage and the Ribbon to halve the other elemental damage. At the end of this segment, Steiner, Freya, and Amarant are put into the party so that I could get their equipment ready for the battles in Pandemonium.

  56. Blairsurpass Plains - Bran Bal/Storage
    It turns out that I shouldn't have put Steiner into the party in the previous segment; his equipment and abilities didn't need to be changed, and he leaves the party anyway at Bran Bal, forcing me to replace him. So I switch him out at the first opportunity. I pick up a Demon's Vest on the way to Bran Bal, and then Angel Earrings and a Wing Edge.

  57. Bran Bal/Storage - Pandemonium/Hall
    I have to buy the Orichalcon here since I didn't steal it from Taharka, which I hadn't planned on. (Costs 17,000 gil, ouch!) The 3 forced battles in Pandemonium can really be a pain, but here they worked out well. In all 3 of them, the enemy gets healed completely whenever one of the characters joins the battle. No one except Quina and Dagger could die in these battles, because this is the last chance for them to get experience.

    Amdusias: Zidane's trance here was not planned (in my practice run he got his trance at the end of Disc 2), but it actually turned out to be helpful. Freya shows up after Amdusias flies up, and Amarant shows up after you deal enough damage (usually 2 hits, but only 1 hit if Zidane has a trance). Then I wait for it to come back down because attacking it while it's in the air provokes a counterattack.

    Abadon: Zidane shows up after 2 rounds, so no point in doing anything until then. I was lucky that it missed with its physical attack.

    Shell Dragon: Dagger shows up when Zidane's HP is critical; unfortunately, this took 2 turns longer than usual. It was also unlucky that Zidane missed with his counterattack.

  58. Pandemonium/Hall - Pandemonium/Maze
    This is the last time I go shopping. Since I didn't pick up the gil in Mount Gulug and since I had to buy the Orichalcon, I have to sell a few extra things to have enough money to buy all that I need. The heavy hitters get weapon upgrades, and the Coronets absorb wind (very helpful against Nova Dragon). I wasn't exactly sure how many Phoenix Downs I would need in Memoria, so I used up the rest of my money buying them.

  59. Pandemonium/Maze - Start of DISC 4
    There's no time to equip anyone in Disc 4 before Nova Dragon, so they need to be prepared for that battle as well as the next 3 battles here. The 3 bosses here (Silver Dragon, Garland, and Kuja) are all actually pretty easy. Garland is usually more annoying with casting Stop a lot, but here it wasn't bad. Terra gets destroyed, and it's the end of Disc 3!

  60. Start of DISC 4 - Memoria/Entrance
    Since Nova Dragon is weak against ice, Vivi can deal more damage to it than Freya can. Nova Dragon can deal major wind and water damage, but due to their equipment, Vivi and Steiner absorb wind and water, and Zidane and Amarant are immune to wind and halve water damage. The rest of the strategy depends on Nova Dragon not doing Shockwave at all, which WILL kill everyone.

  61. Memoria/Entrance - Memoria/The Past
    I never managed to get through the third screen here without any encounters, although I tried my hardest; I finally gave in and allowed one encounter. I pick up Kain's Lance and The Tower. Maliris was kind enough not to use Mustard Bomb and not to kill Zidane until Raining Swords (which she always does when you kill her).

  62. Memoria/The Past - Memoria/Ruins
    Amarant gets his Rune Claws. Since Maliris made sure everyone could be at critical HP in this segment, I use that to my advantage against Tiamat. As long as Tiamat doesn't use Twister or Jet Fire, everything goes fine.

  63. Memoria/Ruins - Memoria/Portal
    Once again, I was never able to get through this without any encounters, so I allowed one. (This is the last one, though!)

  64. Memoria/Portal - Memoria/Time Warp
    If you don't take out Kraken's tentacles, they will counter every time you attack him, so they go first. Once they're gone, however, Kraken counters with either Leg or Waterga every time you attack him. I was hoping for Leg every time (since Waterga would wipe everyone out), and preferably he would do it to Steiner or Freya (since they have Distract). Thus I needed to limit the number of times that Kraken countered, and Charge! was perfect for the job; it lets you get 4 hits with him countering only once.

  65. Memoria/Time Warp - Memoria/Gate to Space
    Lich was nice enough not to use L5 Death or Earthquake, and so this battle went very well.

  66. Memoria/Gate to Space - Crystal World
    Made it in plenty of time to pick up the Excalibur II...not that I was really worried about that. Thank goodness this was the last area where I had to avoid random encounters (although it still wasn't that easy).

  67. Crystal World - Crystal World
    Here is the first (and last) time I use Tents. While it would be nice to have critical HP for using Charge! against Deathguise, having full HP increases their chances of surviving his opening attack. Deathguise is without a doubt the hardest boss in this entire run. He always opens with Meteor, which usually kills everyone right out, but can sometimes miss or do very little damage. Then about 90% of the time he follows that with Spin, which kills anyone who happened to survive Meteor. If he doesn't use Spin, he'll use Demon's Claw, which will usually miss Steiner and Freya (thanks to Distract) but kills the others. Because there was so much randomness in who survived Meteor, I didn't have a definite strategy for this battle and had to improvise it. I finally got a battle that worked, with the added bonus of having everyone at critical HP at the end (which makes Kuja battle tremendously easier).

  68. Crystal World - End
    The party's final equipment is listed below. Note that not some things are equipped only because they were required for previous battles and I didn't bother to take the time to unequip them; not everything here is necessary for the final battles.

    Zidane (level 30): The Tower, Coronet, Jade Armlet, Gaia Gear, Rebirth Ring abilities: Auto-Life, MP Attack, Bird Killer, Devil Killer, Man Eater, Counter

    Freya (level 19): Kain's Lance, Cross Helm, Venetia Shield, Shield Armor, Power Belt abilities: Distract, MP Attack, Bird Killer, Devil Killer, Man Eater, Counter

    Steiner (level 25): Excalibur II, Cross Helm, Venetia Shield, Shield Armor, Power Belt abilities: Distract, MP Attack, Bird Killer, Devil Killer, Man Eater, Counter

    Amarant (level 23): Rune Claws, Coronet, Jade Armlet, Demon's Vest, Power Belt abilities: MP Attack, Bird Killer, Devil Killer, Man Eater, Counter, Locomotion

    Both of these final battles were perfect. Like Kraken, Kuja likes to counter every time you hit him, with either Flare, Holy, or Flare Star, so using Charge! limited the number of times that Kuja would counter. Flare Star wipes everyone out, so I just needed him to not do that. For Necron, as long as Zidane survived until Neutron Ring (which always comes right after Grand Cross), I had won the battle.

That's it for the run; I hope you enjoyed watching it! I really enjoyed doing this run, even though it really tried my patience at certain times. If you have any questions or comments about this run, feel free to email me at fouressentia AT yahoo DOT com.

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