Final Fantasy 9 Part 6 – Red Dragons and Jumpscares

Find out what happened last time!

So this time, the world has been opened quite a bit for us, so let’s explore a bit!
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Visiting Alexandria, the destruction still looms, but the people seem to be rebuilding what they can.

We pick up some various gems and items scattered about.

We finally stop by the Black Mage Village after re-supplying a bit and the gang finds the town deserted!

Vivi runs off to figure out what has happened.
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Zidane finds him at the cemetery with 288. It appears that Kuja promised he could extend the black mage’s lifespans, but only if they went with him, so they did.

Vivi demands to know where they went, but 288 isn’t talking.

The group eventually finds out that a few other black mages also stayed because of a baby chocobo.
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Vivi has a few words about Kuja and then 288 tells us where Kuja’s palace is hidden!

The group heads there immediately.
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We then get into a fight with this.
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It put the hurt on the party! It could use a weak Sandstorm that could everyone for about 100 or so damage. But it could also use Maelstrom, which instantly takes someone down to single digit health and confuses them.
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It had pretty high health too, but Zidane finished it off after he tranced.

We find the quicksand that 288 spoke of, but he didn’t mention which pool it was!
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If you choose the wrong one, you fight this guy again! He still has his signature Sandstorm attack, which really sucks, but he isn’t that hard anymore as long as you heal in a timely manner.
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The trick is interacting with the pool that doesn’t have dust clouds being kicked up from it.

When Zidane jumps in, he blacks out and Kuja starts laughing…

Well, looks like we fell into a trap.

After Zidane wakes up, he and Cid find themselves in a strange room, and Zidane can’t remember what happened.

Just then, Kuja begins to speak and tells Zidane that if he wants his friends to live, he needs to do a little “favor” for him.

Of course, Zidane agrees.
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Kuja tells him that he wants to send us to a place called Oeilvert, to pick up something called the Gulug Stone.

He gives us the choice of picking three people to bring along with us. He does however, tell us that the reason he can’t do it is because of an anti-magic field.

With that in mind, I chose Zidane, Dagger, Steiner and Vivi.

Why Dagger and Vivi? Well, the party is about to become split and Dagger is a bit useless right now anyway. Vivi, he can still chuck items as needed.
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With that, he also tells us that he will fly us on his airship to the location.
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I also get the chance to summon a new eidolon: Shiva. She dealt pretty decent damage!

When the gang boards, Zidane meets up with Zorn and Thorn, and they exchange some… Pleasantries about the current situation.
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Landing, the gang starts to search for Oeilvert and the Gulug Stone.
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Here is why Dagger is a bit useless. Every time you give her a command, there is a high chance this will happen, totally wasting her turn. Very annoying when someone needs healing right away and she “can’t concentrate.”

So while exploring, we come across four cactuars. I tried to run because I did not want to deal with that…
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Well, we wiped. They started spamming an attack that dealt upwards of 500 damage, and 1000 needles didn’t help either. Oh, and they love to spam Confuse. So I switched around some abilities to prevent confusion, because that sucks!

Even Vivi hit Steiner for like 500 damage when he was confused! What the heck, Vivi is buff for a black mage!
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We finally make it to Oelivert, but man it was tough. The encounters here aren’t joking around. Almost everything here hits decently hard, can counter with nasty abilities or loves to cause status ailments.
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But, Dagger manages to learn and summon Odin, which works like it did for most of the other games; it is a high chance of an instant kill. Situational, but still useful, I suppose.
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Inside Oelivert, we meet a friendly moogle who has wares for sale. It’s a good thing I had amassed a good amount of gil, because this moogle sells some good equipment.

After our purchases, the group heads off and explores Oelivert.
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The first enemy, the Epitaph, uses a move called Mirror which creates a clone of a character, in this case, Eiko, despite the fact she is on the other side of the world.

At least the Epitaph itself can be instant killed with a Soft.

Exploring the ruins, we pick up some great items, like the Float Shoes, which lets a character learn Auto-Float.

Continuing on, Zidane finds this hologram technology that tells him of an ancient race of people that were highly advanced, but then slowly went into decline.

He also hears about the Invincible prototype briefly.

Further in, the gang hears from some odd robot faces in a room about a civilization that was on the brink of collapse, and tried to revive their planet, Terra.

But ultimately, they failed.

Everyone is very confused, but Zidane keeps everyone on track about getting the Gulug Stone so they can rescue the others.
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When Zidane finally finds what appears to be the stone, this giant ship attacks us!

Ark wasn’t that bad, more annoying and a slog than anything else. Kuja was right, magic won’t work here, so Vivi and Dagger were regulated to support duty only. With Dagger sometimes not being able to concentrate, it mostly fell on Auto-Potion and Vivi, however.

Ark knew a few nasty attacks, like Whirlwind and Boomerang, which dealt decent damage to the entire group.

It also knew Propeller Wind, which I believed caused confusion, but everyone was equipped to nullify it, thank goodness.

It’s final attack that I saw as Photon, which instantly took someone down to 1 HP. Man I hate these “demi” attacks. Developers, please don’t create attacks/spells/abilities like these. They honestly are a cheap way to hurt the player, in my opinion. I never even use them when my party can use attacks like that.
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In any case, with Dagger and Vivi keeping everyone alive while Zidane stole the goods(which included a Power Vest and a Holy Lance) and Steiner hit for a pretty piddly amount, he goes down.
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Next up, we are thrust back to the others where Eiko and the gang are told that if Zidane doesn’t make it back in a few minutes, they are dead.
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Thankfully, for some reason, Kuja forgot about frog-Cid, so Cid saves the day by sneaking up to grab a key, solving a simple scale puzzle and resetting the trap timer, allowing everyone to escape! Thanks frog-Cid!

I take a moment to reequip everyone and get ready to explore the palace.

For the desert palace, it seems we have to light various candles in order to progress. At
least it seems like the encounter rate isn’t too bad.

The gang starts to collect various Bloodstones. These will be useful here in a bit.
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I guess it’s a good thing the encounter rate isn’t high! These two enemies were annoying as heck, able to inflict Confuse, Heat, Freeze and Poison by using Bio.
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And they can use Reflect on themselves!

I use a tent after the fight and re-arrange some equipment.
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Eiko attempts to light the final candle, but Kuja’s defense system attacks us!

This fight can be extremely hard or not too bad, depending on how many Bloodstones you found.
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The more you find, the easier the fight becomes by denying Kuja’s defense system various buffs.
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Valia Pira, as it’s called, isn’t that bad. It stuck to mostly using the tier three -aga spells, so I had Eiko on summoning Carbuncle duty for party-wide reflect.
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I also started using Aramant’s Throw. Throwing Pinwheels, he did some decent damage! I will have to stock up on those and use them more often.
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After it goes down, the group warps out and the scene switches back to Zidane and the others.
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Dagger can summon Ifrit now, which is pretty neat.

Kuja tells Zidane to come alone, so he does. He sees Eiko, Freya, Amarant and Quina all in a cage, and Kuja demands he hand over the Gulug Stone. Of course, those are fakes, but Zidane doesn’t know that.

Just then, the real Eiko, Freya, Amarant and Quina burst in, and tell Zidane to not hand over the stone.

Just then, we hear Frog-Cid and Eiko get jumped by Thorn and Zorn.

Kuja takes this moment and magically grabs the stone from Zidane and rushes over to the teleporter and disappears.

Zidane tries to warp with him, but it won’t respond. We form our party again and run after Kuja.
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The gang finds the hangar empty, but before their hopes are crushed, Frog-Cid comes up and tells us we can chase after him on the ship!
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The gang does just that and it appears he is heading back to the Lost Continent for something…

Everyone finally docks at the beach and we are given control again.
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We reach the town of Esto Gaza, and find out that they did have Eiko with them and they appear to be heading to the ancient volcano of Mount Gulug.

But first, we check out the shops and buy some pretty nice equipment!
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With this, Vivi is now a serious force to be reckoned with!

After spending some time doing some money grinding for equipment, the gang finally chases after Kuja in Mount Gulug.
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Dagger also summons Atomos for the first time. It seems to be one of those “demi” spell-types. Side note, though, it was one of the coolest animations I have seen yet.
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While exploring the volcano, the party is jumped by two Red Dragons!

One started the battle with a Twister, which almost wiped me. The other followed up with an Aerial Slash, which promptly took out Dagger. Thankfully, Zidane tranced and he killed them before we were fully wiped out.
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Further in, another Red Dragon bursts through the wall of a house we were exploring, nearly causing me to fall out of my chair.

We get an Elixir for our troubles, though.
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Geezum! What is with the jump scares in this area!?
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This fight actually got pretty close. They loved to use Twister this time around, which can deal over 1000 damage to everyone. Thankfully, only Zidane was down for the count when the battle ended.
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We find Thorn and Zorn attempting to extract the eidolons from Eiko. Dagger tries to rush ahead, but Zidane stops her before she gets hurt.

The group makes their way down and we see that the extraction has failed. It appears a summoner has to be sixteen before their eidolons can be extracted.
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Kuja is very unhappy at this prospect and demands they do it, even if it kills Eiko.
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We also find out a little bit behind Kuja’s motives…
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Mog then bursts out and protects Eiko when we are thrust into a battle with Thorn and Zorn!
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All of a sudden, Mog transforms into an eidolon and lays waste to Thorn and Zorn!!!
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After the fight, Kuja comes to a realization about trance. He says he needs a powerful soul and knocks back Vivi who tries to ask about the black mages.

He runs off and Vivi follows suit.

Before the rest of the group can follow, the twin clowns start to convulse and come together!
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Why is Mount Gulug filled with jump scares and nightmare fuel!?
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Anyway, this fight was actually pretty tough. It knew Venom Powder, which is aptly named, because it appears to inflict Venom. Venom sucks. It’s like Stop, mixed with Poison, but it also drains MP? That is crazy. Also, I used Esuna but it didn’t get rid of it for some reason?
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So Antidotes and Panacea are the only thing that can remove Venom, other than having Anti-Body, which would have been nice to know before the fight.

Thankfully, Zidane stole all the goodies in like three turns. After that, It was a struggle just to keep everyone alive. Especially because I had Eiko un-equip everything the last time she was in the party.

I had Aramant spamming Aura(Auto-Life and Regen) and Chakra when he could. Dagger and Eiko were all about healing, reviving and removing Venom ASAP.

I took a gamble and used Zidane’s Thievery skill, which deals damage based on how many times you have used the Steal command.
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It did over 3000 damage! So basically, it boiled down to keeping everyone alive, especially Zidane, while he spammed Thievery, since no one else could deal that kind of damage.
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After the fight, we find an odd woman who seems to know Dagger?
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Then Frog-Cid comes up and recognizes her as Hilda!
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Back at Lindblum, there is a bit of a funny scene with Hilda and Cid, where she finally turns him back to his normal self!

After a rest, we have control of Zidane where we are told that Hilda is waiting for us in the conference room.

With that, next time, we will see what kind of information that Hilda has for us!

Join me then!

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