Final Fantasy IX Game Overview

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Final Fantasy IX is the ninth main video game instalment of the FF series. It was first released on the Sony PlayStation in July of 2000.

It is a return to the roots of fantasy for the main series, with a more medieval setting and perhaps one of the most imaginative cast. It boasts a plethora of unique species and humanoids never before seen in any game within the world it presents.

It was one of the last video game titles released for the original Sony PlayStation and the last FF title that would be available for that system. This game was produced by Square Enix (Square at the time) and Hiroyuki Ito overseen the project.

A turn-based JRPG style of gameplay mixed with some of the best cinematic cut-scenes the first PlayStation console ever put out, FFIX has been well received by critics and fans of the series. It also delivers some of the most affable characters in the entire FF series.

The Characters

Zidane Tribal


The lead character, Zidane is quite different than the leads in FFVII and FFVIII making him one of the most unforgettable characters in the entire series. He is very extroverted, outspoken, supportive, and a blatant flirt.

Zidane is a good thief and never pretends not to be. His big heart is what makes him the hero. He has excellent fighting skills and hidden potential; saving the team single-handed on more than one occasion.

Despite all that happens, Zidane loathes killing and those that do it. He is arguably one of the most likable heroes the series has put out.

  • Weapons: Thief Daggers and Thief Swords
  • Class: Thief
  • Trance: Unlocks Zidane’s Dyne skills

Vivi Ornitier

Vivi Ornitier

Speaking of unforgettable characters. Vivi is the young, curious, helpful type. He is a Black Mage, both in job class and his race. It’s pure happenstance that he ends up with Zidane, but a brotherly friendship blossoms quickly.

Eventually, Vivi’s own story gets brought to the forefront of the team’s adventures, and his friends help him the best they can as the Black Mage faces some intense character moments, growing into a braver and more determined version of himself. Vivi is one of the most endearing characters the franchise has created and has become a fan favorite of the entire FF series.

  • Weapons: Staves
  • Class: Black Mage
  • Trance: Dual Black Magic

Garnet Til Alexandros XVII

Garnet Til Alexandros XVII

The runaway princess. Garnet carries herself with a lot of poise and has some trouble fitting in at first. Though she uses her courage to hide her fears, she knows she is out of her depth as soon as she leaves the castle.

This never stops her from trying to be more useful and give back, and sometimes her voice becomes that of a Leader. Her family drama is what drags her into the plot, unlike the others, she was always going to be a part of these events.

  • Weapons: Rods/Rackets
  • Class: Summoner/White Mage
  • Trance: Eidolon

Adelbert Steiner

The Knight

Steiner is a loyal, simple, determined man. His occasional idiocy can be attributed to self-delusion, as he has dedicated so much of his life to the Royal Family.

He does recognize that Garnet is good and needs protecting, but refuses for quite a while to be aware of other obvious on-goings. Such as the villainy of his Queen or the kindness of a band of thieves.

His care for Vivi, his eventual stance against evil, and being useful in actual combat redeem him as the game goes on.

  • Weapon: Sword/Knight Swords
  • Class: Knight
  • Trance: Triple Physical Attack

Freya Crescent

Freya Crescent

Freya is the wounded warrior. She is tough, somewhat introverted, and often conflicted with her need for inner strength. This is because of all the characters, her pain is present right from the start.

An old friend of Zidane’s, she doesn’t so much join your journey as you jump into assist hers, and from there, she is ever entwined with the team. Lost love and a people to avenge, Freya brings a welcome balance of physical assault and support to the fray.

  • Weapons: Spears
  • Class: Dragoon
  • Trance: Continuous Jump

Amarant Coral

The Loner

A hitman with Zidane in his sights. Amarant joins your party after losing to Zidane in a fight. He makes Freya seem like an extrovert but ultimately provides some very important gravitas. He is not there for comic relief.

His loyalty isn’t like Steiner’s at all. He follows after defeat because he wants to prove the foolishness of Zidane and his ally’s tactics. Seeing the team through his eyes is nice, and watching him come to face with his pride, leads to a good payoff from this installment’s “cool” character.

  • Weapon: Claws
  • Class: Monk/Ninja
  • Trance: Elan

Eiko Carol

Eiko Carol

The other kid. Eiko can be a little snobbish but still spunky; like a six-year-old. She tries to act older here and there but it never works out. Even writes a love letter to Zidane who she has a crush on.

She’s a bit off, having only grown up around moogles, and tagging along with the team lets her see the outside world and be a part of something bigger. More importantly for her, it means she no longer feels hopelessly alone.

  • Weapon: Flutes/Rackets
  • Class: White Mage/Summoner
  • Trance: Double White Magic

Quina Quen

Quina Quen

Quina loves frogs. This is a big character trait, feed Quina frogs. A non-gender character, who pretty much joins the team just because you agree to take her around the world to try all the food there is. Much of her purpose is comic relief.

Adding her to the team does create a lot of new dialogue boxes and helps a ton when you enter Burmecia for the first time, and playing her story quests adds a lot to the game. In addition, her Blue Mage skills can be very useful and fun to try and collect.

  • Weapons: Forks
  • Class: Blue Mage
  • Trance: Cook

Check out our complete Quina Guide.


The Villain Kuja

The main villain, who starts out pulling the strings from behind the scenes. Kuja is a metaphorical genius. He is also damn near pure evil and has little to no fear. He has a chip on his shoulder that creates a dangerous ego, and a flair for fashion to boot.

Kuja will play the world like a fiddle until the hero’s perseverance draws his ire. It is his connection with Zidane that will ultimately decide both their fates and lead to the unleashing of the incarnation of Death itself.

The Story

Final Fantasy Nine Garnet

Final Fantasy Nine starts with a caper. An airship called the Tantalus, run by a group of bandits, is going to perform a play for Queen Brahne and the city of Alexandria. While they do, two of their members, Zidane and Blank, will sneak in and kidnap Princess Garnet.

Meanwhile, Vivi, a child wizard wandering around Alexandria, is carrying a ticket to watch that very show. Learning his ticket is a fake and having to sneak his way in. He successfully makes it to his first live performance.

Princess Garnet, however, was planning on running away herself and blows by Zidane and Blank in the hall. Although Zidane knows it’s her, he has to flirt because he has self-control issues around attractive ladies, and she gets past them.

You get to play Steiner for a bit as he chases down his Knights of Pluto to try and locate the missing Princess. Until finally all the party ends up on stage right in front of the Queen. Steiner has cornered Princess Garnet only to have her start acting in the play and massively confuse him.

Vivi runs from guards after being caught for sneaking in and trips onto the stage as the leader of the bandits, Baku, starts pulling the ship out to escape.

Queen Brahne sees the Princess and irrationally fires giant harpoons with chains and a freaking Bomb.

The ship crashes into the Evil Forest and everyone barely survives. Baku convinces Zidane to stay and help out the crew before rushing off to his death to save the Princess. Vivi and Steiner are kept in separate rooms as they are given medicine to help stop a plant from growing out of their chests!

Evil Forest Final Fantasy

Zidane is the only one to dodge and avoid getting infected with the poison in the forest, it’s the first showing the game gives you that he is as good as he claims to be despite his slimmer, friendly character design.

Eventually, Zidane gives in to his desire to save Garnet and fights Baku to get permission to leave. Baku throws the fight, quietly proud of Zidane for making the hero’s choice. Zidane, Vivi, and Steiner go to rescue Garnet. Steiner is still angry and distrusting Zidane and the thieves, blaming them for the kidnapping and near death, oppositely showing a lot of care and respect for Vivi.

Blank, the best bro personified, shows up to help save Garnet with a map out of the forest for Zidane and the bunch, except when they take down the plant that has Garnet, the whole woods begins to petrify! A rush to escape and Blank shoving Zidane forward getting himself turned to stone starts you on the real playthrough.

Honestly, Blank was pretty cool. Don’t worry, the Tantalus crew won’t let him go down like that.

As the team is forced to stay together out of necessity now, Zidane continues to try for the hand of Garnet and quarrel with Steiner. Vivi and Garnet are sometimes caught in between the bickering. It is up the cold mountain where more sinister trouble starts to show its face.

As the crew passes out from the cold, Zidane again proves to be full of some special grit. Powering through alone to see what is causing the intense blizzards. It is the Black Waltz #1, and wow, it looks a lot like Vivi. Zidane takes it down, warms the party up, and saves the day. They head towards their first town.

They realize it’s safer for Garnet to try and use a fake name, so she decides to call herself Dagger, and tries to pick up some local lingo. Steiner doesn’t like it, but he respects the princess’s wishes. He doesn’t yet agree with them, though.

This first town sets the seeds for quite a lot. Steiner plots to get Garnet home while Zidane and Garnet think about how to get her to the Castle City of Lindblum. All the while the townspeople seem to recognize Vivi.

Vivi gets abducted very briefly and poorly, Zidane and Garnet finding him with swift ease. It is under the city where they learn this town is using the Mist, the thing that is known also for bringing the monsters you fight, to create eggs that hatch into Black Mage Puppets. All of them are very similar to Vivi and are being shipped to Alexandria.

Vivi struggles with whether or not he is in fact like them…and though they try to convince him otherwise, a part of him needs to know.

There’s no time for that yet though, they all meet up again outside the cargo ship! Steiner thinking to use it to take Garnet back to Alexandria and Zidane already planning on hijacking it to take her to Lindblum.

Final Fantasy Nine

An attack from a very cool, flying Black Waltz causes the death of all the puppet Black Mages on the ship! This act of violence pits the heroes against the beast in unison. This Waltz is here to return Princess Garnet to Queen Brahne and kill everyone else.

The ship gets damaged but makes it to Lindblum. Where one of the funniest things I’ve ever read in a Final Fantasy game occurs. After meeting King Cid, who was turned into a freaking bug the night his wife was kidnapped, the team separates. Job well done, right?

Well, Cid admits to Garnet in private that his wife turned him into a bug after she found he cheated on her at a pub! Ha! I love that.

The story gets so much grander. Zidane meets his old friend Freya in Lindblum, who he competes against during The Festival of the Hunt.

Immediately after this, he hurries to help her against an army of the Black Mages they saw being produced who are assaulting her kingdom. A kingdom she hasn’t returned to in 5 years because of the loss of her love.

Zidane outright shoves Garnets upbringing in her face when she wants to help. In a great introspective at how different what’s happening now is to what has happened. War is not pretty, and she is not ready to see how ugly it is. Vivi though, follows, he needs to know more about these Black Mages, he deserves to.

Garnet won’t be sidelined, she puts everyone except Steiner to sleep and sneaks out with him to go back home and convince her mother that what she’s doing is wrong. The heroes split again down to converging paths.

Soon, as Zidane and his team lie on the ground, they finally come face to face with the true villain of the game.

Kuja, who is manipulating all these events from behind. He is seeking the Summons within Garnet to harness their power, but she isn’t with the team here. For some reason, he lets you live. Likely out of ego or perhaps his connection with Zidane. It is clear right away Kuja is a threat beyond anything you’ve faced.

As the game goes on and more characters are added and their intricate stories diverge and reconnect throughout, the ultimate battle against Kuja will come to a head.

Kuja is so determined to complete his goal, his actions cause the incarnation of Death to decide all life should be erased! This is arguably the biggest stakes a final battle has ever held.

It’s a story with great levity, almost the perfect Saturday morning cartoon. Balancing humor for kids with language adults would find funny without being vulgar. It touches on serious themes without being gratuitous, like war and death, while maintaining their gravitas to embody empathetic responses.

The Gameplay

World Map/Movement

Final Fantasy Nine World Map/Movement

Same as most JRPG titles, you walk around on a map with the sprite of whichever character is the current leader of the party, usually Zidane. In this one, it does help to move the camera around for view, and you need to press the action key to enter locations as opposed to just walking into them.

Once you enter a location, moving is the same. Talk to people or look for items with the action key, some NPC’s will react to a secondary talk button meaning they’ll play a game of cards with you.

You can also access the In-Game Menu from here.

In-Game Menu

In this menu, you can access Equipment and Abilities and use or look over your items.

You can attach certain Skills to your characters and move party members from the front row to the back row.

You can’t save from this menu.

You can go to configuration and change speed settings and/or exit to the title if you want to reload or exit entirely.


Final Fantasy Nine Alexandria

There are the usual shops. Items, and Equipment. There is also a new shop type added in some Final Fantasy locations called a Synthesis Store. Where you can combine equipment and items for a price into some more powerful stuff.

Use the Synthesis shop often. Stock up on about 2 of every equipment/weapon as you go throughout to make sure you can always synth the better stuff once you come across a shop.

Cities also house a lot of mini-games and you can find Mogs scattered about them.


The game shines in its equipment category. Each character has a weapon slot, an armor slot, a head slot, an arm slot, and an accessory slot.

That’s five different things they can equip, but that’s not all. Aside from just putting on weapons and armor, make sure to click the help button over EVERY PIECE OF EQUIPMENT. It’s the only way to know if it causes Silence upon attack or Prevents Poison.

That’s still not all. Each piece of equipment has skills listed on it that can be learned when equipped to the character who can learn them. You must keep that item on them until you have received enough AP(gained after each battle in small amounts) to master that skill. Then, your character has that skill or ability permanently.

Equipping multiple items with the same skill WILL increase the speed you learn it.


In this game, each character is set in their specific class.

Each class has its special skills.

  • Thief: Escape buffs and stealing. A few direct damage skills. They can also, Steal items in combat.
  • White Mage: Healing and Support spells.
  • Summoner: Summons powerful Eidolon’s that do damage to enemies or buff/help allies
  • Black Mage: Damaging elemental skills or Status Effects. They can also, Focus. Raising Magic for the next attack.
  • Dragoon: A unique array of support skills and a few attacks. They can also Jump, leaping up to avoid and do damage.
  • Blue Mage: Attack, Support, and Status Effects. They use Eat to learn skills. Devouring an enemy if it’s at 25% health.
  • Flair(Monk): Both healing and Assault skills. They can also throw items at enemies.


Final Fantasy IX Abilities

If a piece of equipment has a blue diamond next to it, that is a skill. Each character has a certain amount of blue skill points they can use. Select skills when choosing the character to toggle on/off which skills you feel are best for the part of the story or world you are in. Or even just for the way you like to use that character.

If a piece of equipment has a red diamond next to it, that is an ability. As long as the equipment is on a character who can learn that ability, they have access to it. Once mastered via gaining the right amount of AP, that character will always have that ability even when you change equipment.


Final Fantasy IX Combat

You have up to four party members who can partake in combat. Their ATB (automatic-turn-bar) fills up based on their speed, and then they can take an action.

A basic attack or one of their Class abilities. Such as Steal or Summon.

You can also choose to Defend(take less damage) or Change(move them to the front/back).

You can use an item or hit the cancel button to let an ally go first.

When a character takes enough damage they their Trance auto-engages. Trance does not carry over, once the battle is done, their Trance bar resets!

A friend can jump in to play another character during combat in FFIX. This is unique to this title in the series.

Overall, the active time battle system is a positive one and does a lot to galvasize an already brilliant battle system. All the while keeping key functions like limit break attacks and other key features intact.


When in Trance mode each character changes their appearance and gains the following.

  • Zidane: The most powerful in-game. Each ability you unlock from equipment gives him a new Dyne skill to use.
  • Vivi: Can cast two black spells a turn.
  • Garnet: Summon more powerful versions of her usual summons, and the last one you use in a trance may continue to come randomly during the rest of this combat.
  • Steiner: Becomes a powerhouse of a hitter.
  • Freya: Stays in the air during jump and rains down spear attacks on enemies.
  • Quina: She can EAT enemies when they are at 50% HP
  • Eiko: Can cast two white spells a turn.
  • Amarant: His Flair skills hit ALL instead of one.


The game is riddled with many mini-games for the explorers out there. From riding Chocobo’s and trying to dig treasure up with them, to even playing jump rope in Alexandria with Vivi or Eiko for some item grabs.

You can also participate in a card game called: Tetra-Master.


Tetra-Master Final Fantasy IX

You play on a 4×4 ring and both you and your opponent pick 5 cards.
The cards have 3 numbers and a letter on them like such: 1A05
They have arrows on some corners.

The letters will be either P, M, X, or A.
P means it attacks the Physical Defense of a card. M means it attacks the Magic. X means it attacks the weakest of the two. A means it attacks the lowest number on the card. (A is the best for attack.)

The first number is its power for an attack. The next number after the letter is its Physical Defense, the third is its Magic defense.

Only cards whose arrows point at each other will fight. When your card wins, the other card flips over to become yours. Combos happen if you flip a card and it had arrows pointing at other enemy cards, ALL of them will flip in response to the loss.

Mogs and Mognet

Mogs and Mognet

Mogs are where you save your game. You can find them around the locations and you can call one to you on the world map with the Secondary Action button.

Mognet is them sending letters to each other, and if you help them do this, you can get special items all through the game. Usually by bringing a Kupo Nut back to the strong Mog in Gizamaluke’s Grotto.

The Visuals 

Visually, this game follows suit, taking a leaf out of its predecessor’s book such as Final fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII. The game makes use of pre rendered backgrounds, CG cut scenes, high poly character models (for the era), alkl culminating to offer a rich and vibrant fantasy world that still looks captivating today. 

The Music

FF9 has a charming soundtrack composed by Nobuo Uematsu. He composed over 140 tracks in-game!


Question: Where Can I Play FFIX?

Answer: On Steam, can be bought via the PlayStation Store for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android. The game is not available on Xbox One or PC.

Question: Why do People Love FFIX?

Answer: It’s a well-written piece of fantasy, all in all. It never overindulges in itself and has plenty for gamers who like to explore worlds.

Question: Why is Stealing so Hard in FFIX?

Answer: If you haven’t equipped both Bandit and Master Thief, it’s a 1/256 chance for a rare item grab. Don’t rely on stealing. Nothing early game isn’t available in a shop later.

Question: Is Kuja Zidane’s Brother?

Answer: Kind of…? They are created by the same person.

Question: Why do People Love Vivi?

Answer: I think it’s because Vivi is a part of us, both the fear and the hope. I wonder how many of us have sometimes felt confused at why we were even made? Vivi is the purity of not being destroyed by that question. Also, that character design makes an adorable plush toy.

Question: How Long Does it Take to Beat FF9?

Answer: Around 40 hours. I clocked in over 60, but I played a lot of cards and did many Chocobo treasure hunts.

Question: Is FF9 Multi-Player?

Answer: Yes! You can have a friend jump in during battle to play a character, but I suggest doing it with your kid. It’s a great way to enjoy a story with them and teach them how to love and play a JRPG at the same time.

Question: Is Final Fantasy 9 Hard?

Answer: Probably the hardest of the last few, but easier as you unlock more abilities.

Question: Is FF9 the Best Final Fantasy?

Answer: It is usually in the top 5 when polls go out.

Question: What Games are Similar to FF9?

• Breath of Fire 3 for sure.
• Dragon Quest XI. Suikoden IV.
• Some of its charm is similar to Zelda: Ocarina of Time
• Super Mario RPG and Kingdom Hearts.
• The Legend of Mana. Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch for a more recent title. This game reminds me a lot of The Dark Crystal. Especially, the Netflix series.

Question: Any Tips?

Answer: I would never leave you without them.
• Steal a mage masher in your first fight with Baku.
• You will need to use Items in this game. Stock up on potions, ether, and phoenix downs in the early game.
• You can get a full set of cards just by searching the ground of Alexandria with Vivi.
• Make certain to catch every Frog at every swamp for Quina’s ultimate weapon.
• EAT the Serpion enemy near her first swamp to get Mighty Guard!
• Always check Mognet again after delivering a letter
• Placing a card with many arrows as bait so you can attack it late game helps you win a lot
• If a ghost asks you for ore, give it to them.

What Other Games In The Final Fantasy Series are Worth Playing?

Without being too generous we would genuinely say all of them. Even the lesser entries like Final Fantasy XIII has its charms. However, if forced to just select the cream of the crop, here are the ones in the Final Fantasy series that we would recommend:

– Final Fantasy IV
– Final Fantasy VI
– Final Fantasy VII
– Final Fantasy VIII
– Final Fantasy X
– Final Fantasy XII
– Final Fantasy XV
– Final Fantasy VII Remake
– Final Fantasy Tactics

To Summarize

This game can have a slow start because of the ATB and steal frustrations, but once you are a little ways into it, the characters, the world, and its story have their hooks in you. It has a great deal to offer and is full of a brilliant amount of heart. Highly recommend it to any JRPG players who have yet to give it a try.

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