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First Impressions

by Cheryl 

Remember when I wrote the editorial "A Letter to My Love"? Remember how I said that someday, SOMEDAY, maybe Square would rule my heart and Playstation again? It looks like that someday may have come.

Maybe.

When I went to school today, I had to listen to a friend vent on and on and on about how he had spent his entire paycheck on Final Fantasy 9, and how this sucked and that sucked and the other sucked, and his Playstation skipped it, and yada yada yada, so on and so forth. I asked what was so bad about it. He asked if I wanted to see. I cringed inwardly, but nodded in the affirmative, and he sold his copy to me for $5.

Now, I don't care who you are or how badly you hate Square, "Squareheads", or Final Fantasy. If someone offers you a $50 game for $5, you're gonna grab it. So I think that you would understand why I jumped at the offer, even if I felt I would hate it just as much. I could always sell it to my big brother for $7, after all.

So I got home, and popped it in, cringing all the way- but I got a happy jolt when I saw the little black mage guy. YAY! I was instantly taken in by the preservation of the look of the Black Mage, whom I later discovered to be named Vivi, and who has taken his rightful place as my favorite character.

That was impression number one-a. Not bad, not bad...

Then I saw the card game. A Triple-Triad WANNABE. And the music GRATED on me. I didn't read all the help dialogue, but I have a pretty good idea of how the game works, except when the arrows point towards each other. I can't for the life of me figure out why I lose my cards EVERY SINGLE TIME that happens. Did I mention that the music sucked?

Impression number one-b. Phbbbt....

Next stop: The Inn, and right to a MOOGLE! MOOOOOGLE!!!!! Yes yes YES! Moogles and Chocobos REUNITED AGAIN!!!

Ahem. Now that I've ranted, I'll be coherent again. Why did I enjoy the appearance of the Moogle so? Because I tend to view the Moogles and Chocobos as kind of mascots for Final Fantasy. Moogles weren't as prolific as Chocobos, granted- but they played a huge part in FF6 (FF3 USA) and had a sort of cameo on FF7 (The Mog House- cute game, although I only played it once). I felt really gipped with FF7 and FF8 in the aspect of Moogles. After all, they are carrying on other "traditions" (i.e., that stupid card game) so why not carry on the legacy of the Moogle?

Okay, so my thoughts on that aren't quite coherent. Pardon...

Anyway, impression number one-c. Yeah, yeah, yeah...

Now, on to combat:

I'll say this first. My television sucks, and my hearing is BAD. I could qualify for a hearing aid if I had the funds, so excuse me if this is wrong.

I couldn't stand the battle music. My ears detected absolutely NO percussion, and, beyond the very beginning (which was cool), it seemed to be a jumble of notes glued together in a midi compiler. That's just my opinion, of course.

I will admit, I was thrilled that the Junctioning system was gone. It made little sense to me: Junctioning STOP to your speed made you fast? No no no...And none of that "It protects you from it" tree-huggin' hippy stuff. There are much better ways to protect oneself from magical conditions. And I was more than happy to see that you gained magic- you didn't have to buy it or syphon it off of something else.

The battle speed and graphics were an entirely different matter. The enemies seemed to attack much faster than I did, and the characters looked far too pixelated for my tastes. The details of the characters' faces was breathtaking, yes- or rather, it would have been, had not been for the characters appearing ungainly and ackward to begin with. They simply appeared goofy to me, not well-made. You can't mix "sprite"-style (ala FF4, 5, 6) with 3-D. It doesn't work, and it looks like that was what they were trying to do.

Impression 1-d. Eh....

So there you have it. My very first impressions of Final Fantasy 9. We'll see how it all unravels; by the end of Disc 4, I may have re-joined the ranks of the Square fans.

Maybe.

-- Cheryl Lachowicz
Questions? Comments? Flames? E-mail me! autmnwnd@voicenet.com

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