Final Fantasy IX - Strategy Guide
By: Matthew Leuthy
Hey, Everybody! I'm back with more pointers, predictions and... something else exciting and informative that starts with "p"!
Legal info: I do not own Final Fantasy or any of its characters, so PLEASE don't sue me.
Upon entering the Grotto you'll find that it has been attacked by the Black Mages. Freya attempts to rouse her defeated comrades to no avail, then rushes of in fear for the life of Burmecia's king. First off, I just like the music in the Grotto, so if you like take a moment to enjoy it. Gizamaluke's Grotto and Burmecia are both areas with a "bell" theme; in that you will need to collect mystical bells to be able to open their passages. I'll be sure to tell you where to find and use the bells. Enemies in this area include Skeletons, Hornets who use Buzz to Berserk your party members and can be eaten to get Vanish Blue Magic, and Lamias. Lamias are extremely annoying, but they do offer the Blue Magic Level 3 Defenseless.
Start off your venture by taking the right fork in the hall to find a wounded Burmecian soldier. He will lament over his failure and give you your first Gizamaluke Bell. To proceed examine the large door back in the hall and use the bell. The bell will shatter, but you can proceed further. After entering you will see some Black Mages running rampant, blasting a Burmecian soldier with Fire. Zorn and Thorn drop in, and you are engaged in a battle with some Black Mages. Don't bother trying to Eat them, they don't yield any Blue Magic. Zorn and Thorn run like the cowards they are after the pair of Mages is defeated, leaving you to continue your exploration. Engage yourself with the Black Mage walking around this room and he'll somehow turn into two Black Mages when you battle him. Don't ask me... Anyways after your battle you will receive another Gizamaluke Bell. Use it on the door to the left of the large center door. Follow the small corridor out onto the bridge where a Bronze Vest, which teaches the Jelly support ability, can be found behind the two slender rock formations connecting the bridge and ceiling. Run to the wounded Burmecian and he'll give you another Bell. Use this one on the far right door.
A pair of Mythril Gloves can be found on the stairs above and to the right of the large bell in the center of the room, and a Magus Hat which teaches Vivi Slow underneath the arch. Run to the bell and a scene will ensue where the Kupo Nut Vivi got back in Lindblum is put to use. Mogmi is concerned over her husband Moguta who has been trapped underneath that huge bell. After Mogmi is done sniffing Vivi let her have the Kupo Nut. Due to his Kupo Nut addiction, Moguta uses super-moggle strength to break himself free from the bell. This makes me wonder about the Scooby Snacks... After they are done cavorting you can find a Gizamaluke Bell where the huge bell once stood. Use this on the right door, and here you will once again find that "crazy couple." Mognet with Mogmi to read a letter about your exploits in the Festival of the Hunt. When you try to exit back the way you came Moguta will give you the Holy Bell, which will open the left door in the large bell room.
On a note, you can climb up the vines in the back of the room with Moguta and Mogmi. This will take you to a plateau above the Mist with some very powerful enemies, in particular the Garudas and Grand Dragons. Garudas are very tough and use extremely powerful magic but if you can Eat them they yield the awesome White Wind Blue Magic, a healing spell for Quina that heals all party members. It is a great asset to learn this now, because your next opportunity is a bit far away. Try using Quina's Mustard Bomb to avoid a protracted battle. A rainbow colored Garuda, one of the Land Spirits, can be found here asking for a Lapis Lazuli, which you don't have yet. You will not be able to kill a Grand Dragon, but Quina can provide an easy solution to them later on... Your main aim up here is to learn White Wind; once you do quickly go back to the Grotto.
Once you are done leveling-up and learning abilities use the Holy Bell to open up the door on the left (the pretty one.) Inside here you will face Master Gizamaluke himself, after he has gone under the control of the Black Mages. Naturally, they want him to KILL! Gizamaluke is a giant water serpent, so Thunder works best on him. Be careful, though because he can Silence your party members, so be sure to have some Echo Screens on hand. An Elixir, Ice Staff, and a Magus Hat can be stolen from Gizamaluke. Getting the Ice Staff will help you a lot in Burmecia. Other than counteracting the silent treatment he gives you Gizamaluke shouldn't be to hard to defeat, after which you receive a Tent and 5 AP.
The actions switches over to Steiner at the Grand Citadel of South Gate. He is carrying a very large sack of Gyshal Pickles. After you get inside, you must find a way to clear an alley of any bystanders, so start talking. Speaking to the man on the far left will give you an option of KILL/Not kill. This is a public place, so no blood stains are allowed. Speak with the Earnest Young Man and tell him that you're here to work. Steiner tells him of the gate-repairer's laziness and the young man runs off. Speak with Part-Time Worker Mary and console her. She will run off to encourage Jobless Jeff whose shop named Altair recently ran out of business. Walk to the alley and the Short Guard will appear. Go to him and he will give you a Gate Pass necessary to be able to cross the border. Return to the alleyway and Dagger will get out of the bag of gyshal pickles. Next you are given the choice to either stay where you are or run back to the other side of the alley. Dagger's changing behind the boxes...Well, the decision is up to you. Either way nothing embarrassing happens. Oh, well.
On the next screen you can buy some items from the shop on the right, find out where you are by checking the board to your left, and grab a Potion from the chest on the left. Mognet with Grimo and he'll give you a letter for Nanza. Be sure to equip Steiner and Dagger with armor and accessories that will offer them new abilities to learn and save. Speak with the Conductor and chose to board and depart in the cable car. After entering chose to a foreground seat on the right and Mary will enter, after which you will depart. Dagger and Steiner speak, and then this sequence ends.
A Little Bit Forward and A Little Bit Back
As we return to the action with our other heroes another Burmecian soldier gives his last words to Freya, and then you exit to the World Map. Luckilly, the enemies out here aren't quite as tough as the ones on the plateau connected to Gizamaluke's Grotto. Yetis can blind your party members so be sure to have Zidane and Freya equip the support ability Bright Eyes. Lizard Men can cast Protect on themselves, se be sure to have Vivi use Blizzard or Blizzara which you can learn from the Ice Staff you stole from Gizamaluke. To the east of the exit is North Gate, where you can find a Hi-Potion and a Tent. Travel west and you'll spot a huge whirling sandstorm. You can't enter now, but you'll be back soon... The area close to the sandstorm is a desert, and in it you'll find Sand Scorpions, who give the most experience around. Go even farther west and through the small passage between the two mountain ranges. You'll find a small strip of beach and some Chocobo tracks. In this area you'll encounter little blue enemies called Nymphs who can silence party members and can be eaten to learn the Blue Magic Night. Night casts Sleep on everything on screen, so the only way to get any real use out of this is to equip the Insomniac support ability, which no one has yet.
After getting Night summon Choco with some Gyshal Greens and find the Healing Shore Chocograph (it's right around here), which will earn your first visit to Chocobo's Dream World and the first of many upgrades to Choco, the Reef ablility, which will allow him to delve into shallow water. Now, if you want to, you can go back through Gizamaluke's Grotto and find the Bird's-eye Lagoon Chocograph, which can e found by using the eastmost beach in the area and following the small islands to the back of the large ending one. Bird's-eye Lagoon gives you 8 Potions, 4 Phoenix Downs, 3 Ethers, and 1 Magician Robe. The Magician Robe can give Vivi the support ability Auto-Potion, and it can give Quina both that and MP+ 10%. After getting this Chocograph return through the Grotto to the World Map and train and learn your new abilities.
When you are ready enter Burmecia, which lies north of Gizamaluke's Grotto's exit. After an emotional scene, you enter the city, but first Freya notices something. A barrel of apples near the entrance has been BLATANTLY knocked over, spilling its delicious contents all over the hard, cold earth. OH, THE HUMANITY! Ahem... the enemies, right. Basilisks can cast Gradual Petrify on you, but Zidane, Vivi, and Quina don't have to worry because they have the support ability Jelly. Basilisks are weak against Blizzard. No, wait; let me reword that: Basilisks are just weak. Magic Vices can Steal just as well as their fighting counterparts, but these can be Eaten for the Blue Magic Magic Hammer, which bonks away the enemy's MP. Ironites, the large pink dragons, offer lots of experience and the very useful Blue Magic Angel's Snack, which casts Remedy on the entire party.
In the first screen, you can find the Cancer Stellazio Coin behind the small overturned wooden wheelbarrow. Proceed north through the arch and on the next screen Zorn and Thorn will send some more Black Mages to fight you. After you whup them Zorn and Thorn talk about "the general" and run off. Enter the door on the left. A Soft and a Potion can be found on either side of the foreground here. You cannot proceed, because there is a gap in the path up the stairs. Go back outside and enter the far right door up the stairs. Behind the staircase here lies a Soft, but the other chest here is actually a Mimic! Mimics use Call to summon Magic Vices to help in their assault against you. Take out the Mimic first, or both if you use Blizzara. Run to the left, past the large door and you'll enter into the room on the left where you were before. Try to cross the bridge and it will fall to the lower level. Backtrack to this room and you can proceed past the staircase. The chest in the foreground is a Mimic.
Proceed to the right, through the cluttered room and hop across the balconies. Talk to the Burmecian soldier and he will use his dying words to tell you the location of the bell needed to open that large door you passed earlier. Return to it and use the Protection Bell to open the door. Enter and a scene will occur where you meet Sir Dan, a friend of Freya. Proceed up the steps to another rainy courtyard. Go in the center door and you will meet Wei and Kal, newlyweds. Zidane saves Kal, and the couple escapes to Lindblum. Enter the left door up the stairs and go around to collect a Tent, a Phoenix Down, and a Mimic. Kill that last one. Go through the double doors at the back of the room.
Enter the left door and Freya collects the Mythril Spear from the statue. The Dragon ability Reis's Wind can cast Regen on all party members. Go back and enter the right door, and collect the Lightning Staff from the chest this statue is holding. The Lightning Staff teaches Poison and Thundaga to Vivi. Stiltzkin shows up selling a Soft, Hi-Potion, and Ether for 333 Gil. Give Atla her letter and she'll give you a Kupo Nut and a letter for Monev. At her Mogshop buy a 3-4 Magus Hats, a couple Barabuts, a Bronze Vest, and some Tents. The area outside is great for leveling-up and learning abilities. Once you are done heal up and save, then proceed up the stairs to the smoldering Palace.
Upon arrival, prospects don't look good. Chose to talk to Freya, then let her be. Freya will hear someone inside the palace and use her superior jumping talents to gain entry. Zidane follows, and we see none other than Queen Brahne and General Beatrix, who according to Freya have long plotted a forced seizure of Burmecia. The sight of Beatrix incites an emotional flashback where Sir Fratley begins his journey, leaving Freya behind. Our Mystery Man (Kuja) appears and we learn that he is in fact the source of the Black Mage army. The King of Burmecia has fled to the "Sandy Treehouse" of Cleyra, which will be a tough nut to crack, even for the Black Mages. Freya reveals the Cleyrans' ties to Burmecia, then a lone soldier confronts the sinister trio. The party jumps into action to protect the lone defender, and you are engaged in a battle with Beatrix. A Phoenix Down, a Mythril Sword, and a Chain Plate can be stolen from her. Beatrix uses very powerful attacks, but if your levels are high even Shock won't be able to take down Vivi with one hit. After doing the damage needed, Beatrix uses her Stock Break attack to bring the whole party down to 1 HP, after which the battle automatically ends.
A CG sequence ensues, showing your party devastated by Beatrix's attack. Kuja then hops onto his Silver Dragon and leaves Burmecia for Cleyra. Thus ends Disc 1 and Part IV of my walkthrough. Ciao for now!
This guide is copyright December 9, 2001 by Matthew Leuthy.