The third and final game in the series to release on the PS1, Final Fantasy IX is a glorious return to form for the franchise following the futuristic leanings of the series’ first two forays into 3D. Both Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII opt for a more dystopian sci-fi bend to their setting and narrative. And while Final Fantasy VII is the game most responsible for bringing the Final Fantasy franchise to the masses and helping it break into the mainstream, Final Fantasy VIII is much less beginner friendly. As a result, Square felt it needed to see the series return to its high fantasy roots for the next game in the series, leading to Final Fantasy IX feeling like both the ultimate fan service and a homecoming of sorts.
Releasing just a year after the arrival of Final Fantasy VIII, development on the title actually began alongside that of its predecessor with the express intention of both games delivering different experiences. Whereas Final Fantasy VIII‘s futuristic, sci-fi setting is a continuation of elements of both Final Fantasy VI and VII, Final Fantasy IX has the distinction of returning Final Fantasy to its medieval high-fantasy roots akin to the earliest games in the series. According to series creator and Final Fantasy IX producer Hironobu Sakaguchi, Final Fantasy IX is meant to be a “reflection” on the history of the franchise.
Though Final Fantasy IX holds the highest review aggregate score of any of the three games on the PS1, it actually sold far less than either Final Fantasy VII or Final Fantasy VIII in both Japan and the West. Still, many longtime fans consider IX to be the best game in the series, or at the very least the best game out of the three on the PS1.
Final Fantasy IX Premise
Final Fantasy IX takes place in the medieval realm of Gaia, with players primarily assuming the role of Zidane Tribal. Zidane is a young and optimistic member of a traveling theatre troupe who agrees to a plan hatched by Final Fantasy IX‘s version of the recurring Cid character to kidnap Princess Garnet of Alexandria. As it turns out, Garnet is actually along for the idea with the increasingly troubling behavior of her mother Queen Brahne leading her to fear for her safety. In actuality, Brahne is being manipulated by a mysterious sorcerer going by the name of Kuja, whose connection to Zidane goes back far deeper than the protagonist realizes.
Once again players navigate their party in Final Fantasy IX through an overworld map that features towns and dungeons, with random battles occurring at various intervals in any non-town location. Battles are turn-based, and players have their actions in battle dictated by the Speed stat of their characters versus that of the enemy. Like every game since Final Fantasy IV, IX uses the Active-Time Battle (or, ATB) system in which enemies can execute attacks while players decide on their strategy, adding tension to the otherwise menu-driven combat.
Unique to Final Fantasy IX is a new system where characters earn abilites by equipping items, weapons, and armor. Each piece of equipment features its own abilities, and each of these abilities are learnable after obtaining certain amounts of Ability Points, or AP. Final Fantasy IX also features the return of an “overdrive” state that enhances characters’ battle prowess, though instead of calling it a “Limit Break” it is now the “Trance” mode.
Final Fantasy IX Main Characters
As is the case with most Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy IX‘s Zidane isn’t going on his adventure alone. Instead, he has an enigmatic cast of characters to accompany him, including the Princess he attempts to kidnap in the game’s introduction. Along with Princess Garnett, Zidane partners with her bodyguard, a knight of Alexandria, a young black mage, and several other now-classic characters in the larger Final Fantasy universe. The main characters of Final Fantasy IX include:
- Zidane: Zidane is a young thief and member of the Tantalus Theatre Troupe, as well as Final Fantasy IX‘s protagonist. He’s instantly recognizable by his tail.
- Princess Garnet/Dagger: Princess Garnet is the heir to the throne of Alexandria and the party’s resident summoner.
- Vivi: Vivi is a young aspiring black mage, and his appearance is a callback to the iconic look of the black mages in the original Final Fantasy.
- Steiner: Steiner is the tank of the party and the classic duty-bound knight of medieval fantasy. He initially attempts to stop Zidane then accompanies him as Princess Garnet’s bodyguard.
- Freya: Freya is a member of the rodent-like Burmecian race and a skilled Dragoon, equal parts melancholic and hopeful.
- Quina: Quina is the group’s Blue Mage, making them the only character able to use monster abilities.
- Eiko: Players meet Eiko later in the course of Final Fantasy IX‘s adventure when visiting the outer continent and discover her to be a powerful summoner and sorceress.
- Amarant: A mysterious warrior, Amarant initially appears as an enemy to Zidane only to decide to travel with him to better understand his actions.
- Kuja: Kuja is Final Fantasy IX‘s antagonist and the genetic double of Zidane.
Games in the Final Fantasy Series
The Final Fantasy series continues to be one of the premier names in console RPGs, both laying the foundations for the genre as well as establishing a consistent bar of quality across its history. To date, there are 16 mainline games in the series as well as dozens of spin-offs and side tales featuring beloved characters from across the franchise. The main games in the Final Fantasy series include:
- Final Fantasy (1987)
- Final Fantasy II (1988)
- Final Fantasy III (1990)
- Final Fantasy IV (1991)
- Final Fantasy V (1992)
- Final Fantasy VI (1994)
- Final Fantasy VII (1997)
- Final Fantasy VIII (1999)
- Final Fantasy IX (2000)
- Final Fantasy X (2001)
- Final Fantasy XI (2002)
- Final Fantasy XII (2006)
- Final Fantasy XIII (2009)
- Final Fantasy XIV (2013)
- Final Fantasy XV (2016)
- Final Fantasy XVI (2023)
Final Fantasy IX Cheats and Secrets
Final Fantasy IX Remaster Cheats for PS4 and Switch
The remaster of Final Fantasy IX on PS4/PS5 and Nintendo Switch features various “boost” cheats similar to the remasters of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII available on the consoles. Press any of the following to activate or deactivate the corresponding cheat at any point during gameplay.
|Activate Battle Assistance (Infinite HP/MP)
|All Attacks do 9,999 Damage
|Increase Gameplay Speed
|No Random Encounters
In addition to these commands, players can change various settings in the Config menu (such as maxing out EXP or Gil) but activating these cheats disables trophies/achievements.
Notable GameShark Codes for PS1
Many of the same cheats that are available on the newer versions of Final Fantasy IX are available on the original PS1 version through the use of a GameShark. The following are some of the more useful codes.
|Unlimited Use Items
|Max Points in Chocobo Hot & Cold Mini-Game
|Chocobo Beak Lvl 99
|Max Wins (Tetra Master)
|No Losses (Tetra Master)
|No Draws (Tetra Master)
|No Random Encounters on Overworld Map
|Have All Items
|Have 1 of All Tetra Master Cards
|Have all Key Items
|Game Clock Stays at 00:00:00
|Have All Chocographs
|999 AP After Battle
|65k EXP After Battle
Getting Steiner’s Strongest Weapon
Obtaining the strongest sword for Steiner (and strongest weapon in the game) Excalibur II requires players to reach its location with less than 12 hours on the in-game clock. This would be nearly impossible under normal circumstances and not for the feint of heart, but the use of cheats makes this incredibly easy.
In the newer versions of Final Fantasy IX, simply turning off random encounters and increasing the game speed using the in-game boosts will make getting to Excalibur II a breeze. It’s also recommended to use all of the lvl 99 or max damage boosts possible for boss fights since you will likely be under-leveled for everything.
Using a GameShark, input the code to keep the game clock permanently set at 00:00:00 to play the game at a leisurely pace and stroll right up to the Excalibur II inside the final dungeon.
Final Fantasy IX Cheat FAQ
Does Final Fantasy IX have cheats?
There are no official cheats on the PS1 original, but the new remaster of the game on Switch, PS4, PC, and iOS features various boosts and other cheats accessible within the Config menu.
How do you max out stats in Final Fantasy IX?
Maxing out character stats requires leveling them up while equipping them with specific gear to provide bonuses to the requisite stats.
What’s the best character in Final Fantasy IX?
Thanks to the pure offensive potential of his black magic spells, Vivi is by far the strongest character in the game. In terms of pure melee prowess, Freya’s jump ability makes her the most powerful physical fighter in the game.