12-02-2013, 03:06 PM
Hey there guys,

I always wanted to do something like this but I never had the patience, time or simply skills for it. Since I am on paid break because of health problems, I have plenty of time that I have to spend in bed, so I kinda figured out that this could be a nice way to spend a bit of it, since I love FFIX the most and I never actually done any challenges on it.

I plan on playing two challenges parallel at the same time.

One game is going to be lvl1 game and the second one is gonna be getting excalibur II on PAL version with FMVs.

I never done neither of these two and I am not going to use walkthrough for any of them. Perhaps I will look just what times other people usually are at the end of each discs, so I know if I am on the right way or if I should backtrack and get better times (I am not masochist enough to play totally by myself to see that I simply can't deal with lich unless I backtrack three discs back >_<).

Also since I no longer have my ps (well I do, but it's already dead, R.I.P.), I will be playing it on ePSXe 1.9.0. I don't plan on using any advantages it could bring like save states etc. tho.

I will be updating this topic daily with my progress on both of these, each upgrade gonna have it's own post (unless it's against rules?). I will also try to make a some screenshots so it's not just a wall of text.

I hope I am gonna entertain at least some of you a bit.

Look forward to this!

---------- Post added at 08:06 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:05 AM ----------


First actual update on my progress is here.

So far I got both of my games right after evil forest, so don't expect many screenshots as there isn't much to see.

Level 1 Challenge:

Okay so this I started as usual, watching the FMV, setting speed to maximum afterwards, lightening the candle etc. Nothing interesting.

I picked every treasure in alexandria and went along the story.

Since this is LL game, I really wanted a boost in the beginning so I told myself I would get 100 impressed nobles for 10k gil and Moonstone. After trying for two whole hours, I gave up after getting to 98 and 96 multiple times. I suck at things like these and I simply can't be bothered to spend more time.

I actually wanted to get the silk shirt along with more gil. but I missclicked that I want to redo the show after 98 impressed nobles and I couldn't get that much in next ten minutes so I gave up on silk shirt as well. I really suck at this!

I simply continued, tried to steal stuff from Steiner along the way and did everything up to the Evl Forest boss. The boss itself is really easy. but this is the first time I had to soft restart the game until I won the odds. In order for everyone to stay lvl 1, you need to get lucky enough that only 2 Forest Spiders spawn in the forced battle. Both 3 and 4 will give you level up and if you try to soak the exp with Blank, the level will later carry on to Amarant, ruining his pure level 1. This took me just about 6 tries so it wasn't too maddening.

Afterwards I saved on the world map and went to my excalibur challenge.

Excalibur II Challenge:

Now for this one. I am using the start trick for saving time after each FMV, since I can't skip them, but so far I am not sure if the trick works on ePSXe. Well nothing to lose by trying.

I started the same, watching the FMV, setting highest speeds and then went to the battle with Baku. I was lucky enough that I stole everything Mage Masher included on the first round, first try. I killed myself afterwards for faster advance.

I decided I won't be picking much of the optional stuff like cards, a little gils, chests without anything particular, so I simply picked up Ether and Phoenic Pinion with Vivi and went along the story. I didn't care enough to try and get the Moonstone and the Gils after my last experience and considering I would have to restart my game after each or perhaps every two attempts.

After the crash in forest, I tried about twenty times to get to the boss without an encounter, but I didn't manage to. After remembering how unlucky I am my whole life about that one encounter in the first area, I just gave in and killed that one goblin.

Again I did just what I had to, I didn't try to steal from Baku this time and killed him in fastest possible way. Later on I bought some stuff from Cinna and went to save Garnet. This time without any encounter on the whole way. I was extremely unlucky at the boss, he kept killing my charas etc, so by estimate it took me about 35 tries, Thankfully I didn't have to care about the number of spiders.

I also decided that I will be comparing my time with two other sources each time I update this.

Gamefaqs perfect FF9 file with skipping FMVs by Atomos199 time: 00:53:33
Youtube FF9 perfect game without skipping FMVs by rlouisw: estimated 01:00:00 (no save on the world map).
My time:01:01:37

Considering he's doing perfect game, while I just rush through, picking up just the most important stuff, but also considering this is my first try ever... I am kind of okay with my time. I will be harder on myself from now on tho. Also, I am not sure, if both Atomos and rlouisw times are from NTSC or PAL versions.

________________________________________ ____________________________

So far, so good I would say on both of them. So far I am having fun even with multiple resets on primitive parts. If any reader has any comment on my progress, writing style or anything, please tell me. This is my first journal ever and also my first FF9 challenges so ANY comments are welcomed.

12-02-2013, 08:14 PM
Here goes the next update:

Level 1 Challenge:

This one was not as bad as I thought it would be honestly.

I picked up everything on the way to the frozen moogle and saved. Although on the way here I ran into few battles and noticed that I have really hard time fleeing by L1+R1, so I usually was forced to use "Flee" and lost a few gils on the way there.

For the boss battle I had hard time thinking out strategy as I wasn't able to survive. I had to retry this battle like 6 times. After some twinking I finally found out that to sucessfully survive and steal mythril dagger at the same time, I have to put Zidane in front, kill the wizard, steal the dagger all before hitting the trance and then attack sealion once normally and finally finish him off with tidal flame.

Excalibur 2 Challenge:

Now this one was pure hell with all the screens, items to get, encounter rate etc.

After my level 1 playthrough I decided which chest to get and which aren't worth it. I decided I should pick up Tent, Ether and Mage Masher. I really wanted Leather wrist too but decided it's not worth my time. I also decided that I don't want a single encounter on my way to the moogle. For the first time I used the changing screen trick to reset encounter rate and after messing up and being simply unlucky, I finally managed to pull through after about 30 tries.

Now for the boss battle, I used the same strategy I came up on level 1 challenge, while also stealing extra ether for more money. Since Zidane is level 2 atm, it was easier. The area after the boss can theoretically be done without any encounter, but that is extremely unlikely and not really worth aiming for. One encounter is fine as is. And I managed to get only one encounter on my very first try that I managed to kill the boss. Lucky!

Gamefaqs perfect FF9 file with skipping FMVs by Atomos199 time: 01:02:14
Youtube FF9 perfect game without skipping FMVs by rlouisw: estimated 01:11:39
My time: 01:16:54

Seriously I am not sure how the hell do they come up with these times. Well they are much better than me and they both probably tried much harder for these times as well. Still I don't think I am too far off from rlouisw time so far so I think it's fine.

__________________________________________________ __________________

This area really gave me troubles on both challenges, I am happy I finally managed to get it over with. Now I am off to the most plain place in the game (at least in my opinion). The village of Dali.

12-03-2013, 07:06 AM
Yet next update is here!

Level 1 Challenge:

The village of Dali is really simple place, just lots of unnecessary text. It is important to prepare yourself for the cotton robe trick tho, meaning one has to buy as many wrists as he can. Since I didn't get the 10k gil from the swordfight, I couldn't really buy that much.

I went with the story, looted the underground, easily killed both waltz 2 and 3 and arrived to Lindblum. I must say that the FMVs on the ship are one of my favourites. Poor Vivi and also Vivi rules!

Since this challenge isn't time restricted, Lindblum is really easy going place. All I did was loot some optional chests and mainly, I did the cotton robe trick for making some money for my other purchases. As for the hunt, it is absoluely mandatory to steal the needle fork from zaghnol, else one can't pass gizamaluke's grotto without leveling up. I managed to get it on my fourth restart, my earlier tries failed on either tent not working, me not stealing, or me unequipping silk robe off Zidane and dying to thunder.

I also decided that I want Coral Ring as my reward, so I kind of exploited the wait ATB system. Once I successfully stole the fork, I simply entered some command menu and waited till the time ran out.

Excalibur II Challenge:

This whole part from Dali to finishing Lindblum almost made me cry.

I ran through the Dali as fast as I could, bought tons of Wrists, made it to the waltz 2 only to realize that I can't win without Iron Sword that I didn't steal from Baku way back in the Evil Forest. This realization took me four or five resets alone.

Thus, I had to redo one earlier save. I had to redo the Dali and buy one Iron sword along the wrists, thanks god I only had to jump back so little. This was in the end only my own fault for rushing through things without thinking ahead.

Once I got back to the waltz 2... I couldn't somehow kill him anyway! He kept killing me with his Fira and I was really confused why, since he didn't use it on me at all on the level 1 challenge. After spending two hours retrying, I finally managed to solve the puzzle. He won't fira as counter as long as the character he targeted last time dies right before he drops below 50% HP. Seems like I was incredibly lucky on the lvl1 and he killed the character himself. So after I finally done him good, guess what? I died on waltz 3 because I didn't equip vivi with silk robe! I will make this short... I got there once again, only to die off a missclick.

Well it took me quite a while but I got to the Lindblum at last.

Now since this IS time restricted challenge, I couldn't simply take my time doing the cotton robe trick, I had to go and actually make my own shopping list for exact amounts of what each transaction. Like "sell 5 cotton robes, buy 8 steepled hats; sell 8 cotton robes, buy 16 steepled hats" etc. and then after the shopping is done, you also gotta get the game right before the festival in one go.

Since this was one of the parts that relied purely on skill and not on blessing of the RNG, I wanted to do this part as perfectly as I could, meaning I retried the shopping about twenty times and then settling for a little error anyway, cause my D-pad is so wobbly that I couldn't simply make no mistake. Damn cheap gamepads. After the run I was ok with, I had to redo this again because I was all text skip happy and I flew to bad district.

On the very next try tho I managed to get it done just fine and I saved before the festival.

Now I stood before the choice of spending about ten more minutes here and get the needle fork, or skip this. The needle fork is needed for lvl 1 challenge, but since this game is purely getting the Excalibur II, I can level however I want meaning even forced black mages in gizamaluke's grotto are ok.

Since I decided to save me the time, I suicuded in the first encounter possible, thankfully Freya wins the competition automatically if noone else has been announced yet, meaning I still get the awesome Coral Ring.

I went to the base level, picked up tent, sold the rest of cotton robes, bought few potions, phoenix downs and tents and saved a somewhere in first third of way between Lindblum and Qu Marsh on the world map.

Gamefaqs perfect FF9 file with skipping FMVs by Atomos199 time: 02:07:43
Youtube FF9 perfect game without skipping FMVs by rlouisw: 02:16:56 (estimated PAL time 02:29:19).
My time: 02:15:08

Not bad I think. Still mad props to them having such times with perfect game. Crazy.

________________________________________ ____________________________

Overall I am very happy with my progress on both challenges. Also the more maddening part, the better and more satisfying feeling after conquering it.

Look forward next update!

12-03-2013, 11:42 PM
PHEW! Okay a big update!

Level 1 Challenge:

Okay this one was pretty easy and not mind numbing at all really.

I got Quina, ran to Chocobo forest, dug up all 9 available chocographs and for about half minute I was thinking about grinding enough points for Robe of Lords or Protect Ring but that would take whole day and totally isn't needed so I skipped on that idea.

Since I am in no time hurry, the gizamaluke's grotto was actually pretty laid back and easy area, tbh it's quite fun watching poor mages being unable to do anything and wait for their petrification. But imagining what it has to be like under time pressure made me dizzy. I prepared quina's HP to 1 for gizamaluke and killed him on first attempt.

After the little part with garnet I ran near Cleyra and on my very first battle I encountered Nymphs, so I ate one for Night. It's not needed but sure is handy. Got my reef chocobo and backtracked to get all four possible chocographs at this time.

After that it was time for Burmecia which is actually also easy without time limitations. I planned on getting Magic hammer but I forgot about it and since it's purely optional, I skipped this as well. After all, best defense is offense anyway.

Well Beatrix was waiting and I went straight to her. Poor girl owned hard. Wait not, she owned me afterwards. Damn plot. This was actually the very first time I ever used Limit Glove, I must say it is really pretty spell. PSone graphics were certainly impressive at times.

I am bit broke but that's okay. Disc 2 awaits.

Excalibur II Challenge:

Now for the WAY harder of the two challenges. At least for me that is.

I had to retry few times to get Quina without encounters and just saved right out of the Marsh because I kind of hate this place.

After some more retrying to get encounterless (wait is this even a word?) all the way to Chocobo Forest, I finally managed to and got Choco. Now this part was kind of tedious. I had to dig up three specific chocographs, Streamside which is always gotten first, Small Beach for Oak Staff and Healing Shore for blue chocobo so I can actually pick up the small beach chocograph.

Getting Streamside took only two retries as the chances for it are really high but as for the other two, they were quite stubborn. Once you get Streamside there are 8 chocographs left so each time you actually dig up one (which is neither common or rare, I would say you get one every third or forth try), you have only 1/4 chance of it being the one you need. I was stuck on digging up the right chocographs for about hour and half, saving between each.

Once I actually got them, I had to teach Quina the oh so broken Limit Glove by eating a mandragora in the nearest forest. This wasn't really hard to do and took only about fifteen tries to battle mandragoras on first encounter and actually eat one, kill quina and run successfully.

After getting the skill I went to Gizamaluke's grotto thinking how easy time I'm gonna have since I can simply kill the mages. I've never been so wrong. Since I needed Quina at 1HP, I needed to resurrect her each time having only about 10% chance of actually getting the 1 HP. And when I finally did, I always managed to get one encounter on either part of grotto or I got screwed over by mages.

After about 100 resets (seriously, about 100 resets leading to only about ten actual runs), I decided I am not crazy enough and made a second save with Quina already resurrected with 1 HP and me getting the first bell. This cost me about a minute, but still better than a random battle.

After this it changed from nightmare to easy mode taking only about 5 tries to get to the moogle inside. Since I was already prepared I went straight for Gizamaluke and defeated him on first try.

Now I had to do the same as in lvl 1 challenge, minus getting the Night and digging up only 2 outta 3 chocographs.

All that was left was Burmecia. I went through the Grotto for third time, got to Burmecia,won the forced battle, picked up the stelazzio coin and saved before Burmecia. The hard part was still before me though. In ideal condition, it's possible to actually get through the whole Burmecia without any encounters at all but considering the not so low encounter rate and the fact that you have to run through about 25 screens, three of them being quite large, I was set on taking two random encounters, one for setting up quina to 1 HP again for the Beatrix battle and second for my mental health.

After about fifteen tries that all had third encounter still quite soon, I got ultra lucky and got into single random battle, ideal for killing Quina, so I can set her hp later (It can actually be done back in the forced battle, but I want her to get exp and APs), the whole route without missing anything. You wouldn't believe me how hard my heart beat on the last two screens and the incredible happiness after this run.

Now once more, the Beatrix was waiting for our first showdown. And it went the same way it did in level 1 challenge.

Disc 1 done!

Gamefaqs perfect FF9 file with skipping FMVs by Atomos199 time: 02:51:05
Youtube FF9 perfect game without skipping FMVs by rlouisw: 03:01:11 (estimated PAL time 03:21:14).
My time: 03:03:03

Nice symmetry, me gusto. I think I got decent time enough. I am only off by two minutes from rlouisw time and since on the last part of his challenge he has more than hour and half time left, I am happy enough with this result. Still I can't get my head to just HOW could he get everything needed for perfect game in a little less time than I did mine non perfect save. That man is a god.

__________________________________________________ __ ________________

Welp this was a LONG entry. I hope it doesn't bore you to the death.

Now off to the second disc!

12-04-2013, 09:50 PM
Next update on my progress is here.

After all the work I did yesterday and the big update, I got kind of lazy today and I didn't really do all that much. Still there was some progress.

Level 1 Challenge

Now this one actually took me a lot of time today. When you get to the Treno on the start of second disc, you have to get Reflect Ring from the auction and there are quite alot useful items to buy as well. As I said last update of this challenge, I was very broke (9g wow!).

My first thought how to make money was to grind out with Marcus. Marcus is one of the three "placeholder" characters. Marcus is Eiko's placeholder. These characters are made the way that all levels and stat bonuses from the placeholders move on the actual characters. But Marcus and Eiko are bugged duo. Marcuses stat bonuses to move to Eiko, but his level does not, meaning Eiko joins at party average level. It is indeed a bug but it can and is abused by some.

After grinding for about two hours, I realized I missed the power belt and also I felt like cheating even tho Eiko isn't really used that much anyway.

I restarted from the start of disc, losing the two hours and instead I redid the Cotton robe trick, in the end I managed to get all the money I needed for Reflect Ring, many useful items, some usables and I also exchanged my four coins for rewards. Blood Sword sure is nice item and the extra gil can't hurt.

I saved at the start of the dungeon and moved to Excalibur challenge.

Excalibur II Challenge:

Now this was challenging. As was the case in the other one, I needed to make enough money for the neccesarry shopping, meaning I had to get to the dali, then back and then all the way to treno without single encounter. And I assure you it is quite a long way.

The whole way took about fifteen tries, with three saves in between. First one after the boss battle and halfway to Dali, second one halfway back from Dali and third on halfway from gate to Treno. It is possible to get there without save, but it was frustrating me and I had to make save anyway for perfecting the Treno run.

There is alot to be done in Treno and time is pressing each second. I needed to pick up both stellazio coins, get the power belt, move on with story, exchange the coins and make the shopping and winning Magician Robe and Reflect Ring in the auction. Since I didn't have much money to waste at all, it took me four rounds between synth shop and weapon shop, each taking my precious time away a minute at a time.

The bad cheap D-Pad on my turbocontroller wasn't helping with the fast and precise shopping at all. After few tries I settled for a save after last synth batch and then I had to restart about thirty times waiting for magician robe to appear on the auction. Unfortunately the auction didn't exactly go perfectly but I suppose it was decent enough.

Then all that was left was rush to the underground moogle.

Gamefaqs perfect FF9 file with skipping FMVs by Atomos199 time: 03:17:19
Youtube FF9 perfect game without skipping FMVs by rlouisw: 03:21:34 (estimated PAL time 03:45:42).
My time: 03:30:42

As you can see, I am now way behind rlouisw's time. While on the start of the disc i was off only by two minutes, now I am off by nine. I am very sad with this but there isn't much to do. If I tried really hard, I could maybe chop off a minute. Not worth my real life time I say. After all, his ending time has still one and half hour left and there will be some things needed for his perfect file that I won't be doing since I am only trying to get the Excalibur II. I will hopefully match his time then.

________________________________________ ____________________________

Well that's all for today folks. Not very entertaining or exciting I know. But tomorrow, I will be facing two of the hardest and most annoying places, Cleyra and Alexandria escape.

Be sure to check it out!

12-05-2013, 08:58 PM
Hey guys, next part is ready!

Today's playing was kind of surprising. Read on to see what I mean by that.

Level 1 Challenge:

Okay last time I saved at the start of Gargan Roo without doing anything here. I thought that this area would only need two or three times to get through without an encounter, since I don't have Zidane with flee and running with R1+L1 is becoming totally impossible.

That assumption was totally wrong. Even though there are only about 4 medium sized screens, the encounter rate here is kind of retarded. It took me many tries (about 25 I guess) in which at least 15 didn't even make it through second screen.

Next ahead was ascending Cleyra which wasn't really hard to do, since I have Zidane back and could easily run from random encounters. After saving midway I engaged two carrior worms and devoured one for Quina to acquire Auto-Life and moved on.

I did the necessary stuff in Cleyra and saved after boss battle. I was kind of worried about the eight or so forced battles here but they proved to be very easy with proper set up and non restricted time on my disposal. I simply made every alexandrian soldier to run by striking them with about 500 damage and stopped each black mage.

I saved after all the battles and went to second encounter with Beatrix. Limit Gloved her for 9999.

Damn. Still not enough and she beat me with her plot proof win. After that I watched the destruction of Cleyra which is imo one of the prettiest and saddest FMVs in the game.

After I listened to the queen on the ship, I saved. Now the first part of alexandria escape was waiting. It is entirely possible to make it through without a battle with any alexandrian soldier but it requires quite tricky footwork after the stupid minigame with cage. This took me about five retries only to get catched because I somehow missed the gigantic ladder. smurf me. Took about another ten tries to finally get through.

I ran through the castle and destroyed Zorn and Thorn easily, they can't even attack you if you attack them after they start jumping. Made save afterwards and mentally prepared for the second, harder, part of the escape. To my surprise tho, I made it out after only two or three tries and the failed ones were because I underestimated Beatrix at the start. The whole area is actually pretty easy IF you are not under time pressure. I can totally see how this area is maddening with so many encounters where you have to be lucky and stop all enemies fast enough for good time for perfect game.

Did I mention Beatrix in my party is awesome? Seriously I love her. She's brokenly strong. Also she is required to be the one to kill the enemies she battles with, meaning in all battles with Freya and Steiner, they have to be knocked out first so they don't gain level.

I saved at the bottom of the castle and moved to the other challenge.

Excalibur II Challenge:

The start here was the same as in first challenge, meaning I had to run through the area without encounters, I was little luckier this time around taking "only" about twenty tries. I also had to reequip my characters for the boss battle. Did you know that even such trivial thing as perfectly and swiftly equipping your characters is kind of exciting when you gotta do it as fast as you can?

After the boss battle the story returned to the "main" party and I saved halfway from Burmecia to Cleyra.

Now I honestly thought that ascending Cleyra sucessfully without single encounter was going to be insane hard, but either I was lucky or I was simply wrong. I made it to the moogle in the middle of the three after about only about ten tries I think, considering the amount of screen and many of them not being so little I was pretty happy.

Still there was the other half left and one area where I wanted to pick up two quite far placed treasures. I didn't plan on getting auto-life here but I mentally prepared to accept one battle shall it acquire me the skill, which while not needed, would definitely be useful. After all the tries I actually got through without any encounter at all, stepping into two quicksands, since I simply couldn't find the trick to avoid the first one in timely manner.

I picked up some stuff in Cleyra, made my shopping, prepared for antlion's appearance (you have to talk to the sanctuary priest at the top, the first time I actually got through without an encounter I forgot about it and because I didn't want to lose more time, I had to retry the ascending again) and saved at the inn.

The battle with Antlion went perfectly on the second try. He opened the battle with sandstorm putting quina to 1 Hp and I killed him instantly with Limit Glove. Afterwards I had to deal with the forced encounters again. But since I am not watching levels on this challenge, they were even easier. I simply killed them all for exp, money and AP. In last battle I killed quina to prepare for Beatrix and saved at the top.

Once again, Beatrix took me down after limit glove and there was Alexandria escape one more time around. The first area took me again about fifteen tries to avoid the soldiers (I always wonder when I see them... Just how sexist the Alexandria is? All female soldier have ass in the open all the time damn!) and I really started to hate this swinging minigame (well I never really loved to begin with, when I first played the game, I was only about 10 years old and I basically didn't understood a word in English, so I totally didn't get what they want me to do. I was stuck swinging for like thirty minutes ._.).

I did the boss battle the same way as on level one challenge without them getting a turn and saved. I must say I quite like the running sprite of Zidane carrying unconscious Garnet. Dunno really why, too bad it doesn't last longer ;D.

Even after the quite easy descend of level 1 challenge I was worried about doing this with time slipping through my fingers each second. But these were also unnecessary worries. Since I could kill them, the battles went really fast and I didn't get a random encounter afterwards while running to the moogle on the first try.

Gamefaqs perfect FF9 file with skipping FMVs by Atomos199 time: 04:24:34
Youtube FF9 perfect game without skipping FMVs by rlouisw: 04:26:19 (estimated PAL time 05:11:02)
My time: 04:35:01

As you can see I am still 9 minutes off the rlouisw time even with not picking all the missable stuff in the Cleyra, but I guess I am happy I kept the gap the same, not extending it so as for today's progress I am happy enough.

________________________________________ ____________________________

I will confess that I prepared a bottle of wine to battle the frustration of the Cleyra and Alexandria escape. It wasn't needed but it wasn't wasted no worries . After all it seems that as long as one doesn't go for both challenges at once aiming for perfect save game, these areas aren't nearly as frustrating as they are when you do.

That's all for today. Please continue to follow my adventure!

12-06-2013, 08:28 PM
Well guys, I am not sure if noone is reading this or if you simply have no reason to reply, but there is another double post about the progress! Read on.

Level 1 Challenge:

Getting to Lindblum is no problem at all since if you want to, you can easily abuse the boss AI so he never attacks. Simply attack him physically each time he isn't defending himself.

I picked up all items in Pinnacle Rocks and also Ramuh and watched the FMVs. To be honest I love hove Eidolons are integrated in the story of FF9 (I dont like them battle-wise tho). Poor soldiers being suck by Atomos.

Lindblum is basically only picking up few chests and buying whatever you need, which I've done. After that I saved next to Qu's marsh.

Now the battle with Lani was ahead and I didn't really think it would be any problem. It was indeed. She killed me few times before I tweaked equipment and then it still took me three times more. Gargan Roo, one of my most hated places, was next.

Gargan roo wasn't any problem at all tho, I easily fleed every battle, leaved the dungeon, picked up my chocobo and after swift swing in Conde Petie I went to the black mage village. After doing my thing there, I went back to Conde Petie and went through marriages. Vivi+Quina = best pairing in whole FF series I say! All in all, I must say that after all the years I hated Quina, I start to appreciate her and the fun she brings to the story.

After her desertion I prepared for the boss battle by putting Zidane's HP to end in 7 and saved. Now the Hillgigars, while easy battle, still took about five or seven tries. All you have to do here is to hit him either once with Zidane and then again with Zidane's Lucky seven for 7777 or you can also shoot of fira with vivi then killing him with Lucky seven. After 4 tries I hitted him for 7777. Bam! I never used this ability properly either. Then I just ran toward to Madain's sari and saved.

Excalibur II Challenge:

Ok so while the boss doesn't have to take any action at all, it is slower than killing him fast. With my levels (around 11) it took Vivi's one focus and two blizzaras to took him down.

I ignored Ramuh here since he isn't needed at all and every second I save is good. In Lindblum I just synthetized what I needed without picking not important chests, saving about two minutes of time. I saved next to Qu's marsh again.

Lani's battle actually took longer than in level 1 challenge, since I couldn't easily prepare Quina's nor Zidane's HP to necessary hp for their respective skills. And afterwards I had to learn the Night skill by eating the Abominable. That took only one try after the Lani so that wasn't really bad.

Now since I am running race against time, I had to make sure to get no encounters in Gargan Roo, the first part took me about 15 tries give or take, while the second part took only about three tries since I decided to ignore the optional stuff here and I saved almost halfway from the dungeon to the Conde Petie. That wasn't hard to do, the encounter rate on the world map here is pretty small.

Picked up my chocobo, did the stuff in the Conde Petie and went to Black mage village. Now getting to the village without any encounter is possible but _really_ hard to do. I was prepared to take up to two battles, but I actually managed to get only one while also getting the first turn, which is basically the next thing to no encounter in time spend, so I was pretty happy with it.

There isn't really that much to do in the village, only a little shopping so I did it, went back to Conde Petie, married Zidane and Garnet, skipped the Vivi/Quina marriage, picked up Eiko after Quina's desertion and saved.

The boss battle wasn't really hard but as was the case with Lani, it took more time than it actually took with the lvl1, since I couldn't bring Zidane to HP ending in 7 in timely manner, so I simply whacked away.

Saved next to Madain's sari.

Gamefaqs perfect FF9 file with skipping FMVs by Atomos199 time: 05:21:46
Youtube FF9 perfect game without skipping FMVs by rlouisw: 05:23:14 (estimated PAL time 06:19:58)
My time: 05:28:13

I chopped off three or four minutes of the time gap I had the last time by skipping the optional stuff. I hope there are going to be more places like that soon enough, so I can match or beat his time.

________________________________________ ____________________________

Phew there was alot of stuff I done today. I think I am going to make it to the disc 3 tomorrow!

Next time.

12-07-2013, 08:17 PM
Okay guys, after today's share of playing, I finally hit the third disc on both challenges!

Read on to see it wasn't exactly easy too.

Level 1 Challenge:

I loaded last save just before Madain's Sari and did the necessary stuff here. I quite like this place since it's connected with Eidolons so strongly. But the scene with Zidane and Vivi pissing or six years old Eiko wanting Zidane's D so hard... Lel.

Now I had to get to Iifa Tree which wasn't a problem since I can easily Flee each battle.

But the place after moogle is pure hell I tell you. You have to prepare one of yours characters to zombie status to avoid the forced exp here. Most likely Zidane, because he can survive Zombie Breath with shell on. But getting it on him took alone about four tries after which I backtracked and saved at the moogle.

This place is very harsh because it is quite large with high encounter rate, one of the encounters is usually faster than you and one shots whole lvl 1 party and each time other encounters KO Zidane, it's also restart. It took me about twenty five tries to get to the elevator.

This is actually the reason you have to prepare zombie'd character, since you will be facing two forced battles here. First two or three zombies and then Zombie Dragon, both battles giving exp. What you have to do is throw Elixir at each of them (Elixir instantly kills any undead monster), but before you kill the last zombie or the dragon, you have to KO anyone who isn't zombified meaning you also have to hope enemies don't kill your zombie'd character.

I had luck first time I actually finally managed to get to this stage, the first encounter started with me ambushing the enemy, so I had plenty time to throw two elixirs, kill off my party members and finish it with Zidane. After the battle I resurrected them to take off attention from Zidane in next fight and sucessfully finished the Zombie Dragon without gaining any exp as well. At this point I ran out of Elixirs, I had four and used them on four enemies. Luckily you can find one elixir at the bottom, which is used right away on the easiest boss of the game, the Soul Cage. One elixir later I finally managed to pass the so far hardest place of this challenge and saved just outside the Iifa Tree.

Now I had to prepare myself for the next boss battle while going back to Madain's Sari. I had to get Zidane's HP to end with 7 once again and I saved outside the village.

Now this part could have been very frustrating if I had bad luck, but I had the greatest luck and passed it in one go. Once you enter the village, there is ton of text you gotta go through before the actual boss battle. It's the Zidane and Amarant duel. You need to first hit him for about 1300 dmg (which isn't hard to do, Exploda+MP attack+Man Eater+Front Row) and then kill him with Lucky Seven's 7777. He will attack you once in the meantime but you can't afford to get hit, so you have to be lucky enough to evade and hit him with 7777.

All that's left now is go to Iifa Tree once again for the series of forced battles giving exp, so you have to win purely with Stop to avoid the exp. And I tell you, it's not that easy. First you fight two Mistodons and then one more. They can easily kill the party members with various attacks, there are only few things that are survivable at all.

Each try is also very annoying because it's quite text heavy before you actully get to fight. After about ten tries I managed to win only to forget to save at the badly visible moogle and die to next forced battle. I raged hard. Took me another ten tries to get to the moogle and save finally. Now you simply run the incredibly long root where you are guaranteed to fight at least one (usually two) battles with either one or two mistodons. They are still very hard so I had to try many times, when I got through, I was lucky enough to get only one battle with only one Mistodon.

I watched the majestic FMV, where Bahamut runs wild and saved.


Excalibur II Challenge:

Okay the start point was same so I did the story related stuff in the Madain's Sari and picked up the stelazzio coin there.

Now getting to the Iifa Tree I could've get the Moonstone by doing the sidequest with colored stones, but since this area has harsh encounter rate and it would take alot of time anyways, I decided to skip it. Moonstones are very rare but they don't really teach me anything new so I had no reason to torture myself over one.

Still it took about ten tries to run all the way from the Madain's Sari to Iifa tree, since it's quite a long way.

Now for the Iifa tree, the first part, getting to the moogle inside, is really stupid, there are lot of screens, each is hard to perfectly run through and the encounter rate is high here. It is possible to get through without an encounter but I settled down for one after about twenty tries, since I also had to reequip my party each time to get the most of the APs I get there.

The second part was lucky for me tho, it took me only one try to get to the bottom while getting only three encounters on the way to the elevator, each ending very swiftly with an elixir aside for the first encounter. Since I am not doing the lvl 1 for perfect stats here, I didn't have to bother with any zombifying quite on the contrary it would hurt me.

The whole path down was done with some more elixirs and after getting about 5 levels and tons of skills learned on each character, I saved outside the Iifa Tree.

Again the backtracking to the madain's sari took few retries cause of the long way between. Unfortnutely since I am not lvl 1, I can't easily and swiftly prepare Zidane's HP to end in 7, so I had to whack Amarant down using normal attacks. That wasn't really a problem but as was with Lani and Hillgigars, it took more time than lvl 1 battle, which I find quite ironic.

For the last time I had to backtrack to Iifa Tree which took another ten tries give or take.

But for the actual Iifa tree, I got very very lucky. I managed to run through the first part without any encounters at all on my first try, quickly killed the Mistodons with elixirs and saved.

Then again it took only two tries to get through the last area with only one Mistodon, quickly dying to another elixir.

Once more I watched the awesome FMV and saved on start of the third disc.

Gamefaqs perfect FF9 file with skipping FMVs by Atomos199 time: 06:17:31
Youtube FF9 perfect game without skipping FMVs by rlouisw: 06:17:23 (estimated PAL time 07:07:13)
My time: 06:26:48

Once again I am off by about 9 minutes of rlouisw's time but it's fine really. And as you can see, I am now over half of both the game and the time for Excalibur II.

________________________________________ ____________________________

Okay that's it for today. I am satisfied with wrapping both challenges to disc 3. Tho this disc will definitely be very hard for both challenges equally. We will see how I do.

Tune in again.

12-08-2013, 11:03 PM
Okay guys another daily update.

Today wasn't exactly exciting on neither of the challenges so don't expect much tbh.

Level 1 Challenge:

Since I was right on the start of the new disk and after such a tragic events of last disc, it is very plot thick for some time. I had to go through tons of story related dialogs. When I finally came to control, I simply picked up the Eidolon cards, bought the stilzkin deal and went to Treno.

Before the actual card tournament, I made a little detour back to Dali once again for the delicious chest containing 30 000 gils and few other chests. I also purchased another 99 wrists for future cotton robe trick and went back to Treno.

I wanted to fight it out with Catoblepas right now which wasn't the brightest idea I ever had, he killed me like thirty times before I finally settled for killing him cheaply with Lucky Seven, which also took few tries alone. At least I got another hefty 15000 gil. Last thing I did there was buying the Dark Matter from the auction, it wasn't really needed for anything but I just felt like it.

Easily won the tournament and got the sexy Rebirth ring for it. Now back to Alexandria I correctly ordered the pluto knights for angel earrings, successfully killed all forced mistodons with Beatrix only, so Steiner is still pure lvl 1 and watched one of the prettiest and my personal favourite FMV of the game.

I decided to ignore and miss the Tantarian and thus the boots with auto-haste as well. I really wanted them but killing Tantarian means ruining one character's lvl 1 and I want to stay pure lvl 1 for killing Ozma so bye boots.

After some more FMVs and plot, I did little shopping and treasure hunting in the Lindblum, got the potions for the Cid to turn him into... Frog. Oh well.

After I got the ship I immediately went to Chocobo Lagoon and digged up all chocographs there, then I upgraded to mountain chocobo, looted whole chocobo forest again, got the deep ocean chocobo and finally got all chocographs from the chocobo lagoon again.

Now I went to pick all the chocographs I could at the time and decided that I will now max out the thievery, dragon's crest (I don't even have the skill atm meh.) and teach all the characters every skill and ability I can. I train next to the chocobo forest on the beach. These encounters aren't any threat at all so I have all the time I need to Stop them (which is sometimes really long time...), each battle stealing and when I get in the double dragon battle, I kill one and flee to avoid the exp while still raising the Dragon's crest damage (stop kills don't count unfortunately) so I am killing three birds with one stone here.

This is still going to take a long time so for perhaps few next level 1 challenge updates don't expect any more action, just some training updates.

Excalibur II Challenge:

And once more I had to go through the tons of plot, which was boring second time around and I hated that I simply have to wait like fifteen minutes without any possible speed ups. The time is running after all.

In Treno I gave the lady her stellazio coin, watched ATM for chimera armlet and saved by the moogle just incase I would die to Catoblepas. Trust me I wouldn't be able to take all that dialog third time around and I even have turbocontroller getting rid of it for me. I still got to press the actual button and help with square button for fastest possible text skipping so it's very annoying anyway.

I also made the Dali detour on this challenge because that much money is simply worth it I say. Ignored the Dark Matter tho. Won the tournament again, killed the mistodons, watched the awesome FMVs, equipped myself for the Tantarian battle and saved in the castle. Fastest way to kill Tantarian is to hit him three consecutive times with Lucky Seven's 7777. The actual chance for that is very very low tho and considering I needed to adjust my HP to end up in 7 in each battle again, then I also had to hope he doen't kill my whole party or even just Zidane and the chances were even lower.

After about 20 very bad runs I went with battle that took me 7 castings to get the three 7777s, meaning I lost about a minute compared to ideal battle. Considering the low chances, I simply didn't feel like wasting my real life time and moved on.

Lindblum was next, I got through the plot, picked up potions and after getting the ship I again went to Chocobo Lagoon. I only needed two chocographs here tho. Plain Dusk and Dawn Lagoon, one of them for getting the chocobo to mountain one and the second one is to be picked when I get to the Oilvert continent.

After about 60 tries before I finally managed to dig up both chocographs, I rushed to evolve the chocobo, ran to one South Gate for two elixirs and about 4k gils and prepared myself for some ultra fast ability learning.

I equipped Zidane, Amarant, Freya and Steiner with various equipment that gave each much needed abilities and skills to learn (those that take about 70-80 APs) and saved just outside the Gizamaluke's Grotto on top of the mountain in the forest. Here you can encounter Garudas and rarely, Friendly Garuda, giving it Lapis Lazuli or whatever is that jewels name nets you 40 AP, 80 with Ability Up, instantly teaching tons of skills.

Then I went back to the ship and sailed to the black mage village, picked up black belt and finally saved next to Kuja's Desert Castle.

Gamefaqs perfect FF9 file with skipping FMVs by Atomos199 time: 08:16:48
Youtube FF9 perfect game without skipping FMVs by rlouisw: 07:52:50 (estimated PAL time 08:57:00)
My time: 08:02:30

Once again I am off by almost a ten minutes of rlouisw time, but I am now actually under Atomos time by almost a 1/4 of an hour, so I should be fine with my progress really.

Still there are less than 4 hours of actual gameplay left before the Excalibur II, I am starting to feel a little excited.

________________________________________ ____________________________

And that's it for today guys. As I said, nothing really exciting, just felt like doing my everyday report.

Tomorrow I'll hopefully bring more exciting update at least with the Excalibur II Challenge, since I'll be facing the big trio, Oilvert, Desert Palace and Ipsen's castle, those places are friggin tough even on normal gameplay.

12-11-2013, 12:49 PM
Okay guys, for those of you who are following my progress, I am sorry for the big pause in updating. I didn't have much time so I was happy to get at least the playing done.

In these three days I made quite bit of progress so read on.

Level 1 Challenge:

There was tons of grinding done and there is still quite a lot more.

So far I managed to kill 100 dragons, meaning once I get the Holy Lance from Ark, Freya will be doing 9999 with the Dragon's Crest already.

For the ability and skill learning, Zidane, Vivi, Quina and Garnet they've already learned everything I could teach them atm. Not counting Quina's blue magic, I don't need anymore really.

Right now I am teaching Amarant and Freya, unfortunately I can't teach more than two now since I need Zidane for stealing and Vivi for stop.

At the moment I power upped the Thievery up to about 6000 damage, so there are still 4000 or about 350 steals left to max it out. By then hopefully everyone will learn everything they can.

That's it for the level 1 challenge, I will move on with the story once I max out the Thievery.

Excalibur II Challenge:

Okay so I am almost at the end of the third disc.

Last update was from before entering Kuja's palace for the first time, I made it out with one encounter and after landing on the Forgotten Continent, I ran a little north to the forest for one more super fast ability learning. There is another friendly monster that gives 40 (80 with ability up) APs. After that I picked up my Choco and ran towards Oilvert, on the way there I dug up the second chocograph from Chocobo Lagoon for Amarant's weapon.

I entered the Oilvert, bought new equipment, set up needed abilities and saved. In about ten tries I managed to get through the whole Oilvert with only one encounter that I managed to instantly flee with L1+R1, which is quite rare.

After buying Stilzkin's deal I saved and prepared for Ark. With Amarants weapon from the chocograph, MP attack and Bird Killer, he was doing 9k-9999 per hit so actual killing of the Ark was very easy but I also needed to steal Holy lance so it took me about five tries.

The annoying part is that right after the battle you get to control Cid and you need to get through the minigame which I managed after third attempt, meaning I lost about minute on the two failed tries, but I kept the save because I didn't want to redo Ark anymore.

Now for the Desert Palace, I always hated this place and it wasn't any better this time around. Since you don't have Zidane here, you basically can't flee and Stop doesn't work very well here. I was set on taking one random battle no matter how long it would be but I couldn't get just one. After like thirty tries tho I incredibly lucked out and actually made it through to the moogle without any encounter at all. I was really surprised and happy about that since the encouner rate here is quite high on three screens.

Since I took all bloodstones on the way there, the boss wasn't any real problem but I had to retry few times since he opened up the battles with Reflect and I needed to hit him with Water first so Quina could one shot him with Limit Glove.

After that I was in control of Zidanes party again and even with many tries, I couldn't simply get out without any less than four encounters, which really sucked but at least in three of them Zidane managed to get first action so they didn't take much time.

Next up was Esto Gaza and Mount Gulug. I had to do some more shopping in Esto Gaza and then to get through the Mount Gulug without any encounter while getting most of the chests. This proved incredibly hard, mostly the first screen before even actually entering the Mount Gulug has retardedly high encounter rate. For such a small area it took me more than thirty tries to get through.

Killing the two Red Dragons and Meltigemini wasn't any problem at all. Amarant one shotted each Red Dragon and Meltigemini took like four hits to take down. Saved in Lindblum.

As is trend with Lindblum, there was ton of talking again so I had to get through all that dialogue and finally I got hold of Hilda Garde III to fly to Ipsen's castle. Amarant got all emo here and leaved my side for a bit .

When you ignore all chests inside of the Ipsen's castle, it's pretty short way but still there were few retries and then about 15 retries to kill Taharka in decent time. Steiner with Flame Sword and add status can actually one shot the boss with the Heat status, the chance is about 10% per hit.

All in all I got one encounter through the castle and then I went to get back Amarant. From here I dropped off in Water and Fire shrines and landed next to Daguerreo since I needed to make some shopping here and set up Zidane and Quina for next boss battle. After I done it I dropped off in Wind shrine and finally went to the Earth shrine.

Lich wasn't really all that bad, I needed to get two hits on him with Zidane, then hit him with Limit Glove and eat him. Quina is really something else. To eat a boss... Damn scary stuff.

Then I saved just under the Shimmering Islands and went to Terra. There are quite few valuable chests that I needed to pick up and the encounter rate there isn't the lowest either. After few tries I just settled down for 4 encounters on the way to Bran Bal.

There I picked up some items, bought Stilzkin's deal and saved.

Gamefaqs perfect FF9 file with skipping FMVs by Atomos199 time: 09:56:27
Youtube FF9 perfect game without skipping FMVs by rlouisw: 09:31:18
My time: 09:50:23

I am getting further and further from rlouisw's time but it's fine really considering there are still over two hours left and all that's left really are like 12 boss battles and that's it.

__________________________________________________ __________________

And that concludes the update for the last three days. Hopefully I won't take another three days for the next update.

12-15-2013, 01:32 PM
Okay guys I am sorry for being lazy with updates twice in a row. I hope you didn't lose all interest in this project yet, since I have a big update on both challenges again!

Level 1 Challenge:

I got really bored by powering up the Thievery so I moved a little bit on with the story. I went through the Desert Palace, dug up the two Chocographs on Forgotten continent and both cracks, getting Freya's ultimate weapon, kinda fun that she can't use the skill from it due to low max MP.

Ark took me around 40 tries because I needed to steal the Holy Lance and I wasn't too lucky with the steals even with bandit and master thief and even if I stole it, I was unlucky with Ark's attack killing me. Then I almost messed up the mini game and guess what? I forgot to save and died in the Desert Palace. I raged quite hard, good thing I was only one at home at the time. Thankfully though, the second time to get through didn't take more than 10 tries.

Now for the Desert Palace, I wasn't expecting this place to be really hard but oh I was so very wrong. This place is absolutely horrendous. Since with lvl 1 you basically can't run away without Zidane and Vivi's stop doesn't work much here. This place took me well over fifty damn tries to get finally through to moogle before the boss. The boss itself wasn't any problem and fell on the first try.

Aiming to Esto Gaza and Mount Gulug I bought new items (mainly Octagon Staff) and after getting all chests except those red dragon guarded and saved. There were two battles ahead now. Two Red dragons and Meltigemini boss. The red dragons were raped solely by Vivi, because they basically can't almost kill him. With Octagon Staff he absorbs Wind attacks, so only way they can kill him is hitting with basic attack two times (auto-life). It took only about three times to stop them both successfully and I saved again.

Meltigemini is one of the hardest bosses in level 1 challenge if you aren't power upping Dragon's Crest and Thievery to very high damage. Since I did though, having Dragon's Crest at 9999 and Thievery at 6700 at the moment, it took me only one try to take him down.

There was alot of plot again, Dagger got loli haircut and I gotten the Hilda Garde III. Which also means I now can obtain Running Shoes from Treno's monster and the flying chocograph so I did and I also found and dug up all the left chocographs found in Chocobo Air Garden and all the bubbles in the sea.

I paid a quick visit to Dagguereo to do some shopping in preparation for Ozma (namely Egoist's Armlet for immunity to Doomsday). Since I still haven't done the friendly monster quest I thought I might do as well now so I found them all and finished the quest fairly quickly, learning tons of abilities in the process.

There was one last thing left to do before taking on Ozma, power upping the Thievery to 9999. I had 300 steals left to do it so it still took few hours but I just finally managed to max it. I decided my party for Ozma will be Zidane, Freya, Quina for obvious reasons and Amarant for Aura (auto-life). I prepared Quina's HP to 1 for Limit Glove, equipped everyone with dark absorbing or guarding items and saved.

The Ozma was waiting for our showdown and I didn't make it wait anymore. Ozma has interesting AI changing possible moves between odd and even turns and also filling up ATB immediately if I enter any command while it isn't casting anything at the moment. Also after dropping to 40000 and 30000 HP it will cast Berserk on the character that took it under that HP and it has variable chance of casting Curaga on itself each time you target it according to some guide it's 13-50% chance depending on HP left. This won't take it's turn. Another thing is it will cast Curse on the party on it's second round which will kill whole party at level 1 meaning auto-life is absolutely mandatory.

Knowing this all it took me 9 tries to beat it, which I consider really lucky. The battle that I won went like this: Ozma casted Death on Amarant, he resurrected, then I casted Dragon's Crest, Thievery and Limit Glove for 3x 9999, Ozma casted berserk on two characters missing both. Then it casted Curse killing everyone. Everyone resurrected except Amarant whose auto-life was wasted first round. Before I got another turn, Ozma got it's third turn casting Doomsday missing/healing my team and damaging itself for 9999. I then casted another round of Dragon's Crest, Limit Glove and finally Thievery, killing Ozma. To be honest this battle was kind of weird, I never actually managed to throw Dark Matter at it for guaranteed 9999, and also very very luckily it didn't counter any attack with Curaga meaning Ozma didn't heal itself at all.

So while not planned, I managed to complete Level 1 Ozma Challenge as well! I will keep the save just before Ozma for possible rematch in the future. While I want to finish the game itself on lvl 1, I restarted the game after Ozma since it took my characters to 20+ levels and the items from it aren't needed to finish the game.

So far that's it. Now that I am thinking about it I made a mistake of not taking a screenshot after killing Ozma for proof for this journal which is a shame but I am not up to trying chances again just for it so I will just hope you'll believe me :).

Time on the save before killing Ozma is just over 44 hours.

Excalibur II Challenge:

Last update was just after getting to Bran Bal. There were the three forced exp battles ahead of me and I didn't expect them to be hard. That was false assumption. It took me many tries and experimenting with equip to finally get through all three of the battles and afterwards I saved.

I ran back to the starting point, picked up Holy Mitter behind the chair, ran through the light lamp field and over then bridge in five seconds and set up the flying plateau to 4. There is a chest with 20k gils that you can get setting to 3 but it takes more time and much more real life time, because of much higher chances to get random encounters. I flew to the screen with portals and here I actually picked up two optional chests with Battle Boots and Carabini Mail since they are useful and I needed to get in battle anyway to prepare my party for upcoming boss battles. I needed to kill and resurrect everyone to get them to yellow HP range. I also equipped the needed items on everyone and saved by the Moogle.

There are now three boss battles in a fast succession without being able to touch the menu in between. Thankfully though, if you win the first one, you basically won them all since only Silver Dragon has party attacks, Garland and Kuja both can only kill one character at a time not posing any real danger. The Silver Dragon battle took me a few tries, he is one of the few bosses with maximal speed, meaning he's almost sure to get one and usually the first turn. Meaning you gotta get lucky for him not to use any of his all target attacks. But the funny thing is, it only takes one charge (all 4 characters with yellow HP, MP attack etc.) to take him down. Garland didn't even get a turn, all needed was for everyone to normally attack and Steiner cast a Charge. Last boss of the disc, Kuja is basically a little stronger and faster Garland. But to take him down it took exactly the same as for Garland.

Bam, another one of the best FMVs in the game play and then you just gotta run a little, mash through some plot to finally finish third disc!

Gamefaqs perfect FF9 file with skipping FMVs by Atomos199 time: 10:28:25
Youtube FF9 perfect game without skipping FMVs by rlouisw: 10:02:34
My time: 10:27:43

There isn't really much to do on the disc 4, basically few scenes, few screens and five bosses to get to the Excalibur II. It can be done in about 45 minutes and me having over hour and half left, I basically already succeeded on this challenge. All that's left is to actually get it! I am only waiting to catch up to fourth disc with level 1 challenge.

__________________________________________________ __________________

And that's it for this update guys, as you can see, everything went better than expected. I also think that I'll finish both challenges by today so you should probably expect last final update later on today. Be sure to check this thread later for the great finish.

12-16-2013, 05:01 PM
Okay guys sorry that I didn't finish this yesterday like I said so, but disc 4 proved harded than expected on both challenges, thus I finished just now and with greatest pleasure I must say:


Read below what were the last moments on each of the challenges.

Level 1 Challenge:

Ipsen Castle was a breeze, took only one try, Taharka quickly fell to one Limit Glove and Thievery.

Lich was easy as well since I could easily hit him once, then thievery, then eat him.

In Terra on my way to Bran Bal I picked up all treasures, did some shopping once in Bran Bal and saved before fighting the damned forced exp encounters. I decided that I will sacrifice purity of Zidane to keep all 7 other characters at lvl 1. All the battles took just one try putting up Zidane to 31st level. At least it ends in "1" too. Meh.

There were three last boss battles keeping me from disc 4 and I wanted to keep the pure level 1 challenge intact so I killed Zidane before saving on the last moogle. It took me over 60 tries to finally get through them all with only Amarant, Steiner and Freya. Most of the failures were on the Silver Dragon because he's just way too goddamn fast so he always get one turn in and usually kills whole party with his party attack. I actually defeated him six times total, meaning it took about ten tries each. I failed four times on Garland because I didn't prepare properly like Locomotion against Stop which was serious problem with only three characters. And finally I died once to Kuja because I didn't equip Coral Rings to absorb his Thundara or Thundaga whatever he uses so he wiped me out with that. On second try he fell too and after few scenes I hit the fourth disc.

After little talking in the Black Mage Village I went to face off with Nova Dragon which is basically stronger Silver Dragon but since I used different strategy, he took me five tries. This was still with Zidane dead, I only used Quina, Amarant and Freya. The strategy was basically use Night to sleep the dragon, wait for Quina's ATB to fill again, cast Dragon's Crest followed immediately by another Night, with Amarant throwing Elixirs on whoever needed MP. Since Nova Dragon doesn't steal turns, with this strategy he never gets to attack at all.

Now this is where I just quitted the total pure level 1 challenge as it proved almost impossible for me. In Memoria you can finally after three discs switch out Zidane, meaning I could have 4 other characters BUT the problem is: I LACK FLEE and L1+R1 running is impossible on level 1 here. Also Vivi's Stop is almost useless here as well. I tried well over 100 times to get to Maliris either without an encounter or with but Stoping the enemy. Needless to say in those 100 tries I never once managed to even get to the Maliris. That is why I will keep using Zidane. One level 31 and three level 1 is enough of challenge. To be honest Zidane being lvl 31 doesn't help him one bit here anyway. He doesn't have enough HP to survive so it would basically go the same way even if he was level 1.

With Flee I finally easily to Maliris which didn't pose any problem and fell quickly to Thievery, Dragon Crest and Amarant normal attacks. Only thing to watch out for is that Maliris will kill whole party with her last dying attack so I had Freya jump just before killis Maliris to survive.

Tiamat was a little worse since he actually has a party killer attack as his normal turn, but he is mostly busy absorbing various stuff from me. It took me only two tries to kill him, the first one failing to his Fire Jet killing whole party.

I actually killed Hades on the way on my second try only to see I forgot he gives EXP so even tho I killed him, I had to reset and ignore him.

Kraken wasn't any problem at all. Once I killed both his tentacles he couldn't kill me at all. Waterga was eaither absorbed or reflected (healing him a little but that was only prolonging the battle, nothing more), Freeze was guarded with Body Temp and when he actually killed someone with Leg, I simply popped a phoenix down. Fell on first try.

Now last of them, Lich was actually the easiest of all and also couldn't really kill me so he also died on first try.

After running through the crystal world to the last save sphere, I prepared for Deathguise, which proved to be quite party wiper.

He always uses Meteor on first turn to kill whole party, so auto-life is mandatory and then he usually follows by Spin killing me for good. What I needed to do was basically the same strategy as with Nova Dragon - Night, Thievery, Dragon's Crest, Night and occasional Elixir. That way he couldn't get second turn so after about five tries for favourable ATB of Quina I won.

I backtracked and saved. Trance Kuja and Necron left.

Long story short, both actually fell on the first try, Kuja is can't basically kill me anyway unless lucky with Flare Star or me screwing up with turns. He's turn stealer like Ozma, so unless I timed my commands while he was casting, he got immediately another turn. Quite annoying but not so deadly.

I was really afraid of Necron and I had a reason. Necron is really dangreous with his party attacks and his status abusing skills. I needed to hit him 6 times for 9999 to end the battle (well that was the case for all the bosses on this disc actually). I couldn't use Limit Glove since all party members are fully healed, but I still had my Dark Matter which I planned to use. Funny thing is I didn't actually get the chance. Through various attacks he didn't give me a chance to use it with either Amarant nor Quina. Through the fight Freya got off two Dragon's Crest depleting her MP anyway and Zidane got off one Thievery before Necron wiped my party. Zidane was only one resurrected by that time with his autolife and I thought it was over for but just for the fun I kept spamming Thievery. Turned out I was incredibly lucky with Necron's turns after this point. He did Blue Shockwave doing nothing, I shot off another Thievery, then he casted Shell on himself, another Thievery and lastly he casted Blue Shockwave AGAIN giving me chance to finish him with last Thievery.


I was really excited in last two battles and by killing Necron I managed to finish this challenge successfully

I watched and read the whole ending which pleased me much. I actually forgot how beautiful and meaningful the ending of FF9 is. So many cute things such as little Vivi's, Eiko adopted by Cid etc. Really my favourite ending.

My time on the last save before the Deathguise: 48:33:56. Everyone at level 1 except for Zidane at level 31. As you can see this challenge not counting multiple restarts etc, took me almost 50 hour to finish with killing Ozma on pure lvl 1 putting me through tons of preparation. If once were to ignore Ozma, I believe it would be done easily in half time of casual playing, considering it can be done under 12 hours for those playing perfect game.

It is also quite nice looking everyone sans Zidane on lvl 1.

The End~~

Excalibur II Challenge:

There were only five fights left keeping me from Excalibur II.

Nova Dragon was quite annoying fella, it took me about fifteen tries to get him down not using the Night method, but instead just whacking him with yellow HP party and Charge. Basically all times he killed me was through the Shockwave killing everyone at once.

Both Maliris and Tiamat posed no problem at all and both quickly fell on first try.

Kraken actually was kind of challenging, I killed his tentacles fast but then he kept killing my characters and healing himself through reflected Waterga. I did take him down on first try but it took really long time (maybe 15 minutes?). It could have definitely be done much faster with little luck but since I had so much extra time here, I decided it would be pointless to try for faster time, since my only concern is Excalibur II.

Now Lich was a total pushover. Each attack from my party members done from 7 to 9999 damage meaning I only had to attack once with each and shot one Charge!, he was easily the weakest of them all.

All that was left now was to claim my sweet prize!

And thus for the first time in my about 15 replays through ten years, I got the Excalibur II! YES!

Gamefaqs perfect FF9 file with skipping FMVs by Atomos199 time: 11:10:59
Youtube FF9 perfect game without skipping FMVs by rlouisw: 10:27:55
My time: 11:07:29

As you can see I had about an extra hour left (considering I didn't aim for way faster Kraken). So I could have been easier on myself through the challenge with random encounters etc, but I must say it feels better to have a decent time left than to get it two second before the deadline.

Also watching the times, Atomos199 is a little slower than me while skipping all FMVs and doing the perfect game, sounds about right. On the other side, rlouisw's time is simply ridiculous as he was also watching every FMV as I did, he also done the perfect game (well the old version, without 10th Promist Ring and the brothers sidequest, but still) and yet he is 40 minutes faster than I.

The End~~

________________________________________ ____________________________

And that's it my friends. 15 days after I started both challenges I finally managed to finish them both and I am extremely happy with it. I will do an afterword in next post.

---------- Post added at 10:01 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:00 AM ----------


When I look back to my first post, I pretty much said why I decided to do these challenges, basically since this game is one of my dearests ever and I never actually done each. Until now.

Even with many playthroughs I never felt like I properly did everything interesting in this game even with getting whole party to lvl 99, killing Ozma multiple times etc. Something was missing.

That feeling is now gone and I feel like I truly done everything in this game and as such, I will forever keep it in my heart but no longer will I play it anymore and instead I will go out and find another masterpieces in gaming world to fall love with.

Both challenges were very different from each other and both of them were very exciting and amusing to play and finish.

The Excalibur II challenge was more exciting since there was always time ticking away and trust me getting through the whole game in under twelve hours is really quite a feat. I know that tons of people done it and some went as far as doing perfect games while at it. Kudos to them all.

The Level 1 challenge on the other side was way more amusing. I always had a thing for weak things doing big stuff. Like when I played Ragnarok Online and kept playing as 1st class instead of changing to 2nd class, putting myself at very severe disadvantage. Yet still I managed to do impressive feats while playing like that etc. Level 1 challenge is very similar to that. You take your weak characters and you can't simply whack away the bosses like you used to in your normal playthroughs. You got to think of a different strategy, gearing etc for each of them. That is the part that makes it fun for me since it was always very fulfilling to bring another one down.

Both challenges were really "challenging" each in their own way even though I already knew the game completely. Neither one is an easy thing to do for the casual players and I really wouldn't advice anyone to try and play them both at once in a try for a perfect game save without skipping FMVs on PAL version and without being severe masochist. Seriously I don't think there would be much pleasure, just the pain left.

On the other side, I DO advice anyone who loves this game as much as I do to try at least one of these challenges (and also probably only one at a time, playing them both at the same time was a little crazy ). They both gave me truly amazing and unforgetable experience.

I am really happy I decided to do this and got through it all. It was worth it.

The END~~
________________________________________ ____________________________

Now if anyone of you has any questions about the challenges or anything really, feel free to ask me now, while I still have everything in my memory!

12-16-2013, 11:48 PM
Well since I decided my next challenges will be with FFX that I lent my friend and won't be getting back till day after tomorrow, I decided to break a little what I said in last post and do one last playthrough as a tribute to my most favourite character of FFIX - Vivi. This last and ultimate challenge I will do is "Vivi saves the world in a day" or so you understand - Vivi only, one day only.

I will be starting the game in 10 minutes at exactly 17.12. 0:00 PM CET time and I will have until 18.12. 0:00 PM CET to finish it. I won't be doing any updates in between, I will do one big entry after end. Look forward to it!

12-17-2013, 11:50 AM
Unfortunately due to unforeseen real life matters I won't be able to finish this challenge since I won't have enough time today. Thus the challenge is considered a failure. But since I already started it, I will at least continue it as simple Vivi only challenge.

12-19-2013, 05:05 PM
Okay guys it took longer than expected but I finally managed to finish the Vivi only challenge!

And it was very enjoyable ride I must tell you, I liked every second of it. While not being overly hard at most parts, it was still very nice to see the little Vivi destroying everything in his path haha.

Vivi Only Challenge:

Okay I won't really go in deep details here but I just may give a little commentary on my playthrough.

There were few things I was concerned about when I started the challenge. Though Vivi is my all time favourite FF9 character, I never really used him much battle wise, so even though I knew he is extraordinarily powerful, I didn't know if there aren't going to be any parts that are simply impossible for him or simply parts of the game where he couldn't deal with MP and all ether would be used, not counting the parts when he isn't available. He actually is avalaible for the very most of the game, probably second only to Zidane, which is great. Playing something like Amarant only challenge where you don't really have him in party for most of the game would be quite pointless wouldn't it?

Well on the other side, having only one character alive, means he gains experience 4 times faster than normal, meaning at any given point, Vivi was about exactly at the level he needed to pass the next boss or area or he was stronger. The only real part where I actually "grinded" was at the very start of the evil forest to give Vivi a little boost and even then I only stayed there for about 15 minutes. For the rest of the game I simply killed almost everything I encountered, fleeing only very rarily.

I also decided I will simply level up with the other characters when I can't use Vivi. Having them lvl 1 would be more challenging, but since I already did full level 1 challenge earlier and it wasn't the point of this challenge, I said to myself why bother. Still noone aside Vivi got any higher than 28 level, this with only killing what I encounter, not getting any extra battles.

There were few bosses I was really concerned about like the second waltz, since he is powerful enough by himself, plus he counters about every spell I cast etc, but at Vivi's high level he wasn't really a problem.

Once I got through the Lindblum I dig up neccesarry chocographs which was a must really, I don't know how would I do this without Oak Stuff and Bio, which i used for like half of the game.

Only really problematic boss of the disc one was Beatrix. And that was not because she is overly strong, but really cheap. I forgot her Shock instantly kills one character, thus with Vivi only resulting in a Game Over. I had to fill my Trance so just one hit from Beatrix fills it up and then I had to cast 4 Bios to end the battle, this took few tries since she abused the damned Shock.

Disc 2 wasn't any problem at all if it wasn't for... You guess it Beatrix. Twice. The second Beatrix is basically the same as the first, I had to prepare my trance to quickly end the battle. For the third battle though it wasn't that bad. Her Shock doesn't automatically KO you anymore, instead dealing enormous damage but considering how high lvl Vivi was and the extra stuff from chocographs, he still managed to survive it (Just barely though, at the time he had about 780 max hp and Shock did like 750).

Actually there was one more problem. The Iifa three is where normal enemies also gain an ability to instantly kill me (with Roulette), which resulted in one game over.

Disc 3 was pretty easy for most part, there were lot of battles where Vivi was unfortunately unavailable which while not really hard (like, Amarant can't kill Zidane at level 2 with proper setup, Amarant two shotting that stone boss in Desert palace, 4 shotting Meltigemini, three forced battles finished with Dark matter etc.) is quite sad for the point of challenge, but there's nothing to be done.

There was alot of finding and digging up the chocographs but it didn't take that much time. Funniest things that happened to me here? I send Vivi to Oeilvert, forgetting you can't use magic here (while I remember Kuja saying that, I forgot it having an actual effect in the battle) so since I didn't want to backtrack I had to... Kill Ark with Vivi only attacking him with his stuff :D To be honest it wasn't really that bad, each attack dealt about 500 damage and Ark had absolutely no way to kill Vivi so while lengthy process it wasn't particularly hard.

Second funny thing was the very last battle of the disc, Kuja. I actually prepared too much for him. With Auto-reflect and other stuff like that, Kuja actually uses ONLY Flare Star, which isn't really survivable in the long run so I had to retry while making myself easier to hurt so he actually hurts less :D

Fourth disc was a living hell though. Almost every enemy here has an instant killing move while themselves being quite resistant to Death. I had many many retries between each save point. As for boss battles though, Nova Dragon and Maliris were really easy. Tiamat took few tries because with his absorbing, after few rounds he could've kill me or I would do a really low damage. I solved it by equipping Auto-Reflect and Reflectx2 which while very expensive on magic stones, is incredibly strong combo. Really most of the high end spells do 9999.

Kraken was easy stuff. Now Lich was a b*tch. He took me around ten retries before I got lucky him missing or not casting Doom, since there isn't really anything to be done about it as after auto-reviving he always finished me with physical attack.

Deathguise was easy to kill. Now for trance Kuja? He was incredibly funny. I actually found out that on my level (64) and with my equipment, if I activated Return magic and Auto-Regen, I could simply initiate the battle and go for a smoke or something. Whole battle was simply done by itself, I didn't have to imput a single command, since each time he hit me with a spell, Vivi returned it to him and during the animation, he would regen up to max health. After few minutes the battle was over by itself.

Neuron actually killed me once because one of his attacks apparently has a chance of instant killing me. The second time though he died easily. I simply spammed Doomsday, healing myself and hurting him each round.

And that's it folks. While not as interesting as previous two challenges, I really enjoyed it. Since I also got my FFX copy back, I will start thinking about the challenges to do here.

Thanks for following.

12-20-2013, 12:00 PM
I've just read through this entire thread and have to say, fair play and congrats on managing to get through all of these challenges, especially taking on two at the same time.

I didn't think I would, but I recently replayed FFIX myself and just completed it this week, and after years of not playing it I really do appreciate how good it is. I was just playing through normally, essentially trying to restore my near-complete save, although I managed to miss Armour Break for Steiner (never actually realised Mythril Sword is time bound before, always just went to Esto Gaza early). I didn't finish maxing out all the cards either, which I've done before, but that could be returned to should I ever be so inclined, got about 20 of them to A throughout the game and all 100 have different arrows so it's good to go.

I did think after finishing it the one thing I've never actually done in this game is go for Excalibur II. The game itself doesn't actually seem to be that long if you don't stop for sidequests, I was at the end of disc 2 after about 20 hours even after having done as many as possible. I was wondering what the best approach would be, and I was thinking that it would simply be that if you get into a random encounter, if you don't think you could win in one hit, you flee. I didn't consider that actually if you keep resetting you might be able to get through an area without a single battle, but then I probably wouldn't have the patience to do it that way. Do you think, having done an Excalibur II run and knowing now what's involved, that you could do it without having to reset the game in the field? Obviously if you screw up in a boss battle or get something wrong somewhere that's grounds for resetting, but in terms of normal gameplay could you go through an area taking the quickest route and only the treasures you want, but with the opportunity to escape from a few more battles? I noticed you had about 50 minutes to spare. I know the battles are very slow at loading in this game, so it won't give a lot of flexibility.

I was thinking if I ever did try it (which in reality I probably never will, especially after reading through your excellent write up!) I wouldn't use a guide apart from to see guideline times at various points in the game, in the same way you did. But there's a lot of things you need to consider that you wouldn't in a normal playthrough, same with the level 1 game where even in the initial points of following you I'd forgotten about set battles that force you to get EXP. (And interesting that you noticed the link between Blank and Amarant - the last time I read of someone trying a level 1 game, they had a character which I think was Amarant join at a slightly higher level and wasn't sure why, I didn't know at the time either).

I guess there was a question in there somewhere :p I'm just impressed you managed to not only complete these challenges but so quickly. Guessing you had a fair bit of free time this month. :p But I have done these sort of things before, admittedly not in FFIX but others in the series, I'd say it can be very frustrating but very rewarding once you finally do get through an area, I'm sure you agree.

12-20-2013, 01:00 PM
First of all, thanks for you reply :) I am happy that you enjoyed the read and found it interesting.

Yeah FFIX is really awesome game. Replaying it three times in three weeks :D I actually really appreciated the story, world and everything it offers. It's a masterpiece through and through. Though wow, maxing the cards was something that I never even thought about doing. To be honest I don't quite like Tetra Master of FFIX that much. I like FFVIII card game much more for both it's rules and cards being actually very useful for turning into items.

You are right that if you don't level up and ignore everything optional, the game isn't actually that long and each disc is basically about six to eight locations each taking like 15-25 minutes each. As for time and allowing yourself to some random encounters, I say you can be a little easier on yourself than I was but there are few things to consider. First of all, do you have NTSC or PAL version? Since PAL version has basically about two hours less due to the 60hz 50hz conversion (if you don't know about it, google it, I don't understand it well enough to properly explain it), Second thing to consider, can you and if you can, will you skip the FMVs? In case you can and will, you have about 50-60 minutes more. I couldn't skip the FMVs and even if I could I wouldn't really since it is kind of cheating.

As you pointed out if the game has any big flaws, it's the big loading times. That is also the case for the battles, even considering you would immediately flee from the battle, it's about 45 extra seconds, winning the battle even if it was one or two hits can take about 90 seconds so while you can let yourself get a random encounter there and there, you still should be strict with yourself. I was very strict on myself because I was worried that if I let myself loose with the random encounters earlier, it could ruin my time later on in harder parts.

Really if you ever do replay again, I say, go for it. It is different experience from the normal playthrough and it's really interesting and rewarding. Also yeah the link between the characters is interesting considering each is basically different, Cinna linked to Quina can't ruin her level, because you can't level him up at all, Blank and Amarant where former can easily ruin Amarant's level and Marcus with Eiko, which are bugged in way that can increase Eiko's stats but not her level. The programmers must did some funny thing in the code really.

Yeah I had alot of free time and I still do, since as I said in my first post, I have some health problems that net me one month at home for recovery. And also yeah, while some parts were very frustrating, it never was so bad I wanted to tear my hairs out or something. After all the more frustration doing something, the more rewarding it is afterwards.

12-21-2013, 11:20 AM
What I was looking to get at is, if I ever do go for this, still treat it as a proper playthrough. I assume you can still skip FMVs on the PS3 similar to how you could on the PS1 by ejecting the disc (not got my old PSX any more) but I'm not sure I'd want to. It'd be a way of catching some time up if I was behind I guess, but I assume it was intended that you can get to the end of Memoria in 12 hours without skipping FMVs, and you and others have managed it. I am playing the PAL version as well and I was aware the loading times are slower, just seems like they didn't take that into account when doing the conversion.

Interesting your thoughts on random encounters though - it sounds like some degree of saving and reloading would always be needed. Did you vary your party a lot or did you essentially use the same four characters as much as possible and ignore the others? Thinking about it, you do get a decent amount of EXP just from the set battles. Somehow in my last playthrough I hadn't levelled Steiner up as much as normal in the first two discs and he was gaining 1-2 levels per battle from the Mistodons in Alexandria after that which was a lot quicker than I expected. With that sort of speed levelling in the set battles, I imagine if you keep the same team they would still get to a decent enough level without fighting many of the random battles. I was surprised that the effect of fighting just the three set battles in Pandemonium was as much as 30 levels in your level 1 game.

I was aware of the Marcus-Eiko link but never really tried to do anything with it - the EXP is just too low in battles you can fight with him for me to have any patience in trying it out. It's not like it's really needed. I'm guessing someone out there has tried levelling him up a lot though.

Might be quite a long time before I play this game again, but I'm feeling inspired to give the Excalibur II run a go now one day.

12-21-2013, 12:19 PM
I am not really sure if it is possible to skip on PS3 as I never had one but yeah it is made to be possible to get with the FMVs.

For the most part I used the same characters really. Garnet and Eiko are both completely useless for dealing fast damage so when I could, I didn't use them at all. Other times I was switching between the rest 6 characters as needed. But as you say the forced EXP battles alone give usually a decent amount of experience by themselves though the 30 level jump was really only thanks to Zidane soaking ALL the experience.

There is a way to level up Marcus to 99 automatically though. You have to get turbo controller, Blood Sword from stellazio coins and get to the part just after escaping the swinging cage, there endless soldiers runs towards you and with blood sword they can't kill you at all, so if you tape the X button set on turbo, you can leave Marcus to level overnight etc.

12-21-2013, 02:44 PM
Ah yes, that'd make sense. Another one I'd not be inclined to do though. Reminds me a bit of when I was struggling to win the last few Hippaul races so went for an old trick, changing the controls and using a battery to hammer across the two buttons as quickly as possible. Good old fashioned controller abuse... (sidetracking, but it does remind me one other thing I never managed to do in this game is max out the skipping game, about 200 was my best and I couldn't even get past 50 on my latest playthrough!)

Not using Garnet and Eiko makes sense when you're looking to finish battles as quickly as possible. Essentially the same way I first played through this game... didn't always go so well. :p