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Excalibur II Perfect Game (E2PG) on the NTSC-JP version of Final Fantasy IX.

#1LayZ33Posted 3/19/2012 7:03:15 AM(edited)
I will be attempting that in the near future and if I am successful at it, I will make a new thread (like about a year from now) to document my experiences. E2PGs have already been done for the USA and PAL versions so I hope to add JP to the list.

But I have some questions before I start. Are there any significant gameplay differences between the Japanese and Western versions of FFIX? For example:

-Differences in gameplay battle mechanics/algorithms.
-Differences in the existence or non-existence of bugs.
-Differences in the stat-up points that equipment offers.
-Differences in monster steal/drops.

Anything at all that can affect anything to do with E2PGs.

It's been confirmed that the original Japanese black-label version of FFIX and the "Ultimate Hits" re-release have exactly the same data on the discs, down to the very byte (i.e. The checksums/CRCs are exactly the same) so no worries here.

Now for some general E2PG questions. The last update to the E2PG guide by Atomos199 was mid-2011 and undoubtedly more new and relevant information/details has surfaced since then. I understand that Atomos199 doesn't have the time to check and add new information so I was wondering what things have been discovered from mid-2011 until now? Please tell me what they are or link me to forum threads and/or other webpages. I also understand that there's a work-in-progress E2PG wiki.

Also, what's your opinion on the E2PG videos so far?

InvincibleGarland: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=2121FC41A5B357F7
1whoistornapart: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=7C21A6F5C05D3F2D
rlouisw: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=451775E53849501E
camdad04: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE0414167DC073340

I'm tempted to just have their videos by my side (in particular camdad04's) and completely mimic them while playing my own game but because they're from 2007 (the 4th is from 2010), there is a risk that they may be missing things that were discovered post-2007. So would it be better to just follow the most recently updated text guide and to look up those videos if I need help in particular areas? In any case, I'll probably print out Atomo199's guide and I also own the FFIX Ultimania guidebook which might prove useful here and there.

For anyone who has successfully completed it, how many real-time hours (including failed runs and subsequent soft-resets) did it take for you to accomplish it?

Finally, let me know if there's anything I need to know. I'm not sure when I'll start but probably not for a few weeks yet, I'm just in the preparation phase at the moment in terms of the organisation of information as well as my state of mind.
#2Atomos199Posted 3/19/2012 8:03:38 AM
LayZ33 posted...
Are there any significant gameplay differences between the Japanese and Western versions of FFIX? For example:

-Differences in gameplay battle mechanics/algorithms.
-Differences in the existence or non-existence of bugs.
-Differences in the stat-up points that equipment offers.
-Differences in monster steal/drops.


If you have the Ultimania (HI-5 btw, hehe) then you could check the last two points. As for the second, the challenge doesn't exploit any bugs, so if any JP-exclusive bugs exist and are exploitable then it's a matter of personal preference. But at least you won't be disadvantaged by the lack of a bug since none are used in the first place (with the possible exception of Marcus/Eiko, but if you're exploiting that then you're not playing a speed-run anymore, making most of the difficulty moot anyway). I don't know anything about the first point., sorry.

I was wondering what things have been discovered from mid-2011 until now?

1. 10 Promist Ring
2. option of stat paths with Robe of Lords (Ozma *theoretically* possible during the PG)
3. extra stat path choices in general
4. much streamlining/optimization in terms of target times by camdad (absolutely necessary for #2, and very helpful for #1)
5. ???, someone remind me?

So it would seem it's not that much, but incorporating it into the guide requires redoing most of the walkthrough, writing some new sections, making sure there are no inconsistencies with "relics" from previous versions, etc. etc. etc. You are wise in not waiting for an update ;-)

Also, what's your opinion on the E2PG videos so far?

It's been a while so I don't remember exactly, but I believe there were no major changes to the walkthrough after all these runs were recorded, only stat set-ups. IIRC, mind you. However, depending on whether you want to get the 10th Promist Ring, which stat path you want to follow, and maybe other things I'm forgetting, you would be well-advised to follow camdad's route as it saves you the most in-game time by far. But be aware that even his run doesn't actually include the 10th ring, or Ozma, or any of the things mentioned above - it's simply fast enough to potentially accomodate those goals if you're able to independently modify and plan your playthrough to include them somewhere between his segments. It also deviates from the walkthrough quite significantly, so it's kind of an either/or decision as to which you can use.

Finally, may I ask why you've decided to do this on the JP version? Is it just because it hasn't been done on that version as far as we know? Because if there are no differences between the JP and NA versions besides language (which I'm inclined to believe), then I don't see much purpose to this, tbqh.
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I never gained supreme ulti-complete status. I projected my mind approx 3 years into the future and realized it was going to be a waste of time
~ bastardpoetry
#3LayZ33(Topic Creator)Posted 3/19/2012 10:54:48 AM
Atomos199 posted...
As for the second, the challenge doesn't exploit any bugs, so if any JP-exclusive bugs exist and are exploitable then it's a matter of personal preference. But at least you won't be disadvantaged by the lack of a bug since none are used in the first place (with the possible exception of Marcus/Eiko, but if you're exploiting that then you're not playing a speed-run anymore, making most of the difficulty moot anyway).

In regards to bugs, rather than the exploitation of them, I meant to ask whether there were any bugs in the JP FFIX that may negatively impact/affect my E2PG, just as a precaution. In any case, there shouldn't be any, or at least I hope not.

1. 10 Promist Ring
2. option of stat paths with Robe of Lords (Ozma *theoretically* possible during the PG)
3. extra stat path choices in general
4. much streamlining/optimization in terms of target times by camdad (absolutely necessary for #2, and very helpful for #1)
5. ???, someone remind me?


No. 1 and 3 sounds relatively minor but No. 2 sounds pretty interesting to maximise forced level-ups (and stat gains). Then again, it would be nice to have a post Excalibur 2 Level 1 save file with Ozma still alive... (so I can challenge it whenever I want at Level 1).

But No. 4 sounds like the most significant. I assume by streamlining/optimization you mean improving times (without too much exertion of effort) in certain sections of the game in order to give more of a leeway/buffer zone in terms of time on the more infuriating parts? I hope that's the case for my own sanity.

It's been a while so I don't remember exactly, but I believe there were no major changes to the walkthrough after all these runs were recorded, only stat set-ups. IIRC, mind you. However, depending on whether you want to get the 10th Promist Ring, which stat path you want to follow, and maybe other things I'm forgetting, you would be well-advised to follow camdad's route as it saves you the most in-game time by far. But be aware that even his run doesn't actually include the 10th ring, or Ozma, or any of the things mentioned above - it's simply fast enough to potentially accomodate those goals if you're able to independently modify and plan your playthrough to include them somewhere between his segments. It also deviates from the walkthrough quite significantly, so it's kind of an either/or decision as to which you can use.

Though my E2PG game might become less "perfect" for it, since I don't place great importance on the 10th Promist Ring or beating Ozma during an active E2PG session, I might do just that.

You say that it's an either/or decision because camdad04 deviates significantly from your own walkthrough. I would like to then ask: If one was to follow his way or your way, which method is more easier to do (while ignoring all the post-2011 discoveries)? camdad04 might have a lower final time but if it requires more self-hair-pulling and soft-resets, then one might prefer to do Atomo199's guide instead.

Finally, may I ask why you've decided to do this on the JP version? Is it just because it hasn't been done on that version as far as we know? Because if there are no differences between the JP and NA versions besides language (which I'm inclined to believe), then I don't see much purpose to this, tbqh.

Actually, it doesn't really have anything particular to do with FFIX or whether it's been done before. Long story short, I'm just a hardcore Japanese-region game and gaming goods collector (like that Ultimania guidebook mentioned earlier) as well as a purist who plays Japanese games in its original language. Nothing more.
#4Atomos199Posted 3/19/2012 1:32:02 PM
If you don't care about the 10th Promist Ring or about the stat paths using the Robe of Lords (I don't remember the details on these, but maybe Magical_Moogles will post here and provide more details), then I'd say you're not actually affected by any of the recent developments and don't have anything to worry about (except possibly stat paths, there's been so much going on with those I have no idea anymore).

From what I can recall about camdad's playthrough, it was a mix of better/easier strategies but also more reset determination in some areas. I don't think my walkthrough is all that demanding TBH, but even if you think it is, then it still ends with 30 minutes to spare which is quite a lot of time which you can choose to waste here and there to save frustration and reset time. I don't know which one is easier overall, and this is also depends on what your other PG goals are (you already mentioned you don't care about the ring, so maybe you'll be skipping some other things as well?)

So I suppose I can't give you a straight-up answer to your question ;-/
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I never gained supreme ulti-complete status. I projected my mind approx 3 years into the future and realized it was going to be a waste of time
~ bastardpoetry
#5Magical_MooglesPosted 3/19/2012 3:29:50 PM(edited)
I think quite a few of camdad's time-saving techniques have been a result of careful reassessments and not that the circuits themselves have gotten any more difficult. It's got to the point where every second really does count (if you want Promist Rings and Combined Stats). From experience, camdad's circuits have always been hard to keep up with (even when you think your circuit run has gone perfectly!)

As for the combined stats route: You can still acquire the Robe of Lords through the Chocobo H&C at the Sky Garden if you don't want to fight Ozma. If you are not doing the Promist Ring detour than I think this is doable but you need to be warned that It's not going to be easy whatever option you choose. Getting 1000+ points per game is not an easy task and you'd need to accumulate enough points to purchase the Robe of Lords. You'd also want to make sure your previous H&C games (when you acquire all the necessary chocographs) are optimised to maximise your chocobo's level and current points.

You also need time to train Quina before entering Terra (you only have 1 Robe of Lords and it needs to be shared between two characters)

Honestly i really do think the combined stat route is not accessible enough for a speed run PG. I fear fighting Ozma is simply not a viable option even after the long discussions about it. I think camdad is currently going through testing this stat path but I think the realisation will hit if/when he comes to a halt. If camdad can't do it no-one can!
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Gwee-hee-hee... You're up the creek without a paddle! And I'm not gonna let you through! ... Does that make me a bad octopus?
#6Atomos199Posted 3/19/2012 4:18:03 PM
Yeah, I wonder what he's up to, it's been a while since he posted anything. I don't think he's working on this at the moment. I'd certainly be the last to blame him, though, hehe.

The RoL route is very difficult either way - fighting Ozma is only *theoretically* possible, while getting all those H&C points and playing the requisite number of games would take quite a bit more time than the battle (IIRC), which in turn makes the rest of the challenge even tighter. So you either have to brace yourself for major resetting against Ozma, or accept more resets spread throughout the playthrough to accumulate the extra time needed for the H&C method.

It's certainly a novel idea and the challenge factor definitely excites me, but even so I am far from certain that I would push through to the end. And I think that's saying something considering how much I've already worked on this challenge, haha.

MM, could you remind us: is the RoL path *strictly better* than the regular combined stats route, or does it only allow for a "better" distribution of the stat total? Because if it's objectively better, then I don't think there's much choice in the matter for those who prefer combined.
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I never gained supreme ulti-complete status. I projected my mind approx 3 years into the future and realized it was going to be a waste of time
~ bastardpoetry
#7Magical_MooglesPosted 3/20/2012 2:52:01 AM(edited)
If we are talking about the standard combined stats, you'll find that the distributions will be identical whether you are doing a speed-run or not. The only difference if you are not doing a speed-run is that you can choose who fights Tantarian: Freya (-2Strength, +1Magic) or Vivi (-2Magic, +1 Strength). I would like to think that Freya is always the better choice here anyway, because she "loses" (-1Strength, +1Magic) for fighting Amudias, so why mess up Vivi as well? Also I think Freya is more of a balanced character than Vivi.

If you are doing something a bit different like maximing HP/MP then it's probably essential that you acquire the Robe of Lords before Tantarian making it an exclusive stat path for non-speed PG.
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Gwee-hee-hee... You're up the creek without a paddle! And I'm not gonna let you through! ... Does that make me a bad octopus?
#8Atomos199Posted 3/20/2012 4:38:19 AM(edited)
^So basically, getting the RoL during the challenge is pointless as long as one agrees with the Freya>Vivi choice, is that correct?

I could've sworn it was more convincing the first time this was presented and led to the Ozma discussion... and wasn't there talk of zero stat loss at Pandemonium as well?

Because if this is really the case, then I don't know if I'll ever even bother with this at all, to be quite frank. All it does is mess up two characters instead of one - how pointless is that?

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I never gained supreme ulti-complete status. I projected my mind approx 3 years into the future and realized it was going to be a waste of time
~ bastardpoetry
#9Cicatriz_ESPPosted 3/20/2012 4:55:35 AM
Well, there's the Gold Chocobo bug, I think it's more predominant in Japanese copies of the game.

As for stat paths, I think there's been an inclination to chose max combined ordered stats as a solid theoretical approach that isn't harmed by ExcII PG constraints.
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'That which has feasted on the blood of many Grand Dragons, has wielded the Lionheart for long and calls forth the mighty KOTR with joyous abandon'
#10Magical_MooglesPosted 3/20/2012 5:47:57 AM(edited)
Atomos199 posted...
^So basically, getting the RoL during the challenge is pointless as long as one agrees with the Freya>Vivi choice, is that correct?

I could've sworn it was more convincing the first time this was presented and led to the Ozma discussion... and wasn't there talk of zero stat loss at Pandemonium as well?

Because if this is really the case, then I don't know if I'll ever even bother with this at all, to be quite frank. All it does is mess up two characters instead of one - how pointless is that?


Getting the Robe of Lords before fighting Tantarian is pointless if one agrees Freya is the better character to absorb the exp.

Perhaps I didn't make it clear but you will still need the Robe of Lords for any combined stat path because of the Pandemonium encounters. Thats the only way that you'll ever go through those forced battles with zero stat loss. Both Quina and Dagger need the Robe of Lords during their forced battles so you need to choose one of them to train before entering Terra. (Dagger is actually probably the better candidate to train because of the whole Shell Dragon issue)

EDIT: In retrospect I should have been clearer with my last post. It's tempting to just write a very short PDF explaining all the equipment setups, and all the different versions we've discussed. I feel a lot has been lost in the piles of threads.
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Gwee-hee-hee... You're up the creek without a paddle! And I'm not gonna let you through! ... Does that make me a bad octopus?