by Joseph Leray
When “Final Fantasy IX” was released in 2000, Square made the baffling decision to host its in-house walkthrough on their PlayOnline service. Not only was it hard to access – these were the Dark Days of dial-up, 56k modems – the “Final Fantasy IX” guide was notoriously spotty.
As a result, a hitherto-undocumented sidequest is making its way through the English-speaking web for the first time today, 13 years after the game’s original PlayStation release.
Spotted by GameFAQs user The_Kusabi_, the “new” sidequest starts on Disc 4, at the Tantalus hideout in the Theatre District of Lindblum.
The Nero Brothers want to find two other characters named Marcus and Cinna, and will leave to find them. After that, there are certain “trigger points” in Memoria -- the final dungeon -- that move the quest forward. After a hitting a trigger, new members of the Nero family will stop by the Tantalus base, looking for their brothers and sisters.
After a few trips to Memoria, the entire Nero family will be accounted for, and the player will be rewarded with a Protect Ring, a great late-game accessory that teaches some useful skills and halves all elemental damage by half.
Youtube user GarlandTheGreat has a more in-depth walkthrough and a short video, as well.
It’s not so much that any of this information is new in the strictest sense, but that it’s not very widespread among the English-speaking “Final Fantasy IX” scene.
The Lost Nero Family quest was well documented in the Japanese Final Fantasy IX Ultimania guide, for example, but that lovely, thorough tome was never translated into English. The language barrier and PlayOnline’s shortcomings combined to keep the info away from English-language fans for over 13 years, a curious example of videogame arcanum falling through the digital age’s considerable cracks.
Still, “Final Fantasy IX” is a fine game and one of my favorites. If you’ve never played it, there’s never been a better time: it’s available for the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita for a cool $9.99.