- “Hunters, on your mark! Ferocious beasts swarm about the castle town! The bigger the catch, the higher the score!”
The Festival of the Hunt refers to an event in the world of Final Fantasy IX. The Festival of the Hunt is an annual competition hosted by the church in the Business District of Lindblum. It began centuries prior to the main storyline, when the city of Lindblum was a huge forest. During the game, the festival is held on January 20th.
Warriors from around Gaia are called upon to test their strength in combat against ferocious beasts. In the streets of Lindblum, various creatures are released, and can be defeated, each for a certain amount of points. The Hunt lasts 12 minutes. Whoever has the most points at the end of the competition wins the title of Master Hunter.
Vivi is initially interested in the competition because a girl in a shop inadvertently gives him the false impression that he will be seeing animals, not battling creatures to the death. It is assumed that he finds out the truth as he is frightened when he discovers Zidane has signed him up for the competition without his knowledge, thinking he would do well with his black magic. This disturbs not only Vivi, but Freya, who calls Zidane's actions "inconsiderate".
Zidane raises the stakes with betting that the victor can have a date with Garnet, a prospect in which Vivi has no interest. Freya is a regular at the competition, and might hope to encounter Sir Fratley, her lost love, should he choose to test his prowess. Zidane enters for his typical reasons; to show off in front of Garnet and win the prize money.
Although Zidane, Vivi, and Freya all participate in the hunt, they fight independently unless the Zaghnol is encountered, in which case Zidane and Freya must join forces to defeat the beast, the strongest in the competition, and save two children from its fury. After the rewards are given out the celebrations are cut short as message arrives that Alexandria has invaded Burmecia.
The player will partake as Zidane, and can keep track of the high score displayed at the top of the screen whenever someone surpasses the previous high score. Despite there being many participants whose names can be spotted on the high score, the player never meets any of them and the winner is always someone from the player's party: Vivi, Freya or Zidane. The other unseen participants include Lani, Amarant (under the moniker of "Scarlet Hair" or Red), Genero, and Quina (under the moniker of "Strange Gourmand"). The previous hunt's champion is someone named Belna, who is also participating, but is never seen in-game.
Unlike elsewhere in the game, enemies appear on the field and battles are initiated upon coming into contact with them.
For the one-time-only battle against the Zaghnol, the player can earn up to 99 points, although the Final Fantasy IX Ultimania mistakenly gave 100 as the maximum score for the Zaghnol fight. Zaghnol is found in the Business District's Fountain Square, where the shops are, but it won't appear until there is less than four and a half minutes left on the clock.
|Mu||Theater District||outside the station||10-12|
|Trick Sparrow||Theater District||outside the station||01-03|
|Trick Sparrow||Theater District||outside the hideout||10-12|
|Fang||Theater District||by the theater||19-21|
|Fang||Industrial District||chasing a cat||19-21|
|Mu||Industrial District||running down the stairs||10-12|
|Mu||Industrial District||hiding in the pub||10-12|
|Mu||Industrial District||end of the street||07-09|
|Trick Sparrow||Business District||outside the station||13-15|
|Mu||Business District||running out of a house||13-15|
|Fang||Business District||left area of market||16-18|
|Fang||Business District||outside the church||19-21|
|Trick Sparrow||Business District||on church doorstep||04-06|
|Fang||Business District||chasing Vivi||25-27|
|Zaghnol||Business District||by the fountain||50-99|
Each participant chooses their prize. Although the player must play as Zidane, the entire party can benefit as long as one party member wins.
Although the player can only control Zidane, and briefly Freya, it is possible to control who wins the festival. For Vivi to win, one must allow the Zaghnol to defeat both Freya and Zidane. To obtain the Coral Ring, the easiest way is to avoid the smaller battles, particularly against Fangs, and ensure Freya strikes the killing blow on the Zaghnol. In some versions of the game Zidane must be KO'd for Freya to slay Zaghnol, otherwise it will not fall regardless of how much HP it should have left. For Zidane to be victorious, one must fight as many battles as time allows, and ensure he puts the final blow on the Zaghnol.
|"Festival of the Hunt"|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
- Main article: Festival of the Hunt (Theme)
The aptly named "Festival of the Hunt" is the musical theme that plays throughout the event, whether the player is running around the city or fighting a monster.
The Festival of The Hunt's name may derive from the name of an Ancient Greek hunting festival in honor of the goddess Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt, moon, and newborn creatures.
The Festival of the Hunt may have been inspired by the Running of the Bulls practiced mainly in Spain and Portugal, which involves letting loose a dozen or so bulls on a course of a sectioned-off subset of a town's streets, and participants have to run in front of them. Unlike bullfights, which are performed by professionals, in the Running of the Bulls anyone may participate.
- ↑ Final Fantasy IX Excalibur II Perfect Game Guide by Atomos199
- ↑ Final Fantasy IX Ultimania