Hunters, on your mark! Ferocious beasts swarm about the castle town! The bigger the catch, the higher the score!
The Festival of the Hunt is an annual competition hosted by the church in the Business District of Lindblum in Final Fantasy IX. It began centuries prior when the city was but a huge forest. The festival is held on January 20th.
Warriors from around Gaia are called upon to test their strength against ferocious beasts. Various creatures are released onto the streets of Lindblum, and can be defeated, each for a certain amount of points. The hunt lasts twelve minutes and whoever has the most points at the end 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 that Zidane has signed him up for the competition, thinking he would do well with his black magic. Freya calls Zidane's actions "inconsiderate". Steiner has a general disdain for Zidane and both he and Garnet end up cheering on Vivi during the competition.
Zidane raises the stakes with betting that the victor can go on 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 they run into a Zaghnol, in which case Zidane and Freya join forces to defeat it, the strongest beast the competition, and save two children from its fury. After the rewards are given out, the celebrations are cut short as a messenger arrives with news of Alexandria's invasion of 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. The results screen is not displayed at the end of the battles and no EXP or other spoils are gained.
After killing a monster, Zidane scores points, which range for every battle; Mus have the lowest maximums, Trick Sparrows' amounts are slightly better, and Fangs give the most points. However, the Trick Sparrow in the first area of the Theater District generally gives only 1-3 points.
For the unique 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. 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" from Final Fantasy IX|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
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 track is also available as part of a downloadable Final Fantasy IX package in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.
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