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Ipsen's Castle is a location on the Forgotten Continent in Final Fantasy IX. The building itself, inside and outside, is an architectural marvel, much like M.C. Escher's drawing "Relativity". Many rooms are upside down and in one room the visitor has to slide up a pole.
While in Ipsen's Castle, weapons will do more damage the lower their attack power is. Weak weapons are sold by a local moogle, and the characters' default weapons can be found in many of the treasure chests. The unusual set-up does not extend to armor, add-ons or magic.
The reduced weapon damage while in Ipsen's Castle weaker is due an alteration in the base damage formula:
Ipsen and his good friend Colin worked at a tavern in Treno. One day, Ipsen got a letter. The letter was so wet from rain that most of the writing was illegible. The only part he could read said, 'Come back home'. Nowadays, we have airships and stuff, but back then, it was really hard to travel. He didn't know why he had to go back, but he got some time off, gathered his things, and set out on his journey home. He walked a thousand leagues through the Mist. Sometimes he was attacked by vicious monsters, but he made it, because his friend Colin was by his side. And then, after much time on the road, he had to ask Colin something:
"Why did you come with me?"
"Only because I wanted to go with you."
According to the Final Fantasy IX Ultimania, Ipsen's Castle is one of the locations from Terra that ended up on Gaia 5000 years ago due to Garland's failed attempt to merge the two planets into one. The origin from Terra is made clear by the unusual-looking treasure chests, as Terran treasures are always blue, whereas Gaian chests are wooden.
The castle is named after the explorer Ipsen, who was thought to be the first to discover the castle. Another etymological origin derives from Latin where ipse mean it/her/himself, so as Lady Hilda decides on the castle's name, she means it will be called the "no name castle"—the "ipsen" castle (literally translated: the castle itself).
Due to steep, canyon-like walls that surround the castle, it can only be accessed with a chocobo or by airship. It is possible to develop Choco as far as dark blue (ocean/mountain crossing) by the time the party first visits the Forgotten Continent, so it is possible to visit Ipsen's Castle before it is mentioned by Hilda. If the party does so, however, the castle appears on the map as simply "?", and although it can be entered the front door is closed.
When the party is sent to Ipsen's Castle to retrieve the four elemental mirrors Amarant challenges Zidane to a race, saying that he "works alone". The party ventures through the maze-like interior, made all the more confusing due to the castle's mirrored structure. Amarant wins and vacates the premises after declaring his disbandment from the party. Zidane and his friends collect the mirrors, but are interrupted by the monster, Taharka, the mirrors' guardian.
Upon exiting the castle, the party discovers Amarant hasn't come out yet. Zidane scours the castle and finds and rescues him. When the two return, Zidane formulates a plan to raid the four elemental shrines, whose locations are marked by the mirrors' placement on the mural they were found in.
Kumool at Ipsen's Castle receives a letter from Mogki from Lindblum Castle:
|Where is Mognet Central?|
From Mogki to Kumool
Hey, Kumool. How are you, kupo?
After the party returns from Terra they can start a side quest to fix Mognet Central by taking to Kupo in Alexandria. As part of this chain of correspondence Mogryo from Black Mage Village sends a letter to Kumool:
From Mogryo to Kumool
I heard that the machine in Mognet Central
I wonder where you can find one? Kupo?
|Where Is That Item?|
From Kumool to Mois
I understand! Kupo! Mognet will
I think Mois would know!
We need it to repair Mognet!
To obtain Ancient Aroma the player must solve the puzzle of the rotating tablet near the elevator to the mirror room. When prompted, Zidane is required to examine, push, pound, think, push, think, try something drastic, and rest to flip the wall and gain access to a new area. This opens up a door in the dungeon's entry foyer, directly to the left of the first door the party entered. The new passage leads to a large glowing sword with three ledges and two pots.
A voice within the room whispers, Fight the flow of time, implying the pots must be picked up and placed on the next ledge counterclockwise from its present location. After both pots are rotated thrice each, the electricity within the blade will fill one pot, from which the Ancient Aroma may be collected.
- Earth Mirror
- Fire Mirror
- Water Mirror
- Wind Mirror
- Mage Staff
- Ancient Aroma
- Air Racket
- Golem's Flute
- Cat's Claws
- Maiden Prayer
|Mage Masher||500 gil|
|Iron Sword||660 gil|
|Mythril Spear||1,100 gil|
|Poison Knuckles'||5,000 gil|
|Multina Racket||750 gil|
|Mythril Rod||560 gil|
|Lamia's Flute||3,800 gil|
|Oak Staff||2,400 gil|
|Needle Fork||3,100 gil|
|Rising Sun||500 gil|
|N-Kai Armlet||3,000 gil|
|Jade Armlet||3,400 gil|
|Venetia Shield||2,800 gil|
|Red Hat||3,000 gil|
|Golden Hairpin||3,700 gil|
|Cross Helmet||2,200 gil|
|Diamond Helmet||3,000 gil|
|Power Vest||7,200 gil|
|Gaia Gear||8,700 gil|
|Shield Armor||4,300 gil|
|Demon's Mail||5,900 gil|
|Phoenix Down||150 gil|
|Echo Screen||50 gil|
|Eye Drops||50 gil|
|Magic Tag||100 gil|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
The theme that plays in Ipsen's Castle is known as "Ipsen's Heritage". It is a rearranged version of "A Place to Call Home", a theme associated with Terra and Zidane.
- During disc 3, if, instead of going to Ipsen's Castle by airship, the player goes there by gold chocobo, upon leaving the dungeon, the chocobo will be replaced by the party's airship.
- After the battle with Taharka, on the way out of the castle, a cutscene will play showing one of the non-Zidane party members nearly falling into a trapdoor, a result of having unknowingly triggered some traps in the castle. The member who barely avoids this peril depends on the player's party and the characters' priority over one another. If the party contains Garnet, then she will nearly fall into the trap. If she is not in the party, then Eiko will nearly fall into the trap. If neither Garnet nor Eiko is in the party, then Vivi will nearly fall into the trap. Finally, if Garnet, Eiko, and Vivi are all left outside of the castle, then Quina will nearly fall into the trap. Only Steiner and Freya are guaranteed not to have this peril, as is Amarant, who is not even available to the player at this time, anyway.
- After the events of this location, Amarant, who, up to this point in the game, has gone without posing at the end of battles, will finally begin to perform a victory pose.
- If the player attempts to leave the castle before meeting Amarant, Zidane will comment "I can't leave until I've finished my game with Amarant," and "I'm gonna find it before him." If Amarant has been found, but the party has not yet examined the mirrors, he'll comment "I gotta find out how to reach Terra before we leave here... I should look around some more." Finally, when playing with Zidane alone as he looks for Amarant, exiting will result in him stating "...Wait. I haven't found what I'm looking for. Where is he?"