Sometime after Ipsen’s castle, our heroes acquire four elemental mirrors which are seals to the portal to Terra.
There are four shrines: Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind. Each houses a boss: Lich, Marilis, Kraken, and Tiamat. These are the original four bosses in the first Final Fantasy. We only fight the first temple.
They are elemental temple keys to opening the portal to Terra:
Zidane forms four parties to secure each elemental shrine simultaneously. The defeat of the four guardians, and placing the mirrors to the shrines opens the path to Terra through the Shimmering Island.
But the only team we play as is Zidane and Quina. However:
Data hacking shows that there are many gaps in the numerical sequence of battle formations and monster IDs, showing that many battle formations and monsters were deleted prior to the final version. In addition to many more, three missing monster IDs appear around the “Earth Guardian”, making one suspect that in the original version the player was to fight all four of the shrine guardians instead of only one (in the final game, the other three are defeated via cut-scenes).
So then, Final Fantasy IX was going to have these battle. This raises questions, such as how these parties would have fared against their respective bosses. I think we know how it would have turned out for Zidane and Quina. During his dungeon battle:
Lich knows plenty of deadly spells, such as LV5 Death, Death, and Stop. It can cast Earthquake causing up to 1800 points of damage on the party. Though Lich appears undead, it is healed by curative magic and Life and Phoenix Down always misses on it.
But then what about the others? The other teams are: Amarant and Freya, Garnet and Eiko, and Steiner and Vivi. But I wonder:
How would the other three teams take down their respective bosses, according to their abilities?
Let’s find out!
The Fire Shrine houses the Fire Mirror, located on the Lost Continent in an active volcano. There, Freya and Amarant encounter the Fire Guardian. The Water Shrine houses the Water Mirror. There, Garnet and Eiko encounter the Water Guardian. The Wind Shrine houses the Wind Mirror. There, Steiner and Vivi encounter the Wind Guardian. With all defeated, our party can access Terra via Shimmering Island.
Maliris frequently uses Fire magic, especially with her sword attacks. She casts Mustard Bomb, which inflicts the Heat status. She casts Reflect on herself and will reflect Fire spells off herself to hit the party. When defeated, Maliris attacks with Raining Swords that will do about 4000 HP to all characters. She will not perform this if asleep and killed by a magic ability.
Maliris is fought by Freya and Amarant. For these two to work, you would have to make sure each character has the Body Temp abilities. Then have someone equipped with Auto reflect. Freya can avoid Mustard Bomb, fire spells, Raining Swords by jumping. Amarant and Freya both can use their respective skills to cast Regen. From there on, just keep pelting away with Dragon and Flair skills.
The Kraken has two tentacles. The right one will use Water-gun and the left will use Ink. Kraken likes to use Water on the party and absorbs Water damage himself. Later in the battle, Kraken will cast Waterga, which hits all four party members. Most attacks will be countered with Ink or Water-gun. If the tentacles are destroyed, Kraken gains use of a leg attack and may counter with it. Kraken’s counterattacks and rate depend on which tentacles are dead.
Kraken is fought by Garnet and Eiko. Uh oh, two white mages? This one seems tricky. Garnet has Ramuh a this point. You’d then have to make sure Eiko can keep Garnet alive long enough to cast him. No reflect for the water spells (Kraken can absorb water). Keep Body Temp equipped.
Tiamat is slightly stronger than Maliris. Its Twister attack deals Wind-elemental damage. It will drain MP and lower the party’s magic and strength stats, so an extended fight puts the party at a disadvantage. Tiamat’s Jet Fire attack will put everyone in Heat status. If a character with the Float status attacks Tiamat physically, it will be countered with Snort, which will remove the character from the battlefield. Tiamat is vulnerable to Sleep and Silence.
Tiamat is fought by Steiner and Vivi. Make sure none of your characters have the ‘Float’ status. Have Vivi or Steiner throw a Tent at Tiamat. Have fun with Magic Sword or whatever!
So then this is how I think it could have worked as a pretty interesting experience. Maybe Vivi would have become the master to Steiner, to teach him about being more friendly to Zidane? Maybe Garnet and Eiko would have settled their differences? Perhaps we could have more of a reaction from Freya about Amarant’s change of heart? A remake would fix this, but…