Thanks to Scott Baird of ScreentRants.com for the inspiration!
5. THE RAMUH STORY PUZZLE
Josef from Final Fantasy II holds the unusual distinction of being the first playable character to die in a Final Fantasy game. In Josef’s case: he was crushed by a boulder that was threatening to squash the rest of the party.
Josef’s fate is given a shoutout in one of the dullest segments in Final Fantasy IX.
You encounter Ramuh when you arrive at the Pinnacle Rocks. He promises to give Garnet the ability to summon Eidolons if she can complete a story that he tells in segments.
You have to run around a boring dungeon and read segments of a story from the least-popular Final Fantasy game. The puzzle (if you can even call it that) involves putting the story segments in the right order. The whole dungeon and its puzzle are a complete waste of time.
As according to the Final Fantasy Wikia:
they meet an old man whom Garnet recognizes as the eidolon Ramuh, the Thunder God. She asks Ramuh for help and he replies that in order for him to serve her, he has to first test her to see if she is fit to be his master.
Ramuh states that he has hidden five manifestations of himself in the forest and that each will tell part of the “Hero’s Story”. If Garnet collects them and arranges them in the proper order, Ramuh will become her eidolon. Once the story is complete, Ramuh asks Garnet to choose between two possible conclusions but, regardless of which one the player chooses, he becomes her eidolon. When the party leaves Pinnacle Rocks, they witness the Battle of Lindblum.
If anything, this story puzzle might have been confusing for first time players. You see, some fans knew about Final Fantasy II. But besides emulators, you couldn’t play Final Fantasy Origins. Final Fantasy Origins contained Final Fantasy I and II. Before then, not many people played the latter.
This story might as well just been a part of Final Fantasy IX lore as far as players are concerned. But Alexandria’s history doesn’t mention Josef or the rebellion. So this story might be yet another mystery until you know it’s from Final Fantasy II.
Squaresoft released Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy Origins around the same time. In a sense, the Ramuh Puzzle was an Easter Egg…to Western players. Japanese fans were well aware of, and appreciated the reference.
Figuring out how the pieces of the story should fit together was challenging. And unless you know the story of Final Fantasy II, or you followed a walkthrough, you’d have to guess. But nowadays, many Western fans have played Final Fantasy II. And since Final Fantasy IX is about homages, this story puzzle works as welcomed nostalgia.