Long-running franchises generally tend to have that one special title which encompasses everything people love about the series while simultaneously breathing fresh air into the series as we know it. In the case of the Final Fantasy series, one can argue that pretty much every game in the series — barring some obvious exceptions — has constantly strived to innovate upon existing mechanics and formulate new ones, all while keeping that distinct Final Fantasy charm. However, ask any devout Final Fantasy fan about their personal favorite game that fits into this description, and it's inevitable that Final Fantasy IX will make the cut sooner rather than later.
It's pretty evident as to why this is the case — in a way, Final Fantasy IX was a love letter to the entire series as a whole, harkening back to a simpler time when technology wasn't a major focus of the Final Fantasy series and providing gamers with sweet nostalgic glimpses into the reasons why the series has become so iconic, to begin with. Keeping this in mind, it's high time we get down to brass tacks and rank the strongest party members in this game.
The group that Zidane finds himself a part of in the early goings of Final Fantasy IX also happen to feature as party members in the initial moments of the story. However, none of them are particularly strong — or memorable — enough to warrant a strong mention, to be perfectly honest.
The first person we need to talk about is Blank, who is arguably the weakest of this trio and — consequently — the weakest party member in Final Fantasy IX.
The second person featured in this useless trio who does absolutely nothing to redeem themselves in the eyes of the player is Marcus.
There's nothing really to add here — Marcus' participation in the grand scheme of things is so minute that devoting any time to speak about him will just prove to be an absolute waste.
Well, if nothing else, Cinna can relish in the fact that he's the strongest out of this useless trio. This slow brute wields a hammer that allows him to access the highest attack power out of these three nincompoops.
Of course, Cinna can't even hold a candle to the other members of this list for obvious reasons. None of these characters were made to last for long anyway, so it's quite unfair to even try and compare them to these powerhouses.
9 Quina Quen
It's almost a trend at this point for the Blue Mage of any Final Fantasy game to be laughably weak for some reason or the other. In Final Fantasy IX, the role of this weak Blue Mage is adopted by an optional party member, further adding to the embarrassment.
Don't get us wrong — it's not like Quina is useless. In fact, if utilized correctly, (s)he can actually prove to be an incredibly valuable party member. However, his/her base power isn't all that great, and the grind required to make him/her a halfway-decent participant in battle is something that most people might not even consider to be worth it in the first place.
8 Freya Crescent
Fulfilling the role of the Dragoon in the party, one might expect Freya to be a force to be reckoned with. While, for the most part, she manages to fulfill this role, the fact of the matter is that keeping her as a permanent member of your party isn't recommended in the slightest.
We say this because Freya's attack power isn't really all that much to boast about. She can pull off some really cool moves, but there's no need for her presence — especially since you already have someone else in the party who performs way better on a physical front.
7 Amarant Coral
Amarant is a very cool character who provides some much-needed depth to the caricatures present in Final Fantasy IX. However, when it comes to actual battle prowess, Amarant falls well below the mark of what he portrays himself as.
Fulfilling the role of the monk in Final Fantasy IX, Amarant can actually dish out some pretty decent damage if he's built up nicely. However — as is the case with Freya — he just becomes a throwaway character as the game progresses.
Along with being the best girl of Final Fantasy IX (sorry, Garnet fans), Beatrix also has some of the most imposing moments in the entire game. The party faces her three times in the title, and all three times Beatrix completely wipes the floor with them.
Ideally, this should be enough for Beatrix to take the top spot on this list. However, points need to be deducted since her actually use in the party when she teams up with Steiner — while impressive — is fairly lacking.
5 Eiko Carol
Eiko is one of the two pure mages in your party that dishes out a fair bit of damage if need be. Again, her power is limited by her MP pool, but one can't deny the fact that Eiko can easily become a stalwart member of your party, if need be.
Of course, that is not a necessity. After all, when it comes to Mage-Summoner hybrids in Final Fantasy IX, it's not like the options are limited. This is where the next person comes into the foray.
4 Garnet Til Alexandros XVII
A lot of you might understandably be fuming as to why Garnet is considered to be more powerful than Eiko. For the most part, both mages have power levels that are fairly equal.
However, Garnet edges out Eiko because her summons are just a tad more powerful — albeit expensive. While this might make her slightly more situation as a result, one can't deny the usefulness of Garnet in battle.
3 Zidane Tribal
Our protagonist finally makes his way into the list at a respectable No. 3 position. Zidane's perfect combination of speed and power make him a party regular for most Final Fantasy IX players.
His damage is consistent and reliable to boot. This, coupled with the fact that his speed makes him the perfect member in a tough situation, makes Zidane an excellent party member indeed.
2 Vivi Ornitier
The black mage that everyone loves is also one of the best members to have on your team, for obvious reasons. For starters, Vivi is the only pure black mage in Final Fantasy IX, making it imperative for you to use this character in your party.
A major reason why we've chosen to add Vivi on this list is because of the partnership he shares with a special someone, making his impact in the party all the more palpable.
1 Adelbert Steiner
In terms of raw power, no one even comes close to the physical prowess of Steiner in Final Fantasy IX. Can one really question as to why this is the case? After all, the Knight of any Final Fantasy game is known for being an absolute rock from both an offensive and defensive point of view.
Of course, one can't talk about Steiner without mentioning the excellent partnership he shares with Vivi, allowing him to access his Spellblade skills and deal devastating damage to his enemies.