Spoiler Warning: for those who haven’t played it.
I very much enjoy the Final Fantasy series, so much so that I can pick holes in it as easily as a voodoo doll, one full of love of course. To me there is a moment of staggering gameplay and story segregation in Final Fantasy IX at a heightened point of the games plot.
During the course of the game Queen Brahne is given various destructive magical weapons by the antagonist Kuja. She quickly becomes power mad and on acquiring the usage of the summoned eidolons she targets Kuja as her next victim. Amassing an armada of ships she tracks him down and orders the summoning of Bahamut, King of Dragons. Kuja, unphased, calls upon the Invincible to gain control of Bahamut and sets the dragon to demolishing Brahne’s fleet. While all this is happening it is implied Brahne’s fleet is under attack by, unseen, waves of monsters.
Meanwhile, and nearby, Princess Garnet and her companions see the battle. Wanting to save her mother Garnet senses an eidolon nearby she can use but discovers it is Leviathan. As she then explains, this eidolon destroys its enemies with a tidal wave. Not particularly useful in saving a fleet of ships against a flying foe.
I have two thoughts on this situation. First and mainly is the usage of Leviathan. Here Garnet doesn’t want to risk harm to others with the summon’s total destruction method. It uses the tidal wave attack in battle, conveniently disappearing Garnet’s allies, summoning a tidal wave to batter the monsters with the water draining away rapidly and the environment and anyone else around is unaffected. So Leviathan avoids hurting the party, but not the ships he would be summoned to protect? Or vice versa, if he is all destructive how is the party and nearby civilians unharmed whenever he is summoned in battle?
Also could Leviathan not use other methods of attack? Perhaps not but we do see in the cut scenes Bahamut attacking with small target fireballs and flying manoeuvres and his trademark Megaflare.
The other thought is on Garnet’s self-defeat at finding Leviathan unusable for the situation. Has she forgotten that she earlier acquired Ramuh? Perhaps she thinks his thunderstorm methods would be equally as problematic. What about her other summons? (I can’t recall what she has access to at this point but Shiva, Ifrit and Atomos would seem likely.)
One of the best things about liking something so much is coming up with ways to explain away and point out the plot holes and necessary suspensions of disbelief. So tell me, what do you think?