For my money, Final Fantasy IX isn't just the best Final Fantasy game on the original Playstation, it's the best Final Fantasy game, period.
When people think of Final Fantasy and the PSOne, they almost default to Final Fantasy VII. IX came out later into the Playstation's life cycle, and after the mixed taste that Final Fantasy VIII left in people's mouths, I think there was a little hesitancy to plop down the money for another disappointing RPG.
I never played VIII, and skipped over IX until years and years later. I thought it looked great, I had just drifted away from RPGs as a whole at the time. A few years ago, I was looking for something to play on my PS Vita (which is a tragic story in itself), and noticed the Final Fantasy IX was on sale for a few bucks. I figured "what the hell?' and downloaded it before leaving on a three week work trip.
I fell in love over those three weeks.
I couldn't wait to get back to my hotel to play it so more. The universe, the characters, the mechanics. As a die hard Final Fantasy IV fan, I had longed for the game to return to it's "old school, fantasy" roots. Final Fantasy IX felt like a 3D version of the SNES titles. I almost felt like I had done something wrong by waiting all those years to play it. I was searching for something that was right in front of me the entire time....
Well, it's time for Final Fantasy IX to get it's due. My buddy Andre is here this week, and the two of us had a great time singing the praises of Zidane and friends. Except Vivi. He's a wiener.