Kyle here, gaming aficionados.
This time, our "distinguished panel of experts" will review Squaresoft's latest Final Fantasy offering, the creatively titled Final Fantasy IX.

Here's a little primer on Kyle's RPG Roundtable Reviews rating scale:
0-1 is the lowest of the low. Basically, don't even touch the game's box.
1.5-4.5 is below average. You might still like it, though.
5 is absolutely average. Most games are a 5, so don't think this is bad. I mean it.
5.5-9.5 is above average. These are damn good scores, even a 5.5. Definitely pick it up.
10 is the ultimate. If you can't afford the game, consider selling body parts.
I kinda liked it a lot. In the beginning, Final Fantasy 9 seems like it's got a pretty simple plot. You know, there's a lot of neat people, and some bad guys are doing some bad things, and of course Vivi's a real mystery. So that's fun. It moves kinda fast, though - I could hardly keep up! Later on, they slowed it down a little, and things just sort of happened. Like a big plot twist on the third disc, it was kinda out of left field, you know? But that's okay - it makes it a lot easier to understand when they don't do a lot of that foreshadowing and stuff. By the end, it was a pretty cool story, and I really could follow what was going on.
I like 'em all, but this one's a 5.0.
Well, of course it would be much better if I were there. But without me, we must go on, and Final Fantasy 9 does a somewhat decent job. I completely disapproved of the single-character intensity of the last entry in this noted series, FF8, as that character was not me. In this one, no effort is made to single out any one character in that manner, although several of the less important ones do have a tendency to be left undeveloped - and good riddance! I personally saw nothing of interest in the main villain, he's much too flamboyant. Another character I saw no real value in was the little mage, Vivi. Honestly, why was he developed so much?
I suppose these fellows deserve a 3.5.
Gau like Final Fantasy gameplay! It fun! Gau no like choose ability, so me like Final Fantasy 9. But Gau no like equip ability, and me need equip ability. It call 'Support Ability', like Final Fantasy Tactics. Me not understand 'Support Ability' - me need equip, but not have enough points. Gau no like that. Gau think Final Fantasy 9 battles take long time - me choose action, it long time before it get done. Me like! Gau need lot of time to think in battle. Final Fantasy 9 have ATB battle system, like other Final Fantasy. Gau like monster and random encounter, and there lot of those, 'specially in final dungeon - me like a lot!
Gau give this 7.5!
Well, first off I have to say that the use of big-headed characters totally adds to the experience for me. I mean, it was just so much more real! A great idea. Unfortunately, heads aside, the graphics simply do not cut it. Square, as usual, insists on rendering 3D characters where single pixels would do, and everything is done with such vibrant colors - there's no sense of the abstract or the impressionistic here at all. Probably if this was on Dreamcast or PS2, they would have smoothed out the somewhat grainy pixels, too. -sigh- The animation is also completely overdone - I mean, are we such philistines that we can't imagine the way Zidane's tail moves?
If I had to judge, I'd give it a 2.0.
Final Fantasy 9 rocks, dudes! It's music is way more rad than the other entries in the series, except for, like, FF7. There's still some of that bogus orchestral stuff - in fact, there's a mega-lot of that bogus orchestral stuff. Bummer. But there's also some totally bodacious tunes to jam to! Excellent! It was most awesome to hear some of the regular FF themes remixed for this rock-n-roll world, like the opening to the battle theme. Totally cool! Some of the tracks were way heinous though. Like, not as bad as that pop tune in FF8, but way down from some of the totally radical songs they played in the rest of this one, so it's, like, a mixed bag, dudes.
I'd crank the volume up to 5.0.
Well... their opinions basically suck! Here's the catch:
If you take their scores and reverse 'em, you'll get a pretty accurate picture.
Like that moron Lacan, he gave the Graphics a 2.0. That's an 8.0, which is damn good. And if Alfonso gives the characters a 3.5, you can bet they're a 6.5, which is a ways above average. Get the idea?
Now, for the real low-down on Final Fantasy 9, I'm your man. Like most Final Fantasies, it's greater than the sum of its parts. It's more fun to play than most games Gau likes, some of the cast are really good, the story is really different and cool in the beginning, and you can't beat those skin-tight pants on Garnet. And that Beatrix... ooh la la.
Unfortunately, also like most Final Fantasies, Final Fantasy 9 doesn't go as far with its substance and style as it should - the whole tone of the game shifts from light adventure on the first two discs to crappy sci-fantasy on the last two. It's a shame, because the first half was really cool. The gameplay's too slow, and they went overboard with the status effects - four person party is a big plus, though.
Put together, it's about a 7.5!