Final Fantasy IX's PS4 remaster has "Hail to the King," a truly Herculean achievement for mastering a difficult minigame.
All images courtesy Square-Enix
The Final Fantasy IX remaster, which was released on the PlayStation 4 in September 2017, has one of the most difficult, infernal achievements ever put into a video game. It’s called “Hail to the King,” and it requires you to successfully jump rope one thousand times in a row without failing.
At the very beginning of the game, before you’re introduced to much of anything at all, the cute little Black Mage named Vivi can talk to two children and play jump rope with them. If he does well, he can earn some items, and it’s an easy way to spend ten or fifteen minutes trying to learn the precise timing of hitting the “action” key when you land. He’s a small guy, more pants and hat than anything else, and he’s gotta do some work to jump over that rope. It’s hard, but it’s fun, and nothing in the original release ever compelled you to jump rope.
To be clear, making Vivi jump the rope merely ten times in a row is incredibly difficult, let alone doing it one thousand times. It is a monstrous thing to attempt. It was hard in the year 2000, and the re-releases for PC and PS4 haven’t made jump rope any easier. Back then, you could be happy just jumping a little and going on with your life. But now there’s an achievement.
Getting the achievement by actually hitting the button correctly 1,000 times is such a herculean task that it seems foolish to even attempt, let alone seriously pursue, and I’m not the only person who had that thought while playing based on the various different ways that players have found to bypass or cheat their way to the achievement.
One popular way appears to be a script for the CronusMax controller system, which allows for input substitutions on consoles. The script emulates the button presses to achieve that perfect robotic jump pattern, and it seamlessly approaches the trophy in a way that a human hand might have a much harder time with.
The most interesting way that players have “solved” this incredibly difficult achievement has to be the Remote Play method. Outlined best here, the method involves downloading the Remote Play software on a PC, connecting to your PS4, and then running a script that hits the button with maximum precision to achieve true jump rope mastery.
It is amazing that one of the hardest, most difficult achievements that I can think of has been mastered by players using a complicated set of peripherals, official software, and old-fashioned scripting knowledge. This achievement was clearly designed for the most hardcore of the hardcore in the Final Fantasy player base, and it has revealed an even more hardcore group of people who have dedicated a significant amount of time to subverting that original goal.
There is nothing that gives me more joy than knowing that this monstrously hard achievement challenge has been reduced to a triviality with the help of robots, and I can only hope that the grindiest nightmares of the future will be minimized in similar ways.