In FFVIII the headmaster gives you a "Magical Lamp" on your first mission as seed. save before you use it because inside it is Dialbos, a GF which you have to fight and beat him to use him. Challenge him at an early level because he gets stronger as you level up as well.
When you defeat him make sure you master his "no enemy encounter" ability later in the game, because it will help you get the master magic on the islands of heaven and hell without any encounters.
Final Fantasy VIII:
- Draw, A LOT. Draw on everything. Certain bosses carry GFs that can be very helpful from the start of the game. If you don't have the spell, start drawing it.
- Weapons are easy to obtain, just look for magazines so that you can acquire them. (Also, get magazines for Rinoa and Zell's limit break.)
- Rotate through your party so that everyone is at an even level. You'll break into groups a lot and having a level 22 Squall v. a level 12 Quistis to run around has makes battles a wee bit harder.
- Your gil comes in intervals, so take your time playing so that you can earn some gil and do your SeeD quests to up your income.
As for Final Fantasy IX... I would help you but just after trying to start the game and having a save glitch... I lost my first disc and I'm having to replace it. emotion_8c
~ Use the Draw command a lot, otherwise you can miss a lot of mid and high level para-magics as well as a proportion of GFs (Which can cause problems for magic and item refining).
~When you attain the Magical Lamp item from Cid, prior to leaving Balamb for the SeeD mission, save and use it (Do this at a lower level, because Diablos can be a pain in the butt to beat at high levels).
~Keep an eye out for the Weapons Monthly magazines, the Combat Kings and the Pet magazines, as they teach weapon upgrades, Zells limit breaks and Rinoas "Angelo" limit breaks repectively.
~The "Random" card rule is murder.
~Beat all of the side quests before the end of Disc 3, as a large proportion of them are impossible to complete in Disc 4.
~A lot of the hidden items in the game are not found in chests, but in little nooks and crannies in the field.
~Do the Chocobo side quest and the Stellazzio side quest, they net great items for the most part.
I would strongly suggest using Rinoa in FFVIII. The reason being that she has two very useful Limit Breaks, and her stat growth is monstrous. I know. Junctioning may kind of make natural stat growth seem oboslete but look at it this way:
At LV.100 she has:
Very high HP, absurdly high STR and MAG, average DEF, SPD, and LUK, and above average SPR.
Her STR is 20 higher (67) than Squall and Zell, who have the same at 47, making her by far the highest. Her MAG is 63, 14 higher than Selphie who has 49. Her HP is only 6 lower than Squalls, at 4181, and her other stats are solid. Some people find her annoying but I've always loved her.
Also, Quistis is a good choice too. Her Degenerator spell, through Blue Magic, is so OP it's ridiculous. As is Shockwave Pulsar if you can get it.
As for FFIX I would actually suggest using every character to their fullest. Learn everything, and always have their best equipment, and always keep their levels up. I just find the game runs much smoother that way. Also, if you like to powerlevel early on then Eiko will be a weakling (never had her anything but) so I wouldn;t actually suggest using her in your final party if this happens. I always use Garnet in my party when she is available. I just find her to be incredibly powerful and useful. I knoe Disc 3 sucks for her with her depression, but I use her anyway. Eiko is always so horrible for me that I never find any real use out of her. Also, Frog Drop with Quina is the cheapest and fastest way to deal 9999 damage, regardless of who you are fighting. Also remember to collect all gemstones you find and never sell them. They make summons stronger. As do Phoenix Pinions.
Keep in mind that in FF8, enemies and bosses level up with you, so powerleveling isn't necessarily a good thing, especially against some of the optional bosses. After certain events in disc 3, Rinoa will get a second Limit Break called Angel Wings, this is GODLY. She will go into a magic version of berserk(boost in speed, magic attack instead of physical) and she will randomly cast any spell in her stock that targets enemies by default(this includes scan and status ailment spells). However, it does not use up her stocked spells, making it gret if you are saving the spells for stat junctions. And if you make sure her only enemy-targetting spell is meteor, she is broken OPed; Max damage Meteor will be constant and every few seconds, while supposedly more OPed Limits like Squall's Lionheart are far too unreliable to be nearly as good. Selphie's limits are useful, and Quistis's ultimate blue magic, Shockwave Pulsar, is one of the only two thigns in the game that can break damage limit(the other is the GF/summon Eden)
Also, if you can get the hang of Triple Triad, you can get some powerful items early as hell using the card mod ability.
As for FF9, I will say that, if you want Steiner's ultimate weapon, good luck, cuz you ahve to get to pretty much the end of the final dungeon and beat a somewhat difficult optional boss, within 12 hours of gameplay.
Actually, it doesn't matter if you powerlevel in FFVIII or not.
It can actually be beneficial to powerlevel in VIII because of the bonus stats and the AP from the battles, and also... Since enemies level with you you can also gain stronger, better spells from them so that you can junction better magic so your stats increase. Though it does suck if you power level and lose out on the "bonus" abilities. I personally like powerleveling in FFVIII but it's really up to the player. It's not that bad if you do it, and it's not like your missing anything if you don't.
Though I would like to add that you at least have to level somewhat. A friend of mine was at level 36ish at the end of Disk 3 and he could not defeat Seifer. =/ Iunno if it was just his level or what.
Make sure to upgrade characters weapons in FF 8 and not to rely on summons too much since by the end the bosses will make it impossible to use them since they instantly kill them. Upgraded weapons will also be helpful for bosses later on. Also, make sure Rinoa has been leveled up a little since there is a point where it is just her and Squall in a party and if she's pretty weak Squall will be the stand alone in the party. And monsters don't drop gil. You get it through your SEED pay which happens every 2 (?) hours of gameplay or so. The pay amount also depends on your SEED rank so doing missions and such perfect, I would assume, give better pay. I ran into the problem of having very little money through most of the game. And draw...draw spells like crazy, at least the helpful ones. And junctioning the right spells can be very helpful.
In FF IX there is a point where whether or not you wanted to play the card game you have to win the card game tournament to continue the game. Figuring out how to play the game makes this part go a little easier.
I liked both games but Rinoa drove me crazy in 8 since she kept getting into trouble that I had to go pull her out of. I liked her and Squall as a couple but her by herself irked me. I liked 9 a lot. I liked the characters, the story, the music, basically I liked it. It is still one of my top 3 FFs.