on 2/19/2016

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Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part XVIII

on 5/14/2013

Everyone is once again gathered, and the assault on Kefka’s Tower begins. This is truly the moment the game has been leading up to. You get to split into three parties of up to four characters, fielding 12 total warriors on three separated paths. Each path interacts with the other in some fashion so you need to move in tandem to get through. One trouble with the number of characters is that unless you have played very carefully to distribute experience, there will be a weak as hell third party. I had to go through Kefka’s Tower three times and move the weak party to each path after it had been conquered already.

Completing the paths, you destroy each statue that had given Kefka his magic powers, but their removal does not affect Kefka. You must face him in the most epic battle Final Fantasy has seen. Ordering every member of the party, you begin a four part battle to the DEATH. The image below is just the final piece, the entire sprite is a work of art, the pinnacle of 16-bit in-game character design.

I was slightly disappointed with the final battle though. Because I had spent so much time turning the cursed shield into the paladin shield, my top team was able to defeat each part without dying, partially thanks to Life 3 being cast. This is not really the fault of the game, in Japanese RPGs you essentially set the difficulty by grinding levels or artificially handicapping yourself.

You manage to defeat the literal god Kefka became, and the credits play out as the party hurries back through the tower. They feature each character, and the music is a massive medley of every character theme. Humorous scenes take place as they help each other get out. TERRA’s power is weakening due to Kefka’s defeat, but the spirit of her esper father tells her to hold on to her human side, and she survives the ordeal. The world is then putting itself back together.

Looking back on the game as a whole, it is probably the peak of Final Fantasy. Researching it on Wikipedia shows that they set out to create a game where every character is the protagonist. This is what makes it special I believe, it never gets too attached to one person. It moves on from TERRA to each other non-secret character and they all get their moments in the spotlight. Doing this makes the game a bit more episodic than the usual Final Fantasy, and the extra storylines help keep you involved.

And finally, Kefka as the villain stands alone in Final Fantasy lore. He has no creed, no true followers, no real motive but destruction, chaos, and power. He recognizes how temporary existence is, the utter meaninglessness of it all, and he wants to destroy it. He has some fantastic quotes throughout:

Why do people insist on creating things that will inevitably be destroyed? Why do people cling to life, knowing that they must someday die? …Knowing that none of it will have meant anything once they do?

Life… dreams… hope… Where do they come from? And where do they go…? Such meaningless things… I’ll destroy them all!

I also just enjoy the fact that someone can write up an analysis of Dancing Mad as Kefka’s final speech. Final Fantasy VI blew away my expectations, and shows that classic games can stand up on their own without any nostalgia to cloud judgement. So I leave this series of posts with the opera scene touched up with the live orchestra performance, a cutscene without equal on pre-FMV consoles.

Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part XVII

on 2/9/2013

We must follow Gerad to the ends of the earth. Through a cave, into Figaro Castle, where finally EDGAR reveals himself. He was using a gang of theives to get in, then ditched them when they are no longer needed. The castle is restored, and we fill in some EDGAR and SABIN backstory. The castle moves to a new continent near Kohlingen, and in the inn there sits SETZER.

SETZER agrees to join, and knows where to get a new airship. Battling through a bizarre grave, we find out it was SETZER’s girlfriend(?)’s ship that crashed with her aboard. He buried her with it and now we get to use it to take down Kefka. In the next town there is a woman sending letters to her boyfriend who she thinks is in the destroyed town of Mobliz.

Following the carrier pidgeon into Zozo, then Mount Zozo, we find CYAN. Hopefully we never have to go to disgusting Zozo again.

We take the airship to Jidoor where we find nothing interesting yet, some vague clues about more missing party members. There is a dragon in the Opera House, so my next step is to take that fiend down.

Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part XVI

on 2/6/2013

Well I was wrong. It was SABIN up north. Naturally we find him holding up a house. After retrieving a small child from said house, he lets it fall and rejoins the party. CELES and SABIN then trek to the east to find TERRA in the destroyed town of Mobliz. She is looking after children, and refuses to leave. Some freaky demon that will absolutely will be seen again rolled her in combat, and then escaped from the grasp of CELES and SABIN.

TERRA decides to stay in bed though. What a bitchhhhhhh. Moving up to the north, we pass some weird tower in the middle of some mountains, then go into Nikeah. The townsfolk are busy rebuilding and everything seems fine. Some jerk named Gerad is leading criminals to South Figaro and then to Figaro Castle. This is EDGAR but for some bizarre reason just decides not to recognize his own brother.

The party stows away on the ferry to South Figaro, and will hopefully soon rejoin EDGAR.

Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part XV

on 1/26/2013

Man I really hated the flying continent. The party is forced to three so I kicked out CYAN, and SHADOW joins while on the continent. The enemies are rather powerful here and there is an actual danger of dying or having your HP/MP/items worn down over time attempting to get through this maze.

Eventually you get to where Kefka and the Emperor are waiting, but they are guarded by the Atma Beast. My first attempt at beating him fails and I did not find the save point right beforehand, so I had to go through this all over again. Which turned out to be a good thing since my party got a few more levels out of the deal.

With the Atma Beast defeated, the party attempts to interrupt whatever plans Kefka has. SHADOW runs away, typical. CELES appears after the party gets disabled and stabs Kefka, but this does not slow him down one bit. He does crazy statue stuff, the Emperor is dismayed because it will destroy the world instead of allow him to rule it as a celebrity like Obama. So Kefka murders the Emperor, and is about to take out the rest of the party when SHADOW appears and holds him off long enough to escape.

However, the statues are unleashing crazy magic so the world basically ruined. CELES wakes up after a year long nap with old man Cid taking care of her on a deserted island. Cid dies, CELES tries to kill herself, she finds a bird with a bandana like LOCKE’s, finds a letter from Cid about a raft in the basement, and takes her leave of the island.

CELES winds up on another ruined continent, with a giant tower in the middle. Albrook is to the south and I get some clues about the status of things. LOCKE was probably just through there and went to Tzen in the north, Kefka rules the tower and periodically kills people, and everyone is sad.

Next up, traversing to the north to find LOCKE.

Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part XIV

on 10/13/2012

Continuing the journey in the caves, we run into a big group of Espers. They want to apologize for the destruction, and upon hearing the Empire also wants peace they agree to meet with General Leo in Thamasa. Peace is made with the honorable General Leo. Also CELES and LOCKE meet up for more emo.

Kefka then busts into Thamasa and starts destroying everything, killing Espers, and generally being a nuisance. General Leo falls to Kefka, and everyone is knocked out for a while. The rest of the group flies in using the airship after everything is done, and lift off. The Emperor and Kefka are on a mission to find those statues which are the source of all magic blah blah something something and they end up lifting off on a flying continent.

Some other highlights from the cutscenes are EDGAR saving everyone by seducing a tea serving girl and then hitting on RELM who is 10. SHADOW’s dog Interceptor appears with an injury and the party assumes SHADOW is dead. I believe he is just scared as usual and hiding somewhere.

We must meet them there to stop the madness. I decide to change my party to CYAN, TERRA, LOCKE, and EDGAR. One of the best and worst parts of this game is the huge number of playable characters. It’s honestly hard to decide who to use, other than never using GAU. Everyone else brings something to the table and I want to use them all. The parts with two or more parties going at once do make up for the downside and I think so far have been the best moments of FFVI.

Next up is finding the flying continent with my new party. Kefka is a DEAD MAN.

Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part XIII

on 10/11/2012

So where was I? I can barely remember. All I know is to go west, and indeed there is only one possible place. Into the caves. Two doors just loop around each other, but I begin to see RELM chilling outside of the door I just left. I waste a bunch of time leaving the cave, ensuring it’s where I’m supposed to go, trying to remember details about the boat ride and airship.

So yes, the cave is the only place for me to go. We reach a room with some magic statues that are the source of all magic or some such craziness. RELM is spying on us while Ulta the octopus attacks once again. On my way to easily defeating him, RELM decides to interrupt and wants to draw Ulta. He is very flattered and lets RELM sketch Uncle Ulty.

After the sketch, he is defeated, and RELM joins the party. I encounter and save point and take advantage of it. The next post will be coming shortly. Probably in less than two months.

Eternal Darkness - the Beginning

on 8/24/2012

The eeriness of the mansion unsettled her, as she peered around the first floor antechamber cautiously, determining where and what to examine first. Silence betrayed her focus and she imagined whispers - whispers of death. He had been dead for two weeks and Inspector Legrasse was no help. So here she was, looking for clues to the murder of her grandfather, alone and determined.

“Remember me, Alex” he had said. “Remember me”

She kneeled down and looked at the floor. She had dreamed of the ghost of her grandfather before Legrasse woke her with a phone call. That’s all Edward Roivis could say to her: “Remember me, Alex? Remember me” His face was blue, as blue as the Roivis family ring that she recognized upon seeing his brutally mangled body.

Alex listened intently, ignoring the cries of the mansion’s openness; she became aware of an incessant ticking. The clock’s body was lifeless with arms resting on 3 and 33, yet the ticking persisted. She reached to its back and attempted to wind the corpse. Instead, she found a dresser key that did not belong. She was puzzled and annoyed because she knew this was only the beginning.

The beginning of Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is as melodramatic as it is ambiguous. The pandering of a displayed Edgar Allen Poe quote from The Raven as one of the booting screens seems unnecessary, but, putting that aside, the atmosphere is appropriately creepy. Within the first five minutes you come across several different experiences that require little attention, but are obligatory to the experience. First, the narrator, in the tradition of Sunset Boulevard, is the voice of Dr. Edward Roivis, who subsequently reveals himself to his granddaughter, Alex Roivis, sometime later. Before that happens, however, you become Alex, as a playable character, and you shoot several zombie-like creatures with a shotgun before returning for a cut-scene, introducing the ghost of Eddy and the subsequent realization of his murder when she travels to Rhode Island.

Clearly the purpose of the shotgun scene was to appease, or perhaps tease, the impatience of the player. It has no significance as a strategic gameplay device, since the game is fairly predictable when it comes to what kind of action will happen. The real strength will likely rely on interesting plot twists and puzzles to engage the player. With that in mind, the first examination of the lobby of the mansion provides the player with a single dresser key found behind the ominous clock, as described in the narrative provided here. That is a solid introduction to the clues and oddities that will probably be encountered.

Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part XII

on 8/19/2012

LOCKE and TERRA meet General Leo on the boat to complete their journey to find the espers. Another general and a mercenary are going to be joining us. Of course, they turn out to be CELES and that scared fuck SHADOW. Before and during the trip LOCKE and CELES have their emo scene, and TERRA and General Leo have their own emo scene. Good times.

Landing on the continent, the party heads back towards Thamasa, the completely unhelpful town from before. Now they are a bit more receptive, and we meet an old man STRAGO and his granddaughter (rumor has it friend’s daughter) RELM. Now that we have some friends in town, the inn decides to give away a night’s stay for 1 gp.

The party stays overnight, and a mansion catches on fire. RELM is somehow caught up in it. LOCKE, TERRA, and STRAGO go in to rescue her. The boss battle here is surprisingly tough and this fuck breaks out a Fire 3. I am completely unprepared for this and get decimated. I haven’t saved yet SO I DO IT ALLLL OVER AGAIN. The second playthrough gets worrisome as well, but I pull it out this time.

Thamasa is filled with the ancestors of mages and they all have magic. STRAGO joins the party, scared as fuck SHADOW leaves, and we head for the west to find the espers.

Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part XI

on 8/5/2012

To Vector! First we stop in nearby Maranda. I’m not sure if I said this earlier, but Michael Vick is in this game. There’s a large group of soldiers dogfighting in the town square in Maranda. I stock up on supplies and soon we reach the capital of the Empire once again, Vector.

Vector is in absolute ruins. The espers came to rescue their friends, and after they saw all the carnage, they went berserk. Vector is nearly destroyed. However, all the shop owners have their shops open despite being on fire. They are dedicated to customer service.

The Returners, Banon, and Narshe guards are present in Vector, and the Emperor greets my party on the way in. Apparently he is through with fighting, after realizing how futile fighting the espers would be. We talk to 21 guards around Vector and meet for dinner. The Emperor says he wants to work with the Returners and TERRA to persuade the espers to cease the fighting. LOCKE and TERRA go alone to meet up with General Leo in Albrook, the rest of the party stays in Vector to see what is really up with the Empire. Certainly the Empire doesn’t just give up, Kafka will be on the loose once again.

The Emperor grants us all of the weapons in the imperial base outside the sealed gate, which means LOCKE and TERRA travel there to raid the formerly locked room with 10+ chests. LOCKE and TERRA are now ready to join General Leo in Albrook, and sail to the continent where the espers have landed.