The Fantasy of Phantasy: I Report, I Decide

Kebo
on 7/31/2012

Ok, I’ll decide with some input from you, my loyal followers. My character now stands at level 13, ready to move past the caves if I so choose. However, there are many quests I haven’t even attempted. In fact, I’ve only completed one in the caves so far.

This quest had something to do with a woman on Pioneer I wanting sweets. Apparently cakes are outlawed on Pioneer II aka New York City. I should have known that there’d be a liberal, tyrannical government in the future. After talking to a few hunters in the city, which mentioned how they looked everywhere on the ship for these three bakers, it was obvious that they were to be found in the caves. So I went. The caves probably have the best cast of enemies in this game. You’ve got the evil shark, pal shark and guil shark, which are obviously using the same general model as the boomas from the forest. But they look more badass and seem faster and more aggressive. That may just be in my head, but I swear it’s true. You’ve also got nanodragons, those annoying as hell dragons that keep taking off and flying away when I melee them. I ended up taking out my pistol to shoot them, which eventually worked well, but not at first. In fact, two of them started spamming their laser attack at me and this led to my first death. I had almost died in the forest, which I forgot to mention, during one of the quests. Those little yellow penguin creatures had managed to surround me, five or six of them at least, during a room where there were at least a dozen that spawned. I was then trapped in their stunlock, unable to attack or escape. As my monomates slowly dwindled, my mag power triggered and I was able to kill them.

My favorite enemy in all of PSO has got to be the grass assassin. That’s the giant preying mantis-esque creature that spits some kind of web at you to trap you (and then it looks like you’re trapped in electricity for some reason). They also charge across the ground and have big sweeping attacks. The nice touch is when you kill them. All those miniature baby grass assassins skitter away as fast as they can. One day they will grow up and you will have to kill them.

And those blob things that flow around the room and come up behind you…what the hell is up with them? They never do any damage to me. I hit them once and they return to the ground, then I wait. Then I hit them again and they’re dead. They’re really more of a nuisance than anything.

I also ran into the Pan Arms monster, that splits apart and each has some kind of light saber sword. They’re pretty cool looking and they were intimidating the first time I played. Oh, lest I forget, those plant things were here of course. It’s a good thing I carry antidotes and antiparalysis around with me, or they would be extremely annoying. What makes them most sinister is the way they snicker at you when they’ve hit you with their poison bolt. You can remember this sound, I know you can. Also, all of these monsters are “A.Beast”. Since I haven’t looked into it, I have to wonder what the hell that even is. Literally a beast? That sounds too ridiculous, so I can only come up with my theories. Allah Beast.

It took a good twenty to thirty minutes just to fully clear caves 1. And then another twenty minutes to clear caves 2. Mind you, these floors didn’t seem any different than normal on this quest, no partner, no lore, nothing. Finally, in caves 3, I stumbled upon a cake stand. It was pretty cool, since I doubt you ever see that graphic anywhere but this quest. I talked to the babes and bought myself a cake. They would only sell me one, which seems like a poor business model. I brought it back to the girl that gave me the quest and she was delighted. She mentioned something about not wanting to eat too many and gain the weight back (the dramatic sub story to this quest is that she was once fat, evidently. Great character development).

What was the lesson? Around an hour of effort to complete this one quest, which was marginally interesting. So the question is: do I continue to do all of the quests in the game? I do believe they eventually lead to some cool bosses, but I’m not sure. It’s a lot of effort though. Vote in the comments, but give a reason, because I don’t believe in democracy due to absolutes and hamfam.

Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part X

servo
on 7/29/2012

Back in Vector! But not for long, a few more screens and we are headed into the airship and getting the bloop out of there. Some fiendish crane arm things come to attempt to bring us back, but they are successfully beaten back. The airship heads back to Zozo to get TERRA back. Luckily I don’t have to actually play through Zozo again, the full party just gets teleported there into a cutscene. This begins TERRA’s backstory.

Some years ago, a woman managed to cross through into the esper’s world. The esper Maudin, who you play as in the flashback, rescues this woman and keeps her. She has no desire to go back to the human world. Years go by, she has a half human half esper child with Maudin, and suddenly the Empire is crashing through the gates. They steal as many espers as they can get their hands on, and while casting a spell to keep humans out for good, the child gets thrown out with them. Of course, that child is TERRA.

Reunited with TERRA, the party heads back to Narshe. Narshe’s leaders are now ready to join the Returner’s war against the Empire, and the course of action to take is to get the esper’s help. One man mentions the cave leading to the esper’s world is at the far east.

In the airship we go to Thamasa, the farthest east town possible. And everyone is completely unhelpful. They all just stare at LOCKE and say they don’t recognize us. We are strangers. I search the town high and low, then decide to keep moving on.

I now go to the farthest east place on the Empire’s home continent, and it is an imperial base guarding a bridge and cave. There are no soliders there, and the cave does indeed lead to the espers. This cave has some new enemies that are getting the upper hand on my party so I don’t stop along the way to open every chest, and as soon as we reach the door to the espers Kefka shows up. TERRA opens the door anyway and huge espers start flowing out and everyone scatters.

The espers were headed towards Vector. Looks like we’re headed right back there just as soon as we left.

Kebo vs Servo VI: The Saga Continues

Kebo
on 7/27/2012

Final Fantasy VI may be a great game, but its drama is easily eclipsed by Kebo vs Servo VI. Servo and I decided to dust off Advance Wars: Days of Ruin for DS and play a match. The result? A grueling battle with no quarter given. The match lasted around 2.5 hours, and that’s because servo surrendered due to the battle being decided. But it probably would have taken another thirty minutes to mop up. Both of us were around 400,000 spent and 300,000 in losses. This was the most costly battle we had ever fought, and perhaps the mostly costly I have ever participated in.

The conclusion I came to is that this is one of the most well balanced strategy games ever made, not to mention one of the most fun. Every unit has a purpose from beginning to end. Even the light tanks are cheaper and faster than the heavier tanks that a little boy might consider superior but a master tactician recognizes they are just one piece to an intricate puzzle.

Some of my strategic thoughts on the battle:

There were a few times I thought servo was going to grab the upper hand and break through. I had possession of three cities in the southwest of the map that I could only realistically send air and infantry to. This gave him an opportunity to flex the power of armored vehicles, but he didn’t really capitalize. If he had captured these three cities, that would have been a +3000 income bonus for him and -3000 loss for me. I would have had to divert more air resources to try to defend or capture these bases, knowing full well I would probably lose if I lost all of them. This would have whittled down my central line and he could have wreaked havoc there.

There were small meta battles around the map. In the center is where most of our forces were concentrated, and the highlight of this was a battle for air supremacy. You can’t concede the ground or else they can stack anti-air and you will be easily defeated. You can’t concede the air or they can stack bombers and you will be easily defeated. There are crucial decisions for every unit on every turn. The game is brilliant.

I only produced one long range artillery unit, but it survived the game and inflicted heavy losses on servo’s forces. Once again, each unit can have a disproportionate impact, but you can’t focus on one type of strategy or you will be easily countered.

I was able to use Brenner’s power, while servo’s CO never charged up enough. There is something truly beautiful about your CO making a statement and triumphant music starts playing for your turn. It raises my morale and surely crushed servo’s spirit to see all of my units on the battlefield healed three health points while victorious, upbeat music started playing.

Our use of anti-tank guns in this match was somewhat ineffective. Usually I consider this one of the most dominant units and best value purchases. Mine served its purpose and inflicted decent carnage, but nowhere near what I had hoped, especially given the fact Brenner was in it. It really highlights the advantage of mobility on a sprawling map. Yes, if you can deploy the heavy weapons and protect them, you’re probably going to win. But you definitely can’t focus on expensive weapons, you have to scatter cheaper, more efficient units around to soak up damage and punish those that cross the battle lines to strike your powerful units.

This is a very simple game with a short learning curve. But the depth of strategy is far beyond most games due to the incredible balance between mobility, firepower, scouting, and each branch of the military. We didn’t even have naval units in this game, which would have made it even more complex.

This is a great game that never grows old. Our match has caused me to want to start up a second Advance Wars tourney. Who’s in?! Spyder, go buy a DS if you have to. Just look at its majesty:

The Fantasy of Phantasy: A Foray Into the Forest

Kebo
on 7/25/2012

Urged on by big’s whining, the blog continues on.

After admiring the city and all it had to offer, listening to the whimsical, futuristic music, I decided to head down into the forest. This is the area every PSO player first had a chance to try out the combat. My first time down here was with a giant android ranger. You may have seen him playing with TKA Xeno more than a decade ago. That sounds ridiculous typing out, but yes, it’s been more than a decade since we used to play this game online.

I began by breaking open boxes. I can’t think of any dungeon crawler that has had more satisfying boxes to break open. For one, the combat animations are majestic. The fact there is a little leeway in the timing adds some flavor, but the most enjoyable part is that you have to time it at all. When I first began playing, stringing together two normal attacks and the heavy attack wasn’t second nature like it is now. As the box exploded, making its signature explosive sound because I smashed it with such powerful force it literally disintegrated into nothing, I saw a rotating, green object. Yes, you know what I speak of. These rotating green, blue and orange item boxes. They look so valuable, and you never know what it’s going to be when you run up to it. Maybe it’s just a stupid antidote, or a valuable star atomizer. Perhaps that orange item is a saber +3 with +15% damage to native, or just a stupid basic wand you can’t even wield.

This leads me to another point. The fact there are monster types in PSO. I always thought that was pretty cool. Each enemy you encounter has that informational box that shows up on your HUD. It shows their name, their type, and buffs/debuffs. I thought this was a nice little touch of depth that more serious players could consider, but casuals didn’t need to concern themselves with. Scrolling through item stats and looking if it has +15% native, or -10% native (which is bad) let’s you decide which weapons are best for which areas.

I entered the next room over, after having read a message left by Red Ring Rico (these are a nice touch that I might comment on another time). Immediately a couple Boomas rose up from the ground, raising their arms in the air, furious at having been disturbed. Their roar may have shaken a lesser man, but I rushed at them, slicing them with my photon saber. Soon I was encountering Goboomas and Gigoboomas, the most badass of all the boomas. Clawing back at me with zeal, I was knocked violently to the ground. Sometimes their attacks bounced harmlessly to the side off of my armor, or I raised my shield in defiance.

I completed all of the forest quests; I think there were eight. What I like most about them is their change of pace. You get to interact with new/different NPCs in town, and often have a sidekick hunter down below with you that fights enemies. It’s annoying when they one shot monsters though, since you don’t share experience unless you damage it. My favorite was one where I got to fight a bunch of Hildebears and there was a baby Hildebear. Those are the giant monstrous ogre creatures that can jump far and smash you to the ground easily. There were other interesting quests about government cover ups, destructive research, exploitation of innocent mags, etc. The quests are well contained and last only 10-25 minutes or so, just the right amount of time.

My mag has been growing quite nicely. Mags were a great idea, very unobtrusive, but provided that “pet” companion that so many people find appealing. The fact you regularly feed it and it grows, enhancing your stats and giving you new abilities adds a layer to your character development that I felt was needed. You can even find mags later, trade them, etc. And as you know, their appearance changes as they become more powerful.

This blog entry is starting to get long. I fought rag rappies, those evil little yellow things that always run away from me after pretending to be dead. I found savage and barbarous wolves, which once upon a time seemed challenging, but now I decimate them with my eyes closed. The monest, that hive that launches all those bugs, is both annoying and fantastic. It’s annoying because of obvious reasons that don’t need explaining. But that’s why it’s good, you frantically want to kill it as fast as you can.

Lest I forget, I fought the dragon. Since I had completed all kinds of quests, I easily dispatched him. But it was still epic. This is one of the first truly epic, dynamic boss encounters I had ever experienced. Sure, games like Ocarina of Time had some great boss battles. But did they feel so dire, so intimidating as this enormous dragon flying above you, lumbering around, shaking the ground with its weight, as intense battle music plays throughout? No, this was a new experience entirely. The scariest part was when he would burrow and come zooming under the rocks to try to hit you. Unfortunately my loot wasn’t so great, but I now head into the caves as a level eight that is well equipped.

Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part IX

servo
on 7/22/2012

Did I play FFVI twice today? Yes I did. I had 10+ hours of PRIME GAMING TIME. This is what happens.

My group of freedom fighters has infiltrated Vector, a North Korea-esque town dominated by an imperial base. Alternately getting helped and hindered by the locals, an old man allows us to sneak into the base. Once inside, Kefka is seen abusing near-death espers since they have nearly been drained of magic. Inside the base is a practically a maze, and finally we find our way down to the abused espers.

Naturally, the espers Ifrit and Shiva decide to wage war upon us. They very nearly killed everyone, but CELES stayed alive long enough and fought hard enough to bring everyone else back from the brink. Soon, they see the espers being used by our group and cease the battle. They decide to also give themselves up to our cause, and we take the crystals.

The next room has many espers in it, and a big switch. The switch is flipped, and the espers are all released. They choose to all turn into crystals and are given up to the party. Kefka comes in and says CELES has been leading us on, into the base to be destroyed. LOCKE is devastated, but her final act seems to save the group and she disappears. Cid helps the group escape onto a mine cart thing and it looks as though we are back outside. My next playthrough will hopefully feature the final escape out of Vector.

Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part VIII

servo
on 7/22/2012

Final Fantasy VI is art.

Back in Jidoor, CELES is mistaken for an opera singer Maria, who is about to perform and is apparently going to be kidnapped by SETZER. Who is SETZER? He’s the most interesting man in the world. A rich, playboy gambler, with the only airship in existence. We need that airship to get to the imperial base. A plan is hatched for CELES to replace Maria in the opera and the rest of the gang will follow her post-kidnapping to get into the airship.

Arriving at the opera, CELES takes a moment to study the scene prior to going on, and the rest of the party takes in the opera. I remember hearing about the famous opera scene reading old Nintendo Power magazines. But this exceeded my expectations. It’s amazing that this was in an SNES game, FFVI is so varied and never boring. The recent events: finding TERRA, getting the espers, and the opera scene feel like I’m beginning the real FFVI. Maybe it’s because I haven’t played FFVII in over 10 years, but I’m beginning to wonder why FFVI isn’t looked at as the peak of FF instead.

CELES performs the opera perfectly, and that damn octopus is back and trying to foil my plans again. LOCKE acts quickly within a 5 minute time limit to reach the octopus before he drops an anvil on CELES, arriving with 20 seconds to spare. That was intense, ended up in battles I didn’t want and it nearly kept me from reaching the octopus.

With the ocotpus sent back yet again, SETZER arrives to steal CELES. Then he is roped into helping us out by a coinflip that everyone could see was rigged from the start. The airship takes us to the continent with Vector, the imperial base, on it; and we first arrive at the empire-occupied city Albrook. Next stop: Vector.

Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part VII

servo
on 7/21/2012

The journey continues, the party heads for Figaro Castle to burrow under the impassible mountain range and get to the other side where feaky TERRA went. Kohlingen is the first town on the other side. This is apparently where LOCKE is from, and his alledged fiance is under some crazy old man’s spell. Many years ago LOCKE was hunting for treasure with Rachel, and suddenly a wooden bridge gave way. She ended up with amnesia, LOCKE was forced to leave, and eventually the Empire came to subjudgate the town. Rachel regained her memory just before death, and told a woman to tell LOCKE that she loves him.

There is a piece missing from this story right now, between Rachel’s death and being in stasis from an old man’s herbs. Also I run into SHADOW again in this town, that scared ass fuck. He simply tells us to go away. Townsfolk let us know that TERRA headed south, to the mountains.

Travelling to the southern end of the continent, we arrive at Jidoor. Nice high class town who apparently kicked out all the poor people to move to another town to the north surrounded by mountains. They say TERRA headed that way, towards Zozo, and warns us to watch out for the people there. The party departs Jidoor for Zozo.

Zozo is a terrible place. Like in dungeons and the world map, there are random encounters. Somehow the poor townsfolk of Zozo are massive brawlers who know magic and like to steal. There is a bizarre riddle involving a clock’s hands, and there is talk of a woman being on top of a huge tower.

The rumors are true, and TERRA is still in crazy freak state lying on a bed on top of a massive tower in Zozo. An esper appears as an old man and gives us our next destination: an imperial base. They are gathering espers there to drain them of something something and get their magic, or something. The espers had been hidden for years since the Magi Wars, but the empire found them. Shit is going to go down.

The old man says that TERRA can’t accept her current form, even she finds consciousness disgusting. She needs to accept it and move on, then she should be back to normal. We must rescue the espers from the imperial base to help TERRA.

Espers turn into a crystal that allows you to perform a magic spell, and the old man pulls an Obi-Wan to become a crystal. There are three others from espers who died trying to escape the empire, so each party member can equip an esper now.

SABIN and GAU appear here now from Narshe, and another party is formed. CELES knows the empire, so she is going, and LOCKE apparently needs to rescue any woman he knows to make up for Rachel, so he is along as well. I choose EDGAR and SABIN to round out the party. GAU and CYAN will continue to guard Narshe.

The imperial base is to the south, and Jidoor may have the key to getting there. My party exits Zozo, where TERRA will be waiting in the massive evil tower, and saves outside of town before going to Jidoor.

Make Me a Sandwich

quatre
on 7/16/2012

Adventure Time is a cool show. But this isn’t about that, mostly.

See, one time Jake the dog made a burrito filled with a plethora of foods which he dubbed the “Everything Burrito.”

Haha, great stuff. Anyway, this gave me an idea.

Each person reading this within the next week may choose one ingredient for my “Everything Sandwich.” Well, not really everything. A variety of things. A “Handful of Things Sandwich.”

Yeah, I know what you’re saying: “This is nothing new, YouTubers such as Epic Meal Time make crazy food, nobody visits this site, blah, blah blah.” JUST SHUT UP A SECOND OKAY?! I’m doing this anyway.

But before you begin thinking up exotic delicacies or deep-sea creatures for me to eat, keep these rules in mind.

RULES

  • Safe - not too hard, no raw meats etc.
  • Simple - easy to prepare; I’m not a chef
  • Reasonable - nothing that costs over $5 to get

I reserve the right to refuse anything I deem inappropriate.

As for the sandwich bread, I’m controlling that a bit. You can vote for a bread in this poll on the forums.

Reply here or in the forum post with your ingredient choice. Submissions end July 22 (or sooner because I only expect maybe 5 participants). Come back next week for a video of me eating your wonderful creation!

CURRENT TOPPINGS

Colby jack cheese
Honey
Lobster
Macaroni & cheese
Sliced bananas

Final Fantasy VI - the Blog! Part VI

servo
on 7/15/2012

Kafka and the Empire are invading Narshe! The group splits up into three teams chosen by me to defend the town. TERRA, CYAN, and LOCKE; GAU and SABIN; and CELES with EDGAR are the parties. There are about 20 groups of enemies approaching and any one reaching Banon will result in defeat.

My parties are aligned along chokepoints so nothing can get past them, the only thing left is to defeat everyone in my path to Kafka. There are one or two close calls, but the groups fight well and move on to Kefka and his single protector, the Rider.

For some reason I was not expecting the last line of defense for Kefka to be anything out of the ordinary, so I move in with the first team available, CELES and EDGAR. The Rider’s attacks are too much to keep those two alive while also wearing him down, and they are lost. TERRA, CYAN, and LOCKE must move in for the final kill.

The Rider goes down, and only Kefka remains. TERRA, CYAN, and LOCKE take up this battle as well. This is the first battle I’ve had with multiple characters dying, and Kefka is fucking some shit up. However, CYAN gets extremely low on health, uses his desperation attack, inflicts 1200 damage, and Kefka is forced to retreat.

The whole group approaches the Esper, and TERRA suddenly deforms into some sort of DBZ freak and flies off. They say she turned into an Esper and flew off to the west. I gather a group of CYAN, LOCKE, EDGAR, and CELES to go after her while GAU and SABIN stay behind in Narshe.

I hope I haven’t screwed myself by doing a 4/2 split, since I figure GAU and SABIN will have to do a few battles on their own. But LOCKE is the weakest fighter and has the lowest level, so I want to have him in my main party and get his level up. We shall see. The party departs to the west…