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  -Part 1 :: [09.29.03]
  -Part 2 :: [10.04.06]
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"Tidink refuses to leave, and whines some more about his precioussssss that his dead mom left to him. 'Well, when you run into her, tell her that she should have left you some common sense instead,' Ryudo says politely. It's so hard for me to hate him when he says stuff like that."
     -Jeanne, Grandia II Part 2




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Final Fantasy IV : Part 2
By Ben
Posted 10.04.06
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Well, doesn't time fly? Why, it only seems like yesterday that I started recapping this simmering cauldron of FF nostalgia, vaguely humanoid blobs of pixels, and a legendarily botched translation. In fact, it was...er...a while ago. First, allow me to apologize for the 3-year gap between Part 1 and Part 2. Maybe my brain, subconsciously protesting against further frazzling via horrendous dialogue, shut down the part that deals with thought processes such as "Gee, Ben, it's been a number of months since your last FFIV recap. Don't you think it's time for the next one?". Or maybe I haven't particularly felt the need to punish myself for the past few years. With that out of the way, let's dive in where we left off!

In case you've forgotten what happened last time (which, let's face it, is understandable in these circumstances) read the following few lines. Those of you who've played this game so many times that you can recite the entire script (and, scary as it seems, I know you actually exist) can just skip to the next paragraph. In Part 1 of this thrilling and epic adventure, we met Cecil(ia), the angsty Dark Knight and captain of Baron's Red & Yellow Wings, and his maybe-girlfriend Rinosa, a girl so clingy she makes her namesake seem aloof. Poor Cecilia was wrestling with his conscience over the evil deeds he had committed, such as stealing the ever-powerful Crystals from innocent people, and has thus already begun his transformation into the poster-boy for truth and justice. This in turn led to him being demoted by King Wanker, a walking cliché if ever there was one. As the last recap drew to a close, Cecilia and his close friend and comrade Kain (The Big Blue Machine) were ordered to deliver a not-at-all suspicious package to the village of Mist. I know none of you can wait any longer to find out what happens next.

But before that, I must say a few words on the subject of our hero's sexual persuasion. In the last recap, I insinuated that Cecilia, unlike his future incarnation Squall, wasn't gay. But back then I was just a fledgling recapper, my VGR-dar not as finely-tuned as it is today. Also, I had somehow forgotten what Cecilia looks like when (spoiler!!) he becomes a Paladin. With that in mind, I take back everything. Cecilia is gay. Maybe not as gay as Barbra Streisand & Celine Dion: The Duet Collection wrapped up in a pretty pink box, but still: he likes the cock.

 
I think you'll find she can do that just fine on her own.
Not for much longer, kiddo.
 

Before Cecilia and The Big Blue Machine set out, they explore the city of Baron itself. It's your standard 'First Town' - small, quiet and filled with NPCs dispensing such useful nuggets of information as "Don't forget to take plenty of Cures and Tents!" Although with more Engrish, obviously. There's also the requisite FF Training Hall (which I lovingly call 'The n00b School'), but I figure I don't need any lessons, what with this being FFIV Easytype and all. Of course, knowing my track record, I'll still probably be forcibly sodomized seventeen different ways by certain bosses later in the game. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

The only other thing of importance in town is the first in a series of dancers (who were, I believe, censored in another version, but feel free to prove me wrong). The scantily-pixelled girl in question asks if Cecilia "wants to see something" (somehow I don't think he's interested in what she has in mind) before performing a dance routine in which she shakes her sprite ass, sashays back and forth and leaps across the screen as if the LSD and speed combo she took last night hasn't worn off yet. It's fucking hilarious, especially considering the calibre of the graphics. Mentally scarred for life on account of catching a glimpse of the dancer's milkshake, Cecilia high-tails it out of town as fast as his clunky armour will allow.

 
Uh, he's so not interested.

Cecilia and The Big Blue Machine leave the grey walls of Baron behind and head for the nearby Mist Cave, which, as luck would have it, leads directly to the village of Mist. I predict that they'll hand over the package, leave without incident, and perhaps be back in Baron in time for supper. Oh, I kill me.

The cave is strangely lacking in random battles (compared to the 12 I fought on the way, at least), but certainly not lacking in treasure chests. As Cecilia spies his first trove o' goodies, a voice warns from thin air that he should "go back". Now, if you were exploring a mist-filled cavern and a disembodied voice suddenly told you to get the fuck out, I'm probably correct in thinking that you'd be a tad spooked, and would perhaps heed the warning of said disembodied voice. But our resident Dark Knight isn't prepared to take orders from any old Mysterious Voice, instead choosing to press forward. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that this is probably a bad idea. Incidentally, despite pouring scorn on the music of this game back in Part 1 (which was more due to the sound quality on my headphones than anything else), the music playing in this area is one of my favourite videogame tracks of all time. Never let it be said that I can't be positive about anything.

After bagging a 'Cure1' from the chest (and a 'Heal' from another one nearby), Cecilia only takes another few steps before the Mysterious Voice chimes in again. This time, it's slightly more aggressive, demanding that our boys in blue "Leave now...". TBBM seems to channel Shion at this point, wondering "Is it a monster...?" No, it's the fucking tooth fairy. Now that would be unexpected. After another couple of paces, the Mysterious Voice interjects once again, with an ominous "Ones from Baron..." I'm starting to wish the owner of said voice would just show him (or her) self already. After another few boxes of drivel, Mysterious Voice asks if I wish to go on. I'm tempted to pick No just to see what happens, but by now I just want to get the hell out of this cave, so Yes it is. "We must blow up deliver this Package to the village of Mist!" Cecilia pleads, whilst taking a sneaky peek at TBBM's package. Since this is apparently a 'Package' and not just any random package, Cecilia figures that he must deliver it at any cost, even if it means fighting a big-ass motherfucking monster. "The mist is gathering..." says Cecilia, or TBBM, or the Mysterious Voice, or the tripping game designer (take your pick; the dialogue box didn't include a name) as some vaguely mist-like blocks of white dots converge and fly into Cecilia's body. Ah, 16-bit graphics.

So what the hell was it before?
 

With this comes our first boss battle, against what I assume to be the man...er, beast behind the omnipotent Mysterious Voice -- a huge dragon formed from mist, fittingly and imaginatively named the Mist Dragon. I really don't see how something made from mist can give or receive damage, but just play along. Your sanity takes less of an ass-raping that way. The Solid-Mist Dragon only takes off 2HP with each attack, which is kind of a let-down after all the build-up to this fight. I mean, it would be like reaching the end of FFVII and discovering that you could beat Sephiroth in a single turn. Oh, wait. Anyway, after a few turns of back-and-forth attacks, the Solid-Mist Dragon "turns into mist", rendering it temporarily invulnerable to attacks. If it is attacked during this time, it counters with a move called 'Cold Mist' which deals considerably more damage than its regular attack. Er, not that I'd know from experience. A message flashes up, screaming "Do not fight now!" I know I'm amused by the fact that, despite its otherwise unforgivable translation, this game actually got the "Don't attack, wanker!" message right, while a later, allegedly superior FF title mangled it completely. "Attack while the tail's up", indeed.

 
Gives a whole new meaning to the term 'ring of fire'.

After vanquishing the Solid-Mist Dragon, Cecilia and TBBM finally leave the cave and reach the village of Mist. But wait! What's this? Less than five paces into the village, the mysterious Package opens itself automatically. And you'll never guess what's inside. No, it's not a troupe of fluffy bunnies waving 'Love & Peace' banners. Nor is it an invitation for the entire village to attend a banquet held by King Wanker in honour of their thankless dedication to summoning. I'll give you all a clue: I believe the Package was actually named the 'Bomb Ring' in the original Japanese version. Yep, it's fiery doom all round as the package blows up, sending a ring of Bombs (the classic FF enemy monster, not the explosive device) to raze the village to the ground. The screen turns red as the Bombs zig-zag across the screen, spreading fire and death wherever they go. It's amazingly convenient that the Package opened itself just now, and not, like, halfway through the Mist Cave or something. Also amazingly convenient is the fact that, despite being the ones holding the Package, TBBM and Cecilia are left completely unscathed by the explosion and ensuing carnage. I'm sure, in the years since this game was released, that people have already fanwanked this whole incident into making sense in their gullible little minds, but, just for fun, we can do it too!

How can this possibly be explained?
You see, Bombs are actually incredibly intelligent monsters, and therefore knew exactly when to detonate themselves. They also projected a magic heat-shield around the heroes to protect them. Why would they do that? Er...behind you!
King Wanker secretly bugged Cecilia so that he would know when the duo had reached Mist, and could then open the Package himself using a remote device. The main duo weren't hurt because...a simple explosion can't possibly harm a Dragoon and a Dark Knight!
Uh...DUH this is a fantasy game. not everythin can b explaned!!!! y r u r33din 2 much in2 this??!? this game rox adn ur dumb site sux!!!11
You know, I find it quite sad that certain people have nothing better to do with their lives than nitpick these tiny details. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to submit my 200-page Plot Analysis guide to GameFaqs.

 

Cecilia and TBBM are obviously shocked. But Cecilia's cry of anguish is interrupted by an altogether more irritating cry - that of a young green-haired girl standing just out of shot. Our heroes go to investigate, only to discover said girl crouched over the lifeless body of her mother. "My mom's dragon fell, so my mom did too..." she sobs. Wait, where have we seen a dragon before? Oh. Oh. Well, shit happens, I suppose. See, this is all clever and tragic because we were lulled into thinking that the Mist Dragon was just a random end-of-dungeon boss, when in reality, slaying it also caused the death of an innocent woman and turned a poor widdle child into an orphan. This is just one of the emotional and superbly-crafted scenarios that help make this game the deeply moving and life-changing experience it clearly is. Or maybe it would be if the dialogue within it didn't make me want to remove my own kidneys without anaesthetic.

 
Won't someone think of the child?!!

Luckily for those of us without functioning brains, TBBM launches into a fit of exposition: "I've heard of the people with the power to summon monsters. They are Callers!" "We defeated the dragon, so her mother is gone also," Cecilia helpfully adds for the benefit of anyone who zoned out during the whole Mist Dragon battle. I half-expect to see a huge neon sign flash across the screen, reading "WE KILLED HER MOTHER'S DRAGON. WE DID IT. IT IS OUR FAULT." Upon hearing Cecilia's admission of guilt, the girl recoils, yelling "You! You've beaten my mother's dragon!" Hmm, I'd say "beaten" is an understatement, but whatever. Cecilia hastily tells the girl that he and TBBM didn't mean for her mother to kick the bucket. I mean, in fairness to them, how could they have known this would happen? Before Cecilia can reply, TBBM Einsteins: "His Majesty wanted to wipe out the Callers of this village and used us to do it!" No fucking shit. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if his next line was "Hey! That package was full of Bombs!"

It gets worse. Cecilia reacts to TBBM's 'revelation' as though he's just been told the secret of eternal life. "Incredible!" he exclaims, as I try to find salvation at the bottom of my wine bottle. Now, I know this version of the game was primarily targeted towards kiddies, but for God's sake, give them some credit.

Ah, but here's where things take a darker turn. Like, even darker than an entire village (one strangely devoid of people) being burned to a crisp and a young girl being orphaned. TBBM turns to Cecilia and declares "I'm afraid we must do away with her too." Oh noes! Fortunately for the little girl, Cecilia sees things differently. "[TBBM]! She's just a kid!" he cries incredulously. Although it may not seem so at first, this scene is an extremely important factor in his character lobotomy transformation from cold-hearted Dark Knight to just and valiant warrior of justice. Look, he doesn't want to harm this chyyyuld! He can't possibly be truly evil! TBBM gets up in Cecilia's face, all "You dare defy His Majesty?" "Forget it! Never again will I follow such an order!" Cecilia retorts. ...Um. "Never again"? He never followed the previous one. Impressed by Cecilia's resolve, TBBM relents and agrees that killing an innocent kid probably isn't the best choice for either of them. I'll recap the following dialogue verbatim below, as I feel it's the only way to do it justice.

Cecilia: Then will you...?
TBBM: But Baron is the mightiest country in the world. It's impossible for us to challenge his might alone. We must gather other countries. And you know...we must rescue [Rinosa]!
Cecilia: Thank you, [TBBM]!
TBBM: Not for your sake. Let's get out of here fast! What about that girl?

...Sweet Mother of Jesus, that must be the fastest character 180 in history. Ten seconds ago he was proposing infanticide and asking how dare Cecilia defy the king, and now he's planning a rebellion?! And this isn't the last time he'll switch sides suddenly, either. (ZOMG SPOILER!!!) I've come to the conclusion that, if I attempt to pick this apart any more, I'm liable to brain myself repeatedly with the keyboard, so let's move on quickly. Cecilia and TBBM try to convince the girl to come with them, but she's understandably reluctant to follow the two strange men who reduced her village to ashes, caused her mother's death, and were just discussing her possible murder, all in the space of five minutes. Maybe she's overreacting a tad, though. Up pops the battle screen, where the girl summons a Titan who, in turn, causes an earthquake which splits the ground apart, knocking Cecilia and TBBM out. Phew. You really don't want to make this kid angry.

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