Final Fantasy VI : Part 1
1 : 2 : 3 : 4
When the party reaches a certain point in town, they're ambushed by guards. "Imperial Magitek Armor?" one of them cries out. "Not even Narshe's safe anymore!" They attack, leaving me to ponder as I'm waiting for the Active Time Bars to fill up: how am I supposed to spell the name of this town? I decide by the end of the battle--which is ten seconds later, thanks to the lopsided buffness of the Magitek Armors--that I'll go with Narshe, since it's the in-game spelling, not the spelling from the crappy FMV that followed the weird Engrish.
Biggs and Wedge follow ?????? through Narshe and into several more battles with guards and guard dogs. Yeah, I know what her name is, but I'm calling her ?????? anyway, because the game does, and what the hey, using all this extraneous punctuation makes me feel like a Konami of America big shot. As for the battles...strangely, while the guards and dogs start out looking like perfectly normal people and Doberman Pinschers, respectively, once they appear on the battle screen they turn into giant zombies and ravenous wolves. It does serve to make me feel less bad about killing them all, certainly.
And there are also woolly mammoths on patrol. What kind of town is this?
North of Narshe, ?????? and the Generics come upon the entrance to a large cave. "According to our source, the frozen Esper was found in a new mine shaft," Wedge says. "...Maybe this one..." Again, they put ?????? in the lead to go down the shaft. Hehehehehe. Close to the mine entrance, ?????? encounters a sparkly thing in a nook. When prompted, the Text God explains to me how the Sparkly Save Point works. Because I'm an idiot, the first time I played this game I carefully read the entire explanation of what happens when I die after having saved, and subsequently confused myself. Because it didn't occur to me that it was just explaining what save points are FOR, so I thought this was some kind of Ultra Special Sparkly Save Point with different rules. I believe the reply "It's just a save point, dumbass" entered the conversation when I asked Josh about it.
Anyway, this might come as a complete surprise to all of you, but a little ways after the save point, the three Magitek Soldiers encounter their first boss battle! Wow, go figure. Behind a gate that Biggs busts down (meaning his sprite runs into it and then it disappears), a guard appears and sics something called a Whelk on the party. The Whelk turns out to be a giant snail in a spiky hermit crab shell. Before I can start wailing on it, Biggs holds up the proceedings. "Hold it! Think back to our briefing..." Wedge asks what of it, as he too is eager to throw down. Biggs elaborates: "Do you recall hearing about a monster that eats lightning..." And Wedge finishes: "...And stores the energy in its shell!" To be absolutely sure that I don't fuck this up on account of my overwhelming stupidity, Biggs finishes, "Right. So whatever you do, don't attack the shell!" I think they need to put a big red strobe light and a siren on top of the shell, or maybe a sign that says, "My shell contains ouchies!" Then I think I might get it.
Fortunately, the Whelk is even sporting enough to let me know when it's going to retreat into its shell, with a warning "Gruuu......" and a "Hey, just letting you know my head is disappearing for a sec" sound effect. Why, the only way I could screw up is if I purposely attacked the shell to see what would happen. Which, of course, I do. The resulting Giga Volt kills Wedge quite dead, but now I know, and knowing's half the battle.
Once Biggs and ?????? finish off the Whelk, leaving Wedge there to rot, the group is free to move further into the cave and find the Esper. And there it is, right in the next room. That seems a little too easy, but maybe the Whelk and its tricky, tricky shell were supposed to hold me up a little more. Anyway, they all take a look at the Esper frozen in the chunk of ice, but on cue it starts going wonky and lights up the whole room with bright blue light. I'm guessing this is its way of showing how happy it is that it's receiving a visit from these obviously very nice people. I could be wrong about this.
The battle screen pops up again, and ??????, over the protests of Biggs and Wedge, strolls right up to the Esper to pat it on its muzzle or something. Again, it starts glowing freakily. Wedge shrieks, "Where's that light coming from? Uwaaaaaaa!!!!" before dropping dead. If he was so stupid that he couldn't see it was coming directly from the Esper, then his premature death was probably only a matter of time, anyway. Biggs screams for his lover Wedge and then he snuffs it too, leaving ?????? alone with the Esper. After a minute and several Meaningful Ellipses from ??????, the two of them connect via lots of blue lightning. Then ?????? is blown up, the end.
|Enough with the Star Wars references!
Well, it would be, but Mary Sues almost never die. So we fade back in on a small house, where ?????? is lying in some stranger's bed. Well, we're barely two scenes into the game and the prostitution has already begun. That's gotta be some kind of record. ?????? jumps out of the bed and addresses her client. "Where am I...?" she asks, since she clearly was deliriously coked up when this guy propositioned her. The man, called "OLD MAN" here, guhs at her for a second. "Whoa!" he freaks. "And I only just removed the [Circlet]!" ?????? complains about her comedown-induced headache, which, according to the old man, is actually a byproduct of her choice in hair accessories. "Easy! This is a [Circlet of Distinguishment]. The others had complete control over you while you were wearing it." ?????? looks downcast and sobs that she is afflicted with Mary Sue Cliché #258, Total Amnesia. The old man--now known as Baron Liverspots von Oldentimer III because I'm already tired of calling him "old man"--tells her not to fret, but ?????? seems less than convinced, and continues to look like someone killed her puppy and stole her Backstreet Boys CDs out of her locker.
The screen blacks out, leaving only our green-haired femmesprite and my bestest buddy, the Text God. "A mysterious young woman, controlled by the Empire, and born with the gift of Magic......" he reels at me. This is my cue to give her a name, and naturally the default, TERRA, becomes TWIGGY. Yes, even in super-deformed sprite form, she's still way too fucking thin.
Also: the "Empire" thing just hit me. Jesus Christ, game designers, why don't you put Twiggy's hair in buns on the sides of her head while you're at it?
Twiggy introduces herself to Baron Liverspots, who in turn tells her how impressed he is that she's recovering this quickly from the influence of the Circlet. Because remembering the name she just received two seconds ago is really a big step forward. Meanwhile, outside, two Dobermans sniff out the very house they're in. Oh noes!
The dogs are joined by two guards, who shout at the door, "Open up! Give us back the girl and the Empire's Magitek Armor!!" For flavor, they add, "We want that girl! She's an officer of the Empire!" Now, maybe it's just me, but this seems like a good indicator that this mighty, unstoppable Empire will soon be crumbling into anarchy. Because it occurs to me that a girl who literally cannot think for herself, let alone give orders to others, is a poor choice for a ranking officer. I would think that you'd need someone in a position of leadership to be independently capable of more than shouting "DUUUURRRRR!!! DUUUUUUUURRRRRRR!!!" and smacking headfirst into walls.
Then again, apparently Shion is a brilliant scientist and Tidus is a born leader, so what the fuck do I know?
Of course, the fact that she's an Imperial officer is news to Amnesia!Twiggy, but Baron Liverspots doesn't feel like walking her through the finer points of her predicament, since the pressing issue is getting her the fuck out of there. He leads Twiggy to his back door--not like that--and promises to distract the guards while she makes her escape. But before she can bolt, Twiggy chooses this crucial time to go inspect the Baron's grandfather clock, where she finds an Elixir. As the player, see, it's my job to guide the dazed and confused Twiggy through this strange and foreign world, and the very first thing she needs to know, other than her name and former occupation, is that people hide Elixirs in their clocks. This is Very Important.
|Best place to stow your spare Elixirs?
Now Twiggy can escape, and she does, back into the mines. I discover in her run through the caves that Twiggy is very fortunately versed in the ways of beating shit down with her bare hands, Magitek Armor or no, because it's not like the random monsters are just going to wait until I get more party members. Not that I would complain if they did. But I probably would at least mock the inconsistency of it, because I'm a recapper and it's my job to endlessly criticize. And to not get any.
Two or so screens away from the entrance, Twiggy is cornered by some Narshe guards. But before they can have their way with her, she figures out a clever means of escape and eludes them all! And by that, I mean the ground under her gives way and she falls through the hole. Good thinking on her part. She attempts to get up from the fall, but soon enough the hangover from the Circlet of Distinguishment rears its ugly head again, and she passes out in the middle of the cave. Woe is Twiggy! If only some strapping young man would come save her, like in every RPG ever made!
While the Twigster is off in Zonko Land, she has a little dream flashback. She's in a tiny metal-paneled room, and a crackpot named Kefka--Señor Clown from the movie--is announcing his plans at her. "My sweet little Magic user...! Uweee... he... he!" Kefka giggles. "With this [Circlet of Distinguishment] I'll practically OWN you!!" The screen flashes red as he places the Circlet upon her head. Kefka laughs giddily like he just did something really evil and nasty, even though Twiggy didn't struggle in the slightest. Either she's tied up, passed out, or she's, like, the most passive RPG female ever. I mean, even Yuna would put up a fight in this scenario.
The scene shifts to Twiggy and Kefka, both in Magitek Armors, Kefka pleased as punch that Twiggy can operate hers well enough to kill people with it. As far as I can tell, killing things with the Magiteks is about as hard as getting Seymour and Captain Hook to visit a preschool. But maybe it's really complex and I'm just underestimating Twiggy on this one. Not.