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  -Part 1 :: [10.29.04]
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"As I noted before, the puzzles in this dungeon all involve the keg stones. In this case, Vyse must push them into a series of three holes in the right combination. Is it just me, or do a lot of puzzles in RPGs involve sticking something into something else? Game designers must go through, like, twelve RealDolls in a year, the horny motherfuckers."
     -Jeanne, Skies of Arcadia Part 6

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Final Fantasy VI : Part 2
By Ryan
Posted 01.29.05
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
In the last installment of The Bestest RPG Ever, Sam walked a mile in Twiggy's strappy red hooker boots, leading the chronically depressed lass through an onslaught of fervent exposition and homosexual males with negligible attention spans. All in a day's work, eh Sam?

Step one of our thousand mile journey then ended, you'll recall, with Edgar, Winona, and Twiggy leaving Kefka to pound sand in the vicinity of the recently-submerged Figayro Castle whilst they engineered a daring, Chocobo-mounted escape and did battle with a gruesome Magitek twosome. On the World Map, Edgar makes a valiant attempt to get his stupid bird to move in the general direction of that cave to the south that we heard about right before the end of Part 1. After wrangling with the controller the Chocobo at length, Edgar finally finds the cave and dismounts his trusty steed. Because taking the dumb bird into the cave would make all too much sense. Anyway, it lets loose a perky "Wark" and dashes off.

Before Edgar can actually enter the cave and get on with the game, he has to contend with one of Figayro's competent guards and his Chocobo, both of which are standing such that they completely block the cave's entrance. See, they're there so that you can't come to this cave before meeting Edgar, but now that the King has decided that he's feeling spry enough for a day-trip to the Returner Rebel Hideout, the soldier gladly lets the party through, hopping atop his Chocobo with orders to go let the denizens of Figayro Castle know that their King's okay, but he'll be taking an extended leave of absence on account of the hawt young lass and lad -- but mostly the latter -- that recently fell from the sky and into his lap. In that way.

Two steps inside the cave, the party gets attacked by a slew of monsters, and Twiggy and Edgar dispatch them with moderate ease, using their Fire Magic and Autocrossbow bolts, respectively, while Winona lays crumpled in an unconscious heap on the cave floor. My bout with the Magitek Armored Soldiers didn't go as well as I'd hoped it would, see. Luckily enough, the pool in the back of the cave is actually a Recovery Spring, which replenishes the party's HP and Twiggy's MP.

Just one mouthful of scummy cave water is all it takes to recover Winona and make the party's wounds magically vanish, so Edgar sets out through the cave, feeling fresh as a daisy and with a little more gay in his step. In the course of exploration, the party gets pulled into several random battles, and Edgar's Tools wind up being my saving grace. You know, it's hardly fair for one character to be able to shower the enemies in a barrage of arrows, poison them all with a billowing cloud of noxious smoke, or confuse them with a loud blast of noise -- the last one's still a bit of a mystery to me -- but man, he certainly tears through the oncoming hordes of Hornets, Frowny-faced Slugs, and One-eyed Bug Things like Cronabe on an endangered wildlife preserve, and I find it particularly refreshing. Y'all just got PWNED by a girly-man with a glorified megaphone!

OMG! Biological Warfare! Terrorist!

After frolicking their way through the cave, having very conspicuously not nabbed any of the cave's tantalizing treasure chests, the party emerges into the sunlight of the southern part of the continent. Carefully maneuvering about on the World Map, Edgar only manages to get tangled up in approximately ten minutes worth of random battles and the subsequent loading times before finally reaching South Figayro. Which, for the PSX incarnation of this game, is a true testament to my elite gaming skills.

Edgar's not made it two steps into the city before he spots a shadowy-looking character making his way southward to the Pub. Whatever reason it is we decided to head to South Figayro in the first place instantly slips Edgar's ADD-addled mind and he falls in line behind the darkened sprite. After all, he could be headed for a gay bar, and he might need a hot escort!

The Dark Sprite cheats and walks diagonally across a couple of squares en route to the Pub, which the party can't do, so by the time Edgar has made his way into the bar, Dark Sprite has already bellied up. When Edgar tries out one of his smooth pickup lines on this mysterious stranger, Dark Sprite responds, "...." Ooh, mysterious.

Even though it was Edgar who initiated conversation with the Mysterious Stranger, Winona bursts forward and bitterly mumbles, "At the very least you could give me a response..." Dude, not everybody reacts well when effeminate men try to pick them up in bars, and it's not the end of the world. Whoops, foreshadowing.

Edgar grabs Winona by the scruff of his neck and yanks him back two feet to a relatively safe distance, leaving poor, neglected Twiggy to stare blankly at the wall all by her lonesome, within an arm's length of the Mysterious Stranger. Might wanna keep a tighter leash on this girl if you want her to buy that line about you caring about her past her Magical abilities, guys. Edgar hisses to Winona that he should keep his distance from the Mysterious Stranger, as he seems "vaguely familiar." Cue the Black Screen of Meta-Game Commentary, which lets me know that Edgar probably recognizes The Mysterious Stranger from a hot and heavy one-night stand. "He owes allegiance to no one, and will do anything for money. He comes and goes like the wind..." I shit you not, folks.

Translation: Capricious, divorced hooker who fakes his orgasms.

I don't even get SHADOW, the blue-skinned Ninja from last recap's introductory FMV, in the party in this recap, but I get to rename him anyway. Suck on that, Sam! Rather than give him some boring stripper name, which would be unimaginative at best, I decide that I want to give him a name that isn't so blatantly symbolic as "SHADOW." I mean, honestly, wankst much? Why didn't you just call him "The Saddest Widdle Assassin in the World," Square? And then there's the issue of having multiple encounters with this particular ninja in future recaps, and all that hoop-jumping Sam and I will have to endure to finally get him to join the damn party. In light of all of these things, SHADOW gets the newer, happier name, FLAFFY, after Flaffy the Electric Sheep. (Pokémon Number 180!) Eat exceedingly masculine nomenclature, Shadow fanboys!

Fresh off the Black Screen of Meta-Game Character Renaming, Edgar urgently whispers to Winona, "That's FLAFFY...! He'd slit his mama's throat for a nickel!" and Winona's all, "Better steer clear of him, I guess." Then the two lovebirds end their sidebar canoodling and meander back over to Twiggy, who was still just staring off into space the whole time. I'd say that Twiggy was looking depressed and neglected during the exchange, but she wasn't. Just vapid. Once the party has amalgamated back into one body, the first thing Edgar's ADD does is dash forward to try and pet the Doberman sitting loyally by Flaffy's side. Flaffy's all, "The dog eats strangers, bitch, so piss off!" and Edgar remembers that we already decided we weren't gonna talk to the crazed assassin anymore. Whoops.

With that little loose end tidily wrapped up, Edgar decides that the party deserves a reward worthy of all the good they've already done for society. Like a shopping spree! Beside himself with unbridled excitement, Edgar leads Twiggy and Winona to the shop that has a huge crystal emblazoned into the door-adjacent sign. Accessories, ho!

Shopping, eh? So, what kind of accessory does the party need?
A jewel-encrusted bottle of +1 Ritalin.
A gold-plated marriage certificate, courtesy of the San Francisco Justice of the Peace.
Half a Brain on a silver platter.
A simply fabulous set of dangly Tiffany earrings for Edgar.


Inside the shop, Edgar is dismayed to see that the shopkeep is already otherwise occupied with some be-turbaned NPC sporting a simply dreadful navy-and-tan peasant ensemble. Edgar taps the NPC on the shoulder to alert him to the fashion atrocity he's committing, but before Edgar can get a word in edgewise, the NPC shrieks, "Equip relics to gain a variety of abilities! These double my walking speed!" With that and a running start, the NPC dashes off and smashes face-first into a wall. Spaz. It's all good though, because he bounces off unharmed and bolts up the stairs to the second level of the store, leaving an opening for the Black Screen of Meta-Game Commentary to throw in its two cents. Because we all know I would not be able to function without a little blatant instruction, tasteful insertion be damned. Pardon me for a second while I go pull some pieces of fourth-wall shrapnel from my face. ...Okay. Everybody ready?

A Moogle dashes onscreen to soliloquy that "Relics give your party members a variety of abilities," and then lists a few examples. It's deeply riveting, and then the Moogle exits, stage right, taking the Black Screen of Meta-Game Commentary with him. Finally, Edgar gets to accessorize! The spendthrift king blows 1500 GP on some Sprint Shoes for Twiggy so that the party can finally move at a clip that can't be described using the word "Glacial," and then blows another cool 2500 GP on pretty baubles for him and Winona, like sparkly Star Pendants and shiny Jewel Rings and those dreamy True Knights. Then they head over to the actual armory to get some boring weapons and armor too. The shopping spree leaves the party's pocketbook shriveled up like a third-world child and leaves me wondering why the King doesn't assert some authority and demand the goods or send Winona in to do a little five-fingered plundering. Oh, right, because that would require consistency on the part of the game's designers. How silly of me.

And I've already got the Gin!

Blingin' like there's no tomorrow and with significantly more bounce in his step, Edgar decides that he's finally ready for a blazing round of Take Everything That Isn't Nailed Down, South Figayro Edition. Dashing about town, Edgar checks every box, bucket, and barrel in town, netting himself a number of useful status-curing items, GP, and funny stares from the villagers. After exhausting every resource out in town, Edgar takes the game indoors, and in one particularly colossal house on the north side of town, he finds all kinds of crazy.

First of all, the house is symmetrical, and the door opposite the front door actually leads to a little patio that trails all the way around the house and into a hidden cellar which leads, via a secret underground passageway, to a little house on the opposite end of town. It's just like Clue! After pocketing Mrs. Peacock's secret stash of Clock Elixir, Edgar heads back underground and up to the second floor of Clue Manor. In the master bedroom, the lord of the house, Mr. Boddy, natch, sits at a table, trying to pen a quaint little letter. "Attack from the east," he begins to narrate aloud, but when he notices the King of his country standing right next to him, he yells at his liege for having the audacity to burst into Clue Manor whilst Boddydict Arnold is in the midst of writing a filthy, traitorous letter to the Empire. Some people. Sheesh.

Edgar adds "Mr. Boddy" to his list of People to Have Mysteriously Executed in The Billiard Room with the Candlestick and walks over to chat with Mr. Boddy's soon-to-be widow. She comments that the master bedroom has quite the draft rushing through it, and as he searches the room for stuff to swipe, Edgar finds the draft's source. Turns out there's another secret passageway behind the bookshelf at the far corner of the room!

Maybe it's because people keep cramming Elixirs in there!

The secret passageway leads to Clue Manor's very expansive basement, and Edgar pokes around a little bit, finding a pair of empty rooms and an abandoned storage room. His exploration yields 3000 GP and two puzzling clocks that don't contain Elixirs and will, therefore, become part of a puzzle somewhere in the distant future. With Edgar's ferocious materialism satiated, the party decides to play some Talk to Everyone to see if anything will prompt a memory regarding why they came to South Figayro in the first place.

On the way out of Clue Manor, Edgar takes the opportunity to talk to the Boddy spawn, and they're all too happy to let Edgar know that their father is very important and that he dined with "General Leo" just recently. Again, nobody seems to notice that the King of their country has graced them with his presence, which I would think easily trumps dinner with some General Specific. God, people in this game are dumb.

Edgar sashays his way through South Figayro, chatting with every Tom, Dick, and Sherry along the way, and I'll tell you what, the people of South Figayro are terrible gossips. And I don't mean terrible as in, they gossip a lot. I mean they suck at gossiping. Even when Edgar hops in bed with some random bloke at the Inn, all the slampiece has to talk about is how the Empire attacked Figayro Castle. What a romantic.

Is that what people are calling it these days?

Finding nothing that reminds the party why the hell they came to South Figayro, Edgar decides that the party can pass some time by doing this other quest he heard about in town. Apparently, Duncan, a martial arts teacher, disappeared to Mt. Koltz to name his successor, but he hasn't returned yet. So, like, somebody should investigate, and that somebody is us. Leaving town and heading north, Edgar overshoots the mountain entrance by a mile, stumbling instead upon a quaint little cottage nestled up against the mountain range.

Inside the cottage, Edgar notices that something smells. O-kay. Guess our little hermit friend has been hitting the old Blitzbong in his ample spare time. That would also explain all the empty Cheetos bags lying around. After the party takes a quick snooze in the three beds arranged about the room, Edgar's ADD dashes about like a child in a candy store, touching everything he can get his sticky hands on. After grabbing a skillfully-hidden Tonic out of the room's chamber pot, Edgar notes that the stove is brewing "his favorite tea" and the cabinet is stocked with "his" favorite dishes. Edgar even knows "his" favorite flowers, apparently, as they're sitting on a shelf by the door. After the party leaves the cottage to resume the search for Mt. Koltz, Edgar wanders back in and Nancy Drews, "GUILE... he was... here!?"

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