Final Fantasy VI : Part 3
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Newly christened, Kyan tells his underlings, "If we can fell their commander, they'll surely give up." Or you can wait until they've all sustained concussions and passed out, which is inevitable. Either way. "Let us give it a try," he declares, raising a middle finger in the air à la Edgar. There's something very anachronistic about his archaic speech being paired with him flipping the bird at me. Shouldn't he be biting his thumb or something instead?
Stupidly, Kyan and his buddies throw open the front door to confront the commander. At least they bolt it shut afterward, but still. The Doma soldiers cheer Kyan on before flouncing over to the remaining Imperials who aren't heaving their bodies at a stone wall. "I am KYAN, retainer to the King of Doma," Kyan tells the commander, like the guy gives a shit. "I am your worst nightmare..." Well, that mustache is a nightmare, but I don't think that's what he means. At any rate, Kyan intends to make good on his posturing on the battle screen, where the sprite commander suddenly morphs into a ten-foot-tall knight with a poleaxe. Whatever.
Now is as good a time as any to explain Kyan's special ability, Sword Tech. Throughout the game Kyan receives new Sword Techs, numbered consecutively one through eight. On the battle screen, when Sword Tech is chosen, the numbers slowly light up in order. The longer you wait, the higher the number you get to use. Using this ability, you might guess, requires patience, something I've never been particularly gifted with. Luckily, Sword Tech #1, Dispatch, is sufficiently fabulous for my needs. Kyan's body count ticks to 1 and he liberates a Black Belt from the commander's corpse. Bitchin'.
Their commanding officer, uh, dispatched, the Imperial dudes abandon their brilliant plan of headbutting their way into Doma Castle and scamper off. "Walled up in there," Kyan cries, "we can wait out our enemy!" And he and his friends run inside for a fun post-battle game of grabass. Perhaps I'm flogging a dead horse here, but what the fuck? You killed one guy. One guy who wasn't doing anything at the time you killed him, other than commanding a bunch of other guys to crack your defense. With their skulls. And then your best strategy is to go back inside and wait it out, which you could have done without coming outside, potentially risking a breach in security by opening the door, and killing one unimportant guy? Okay, someone call the Dumbass Police, and tell them to bring an arrest warrant.
Thank God we're back to Guile and Flaffy, so I can stop trying to figure out how to miniaturize myself into sprite form, jump into the TV and kick Kyan in the nads for being so stupid. Flaffy wraps the Black Belt around his seductive ninja hips, not even wondering how it just materialized in their inventory. Who cares? Accessories! Now, then. To business. If I cared about this "mission" at all I would try to be sneaky and have Guile tiptoe around the camp out of the notice of the guards. But I don't. I so don't. Guile calmly pets a guard doggie on the head before walking inside the tent on the right, to find a locked treasure chest. He can choose to kick it, hit it or leave it alone, and one painful foot-first thud into the treasure chest later, the dog Guile just petted outside charges him, fangs bared, no doubt attracted to this noisy intruder. So why didn't the dog just attack as soon as it saw Guile? A fanwank poll question if ever there was one.
|Fanwank #1: Why didn't the dog attack right away?
For the record, this Doberman is still a Doberman in battle, and not a robotic dinosaur furry or something. Well, actually it's three Dobermans, and each one is about four times Guile's size. But for once in the history of videogames, size doesn't matter--Intercourser, in tiny, adorable sprite size, comes bounding across the screen to counterattack for his master, and does a stunning 897 damage to one of his behemoth brethren. That's for making fun of him in the locker room. Bitch.
Guile and Flaffy deal with the one remaining guard on this side of the bridge and then walk south to check out the rest of the camp. Very stealthily, only not at all, Guile crouches behind a wall to eavesdrop on a conversation between a soldier and General Leo, every Imperial grunt's wet dream. "General Leo. The citizens of Doma seem to be playing a waiting game..." the soldier reports. Leo puts on his thinking cap. "So, that's their strategy," he says. It is? Good thing Leo's here to cut through the bullshit for me. Anyway, the soldier goes on that they're all raring to attack Doma Castle now, on Leo's order, but Leo is a Good Person. "Patience!" he says. "If we attack now, we'll have to sacrifice too many lives." The soldier's all, "I love you and I'd die for you!" The whole scene is very funny if you imagine that Bryan Adams song from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves playing in the background.
Leo turns to the soldier. "You're from Maranda, right?" he asks. The guard is indeed from Maranda. "And your family lives there?" Leo further whacks the soldier with the Compassion Hammer. "Fall in battle, and I'll have to deliver the bad news.... What shall I say to them?" Leo assures the soldier that the Emperor--who is a kind and benevolent soul, honest!--would not want anyone dying on his watch for no reason. The soldier finds no faulty logic in the idea of an Emperor bent on world conquest caring about one meaningless guy's death, and thus is all pumped up by Leo's pep talk. Such as it was. As soon as he runs off, yet another soldier approaches Leo, with news of a carrier pigeon from the Emperor. An evil carrier pigeon. Leo relates the message after he reads it: "The Emperor summons me. I must return immediately." Oh, bummer. He was so interesting, too. Before running off to pack his valise, Leo tells the messenger that he's entrusting the invasion of Doma to him. Maybe he means it in a general sense, like he's counting on all of his men to do the job. But maybe he figures anybody, even Generic Military Mailman here, is better than Kefka. I can understand that.
From his shitty hiding spot, Guile murmurs, "So that's General Leo... He could be my friend, if he weren't my enemy." Oh, shut the fuck up, Guile. And actually, he does. Awesome! He's about to emerge from "hiding" and look around some, but an eye bug-out and a swift retreat back to the wall indicate there's some enemy still lurking.
Amazingly, it's Kefka, and he's announcing his plans all over the damn camp. I swear, this whole act has been like watching Shakespeare, with all these obvious stage whisper asides going on. I mean, seriously, Kefka is all of ten feet away from Leo's tent. Like he wouldn't be able to hear Kefka shrieking his evil intentions to the treetops right now. Speaking of: "Now that Leo's gone [he isn't], I'll turn this water into a flowing river of poison!" Well, it certainly beats the Head-Butting Offensive, but not by a whole lot. Leo picks this moment to exit his tent and tell Kefka to not get up to any crazy clown shenanigans. I fully expect Kefka to be all simpering, like "I surely won't, General Studcakes," but he doesn't. He even calls Leo a "loser" and says he'll take care of this Doma thing way better than Leo could. I don't have any real problem with Leo, but it's great that Kefka isn't even bothering to hide his hostility. Hey, I give dap when it's due: go Kefka!
Leo has no comeback at all and stalks off, right past where Guile is currently sticking out like a sore, muscular thumb. I shouldn't have to tell you that Leo doesn't even notice he's there. I guess he's too preoccupied trying to think up a burn on Kefka by the time he gets back from seeing the Emperor. Meanwhile, another soldier squabbles with Kefka over the poisonously poisonous poison, because Esteemed General Leo wouldn't use such a horrible weapon, evah! Kefka tells him to shut it and pour the damn poison. "Some of our people are prisoners inside the castle!" the soldier objects. "If we poison the river..." Kefka realizes these are the same people who thought they could take Doma by pacing around in front of it, and decides they are acceptable losses. Goddamn right.
Before I can even wonder if Kefka too will walk by Guile's hiding place without spotting him, Guile jumps out in front of the villain, full of righteous indignation. "That's inhuman!" he wails, deciding to play moral authority stand-in for the now-absent General Leo. Because Kefka so freaking cares. In fact, he cares so much that he sees fit to off Guile (and Flaffy) right now. Humanely, of course. But after taking a single hit from Flaffy, Kefka screeches in pain and runs off laughing. In response to Guile's cry of "Wait!!!" Kefka zings, "'Wait,' he says... Do I look like a waiter?" Ow. The bad puns, they sting like Bactine.
|Flaffy moonlights as a member of the Fantastic Four.
No run-in with Kefka would be complete without zany hijinks, so Guile chases Kefka around the camp Keystone Kops-style. The third time they "battle"--after Guile liberates some swag from a tent--Kefka instead forces our heroes into combat against some more titan-sized Knights Templar, while he himself scampers away to attend to more pressing business. I mean the poison. God, you guys.
Like Leo before him, Kefka decides to whip out the One-Note Characters' Personality Traits Hammer. "Hee, hee!" he squeals. "Nothing can beat the music of hundreds of voices screaming in unison!" So, Kefka's the one who wrote this scene? It explains a lot. For his next act of pain and terror, Kefka pours his super-toxic and deadly poison into the river. At once the entire body of water glows a lethal (but fabulous) purple, rather than rippling outward or even following the current. But there I go again mocking 16-bit graphics, the ideal artistic medium. What do I know?
Cut back to Doma, where a Turbanite informs Kyan there's some activity over at the Imperial Camp. Kyan notes that the water looks "odd." I would think he would be all over the river's spunky new look. Jeez. Suddenly, a Turbanite standing on the outer wall falls over dead. His fellow sentry drops too, falling melodramtically to the grassy ground below. One by one, each of Doma's soldiers falls victim to Kefka's poison. Seriously, that is the fastest-acting poison ever. It managed to travel several miles, be drunk by everyone at Doma Castle, and work its way through their bloodstreams in about ten seconds. Christ, the Andromeda Strain didn't work that quickly.
"This is...POISON!" Kyan exclaims. Give the man a prize. I think he was eyeing that mirror with the Def Leppard logo engraved on it. Conveniently, Kyan and his closest Turbanite have not visited the drinking fountain in the past eyeblink, and are unaffected. Kyan bugeyes for a second, then einsteins, "Guard our liege!" Guard him from what? The water? It's not like it can throw itself down the King's throat. But guard him they shall, so it's off to the throne room. Where presumably, if the King has had a drinkie, he's already decaying like the Crypt Keeper.
Of course not. Obviously Kyan scoots into the throne room just in time to hear King Doma's dying words. "You have defended the realm since my father's days...hack, cough... Thank you..." Yes, he actually says, "hack, cough." The guy running the teleprompter forgot that he reads the thing literally, I guess. Like Will Ferrell in Anchorman. "It's over," he says to Kyan. "Our kingdom is through." You're telling me destroying the entire kingdom of Doma is as easy as dumping grape Koolaid in the river and counting to ten? And this country has been around how long? Cripes. Kyan's devastated, moreso when the King mentions Kyan's family being in danger. Well, sort of. He actually kind of stays by the King's side and looks sad, even as the King uses his last breath to tell Kyan to go find his fucking family. Yes, very caring husband right here. Uh huh. Totally believing it.