As usual, I’d like to start my Let’s Play Final Fantasy with (1) a link to Moogle University’s FFV write-ups which inspired my own playthrough and (2) the opening FMV from the PS1 remaster (Final Fantasy Anthology, 2003, which is what hooked me on this game despite the flatter-than-Data’s-poetry localization):
- Dear Squeenix, when you turn Amano’s concept art into 3D, you do not have to leave their skin the color of a piece of paper.
- It’s amazing how quickly graphics look dated, isn’t it? But Uematsu’s music still soars.
- I adore the outrageous spines and jewels sticking out of everything, especially that pirate ship.
- Black trenchcoat? Check. Katana? Check. Bishie badassitude? Check. Sephiroth, you are a cheap imitation of the ORIGINAL appearance of this character design. Nyah nyah.
Now let’s start the iOS edition.
Okay! I’m not entirely happy with the stretched iOS redraws of the original character sprites. So, while I’m going to be screencapping from iOS FF5, I’ll be featuring some original-game sprites from videogamesprites.net for snark & commentary. Also, just to be even more confusing, the iOS version appends Amano’s original character portraits to speech boxes — concept art that the in-game sprite designers sometimes completely ignored!
Note: Boldface is actual game dialog, non-bold is my paraphrase, or…er…embellishments.
*I’m so glad that they kept the cute dragon sound effects. I’m also amused by how Lenna says NO DON’T GO ALONE IT’S TOO DANGEROUS, considering upcoming scenes.
Meanwhile, reprising the opening FMV…
(Hey, look, a full-fledged cinematic Opening Cutscene! With Plot! In Medias Res! Which means we’ll have no fricking’ clue what all this is about or who these people are until our second playthrough! FINAL FANTASY IS ALL GROWN UP! *sniffle*)
Astride our trusty chocobo steed, we trot off to investigate. Alas, before you can say “Chicxulub,” we are incinerated by the 2000-mph superheated wind and shockwave rolling outward from the site of impact:
THE (AWESOME!) END.
Oh, wait, nevermind, this is Final Fantasy. Physics, schmysicks. Moving right along…
Near the impact site, we find a distressed damsel being dragged off by goblins. *stomp goblins* Hiya, Damsel!
Sorry, Hero. I gotta go with your original-game Japanese name. I just gotta.
However, before Lenna can make good her escape, we are alerted to the third member of our party by the sound of groans. Like Lenna, this coot must have superman invulnerability to have survived ground zero. I’m sure their Armor Class Five Zillion will come in handy for the rest of the game.
Galuf remembers his name, at least, so that we don’t mistake him for this game’s Cid.
However, the Hero has not yet felt The Call. This is the “Stop and use the bathroom first” part of the Hero’s Journey, right?
(Nearly every one of GBA-script Galuf’s lines are golden. Who wrote this translation? [ETA: Erin M. Ellis.] Why wasn’t it part of the FFV Anthology that was many people’s first experience with this charming game? WHERE IS GILGAMESH? Ahem, I’m getting ahead of myself.)
Parting from the newbie and the codger, Butz rejoins his chocobo, Boko, at the forest’s edge and resumes his aimless wandering.
However, Boko soon makes an editorial decision and tosses Butz off. They have a brief argument about Butz’s life choices.
(FFIV would’ve been so very different if Cecil had been riding a smartass Chocobo who gave him a stern dressing-down whenever he pulled a stupid. Then again, it would’ve been a much longer game.)
Several earthquakes and goblin attacks later, Butz nonchalantly saves Lenna’s and Galuf’s respective butts.
(This will be the first of several times when Galuf’s amnesia/unconsciousness/incapacity is open to interpretation. EXCEPT WHEN IT ISN’T. *grumble*.)
Alas, we have to leave our Jiminy Cricket Chocobo sidekick outside of the first cave we come to. We soon hit a dead end, but a random pirate npc helpfully blunders into the tunnel ahead of us, pushing all the hidden switches and leading us right to a pirate cove hideout at the far side. Do any of these games have people who grasp the concept of security?
We are now introduced to Lenna’s charming blend of bravery and naiveté.
After poking all the pirates we can poke to see if any of them are paying attention, we give in and attempt to steal the ship. …And stuff.
However, Butz rapidly discovers that simply wiggling the steering wheel does not, in fact, work like an accelerator. While he and Galuf are arguing about how to jump start a ship, the Leading Man arrives.
Lenna hastens to confirm the captain’s assessment. Remember what I said about Lenna’s naiveté + courage?
(Why, yes, I never get tired of reaction shots.)
This goes over about as well as one might expect.
Once again, I fantasize what some of the more serious Final Fantasies would be like if all the heroes talked like this:
Lenna tries to persuade the good captain that her quest is in their best interests, since pirates need the wind to sail. This falls on deaf ears. However, as the pirates are hauling their prisoners off to the brig, the flash of Lenna’s necklace catches Faris’ eye. (“That pendant…”) Pirates have a keen appreciation for shinies, after all.
In the brig:
Once again, Galuf’s incapacity is…suspiciously variable, although I think his Hollywood amnesia is real enough. I would also like to note that I associate him so strongly with Basch (similar role) that I hear all of Galuf’s lines in Basch’s voice.
Meanwhile, in the captain’s cabin, Faris is having second thoughts.
The captain falls asleep brooding over the princess…
…and by the next day has had a mysterious change of heart, to the surprise of both the pirate crew and Lenna.
While Faris is shouting orders at lollygaggers and so on, Lenna sidles over and asks how the ship can move with no wind. (In that case, why did Lenna and friends try to steal it?)
(Heeeeey…. considering whom Faris is talking to… this line is more interesting than it appears. Also, TOTALLY BOGUS FANTASY HERO BACKGROUND FTW. I wrote stories like this when I was thirteen, and I’m not ashamed to be playing one as a grup.)
We stop off in the town of T[h]ule, terrorizing the denizens with a horde of pirates. Well, except these denizens, who are glad of the extra customers:
At the end of the dance, the dancers pile onto Lenna’s lap.
This was the first game I played with an attack of Random Dancers. At least they’re equal opportunists!
Outside, I run into this awful bard who appears to have learned his craft from the Bad Bards in FFIII:
And then this happens.
(Optional cutscene that’s easy to miss, so let me share most of it. But first, you MUST have the soundtrack. No, this game does not take itself seriously. AT ALL.)
Ready? Okay. Go to the top floor of Thule’s pub and try to enter the room where Faris is taking a nap.
Butz leaps in the air in surprise.
Uh….Galuf? Why are you channeling Superman’s boss at The Daily Planet?
GOLLY GEE, I WONDER WHAT THIS SCENE IS HINTING AT.
I don’t care. Butz, Galuf, you’ve got no chance. This is MY story, and in my story, our gallant captain has eyes only for the gutsy if naive princess, not you louts.
Ahem. Moving right along. Where were we headed? Oh, right, Wind Shrine.
Inside, we meet a craven mob of royal retainers who’d rather let the princess go up and find out what’s become of their king than brave the monster-infested tower themselves.
One of the retainers offers an important backstory snippet, that they’d recently been using a machine to amplify the Wind Crystal’s powers. MAGITECH BAD. YOU HEARD IT
HERE in FFI first!
So we climb the first of what I expect will be several Bigass Towers. The first boss battle is naaaaaasty. WHERE ARE MY PHOENIX DOWNS.
Boss battles are a lot harder when you haven’t done any grinding at all. Yeowch.
At the top of the tower, we find no king and a busted Wind Crystal.
There’s a dramatic bit of cutscene mumbo-jumbo showing places we haven’t reached yet (presumably the other Crystal locations) plus the usual New Age Elemental Rorschach Test which the previous game dropped due to a surfeit of plot:
(these vary in different versions of FFV.)
Annnnnd we get JOB CLASSES! It’s the standard starter pack of Knight, White/Black Mage, Monk, Thief, plus a new one putting in its first-ever Final Fantasy appearance: Blue Mage. W00t!
While we’re standing around fiddling with our shinies like kids on Christmas morning, a ghostly vision of Lenna’s father
shimmies shimmers into view and spoils the party by naming us the Four Warriors of Light and giving us marching orders.
Amano, you’ve done it again. That outfit that King Tycoon is wearing. It looks a little familiar.
Whoops, no, Gordon was in FFII.
…annnnd this is exactly where my Princess and the Pirate fanfic petered out at 10,000 words. FFV HEADCANON ON A PLATTER, with a side dose of camp.
Tune in next time, when our lighthearted fantasy soft drink suddenly founders on the shoals of angst!