Quick recap from the Advance introduction to FFV, to set the mood with zany plunky-plunky-plunky Uematsu music:
So our four heroes have been drafted as the Warriors of Light (WoLlies really need to form a union) and are off to the next Crystal, as soon as we can escape the Kiddie Pool Inner Sea.
(The lefthand Kiddie Pool Sea, in this case. Drat. There’s two of ’em.)
Back in T[h]ule, we stop at the house of Zok, an old pal of the royal family. Butz has himself a flashback:
WELL MAYBE YOU SHOULDA TAUGHT HIM SOME WOLLY LORE BEFORE YOU VANISHED, DAD!
Zok gives us the key to the You Can’t Go There Yet canal gates, and we make ready to leave Thule.
Where I should note that there’s a few odd characters.
First, however, we have to ditch our pirate crew, who have not bought tickets to Epic Adventure. They protest that they’d willingly follow their captain to the ends of the earth. Faris is prescient enough to realize that a cracktastic way-past-the-ends-of-the-earth endgame dungeon lurks somewhere in our future.
This smells of a long journey. [And will smell even stronger with you lot tagging along. Besides, our party menu only has four slots, so there’s no help for it.] While I’m gone, I need you louts to guard the hideout. We can’t just let anyone raid our booty!
I notice an eensy plot hole in this game. Viz:
Back in the pirates’ cove…
Turns out that Boko got tired of waiting and followed Butz into the cave. And it’s a good thing that Bartz doesn’t hear another pirate speculating about the taste of roasted chocobo.
Kinda like Yang with the Sylphs, Edward with the Troia Amazons, and Cid with the Dwarves. I can see why at least one fan claimed that “If FFIV is a fanfiction built around FFIII’s character classes, FFV is a satire of FFIV’s soppy melodrama.” (Thanks to flonnebonne for pointing out that great essay.)
(Yep, for anyone paying attention, Butz/Boko = OTP.)
With our trusty chocobo and pesky pirates safely bestowed, plus all the loot from the pirates’ stores secretly liberated, we set sail for Torna Canal. Lenna’s fretting about what should happen if all the crystals fail…
Her friends tell her that will never happen, nope nope; they’ll save all the crystals and won’t in any way screw up. Because screw-ups never happen in these games. Mutual back-patting ensues as they all confirm that yes, they’re actually going to do this Warrior of Light thing that’s been thrust upon them.
Faris, that scallywag, is always quick to comfort the princess when she’s down. Chivalry and all that. I swear, Balthier really is Faris in drag. (Incidentally, Faris was the one who pulled Lenna away from the Wind Shrine’s altar as she called after her father when he vanished. Both scenes will be echoed later.)
And again with the cornball translation that elevates an ordinary game into a tongue-in-cheek romp:
We enter Torna Canal, fight some monsters and…
Uh oh. Man, it’s pretty early in the game to be hitting Leviathan.
We fight the boss beastie (which is not, in fact, Leviathan)…
(I’m guessing that’s clunky Romaji for “Charybdis”?)
Before we can celebrate our victory, Syldra gets ripped from her harness and sucked into the whirlpool, struggling with piteous wails.
AUGH. This is one of those heart-wrenching FF moments, never mind the corny graphics.
When this game stops joking around, the ANGST HAMMER falls hard. The dragon who was like a sister to Faris is the first casualty of this harebrained quest.
Afterwards, we drift with the ocean currents. Faris doesn’t speak. Lenna tries to offer comfort, echoing the captain’s words about her father.
Eventually, nearly dead of exposure/hunger/thirst, the party lands in your standard zombie-infested pirate ship graveyard.
Galuf uses a dab of white magic to rouse everybody. (See? The game’s paying attention to the job classes I assigned. Or not.) Then we go off to bash skeletons.
At the brink of a submerged area, our pirate suddenly becomes squeamish about water.
After sloshing through rather a lot of undead slime…
Uh. TMI, Butz.
Lenn ducks into a side room to change into dry clothes (Which she found where?) The guys strip down too, but Faris resolutely refuses.
Galuf, you twit. Maybe she had a reason to be hiding her identity?
(Oho. I missed Lenna’s wording before. That almost implies that she’d already figured it out.)
GALUF! Perving on a 20-year-old woman — young enough to be your granddaughter — is okay, but perving on a comely lad of the same age ain’t? *Frowny frown*
Faris makes a show of still being her usual hard-talking piratey pirate self until Galuf complains.
Sez the pretty boy. Despite the fact that Butz reminds me a lot of Vaan, laid-back and deceptively ordinary, he’s not the least bit gormless.
Lenna heartily agrees with Butz. And I am relieved at not having to dodge pronouns any longer (not that it was particularly hard to guess Faris’ secret).
Back ashore, we meet an insidious Siren who mesmerizes the party with their memories of loved ones. Luckily, cheese-brain is immune.
Galuf kicks the others to snap them out of their trances (the fact that Faris is hypnotized by the image of King Tycoon is, of course, significant). Then we have ourselves a naaaassssty boss battle.
(Incidentally, this would’ve been a lot easier if I could’ve figured out how to cast Cure on an enemy, as she kept turning undead. How do you switch targeting between party and foes in this game?)
We discover the friendly port town of
I Forget Carwen and load up on goodies, but alas, there’s no ship sailing to our next port of call.
We do however learn that these folks are doing stupid things to their crystals, just like Tycoon was.
Final Fantasy Friendly reminder: do not over-exploit Myst, Mako, Crystals, or other magical foo. This message brought to you by AVALANCHE. (Oil drilling, however, is perfectly okay. — Barrett.)
So, let’s go mountain climbing! Because if you can’t find what you’re looking for, that’s the first place you should look in the world of Final Fantasy. (Hopefully without tripping over a mopey dragoon.)
NOTE TO SQUEENIX: I think all mountain tunnels should come equipped with FLAPPY FLAPPY CATS. (As I was introduced to the franchise via VIII–>X–>VII–>V, this was my first experience with Kawaii Up to 11.)
Um, Lenna? Why does your monk’s outfit look like an evening gown? And WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?
Partway up the mountain, we are separated by an inconvenient landslide after Lenna runs ahead to find Dad’s helmet lying on the trail. Why do all this villains in this game know our weak points?
(Yep, it’s another villainous laugh. I’ll give it a 7 on the Gloatage Scale.)
Magissa gloats that she’s going to take the princess as a “souvenir for her husband.” Erk. Sex slave? Lunch? Either way, Faris ain’t about to let some green-haired Magical Girl with a whip cadge on her princess.
This calls for some swashbuckling pirate derring-do! Faris leaps across the landslide. The far cliff promptly crumbles. To Butz’s horror, she falls as the mountain gives way. But not to worry! Faris is the Leading Man. She reappears, scaling the cliff Dread Pirate Roberts style…
…tosses a rope to the others, revives fair princess and takes on the fiend that attacked her. I can’t tell whether Faris fights left-handed.
(Magissa summons her “honey” to “take out the trash.” So we recycle them both, yar. And I really hope Magissa isn’t clutching a sword between her legs.)
At the top of the mountain, we find Lenna’s father’s dragon in a bad way.
(I just noticed the music here partially quotes the theme of Breath of Fire, with all its dragons. SPOO LIVES! Ahem.)
Lenna charges off fearlessly through the incredibly poisonous purple tumbleweeds (don’t ask) to pick up some dragon grass that will cure dragons, if not people. Faris delivers the dragon grass to the dying dragon as the princess herself collapses. Galuf is INCREDIBLY helpful here…
…yep, my Dad made fun of me too when I was so sick that I passed out. It’s something on the Y chromosome, I think.
Luckily, with another of those insanely cute squeals, the dragon cures Lenna, saving her from almost-certain death. (Where was this plot device in FFVII?)
So, after Butz reveals his desperate fear of heights and gets flung onto the dragon by unsympathetic so-called friends, we flap away!
YES. Finally. There were brief snatches of dragonback-conveyance in FFII, but there’s been precious little dragonriding in a franchise that’s chock-full of friendly dragons, dragoons, etc.
And …. heeeey, come to think of it, we could fly right over that pesky meteor back in Tycoon and visit Lenna’s home to see if Dad left a message. What could possibly go wrong?
The Chancellor of Tycoon begs Lenna to stay; he’s been a right tizzy since she disappeared. Not only for her safety…
Well, shucky darn. I know kickass princesses are hard to come by, but we’re Warriors of Light. No time to dawdle, yo.
Chancellor: Princess, you have a responsibility to this kingdom!
You tell ’em, Lenna!
However, the party consents to stay the night.
As the hours tick by, the princess cannot sleep.
Nor can Faris. Syldra’s death still weighs heavily on her, after all. And perhaps something more…
A moonlit night — a secluded balcony — a dashing pirate — possibly even a night breeze to provide the necessary flourishes…
(Whoops, my bad. I jumped the gun. Let’s see how Lenna responds to a gentle pick-up line, shall we?)
I SHIP IT, YOU BREAK IT, YOU PAY FOR IT, SQUARE.
Faris is also in denial.
Big BIG denial.
Faris whirls on her heel and dashes inside.
And Lenna hasn’t a clue that she just broke a pirate’s heart.
CURSE YOU, SQUEENIX. CURSE YOU WITH THE WRATH OF TEN BILLION BARNACLES.