FFXII Revenant Wings (1) – Prologue & Chapter One

I never thought I’d get a chance to play Revenant Wings, but by golly there’s a nice open source emulator, DeSmuME, which works like a charm. (So far.) Thanks to FinalFantasyThings on Tumblr for alerting me to its existence!

So let’s jump aboard the Ivalice train, now with more Chibi.

An opening FMV picks up where FFXII left off. There’s a sweet rendition of the Final Fantasy main theme to get us in the mood:

Scrappy kids Penelo and Vaan have taken off in their glorified pod racer in pursuit of their sky pirate mentors Balthier and Fran, after they reclaimed the airship they’d left in the kids’ care.

And I warn you right now, Vaan and Penny are easily young enough to be my children, so I’m going to be Gamer Mom through this whole playthrough, cheering them on and encouraging their fridge art endeavors.

The vertical split-screen would originally have been displayed on two screens of a tiny clamshell display. I’m going to upscale the itsy bitsy 256-pixel-wide screenshots to 400 pixels for those of us with granny eyes.

Penelo and Vaan

Cutesy chibi graphics would have irritated me once upon a time, but I’ve graduated from world-weary cynic to second childhood, and I’m absolutely in the mood for something heartwarming instead of yet another grimdark dystopia.

As an aside, I used to dismiss Penelo and Vaan, until I read Justira’s short story These Unending Alchemies of Honour and Twigcollins’ Life in a Box. They pointed out to me that most of Final Fantasy XII dwells on the political machinations and power grabs of the ruling elites, except for these two very ordinary yet capable 17 (now 19) year olds.

Vaan and Penelo stand up for the “little people,” reminding Princess Ashe and Larsa of all the ordinary lives — peasants and merchants, grunt soldiers and street rats, craftsmen and workers, working poor and homeless refugees, families and children — who get trampled under the feet of empires. They talk truth to power.

Rabanastre Orphans - concept art

“Orphans of Rabanastre” Concept Art: Filo, Kytes, Vaan, Penelo, Reks (?) by Akihiko Yoshida

Also? Penelo is a competent young lady. She looks after Migelo’s shop and tries to keep Vaan and city orphans out of trouble and seems to have a good working relationship with the tribesmen of Giza, who are tough negotiators. Meanwhile, Vaan is a good-hearted kid who defies the Empire and wants to make something of himself. He, too, is keeping an eye out for war orphans and the disadvantaged. They’re Esmerelda and Aladdin.

TL;DR: Penelo and Vaan are good characters, even if they’re commoners instead of upper class. Don’t knock ’em.

*kicks soapbox aside*

FMV mode. They soar over the Osmone Plains, then a sandy expanse (Sandsea, one imagines?), the a scenic ocean with gorgeous blue skies. Because let’s face it, too much of FFXII was mud-colored.

Penelo in opening FMV

Penny looks out the front canopy of their bug ‘thopter to see…

The Strahl

Yo! It’s the Strahl! Which they were taking care of, until these two clowns stole it back!

Fran & Balthier thumbs up

Hi, Fran! Hi, Balthier! Good to see you!

We last saw them being heroic and witty during the fall of Bahamut, when Balthier insisted the Leading Man never dies, and Fran assigned him to a “supporting role.”  Of course, we knew they’d survived the crash, since FFXII’s closing FMV showed Vaan and Penelo finding a note from them.

The music swells to an even lovelier version of the Prelude and start screen. Moment of truth! Is the emulator working? Can I figure out how to operate this game with my increasingly inoperative joints? I’ve never owned a DS, so I don’t know how the controls work.

Revenant Wings Start Screen

The FMV continues with more great FFXII music. The two ships land… somewhere new.

And vertical. And kind of mud-colored, if your mud is nicely oxidized.

Strahl landing in front of tower on clifftop

We’ve got ourselves a suitably grandiose chapter title…

In Search of the Eternal: Glabados Ruins

… and a location, the Glabados Ruins.

Now I get my first glimpse of in-game graphics. They’re similar to the Sky Pirate’s Den for trophies in FFXII.

Unfortunately, the emulator screengrabs the top and bottom screen, and I’m too lazy to crop every single screencap by hand, so you’re just gonna have to look at the bottom half where most of the action is. The top half is the minimap, but it’s blank during cutscenes. That weird blue sphere kinda looks like the FFX save spheres that disgorged maps in FFXII.

Vaan says: Hellooo?

First up is an easy-peasy combat tutorial with a flan. I have my first taste of tactics-based combat, selecting “units” and sending them (just Vaan, for now) towards a target. As soon as he’s close, he attacks. This is the mature form of the Defense of Fort Condor battles in FFVII, with better graphics.

One flan down, I ignore the next. Vaan needs to find his friends, who wandered off to trade gossip while he was trying to remember how to engage the parking brake.

…or not. Hi, Penny!

Penelo: Sure took you long enough.

All Penelo can do on the battlefield is heal. Figures. She’s dressed like Princess Sara.  And she’s a girl. *rolleyes*

They chew their way through a few more flans while searching for old friends.

Balthier: Good of you to join us, Vaan.

Balthier: Enjoy your stroll through the ruins?

Oh, sure. I’ve so missed the rancid smell of ectoplasm. And it’s wonderful to see you two alive–

Vaan: He still treats us like kids.

–for all of two seconds, dammit.

Balthier and Fran saunter off. Fran, please say something to take your smugass partner down a peg.

(I’m hearing all Balthier’s lines in Gideon Emery’s voice even with no voice acting in the game.)

There’s a playful Final Fantasy victory fanfare. Awww….

Mission Complete screen

This game’s starter dungeon is relaxing, a delightful contrast to the dire tragedy of FFXII. It’s always difficult to find a way to create a new, exciting adventure after we’ve saved the world and the protagonists are living “happily ever after,” but it looks like Revenant Wings may have found a way.

Of course, I haven’t gotten to the real plot yet, but I think it’s gonna be a brighter, fluffier FF. Final Fantasy XII meets V, even. After all, I’ve always imagined Balthier is the reincarnation of Faris.

The next room is an antechamber with a bigass statue that I failed to screencap.  At its feet are a couple of not-save-crystals.

Fran finally speaks up, donning her Lulu Exposition Hat:

Fran: It would seem the Cache of Glabados holds two treasures.

Vaan is feeling a lot more generous than when he and they were wrangling over the Dawn Shard back at the beginning of FFXII. He’s willing to share.

Vaan: Perfect! One for you and Balthier, and one for us!

Good boy.

Balthier: Settling for only half the treasure? What kind of sky pirate are you?

Oh, come on, Balthier. You didn’t bring these two kids here just so you could steal their candy, did you? Oh… wait… they followed you without your say-so, didn’t they? Whoops.

Something Ifrit-shaped, er, Gigas-shaped, interrupts the discussion of sky pirate protocol. It materializes on a nearby platform, to the sound of Very Definitely Normal Boss Music. (And some new music for this game, finally, although I was enjoying the purty remixes of  FFXII top hits.)

Boss

Awww, isn’t a fluffy wuffy ravening monster.

Balthier: Good to know someone was here to keep the lights on.

I’m glad we’ll still be treated to Balthier-quips. That’s really the main reason to play XII, am I right? “Spare us your quiddities.”

At which point Fran droops to the floor with a quiet “Ernh…”

Oh for cryin’ out loud. Fran’s too badass to get hit with the damsel penalty box this early! Her lil’ sis Penny is there to notice, which happened a lot during their first adventure.

Fran: Ernh.... *flop* Penny: Fran!

Fran: This Mist… so strange. It’s… cold.

Yeah, yeah, babe, it’s called a Plot Contrivance. Take two aspirin and get back to us when you’re allowed to nuke things, mmkay?

Balthier: Can you fight?
Fran: Yes, I think so.

Oh, phew. I stand corrected. That was not, in fact, a case of the Damsel in Distress Flu. Too many Rosas and Garnets and Rinoas taken out of action just when they’d be useful have left me jaded.

A couple more whatsits materialize to our right on the opposite platform.

Mission: Defeat Ifrit, keep Vaan alive.

Okay, good, we’re back to normal FF summon names in this game. I was mildy bewildered with all the Famfrits and Zaleras and such.

Fighting Ifrit

Balthier and Fran take out the small fry while Vaan and Penny tackle the big ugly. Piece o’ cake.

Ha. After their first boss battle, the party indulges in a FFXII weapon-twirling fanfare with the music sped up to silly speed, (whoops, I hit the wrong button on the emulator) for the next Mission Complete screen. This is ALL SO DAMN CUTE.

Mission complete screen for Treasures Twain

Penelo appears to have acquired a stereotypical White Mage staff since the previous game. Le sigh.

Afterwards, Vaan scampers towards the statue and treasures. He’s all about the shiny things.

Balthier: Not so fast, Vaan. You’re familiar with the Legend of Glabados, yes?

Vaan and statue of Glabados

Vaan: I didn’t know there was a legend.

No, dear gormless puppy, but we need some Exposition. Lay it on us, Ffamran!

Balthier: Why am I not surprised. Very well, I’ll tell you this once, but no more.

I do miss Gideon’s voice, although we don’t really need it, as I’m continuing to hear all his lines in the key of sarcasm.

Balthier: This is no ordinary treasure. It holds a connection with the eternal.

Vaan: The eternal what?

[Penelo: the eternal need to make sequels and make more $$. Er. What?]

Fran: Perhaps a more simple explanation would confuse less.

[Penelo is grateful to Fran for the suggestion, because otherwise she’ll have to explain it all to Vaan later.]

Balthier: A treasure is like a mysterious woman…

[Penelo to Fran: NOT HELPFUL. Come on, Fran, YOU wear the exposition hat. Pleeeaze?]

Balthier: You have to be worthy of her, or she’ll slip through your fingers.

[Vaan: Can I call him “Blather” instead?]

[Penelo nudges Fran: He’s talking about you again, isn’t he? *Fran looks prim* ]

Balthier: I dare say you’re not quite worthy of this one just yet. Better if I take it.

Surprise, surprise.

Vaan: Go ahead.

Is Vaan continuing to be a gentleman, or… ? Oh. Okay.

Vaan: Then I'll just have to take it from you!

Meh. I suppose that’s fair. Thieves being thieves. Boys being boys.

Penelo: Vaan, what are you doing?!
Fran: He’s acting the sky pirate.

Heh.

However, Balthier grabs the green crystal and tosses it to Vaan. The lad fumbles it comically before holding it up like a Final Fantasy Warrior of Light brandishing his crystal.

Balthier: A little something to welcome you to our humble profession.

Okay, I love these silly boos. Balthier couldn’t just give it to his apprentice, after all. He had to act the part. Because Balthier’s all about acting.

Balthier: But remember, Vaan. The things you own, can end up owning you.

Referring to his father Cid and nethecite. (And to some extent the Strahl, although she’s a good ship to devote one’s life to.)

As soon as Balthier takes the purple crystal, the screen starts shaking violently, rocks fall…

Penelo: What?

Balthier: Seems our performance has brought down the house.

The leading man is always acting.

After a bit more “What’s happening?” Our Heroes bravely run away.

Everyone flees falling rocks

As they flee the ruins, Nono’s waiting for ’em on the ramp of the Strahl. Hi, Nono! Long time no see!

The bottom FMV shows a teeny tiny Nono hopping frantically up- and down — see  that green speck to the right of the ramp?

Nono waving (FMV)

Yet another character fleshed out by some mighty fine fanfic writers. I know, fanfic, yawn, but it can help you appreciate minor characters by synthesizing all the missable details that tell us more about them.

FMV - Balthier, Fran, Vaan and Penelo fleeing Glabados Ruins

Running away! Running away! (Fran’s hair hogs the entire screen as she runs out of shot)

The cliffs crumble, and Vaan and Penny’s little skiff falls into the abyss. Quick, head for the Strahl, kids!

Vaan and Penelo run towards the Strahl

Nice dramatic dangling, something Vaan’s a proven champ at (see the early FMV in FFXII when Balthier and Fran catch him on their hoverbike.)

Vaan and Penelo hang off ramp of Strahl as it flies away

Another handwave save screen later, and we’re back in Dalmasca (according to familiar bouncy music). Balthier walks offscreen as a caption announces, “It was over before it started.”

Caption: We'd only just begun to spread our wings, and they were taken away.

Drat. Lost your airship, eh? And the cool characters have left so you can prove yourselves without chaperones. Always seems to happen in these sequels.

More narrator exposition:

Vaan shrugged it off. He said he’d buy a new airship, and he never even talked about the treasure we’d found. It was as though our adventures were only dreams, dreams that faded day b y day under brilliant Rabanastre skies. We went back to the quiet lives we’d always led, like nothing had ever happened.

Oh, hey. Does Penelo get to be the POV/narrator character for RW? I hope so. I liked her, the way she’d talk to everyone as equals, and she had that great rapport with Basch and Fran.

Narrator: But it wasn’t to last…

New chapter heading.

Chapter 1, the Derelictr, The Royal City of Rabanastre

Ah yes, business as usual: sitting around in Lowtown gossiping. I wonder how much it’s cleared out, now that the Imperial occupation is over.

Tomaj: You wouldn't believe the mark Vaan brought down the other day.

Character I most wanted to punch in the face in FFXII: Tomaj. Don’t ask me why.

Tomaj: He’s sure been in good spirits, considering what happened to his airship.

Frankly, I’m impressed that Vaan was able to realize his dream of buying an airship (that little skiff) after surrendering the Strahl back to its rightful owners. That couldn’t have been cheap. And yeah, Vaan’s taking it pretty well, considering that acquiring his own airship was his life’s ambition, and he’s now lost not one airship but two.

Filo joins the cast as a female counterpart to Kytes, the orphan whom Vaan was mentoring at the beginning of FFXII. Kytes you probably remember, since he’s in Vaan’s intro scene. FFXII Filo was a minor NPC with her own little band of street rats, the Buccaneer’s Brigade, training to become sky pirates.

Filo: An airship we never got to ride, I might add

Nice goggles. She’s gotta be an airship engineer, right?

And here’s Kytes, now impossibly cute.

Kytes: Yeah, it'd sure be nice to have some adventures of our own for a change!

Meet your party, round one. Anyone else joining the gang?

This graphic with Penny looking over her shoulder is a bit Escher Girl, but I suppose it’d be monotonous if everyone’s PC portrait used exactly the same pose.

Penelo: Life's not all adventures and treasures, you know.

Someone’s got to keep their heads out of the clouds, and it’s usually practical Penelo.

Penelo: There’s a lot to be said for peace and quiet.

Yeah, hon, but you’re in a Final Fantasy game. Good luck with that.

Sure enough, Vaan rushes in to announce the approach of a very special airship.

Vaan: It's older than any airship I've ever seen. You remember the legend about the lost sky continent?

No, Vaan. I think that was in FFIII, or V, or maybe VI…

Filo starts channelling for Fran.

Filo: Purvama, the floating lands. In the border-skies they wait. Untrodden, unknown.

After a brief discussion, they run off to investigate the airship. Sensing that her wished-for peace and quiet is about to end, Penelo holds her head in her hands as the screen fades out. Sorry, Penny. If you wanted a simple life, you should’ve stayed with Migelo.

FMV time! Big ugly LUNAR WHALE airship floating continent thingie bears down on Rabanastre, blocking out the sun.

FMV still - Airship on final approach... or is it a sky continent?

As it draws closer, it seems to be covered in an inky cloud or dark sandstorm. Tomaj, Filo and Kytes dash towards it, undaunted by its ominous appearance. It’s not Bahamut, at least.

Tomaj, Filo and Kytes running through streets

I still wouldn’t look this pleased to see something like this over Rabanastre, after what happened last time.

FMV of smoky-looking cloud over some kind of enormous airship

Everyone comes to a halt to gawk. (The split screen effect is a bit strange sometimes, although it works pretty well considering it would’ve had a frame surrounding both top and bottom displays.)

Tomaj, Filo, Penelo and Vaan

Um. Still looking pretty ominous here, kids. I think someone would be yelling “Siiiiiin!” about now if this were Spira and not Ivalice.

Strange dark airship hanging over city (FMV)

Penelo has the sense to look worried as the FMV fades out.

penelo looks anxiously at Vaan

Black screen,  narrator text:

I knew trouble wasn’t far off. When Vaan gets that look in his eye, it never is.

Mission screen! And it’s Garasythe Waterway music, although I think they’re actually just inside the southern gates of the city, where that fountain was in the big plaza. At any rate, it’s nighttime.

Mission 1-1: Eve of Adventure / Night in Rabanasctre

Vaan has roused the gang for an after-hours reconnoitre. They’re yawning.

Filo: What's so important we have to come out here in the middle of the night.

Kytes: And how come we didn’t bring Penelo?

Because Penelo has more SENSE, you silly boos.

Vaan: Shh! Just try and keep up, okay?

Yeah, because after dealing with the Sun Cryst and the Occuria and Vayne and all the Judges, Vaan thinks he can deal with an entire scary-looking sky continent (?) with just a couple children as backup.

Query: Why are these kids investigating instead of envoys of Queen Ashelia? This looks pretty major. (Maybe they are, and Vaan’s just butting his nose in.)

Vaan: Where did they come from?

Giza Plains rainy season music starts up, as a few monsters appear on the steps heading for Our Heroes.

Kytes: They sure don’t look like anything I’ve ever seen in the desert before.
Vaan: *brandishes dagger* You wanted an adventure, right? Time to get your hands dirty.
Kytes: Anything you need, Vaan. I’ll use magicks to back you up.

Kytes brandishing black mage staff in front of fountain

And Filo?

Filo: And I'll attack from the air. They'll never know what hit 'em!

Has… a hoverboard. A pink hoverboard. I like this girl.

Okay, now a real tactics tutorial. “Unit types.”

  • Vaan: Units that approach enemies and fight at close range using weapons such as Vaan’s sword deal melee damage. (vulnerable to flying)
  • Kytes: Units that attack from afar using bows, crossbows or magicks deal ranged damage. (vulnerable to melee.)
  • Filo: Units that hover above the ground and attack from the air deal flying damage. (vulnerable to ranged)

Vaan goes after the one who looks a bit Lulu-ish.

Vaan swings sword at Sylph

Sylph? Bit of a comedown from your summons days.

Defeating Sylph

A few more teleport (!) in, but we dispatch them.

Vaan learned Dual Attack

Kytes learns Firaga. That’s a fast run around the sphere grid there, kiddo. Filo learns Sonic Wave.

The save screen only has two slots. I think I’m going to be abusing Save States.

Save slots in FFXII: Revenant Wings

Is it time for Penelo to bawl them out yet?

Oh, no. First they need to dash off and get into even more trouble. Without the healer. Riiight.

Mission 1-2, The Coveted Derelict / Rabanastre Southgate

Filo lurks in the bushes watching this guard until another shows up. They exchange a flurry of punctuation marks with one another and hurry off. The coast is clear!

Guards meet outside derelict

Filo climbs out of the bushes and zips back to town her hoverboard. Too. Much. Cute.

Filo: I heard the guards say something about thieves stowing onboard, and then they just ran off!

Thieves, eh? Are they Fran & Balthier, or our least favorite bounty hunters from FFXII (assuming Ba’Gamnan survived a nasty fall)?

Oh, here’s an idea. Let’s act like thieves ourselves and stow aboard, when the guards are looking for thieves and stowaways! Brilliant!

Filo: Now’s our chance!
Vaan: Right, we better hurry.
Kytes: So, what are we gonna do once we’re on the ship, Vaan?
Vaan: We steal it before anyone else does.

Oh, just what I always wanted, an airship that doubles as a spooky black cloud of doom.

*crash screen*

Kytes: You're gonna STEAL it? Filo: What!?

Vaan: It’s them or us, right? Only we’re gonna take it, so we can figure out where it really came from. Besides, it’s a derelict. We’ll just, uh, take care of it until its real owners come looking for it.

Just like Vaan and Penelo took care of the Strahl. They should start charging for valet service.

Counting on royal connections to keep you out of Nalbina Dungeon, are we, Vaan? Penny’s gonna be livid.

Kytes: Something tells me Penelo isn't going to like this very much.

Ayup.

Vaan: Who says we have to tell her?

*facepalm* Sure, Vaan, she’ll never notice you’ve snuck off and commandeered Bahamut’s ugly kid brother. Giant airship, swirling darkness, Vaan, Kytes, Filo gone missing. Nope. No way.  She’ll never suspect.

Next mission objective: “Sneak aboard the derelict airship! All allies must survive.” Well, that’s a relief. Until now, the only objective was keeping Vaan alive.

We fight our way out of the city. Firaga time!

Kytes casts Firaga on some flying things.

Oh good, there’s some Giza Bunnies nearby. These buggers are handy. Just as in FFXII, they’ll heal any nearby wounded creature that isn’t harassing them.

White Rabbit that heals its wounded companions

They’re dressed in teeny tiny white mage robes (complete with little red and white “hoods” capping each ear) and brandishing carrot wands. I need more words for “cute.”

And then there’s a buttload of angry mandragora type beasties.

FFXII: RW - Alraune

Five of ’em. Keeping everyone alive is gonna be a bit tricky.

With gambits, we can set abilities to kick on automatically, instead of having to trigger them manually. I miss the full FFXII version of gambits; I loved the logic of setting them up. (I was programming very simple video games in the early 80s, so).

how to turn on gambits to auto-trigger abilities

Argh I keep accidentally hitting pagedown, which is next to the arrow on my keyboard, resetting the whole game. Emulator, you and I need to talk. *customizes keyboard controls*

Eventually we mop up all the hostiles and hurry over to the ramp of the Derelict, where the guards were confabbing earlier.

Mission 1-2 Complete screen

This game is addictive. “Just one more mission” I say to myself, and manage to get a few real-world chores done before climbing aboard the airship.

Mission 1-3: The Treasure is the Key / Aboard the Derelict

As soon as we enter, a welcoming party teleports in to greet us, thoughtfully sorting themselves into ranged, melee and flying.

There’s another of these ornamental square platforms on the floor.

Kytes: Whatever it is, there sure are a lot of monsters comin' out of it.

Filo wants a closer look. Vaan is at least somewhat responsible about looking after his charges.

Vaan: All right, but better be careful.

Mission objective: Reach the summoning gate! All allies must survive.

Crash, bash, smash. Slightly challenging, but more of same. We amble over to the platform.

Kytes: What do you think it is, Vaan?

Apparently Vaan didn’t see the chapter title screen for this mission, and is surprised when the green stone reacts to the summoning gate.

Vaan: The Stone!

So, hey, are we about to receive a summons?

Filo: It's changing color!

Ayup, we’ve found ourselves a summons. Or some variant thereof. I think they’re called Espers in Ivalice, at least in the English version. (I liked “Aeon” best of the English terms for Summoned Beast.) Oh, also, FF Prelude is as pretty as ever.

You can use summoning gates to call forth powerful monsters known as Espers to fight at your side.

A nice twist:

Red summoning gates are under enemy control and must be captured before they can be used. Pray before a gate to capture it from your enemy. Once captured, the gate will turn blue. You can capture a gate more quickly by sending more units to capture it.

Mission time: Capture the summoning gate!

Which basically involves sending everyone over to poke it until a little slider goes from red to blue. Then it’s shiny.

Filo, Kytes and Vaan standing around glowing blue gate

Vaan: Looks like the Cache of Glabados has some power over the gate. I wonder if I can use it to summon something…

Somewhere in the background, my inner Penelo is brandishing a rolling pin.

Kytes: Whoa, an alraune! [The hostile ones were purple; this one’s red.]

Trivia note: alraune is German for “mandrake.”

Filo: Did you summon it, Vaan? Do it again!

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and rather a lot of brooms spring to mind.

Vaan: Uh, sure. Nothin’ to it.

We soon have ourselves a small Chibi army. Kytes is a little alarmed. “Monsters, Espers… what’s the difference?” He wants to stay away from them.

Vaan: Well, these seem tame enough. Maybe they'll obey us.

Right on queue, a bunch of monsters attack. We need help! And I think I stupidly assigned the wrong Esper to each person, instead of Espers with the same kind of combat skills.

Everyone fighting

But they mop the floor anyhoo. Nice.

Filo: They fought for us, just like we wanted!

Vaan speculates that the airship and the stone that activated the summoning gate are connected.

Mission complete, level up, and Filo runs off recklessly to explore the next level.

A “meanwhile” screen shows us that Penelo has noticed her friends’ absence and talked Tomaj into helping her. We catch a glimpse of them running through the city.

Mission 1-4: Unwelcome Guests / Aboard the Derelict

If they don’t catch us, the guards certainly will. Or am I just trying to inject a little drama into a relaxing sequence?

Penny and Tomaj exit Rabanastre’s south gates, where our heroes entered the Derelict earlier, only to discover a guard collapsed at the foot of the ramp.

Penelo: What happened? Are you all right?

Penelo casts healing magic and rouses him.

Wounded Guard: They...they forced their way onto the ship.

Penny to Tomaj: You don’t think Vaan would do something like that, do you?
Tomaj: You know how he is about airships.

I love Penelo, I really do. Also? Stuff it, Tomaj.

Penelo: Well, this time he's gone too far! We're taking him home—now!

Although once again I want to punch Tomaj in the nose for causing trouble and egging other people on. (Penelo should really know to take what he says with a grain of salt.)

Meanwhile, Vaan and friends wander along the edge of what seems to be a large pinball machine, according to the map.

Or actually…

Vaan: This must be the bridge.

Filo’s a bit creeped out, possibly because of the Feywood music playing. (I hated that place.)

Vaan: there's nothin' to be scared of. You're a sky pirate, right?

They advance forward. Kytes wonders if it’ll still fly, as old as it is.

There’s a flash, and a Bangaa pops up from behind the sphere oscillor-finder or whatever it is.

Ba'gamnan: Aye, she'll fly, but she'll no be flyin' fer you!

Filo is less scared now that she knows what the threat is, but it looks like he’s got a few more buddies in his gang than last time.

Filo: Some snakes trying to pass as headhunters.

Vaan: How many times do we have to kill you anyway?

A good question, considering Ba’Gamnan’s apparent end in FFXII, sucked down into the Sandsea I think? And with bosses, it’s usually three, Vaan.

Ba’Gamnan recognizes him.

Ba’Gamnan: Well, well, what have we here? Tire of playing at pirates with Balthier, did you? I settle my scores, boy, and yours is long past due!
Vaan: Still haven’t had enough, huh?

Um, Vaan, as I recall, we needed people like Fran and Balthier and Basch to put this toad away. Even by himself. And Kytes and Filo are noobs. They back off, wisely.

Filo: What do we do?

Kytes: we run!

Lamont, he ain’t.

Vaan: Hey, get back here!

Sorry, Vaan, but they are kids.

He chooses the lesser part of valor and dashes after them. Deja vu for the bounty hunter boss…

Ba'gamnan: You won't be getting away so easily this time!

Oh good, Bwagi’s still there too. (Not that this didn’t stop them from pondering how to torture Penelo on the way to Bhujerba.)

Bwagi: They're nae more than children, my brother.

Ba’Gamnan: What’s that? Do my ears hear mutinous mutterings from your mouth?
Rinok: There’s nothing for it, then.
Bwagi: Aye, sure ‘n’ there’s not, my sister. [Confirmed!]

Alexander O. Smith isn’t listed as the localization translator for this game, but someone was certainly paying attention to his literary style, which added so much to FFXII.

Our heroes apparently can’t find their way out a paper bag, as they are soon cornered in a dead end that I don’t recall seeing earlier.

Bwagi: 'Tis nae personal, lad.

Um, seems pretty damned personal for your brother. I don’t think the bounty on Kytes and Filo can be too high as yet.

Bwagi: Y’see, we’re looking ta leave the headhunting business fer good and all. Only, Ba’Gamnan does nae take too well ta desertion. So yer going ta replace the lot of us!
Rinok: The three of you for the three of us. Not a fair trade by half, but it will have to do.

Ummm. Yeah, I was about to say: not really a trade Ba’Gamnan is gonna go for.

Gijuk: Don't be so sure, my sister! This one here's a right tasty morsel.

Bounty hunter stooges vs. a few bite-sized snacks? Not the same.

Filo channels the ghost of the great Captain Faris. Huzzah!

Filo: You should know better than to bite off more than you can chew, you scurvy lizards!

I’d forgotten Filo was peppering her speech with “Arrr!” and other fake pirate-isms in FFXII.

Vaan: You leave her out of this!

Um. Them, Vaan. Them.

Ba’Gamnan: What are you prattling on about? Cut or be cut, but be on with it!
Bwagi: Gijuk! Rinok! Our final battle is upon us! Make it one fer the ages!

Not even close, m’dears. The game’s early yet. And you didn’t see us take down Vayne at the end of the last game.

New entry in the “funny villain laugh” department:

Gijuk: Oh yes, my brother! Rinok: Hra Hra Hra

Righty-ho. Lizard smashing time.

Okay, Vaan’s learned at least some cunning from Balthier.

Vaan: They're in for a surprise

He summons a buttload of Espers in a second or two. I’d like to use this ability outside of cutscenes, please!

Vaan Summons Six Summons

The trio of bounty hunters turn and run away! Nice one, Vaan.

Now we have to give chase. Mission objective: Vaan must survive.

Whoopsie. That went badly. I HAD ONE JOB.

Game Over!

FFXII: Game over

Let me just abuse a save state.

It takes me a few tries, with Vaan summoning new Espers as fast as they go down, and both Kytes and Filo get clobbered! Whew! What an embarrassing debacle.

Summoning Espers 30-battle3

Bwagi staggers to his feet.

Bwagi: Urngh... losin' to the likes of sprats like you.

The three brothers flee after some more cursing, leaving Filo and Kytes (and Ba’Gamnan) lying prone. Sorry, children. 🙁 I am a bad mommy.

lizards run off, leaving victims

Vaan brandishes his sword to the FFXII victory fanfare over the bodies of his KO’d friends. Little prat.

Vaan brandishes victory fanfare

So apparently they get experience even when KOed. That’s good.

Mission 1-4 complete / levelup screen

The kids are back on their feet after the battle. Guess somebody was packing potions? Mighta mentioned that sooner.

They approach Ba’Gamnan’s body, only to hear a crash. Punctuation marks start flying again. (Flashbacks to Breath of Fire!)

Kytes, Vaan, Filo: !!!

Vaan : The airship’s moving!
Kytes: We’d better get to the bridge!
Filo: No time to waste!

Hmmm. Who’s flying it now? Then again, who was flying it earlier?

They run off to the bridge, where lights are flashing and alarms are sounding. Ba’Gamnan gets up and follows them. Rggh. I hate that guy.

Ba'gamnan: I'm not done with you yet!

Ba’Gamnan: Never forget that he who laughs last, laughs hardest!

Stick a sock in it. Or over it, considering your snout.

And there’s no summon gate to help us over here.

He brandishes his tennis racket of doom, dashes forward and… trips down the stairs? At which point Penelo and Tomaj come rushing up. (Did they push him?)

Penelo: Do you want to explain what's going on here, Vaan?

Penelo: Just where do you think you’re going?
Vaan: On our next adventure, where else?
Penelo: What kind of an answer is that?

FMV: The ship takes off, sheds some rocks?! and is suddenly glowing white instead of swirling with black smoke. I think we have ourselves a Lunar Whale.

Lunar Whale

..or not. Wings. And this isn’t even its final form, right?

winged airship

Revenant Wings, I presume?

And that’s it for chapter 1.

Save game

Once again, this Let’s Play can’t match the fun of the game without its great music.

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