Ragtag party assembled, it’s time to break into the Temple of the Ancients. But first, we need a key to unlock the Path of Plot Advancement.
We drag our reluctant tails back to the Gold Saucer. Speaking of which, I missed a spiffy FMV during our first visit, when I was trying to take Aeris around for a date. Check out the Gondola ride starting around 11:00.
Sorry, Aeris. Let’s pretend my Cloud took you on that date earlier, okay? You’re allowed to call me cheesebrain.
Whew! I got bogged down rounding up all my scattered party members — seriously, we just lived through the end of the world and everything, but did they have to be difficult and run off and join weird cults and get themselves lost on mountaintops, in the depths of monster-infested catacombs and so on? — so this playthrough is once again tardy.
Hey, it wasn’t that long since my last post.
So, last time in my Let’s Play Final Fantasy VI, the world went to Hades in a haversack. Miraculously, the crustal ruptures we saw in that exciting end-of-the-world cutscene did not result in Siberia-sized lava outpourings, a planetwide blanket of sulfuric acid fog/rain, or other Permian-Extinction-style armageddon. (Geology porn… bookmark for later!)
Instead, as this is Final Fantasy, Celes awakens in a blasted world that’s creepy and sad and fragmented. FFXIII-2 riffed on this trope again 17 years later, and the music from its Dying World fits nicely:
Holy Chocobo! We’re in the home stretch of FFV! Let’s pause a moment to ogle the closing FMV from the PS1 version.
It’s a fine recap of some exciting moments in the game: pyromaniac Exdeath setting the Moogle forest on fire around the Guardian Tree, Galuf’s attack on Castle Exdeath thwarted by the barrier and his friends showing up to spoil everything, Krile on her trusty dragon seeking the perpetually lost party, Faris losing her beloved Syldra the Sea Dragon all the way back on Disc One, the shade (?) of King Tycoon playing hide-and-seek with us, the Lonka/Ronka ruins flying up into the sky, and a couple endgame battles we still have to look forward to (or flee, if we have any sense).
Symbolism ahoy! I’ve totally lost track of which crystal / element / attribute goes with what in this FF installment, and I don’t know why I care, but I’m puzzling over them, particularly hope = fertility? I also marvel at how quickly graphics look dated, and how awesome Faris and Lenna look in trenchcoat and court attire with matching katanas.
Before we finish off Final Fantasy III’s endgame, here’s a rare video: the original Japanese FFIII.
Note that whoever did this somehow replaced Luneth’s sprite with one of the Four Old Men sprites, and a couple battle sprites are scrambled. Nevertheless, it shows the NPC storylines are all here, except for the individual friendships with particular party members.
As with Final Fantasy I, it seems that original FFIII presented the party as a blank slate upon which we could project our own character development, dialog and proficiencies, while the world and NPCs were at least somewhat fleshed out. Again, this mimics old tabletop RPGs and D&D, in which the game master provided the story, world, and npcs, while the players were in charge of their characters’ histories and development.
We’ve gotten so accustomed to games that create the player characters for us that we’ve quite forgotten the original strong distinction between PCs and NPCs.
Now, back to our playthrough of Final Fantasy III and the grand finale.