To recap our lighthearted romp through FFVland: three Crystals are kaput, our first ship has sunk, Faris is still the most glorious pirate, Lenna is a friend to everything with fur and scales, Galuf has regained at least some of his memories, and Butz is still a charming goofball. So, can our erstwhile Four Warriors of Light save the remaining Crystal?
First up, we head back to the Library of the Ancients to tell Cid and Mid that we’ve sunk their pride and joy.
Good point. This is 16-bit Final Fantasy. If you haven’t destroyed at least one or two vessels, you’re not trying hard enough.
Oho, Cid says there’s been a King Tycoon sighting! Faris is almost as eager as Lenna to dig out all the juicy details. Which are…suspect.
Oh, so that’s why he ditched Hiryu the Wind Drake. Er?
Next stop, the desert of the Shifting Sands, tracking down our
HOVERCRAFT hovering king.
The desert’s entrance is blocked by flowing sand currents that shunt us right back to the start. Yep, it’s another dratted conveyor belt maze in disguise! Luckily, it turns out that Cid has lived among the Fremen of Dune.
“Then you guys trash it!” Mid says brightly. And then we use the body for a bridge. I…don’t think that’s quite how it worked in Dune.
“You guys ready?” Mid says. “Yes.” Then he calls the sandworm, and then, just as the boss battle begins, he says, “By the way, don’t use any magic on it!” THANKS SO MUCH.
Despite having no time to change jobs, we manage to defeat it, barely. (Note that Butz’s Mystic Knight is the spitting image of Minwu in FFII!)
On the far side of the desert, we find the rumored Ancient Ruins. Hey! There’s King Tycoon! Dad plays a mean game of hide and seek, appearing and disappearing behind various bits of architecture.
We finally corner him.
Sigh… Faris isn’t in denial anymore.
However, King Tycoon isn’t interested in tender family reunions. As we approach, he punches a switch, and we fall through a trapdoor! Bastard.
I’m sorry…I wasn’t certain at first, and then I didn’t think I should tell you.
Even now, Faris avoids calling Lenna, “Sister.” Knowing something is true and accepting it are two different propositions.
After Butz wakes up, they realize that Galuf’s missing. During the ensuing discussion, Galuf is pounding on the walls, shaking his fists and otherwise trying to attract attention, even waving through the fourth wall for assistance!
Butz cheerfully assumes that they’ll meet him sooner or later. Galuf, disgusted, leaps down that hole in the bottom of the screen, climbs out another hole and rescues himself.
All the old guys in Final Fantasy rock.
Reunited, we take the first door we come to, find ourselves suspended over the Great Machine (Zathras, where are you?) and are abruptly warped to another, similar room with lightning bolts encouraging us to GO THATAWAY.
We find ourselves in a textbook Underground Ancient Ruin with wonky Uematsu music, random gears, bookshelves, surprisingly healthy plants, and snarky notes leading us on a scavenger hunt.
Serious game is serious.
Meanwhile, Cid and Mid have flown our Black Chocobo from the Shifting Sands desert back to its home on Crescent Island — where, you may recall, our first ship sank in the harbor.
We pull the switch and drop Cid and Mid into a hole! Mwahahah! Like father, like daughters!
The sunken ship is down here, too — high and dry — along with an Ancient Airship. (Again, why are airships always underground in Final Fantasy? Never outside? Tethered to a mountaintop? In a hangar?) So all this place we’ve warped to is under Crescent Island.
Cid and Mid set to work getting the Enterpoop ready for takeoff.
However, the lobsters in this game won’t give up without a fight. (What?)
Cue another boss battle with yet another large crustacean.
With cheese biscuits AND mashed potatoes!
Cheese is right. Have I mentioned lately how much I love this game script translation?
We take off to explore the world. WHOOPS. In Soviet Russia, the world explores YOU.
As we approach the ancient “Ronka Ruins” near where we were playing tag with King Tycoon, the ruins rise out of the desert. Hot diggity, another floating content. Or flying fortress. Or dreadnaught. No fair, they have a bigger airship than ours!
Since none of us have brains, we rush back to Cid and Mid for advice.
“But once they realized amplifying the crystal could make it shatter, they stopped the machine.” So now our enemy has turned the machine back on. Because the natural power of Earth, when amplified, is antigravity. Waaaitaminute…
So what do we do? Oh, yes, of course, we’ll need a Plot Coupon.
Which…works as a float stone in this game? YES, HEAVY THINGS FLOAT. Boots, the hardest substance in the universe, Crystals, airships with puny propellers, continents, Dyson spheres… obviously are potent reservoirs of anti-gravity.
So we go to fetch us some Andamantite which Galuf remembers seeing stashed in his meteorite. Butz is skeptical of his memory. I continue to be skeptical of FF’s laws of physics.
Nonetheless, once Cid and Mid have fitted the Plot Coupon to our ship, we fly up to the Ronka Ruins. Next to which, we are PUNY.
Time to do battle with our first ever floating continent, er, town, that shoots back!
We take out the left
fin cannons, the right fin cannons, the central cannon mounted over its belly button, then blast a hole in it as an entry port. GEE THIS FEELS ODDLY FAMILIAR. Luckily there is not a psychedelic Yevon-induced dreamscape waiting inside, only another long dungeon crawl with King Tycoon at the end of it.
Lenna rushes forward to greet him, but he seems too preoccupied to take any notice of her or Faris.
And of course he asks his own daughters to fight it for him (“There is no time for chatter! Make yourselves useful and defeat it!”) without even acknowledging Faris’ existence. THIS IS IN NO WAY SUSPICIOUS.
And of course we’re stupid enough to obey.
(When Lenna’s “summon animal help” magic malfunctions, it summons…a rabbit. Which does nothing. But at least in this remake, its name has been changed from “lagomorph” to “Mysidian Bunny,” and it’s acquired a black mage outfit. The game tie-ins are cute.)
Meanwhile, King Tycoon seems almost to be rooting for our opponent, which he said was the guardian of the Earth Crystal.
Look at it! Such energy! This is the true power of the crystals…!
After we dispatch it for him…
Gloating villain laugh. Yep, another possession. We SUCK. However, Lenna and Faris are protective of “Papa,” and stop Butz and Galuf when they try to intervene.
Alas, the guy possessing King Tycoon has no such compunctions.
However… the screen shakes, we cut to another random cookie-shaped meteor hurtling by, and a tiny but fierce arrival stuns the King with a Thunder spell before he can finish off our helpless warriors of light.
Galuf’s memory returns, and King Tycoon awakens groggily from his trance. There’s a tearful reunion or two…
… Lenna always calls him “Father,” while Faris uses “Papa,” dropping her usual debonair tough-pirate act.
However, while we’re all jawing, the crystal blows up.
Yay! More jobs! (Samurai, Dancer, Dragoon, [Al]Chemist). Oh wait…that’s right, those crystals were sealing Exdeath away, weren’t they?
Butz puts up a brief, very brief fight to defend them.
Exdeath orders the shards to attack us. King Tycoon sacrifices himself to…do something or other. Wrench the crystal shards back under the control of light, I suppose.
Both sisters are distraught. (Faris, characteristically, responds with denial: “You can’t die!” I think she’s spent most of her life denying one thing or another, so it’s her way of fighting.) Sorry, Faris; he’s kicked the bucket. And Exdeath used the power of the crystals to warp back to the world he came from — Galuf’s and Krile’s — and resume his attempt to destroy that world.
The plot devices are coming thick and fast now. Galuf takes Krile’s route home, the most recent fallen meteorite.
…but there’s not enough “juice” left to take the other three, and anyway, Galuf says, they’d have no way back home. He thanks them for everything and takes off with his granddaughter.
Lenna and Faris refuse to sit idle, however. They talk it over, then Lenna approaches Butz and says that they should help Galuf and Krile fight Exdeath. Also…
Despite the fact that Butz is nominally the lead character in this game, it’s usually other characters who lead. Here, he heartily agrees, and they go to Cid and Mid for another plot device.
The plot device of choice, once again, is adamantite. Now it’s supposed to be able to power up a warp point. We scour the meteorites collecting adamantite and fighting the bosses defending them.
(@%$@%! Purobolos boss battle; every time you kill one, it casts “Arise” and brings back any dead ones until they run out of MP)
At last, we’ve collected just enough Essence of Plot Coupon to power a warp point…
bid farewell to old friends…
And warp away!
We land on a totally deserted moogle-shaped (!) island.
After camping for the night, there’s a moment of sisterly bonding (although I’m still waiting for Faris to call her “Sister.”)
Lenna… There’s something I’ve been wondering about…
Sister…do you remember mother?
Their reminiscence is cut short by an incredibly annoying “Abductor” monster who carries both of them off without a fight.
Excuse me? What, we weren’t fulfilling our Distressed Damsel quota?
The beastie returns for its next victim. Butz gets to fight all by his lonesome, defeats it, then is defeated by his own stupidity. (Okay, my stupidity, but there wasn’t any way to advance the scene besides opening the chest.)
Yep, you can guess what comes next: a prison cell.
And on that classic cliffhanger, I think we’ll pause.