Month: March 2016

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest – Retreads

ffmq-2016-03-30-15h12m28s842Back in a party with Reuben and his beautiful chiselled face (tinted yellow-green), Kyle and I walked an utterly pointless walk all the way to Fireburg and then all the way back to Windia. The funny thing is, Reuben’s dad can’t even pretend he has anything important to say. He and the writer know this whole section only exists to pretend the four quadrants are interconnected, so Arion doesn’t waste any more of your time. Walk forward, walk back, that’s a wrap! (more…)

Kingdom Hearts 2 – Idiot Ball Torchlighting Ceremony

kh2-2016-03-24-16h00m14s942Pete runs off to the pier, hotly pursued by, uh… himself. This leads to a great bit of dialog. Past Pete says: “I finally found the pipsqueak what stole my steamboat!” Donald: “Yeah! It was you!” Pete: “Right! Me!” He sounds so proud of himself, too.

The past Pete corners the future Pete on the pier, where present-day Pete has set the Cornerstone up in a wooden cage towed behind the steamboat. It seems like Pete has used the Cornerstone as an excuse to get his steamboat back, and thus his past. This is his real objective, but I can’t imagine how he’s going to explain this blunder to Maleficent. (more…)

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest – Subpar Zelda

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The King Tree moves into place, shaking the earth.

After skipping a few Battlefields and a Temple, we found the path clear to Windia, where the music was changed from the typical town music, into synthetic woodwinds, but you can barely hear it over the synthetic actual wind blowing over the soundtrack. Looks like it’s a little too windy in Windia, and sadly that is, in fact, that plot. We bought the Cupid Locket there, finally making us immune to confusion and taking away one of the monsters’ few remaining advantages over Ben and company. The bomb salesman nearby informed us that we “had enough explosives” and excuse me sir but where do you get off.

After backtracking to the Battlefields (one stocked with vampires), we checked out Kaidge Temple, which had an infinity-marked teleportation tile and nothing else. And no, I can’t explain the name.  Double-checking the name (my original post got the wrong translation somehow) it appears to be “Jukai no Hokora,” implying it’s a Buddhist shrine of sorts, and I can see Nintendo not wanting to hear about it… but “Kaidge?”  The #1 Google hit for “Kaidge” is the FFWiki page for Kaidge Temple! (more…)

Kingdom Hearts 2 – Monochrome Monotone

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If Kingdom Hearts 2 be remembered for nothing else, let it be remembered for this world. It’s not perfect, no, but with the ongoing march of video game development, near-perfection ages poorly. This world is something unique, or close to it. A similar sequence does appear in 1994’s Mickey Mania / Mickey’s Wild Adventure, which probably inspired this sequence, but seeing it in 3D is still very impressive. (more…)

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest – Three-Headed Monster

ffmq-2016-03-22-22h40m33s489I think if we had gone back to Reuben’s house, Dad from FFLII would have told us that the Fire Crystal was responsible for the earthquakes, but we really didn’t bother. I mean, isn’t that obvious? Instead, we headed straight for the volcano and set to work. Scaling the volcano was a dungeon on its own, with an ash cloud ringing the place at two levels, obscuring the monsters. We had been warned about the cloud, and were told that a gas mask that would reveal the monsters was housed somewhere on the hill. We assumed that, like the Mirror, the Gas Mask would be at the bottom, but our memory was really failing us there, because it was actually at the very top, just down an alternate path. Yeah, you have to deal with invisible enemies most of the climb, I have to give them that! We made sure to get the Mask (counting it as part of our sub-objective to get 100% equipment collection). It made another ludicrous sucking sound before showing the monsters, but at least that sound effect makes a little sense in this case. I mean, at least it has something to do with the air, right? (more…)

Kingdom Hearts 2 – M-I-C-K-E-Y

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Heyyyyy, WordPress informs me that this is blog post #200!

In one of Square Enix’s wisest decisions, “Mickey Mouse Club March” only plays for a little while before it’s replaced by a tension theme. The March comes back after you’ve cleared the world, but if you’ve played your cards right, you’ll never need to come back to the rooms where it plays for more than a few seconds! I thought you’d want to know that up front. Birth by Sleep, consider this a slap in the face. The March is no “It’s a Small World,” but I’m not a fan when it’s on loop, let me tell you.

You arrive in the Gummi Garage at Disney Castle, dutifully reproduced from the original and looking even blockier in the context of KH2’s graphical improvements. Chip and Dale meet you there and tell you that Queen Minnie needs to see you urgently, and you soon find out why: there are Heartless in the castle. (more…)

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest – Handy Hand Grenade

ffmq-2016-03-18-06h58m48s301You have to give Spencer some credit: he was right about earthquakes in Fireburg, since they took place every. single. time you moved between map locations. Though all this makes one wonder: just how on earth are these quakes only hitting one quarter of the interconnected world? Fireburg proper turned out to be a multi-levelled town with an odd but danceable remix of the usual town theme. It even had another track simply called “Rock ‘n’ Roll” playing in the bar where there was a real rock and roll band playing on the stage. You find Tristam listening to the band, getting pissed at the bar in good ambience. (This seems to have led some YouTube videos to misname Tristam’s theme, properly titled “Rock Theme,” with the bar’s theme “Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The OST was just asking for it with titles like that!). Tristam actually seems happy to see you, though he doesn’t have much to say. (more…)

Kingdom Hearts 2 – Cherrybomb Fanatic

kh2-2016-03-18-07h08m41s345Where was I? Oh, right: looks like you got the Olympus Stone just in time, because you’re all out of rooms to explore. The seal is just through the door, next to a worrying save point. The seal itself is eye catching, featuring an eerie engraving of Meg in rainbow light around Zeus’ keyhole. It feels like something taken straight out of Disney even though it really is unique to Kingdom Hearts, a bit of that fairy tale magic KH sadly only tries to capture from time to time. It’s so eye-catching you might not notice the worrying dark pillar in the back, though if you do catch sight of it, you’ll realize how effectively the room was constructed and shot, to make sure you see one before the other, and to gradually draw your attention from the glow in the front to the animation in the back. Very impressive. Sora unseals the rock without question, because Hades has done a pretty effective ruse here, and I don’t think I’d have been any more likely to catch on than Mr. “I Tried To High-Five The Beast,” here. (more…)

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest – Torturing the Monsters

ffmq-2016-03-16-09h14m09s782The leftover magic water was only enough to restore Aquaria’s cure herbs (which was nice because we had chewed through our supply of Potions like we were on a Red Bull stampede). There was no alternative for Ben and Phoebe at that point, and we had to go do what we should have done in the first place: gone after the Water Crystal to the north. In between Aquaria and the Crystal was Falls Basin, a quick speed bump of an map almost as small as Level Forest.

The place was populated by Lamias that turned into little bitty snakes when you attacked them (which is how we got our cute before the internet). The dungeon itself was built around a single, extended puzzle: to move pillars around at ground level so that they could serve as jumping platforms from above. This isn’t quite as easy as it seems, partially because of the 2/3rds perspective, but mostly because you need to clue in to re-using pillars to beat the dungeon. Even this game can be clever from time to time. Too bad the game will never really be this clever again, and we’ll only see these mobile jump platforms once more in the entire game. At least they know not to overplay their hand? (more…)

Kingdom Hearts 2 – Dance, Water! Dance!

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This shot is from earlier in the world, but just look at those stands!

Returning to the surface, we have a brief cutscene here were Meg talks to Hercules. It’s mostly irrelevant, I wasn’t going to mention it until I remembered it features Hercules walking into the arena to the cheering crowd we know from experience does not actually exist. He insists he has to keep exhausting himself to entertain the Cursed Hall of Voices. We just came off drama that kept slamming itself in our face to drama that didn’t show up on the set in the first place! Hercules is no longer voiced by Sean Astin in this game, but his original voice actor, Tate Donovan, who’s been in 24, Deception and even Friends as Rachel’s boyfriend Joshua. The ghost crowd is voiced by the hopes and dreams of a thousand unemployed game developers. (more…)