Month: May 2016

Kingdom Hearts 2 – The Straw and the Scale

kh2-2016-05-22-22h58m29s639Leon shushes any questions about the King, indeed he makes it a point to stop Sora and the gang from even saying the word “King.” Quietly, he tells them “This ought to tide you over,” and reveals the secret passage is controlled via a hidden panel on the wall. The passage leads out of Ansem’s study and onto an observation platform overlooking a massive vista of a huge machine, a mutli-storey hall of devices stretching off into the distance. (The stretching off into the distance effect was a little better on the PS2, where things were grainy enough that the fade to white looked like it might go on forever, but that’s not the case in new versions where it just looks like there’s some sort of open bay door to the outside world in the distance, which seems somewhat unlikely in a secret room.) Ansem’s computer is inside a nearby observation room, facing away from a large red, circular device on the opposite wall. There’s no sign of the King, and I guess the silent implication is that you missed him in the halls because there’s nowhere else he could be. Shit, Aerith, Tifa, you, The King, there’s a lot of people moving around here without spotting one another! (more…)

Final Fantasy VI – The Horrors of Not Thinking About the Horrors of War

ffvi-2016-05-24-19h55m15s651With the party aimed towards Narshe, we headed there straight away. Hahaha, no we didn’t, we had an airship! We went in some other damn direction! Actually, Kyle went AP hunting while I tried to catch up on my notes (this game had the most extensive notes of the Marathon Journals to date). Kyle went to Phantom Forest to fight ghosts for 3AP most fights, though we also ran into an invisible Behemoth, an Intangir at “Triangle Island” in the northeast. The Intangir killed us with Meteor in response to our trying to Summon something. Maybe there were other reasons Kyle and I never tried to Summon after a certain point. (more…)

Kingdom Hearts 2 – Pixie Power

kh2-2016-05-22-22h44m20s501Things get started at Hollow Bastion when Sora sees a troupe of Heartless and a separate troupe of Nobodies right in front of them. “Looks like there’s more Heartless now,” Goofy says, based on a group that’s about the same size as the groups that normally attack him. Sora suggests they find their friends, and Goofy says “I think they’re at Merlin’s!” That’s not unreasonable, but between these two lines, it sounds like Goofy’s script-reading has come to knock Jiminy off his psychic perch! We’re in for some entertainment tonight! (more…)

Kingdom Hearts 2 – The Emptiest Grind

kh2-2016-05-16-12h38m34s312Back in the story, Sora declares (in spite of the fact that this is patently untrue) that a new road has opened and he’s certain Riku and Kairi will be on the world he just (didn’t) unlock. This line is curious, since only makes sense if he actually unlocked something. No, really, bear with me a moment, this isn’t the same tangent we just explored. This line must have been written before the game’s current level structure was put into place, or else they’d have realized that nothing was physically unlocked at this point – simply that another event begins once he’s done. Huh. I wonder how long the games’ world structure went undefined?

Hayner, Pence and Olette ask him to return soon, and we cut to a new FM+ exclusive scene in the white room with all the thrones. (more…)

Final Fantasy VI – Bring on the magic

ffvi-2016-05-16-13h07m56s029Luckily, Ultros ran off after the fight, only for the infamous Setzer to make his appearance. Setzer kidnapped Celes, the Impressario bluffing that this too was part of the opera. Celes, after putting on a modicum of a performance, snuck the others onboard… urm… somehow. Can they fly? Setzer caught on fast, so the party quickly made an offer to him for his services: cash and more cash. Setzer agreed to talk. If you’ve been paying attention to previous Journals, you know that Kyle and I didn’t talk and went exploring instead, touring the Blackjack and its… well… its casino. The Blackjack served as an FFIII/FFLIII-style mobile base, including an item shop, pseudo-inn, and a even a crewmember that offered to unequip the entire collective party, which is a lot faster than manually having every member join, unequip, and then leave. Good insight on the part of the devs! (more…)

Kingdom Hearts 2 – The Visible Substructure

Twilight Town, Revisited

kh2-2016-05-16-11h49m08s473So we’re finally here. And because we delayed, this means Axel somehow didn’t think to check Twilight Town for the duration of two Disney worlds plus travel time. Genius!

You arrive in Twilight Town at the Tram Common, where Vivi runs past and shouts “Help! The sandlot! It’s Seifer!” Seifer’s gone mad with power! (more…)

Kingdom Hearts 2 – The Incredible FLYING Lioness!

kh2-2016-05-09-04h26m09s693

I can fly! I can fly! I can flyyyy!

You dart back to Pride Rock, where… I swear two of the lionesses are floating partially off the ground? Yeah, there, the one on the left!  Whoops. Long story short, Simba confronts Scar, and Scar guilts him off the edge of a cliff. I don’t really care to go into details, because this is where Pride Lands descends into Port Royal territory by repeating every scene verbatim. Hey.  Hey, Sora. Sora, your friend is dangling off a cliff by his claws, do something. I don’t even like this scene in the film! The fact that Scar confesses his crime is so arbitrary, the fact that it re-energizes Simba is so cliché. I’m talking down one of my favourite movies, here, so you had better believe I mean it. (more…)

Final Fantasy VI – Singing in the Iron Rain

ffvi-2016-05-09-04h42m06s812While we weren’t quite out of places to meander (more on that in a moment), we headed south to Jidoor, home of a famous opera house, although the opera house itself was presently closed. On route, we were attacked by Fossil Dragons, and discovered what we should have realized while we were shopping: that we had equipped Celes with a whip and she couldn’t use Relic without a sword. Unfortunately we were also straight out of cash (remember the High Potion incident), forcing us to live with this unfortunate situation.  And so the only incident where we might have used Relic outside of the tutorial passed by and never returned.

Given that we were out of cash, there wasn’t much shopping we could do in Jidoor, so it was probably best that the local Auction House was also presently closed. Rumours in town told us of a mysterious artifact that could restore the soul that would be located in the town of Vector, the capital of the Empire, making it not exactly an easy thing to retrieve. We also learned that the entire underclass had somehow been booted out of Jidoor and gone to the new town of Zozo, to the north. This struck me as somewhat hard to believe, not just from a logistical and economical perspective, but mainly because the Zozoites aren’t… normal, but let’s go with that. (more…)

Kingdom Hearts 2 – The Musical Mime

kh2-2016-05-09-03h45m00s932You head to Wildebeest Valley – the southeastern Kokori Village to Pride Rock’s Hyrule Castle – and find yourself at a deep gorge. Nala is able to leap this gorge easily, and wonders why you can’t do the same. “What’s wrong?” she asks, which is a good question, because this game has no fall damage. It turns out the reason you can’t cross the gorge is because you don’t know the Dash technique, which all lions apparently know. Nala fills you in, rounding out your controls considerably. Dash allows you to dart around the Pride Lands at incredible speeds, faster than Sora is at any other point in the series. Sora slides into turns and nearly skids to a stop, and I think it’s great fun, though it’s not fully fleshed out until you get one more technique later on.

Funnily enough, Dash actually allows you to grab every single Puzzle Piece in the Pride Lands, though the plot might get in the way for the time being. You’ll also be able to grab every Treasure Chest and Map. (If you’re having trouble using the Dash technique to get some puzzle pieces, you can attack in mid-air to buy additional air time.  Combo Master helps even more in FM+.) Given the limitations of your single form, I think I’m more willing to accept this than I might otherwise have been. Suffice to say, if you take a side trip back to the Elephant Graveyard at some later point, your journal is going to look pretty tidy by the time you’re done the world. (more…)