Month: June 2016

Final Fantasy VI – Watch and Wait

Passing over Doma Castle on our attempt to find our remaining party members, we decided to once again show Cyan around the tomb of his family and king. We’re the heroes. And despite our rather diligent effort to cause psychological harm across the entire duration of FFIV and TAY, it only now paid off when we (presumably) pushed a few old skeletons off of some beds and forced Cyan to sleep in their graves. I am only half-joking about this.


Kingdom Hearts 2 – The Gut Punch Heard Round the World!

Beast’s Castle, Revisited

As you arrive at Beast’s Castle, a cutscene with Belle implies that it’s the night of the famous ballroom dance scene from the film, and everyone is getting ready for Belle and Beast’s date. Into this dignified and meticulously planned affair marches Sir Clown Shoes of High Fives with his two court jesters, who are loudly shouting that there are no Heartless or Nobodies anywhere. Wow, I guess that means you’re breaking in again!


Kingdom Hearts 2 – It’s Big, It’s Heavy, It’s Wood

Land of the Dragons, Revisited

Land of the Dragons starts off with the trio walking in the mountain village. “I wonder how everyone’s doin’,” Goofy says. Which is why we landed here, as far away from “everyone” as possible!

Thankfully, the second loop rarely wastes your time, and the plot comes racing past only a moment later. One of the Organization members is here, and Mulan is chasing after him. She tells you the Org member has been spying on The Imperial City, rejoins the party, and off you go! What quick pacing! What game am I playing, here?


Final Fantasy VI – Painting and Midwifery

Still avoiding Celes’ requests, we went to the Coliseum to see how it worked. Ultros was working there as a receptionist, just as a goofy footnote. An imperial soldier there told us that he had told Locke to “talk to the emperor twice,” with that capitalization (as though implying he didn’t mean the capital-E “Emperor” of Vector), saying it would lead to some legendary treasure of the Emperor’s.


Kingdom Hearts 2 – Checkpoint and Save

Sora is completely exhausted as he and the others crawl out of the Great Maw. Together, they find Mickey and Xemnas facing off on a ledge overlooking Villain’s Vale. This is essentially the edge of the world as far as you need to be concerned – you cannot get any closer to Maleficent’s fortress. Hell, the manga essentially destroyed Villain’s Vale before Sora even arrives, and the plot didn’t change one bit!

As for Mickey and Xemnas, I can’t make up my mind: either Mickey and Xemnas have either been locked in a standoff for the past five minutes, or have just now caught up to one another after a long chase. Or maybe, you know, the developers forgot that any time passed at all. KH2 – like a lot of Square Enix RPGs, I could link any number of places in the Marathon – has trouble recognizing that gameplay is anything more than empty stuffing between narrative, and in this case the stuffing is so empty that it acts like it took up no space at all. 


Final Fantasy VI – Professor of Ichthyology

Trigger Warning: Suicide.

The post-apocalyptic world we now found ourselves in was known as “the World of Ruin,” in contrast to the “World of Balance” from before. The skies and seas were now red. “It’s blood,” Kyle said about the ocean, utterly nonchalant. We zoomed in at a small, desert island in one corner of the map, where we learned that Cid had rescued Celes. He still had his banana costume, of course, let’s not take this apocalypse too far. Celes woke up, and Cid announced she had been in a coma for an entire year. Cid said he awoke to find the two of them there on the deserted island. The other survivors on the island had all committed suicide over time. Cid was not sure who else from the cast was alive.


Kingdom Hearts 2 – Tragedy, Clearly

Demyx collapses, his Arpeggio dissolving into water as he goes. At first he just seems a little let down, but rapidly comes to the realization that he is dying and starts screaming as he dissolves into water. It’s actually a little much, especially when Sora defiantly shouts out to the Organization to send another member to be killed. Yikes! Calm down, you little vampire! Killing Demyx rewards you with the Blizzara upgrade, alongside Donald’s Blizzard Boost ability.

The party is about to move off when Mickey finally catches up to them and stops them from going forward. And, ugh, now we’re here. I can’t think of any Kingdom Hearts fan that actually likes this scene. This whole world has been an up and down roller coaster with good Space Paranoids integration and bad melodrama and good slapstick comedy and bad plot twists and a good boss fight and a bad, bad, very bad scene we’re about to ugh look here we go.


Kingdom Hearts 2 – Boom

And as an explosion wracks the Bastion, we leave the tripe behind and come at last to one of the grandest moments in the franchise.

The foursome run out into the corridors to see what’s the matter, King Mickey getting ahead of you at some point. Once you’re in the halls, you find that Leon’s foreshadowing from your first visit has finally come paid in the noisiest manner possible: the Organization and Maleficent have sent their armies after one another, and the people of Hollow Bastion are caught in the middle. Maleficent and Pete are right here, in fact (maybe the Gullwings got her interested in what Leon was doing in Ansem’s office?), though Pete doesn’t stay long. As we watch, he decides that the Organization has the advantage even here at the start of the battle, and he flees. After his repeat failures, the fact that Maleficent keeps this bumbler around is rapidly becoming less a mark against him and more a mark against her.


Final Fantasy VI – Doom

Speaking of characters that make my skin crawl: Setzer, the man who forces himself on women by physically kidnapping them and then buying them things until they succumb to Stockholm Syndrome, informs us that the Imperials are heading to the Sealed Gate. Kyle added: “You can just call it ‘the gate’ now, I don’t think it’s sealed.” It was worse than he joked: as we approached, the continent split away. Gestahl and Kefka had found the Warring Triad and were commanding their magic. Also, there was Kefka laughing maniacally right beside the Emperor. How does Gestahl not realize he’s about to be killed?