At the top of Gaea’s Cliff, we got a dramatic revelation of what was waiting for us inside: a great magical whirlwind (presumably part of the Planet’s healing efforts) in the midst of a great crater. The party descended down the crater, and began to find the cloaked figures from earlier, which were beginning to die, most of which died on the spot (by the way, no sign of the two short ones here in any version!). Part-way through this section, I learn from RickyC’s playthrough that Tifa forces her way into the party if she’s not there already, having apparently crossed the Glacier and Cliffs on her own! Jeeze, Tifa, show us some of those wilderness survival skills when you’re actually in the party! Continuing on our way, we found the Neo Bahamut Materia just lying around (you can see what I meant in the tutorial about these loose pieces of Summon materia taking the piss out of high-level spells) and finally arrived at the tornado. (more…)
After those two short gimmick worlds, it’s time to douse our heads in cold water and wake up again, because it’s back to a proper-gantusized world in the form of Deep Space. That said, it’s sure to confuse the average player, because for the first and only time, Ventus is going to end a Disney story instead of start or continue one. Let’s get started. Urm… finished?
The world of Deep Space, which is technically neither a world (as in “planet”) nor open space, actually starts out in open space! Specifically, it starts in the Lanes Between, where Ventus is attacked by an Unversed boss while on his Keyblade glider! This is the Metamorphosis, yet another cnidarian-looking Unversed to compliment the Jellyshades. This leads to a battle in the Lanes, where you learn that each character actually has a full set of Keyblade Glider combat controls used exclusively here in Deep Space. Or rather, exclusively here and in one other room of Deep Space, but hold that thought until the next storyline, as Ven can’t go to that room. (more…)
As you’ll recall, when I came to Disney Town I said that it had an identical Battle Lv to another existing world, that being this one. Curiously, Ven actually arrives at this world before his friends, for the first time since the Castle of Dreams, though it’s a close shave for reasons I’ll explain when we come back here with Terra. (more…)
Disc 2 starts exactly where Disc 1 ended, outside the inn in the Cetra ruins. Through his connection to Sephiroth, Cloud deduces that Sephiroth left the ruins to the northeast. After leaving town, you have to navigate a nasty, over-complicated room and then a room where you climb inside cracks in the wall to find your way to the top of a cliff. We complained to one another that the game only allowed you to come at each section from one direction, but otherwise it wasn’t that bad.
During this section, Cloud got hit by a Mini spell, and then a monster ate him. We rescued him by pummelling and shooting the creature. That’s how it works right? You free a swallowed comrade by filling them with holes? (more…)
The second loop of worlds actually opens with two worlds at identical Battle Lvs, but I imagine most players will go to the world that’s closest to Radiant Garden, which turns out to be that Disney Town place we’ve heard so much about. This is also the first world in the second set on the official timeline, so I have no reservations about going with this order. (more…)
Now that we’ve finished up the game’s half-time show, let’s wind things back a bit before we get too far ahead. After clearing out the first world of each characters’ story, you unlock both the other worlds in the first loop at the same time, one at a lower challenge level than the other. However, you also unlock a third world up in the top-left corner, which offers a far more complicated experience. First off: for anyone actually looking at the new world after their first world, you don’t want to go there quite yet. Trust me on this: start some other world from the first loop, talk to the first Moogle hologram you see, and buy Cure. Now go to the weird world. (more…)
Cloud wakes up in what turns out to be Gongaga of all places, where he learns that Aeris really has vanished. Once Cloud tells them where he thinks she’s gone based on his dream, everyone wants to rush off to help her, with Cloud being the only dissenting vote. Naturally, he’s afraid of going near Sephiroth at this point, lest he do something horrible again. This is fair, though I note that he never mentions – and so no one respects – Aeris’ request that she be left alone. Barret and Tifa ultimately talk Cloud back to his feet, and off we went.
While we were on our way to the next part of the plot (or possibly here in Gongaga) an NPCs described Sephiroth as a figure in a black cape, as characters had been doing this entire game. Kyle remarked: “There’s got to be someone else out here who has a black cape and has the worst rep ever.” (more…)
After the Trinity Armour, you enter one of the game’s most frustrating cutscenes, not necessarily because of any content issues (although… yes), but because you’ll probably watch it three times, desperately searching for any details that change between views. I’ll spare you the worry: once you’ve seen this scene with Aqua or Ven, you’ve seen the whole scene. Even Terra only misses a few seconds at the end.
The trio come to chat, and before anyone else can say anything, Ven remembers the passes to Disney Town, and hands one out to each of his friends. It’s only then that he realizes what Scrooge said earlier: “He said to take two grown-ups.” It’s probably my favourite delivery in the franchise, Jessie nailed the realization, disappointment and irritation. But would you believe this isn’t the original punchline? I’ve heard that the original joke wasn’t “to take two grown-ups,” but “to take your parents.” No wonder Aqua replies, “You mean… us?” before laughing. (more…)
Back to the narrative. Ven climbs through a scenic garden packed with Unversed until he arrives at the steps below the building that will one day become the Hollow Bastion. It’s easy to miss, but if you look to the “door” you just left, you’ll see that Ven just followed a twisting mountain path off-screen, an impressive, cartoon-styled detail that goes easily overlooked! Another easily overlooked detail is the fact that there’s a staircase between the Bastion and the town square you used to enter, but it’s been closed off and is never opened! Keep that staircase in mind because we’re going to bring it back up when we get to Aqua’s trip to this same world. (more…)
Once at the Temple of the Ancients (a giant pyramid of sorts), Aeris insists on joining the party. I don’t remember specifically why, because I was the one playing and wasn’t taking notes as a consequence, but she must have insisted, because I can’t think of any reason Kyle and I would have allowed that after spending the entire game since Midgar ignoring her and Red XIII, leaving both of them at the minimum possible level. Once at the temple gates, Aeris collapsed and seemed to begin talking to the ghosts of her ancestors. As Aeris recovered, one of the cloaked figures walked out, muttering about Black Materia, before he dissolved in a flash of light that seemed to raise him into the sky.
Inside the Temple, we immediately came to a dead end in some sort of altar room, where we found Tseng, horribly wounded and lying against the altar. He told us that Sephiroth was inside, and that he wasn’t looking for the Promised Land after all. Instead of explaining more, he offered us the Keystone and told us to look for ourselves. Aeris had an angry reaction to this, but I can’t quite say why. Tseng says, “Sephiroth isn’t looking for the Promised Land,” to which Aeris replies “You’re wrong. The Promised Land isn’t like what you imagined,” which is a perfectly fine bit of information, but also clearly doesn’t connect to Tseng’s dialogue. I can only assume that one line or both was mistranslated (Tseng’s, probably), leaving the scene essentially impenetrable. (more…)