final fantasy 6

Final Fantasy Marathon Look-Back, Part 1

Since we wrapped up the FFVI Journal last week, we decided to take the opportunity to do a celebration here at Marathon Recaps and look back over the past two eras of Final Fantasy: the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. And it won’t just be me because, for the first time you’ll be hearing Kyle’s thoughts directly from the source! With many of these games, it’s been years since we last played them, and we wondered if a good look back might have changed out opinions. So here’s the plan: this week, Kyle and I will alternate talking about each game, giving some time-aged insight into each. Next week, we’ll be back with two Top 5 lists each: our Top 5 Worst and Top 5 Best Moments in the Marathon! Be sure to be back for that!

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Final Fantasy VI – Check, Check, Check, Check and Check

We began our final dungeon spelunk with Celes’ party, which found itself inside of what had once been the prison in Vector, where Kekfa had been held “prisoner” by the Emperor as part of the peace conference. In his place was the Ultima Buster, a machine incarnation of Ultima Weapon (you could see the gears) that believed it was Ultima itself. If Locke had been in party 2, we would have been able to Steal the Blood Sword from Ultima Buster, which was hilarious given our history with Ultima Weapon in Soul of Rebirth. While Ultima Buster could cast Ultima after a time, he did not live that long. Killing him got us a Save Point and Strago learned Tsunami off him. This isn’t the exclusive Lore I mentioned earlier, but it was very helpful.

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Final Fantasy VI – Armed and Ready

Before we returned to FFVI for our final session, Kyle did some grinding, encountering something entirely by accident. Normally we avoid encountering bosses or story content when we aren’t together, but Kyle accidentally did his grinding near the home of the new-to-the-GBA Esper Cactuar, and accidentally acquired it. The Cactuar is a Final Fantasy staple designed after the Japanese Haniwa figure (you might recall me mentioning the Haniwa towards the end of the FFLII journal). They were first included in FFVI and this Esper seems to have been added to celebrate that, earned by defeating a “Gigantuar” after fighting enough of the smaller ones. Besides their iconic “jogging” appearance, the Cactuar are known for their special attack, 1000 Needles, which does exactly 1000 damage every time, which can be devastating or a joke, depending on the condition of your party. The Cactuar Magicite taught Hastega, which more than justified its inclusion in the party.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Final Fantasy VI – The Automatic Power of Treachery

At port, Leo revealed that “another Imperial General and a man I hired in town” would be joining the expedition. Kyle and I sat there guessing and were promptly rewarded: he was referring to Celes (of course) and Shadow (nailed it). Shadow was happy to announce that he worked for the Empire, but not to kill us (“…I think,” Kyle added). Celes, however, was awkward and fled the scene, not saying a word. Taking a rest at the inn while Leo made preparations, Locke went out to find Celes and did so not far from the inn, but she still refused to speak to him as he tried to “still be friends” despite his “moment” of distrust. Sure Locke. “Moment.”

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

With 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, and we also ran into an invisible Behemoth called an “Intangir” at “Triangle Island” in the northeast. The Intangir killed us with Meteor in response to our trying to Summon something. Okay, maybe there were other reasons Kyle and I never tried to Summon after a certain point.

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Final Fantasy VI – Bring on the magic

Luckily, 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!

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