long as there's console gaming, there's probably going to be Final Fantasy.
And with each subsequent release will come loud grumbles from fans of
the other games, proudly declaring "MY Final Fantasy did it better!"
This is mostly from the fact that the only thing any of these games
has in common with the next are titles and certain character names,
spells, etc. It's a little ironic that Biggs and Wedge, names usually
given to throwaway helpers or soldiers have had more longevity than
any of the heroes excluding Cid. There's always a Cid, and he's always
involved with the airships or hight echnology somehow. Hell, Cid Highwind
from FFVII shows up in Kingdom Hearts to help with the stupid Gummi
not enough that each game creates its own world with no regard to the
continuity of others (shut up if you want to bring up King Cid the Ninth
in FFIX or Gilgamesh in VIII seeming to have collected famous/infamous
weapons throughout the series. They're just jokes Square put in there
to reward the insanely patient people who play all their games.) It
seems since Playstation adopted the series, they see fit to completely
retool the system with each release.
Fantasy VIII (or 8 if you can't read Roman numerals and think I previously
alluded to Final Fantasy 'icks') was probably doomed with the enormous
hype awaiting it. It's also a pretty good example of an attempt to sell
a game on appearances alone. The TV commercials, playing choral music
over FMV sequences of MOTORCYCLE BEING SHOT IN THE AIR, carefully avoided
showing scenes of say, Squall walking, or any actual in game combat.
game system recieved a vast overhaul, which never made sense to me since
FF7 players probably averaged around 60 hours of game time. You get
used to the controls, equipping and unequipping Materia, etc. The menu
systems in FFVIII were seemingly simplified and complicated at the same
time. No more equipping weapons or armor; your character basically comes
to you on an as-is basis. I guess this was done to justify the fact
that in most RPGs, no matter how much armor you throw on a character,
they always look the same. (If you paid attention in FFVII, they sort
of did that by making all of the 'armor' just bracelets and bangles.)
Weapons aren't bought, they just get upgraded with random crap your
character finds after battles. Yes, by taking some screws, a metal pipe,
fish fins and a chef's knife to a shop, the man will kindly rebuild
it into a new weapon.
became a pain in the ass. They eliminated the hallowed tradition of
allotting MP to characters and made it so you must 'draw' spells from
enemies for casting/junctioning. Yes, in order to make yourself more
powerful, you have to amble around, wait for a random encounter monster
to assault you, then put it to sleep or something while selecting the
'draw' command endlessly. Once you stock 100 of a given spell, you can
junction it so that spell will no longer hurt you as much. Or absorb,
but I think that's for higher level spells. Of course, to use magic
in the first place, you need.... drumroll please... a GF.
not the AOL shorthand for 'girlfriend.' Not that the average FF fan
would know how to get one. (ZING!) Guardian Force. Also known as 'scenery-chewing
summon monsters,' you must junction a GF in order to do, well, anything.
You can't even use items, which strikes me as a bit much. Without a
GF, your characters are usually about half as strong and unable to use
any command but 'attack.' Yes, apparently without a guardian demon circling
their head in another plane at all times, our heroes have no idea how
to reach into their own pockets for a life-restoring potion.
onto the game itself. Spoilers abound, so if you intend to play a four
year old PlayStation 1 RPG with a tarnished reputation for giving people
dry heaves, you're warned.
game opens with a shot of the ocean, then suddenly the camera starts
tracking like mad, across fields and mountains and Wal-Marts. All the
while, the Latin (actual Latin, not 'fruity dance music' Latin) chorus
chants out random Latin words. Ghostlike, cryptic messages flit in and
out of the screen like a bad Evangelion episode. "I'll be 'waiting...'
...here... so..." Suddenly, they cut to Rinoa in a field of flowers,
petal and/or feather fluttering about at random. "Tornado Alley
is such a fun place to play!" she seems to say. Then, a spinning
gunblade falls from the sky with an nice, thick CHUNK sound. Squall
fights with Seifer, whose dirty fighting and asshole smirk cause Squall
irrepable facial damage and cause the screen to overlay some ghostly
clips from future FMVs on the picture. Finally, with a last desparate
come in a shower of sparks and yet more feathers, Squall runs his friggin'
gunblade right across Seifer's face! Then everything gets kind of fuzzy
and Squall ends up hugging Rinoa for whatever reason.
waking up in the Balamb Garden infirmary with a nasty-yet-trendy scar
between his eyes, Squall glimpses another dark haired mystery girl who
mutters something cryptic. There are a lot of dark haired girls in this
game, and most of them are prone to cryptic muttering. Since he's late
for some test or exam or something, his instructor-slash-first possible
love interest Quistis Trepe assumes he doesn't know anything else about
the game and begins a thirty minute sermon on how to use the aformentioned
menu system. Exiting Garden, they make their way through the Fire Cave
to do Squall's homework: Capturing a wild GF. Beats trig, I guess. The
Chinese guys at the opening to the cave ask how much time you want to
accomplish this task. Your first time through, pick 40 minutes thinking,
"Oh boy, this must be hard!" Then kick yourself when you make
it through the whole course in seven.
this comes Squall's other final exam, I guess. To become one of the
elite SeeD mercenaries (his lifelong goal for a never-specified reason),
they must partake in an actual battlefield mission. Partnered with Seifer
and the hyperactive, tatooed, and extremely annoying Zell Dincht, they
take part in a beachhead operation at some city called Dollet. Galdbadian
(You know they're the enemy because they have the word "BAD"
in the name of their country) soldiers are laying siege to the town
so they can repair and turn on an ancient radio station and beam their
favorite oldies to troops stationed at the four corners of the world.
Seifer disobeys orders and drags the others to the station. As he runs
into the place flailing like a retard and exclaiming, "One of these
days, I'm gonna tell you 'bout my ROMANTIC dream!", the next member
of the party, Selphie "Perky-Pants" Tilmitt appears. Just
in time to fill the third party member gap, you think.
the tower, a boss battle ensues, then as Squall and company flee the
area, a huge mechanical spider chases them down the mountain and through
town. Just as it's about to kill Squall, Quistis fires the shipboard
machineguns into the thing's friggin' face. And the game continues.
and Zell are officially SeeDs. I assume this is good. Headmaster Cid,
who alternates between looking like Ben Franklin and Robin Williams,
congratulates all of the new recruits by whispering in their ears. I
especially like his words of encouragement to the dark-haired NPC- "Try
your best, even if you don't stand out." And finally, as he congratulates
Squall, he says, "Finally... a gunblade specialist." Apparently,
SeeD already has members skilled in the use of the rest of the spectrum
of useless combination weapons. Like the spork.
of being outwardly vengeful, Seifer applauds his rival's promotion while
plotting to turn evil by the end of the first disc. Then there's a dance.
Rinoa, in a sort of slutty flesh-tone slip/dress grabs Squall and leads
him through a ballroom dancing FMV. She leaves him after spotting whoever
it was she was looking for, and Squall goes out to the balcony to brood.
follows him out and invites him to the hidden makeout spot in the training
center. Either being very naive, dense, or just lacking in libido, it
takes about another fifteen minutes of Quistis speaking to convince
him to go. Fortunately she just wants to half confess her true love
for him and tell him that she's being fired from her teaching position
for some arbitrary reason. Squall doesn't pick up the former, and doesn't
care about the latter, so he leaves her depressed.
gang's first official mission as SeeDs puts them into the mitts of the
Timber Owls group. On the trans-atlantic train ride over, the party
falls asleep from sheer boredom and dreams about a somewhat interesting
character named Laguna, and his sidekicks Kiros and Ward. The trio of
Galbadian soldiers run through the woods fighting random encounters
after apparently getting separated from the main battle force. Rather
than reporting in or anything, they of course hop into their RV and
speed off to a bar in town. See, Laguna has a crush on this piano player
Julia, who keeps playing the same song we keep hearing throughout the
game on her piano. As he works up the courage to speak to her, he develops
or fakes a severe leg cramp and has to sit back down. Afterwards, she
invites him up to her room for intermitable dialogue and to confess
she had a thing for him too. Finally, Squall and the others awaken.
Selphie thinks Laguna was cute and funny. Squall is horrified. "I
dreamt I was a moron."
guess who's there? Rinoa. You wake her up in her room, which causes
her to explain her dog's super powers. After a semi-comical scene explaining
their plan to hijack the President of Galbadia's train, they set about
doing so. Unfortunately, they accidentally stole the Mayor of Raccoon
City's passenger car instead of the President's, so they fight a pointless
battle with a zombie, who begins with the infamous quote, "My butt
hurts from all this sitting... yOUng LAdy..." This boss encounter
can go one of two ways: exceedingly hard as it flings status effects
galore at you while hitting like a ton of rocks, or you can feed it
a Phoenix Down to unkill the undead beast in one turn.
then that we learn the the contract Rinoa made with Garden lasts until
the liberation of Timber. "How vague."
in Timber itself, we find Timber Maniacs, an amatuer publishing company
that ties in uselessly with the background story. Whee! It seems that
the radio tower from earlier in the game is going to be used by Galbadia
to broadcast something. Rinoa has her pet SeeDs come with her to the
TV station. Though Galbadia's declaration of whatever doesn't get off
the ground, it proves to be good viewing anyway when Seifer takes the
President hostage on live TV. Heroes, rush to the rescue! Retarded Zell
blurts out that they were sent by Garden. Make a mental note of that.
Then, the Witch/Sorceress herself, Edea appears and belittles Seifer.
Since he's such a hothead, he naturally immediately goes along with
this random person who made fun of him. (I know it doesn't make sense.
Humor me, humor Square.)
seen assaulting the dictator of a large, powerful, warlike nation on
worldwide television means Squall and the others need to lie low for
a while. They do so at Galbadia's Garden following another Laguna hallucination
scene. Of course, about ten minutes later, they are given a new, even
stupider assignment: Pick off the Sorceress with a sniper rifle during
a parade. Naturally, they all can't wait to go along with it. So, it's
off to Deling City, where Laguna and pals were earlier. (SEE, SEE? IT
MAKES SENSE. IT'S A GOOD STORY.) But wait, they need a sniper. Enter
Irvine Kinneas. He's a cowboy who thinks he has a way with guns and
women. Take a moment to ponder why none of these people ever wear their
SeeD uniforms past the first hour of the game as he saunters by in his
cowboy and and coat. Assuming Selphie's odd full-body tube top didn't
have you wondering already.
arrive at General Caraway's mansion in Deling City only to be sent on
a side quest by the guard. You're supposed to retrieve the student I.D.
number of a SeeD he sent to the stupid tomb, presumably to look for
the I.D. number of one sent to the tomb before that. Inside the Tomb
of the Unknown King, you also get the chance to recruit a new comic
relief GF and battle mutant armadillos. With that done, you meet General
Caraway, who is- SUPRISE! Rinoa's dad. He literally walks you
through the assasination plan, and walks back home. As they prepare
at the mansion, he refuses to let Rinoa go. Quistis feels sorry for
something she said at some point when I was mashing the X button to
get through all the dialogue, and return to the mansion after ditching
her post at the gates. And somehow, she manages to get herself as well
as Zell and Selphie stuck in a time-locked room right as Rinoa runs
out. Whee! It's kind of ironic in a stupid kind of way.
offers Edea a power sealing magic bracelet, and is rewarded with telekinetic
gut punching and mind control. Meanwhile, as Squall and Irvine take
their places in the crowd, Quistis's group navigates the sewer system
and ends up in the exact building they were supposed to be in. How lucky.
Edea begins her speech to the people about their utter idiocy, and they
cheer her on the whole time. And when she sets the President on fire,
she's met with uprorious applause. So, either Edea is very charismatic,
or Galbadians are genetically retarded. She then brings a pair of gargoyles
to life and sics them on a dazed Rinoa. Squall pretends not to care,
then Irvine goads him into helping. As they make their way through the
crowd, guess who is at Edea's side on the homecoming float? Seifer!
battle ensues, of course. Quistis drops the gate and traps Edea, opening
up Irvine's shot, at which point he turns wuss and can't fire. After
some persuasion, he takes the shot, which is deflected harmlessly, thwarting
the tension. Squall then moves out to finish the job by jumping off
the tower onto a soldier, stealing a car, and smashing through the gate.
He duels Seifer, then the Sorceress. At the battle's end, however, she
charges up and throws a spike of ice through his chest.
...and the peasants rejoice.