Tag Archives: bahamut

World of Final Fantasy Part 07

Chapter 20: Good Job Breaking It, Twins
Initial Stream: 10/27/20



00:00 – Tonight’s stream features guest commentator Rosella, who once joined me on a journey of looking at Persona 5 from a particular kind of critical perspective. We’re going to be less critical of Funko Fantasy.

Oh, also fanboymaster has an apology for any Family Matters enthusiasts in the audience.

Also, between updates, I ventured around some of the older dungeons to find their hidden, stronger monsters. It was 95% backtracking, and roughly 4% interesting content (the other 1% was a pair of cactuar I’m genuinely sad wasn’t on the stream), so you didn’t miss anything. The final result is that there are a lot more ignored mirages sitting in my monster box. The only relevant one seems to be the Phoenix that has joined my party, so that prompts a conversation about the upcoming Final Fantasy 16.

10:00 – Technically this update is starting from the very tail end of the previous chapter. We beat the first boss of that prior chapter (Tiamat! And a bull!) while fanboymaster describes Babel II.

21:00 – Finally done with the second boss, Kraken and eyeball, so now the new chapter officially begins. Feel free to log how little gameplay is actually in this chapter.

26:00 – A boss fight against Not-Garland, who will not-knock us all down. And, inexplicably, we all have stories about Squall’s Griever.

33:00 – Here is formally where all hell breaks loose in the World of Final Fantasy plot. This, naturally, prompts some discussion on Kingdom Hearts versus World of Final Fantasy. Did WoFF establish its characters enough to support this swerve? Did Kingdom Hearts?

38:33 – Can you identify this silhouette?



Tidus stops it from being officially summoned into this world, but if you recognized our guest villain, here’s your congratulatory image:


45:00 – Final Fantasy 8 is discussed while the heroes regroup and review exactly how they all started to hang out. If you needed some backstory on why Lightning suddenly knows Cloud, here you go.

48:00 – Technically gameplay resumes for the first time since…. What, 26:00? This is reminding me of another Let’s Play… Meanwhile, we unanimously agree we would like to go to the moon.

58:00 – Unfortunately, gameplay doesn’t last long. Hauyn and Tama both host cutscenes that are simultaneously long and not every informative.

1:01:00 – Towards the end here, just letting BEAT know that I did fulfill that request. This chapter putters out after more discussion over what the hell is happening. If you need more information on that…

What actually happened in the plot: After defeating a fiend or four, the twins open a crazy big door (not the Ultima Gate, that’s coming up), and defeat Brandelis, King of Bahamutian Army, in an area that looks like Heaven. The Masked Woman that appeared last chapter says to open the Ultima Gate, which inspires some weird flashbacks in the kids. Masked Woman unmasks, and turns out to be the twins’ (kinda adopted) sister Hauyn (aka Wyn). No, she wasn’t established in the plot previously, but just roll with it. The twins, trusting in Wyn, open the gate, and they free from a magical box… Wyn? Another Wyn? “Masked” Wyn turns out to have been Knight in the Golden Mask the whole time, and it was always the villainous generals (including the obviously not defeated Brandelis) leading the heroes to open the gate.

So all of “heaven” is revealed to be an evil arena (or something), and the four summoners that had been kidnapped (Rydia, Eiko, Yuna, Terra) are being tortured to hold the gate open. The bad guys are identified as the Order of the Circle (also never mentioned before). The Order of the Circle were apparently conquering the world for (sacrificial) giggles, and their true goal was summoning the Cogna, machine creatures from another dimension. And they’ve succeeded, as Cogna stream through the gate to invade the world. Looks like they are cyber-izing the planet, and resistance is futile. The Champions (FF heroes) rescue the summoners, though, shutting the gate. The villains escape, and the world is overrun with Cogna that already made it through. The heroes make it out thanks to Quistis in an airship, and they swing by Balamb Garden, which flies in the sky in this world. It is assumed that the Cogna were released so the generals could conquer the world (more?), and Reynn is afraid they accidentally released the bad guys when they were collecting the keys. Which they kinda did. Go back and check, there were ominous cutscenes and everything.

Mascot Creature Tama is freaking out about the whole thing, but the twins talk him down. Tama elaborates on the Exnine Knights maybe being The Order of the Circle, and, whatever, they’re bad. Maybe Enna Kros, the “god lady” tried to make this happen by setting the adventure in motion? Wyn seems to blame the twins for something, but literally states she will not help (or explain a damn thing) while the twins have their selective amnesia. Rorrik, the twins’ dad, is mentioned by Wyn for the first time, though. Wyn has a magic dagger, Siren the Summon, and a will to save the twins’ parents, so she’s going to peace out and save the world herself. And then we get an airship.

Chapter 21-1: Chapters of the Chosen
Initial Stream: 10/27/20



1:36 – Yes, we are playing this game on the 5 year anniversary of the international release. Can we talk about Final Fantasy 10-2, though? Let’s do that. It seems to be influencing my chapter titling, at least.

5:00 – We’ve got choices! There are five separate stories that all have to be sorted. Starting in Besaid, we fight Einhänder. Yes, that Einhänder. I apparently, impossibly kill it with a Blitzball in one hit during the ensuing minigame. This was not the result of cheating or raw skill, it was just pure, unfiltered luck.

11:00 –


14:00 – The Lute of Ragnarok is some manner of giant laser sword. This is the most helpful/apocalyptic Final Fantasy 1 reference I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t figured it out, this section of the game is a series of disparate minigames. Lightning has to play something like a rhythm game (minus the rhythm).

24:00 – Callback to BEAT’s favorite Cactuar Battle becomes a super random minigame. I looked up more information on this minigame afterwards, and, yep, it’s just totally random. Let’s talk about developing games for various Playstations while we punch a precious cactuar.

34:00 – Talking about some manner of Vee-ta game system opposite Edgar flirting with Terra. Then it’s time for battleship.

43:00 – Rosella understands this minigame a lot better than I do, and here’s where we start working together to finally conquer it while BEAT and fanboymaster play other games out of boredom. This officially makes Rosella the most useful person that has ever been on the stream. She might not provide 70,000 references to Adult Swim, but her assistance in conquering robots is invaluable.

49:30 – And our reward is a simple battle. What the heck, World of Final Fantasy?

What actually happened in the plot: Serafie, our fairy friend, finds “gossip” all over the world. Apparently the cogna are attacking everywhere at once, so the twins go to The Girl Who Forgot Her Name, who exists outside time, so they can help the Final Fantasy characters simultaneously. The Five Cogna Lords are attacking five distinct locations/hero squads. Shantotto, Yuna, and Tidus defend Besaid against Einhänder. With the help of a blitzball, they succeed, and Shantotto captures Einhänder for study. Warrior of Light, Princess Saria, and Eiko defend Corneria while Lightning recruits Ramuh to help in fighting Omega Weapon. Cid, Celes, and Squall fight Phantom Train and War Machine thanks to assistance from Cactuar Conductor (whom Reynn finally got to punch). Edgar, Vivi, Shelke, and Terra defend Figaro against wheelers.

Chapter 21-2: Cogna Line
Initial Stream: 10/27/20


00:00 – Picking up exactly where the last one left off, time to kill robots and insult Picross.

1:36 –


7:30 – fanboymaster again makes his feelings on Final Fantasy 6 known (see other streams for more information), and Wheels obliterates the chat in retaliation. Sorry, Wheels.

11:00 – We’ve completed the five cogna fights… and BEAT rages into his own death. Sorry! He’s dead now.

13:00 – We can advance the plot now, but since BEAT is dead, we’re going to just futz around with some optional content. Let’s see the airship content. It’s… basically just a few monsters hiding around the map. We can’t even land this airship anywhere!

20:00 – Rosella tells an amazing story about virtual reality, virtual skeevers, and actual dogs. All I’m doing is fighting dumb monsters.

30:00 – Despite the fact that other streamers need food badly, we try a few optional scenario things. Let’s check in on Chocobo times. Chocolatte and Bartz team up!

34:00 – Gigglemesh.


That is all.

36:00 – People have been kidnapped, chocobos have been kidnapped, let’s close this out with a mecha chocobo.

What actually happened in the plot: Tifa, Cloud, and Rydia fight Supraltima Weapon, which has absurd HP. After all five Cogna Lord locations have been saved, Quistis found the bad guys at the end of the chains connected to various towns. We need to hit a conquered town’s church to advance. Elsewhen: Bartz and Chocolatte save chocobos from black chocobos and robot chocobos. It was pleasant.

Next time on World of Final Fantasy: We need an intervention or twenty.

World of Final Fantasy Part 06

Chapter 18: March of the Tsundere
Initial Stream: 10/20/20

-3:00:00 – Eagle-eyed viewers may notice a different setup for our heroes’ stacks and timer and such. The reason? I spent about three hours battling through the coliseum to see if anything interesting was there. Was there? Nope! Only “plot” that happened was that Shiva and Ifrit revealed their opposite sex counterparts are out wreaking havoc somewhere in the world. That’s it! Other than that, it was just three hours of fighting the same monsters that have been seen elsewhere. I did add Gilgamesh to the team, though.

8:00 – Anyway, back to actually playing the game on video. Let’s talk about when World of Final Fantasy actually tries to be visually inventive before we board the Galaxy Express.

13:00 – Welcome to Not Really Besaid. Way to merge one of the most unique places in the Final Fantasy franchise (at least for Final Fantasy, those dudes rarely get to stop by a tropical paradise) with one of the most generic towns from OG Final Fantasy.

20:00 – Shantotto is here from Final Fantasy 11. Anyone with MMORPG experience want to fill in the blanks on what we don’t know about this character? Which is everything? I mean, we know she rhymes, and she’s already funko-sized in her original appearance, but if it ain’t in Dissidia, we’re out of ideas on her.

24:00 – Thank you, Shantotto, for being responsible for our fourth mandatory death. Let’s go drown.

30:00 – Tidus arrives, tosses us into the ocean, swims with us for a little bit, and then leaves. Class act, all the way. Let’s hit the real dungeon for this update.

43:00 – This is a long dungeon (and we haven’t seen anything yet) so fanboymaster explains Assassin’s Creed’s overarching plot. It is bonkers, and I recommend it. But to talk about the dungeon for a moment: many of the World of Final Fantasy dungeons have been pretty damn boring, with their usual “two branches, one has rewards, one doesn’t” structure and graphically nice, but conceptually mundane landscapes (the world doesn’t need another volcano or generic mountain dungeon). That said, this underwater dungeon with walls that can be scaled and “twisting” geography is pretty neat!… but the layout doesn’t really ever do anything with it. This and the Train Graveyard from the last update are pretty cool, but I guess we’re just not going to get a remarkable dungeon arrangement out of World of Final Fantasy.

53:00 – Final Fantasy’s Zoids return as our first murkrift victory. Spoilers: I’m going to go destroy all the other murkrifts throughout the other dungeons between updates this time. Not spoilers: They’re just as boring and irrelevant as the coliseum battles.

1:00:00 – Gearing up for the boss, talking about Johnny Cage’s terrible website, and then it’s time for the tsundere penguin queen. Looking it up afterwards, apparently the Quacho penguin creatures are based on Pavlov from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King. So, yes, the featured characters from this chapter originate from a side character from a game that is so obscure, you can’t even buy it anymore, anywhere. I don’t know if I should be insulted or impressed by that kind of deep cut.

1:13:00 – Tonberry King! He’s so regal… and is that the point? Check out Tiny Gilgamesh using his best sword for the job.

And we end shortly thereafter because this chapter is long as hell. There are technically a few minutes left in this chapter, but they flow better into Chapter 19’s revelations. If you’ve come this far, you’re going to watch that anyway!

What actually happened in the plot: In an effort to find the final, water-themed key, the twins sought out Shantotto, who “cursed” them with the ability to breathe underwater. Tidus then guided the gang to an undersea temple, where Lann and Reynn eventually encountered the Quacho Queen. She had the key, but emphasis on “had”, as the local tonberry gang stole it. However, our party defeats the Tonberry King, reclaims the key, and bids the underwater world adieu. Also, it looks like some gigantic, clawed monster awoke underwater while no one was looking.

Chapter 19: Deadly Tower
Initial Stream: 10/20/20


00:00 – Starting off exactly where the previous chapter ended with talk of Outlaw Star, anime censorship, and maybe some gundams.

2:17 – Yuna becomes our first “returning” Final Funko cameo, and she is immediately kidnapped for her dedication. And then the four elemental keys we’ve been collecting unlock a crystal staircase. Stuff is happening! Don’t get used to it!

4:00 – The chapter for-real begins. Did I need to cut the other one early for the sake of four minutes? Whatever, let’s discuss Final Fantasy plot swerves. World of Final Fantasy is living up to its legacy, and, in that department, it’s only going to escalate.

8:14 – An ominous tower is growing out of a weird replication of Nine Wood Hills. And we’ve got Terra! Hey, this is a Final Fantasy Cameo fight that isn’t a mandatory loss! Also: Maduin visually sucks, and always has. Hang your entire backstory on a more exciting esper, Final Fantasy 6!

14:30 – Our dungeon officially begins. It’s an endless crystal-esque tower that is just staircase after staircase. We get bored with this almost immediately, which is not great, as the remainder of this update is just the tower.

18:00 – It’s time to talk about Family Matters. This is now the Let’s Watch Family Matters LP.

25:00 –


35:00 – What 80’s TV show would you like to write for? Live action or animated? Give me something to talk about, World of Final Fantasy, and we’ll talk about you again.

50:00 – This is a long-ass dungeon. Please enjoy Scooby Doo discussion.

1:01:00 – I want to thank 2001-2010 Adult Swim for existing and apparently inspiring a great breadth of this stream.

1:04:00 – Okay, we’re at the top, break time. We’re going to save the final boss(es) of this area for the next update, because that dungeon was exhausting and life-draining. Check back next time for the thrilling conclusion (of this dungeon we all hate)!

What actually happened in the plot: After being cured of their “can breathe water” curse, Yuna finally tells everyone about the other summoners being kidnapped… before being kidnapped herself. Thanks for the exposition! The lead bad guy (who we technically haven’t seen, in, like, fifteen hours) ominously states “The two worlds will be joined again!” as the twins use the four keys to produce a crystal staircase. A Mysterious Masked Woman appears and claims the twins have to climb the Crystal Tower to find their mom. Reynn thinks something is up, something that is deeply meta, but Lann… doesn’t care? Whatever. The staircase leads to the Nonary Region, which appears to be a ruined version of Nine Wood Hills, the twins’ home dimension. Terra, riding Magitek Armor, says we must not proceed, and attacks with the assistance of Maduin. We knock her unconscious, and proceed. Terra is menaced by Man in the Golden Mask after the “heroes” leave, so now four summoners have been kidnapped (and two in just this update!). At the top of a giant tower, a big door sits, sealed by the four elements. Reynn somehow remembers the place… but doesn’t know how.

Next time on World of Final Fantasy: Robots ruin everything.

FGC #508 Chocobo Racing

Chocobo Racing is a time capsule buried by a company just before its own apocalypse.

Chocobo Racing was released by Square Co Ltd in in 1999. That’s Square, to be clear, not Square-Enix. This was before Square made its movie-based disastrous decisions and was gobbled up by its greatest competitor. In 1999, Square was riding high on practically defining a console generation with the likes of Final Fantasy 7 and whatever game came after Final Fantasy 7 (Tactics?). However, despite the tail end of the 20th Century being the glory days of Square, it rarely delved into full-on company cross overs. There might be a cameo here or there, but, by and large, Fei’s Gear wasn’t ever going to battle the blade of Mikado. Even the banner Final Fantasy franchise rarely allowed for a random encounter between Terra and Bartz. But a “silly” kart racing game? Hey, that might be a fine opportunity for the greatest stars in Square’s stable to strut their stuff. And who was chosen for Chocobo Racing? Well, let’s take a look.

The main birdChocobo is the gimme of this group. It’s Chocobo Racing! He’s the star of his own spin-off series! He’s arguably the most frequently recurring piece of Final Fantasy lore that isn’t a sword. He’s also rather well-suited to the whole racing thing, as “chocobo racing” has been an activity in more serious Final Fantasy titles that feature the occasional toyasaurus. The Chocobo that stars in Chocobo Racing is supposed to be a lovable dork that coincidentally winds up making the world a better place, so he’s an excellent bird to take center stage for this adventure/grand prix.

Mog!Similarly, we’ve got Mog the Moogle in the Mog-Mobile. Moogles have been a part of Final Fantasy since Final Fantasy 3, but they really got some focus in Final Fantasy 3… er… 6, when Mog the Moogle joined the party. And, because that Mog was a fast-talking, street-smart, SLAM-dancing moogle, the template for future moogles seemed to be solidified as cynical companions for naïve yellow birds. And that’s great! Everyone needs a sarcastic sidekick, and we’re all allowed to imagine this is the Mog that fought Kefka reborn in a universe where he only has to worry about Cid building an appropriately fine-ass scooter for his magical-ass deely bopper. Mog is fun, moogles are fun in the Final Fantasy franchise, this is all very fun for everybody.

SpookyAnd while we’re looking at icons for the Final Fantasy series, we’ve got Black Mage and White Mage. Chocobo Racing was released a little over a year before Final Fantasy 9, so this was just the cusp of the Black Mage Revolution that saw Vivi catapult his race to stardom. Unfortunately, this left White Mages puttering behind and barely attaining cameo status. It’s sad! White Mages and Black Mages used to be two sides of the same coin, the Tao of Final Fantasy, but then Vivi made one of those races about 1,000% more iconic, and that’s all she wrote. Or, one may suppose, he wrote, as this is another clear case of the boys becoming more iconic than the girls. Whatever the case, White Mages are still occasionally featured by Square Enix, but Black Mages are part of the Final Fantasy logo. It’s nice to remember a time when they were still equal, and the only race that mattered was chocobo racing.

Tanks a lotThe only other “story” human (or human-shaped entity) in Chocobo Racing is Cid. In this case, we’ve got a Cid that is completely unique to the Chocobo Racing Universe (it’s a thing!), and that’s just how Final Fantasy rolled back in the day. We didn’t see a repeat Cid until, what, Kingdom Hearts? And that Cid was playing second fiddle to a pair of chipmunks. A new Cid for every occasion was once a staple of the Final Fantasy Expanded Universe, and that had been a tradition going back to the birth of the chocobo. Cids are Final Fantasy! He is a helpful NPC that is unlockable if you decide to toss the dude a tank. This is the way it should be!

Go draggyBut wait! There is a Final Fantasy tradition older than Cid and chocobos! Bahamut is the big… uh… something of the game. He’s not a bad guy. But he’s… kind of an antagonist? He apparently broke up big bad magic because he didn’t think sentient life could deal with such an intimidating doomsday spell, but now he’s seen the error of his ways, because all anyone can do in his world now is race around on go karts. It’s a feel good story? Maybe? Look, what’s important is that Bahamut appears, he’s technically the Exdeath or Zeromous of the plot, but, since Chocobo lives in a gentle world, Bahamut’s surprise third act appearance primarily involves admitting he was wrong to be a misanthrope (or whatever mis-word is appropriate for a world that involves a fair number of sentient racers with wings). Bahamut is usually the arbiter of truth or at least a space-laser flinging dragon in Final Fantasy, and he appears often in the franchise (sometimes multiple ways per game), so this is a good role for the little (not little) dragon. He’s another Final Fantasy “cameo” that is Final Fantasy.

That dragon brings us to the bestiary reps. Can we admit that Final Fantasy didn’t really have an iconic collection of monsters until… Maybe Final Fantasy 5 or so? Case in point: Goblin. The Goblin of Chocobo Racing is meant to be a good Goblin thief that is basically Robin Hood/Locke Cole, but his general presence is a representation of Final Fantasy’s first random encounter. The Goblin (or Imp, if you’re stuck in OG USA Final Fantasy) is the first monster ever seen in Final Fantasy, and has appeared in many forms (and color swaps) across the franchise. They’re pretty straightforward low-level mooks, and their design (give or take that time they had wheels) is simple and screams “threatening, but you can take ‘em”. But are goblins an iconic part of Final Fantasy? Nope. Despite appearing as an early threat in so many classic Final Fantasy games, they never attained the popularity of Enix’s amazing level one encounter: the slime. Are Goblins too complicated? Not blue enough? Who knows why, but the humble Goblin is an extremely lackluster monster to represent Final Fantasy.

CRUSHAnd, while we’re at it, look at Golem. Here’s another one that has appeared in practically every Final Fantasy title, but is he ever remembered? There was one Golem that was kind of a jerk, kind of an ally in Final Fantasy 5, but when he came back around in Final Fantasy 6, he was an Esper that was little more than an auction house trinket. Other than that, he’s an opponent that is always just kind of there, but does little to make an impact in any way other than a few stone punches. This is, once again, a spot where Enix wins, and you wonder why rival Square would even attempt to evoke the occasionally sleeping giant that guarded a certain town in the original Dragon Quest.

GrowlAt this point, it might be easy to assume Square had zero iconic monsters in 1999. Not true! There was at least Behemoth, the big, bad purple horse-cow-bull thing. Maybe it’s an overgrown cat? Whatever. What’s important is that Behemoth was supposed to be in Final Fantasy 1 (he’s there in some promotional art), finally arrived for Final Fantasy 2 (gee, seems like a lot of Final Fantasy was established with the one game everybody hates), and then stuck around to be a memorable battle in nearly every Final Fantasy thereafter. And that’s the thing! Goblins ‘n Golems are forgettable because they barely ever even have a special move to toss at the party. The behemoth, though? Now there’s a fight you always remember. Whether you’re trying to unseal untold magics or rescue a ninja/painter from an undead monstrosity, behemoths leave an impression. It’s not about iconic design or overly inflated anime eyes, it’s about facing a brick wall of monster meat that is ready to murder your party at a moment’s notice. And later versions of behemoths in Final Fantasy gained friggin’ chainsaw swords, so this beast has staying power beyond any silly old rock piles.

DO NOT TOUCHBut for a fine time capsule of 1999 Square monsters, please look at the fact that one monster is a hidden character, and it’s Cactuar. Final Fantasy really did grow out of the old Dungeons & Dragons mold, and, likely thanks to its source material already being fairly worn in the early 80’s (possibly the early 1680’s), most of its monsters would be equally at home in Day Dreamin’ Davey. Around Final Fantasy 4 or so, though, the bestiary started growing more unique. By Final Fantasy 5, we had the tonberry. In Final Fantasy 6, we saw the cactuar. Soon these monsters would dominate Final Fantasy discourse (and maybe a few summons), and become creatures so iconic, they cameoed in Square’s most treasured Playstation 2 release, The Bouncer. But back in 1999, what was truly unique about Final Fantasy monsters was still in its infancy, so only Cactuar is represented, and only as a hidden “Easter Egg” that is not part of the main story. Such a thing would never happen in Chocobo Racing 2020 (coming never).

WhateverBut this was 1999, so we needed to feature the latest Final Fantasy luminaries. First up? Squall Leonhart, star of the recently released Final Fantasy 8. Final Fantasy 8 is featured more than any other single game in Chocobo Racing, as it gets not only a racer, but also a gunblade powerup and an entire track based on Deiling City (a location in FF8 that, unfortunately, does not at any point reveal itself to be a secret airship). This is clearly a case of Square trying to claim their latest Final Fantasy offering was as popular and iconic as the Final Fantasy that had been released in 1997, but it seems that Square wouldn’t learn that lesson until… what year did Final Fantasy 7 Remake come out? This one? Dang. That lesson took a while (and Dirges don’t count). People just want to see Cloud and his whaddyacallit sword, not this dork with a lion fetish! Stop trying to make Squall a thing, Square! His jacket is too fuzzy!

And double-plus-extra don’t try making Moombas a thing. They’re not moogles! Everybody would rather be playing as Red XIII anyway.

Let's moseySpeaking of, Cloud Strife is here. He’s got his signature motorcycle, but it’s not yet his motorcycle made out of swords. And, while it’s always nice to see the star of Final Fantasy Tactics and Ehrgeiz, Cloud doesn’t really bring anything additionally to the table. There’s no Midgar track, no Buster Sword powerup, or even so much as a FF7-style materia to be found. He’s just Cloud, and he feels more like a cute afterthought than a legitimate addition to the cast. 1999 was apparently a year Square was ready to acknowledge Final Fantasy 7, but was willing to move on. Vincent Valentine weeps.

NO COPSBut if you really want to cry, take a look at Aya Brea, star of Parasite Eve and Square’s only female cameo (and, assuming the creatures to be fairly androgynous, the only other woman on the roster apart from White Mage). This cameo is mostly… Well…You have to use your imagination. Squall and Cloud both have super-deformed, Chocobo World-appropriate versions of their traditionally serious, polygonal selves. Aya, meanwhile, gets a police car… and that’s it. She’s presumably in the police car, but if it was revealed Edie E. was the real driver in there, nobody would be surprised. So it’s nice that Parasite Eve got to cameo like the big boys from Final Fantasy, but it would be cool if someone put more than seven seconds into modeling a proper Aya. The poor gal just gets no respect.

Of course, Parasite Eve: Third Birthday happened eleven years later, so it’s not like this was the worst slight Aya would ever have to experience…

And that’s it for contemporary Square heroes and heroines. No representation from Tobal, Einhänder, or a certain brave fencer. But that’s because Square didn’t need to look to its bountiful present, it was content to fill out the rest of its bonus characters with protagonists from its past. Classic 8-bit Chocobo (complete with ancient chocobo sprite) is pretty much a shoo-in, as this is, ya know, Chocobo Racing. The S.S. Invincible of Final Fantasy 3 is similarly expected, as the ol’ airship is another Final Fantasy mainstay. The only issue is that a certain region wouldn’t recognize anything from Final Fantasy 3 for another decade or so, but an airship is an airship (don’t tell Cid I said that). And our final 8-bit star is Jack.

GO JACK GOOh, sorry. Don’t know Jack? He’s from 3-D WorldRunner aka The 3-D Battles of WorldRunner. In the grand scheme of things, the game was little more than a Space Harrier-esque shoot ‘em up for the NES. It was very technically impressive for its time, and included some landmark 3-D finagling on a system that was not meant for any more dimensions than two. But it isn’t exactly Super Mario Bros. 3, so you’d be forgiven for missing out on ol’ Jack’s adventures. Except there’s one other important factor in Jack’s life: 3-D WorldRunner is designed by Hironobu Sakaguchi (the man that conceived of Final Fantasy) and Nasir Gebelli (the head programmer of Final Fantasy and other titles), and the music was composed by Nobuo Uematsu (music lead of a solid ten or so Final Fantasy titles). So, yes, Jack was birthed by the same men that created Final Fantasy, and saw the franchise go from Square’s final fantasy of success to a series that apparently deserved its own kart racer.

And then that same franchise damned the entire company with a movie, and it was eaten alive by its hungriest competitor.

1999 was a bridge between the start of Square Ltd. and its impending finale. Square would soldier on, in one form or another, and continue to create amazing games; but it would never be the company that birthed Jack, the chocobo, and Aya Brea again. It would be a company that would drop the humble goblin for a slime, and some small part of its history would be forever lost.

But we’ll always have Chocobo Racing.

FGC #508 Chocobo Racing

  • System: Playstation 1, and no rereleases as far as the eye can see. Apparently it was a PSOne Classic in Japan, though, so I guess it works on PSP in some far off land.
  • Number of players: Pretty sure this one didn’t attain Mario Kart 64’s heights, and is constrained to a mere two racers.
  • Go away, birdMaybe actually talk about the game for a second: The fact that there is a complete story mode with characters and motivations and world-threatening (kinda) issues is exactly what you’d expect of a 1999 Square title, but, aside from a fun ‘n silly plot, there isn’t much to distinguish Chocobo Racing from the many other kart racers of the era (or, uh, any gaming era). The actual layout of the courses seems to be the biggest issue, as they’re either “simple dumb circle” or “7,000 right angles”, and there are very few maps between those two extremes. Feast or famine with this bird racer.
  • Hey, what about Chubby Chocobo? Chubby Chocobo brings me no joy, and forces me to remember aggravating inventory management issues in earlier Final Fantasy titles. Oh? He’s also available as a one-in-twenty summons chance in Final Fantasy 7? Screw random number generators! I’m not acknowledging Chubby Chocobo’s existence at all!
  • Magic Time: The items (what do you call a red shell?) of Chocobo Racing are all magic from the Final Fantasy series. And the usual spells map surprisingly well to a kart racer. Haste, Fire, Reflect: these are all standard “moves” in other kart racers. Even Mini slides in there without any need for a Toad dropping poison mushrooms.
  • So pureFavorite Racer: I choose to believe Squall is annoyed at all times by his fellow cutesy racers, and is now assuming he is experiencing one of Laguna’s weirder earlier memories. Squall dreamed he was a kart racer, and it was awful.
  • Did you know? There isn’t a single Golden Chocobo in this game. How did that even happen?
  • Would I play again: Nah. This game is an excellent time capsule for Square’s last independent days, but it’s not exactly the most fun game in the world. Kart racing is one place where the N64 won the console wars, and Final Fantasy isn’t going to change that.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Wheel of Fortune! Would you like to buy a vowel? Well you just might! Please look forward to it!

FGC #401 Final Fantasy 3 (DS)

Final Fantasy!In Japan, the Final Fantasy games are a series of titles gradually moving forward. While they may not be direct “story” sequels, they are sequels all the same, with characters and key events carried forward like an ever-growing tumbleweed.

In America? Final Fantasy is an ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail, with no beginning and no end.

Okay, that’s not completely true, as Final Fantasy has the same starting point in both regions. Final Fantasy was released in 1987 in Japan and 1990, but they were almost exactly the same game. The differences? Barely worth mentioning, like a giant eyeball getting repurposed by the legal department. And there may have been a few spell names modified for less holy audiences, but that shouldn’t be a problem, right? Fire 3 and Firaga are the same thing! Nothing complicated!

But then it gets all too complicated.

The same year that America saw Final Fantasy 1, Japan already had Final Fantasy 3. And, if videogames were like any other medium in history, that would not have been a big deal. Give it another three years, and we’d see our own Final Fantasy 3 with wizards casting NUKE on legions of skeletons. However, consoles wait for no man, and the Super Nintendo was on Western shores by the following year. While the “good old days” weren’t quite as bad as the modern belief that a system should stop releasing new games six months before the release of its successor (hi, WiiU!), it still seemed unlikely that a new franchise/genre would see slow NES releases well after we all experienced the joy of riding a dinosaur. So their Final Fantasy 4 became our Final Fantasy 2, and, riding the high of the newly released SNES, we experienced our first Final Fantasy sequel.

And, honestly? There was never any reason to believe we missed anything.

Shake a legFinal Fantasy is about restoring four crystals, Final Fantasy “2” is about collecting a total of eight (give or take). Final Fantasy had its four fiends, the sequel had Golbez’s four generals. Class changing your party is just like class changing a dark knight. Garland : Chaos :: Golbez : Zeromus. Final Fantasy “2” was a clear sequel to the original Final Fantasy we all knew and loved, and there wasn’t a single bit of the title seemed to indicate we had missed something. Summoners gonna summon, and dragoons gonna jump, nothing more to it.

We likely would have had a similar reaction to Final Fantasy 5… if it ever made it to our shores. But, instead, we received Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, and that “job system” would have to continue to be a mystery for another few years (assuming you never played Dragon Warrior 3). Then we were graced with Final Fantasy 6 aka Final Fantasy 3. And that was kind of a miracle, as we saw the release a mere four months after its Japanese debut. And it was good! It was even great! And… it barely had anything to do with the previous Final Fantasy games! No crystals! No sky fortresses! “White” is “Pearl” for some reason! If we didn’t have a few chocobos running around, we wouldn’t even know this was the same franchise! At least Mystic Quest had a four elementals-based world! What the hell is an Esper even supposed to be!?

But, as confusing as Final Fantasy “3” was, it kicked off the golden age of actually seeing every Final Fantasy game. Final Fantasy 7 was next, and, for the first time, it was actually Final Fantasy 7 on both shores. And then came Final Fantasy 8! And neither of these games had anything to do with each other from a “world” perspective, but there were some patterns emerging. The summons seemed fairly consistent (give or take poor Rumah), and… did these people have reliable vocations? Knights are JRPG staples, but it seems like we keep winding up with a random character that can use monster attacks. Lore? Blue Magic? Whatever, it sounds cool. And there are a few recurring characters and motifs, so, yeah, there’s more continuity here than we thought… right?

Dem BonesSo a funny thing happened in 1999. After fighting our way through five separate Final Fantasies, Square decided to capitalize on Final Fantasy mania and release Final Fantasy 5. In English! And now Final Fantasy Tactics made so much more sense! This whole “job system” thing finally hit America in a “real”, numbered Final Fantasy title, and it was good! … Okay, it was a bit of a letdown for anyone expecting another Final Fantasy with a deep and adult story like what we saw in that game with the talking dog, but at least we know the name of that guy that killed Odin now. Final Fantasy 5 was certainly more Final Fantasy 4 (2) than Final Fantasy 6 (3), but, more importantly, it was another data point on the “what is Final Fantasy” bulletin board. Those dots are starting to connect!

And then, in November of 2000, Final Fantasy 9 blew up the whole damn chart.

Final Fantasy 9, according to various issues of EGM and Gamepro, was the first Final Fantasy game to really look at its past. It was a “return to the old days”, which meant black mages (not really) and crystals (certainly not) were back in business. And, if you were a Final Fantasyologist, the game was just ripe with items and callbacks that celebrated the long and storied history of Final Fantasy. … Except, it was rather impossible for any Americans to get half of those references, as many of the early games referenced were never released here, and, even if they were, current localizations did not match up with Woolseyisms from a generation prior. Final Fantasy 9’s “continuity”, like every other Final Fantasy continuity for Americans, was confusing as hell.

Then, in November of 2006, months after the release of Final Fantasy 12, we finally filled in the last gap with Final Fantasy 3 for the Nintendo DS.

Get 'em!And it all made so much more sense! Final Fantasy 3 is the clear prequel to our beloved Final Fantasy 4 (2)! In fact, in some places, Final Fantasy 3 makes its world more interesting than what you’d find in its descendant. Final Fantasy 4 has multiple airships, but Final Fantasy 3 has multiple airships that really matter. The overworld/underworld dichotomy of Final Fantasy 4 is neat ‘an all, but it’s nothing compared to a floating island and the time-locked hellscape down below. And, while Final Fantasy 4 inarguably has the better Cid, Princess Sara is a much better damsel/fighter than Rosa. I don’t care if you put a ring on an archer on the moon, Cecil, your fiancée is basic. Oh, and I guess there are a number of recurring monsters between the two games, too. Playing Final Fantasy 3 for three seconds is deeply reminiscent of Final Fantasy 4, and that’s obvious from practically the first moment.

But Final Fantasy 3 doesn’t just impact Final Fantasy 4, it’s also the origin point of a lot of series staples. The Summoner job got its start here, and, with it, the myriad of summons that have been skulking around the franchise for decades. And it’s not just cosmetic! Bahamut is rightfully venerated as the lord of all summons for the first time, and Odin is hiding in a castle basement. Even Leviathan gets his own magical lake. This is also the first place we found a fat chocobo and the slam-dancing teddy bear race of moogles. First Final Fantasy with a playable piano! First Final Fantasy with thieves that can actually steal (or be useful at all)! First “bonus treasure dungeon” in the franchise! It all started here!

Or… did it?

If you want to play Final Fantasy 3 in America (legally), you must play Final Fantasy 3 on the Nintendo DS (or the PSP/Mobile port of the same version of the game). This is important, as Final Fantasy 3 is obviously not its NES ancestor. The graphics have been upgraded, the “anonymous” heroes of FF3NES have all been upgraded to have their own personalities and motives, and the iconic Onion Knight job of the original release has been relegated to an impossible sidequest. Even if you know next to nothing about the original Final Fantasy 3, you can immediately see the difference between the two titles.

I can't tell the difference!

That creates… doubt. The Final Fantasy series loves its references! Final Fantasy 9 wasn’t the start of that nonsense, you could argue that the series was drowning in callbacks as early as, well, Final Fantasy 3. But it’s impossible to “trust” this Final Fantasy 3, because, without Final Fantasy 3 NES handy, how are we supposed to know if a reference was added before or after the remake itself? Ricard of Final Fantasy 2 (J) has the same last name as Kain of Final Fantasy 4 (J) and Cid of Final Fantasy 7! Which came first? It’s not the one you think! So who inspired who? Where did it all start? I know time flows like a river, but usually you can find a starting tributary somewhere.

Final Fantasy!And this is how American Final Fantasy became twisted up like a pretzel. We didn’t see Final Fantasy 2 until after Final Fantasy 7, and Final Fantasy 3 came after Final Fantasy 12. Thanks to inconsistent translations and a pile of internet hearsay, it’s nearly impossible to know where a name or character got their start. Final Fantasy is a snake with no beginning and no end, and we’ll never be able to measure its scales.

But, hey, the games are all pretty fun, so don’t worry about it.

FGC #401 Final Fantasy 3 (DS)

  • System: Nintendo DS, technically, and a port of that version for PSP and mobile devices, too. The original Final Fantasy 3 is theoretically sealed in the NES (or Famicom), but it did see a rerelease on the Japanese Wii Virtual Console, so I don’t trust Square at all.
  • Number of players: One Onion Knight to rule them all.
  • Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: Kind of talked about every Final Fantasy game except this one, eh? Final Fantasy 3 is a good “prototype” game, but I feel like everything that makes this game good is done better in Final Fantasy 5. And, yes, I’m predominantly talking about the job system. Final Fantasy 3 can’t seem to decide whether it wants to be a Metroid (wherein new skills/jobs must be used to unlock new areas) or a Mega Man (all cool abilities are completely optional, and may be used whenever you want). What’s important is that I never want to see a mini cave again, and I can’t believe they produced a remake of Final Fantasy 3 without further improving the equipment/equipping system.
  • Somebody get me a mapJust Play the Gig, Man: Final Fantasy 3 does seem to have the best music on the NES (or of the NES titles, if we want to get technical). Unfortunately, since it wasn’t a part of my childhood, I don’t give a damn. Sorry!
  • Favorite Character: In this case, it’s “characters”. The Old Men are just trying their best, and should be lauded for attempting to save the world despite having absolutely no skills and a comprehensive inability to leave their home town. They’re trying!
  • Monster Rancher: Anyone notice that the monsters of this Final Fantasy are overwhelmingly Grecian, but you barely see such a thing in other Final Fantasy titles? Okay, maybe Medusa winds up in every videogame ever, but she’s actually featured here, along with Cerberus, Scylla, and Echidna. Uh… not Knuckles.
  • Future of Fantasies: It’s also bitingly obvious that this is where the Bravely Default team got their start, as Final Fantasy 3 DS is the clear origin point of about 90% of that gameplay (and maybe some of the graphics). This is rather amusing, as a single franchise entry that was nearly forgotten somehow started its own mini franchise. Way to go, underdog!
  • Did you know? “Luneth” is not the returning Final Fantasy 3 rep for Dissidia, as that honor goes to the original Onion Knight. This is an unusual bit of Square ignoring its more accessible “franchise” for a version that will never be seen again, and seems to confirm that SE doesn’t give a damn about this entry in the greater Final Fantasy pantheon.
  • Would I play again: Nope! Final Fantasy games are long enough without all the little kludges that keep FF3 going. This is an interesting title to help us all learn of the mysteries of the franchise, but it is right up there with Final Fantasy 2 (J) for “never make me play this again”.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Metal Head for the 32X! That… that was a Ninja Turtle, right? Uh, please look forward to it?

Final Fantasy!
What am I even looking at?