Tag Archives: final fantasy 8

Chrono Cross 07: Dragons

Chrono Cross loves imagining dragons! Look at this chonky boy (well, girl)…

She gets her own isle

The most helpful of the dragons, the Water Dragon, is all smiles and rainbows when you need to chill a volcano, but literally shows her teeth when it is time for a throwdown. And the way she “swims” through the air later? Awesome.

Only a volcano?

And speaking of volcanos, this little guy hulks out to join Master Roshi and Tung Fu Rue in the pantheon of dudes that can turn into muscle maniacs on command. This Fire Dragon is never gracious, but remains polite, when he challenges you to a battle.

Such big teeth you have

Meanwhile, this monster rules the quasi-prehistoric “Savage Land” of Chrono Cross, and is not shy about making it clear you are about to be devoured. And why shouldn’t he? Dang thing is built to deal with tyrannosauruses on the reg.

DO NOT PET

Yet the dragon living deep in the Earth is almost… roly poly? This looks like a creature that has never seen the sun (kind of literally, as it is hard to see if she even has eyes), but has spent a good amount of time getting fat on sand monsters. Sister is the size of a building!

Very unfriendly

But there is nothing friend-shaped about the Black Dragon, which dreams nightmares that cross dimensions. Chrono Cross never really does commit to whether or not “black element” is supposed to be “evil” or somehow “gravity”, but the Black Dragon cuts enough of an imposing figure that he cannot be seen as anything other than dangerous.

They did save us once

And conversely, the white Sky Dragon is appropriately divine. In a genre that frequently presents dragons as the exact same creature seven times with slightly different colors or styles even today (looking at you, Elden Ring), Chrono Cross really went the extra mile by making every dragon significantly different.

Sory, Harle

Even if they did have to involve a murder clown.

Even Worse Streams presents Chrono Cross
Night 7

Original Stream Night: May 31, 2022

Recruited this week:

  • Do Masa & Mune count?
  • Leah

Stream Notes:

  • Time to get the Mastermune! Which involves solving dumb puzzles at Viper Manor! A discussion of Final Fantasy 8 and Chrono Cross summons ensue.
  • There is a brief intermission while fighting Solt and Peppor as I run off to do… something. I literally do not remember what happened…
  • Caliscrub arrives as we try to find BEAT and defeat the possessed Dario.
  • And then Ample Vigour shows up. Dario is still standing. I have not accomplished anything yet.
  • In post-stream response to AV’s comments on the subject, my wife has confirmed that the Smurfs and Donald Duck were generally equally popular in Europe around her childhood. I am inclined to believe her.
  • CroakBEAT arrives just as we finish an important conversation about the legend of the few people that can draw duck bills. We still haven’t finished Dario. And now for more about Disco Elysium.
  • When we finally start fighting the Water Dragon, our first Dragon, we talk about crappy Killer Instinct and Mortal Kombat characters. Eat it, Dario.
  • By the time we are fighting the Fire Dragon, the stream is now just about discussing arcade games from the late 90’s
  • As we attempt to get the rock opera going, I defend Battle Arena Toshinden.
  • “Is someone thither?”
  • The concert to end racism leads to the dumbest part of the game: fighting the same lizard creatures over and over again. At least we get some summons going…
  • By the time we are fighting the Earth Dragon, we are discussing the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 film. Jim Carrey is a marvel of CGI technology.
  • We wind up hunting the Green Dragon with Leah, who may or may not be Ayla’s mother? Or daughter? It sucks. Like Sneff.
  • And this stream was a slog. I apologize if you watched it. Moving on!

Next time on Chrono Cross: Robot on Robo violence.

Please don't do that
This is just mean

FGC #627.2 Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

This article contains spoilers for not only Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, but also potentially the entire Final Fantasy franchise. It won’t get too nuts, but if you don’t want to know a certain location exists in a certain game, and if that location has any plot relevance, I wouldn’t keep reading. You have been warned!

This is not a placeStranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin has one very important thing going for it: it is an enormous love letter to the Final Fantasy franchise. With the exception of a few “plot” stages, every level in SoP:FFO is based on a different locale from a different Final Fantasy game. And that is amazing! You’re looking at 35 years of videogame locations! From castles to caves to whateverthehell was happening in Final Fantasy 15! It’s neat!

But, as a tremendous nerd and 35-year-old critic of the Final Fantasy franchise (uh, to be clear, I am not 35, but I have been a critic of Final Fantasy as long as it has existed) I, naturally, have opinions about the various locations chosen to represent various Final Fantasy titles. Were these good picks to be representative of their attendant games? Are these good choices independent of nostalgia? Does anything in this game make a lick of sense? Let’s answer these questions on a game by game, level by level basis.

Note that this list will be going in order of Final Fantasy game featured. Actual level order is an entirely other thing. Please be as confused as possible.

Stage 1: Illusion at Journey’s End
Location: Chaos Shrine
Origin: Final Fantasy (1)

It is chaos out thereConcept: Stranger of Paradise is a kinda sorta remake of Final Fantasy, so it is only natural the game starts with Final Fantasy’s first ever dungeon: the Temple of Fiends. Oh! And the final boss of the area is Garland (after a fashion)! That is as Final Fantasy as it gets!

Does it work for SoP? This is absolutely a ruined temple (of Fiends!) filled with monsters, which is all you really need from a Strangers of Paradise stage. There are enough decomposing balconies and collapsing turrets to justify something more complex than a straight line, but the layout is still recognizable enough that you won’t easily get lost. And there is at least one cactuar running around, so there’s everything a stranger could want.

Does it represent its parent game? Going to give this one a “yes”, too. The defining characteristic of Final Fantasy’s Temple of Fiends is that it was clearly the crappiest temple in the world (but looked pretty alright a solid 2,000 years back), and we’ve got a similar architectural flare going on here. The Temple of Fiends is meant to be the trojan horse of adventure for the Final Fantasy franchise, and it serves the exact same “more to it than it seems” function in 2022. Good job, Level One! Now let’s move on to Final Fantasy 2…

FGC #605 Curses ‘N Chaos

Let's rockSometime around the 14th century, the Black Death was ravaging the European population. Given this highly lethal plague was on everybody’s mind (how could we ever hope to understand?), this seems to have been the time that the anthropomorphism of Death manifested in the public consciousness. As anyone that has ever visited a Spirit Halloween is aware, Death is generally visualized as a skeleton in a black robe wielding scythe. To elaborate for anyone from a foreign culture, the scythe is supposed to symbolize the literal harvesting of souls, and the skeletal body is supposed to be symbolize how bones are scary. Beyond that, ol’ Death is a pretty fundamental part of Western culture, and it is unlikely anyone reading this has missed his familiar iconography.

But what does it mean when Death makes an appearance in a videogame? Well, let us look at how Death has worked his digital magic through the years.

1984
Paperboy

Midway Games
Arcade

Throw some papersWhat’s happening here: Near as we can tell, the first appearance of an active Death in a videogame was in Paperboy. A grim reaper is one of the many, many obstacles that this young boy must face on his way to delivering newspapers to the least appreciative neighborhood on the planet.

Describe your Death: We have a traditional black cloak and scythe here, though it is difficult to tell if we are dealing with a legitimate skeleman. One would suppose this emphasizes the “unknown” nature of Death.

What does it all mean? 1984 was a time for “suburbs fear”, wherein parents were convinced razors were being hidden in Halloween candy, and a scary man in a trench coat was assumed to be on every corner. It was all total nonsense, but it does explain why one would expect to see Death out and menacing an innocent paperboy. Everything wants to kill our innocent young paperboy, why would Death themself be any different?

1985
Gauntlet

Midway Games
Arcade

BEHOLD DEATHWhat’s happening here: Death is one of the many monsters that stalks the world of Gauntlet. They will drain 100 health from a hapless adventurer, and is resistant to all attacks, save the mighty magic bomb. They are not a common creature, but they are a threat every time they appear.

Describe your Death: OG Gauntlet is not exactly known for its huge, expressive sprites, but Death at least has the ol’ black cloak here. If you were to claim this Death was a ninja, you wouldn’t have to change a single thing about their appearance.

What does it all mean? In 1983, Patricia Pulling founded Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons (BADD), and significantly contributed to the myth that Dungeons and Dragons was seducing our innocent children to the dark side. This led to years of general concern over D&D, so it was only natural that Death would be haunting dungeons in 1985 videogames. It’s Death! They will kill you! Because of what you are doing! Stay out of fantasy realms, children!

1986
Castlevania

Konami
Nintendo Entertainment System

Sorry SimonWhat’s happening here: Death’s multiple appearances in the Castlevania franchise may be the most iconic in gaming, and it all started here. You can’t have a decent Castlevania game without Death! Eat it, Haunted Castle, you barely get a Frankenstein.

Describe your Death: Skeleton? Check. Scythe? Check. Black cloak? Well… Death has decided to go with something more fuchsia here, but we’re going to allow it. NES color palettes are not kind to classical iconography.

What does it all mean? We will address Death as a greater presence in the franchise soon enough, but this Death is little more than one of many “movie monster” bosses in his first appearance. Apparently he was just a dude in a pink costume going by the pseudonym of Belo Lugosi. That is almost a real person’s name!

1986 also had another familiar Grim Reaper…

World of Final Fantasy Part 10

Turn Those Corners Up: Part 2: We’re Back! A Fox God’s Story
Initial Stream: 11/24/20



00:00 – As my esteemed colleague has noted in the previous chapter, we’re working toward the good ending here, which involves collecting all the legendary summon monsters. Last week we scored (good) Bahamut and Diablos, now we’re going for Leviathan. Faris has something to say about that. Given all the “important summons” are Final Fantasy 8 dudes, us dudes go on to talk about Final Fantasy 8.

14:00 – Lightning battles Odin with Ramuh’s granddaughter as we discuss Ready Player 2.

24:31 – Not a mandatory quest, but defeating Odin allows us to see (FF13) Shiva and Snow versus Shivalry, the male cousin of Shiva. Shivalry is more of a sentai archetype than a himbo, unfortunately. However, we do learn that BEAT is a himbo.

34:00 – Yakuza: Like a Dragon is discussed as we fight to reclaim our dead mascot creature. This section of the quest is stupid. Seriously. The whole thing seems to be hung on a character relationship from thirteen chapters ago, and it is not compelling in any conceivable way. It seems to exist as a prelude to what happens during the true ending, but the true ending does it so much more successfully. This “preview” version of the concept with forgettable characters is ineffective, and only serves to make the twins appear even dumber when they’re surprised by the inevitable outcome (coming next part).

48:00 – Do you suppose the most popular search engine in a Final Fantasy universe is Moogle, or did the little fluffballs cash out by inventing Final Fantasy digital commerce?

53:00 – Tama, our foxy (not like that) mascot is revived, reality is restored, and maybe we were talking about Earthbound too much to notice.

What actually happened in the plot:

· Faris avenges her distant ancestors, who were killed by Leviathan. Or Leviathan is faking her defeat, as apparently she wasn’t distinctly responsible for the death of Faris’s ancestors, she just happened to be in the area.

· Lightning loses a duel to Odin. So she recruits Ramewl, Ramuh’s granddaughter, and then returns to claim victory by battling with a rad lightning sword.

· Refia’s uncle is still possessed by a Bahamutian spirit (see Chapter 7), but the “spirit” is still attempting to kill the mythical fox monster that killed Refia’s aunt (before the possession). This apparently proves that there’s some part of the “real” uncle still alive in there. Or whatever. What’s important is that Evil Uncle finally dies after a fox battle, and our heroes claim a “life” from the fox monster. They use this life to revive Tama. With Tama revived, reality resets to a version where Tama was always there… so it’s kind of ambiguous if anything in the last two updates canon “happened”. Huh. Regardless, the party is now back to 100% complete, and, with the support of The Seven Deadly Summons (or whatever), we’re ready to retry on destroying the final general of the Bahamutian Army.

Turn Those Corners Up: Part 3: Everybody Dance Now
Initial Stream: 11/24/20



01:00 – The final battle approacheth. But we’re mostly focusing on Dr. Weird quotes.

7:30 – The first actual Game Over in this Let’s Play! Granted, I’ve been cheating (almost) the whole time, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’ve been practically invincible… but still! Incidentally, if you’re wondering about the cause of death, it was a doom “countdown timer” status effect that I was completely unprepared to encounter.

13:30 – Revenge! I have triumphed over my previous failure, and am making progress. So let’s talk about Gungrave and Trigun. Hey, wait a minute! This isn’t a Wild Arms Let’s Play!

19:30 – I am always happy to visit the concept of Freud sucks. Regardless, we have to fight mom twice, so Sigmund would likely have something to say about that.

26:00 – The final boss, Brandelis, appears again. Looks like he has the ancient weapons of Final Fantasy 5 at his disposal, but I just might be thinking that because a bell is involved.

31:00 – Here it is: the absolute final boss! In typical Final Fantasy fashion, it is some hulking monstrosity that can’t even fit on the screen. We take this time to label our respective Bouncer-sonas.

37:00 – We Officially won! The World Ends With You 2 is being released! We also beat the final boss!

42:00 –



It would have been super cool if these moves were at all available during the actual gameplay of World of Final Fantasy. Or at least anywhere other than a fight with a cactus.


46:00 – Time for an ending parade/choreographed dance number. I will claim that the volume on the game on this recording is so low because I was trying to avoid copyright issues with the obviously trademarked to all hell song here in the ending.


57:30 – As a chaser, we tackle the final (vanilla) intervention quest with “other mascot” Serafie learning from Siren how to gigantamax or whatever.

What actually happened in the plot:

The original ending went poorly when the twins tackled Brandelis alone on his own home turf. Reynn has full knowledge of that “bad end”, so the plan this time is to enlist all the champions (aka Final Fantasy characters) in various support roles, and attack the Ultima Gate at the top of the Crystal Tower. (Oddly enough, the summons that we had to fight to see this ending are not involved at all.) The Summoner Sorority is going to seal the Ultima Gate with the assistance of Hauyn (the twins’ adopted sister, BEAT), and the battle-ready champions (Cloud, Lightning, etc) are going to run interference on Brandelis. Quistis and Shelke were supposed to distract The Man in the Golden Mask (secretly Dad) and Plumed Knight (Mom), but those champions fail, and Lann and Reynn are forced to fight their possessed parents again.

They succeed in defeating the evil mirages, but learn that Mom and Dad have been dead since their possession started (or thereabouts). Ghost Mom & Dad bid tearful goodbyes as Lann and Reynn move on to battle Brandelis. Brandelis has apparently been able to siphon some of the Mirage Keeper power of the twins and their parents, so he is effectively invincible with the ability to rewrite reality at will. It could be a stalemate, but the Ghost Parents help the twins to fashion an infinity cube as a prison for Brandelis. Right about then, the summoners finish up their job, and all the bad machines across the world are sucked back into the Ultima Gate. This also begins to absorb Brandelis, who once again breaks free from his infinity box. The twins attack Brandelis, and subdue him at the cost of being sucked into the gate, too. Brandelis, Lann, and Reynn are all banished to another dimension, but Hauyn and the champions are free to help rebuild the world. Hauyn is chosen as the new Mirage Keeper for this dimension, and goddess Enna Kross seems so happy with this outcome, she starts a goddamn dance party.

But wait there’s more!

Next Time on World of Final Fantasy: Just because we saved the World of Final Fantasy doesn’t mean it’s all over. We’ve got bonus dungeon(s) and content exclusive to the Maxima upgrade of World of Final Fantasy. And, yes, we will finally get to facing a certain omnigear…