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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.

World of Final Fantasy Part 05

Chapter 15: Mako Reacting
Initial Stream: 10/14/20



BEAT is missing, so guest commentator Abby Denton has joined us for the night as we raid a Mako Reactor.

2:30 – Spoilers: This game may or may not eventually tie into the one and only Xenogears in the exact same way that Xenosaga tied into the one and only Xenogears. Or maybe it won’t. It is a mystery.

12:00 – Apparently there is a Lupin III Sega Saturn game. It’s not Fighter’s Megamix, though, so that is a point against it.

21:00 – This dungeon is mostly a throwback to Final Fantasy 7’s initial “bombing run” level. That said, if you were expecting it to end with a FF7 cameo, or something from its extended universe (Shelke is apparently still here), you’d be disappointed, as the finale features the Black Mages. Er… to be clear, that is the black mages of Final Fantasy 9, not the musical group.

26:00 – More anime that is weirdly CG-based, while we discuss Plumed Knight during one of the few chapters where she doesn’t appear.

29:00 – BEAT steps in to point out Funko Pop sex is terrible (and so is this game)

What actually happened in the plot: After regaining their powers thanks to irrelevant Dirge of Cerberus Guest Character Shelke, the twins venture through a Mako Reactor (which, incidentally, is later named by Edgar as a discovered, unknown technological area called “Midgar”). Apparently the reactor is being protected by a group of black mages led by Vivi. After attempting to capture Vivi in a pokéball, Vivi “awakens”, and then leads his black mage buddies to destroy the reactor. This frees Figaro, which leads to King Edgar offering his thanks and an apology for the whole “tossing everyone in a dungeon” thing. Vivi was also apparently holding onto the Earth Key, so now we’ve got half the necessary elemental macguffins in this world. We’re told the next key should be past the Big Bridge, so we head off there after Bahamut makes an ominous, split-second appearance.

Chapter 16: A Bridge Too Boring
Initial Stream: 10/14/20


1:46 – Eiko appears, and she introduces a bridge that is fairly big. It’s apparently this world’s Alexander summon all bridge-ified, so I guess we should be thankful we get a summoner that is at least marginally related to Alexander’s big Final Fantasy 9 moment.

5:40 – Some great animation here right before the second summoner in this game gets kidnapped while the heroes aren’t paying attention.

15:30 – GIG-AN-TAUR!… is at least something to brighten up this boring dungeon. It’s a straight line from toe to tip.

26:00 – Let’s talk about the Super Mario Bros movie while nothing happens and I get lost. Apparently I was supposed to trigger a cutscene somewhere up at the top of the bridge, but I missed that, and now I’m stuck wandering around like an idiot. This happens a lot this night.

34:00 – fanboymaster provides a detailed explanation of How Final Fantasy 7 hidden characters could have worked. I for one welcome a Yuffie that is impossible in every way.

38:36 – Finally back to plot. It’s Buttz and Boko!

45:00 – Abby explains that she was the person who originally named all the Pokemon. This story may or may not be accurate.

55:00 – Talking about voting opposite Gilgamesh showing up. Will we be streaming on election night? I have no earthly idea. (Spoilers from the future: nope!)

What actually happened in the plot: The Big Bridge was apparently summoned by a jiant some time ago, so that’s probably another oblique reference to the mysterious and missing mother of the twins. Eiko is keeping track of the bridge, but Plumed Knight (who has some enigmatic connection to mirages) fights and kidnaps the tiny summoner. As a result, the twins have to cross the bridge on foot, and they meet Bartz, who is searching for someone who is posing as him. Apparently it’s Gilgamesh, and he’s not so much posing as Bartz as just shouting “Bartz!” over and over again while causing mayhem. Did people think he was a Pokémon? Regardless, Gilgamesh is banished from the bridge, Bartz retires to parts unknown, and the team moves onto a dark area that hopefully holds the next key.


Chapter 17: THE TRAIN GRAVEYAR- WAIT A SECOND! YOU CAN’T BE HERE! YOU WEREN’T EVEN IN THIS VIDEO!!!!
Initial Stream: 10/14/20
As relayed by BEAT



You know, when I yelled at Gogglebob to let me do this one, I hadn’t realized that the video was an HOUR AND A HALF LONG WHAT THE FUCK GOGGLEBOB WE TALKED ABOUT THIS OH MY GOD.

00:00 – So I haven’t watched the prior two videos and only caught enough of the stream to get SUPER PISSED OFF at the idea of Funko Pops Fucking, so I’m not 100% sure on how the anime teens found a train to Halloweentown. I’m just gonna roll with it.

01:00 – Up till this point, both Anime Teens have been completely devoid of anything resembling personality, so it’s kind of equal parts refreshing and shocking when the girl completely loses her shit and swears one thousand times revenge on the Halloween train’s Cactuar Conductor.



And like, it comes out of literally fucking nowhere, and has actual effort and CRAFT put into the animation, while adding literally nothing to the plot? When was it established that her personality is ANGRY GIRL? What the fuck just happened?

06:00 – The murder attempt aborted, The anime teens and their horrible mascot ride the train to some Parthenon looking building called… TOMETOWN OF THE ANCIENTS. Anyways some vampires threaten them, but then some dork who uses too much hairspray (Editor’s Note: it Cloud) shows up and saves them I guess whatever.

10:30 – Cloud takes the kids to Celes, who’s wearing what APPEARS to be the Funko pop version of Cammy’s outfit from street fighter. Also a CID, but it’s not the Cid who likes rockets and swear words, so it’s the WRONG CID. Anime boy is racist against robots. Anime girl has interesting ideas about English syntax.

19:50 – So I seriously thought it was gonna be a LIBRARY DUNGEON, but instead the official dungeon for this area is some kinda train graveyard. I genuinely like the visual design, with the misty blue backdrop of rusted, decaying train cars in stacks hundreds of feet into the sky. as far as places to wander around and accumulate XP go.

21:00 – Fanboy takes the very reasonable stance that the Train Graveyard in FF7 isn’t in his top 10 locations from the game. Abby calls his bluff, which was a mistake because Fanboy never bluffs.

34:20 – I zoned out for awhile during my listening session, so I’m honestly not sure why the commentary crew is suddenly talking about public urination. I’m willing to concede that the commentary crew is probably right on the basic point that you could learn a lot about someone by how they react to uh.. that. But also, what the fuck no stop.

45:00 – I’m learning a lot about a Magical Gay Vampire Queen? And her cotton candy girlfriend? Good for them.

1:04:20 – The following exchange has been preserved with only minimal editing.
PAST GOGGLEBOB, IN THE VIDEO: I could make a political Joke right now…
PRESENT BEAT, LISTENING TO THE VIDEO: Don’t you fucking dare.
PAST GOGGLEBOB: …but it would be way too obvious.
PRESENT BEAT SIGHS AND THEATRICALLY WIPES HIS BROW IN RELIEF.
PAST FANBOYMASTER:
So let’s not.
PRESENT BEAT: Thank you Fanboy I knew you were my realest friend for a reason.
PAST ABBY: We’re all gonna die, go for it.
PRESENT BEAT: What the fuck Abby, I trusted you!
PAST GOGGLEBOB: "The democratic party…"
PRESENT BEAT: NO! NOOOOO!!!!!
PAST GOGGLEBOB: "…is hoarding its Elixirs"
PRESENT BEAT ASCENDS TO HIGHER LEVEL OF RAGE, SCREAMING FIE AND DAMNATION, SWEARING VENGENCE.

1:04:54 – Gimmie Gimmie!

1:07:45 – This game’s cutscenes keep getting ALMOST good and its FRUSTRATING.


Like I keep going "WAIT SHIT IS THIS GAME… GOOD?" and the answer is always "NO" and it’s starting to get on my nerves.

1:10:00 – Time to kill a vampire I guess.

1:13:20 – For like a good 3 minutes I really thought they were just gonna say "Hahah good thing we killed the vampire before you had a chance to turn since we established that killing him would restore everyone he turned 3 cutscenes ago." That would have almost been clever. Instead they had her turn in the post fight cutscene, and then the vampire is stabbed immediately afterwards, and she turns back. I have NO IDEA why that whole runaround was in the game at all.

1:19:00 – Tometown is much more visually appealing when its not full of vampires.

1:26:10 – "LOVE YOURSELF, BITCH!"

What actually happened in the plot: The anime Teens ride the Halloween train to Library Land, meet the MOST POPULAR FINAL FANTASY CHARACTER EVER (And Celes (And a fake Cid)) and conclude that it’s time to hunt a vampire. After like an hour or so of dungeon wandering, the sister gets kidnapped, and turned into a vampire for exactly 30 seconds. Then they kill the vampire and she’s fine. Then they go back to library land and get the exposition. Editor’s Addition: And they also obtain the Key of Darkness, bringing the total magical key count up to three out of four.

Next time in World of Final Fantasy: You gonna get wet.

FGC #503 Final Fantasy 5

Not very finalLet’s talk about why you think the end of the world is a good idea.

Final Fantasy 5 has become one of the most enduring Final Fantasy titles. No, it has not yet warranted a direct sequel, nor is it receiving a high-definition remake featuring ring wraiths that really should have better things to do with their un-lives. Unfortunately, from a Square-Enix perspective, Final Fantasy 5 has been little more than a piddly JRPG that occasionally gets rereleased on cell phones. But the Final Fantasy fan community has been milking Final Fantasy 5 in new and interesting ways practically since its inception. Back in the day, thanks to FF5 never reaching Western shores, it was one of the first games that encouraged a generation to learn how to patch a rom to experience Final Fantasy Extreme. From there, fans continued to support this 1992 release well into the future with online competitions to see who could hate their life the most thanks to a twitter-based robot prescribing the use of berserker after berserker. Recently (well, relatively recently in the lifespan of FF5, as we’re talking about a game that is old enough to realize it has done nothing with its life, oh God, it can’t even think about having kids right now) fans seem to have come full circle, as there was the “Ancient Cave” mod for FF5, which itself needed a new English translation patch. This “whole new way to play” essentially turns Final Fantasy 5 into a rogue-like, using the already amazing backbone of FF5 gameplay and transcending genres. Not bad for a game that was released the same year as Night Trap!

Let's kick itBut if you’ve never played Final Fantasy 5, you may be asking why exactly this title is so enduring even among its luminous peers. Final Fantasy 6 or Final Fantasy 12 may be widely regarded as amazing, but you don’t see anyone saddling up with Ultrosbot for an annual online competition. Final Fantasy 11 or Final Fantasy 14 may have servers that will keep going until a meteor strikes the planet, but neither title has had the kind of fan support that has endured from day one to day 10,000. There’s a Final Fantasy 7 Remake, not a Final Fantasy 7 Ancient Cave. And why is that? Because Final Fantasy 5 is the perfect intersection of simple and complex. Final Fantasy 5 can be completed in a scant few hours (well, by JRPG standards), but there are 500 different ways to complete the game. And why? It’s the fabulous job system of Final Fantasy 5. This system has been seen before in the franchise, and would certainly be seen again, but here in FF5 it is somehow at its most pure. It is to the point that you could legitimately complete all of Final Fantasy 5’s challenges as your favorite combo of fighters, or with an entire party of Geomancers (which, to be clear, is no one’s favorite). Under the hood, FF5 is an incredibly well-balanced experience, and it is all thanks to a gameplay system that is immediately understandable and unerringly complex. You can be a Knight that just smacks things with swords, or memorize the Periodic Table of Elements to master the powers of the Chemist class. Both are worthy options! This is no mere advertising bullet point: you really can play Final Fantasy 5 a different way every time.

The enduring love of this Final Fantasy Fandom is all because of this amazing job system. And how do you get a job in Final Fantasy 5? Why, you simply watch the world fall to pieces.

And, don’t worry, it’s exactly as bad as that sounds.

I know that guyFinal Fantasy 5 is generally regarded as one of the more cheery Final Fantasy adventures. There aren’t any child suicides, the main protagonist is unerringly optimistic and not a sullen dork, and your prerequisite dead party member is an old man that already had his time to shine, not a 20-something young lady who still had so many folding chairs to master. However, over the course of your adventure, the winds cease and stagnate, fire loses its warmth, and the very Earth begins to lose its life. An ancient forest is burned to the ground (with some medium-well fire), kingdoms fall to monsters, and cartographers hurl themselves off towers thanks to unprecedented, instantaneous continental drift. The sun might still be shining, and everyone might be smiling, but, right up until the world is ultimately saved, roughly a third of the world’s population has been sucked into a black hole. By pretty much any rubric, that’s a bad time for everybody. And what is the cause of all of this devastation? The life-sustaining crystals representing the four primal elements are gradually shattered over the course of our heroes’ adventure, and the world is increasingly worse for it. Every time a crystal breaks to pieces, everyone suffers more and more.

Well, except the Light Warriors. They’re only getting more and more power from each broken crystal.

The job system that so perfectly defines Final Fantasy 5 is only expanded thanks to the power of the crystals. Each new crystal shattering is a disaster for the world, but it is also the only time your heroes receive new jobs. And, since you, the player, wants to have as many jobs (and possibilities!) as possible, you’ll be happy every time a crystal explodes. An entire kingdom has gone up in flames? That’s rough, but you just gained the ability to become a ninja! Score! Cheer up, peasant, Bartz is gonna dual-wield over the ashy remnants of your former life!

This is great!And, for the player, advancement through misery isn’t limited to just the jobs system. “Cool stuff” in Final Fantasy 5 is continually gated behind outright tragedy. The ancient, ultimate weapons are under glass until the big villain can get through about 80% of his apocalyptic plan. Two high level summons are only possible after killing beloved pets and companions. Stella. STEEEEEEELLA! (“Cool trauma, bro, you get a new song.”) Final Fantasy 5’s plot leans heavily on the concept that much of the misery across its world is thanks to the sins of the previous generation, regardless of whether they were well meaning heroes or older societies attempting to drain extra power from the crystals; but did they all have to pay for their sins with death? And did that death have to refill your HP for the final battle? Can there be a single catastrophe in this universe that doesn’t directly benefit the player?

And, while this may be a particularly egregious example of this trope, it is by no means the only videogame where this is the norm. Mega Man X hates killing his fellow reploids, but boy do you sure love getting shiny new weapons. Sad dads are continually sad about being sad dads that are forced to make sad choices, but you better believe you enjoy soaking in the tangible trophies of their sad carnage. And some games can’t even get going until an apocalypse has already happened! It would be downright psychotic to shoot congregating shoppers at the mall, but if they’re an army of infected zombies, you don’t even stop to reload. The message to your average videogame player is clear: once things go to absolute $^#%, that’s when you’re really going to shine. After the end of the world, that’s when you are rewarded.

And it’s important to note that that is some very dangerous thinking.

I know those guysFor future generations that may be reading this blog entry in the east wing of the Goggle Bob Museum of Stuff Goggle Bob Liked So He Got a Museum Museum, this entry is being written in the middle of a global pandemic. It has changed practically everything about our daily lives, and has killed literally thousands and thousands of people. It would not be a stretch to call this a sort of apocalypse, and it would be very much correct to designate this entire situation as a disaster. One way or another, it is a time when, for one reason or another, absolutely everyone needs all the help they can get. And what help would that be? Well, some people need readily accessible food, some people need other people to stay home so they can do their life-saving jobs, and some people just need the kind of emotional support that becomes necessary when you spend days and months isolated from human contact. And do you know what is zero help at all? People that know Rapid Fire, how to summon meteors, or anyone whose job could be listed as “Samurai”. Despite the terms “hero”, “war”, and “invisible enemy” being tossed around, the last thing this situation needs is people who think they can solve a problem by hitting it. The heroes of Final Fantasy 5? And the heroes of every videogame? They’d all be completely useless in this situation (save maybe Dr. Mario). We’re dealing with a global catastrophe on a scale worthy of Exdeath, but the idea that some Light Warriors could come and save everyone is ludicrous.

And it sounds obvious to say such a thing out loud, but it’s important to remember this information for… lesser disasters. Not everything is a global calamity. Sometimes bad things happen, and you don’t so much as get a crystal shard for your troubles. Videogames (and so much of fiction in general) runs on the concept that every cloud has a silver lining, and a tragic death in act two just means that a friendly ghost is going to help everyone in act three. That is not reality. He bitesSometimes you just lose. Sometimes you have to live with pain and suffering, and the best you can hope for is the mental fortitude to not dwell on it for the next twenty years. PTSD does not grant a level up bonus. Yes, it’s easy to nod and agree with this notion when reading it from the relative comfort of the internet, but your subconscious has been soaking up the hidden morals of Final Fantasy 5 and its ilk for decades. The world is falling apart! I hope I get a legendary sword out of the deal!

So what’s today’s moral? Final Fantasy 5 is an amazing game, but remember it’s only a game. Even after you strip out the talking turtles and magic trees, it’s still not even approaching reality. Keep that in mind as you make decisions in our all-too-real world. There aren’t any Warriors of the Crystals running around, and you’re not going to be granted a new job just because society is falling apart. Be the kind of hero this world really needs, not one that thinks they can solve problems with a “fight” command.

The end of the world isn’t good for anybody.

FGC #503 Final Fantasy 5

  • System: In Japan, originally on the Super Nintendo. In America, we had to wait for the Playstation. Eventually, everybody got it on the Gameboy Advance. And now it’s on a bunch of Playstations and cell phones.
  • Number of players: Final Fantasy 6 was the one with the 2-player, 2-controllers option, right? I think it’s just one this time.
  • BLAMPort-o-Call: Give me the Gameboy Advance version any day of the week, as it seems to have the best translation. And by “best” I mean “the one that contains nonsensical references to early 21st Century internet culture”. That’s all I want from a game! And there’s a bonus dungeon with bonus bosses and bonus jobs, too, I guess.
  • Favorite Monster: The Unknown creatures in the undersea rift are unpleasant to look at, just like a good monster should be. Second runner up is the tonberry, which makes its first appearance here in Final Fantasy 5, but didn’t really come into its own until the great doinkening of Final Fantasy 8.
  • So, what were your jobs: I played fast and loose, game genied my way to every job at the start, and just had some fun seeing if Necromancer is a remotely viable job in the first dungeon. Spoilers: it’s not great. Final Fantasy 5 is a game with such a glut of options, it practically encourages cheating your way into ridiculous, possibly Chemist-based situations. Just have fun with it, and, just in case you slot in a berserker before a sand worm fight, remember to save often.
  • Favorite Job: Blue Magic also appeared for the first time in Final Fantasy 5, and, considering it grants its user a spiffy blue mask, Blue Mage is my favorite job. It doesn’t hurt that a lot of the abilities are overwhelmingly overpowered… but the same can be said for about a quarter of the jobs in Final Fantasy 5, so we’re just going to stick to what is commonly referred to as “the cape factor”.
  • Goggle Bob Fact: I first played this game emulated on a PC that didn’t even have a sound card. Battle on the Big Bridge? More like skirmish on the extremely quiet overpass. But at least I had the good sense to play the game after some nerd fixed all the transparency issues.
  • Axe you a questionDid you know? Each of the characters has default stats that make some slightly better suited for different jobs. Krile, for instance, has the greatest agility, so she’s better suited for… Bah! Who cares!? All that matters is they can all be Dancers, so just let ‘em dance.
  • Would I play again: Yes. Final Fantasy 5: excellent game, bad moral. Don’t go chasing apocalypses, kiddies!

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for the Nintendo Wii. Oh good! I’m going to watch more planets explode. Please look forward to it!