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Author Topic: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!  (Read 14982 times)

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R^2

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Music: Omen, movement 1






When the game starts with dark, rolling thunderstorm and the game title is backlit by fire, you can pretty well guess that things are going to get pretty bad before they get better. Sure enough, some parts of 6 make the events of Final Fantasy 2 look bright and cheery by comparison.

Music: Omen, movement 2


We're off to a great start!




Who, like that guy in the blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo down in the bottom right? That guy?








Biggs: Bah! Probably just another wild goose chase.

Yes, Biggs just replied to himself.

Wedge: I don't know. They wouldn't have let us use her unless they were confident that the information was good.
Biggs: Ah, yes...our witch. I hear she fried fifty of our Magitek armored soldiers in three minutes... Kinda makes your skin crawl, don't it?
Wedge: Relax. With that thing on her head, she's a mindless puppet. The girl won't even breathe unless we tell her to.



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R^2

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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2013, 02:26:42 PM »

Music: Omen, movement 3
The music in Final Fantasy 6 on the Super Nintendo was heavily orchestrated and amazingly well-done. Series composer Nobuo Uematsu was so satisfied with his work on FF6 that he's been quoted as saying that he could retire happy after completing it. The tinny sound chip on the Game Boy Advance? Doesn't even come close to doing it justice.

Most of the music links I'm putting up will be from the SNES version.




The opening credits roll as the three soldiers walk their powered armor through the snowfields.


On the SNES version, the music runs out when the credits do. But because the credits are longer, or the animation is slower, or for whatever reason, the music ends long before the robots are finished marching. The music cuts right as the credits for the "sound programmer" appear, too, for maximum irony.


The town they're marching toward appears fully in the SNES version, shown here. In the GBA version, the smaller screen means they didn't bother even trying to get the town onscreen. So the music cuts out early, and the background scrolling happens late. Did anyone even try to playtest this sequence? I mean, you can't miss it, it's the very first thing that happens in the game.


One more gripe to get out of the way: the game is dark. Like, not just thematically -- the palettes used tend to be shades rather than tones or tints. Compare:


Squeenix brightened the colors to make them easier to see on the GBA's not-backlit "made of reflectonium, the most reflective material known to man" screen, but they just... don't look as good.

Okay. Back to the opening narrative. There's no music in this section, just whistling gusts of wind.




That's right! Nobody's safe from us!




The video intro for the Playstation release shows the Narshe guards using rifles against the Magitek armor our heroes ride in, but those look more like axes or warhammers to me.


The characters don't even have a "hit enemies with equipped weapon" Fight command yet. The only options are Magitek (to use the weaponry installed in the walking mech) or Item (to drink a potion).


The beams are so effective against infantry that it only takes one shot to down... well, pretty much any resistance I meet during this entire sequence. The as-yet-unnamed girl has a better-equipped mech than the other two, adding some sort of biological poison gas, concussive missiles, and a dimension-shredding teleport device along with the elemental beams and self-repair systems.


She also has more traditional Final Fantasy series spells in Cure and Fire.
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R^2

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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2013, 02:37:33 PM »


The guards do their best, siccing the dogs on the party, but one attack hound versus three walking death machines? No contest.


There's not much exploring to do. The Magitek armor is too big to fit down alleyways.






Introducing the pincer attack. If an enemy attacks a character who's facing the other way, extra damage is dealt to that character. Characters will turn to face their targets as their attacks are selected, which turns their back to at least some enemies on the field. Pincer attacks are often solved by wiping out one side of the enemies at a time, so every attack after that makes another character face the enemies that remain, minimizing the damage taken.

Of course, none of that matters yet, because there ain't no stopping this mech we're on.






The guards bring out... trained... mammoths? But one blast of toxic gas is enough to defeat all who stand in our way.


"Esper", alternately "ESPer", meaning someone capable of using extrasensory perception, is an artifact of the hotly debated Ted Woosley translation work of the SNES era. I'm in the camp that Woosley did a pretty good job overall given the time and software space limitations he was under, but "esper" is a pretty crummy word to describe the creatures herein. The Japanese word was "genjuu", which is most often translated as "phantom beast".


Who wants to watch the intro videos over and over again? The game throws the first save point at the party here. As usual for the series (since they were introduced in FF4), it's a place to use a Tent to restore HP/MP and save the game, tasks that can always be performed on the world map once we get there.


The mineshaft is populated by rats who look a bit like the ones from Final Fantasy 2. As a teenager playing the game for the first (several) times, I thought the big red parts of these creatures were their eyes, rather than the single yellow pixel further down. To be fair, even with the eye in the right place they still don't look very much like actual rats. Actual rats have necks.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2013, 02:46:49 PM »




Biggs smashes the poorly-constructed wooden fence.





Music: The Decisive Battle


Biggs: Hold it! This thing's a...! They must have trained it to guard the mines!
Wedge: What are you talking about? You know what this is?
Biggs: Ever heard of a lightning whelk? It's a monster that absorbs lightning...
Wedge: ...and stores the energy in its shell!
Biggs: Right. So whatever you do, don't attack the shell!
Wedge: Got it!


Ymir has two targets, the head and the shell. Attacking the shell with anything -- beam, missile, or magic -- prompts a Mega Volt electrical counterattack. It's not immediately fatal, but it means you spend a turn using Heal Force before pressing the attack further. The head is more vulnerable and does not counterattack.






Like the Mist Dragon and Wing Raptor before it, Ymir makes sure the player is familiar with active-time battling. It periodically retreats into the shell, making said shell the only target -- and one that still counterattacks. Take a break, heal any damage you've taken, and wait for the creature to reemerge.




Hmm... wait for the creature to reveal its weak point, then shoot missiles... did I accidentally start a Metroid LP?




Bosses in this game get a very dramatic death sequence.


If you deplete the shell's HP instead -- all 50,000 of it, one barely-100-damage beam at a time, pausing to heal from the counterattack each time -- your reward for the fight is an Ether instead. So why bother?
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2013, 02:52:20 PM »


I'm attacked between the boss fight and the next cinema sequence. In Exdeath-like frustration with the monster's poor form I cast it forever into an interdimensional void.







Music: Esper World




The girl, robbed of her independent will and mute for the game thus far, takes some initiative in approaching the frozen beast.


That's narration, not dialog.




As last words go, I've heard better. Wedge vanishes.






Biggs likewise disappears, forever banished to play stupid shell games in Norstein Bekkler's lab.








Electricity arcs between the esper and the Magitek armor, leading to the latter exploding in a cloud of flame and smoke.

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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2013, 02:58:54 PM »

Music: Awakening






The girl gets out of bed...


Runs out of the room...


...and steals an Elixir from her host's clock.


That accomplished, I guess I oughta go back and talk to the guy.

Old Man: My, my! And I just removed the crown!
Girl: My head...hurts...




Old Man: It was robbing you of your thoughts -- making it so you'd do whatever they told you.
Girl: I can't remember a thing...
Old Man: Don't worry. It'll all come back to you... In time, that is.
Girl: ...




Every character gets a short description over a black screen like that, leading to the naming screen. To prevent more Brentai-the-Paladin nonsense I'm keeping the default names unless there is some massive surge of support to change them.


"Tina" in Japan, but that sounds a lot less exotic to English-speakers.

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Mothra

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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2013, 03:03:45 PM »

Perhaps we could name all characters Brentai

Also: NAME MOG MOTHRA (or MOGTHRA)
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2013, 03:04:36 PM »








Old Man:  There's no time to explain! You need to get out of here! These fools aren't going to listen to reason. This way! Quickly!

Yeah, those "fools" who think you're the person responsible for the dozen or so carcasses in the street, the scorch marks on the building walls, and the giant roasted escargot in dire need of some drawn butter back in the mines. How silly of them!








Whatever he was planning to do to buy some time, it didn't work.


The path leads back into the mountains, where the caves hold encounters that are a bit more taxing now that Terra's not the pilot of a massive mobile beam cannon.


Well, shit. Found almost instantly. I guess the guards know these caves better than she does.











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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2013, 03:05:05 PM »

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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2013, 03:05:21 PM »

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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2013, 03:08:19 PM »

Music: The Gestahl Empire














Kefka gives his new thrall a test run, leading to the aforementioned "fried 50 soldiers in three minutes" incident. Who has a new weapon turn on his own soldiers, anyway?
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2013, 03:10:23 PM »


Gestahl: The lost power of magic has returned to us! We are the chosen ones!


On the SNES version, you could see Gestahl's audience from the start, but the GBA has a smaller screen, so it has to scroll down so you can see Gestahl isn't talking into a camera or anything.


Two of the four people behind Gestahl we've seen already. Two are likely to become important later.



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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2013, 03:23:56 PM »





Music: Locke


...and shocked, SHOCKED at the very allegation that he may have at any point acquired any goods that did not belong to him legitimately!

Old Man: Ha! Semantic nonsense!
Locke: There's a huge difference!



Locke: Anyway, is there something you need me to do?
Old Man: There is indeed. ...I met the girl.
Locke: ...!? You don't mean...?
Old Man:  The city guard is pursuing her as we speak. This city has the strength to stand up to the Empire, but it won't use it. The people are just too stubbornly independent to join an underground resistance group like the Returners. I tried to explain that the Empire was controlling the girl, but they wouldn't even listen...
Locke: All right... So, you want me to get her out of Narshe?
Old Man: That would be the idea. Make your way to Figaro for the time being...


Locke has about as much trouble finding Terra as the Narshe guards did.


...speaking of.


Wonderful, there's a whole bunch of 'em.


That's what I said.




Why? Because we had to introduce the moogles somehow, that's why. This was the first appearance the little mascots made in the USA, except maybe for one of the spinoff Gameboy games I don't care enough to check the release date for. The higher-quality spritework and their always-squinty eyes make it pretty clear why their Japanese name is "mole-bat".




Moogles are also used now and then to break the fourth wall. In this case, you get instructions on how to switch between the three parties available to you for this scenario.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2013, 04:16:04 PM »




This fight may be the first one where you notice each character has their own battle intro animation. The Moogles make a little surprised emote before hopping into place -- it's most obvious when you've got four in a row.


At the end of the battle, someone... learns to dance...?


It's Mog, in this case, who is higher-level and better-equipped than the other Moogles across all three parties.


There's room for many more dances, but all he knows is Twilight Requiem.




But his Will-o-the-Wisp attack annihilates this Megalodoth.




Mog's party has removed all the enemies that wander through the caves, looking for Terra... so I take all his equipment and put him aside.




Locke can fight the Narshe guard boss.


...or maybe not, since the first thing that happens is he throws a Net at Locke, causing Stop status. Locke's out of the fight.


Net is an obnoxious trick, but not a fatal one.


Victory comes eventually.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2013, 04:22:05 PM »

This was the first appearance the little mascots made in the USA

They were definitely in Secret of Mana.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2013, 05:02:04 PM »

Huh. Secret of Mana came out a full year and a half before Final Fantasy 6 on the SNES, so I stand corrected.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2013, 05:10:44 PM »

someone say mana
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2013, 12:47:21 AM »

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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2013, 12:51:29 AM »










...open a passage back above ground? It sure does.


Terra: You... saved me?
Locke: Save your thanks for the moogles!
Terra: Ugh... I can't remember a thing... It's like my mind's trapped in a fog...
Locke: You lost your memory!?
Terra: A man said it would eventually come back...eventually...
Locke: So, you've got amnesia. Don't worry! I won't leave your side until your memory returns!
Terra: ...?
Locke: I'm not gonna up and abandon someone just because they lost their memory! I'll keep you safe! I promise!
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2013, 12:55:00 AM »




Like the Greenhorn Club in Tule, the adventurer's school here is an ingame tutorial that teaches how the combat system, leveling up, and other game mechanics work.


It's also got a handful of treasures worth nabbing.


Some treasure chests also teach game mechanics...








Terra is recognized the instant she steps into town, so to avoid any further trouble, the pair leave.
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