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Author Topic: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!  (Read 12418 times)

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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 #40 on: September 29, 2013, 01:29:34 AM »


...wow. Small town.


There's only one tiny shack, and the garden has one cabbage and one turnip growing in it. I thought South Figaro was a bustling merchant town where Figaro castle's machines were sold?










This free HP/MP restore! He loved free HP/MP restores!




Who's that guy?


Man: Sure do! Left a couple of days ago, soon as he heard Master Duncan had been killed. Headed up into the mountains! They say Duncan's son Vargas is missing, too... I don't like it one bit!


The man walks off, and there's nothing left to do here.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #41 on: September 29, 2013, 01:37:59 AM »




That's more like it.


Well, they're an upgrade. I don't know if I'd say they're of the utmost quality...


Which is where the Returners Hideout is, so this is actually important information.


Well, was a famed martial artist.


Yeah, a long while. Like, ever.


"I only like people who give me alcohol" is a surprisingly rare character type in video games, considering how common it is in real life.

Little Girl: What kind of dummies would go and make the Empire mad?

Little Boy: Did you see how cool Figaro Castle looked as it moved along through the sand? ...No? Well, I suppose that would have been kind of hard, what with it being underground and all...

Another Boy: The big house at the north end of town belongs to the richest family here.

Man: This town's defenses are tight. Even with their Magitek armor, the Imperials won't find it easy to get inside.

Housemaid: I wonder if it'll really come to war? Maybe I should return home now, before it's too late...




...hey, you know how this nation is a monarchy and the king is standing right there? Any particular reason I can't nip an incident of traitorous collaboration right now?






God, even his kids are Imperial sympathizers! EDGAR DO SOMETHING
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #42 on: September 29, 2013, 01:46:09 AM »


While previous games allowed the equipping of accessories from the same equipment menu that handled weapons and armor, this game has renamed them "Relics", gave them their own equip menu, and gave each character two slots for them instead of just one.


This guy demonstrates Sprint Shoes by running directly into the wall. Sprint Shoes have no in-battle effect, but double the movement of the party around towns and dungeons (like the Sprint skill in Final Fantasy 5). In the SNES version, they were a lot more useful, but like previous games in the franchise the Game Boy Advance version has added a B button dash.




Not very! The richest guy in town is in his mansion writing letters to the enemy on how they can best raid the city. Might wanna pack up and leave now.


Ruffian: He's always grumbling about how the kid never seems to be making any progress.


Yeah, this isn't the SNES version where this building got reskinned into a "cafe". It's a bar through and through, and that isn't bottled water on the tables.










That's an awfully terrible thing to say about somebody, Edgar. You know what? I bet he wouldn't. I bet he wouldn't kill his best friend, even if his best friend were begging him to. That just doesn't seem like the sort of thing this person would be capable of, even if he tried.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #43 on: September 29, 2013, 01:49:46 AM »










The rich man's house is full of secret passages. One behind the manor nets you an Elixir...


...his basement has some money...


...and the sub-basement, which we're going to pretend isn't a dungeon just like we're pretending the man isn't about to turn over the entire city to the Imperials, has a pair of Hermes Sandals and a Hyper Wrist.


Both of them go to Edgar. The Hyper Wrist increases Strength and the Hermes Sandals double speed. So now Edgar can crank out extra damage with his Autocrossbow, and do it faster too.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #44 on: September 29, 2013, 01:54:48 AM »


South Figaro is full of background information but does not, itself, advance the plot in any way. If you want to skip out on the equipment and your first relics, there's nothing stopping you from going straight from the previous cave to...


...the base of Mt. Kolts.


Surprise, it's full of monsters.


One of the main reasons you can skip the equipment in South Figaro is that some even nicer stuff is available to be found here.




Edgar's other tools are the Bio Blaster, which poisons all enemies, and the Noiseblaster, which confuses all enemies. Partywide confusion is pretty nice at this low level when monsters don't have defense against it. Every attack on the party is a major chunk of HP (and thus potions or magic to heal), so making the enemies turn those attacks on each other is a double savings of time and effort.




Not really a "secret" passage, but it took me a few playthroughs before I ever tried walking over here.


The Gigas Glove improves the damage of the wearer's Fight command. It doesn't affect special skills, though, making it somewhat less useful than the Hyper Wrist.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #45 on: September 29, 2013, 02:01:18 AM »


As you proceed through the dungeon, you can occasionally catch a glimpse of a shadowy form moving around ahead of you. (This is one of those times when the bigger screen size on the SNES was advantageous to have. The shadow would have appeared humanoid there, rather than the round shape of an SD sprite silhouette with the head cut off by the top of the draw area.)




Confusing Cirpius has them employ Break and Beak skills on one another for instant KOs.


It's even better in a mixed party, where they effortlessly dispatch monsters more difficult than themselves.


There's a save point partway through. It's a welcome sight because Terra was starting to run low on MP from all the cure spells she'd cast.
Previous games had Tents and Cottages, which varied in how much of the party's missing HP and MP they'd restore. In this game, Tents restore all HP and MP, but there's still a lesser version: the Sleeping Bag. It can only be used at a save point or on the world map, like a tent, but only benefits one character. What's the rest of the party doing while the one character sleeps in the bag? Just... lie down on the rocks, wishing they'd thought to bring a bedroll, getting no benefit from the rest?








Huh? No, actually we're looking fo--





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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #46 on: September 29, 2013, 02:07:34 AM »


Locke: You were the one sneaking around us the whole way up here, weren't you?
Vargas: And if I was?
Vargas: Hmph. Well, it doesn't really matter who you are. I've got no plans to surrender. Woe is the day you met me... it'll be the last day of your lives!


Vargas attacks with a couple of trained bears. Ipooh are tubby little cubbies all stuffed with murderous intent, and you have to take them out before you can reach Vargas.




Vargas's rare steal is a Mythril Claw, but I didn't get it from him this time.


After battling back and forth for a while...












Terra, Locke, and Edgar turn back and forth as each person talks.

Vargas: He chose you as his successor!
Sabin: That's not true! Our master--
Vargas: It's true and you know it! It's written in that ugly sneer across your face!
Sabin: He wanted you to be his successor, not me! He knew you had the most potential...
Vargas: I'm sick of listening to your lies! I've got far more than just potential! Why don't you see for yourself?
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #47 on: September 29, 2013, 02:13:17 AM »












Vargas: My father was right to see so much in you!
Sabin: I guess there's no avoiding this...
Vargas: Fate made us train together, and now fate will send you to your doom!




Vargas: Get ready to join your beloved master!






Sabin takes a moment to remind himself how to use his special skill. This is a big dead-end point for many players, because the instructions repeat themselves without being able to precisely tell the player where they're going wrong.


Select the Blitz command, and while the cursor is pointing at Sabin, enter the Street Fighter-style commands for one of his techniques. The one given in the game is left, right, left, and confirm with the A button.




Do it right, and Sabin attacks with a lightning-fast flurry of powerful punches.


Sabin: Vargas... If only you hadn't been so consumed by pride...


It's not the usual "boss dies" animation, so it's not clear if Sabin had to kill Vargas, or if Vargas is just fleeing to lick his wounds and reconsider his path in life. Either way, we never see him again.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #48 on: September 29, 2013, 02:24:35 AM »


Sabin: Brother?
Locke: ...Brother? You're his twin brother!?
Terra: His...brother? At first, I thought you were another one of Vargas's bears...

In the SNES translation, "I thought you were just some bodybuilder who strayed from his gym..."

Sabin: You thought I was a...bear? I guess I'll, uh...take that as a compliment! Anyway... Edgar, what are you doing here?
Edgar: We're on our way to the Sabre Mountains.
Sabin: To the Returner hideout, no doubt?
Sabin: So, the wheels are finally turning... I've been watching from a distance, hoping the world would come to its senses. The way things were going, I was afraid Figaro would end up as a puppet state.
Edgar: A means of striking back has presented itself. There will be no more playing lapdog to the Empire... I'm through with that act.
Sabin: Think a "bear" like me could be of any help?

In the SNES version... totally unchanged! But it makes so much more sense now that you realize he's referring to Terra's case of mistakenly ursine identity!

Edgar: You'd join us? Sabin...!
Sabin: I think Duncan would rest easier knowing his training helped bring peace to the world.
Locke: Well then, let's get going!


Sabin is a Monk, which is functionally a Monk... sort of. Most Monks in this series have no magical talent whatsoever, and rely on smacking enemies with their bare fists (or splitting damage from a physical attack to all targets with a flying kick). Sabin's Blitz moveset prompts for the sort of input you'd expect in a one-on-one fighting game -- Final Fantasy 6 was released right at the height of Street Fighter 2's popularity, see. Right now Sabin has the flurry of punches he used against Vargas, a Hadouken-style holy-elemental laser, and a flying suplex.

I used to grind everyone up to level 13 before fighting Vargas, because Sabin joins at average party level plus two. At level 15, Sabin learns Phoenix Dance, a fire-elemental attack that hits all enemies -- it makes the next few sections of the game much easier.

Every other Blitz Sabin learns is another quarter-circle on the controller input. Aura Cannon is QCF, Phoenix Dance is a half-circle, and so on. But this is an RPG, not a fighting game, and was always intended to be played on a controller with a cross-shaped directional input rather than a joystick. So there's a trick to getting those to work right: any diagonal directional input can be substituted for either of the two directions that make up the diagonal.
Aura Cannon there demands a down-left diagonal. But because of this -- bug? feature? whatever it is -- you can press either down or left instead. So Aura Cannon turns from a tricky QCF on a cross pad to either down-down-left or down-left-left. Easy and reliable!


New character in the party and his interpersonal conflict solved, the mountain dungeon comes to a close.


The next destination in this tiny valley is... another mountain path.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #49 on: September 29, 2013, 03:10:38 AM »

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.

[...]

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.



If we're not averse to patches, there are pretty solid ones that fix the graphics and sound.  (The sound one is mono but actually replaces the Opera House sequence with a recorded orchestration, singing and all.)

"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.

It's "Woolsey".  The L is before the S.

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".

I think "eidolon" is the best English equivalent they've come up with.  But I never had a problem with "Esper".



Who else spent weeks thinking Shadow's headband was his face?

Protip: Don't loot the chests in the Figaro Cave until you are on Locke's scenario and you'll get slightly better items.

I think they're better still if you wait until WoR, but I could be mistaken.

The treasure chests in Narshe definitely change.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #50 on: September 29, 2013, 04:10:45 AM »

It's "Woolsey".  The L is before the S.

This is one of those things that my brain knows but the muscle memory in my fingers does not. Like how I always, always type "applie" instead of "apple". That comes up from time to time in my line of work.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #51 on: September 29, 2013, 04:41:32 AM »

Tool and Blitz are the first symptoms of what makes me dislike this game's mechanics. You're given so much free stuff, that's so much better than everything else and costs nothing or almost nothing to use, that half the other systems in the game end up being noob traps that you only use if you don't know better or want to intentionally hobble yourself, despite how they are far more interesting to play with. Other FF games have their overpowered elements but at least you had to work for them most of the time. Here, within the first hour, you have a guy with a Dark Wave that doesn't cost HP and works against undead, and another guy with a free Holy spell.

Why is Gestahl bothering with magic when he could just try to reverse-engineer the autocrossbow? Dude has access to anti-personal missile technology, he should put two and two together.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #53 on: September 29, 2013, 05:29:15 AM »

Tool and Blitz are the first symptoms of what makes me dislike this game's mechanics. You're given so much free stuff, that's so much better than everything else and costs nothing or almost nothing to use, that half the other systems in the game end up being noob traps that you only use if you don't know better or want to intentionally hobble yourself, despite how they are far more interesting to play with. Other FF games have their overpowered elements but at least you had to work for them most of the time. Here, within the first hour, you have a guy with a Dark Wave that doesn't cost HP and works against undead, and another guy with a free Holy spell.

Why is Gestahl bothering with magic when he could just try to reverse-engineer the autocrossbow? Dude has access to anti-personal missile technology, he should put two and two together.

The tools command seemed a bit lazy, yeah. Maybe they could have made you buy arrows or some kind of comsumable, but eh, even then, buying arrows like we buy shuriken wouldn't have been fun either. As a kid, I loved using the Tools command, at that point in the game.

For Blitz, the balancing isn't quite right, I think we all agree on that, but having to input a sequence to use the attack was a great idea to mix up the turn-based element. It might have worked a bit better if there had been stages of each attack, where you'd have to hit a button, each successful stage adding more damage (essentially, like Paper Mario eventually did), but from a gameplay perspective, Blitz was a great idea.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #54 on: September 29, 2013, 05:38:44 AM »

This guy demonstrates Sprint Shoes by running directly into the wall. Sprint Shoes have no in-battle effect, but double the movement of the party around towns and dungeons (like the Sprint skill in Final Fantasy 5). In the SNES version, they were a lot more useful, but like previous games in the franchise the Game Boy Advance version has added a B button dash.

Or autodash, even.

On my latest playthrough I've never gotten around to buying a pair.

Do they stack with the autodash?  They did in the PS1 version but I don't think I've ever tried in the GBA version.  If they do, they're potentially useful in ticking-clock scenarios like the Floating Continent and the burning house (though less useful than the Ward Bangle -- I made it through the burning house with Celes equipped with a Ribbon and Ward Bangle; getting a Ribbon by that point required stealing it from the Ultima Weapon on the Floating Continent, which is a tedious and obnoxious process, and really anything that blocks Stone would have done just fine).


...and the sub-basement, which we're going to pretend isn't a dungeon just like we're pretending the man isn't about to turn over the entire city to the Imperials, has a pair of Hermes Sandals and a Hyper Wrist.

Wait, how come I don't recognize the sub-basement?

And if he has a dungeon in his sub-basement, why the fuck do the imperials lock Celes up in a closet?

More grist for Locke's "they were just waiting for me to walk past that closet so she could infiltrate the Returners" paranoia.

This is a big dead-end point for many players, because the instructions repeat themselves without being able to precisely tell the player where they're going wrong.

That and if you use one of his other, more powerful Blitzes, it doesn't work; it has to be Raging Fist.

This is one of those things that my brain knows but the muscle memory in my fingers does not. Like how I always, always type "applie" instead of "apple". That comes up from time to time in my line of work.

The last time I took a typing test (probably late 2005/early 2006), my only error was typing my own name instead of the word "that".

Tool and Blitz are the first symptoms of what makes me dislike this game's mechanics. You're given so much free stuff, that's so much better than everything else and costs nothing or almost nothing to use, that half the other systems in the game end up being noob traps that you only use if you don't know better or want to intentionally hobble yourself, despite how they are far more interesting to play with. Other FF games have their overpowered elements but at least you had to work for them most of the time. Here, within the first hour, you have a guy with a Dark Wave that doesn't cost HP and works against undead, and another guy with a free Holy spell.

Why is Gestahl bothering with magic when he could just try to reverse-engineer the autocrossbow? Dude has access to anti-personal missile technology, he should put two and two together.

Yeah, we had a recent conversation over in the FFF thread about how the game's mechanics could be rebalanced to make it more of, well, a game; I put my thoughts together and reworked and expanded them a bit on my blog.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #55 on: September 30, 2013, 12:27:39 PM »

Music: The Returners
Uematsu's newfound love for synth strings and brass really shines through here.










Banon is all beard, like FuSoYa.

Terra: Esper...?
Edgar: It seems the Empire had complete control over her.
Banon: Carrier pigeons have kept me informed. I also heard that she wiped out fifty Imperial soldiers in mere minutes...
Terra: No, that's not...!
Locke: Terra!
Edgar: For heaven's sake, Banon! This girl doesn't remember anything!
Banon: Hiding from the truth won't change it! Perhaps you've heard this story before? Once, when people were still pure and innocent, there was a box they were told never to open. But someone went and opened it anyway, unleashing all the evils of the world. Pride... envy... greed... wrath... gluttony... The only thing that remained in the box was a single ray of light: hope.
Terra: ...
Banon: Your power is a gift, not a curse. No matter what happens, you must remember that. You are this world's last ray of light... our final hope.
Edgar: Banon!
Banon: I've grown weary with the hour... Allow me to rest for a while.


Terra wakes up in one of the few bedrooms the Returner's Hideout has to offer. I guess they sleep in shifts. Terra's goal now is to get input from Locke, Edgar, and Sabin before going to find Banon and decide whether to throw her hat in with the Returners.






Her other goal is to loot the Hideout for all it's worth, including this hard-to-find White Cape.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #56 on: September 30, 2013, 12:44:25 PM »


Locke: If no one stands up to the Empire, more people will be left like me. That's why I joined the Returners.
Terra: But, there's no one important in my life. I have no family...no friends...
Locke: That's not true! And besides, I'm sure there are people who feel you're important to them. Those people are counting on you, too...


Sabin: He's always thought of my needs before his own, ever since we were little. I think you should trust him, too. But don't tell him I said that! He'll turn red as a tomato!


Dohohohohoho!


Edgar: And if we force our ideas on you, we're no different than the Empire. So... we want you to decide for yourself.


Pff, Terra's not your maid, people. Pick up your own trash.


The other Returners are a bit more straightforward.


That's still an awfully big thing to ask someone.



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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #57 on: September 30, 2013, 12:48:17 PM »


Returner: But too many innocent lives are being lost to the Empire while we stand here and do nothing... Please, lend us your strength! This relic will keep you safe.


There's no skill acquisition through job master in this game, so standard abilities are granted by relics instead. Sprint Shoes give Dash, as mentioned previously... and the Genji Glove gives the valuable Dual-Wield.






Terra: But... I'm scared...
Banon: We'll succeed if we all work together. Never give up hope! I have a plan. Would you please gather everyone together?
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #58 on: September 30, 2013, 12:59:36 PM »






Heh.


Banon: We all know that the Gesthalian Empire is using its Magitek power to wage war. The question is, where did they get that power?
Edgar: I had Locke dig around for information. It seems the Empire has been gathering scholars from around the world to study espers.
Locke: Narshe's esper was also the reason for the Imperial assault there.
Terra: Are you saying there's some kind of connection between espers and Magitek?
Banon: Espers and Magitek... Only one possible link comes to mind.
Edgar: You don't mean...
Banon: The War of the Magi.
"No!"
"That's impossible...!"

Those are the nameless Returners around the table piping in.

Locke: My grandma used to tell me bedtime stories about magical machines... ...Those stories were true?
Edgar: You're saying we're on the verge of a second War of the Magi?
Banon: It's only a guess. The war took place a thousand years ago, and every historian has a different theory. But one theory says that energy drained from espers was used to power machines... ...and that ordinary humans were also infused with the same energy.
Terra: So that's what Magitek power is...
Edgar: If we're going to fight Magitek enemies, we need Magitek weapons of our own.
Banon: No! That would bring about another War of the Magi!
Edgar: Then what do you propose?
Banon: I was wondering if we might able to have a chat with an esper...
Edgar: ...With an esper!?
Banon: It's risky, but that esper reacted to Terra before... If we could get it to react to her again, we might just be able to wake it up.
Edgar: Do you really think that would work?
Banon: I can't say for sure, but I believe it's our best shot... Of course, we can't do anything without Terra's help.
Locke: Terra...
Terra: I'll do it.
Sabin: I'm not entirely sure I understand the plan... but what the hey! This sounds like it'll be fun!

So instead of stealing or reverse-engineering Magitek weaponry, because doing that would cause another War of the Magi, we're going to try to wake up an actual living Esper that's been in torpor for 1000 years and use that to fight Magitek power instead. That's so much better!










The inevitable!


Dear Japan: you are bad at foreshadowing.
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Re: Who Needs the Fight Command, Anyway? Let's Play Final Fantasy 6 Advance!
« Reply #59 on: September 30, 2013, 01:37:00 PM »


Edgar: Locke!
Locke: I know... "Someone" has to sneak into South Figaro to slow down the enemy, right?
Edgar: This is right up your alley. We're counting on you.
Locke: Terra... Wait for me... I won't be gone long. ...And watch out for a certain lecherous young king who shall remain nameless. The guy moves in like a hawk!
Edgar: Locke!
Sabin: Edgar... Old habits die hard, eh?
Banon: What about us?
Edgar: We can escape down the Lethe River and make our way to Narshe. I'm curious about that esper they found in the mines...
Banon: Very well. I'll ready the raft by the back entrance. It's risky, but we don't have much of a choice at this point.
Edgar: It's not safe here. Come with us to Narshe... It could be a chance for you to gain a better understanding of your abilities.
Banon: We've no time to dilly-dally. Let's make for Narshe!

If Terra says no three times, eventually Banon gives up asking, and the meeting is skipped. Just as Terra expresses her doubts in her own abilities to provide hope to anyone, the wounded Returner stumbles in with the news of South Figaro (and the Genji Gauntlet). And since Terra can't just hang around, she escapes to Narshe with everyone else.

If you say yes to Banon straight away, he gives Terra a Gauntlet and the Genji Glove becomes unavailable. The Gauntlet allows Double-Grip instead of the Genji Glove's Dual-Wield. Gauntlets are in short supply (while Genji Gloves are theoretically infinite in number) but Genji Gloves allow for higher damage output overall.


Anyway, Banon signs up into the active party. You can tell he won't stay long, because he didn't get a custom name screen. His Pray ability doesn't scale well, either; it's a free Cura. That's plenty enough to keep everyone in top shape now, but if it lasted into lategame, no one would ever need Curaga.




No Phoenix Downs allowed! Once Banon hits 0 HP, everyone gives up and goes home.


So there are, of course, battles to be fought to give Banon a chance to die.


There are branches to take, but all of them lead to the end, so :shrug:


The second branch leads to a loop. If you go up, the raft travels in a circle and you get the same prompt again. This allows an infinite number of random battles, in case you want to level up Banon a bit

Or set your Config menu to "Memory", put Banon on Pray duty and Edgar on the Autocrossbow, and strap down the controller button overnight. Banon will keep everyone healed up in random battles while everyone else kills monsters, and without any further oversight you can come back to the game at level 30 or so. Or spend two days doing it for level 50 or so. Or whatever.


I do zero loops, incidentally.


Another short cave with a save point and we're nearing the end of the river area.

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