The game starts off with reading. Boo. Here's a summary: The War of the Magi was this big conflict that occurred a thousand years ago between Espers and Humans when the latter of those two got greedy and tried to nick the magical abilities of the Espers. Somehow, unbelievably, the magical Espers lost to the weak and feeble humans, and now lie about as pieces of magicite. The magi (magical folk) involved in the war have all but vanished, and the idea of magic has long since waned into legend. Our game begins in the snowy mining town of Narshe, where our main heroine awaits.
Two Imperial soldiers known as Biggs and Wedge ride in on technologically impractical suits of armour that can cast magic and squash large fruits. They bring in tow a young girl with green hair (not a Maenad copy!), who they have placed under mind control with some sort of nifty hat. Since her name isn't actually known yet, I can't do a character box for her, but I can with her compatriots!
|Playable Character: Biggs and Wedge|
Biggs and Wedge are as shit as characters as they ever were in previous FF games. They're indistinguishable from one another, carry the same stats and abilities, and both suck equally as terribly. Their only stand out in this game is that their employer has gifted them with Magitek Armour, a proprietary cyborg-like invention that they use to destroy all those who would oppose the empire. I can only imagine that they must be awful fighters by their lonesome, or else they wouldn't be using these hulking machines.
The Magitek armour (since its actually more of a character than these two McJobs) is a highly powerful and capable tool for land subjugation and organism destruction. They can use Fire Beam, Thunder Beam and Ice Beam (really, they're all the same) and Healing force. The mysterious 'witch' that they've dragged along can learn more, and since I'm not giving her a proper character introduction while she's riding the MA, I might as well cram it in here. I'm sure those two cartoonish sprites won't mind if she steals a bit of their space. So Ms. green hair can use the main four attacks that B and W have, but can also throw out a Bio Blast (hits everyone), Confuser (may confuse one or more), Banisher (may instantly kill one enemy) or Magick Missile, a strong magical attack on one foe. They're all overpowered and flashy, and as far as I'm aware, are indestructible so long as you don't sit back and get killed on purpose. REMEMBER to heal frequently, because there are no Phoenix Downs at this point in the game.
If you ever want to know where to go (probably because you didn't want to read the story), hit the question mark in the top left corner for some advice from Mog. Head into the depths of Narshe, Kupo. Walk up and under the bridge, then turn right to get your very first action-triggered scene. You get an introduction to combat (puh-lease, I've already been through that, sister...) which is quite unnecessary, because all you have to do is tap any old magitek command to instantly annihilate the Silver Lobo. Poor little pup! Walk past the inn and some guards decide to fight you. End their insignificant lives however you want and walk into the square. Kill the Lobos that are released at you, then turn your wrath on their masters. Continue up north until you're surrounded by two guards and their pets. They say they've got you surrounded, but I don't think even they could be so stupid as to think that they've won. Exterminate these pests in the 'Side-Battle', where you're beset by two enemies on one side, and another to your rear. If you don't really want to think hard, just hit the fast-forward button in the top left corner. It's like an Auto-battle function.
Move up to the next screen, and get to the first set of stairs. Some soldiers and some Megalodoths will attack, but again, they're nothing before the might of Magitek. Continue north to the mine entrance (kupo), where Biggs and Wedge provide some chatter to rival the redundant talk of NPCs. Up and to the left is the game's first save point. Hopefully you won't have to listen to the explanation they provide because who in their right minds doesn't know what a save point does? Incidentally, save please. The cave to the right is too small for the witch to get her big fat head through, so just continue north to the barricade blocking the way through. Biggs or Wedge smashes through it, but beyond it a guard stands guard, guarding what I can only believe must be very valuable. To prevent us from reaching the 'Esper', he commands his servile monster friend to attack. Our first boss! How exciting!
|Boss Fight: Ymir|
A snail. Well, I suppose there have been worse bosses. Though I don't know why we can't just step on the thing. We brought along the greatest military technology we could to fight the unknown, but we didn't even think to bring a salt shaker! damn...
Ymir has two targetable body parts - the head, and the shell. Killing either will eliminate the boss, but since the shell has much higher HP (and also counterattacks every move), it's much easier to just attack the head. Beam moves and Magic Missile are the best bet here, denting that 1600 HP with attacks reaching a maximum of 500 damage. Sometimes the head will recede into the body, but this is nothing to worry about. Even though you'll trigger that counterattack (Megavolt - 60+ damage on one, 30 on everyone) one simple Healing Force will restore the victim to full health. Independent of counters, Ymir can only attack normally and use slime to inflict slow. Again, Healing Force will fix that right up. Just remember to use it often so that someone doesn't die. Back when I played this game on the PSN I recall having to fight this battle (Whelk it was called) without ????? because I was a bit blase about healing. It doesn't make things much harder, just longer. There is no excuse to lose against this guy. How embarrassing is it to lose to a gastropod?
Move north again after the Lightning Whelk is destroyed. In this area, Random encounters start to occur. Surely I don't need to explain what these are? It's when enemies randomly encounter you and you're forced into fighting them. Repetitive, I know, but you need to fight these things in order to level up your characters. Just don't bother doing it here, since the Magitek monstrosities make levelling irrelevant for the time being. Get to the room's north end to find what the Narshies were so damn protective about - a summonable creature (esper) incased in solid ice. Madame Green steps forward to investigate, and both Biggs and Wedge are eliminated by an eerie light. That's all? Damn, even Aeris did better than that!
The girl has been taken to a house in the town proper to recover, and she winds up in bed, recovering from her injuries or something similar. Amusingly, even though your next objective is obvious, Mog still finds it in himself to tell you that you should talk to people nearby. Doesn't make the game all that hard, does it? Would you like to write this shit up, Mog? The old man whose parents must have forgot to name him states that he removed the girl's slave crown (sounds kinky), but she doesn't seem to remember... After a few moments, it starts coming back to her, beginning with her name.
|Playable Character: Terra Branford|
Terra here is the first female protagonist of the Final Fantasy series, but some insane people seem to think that FFVI's main hero is this guy. No no, Terra is our person. The plot revolves around her more than anyone else - a woman possessing rare magical powers that is used by the Empire for as of yet unforeseen reasons. What makes her special is that she's a half human, half esper scion that was birthed from the womb of a woman who liked to get it on with bestial humanoids. That's a cool (but odd) trait to start with, right? Problem is, rather than rely on her cool plot point of being a half esper (she can transform into a furry pink creature with no limits and no clothes thanks to her Trance ability), she instead decides to spend her screen time in the game whining about not being able to love. Whateveeer.
Terra is a wonderful party member to have, even though she isn't the traditional warrior type main protagonist. Being a 'Magitek Elite', Terra can cast a vast array of spells (all of them by the end of the game), but can also attack normally for significant damage. This makes her (along with one other character that will arrive later on) THE most flexible character to have around. She's one of only four mages, but can also kick ass with a sword. I like it.
Finally, there's the trance ability. Like I mentioned, Terra strips off her clothes in a moment of passion, morphs into a fuchsia-pink goddess, doubling her stats and making her twice as deadly. It takes a turn to use, and doesn't last very long for now (we need AP for that), but it makes her even stronger than she already is. The last thing to cover is her 'Desperation Attack', Riot Blade. I'll explain what that is in a moment. You'd be downright dopey not to include Terra in your ultimate party lineups. She ain't the strongest physically, but in a game where magic reigns supreme over muscle, nobody does it better.
Alt's Advice: Desperation Attacks Edit
Desperation attacks are the antecedents of what we now know as Limit Breaks (also Trances, Overdrives, Quickenings, and Full ATB Skills). They're powerful techniques that can be executed by certain characters, and they are powerful, but they can only be used when that person has critical HP left, and even then it's a 1 in 16 chance that it will be used instead of the attack command. Every permanent character except two (I'll let you know who they are as they appear) can use these things, but they aren't very useful because of their low predictability. If you do see one used, get your eyeful, since they are very rare to occur.
Escape from Narshe Edit
Name her (I stuck with Terra 'cause it sounds nice), and the Old Man (rudely doesn't tell us his name still) remarks how quick we are to recover. Some Narshies try breaking down the door to apprehend poor Terra for her crimes against... er... whoever, and the Old guy decides to help us escape the mining tow through the caves. When you can move, walk left and up to the grandfather clock. Examine it for an Elixir (pretty damn soon for that kind of item!) and follow him. Just a note, most clocks in this game have elixirs inside them. Not exactly sure why that would be, but it's not of real import. Just remember to examine everyone you see in case I forget to mention them.
Follow that guy out of the house and into the mines on your left (some guards will see you on the way, but can't reach you). There are random encounters in here, but since our Magitek Armour has been taken from us (as well as Biggs and Wedge), Terra isn't as invulnerable as she once was. They're still easy to plough through, but you might need to use Cure a few times throughout the cave to stay safe. You'll come across another save point - which you should use, of course, and a bridge going up. There are two chests around here, but you shouldn't take them just yet. After a point in this game, their contents change from Sleeping Bag and a Phoenix Down into a Guard Bracelet and an Elixir. I'm not sure why this happens, but you don't hear me complaining. Walk up that middle section of the bridge, and clamber up the right stairs. At the top if the screen, some Narshe guards surround her, and she ends up falling down a pitfall trap to the next level down.
Yay, first page over! Let's try to end every page on a cliffhanger, why don't we? We'll see the shocking conclusion on the next page!