Magicite is Might Edit
Now that the mysterious Dadaluma is dead and his pitiful plot with him, we're free to enter the highest room in Zozo's tallest tower. Terra lies in bed in her furry form, still whacked out by the influence of the popsicle-esper. Out of thin air pops an elderly gentleman by the name of Ramuh, who just so happens to be an esper himself. He says that Terra was overwhelmed by a force that she was unfamiliar with, and now she can't control her body. We learn through his story that espers once lived side-by-side with humans, before those arsehole humans ruined everything by trying to seize control of magic by themselves. And that's how the War of the Magi started! So after the war ended, the espers said 'fuck these people' and created their own commune of magical folk in another world, disassociating themselves from their greedy belligerents for thousands of years.
Oh, but one day humans accidentally stumbled on the door that connected the worlds (how the hell can that happen by accident???), and their leader, Gestahl, has since been trying to take control of them for himself. The espers locked the humans out with a large metal door, but some of them were captured, to be drained of their magic by the Empire in the Magitek Research Facility deep in the heart of the capital city of Vector. Ramuh tells us to go there in order to rescue his friends so that they can help bring Terra back to consciousness, but I always thought he was using that as an excuse to have us blindly go off on a suicide mission for the sake of death-defying esper rescue. Ramuh regrets being a coward and hiding out in Zozo, then says that you can't draw out an esper's full strength by mechanical means - they have to transform into magicite. He gives us three pieces of the stuff, then turns himself into magicite for you to use, killing himself in the process. Aw, thanks babe.
Alt's Advice: Magicite and Magic Edit
Here's where the game really starts to get fun. Magicite (espers in their purest, deadest form) is a form of mineral that can be given to your party to help them learn spells. Even people like Locke, Sabin and Edgar get the opportunity to cast magical abilities, and they're all given MP totals to boot! Each piece of magicite has a few spells connected to them. Ramuh, for example, has Thunder, Thundara, and Poison, so all of them can be learned by a person by equipping the magicite to that person. The 'acquisition rate' simply describes how quickly a person learns the spell, the progress of which is tracked by 'Progress'. Every character found in the World of Balance can learn every spell in the world by equipping magicite - the fun part is switching them around and having all of them learn your favourite abilities! Oh! And don't forget that the person with the equipped magicite can also use that esper as a summon from now on. If you need further info, either check the page on the wiki that pertains to magicite, or listen to ?????'s instructions when you leave the city of Zozo behind.
A Time to Plan Edit
With these four pieces of magicite, you can now have every person in your party learn a spell by opening the menu and hitting the 'not set' bar next to their profile. Give Kirin to anyone who isn't Celes, as she's already learnt Cure and Poisona from it. Play around with the magical stones at this point - the fun of the game at this point isn't to listen to some stranger on the internet order you about; go have fun with the magical adventure of spell acquisition, and make FFVI your own!
As you try to leave the tower, you'll find that the two people you didn't being along stationed at its entrance. So much for the defence of Narshe, huh? Speak to either of them for a cutscene in which they all head back to the town entrance while deciding what to do next. Celes needs to be in the party for this next leg, and Locke has to go with her for some poorly explained reason. The other two are optional, but I personally took the two guys who I didn't take with me to Zozo (Gau and Sabin). If you want to swap people again, you're going to have to travel aaaall the way back to Narshe. Have fun with that. Oh, and all enemies will give off AP now for the sake of levelling up those spells you're learning. Head to Jidoor now.
Once there, make for Owzer's Mansion in the far north of town, and speak to the man pacing back and forth. The Impresario mistakes Celes for a girl named Maria before muttering under his breath and walking off. Pick up the letter he drops to find that this Maria girl has been or will be abducted by a wandering gambler by the name of Setzer, a silver haired debauchee who rides the skies on the world's only airship, the Blackjack. Celes and Locke, ever the machiavellians, ponder on how awesome it would be to fly about on an airship, and plot to steal it from this Setzer character. They figure that since Setzer is going to kidnap Maria, he must be at the Opera House south of Jidoor. I know now that Maria is a famous opera singer, but did everyone else know that? Looks to be that way, but I was never informed the first time I played the game. Anyway, our current goal is the house of opera! Let's go!
Le Opera House Edit
Speak to Il Impresario to hear more about Setzer and a play that is to be performed tonight. Does Final Fantasy even have a night/day system? I always thought one place could have one or the other. Like, it's always dark in Midgar, but nowhere else on planet Gaia, it's always night time in Deling City, but nowhere else in the world of FFVIII! And the weather! In Burmecia it always rains, even when the mist disappears from the Mist Continent, which caused the rain! Is it too much to ask for some reliability in something as simple as weather and the day cycle? You know, never mind. It's not important.
The Impresario wants us to thwart Setzer's plans, but can't have us ruining the performance by jumping in and nabbing him when he makes his grand entrance at the denouement of act one, because that would ruin the performance and he'd lose his job. Oh, so that wouldn't happen if Maria was abducted and the star performer wouldn't be able to appear in all the other acts, how ever many there are, after the first? The Impresario is seriously torn between having a woman shanghai'd by a stranger, and the performance being a failure? Forget Kefka, forget Gestahl, forget that dumb purple octopus - this guy. HE'S the real villain.
Ahh, I've gone off track again. Here's the plan: a decoy is used instead of Maria, the crew follow Setzer back to his ship, then jump him and hijack it. But who'd the decoy gonna be! Aha! Here's where Madame Chere comes in! Since y'know, she looks like Maria and everything. Celes doesn't like the plan, because of prejudice against 'floozies' (but they're wonderful people!), but later accepts because of the insightful realisation that, just perhaps, she is a floozy after all. Or maybe that head smash into the door wakened her up a bit. Who am I to make these calls?
The Taming of the Screw Edit
As Celes dresses for the part and rehearses, Ultros - that annoying purple mollusc, conspires with a plot of his own. He throws a letter over to Locke and the rest, but they disregard it. Great plan, mate. Excellent. Later, the opera begins, and you can watch the first act unfold. I'm not going to tell you what's happening, because I'm starting to feel that my explaining everything is ruining the impact of the game. Of all the thing I would ruin, this opera will not be one. It's just too good a scene for me to mess up, so just sit back, relax, and watch by yourself.
When control comes to you, as Locke, leave through the bottom-right doorway, and make for the dressing room. When you can control Celes, learn the lines of her part from the book on the table, then head out onto stage for one of the most smashing scene's in all of RPG gaming.
The Aria Edit
As Celes, you have to pick three lines as provided by the game to fulfil the scene perfectly. If you stuff up, then you're kicked out of the theatre and have to start over from the beginning. If you stuff up four times, its Game Over. Jeez, these guys take their opera really seriously! Just do as I say, and it'll be smooth going. The prompts go like this, with the correct answers in bold:
- O my Hero...
- Alas Draco...
- I wish I...
- I'm the darkness...
- Must my...
- Prince Ralse...
And after that, Draco will appear, and you have to dance with him by following him to where he stands and 'speaking' to him. When he vanishes and flowers appear, pick them up, climb the stairs, and throw them off the balcony. Now watch as the finale scene begins...
With Locke, walk back into the dressing room and read Ultros's letter, in which he states that he'll jam up the opera. Speak to the Impresario about the imminent disaster to continue the scene. Ultros plans to flatten maria with a 4 tonne weight that will take him precisely 5 minutes to shift. When you have control of Locke again, the timer will start counting down, giving you a short period of time to save Celes from life as a pancake. Give the Esper Ramuh to someone (preferably not Gau if you have him with you) and run for the control room in the top right of the viewing balcony. Speak to the engineer here, who tells you to throw the rightmost switch. Do as he says, then run back to where the Impresario is, then left to the door across the room from the control switches. This leads to the narrow catwalks above the stage, where Ultros has hatched his dimwitted plot. Walk along the thin rafters, beating back mice as you go (You MUST kill them quickly, or else more will join in every fight), using any Tools, Blitzes and techniques that you can. Once you get to Ultros, he'll push you over the edge of the rafter, but also fall down himself.
Everyone crashes onto stage, and the scene is disrupted. The Impresario bolts in, claims that the opera is ruined (it was only ruined when you said that, you fool), and a sound begins in the background that sounds vaguely like a restless crowd. Locke improvises by claiming Celes's hand for his own, and Ultros declares that no one but he will take the lovely Maria for a bride, and challenges you to a battle.
|Boss Fight: Ultros, 2nd Encounter|
Ultros is back, and with a brand new battle plan, complete with some strong new moves. Acid Rain does about 150 to one enemy, Drain, fire and tentacle all do 50+ damage, and Megavolt will likely break 100. Luckily, we have some strong moves of our own on hand to beat back the mollusc and thwart his plans yet again. The formation of battle will be a side-attack, meaning that you have a great opportunity to hit Ultros from behind with an already powerful attack, which will deal immense damage to the boss. Using that Ramuh spell I told you to equip may very well hit at least 1500 points of damage (That's over half!), while Chainsaw/Drill, Thundara, and Sabin's Fire knuckles can reach about 500. Strictly speaking, this battle could be over in three turns. How easy is that?
Ultros exits stage right when beaten by the party. Locke is about to claim Maria's hand, but Setzer storms in in the most extravagant way possible, and escapes with Maria while a stunned Locke, Impresario and audience look on. On board the Blackjack, Celes manages to hoist the three other party members into the ship by a rope or something, and Setzer waltzes in, quickly gleaning that Chere is not, in fact, Maria. Appealing to him as a great gambler and pilot, Celes manages to convince Setzer to take them to Vector on the condition that she marry him. She manages to cheat him in a simple coin toss using a double-headed coin (implied to be the coin used by Edgar if he and Sabin are in the party), but Setzer takes it in stride and decides to take us anyway. To Vector! To the Empire!