Part 3: Character Switching Explanation
This update is going to be slightly low on content but its still a required read in order to understand what Ill be doing later. Did my best to keep it entertaining, sorry guys!
(This isn't a current part of our glitched playthrough. It's just meant to explain why all of our characters are Moogles)
Theres a relatively famous glitch that occurs during Lockes Scenario shortly after meeting with Banon
Its called the Kutan Glitch and it involves this mobile guard. He patrols up and down the pathway on the right here. By approaching him
Opening the Menu right when youre about to reach the same tile, holding Up, and closing the menu
Youll phase right through him! This is actually much more difficult when it works and the timing is very strict. The game has a few frames where it gets confused during the walking time when opening and closing the Menu. Both you and the soldier have to be about to step on the same tile within 1-2 frames. When done right both you and the soldier and yourself to occupy the same tile, allowing him to move downwards and you to continue upwards
Now wait one moment Elephantgun, you might say, Why did Locke suddenly turn into a Green Soldier? I have no answer for that, but it in no way has anything to do with me being bad at taking screenshots and me accidently overwriting the save state I assure you!
All joking aside, I ended up stealing the costume from a Soldier. Theres another side-effect to this glitch too. If you steal a soldiers outfit youll keep it throughout the game. Same thing applies with the Merchant's outfit. It never leaves Locke, even when you get to the World of Ruin.
The only side-effect is that it screws up Lockes palette in the character-select screen. All sprites have predefined palettes assigned to them. Since youre able to save with Vicks/Wedge, whose sprites use a brown palette, the game automatically switches the Green to the Brown. This causes Lockes character portrait to become distorted too.
By doing this process and leaving South Figaro early, we skipped an important character Celes.
The first indication that something is wrong: Kutan cries out when we fight the Tunnel Armor,
But when we fight him, Celes doesnt appear. Shes not in our party, so that makes a lot of sense.
When we get Celes forced into a cutscene, well surprise is over because I showed it last update, but yeah. Kutans a Moogle.
Thats not what Im here to explain though. We already know from the last update that skipping acquiring characters turns our characters into Moogles. Were here to answer why.
Well, its actually very simple. In order to save memory space, the developers devised a system that would replace temporary characters with permanent characters as the game continues. Because at the beginning of the game were greeted with 3 parties full of Moogles (and Locke), nearly every character data slot is initially placed with the Moogle character data. That means that before you acquire any character Edgar, Sabin, Setzer, Shadow, Relm, etc, they are actually Moogles because the data was placed during that sequence.
The trigger to replace Moogle character data with the permanent character data is when you name a character. This will change their sprite and their portrait, but in order to change their stats and ability to equip equipment you need to hit a certain trigger - usually the first time you use them in battle. If there is a situation where a character joins prior to you naming them, the data is replaced when they join the party. In reality our characters havent been replaced by Moogles, the Moogles were prevented from being replaced by characters.
If we were to say, during the Locke Sequence go to where Celes is being held captive
Wed get the option to name her. This will tell the game, Hey, overwrite Kutans character with Celes. That way when she joins our party, she wont be a level 5 useless Moogle that makes the World of Ruin a living hell.
In the last update you'll recall that we had 4 moogles: Kumama, Kutan, Kupek, and Kuku, in addition to Kuru who will automatically join later. For reference
Kumama = Edgar
Kutan = Celes
Kupek = Cyan
Kuku = Sabin
Kuru = Gau
This was caused by skipping the naming sequence of the characters. Now, the game treats the Moogles like the character you're supposed to have. With very few exceptions does the game consider the Moogles anything other than Celes, Edgar, etc. This is because scripts in the game dont tell the game move Celes 4 squares right and make her say THIS, the game says move character_7 4 squares right and make character_7 say THIS. Its because of this that skipping characters entirely doesnt make the game an unplayable mess.
I should mention that despite them taking up the same character slot they don't share anything but their ability to be interacted with by scripts. Their levels, stats, equipment, ability to be equipped, all remain separate.
You might have noticed that in our last update we only had 5 of the Moogles, but 10 come to defend us alongside Mog and Locke. The other Moogles were missing are Kushu Kupan Kurin Kamog and Kupop. There are 16 character slots total, 14 of which are playable. Its possible to figure out what character slots these Moogles occupy, but honestly I havent gotten around to it. Doing entirely separate playthroughs that provide no glitch except to figure out what character replaces what Moolge isnt fun and is horribly tedious in some cases impossible. Ill update this post as I figure it out, but I do know that the only character that is never replaced with one of the 10 Moogles is Umaro. (Remember, there are 10 Moogles, Mog, Terra, and Locke, which is 13 of the 14 playable slots, so someone has to be the odd man out). Ill show how I know this later, but for now just take my word on it.
You might be wondering who the other 2 character slots are. The two other slots are plot-important temporarily playable characters and Kefka. DOES THIS MEAN THAT KEFKA WAS ORIGIN- No, he was never intended to be a playable character.
See, throughout the game Kefka is heavily animated during battle and has a sprite assigned to him. The only way the programmers could do this was to actually make a Kefka sprite, place him in your party, and animate him around the battle-field. At the end of the battle, hes removed from your party. They heavily animate sprite throughout the game with other characters and situations as well; the Terra casting magic scene after you escape Castle Figaro being the first that comes to mind. In order to do this, they couldnt temporarily replace one of your characters and exchange them with Kefka simply because it would be complicated to implement and would cause issues. Instead, they created a whole new character slot dedicated entirely to Kefka.
Youll notice that in battles where its possible to take 4 characters at a time to a battle, Kefka is instead a rendered monster rather than a sprite. You cant have more than 4 character sprites on the battlefield at a time. Every time you fight sprite-Kefka you have 3 or less characters. Pretty clever!
Now, we know that the standard path of character transformation is Moogles -> Character, but what are characters before theyre Moogles?
In order to figure out, I had to use a Game Genie and use a walk through walls code. This is right at the beginning of the game, moments before Terra falls into the pit and the Moogles come to rescue her. By skipping this sequence Im attempting to figure out if the Moogles are default, or if theres some other character every character slot initially begins as.
As you can see, weve skipped the pit entirely.
This is the first indication that something exciting is happening: who the hell is &&&&&&? Well the script were activating is when Banon, Edgar, and Terra are re-entering Narshe. The first time you go through this place youre expected to have them, so they speak by default.
Luckily the guard doesnt come and chase us off when we attempt to re-enter Narshe. That script doesnt activate until we acquire Locke apparently.
Remember, the first time were in this section is when were defending Baron from Kefkas army so hopefully our entire lineup of characters will be at the top waiting for us.
Theres no way in hell I could defeat an entire army with a level 6 Terra. Gameshark time!
Heres what were looking for. When we talk to our allies here, were scripted to take places with them. When we do, we turn into
Wait, what? Terra with Celess color palette?
Equipped with dirks in every slot
An empty stat sheet (the 63 bat power and 11 Magic Defense are caused by the Dirks)
Its a pretty simple explanation. Dirks, 0, Terra, and Celess sprite sheet all start with the hex DD in the attribute slot. I would image that & is DD as well. DD is simply the Default. Im surprised that we got a bunch of stable characters rather than what looked like a bunch of pixels thrown into a blender. It's also interesting to note that Amano's original design for Terra was blonde. This is probably why Celes's palette is the first, they intended it to be assigned to Terra. Just a little interesting tidbit.
TERRA ARMY DEPLOY
Unfortunately they dont show up in battle. Im genuinely disappointed
After beating up Kefka the game continues the following scenes pretty normally.
The characters still interact and talk as theyre supposed to. Remember, the game says character_2 in scripts, not Locke.
After this point the game becomes completely unplayable. Whenever you enter a battle you become instantly Annihilated (aka Game Over). You can gameshark no-encounters your way to Shadow who can solo you through Zozo, but at a certain point he leaves you and then you're out of luck.