Part 4: Bloodia04. Bloodia
After a mountain of bombs and skeletons, we get a nice and relaxing walk to Fabul. It's not too far, and the only new enemies aren't much of a worry either.
They're just palette-swaps of things we've fought already. We could've seen Domovois in the Antlion Cave, even. Despite being Goblins but Red, they don't drop the Goblin summon for some reason. Hell, they don't drop anything.
Gatlingers are, oddly, easier than Swordrats. They have more HP but that's it. They take more damage from magic, so Rydia can trash these guys no problem.
All in all, getting to Fabul is quick and painless. Which is good, because Fabul is awesome.
[Music: Fabul ~ Yang's Theme]
Castle full of warrior monks that has awesome music playing the entire time? I could get used to this.
Sadly, the weapon and armour store is useless to us. It only sells weapons for Yang and armour for Cecil. So, I stock up on a few potions just in case I need them (I don't; Cure is more efficient now) and that's about it.
So, loot! Fabul has a bit of it, but none of it is particularly exciting. The Rage of Zeus is, well, you use it and it casts Thunder. Stat independent etc. etc. The Bomb Fragment and Antarctic Wind items are in here too, but in the chests. Along with a potion.
Y'know, I always seem to think there's an elixir or cottage in that pot with an "x" on it. Sadly, there isn't. I don't know why I think that. I just always do.
At the top of the tower, we find Yang's house. Well, his wife at least. She's one of two awesome NPCs in this area, though sadly she's not particularly relevant to Rydia's antics so we won't see her much.
This guy is the other awesome NPC. I like him, because he has a personality beyond "I am a monk and I respect Yang." Even if it is "slacker" it's something.
...And yes, there's the dancer. But given how Cecil's meant to be repulsed by that, I don't like that scene much. It's kinda mean spirited, honestly.
We'll still go to the pub anyway, for two reasons. The first is free booze. This inflicts Berserk, which makes anyone inflicted with it do nothing but attack. In return for this limit they deal a fair bit more damage. I'm sure I can find a use for it.
Also originally it was dummied out because Nintendo censorship. Instead you just got 500 gil here, which is okay I guess.
The second reason for the pub is that it's on the way to the king's room. I wish my bedroom was directly on top of a pub. But, yeah, anyway we steal the king's tent.
We also steal the king's bed, because while Fabul has an inn it's only for plot reasons.
There's no reason to use it, when you can get a free heal from here.
But that's enough lollygagging I think. Let's go see the king.
I know this meant to be building up to the series of battles we're gonna have shortly, but I can't help but be distracted by that pot. It's quite important, you see.
Sadly, we can't get to it just yet so we've gotta put up with the King being incredibly sexist and also wrong.
[Music: Battle 2 ~ Boss Battle]
So, this sequence is both simultaneously amazing and profoundly stupid. I'm That Guy who loves boss rushes and this pretends to be one, but it's really just a bunch of regular mooks. Still, it's good enough and I like the denouement even if reaching it is incredibly dumb.
Anywho, we have 6 fights to do and 3 of them are this. It's just as exploitable as it was earlier, but we have more tricks up our sleeves now. We're gonna humiliate these guys repeatedly.
Step 1. Paralyse the Captain. This removes the chance of getting hit ever, and stops him running.
Step 2. Burn each Baron Warrior. One cast is enough to violently murder a man, so this works nicely.
Step 3. Petrify the captain. I love when things that claim to be bosses are exploitable like this.
Though, afterwards Cecil spontaneously comes back for some reason. Say "hi" to Cecil.
If he was still MIA here, then the game would lock up after the Red Wings bomb the castle.
And this is the one instance of retreating that makes sense to me. If your options are fall back to inside the castle or stay outside to get bombed by the air force, I'd sure as hell go back inside.
Oh and after that's done, Cecil vanishes again. But that's okay, because we have more men to beat up now.
Sadly, this is our next fight and it's about as interesting as it looks. Yeah, these guys each go down in one hit. Pretty depressing, that.
Now we start getting to the inexplicable retreats. I mean, okay, sure a couple of nameless generic NPCs got one-shotted by these weaklings, but why do named, unstoppable killing machines have to retreat? We can take these guys easy!
It's about to get even dumber, honestly. I can at least understand people doing it because Yang says to. He's a military man and has experience fighting dudes.
Speaking of which, round three looks awful familiar. We're gonna do something different this time. We're gonna use a polymorph spell just because it works.
So, we turned the Captain into a frog. We could've chosen the warriors, but they'd still get to hit you even if it was just for 1 damage.
Now that the Captain's been Toad-ed, he can still tell people to attack but... nothing happens. I guess the implication is that he's making frog noises and they can't understand him or something (though the real reason is that it's an ability other than Attack and Toad so it gets locked). I just figured they'd attack you of their own volition here, since that's what happens if you kill the Captain with these guys still alive, but nope. Nothing.
And the same thing applies to Retreat too. It isn't the same as the escape function, as it's an enemy-only ability, so shutting that down makes sense.
The benefit here is we can now take our sweet time healing and killing him without wasting MP. It takes a while, but it works.
Rydia even gained a level out of it!
...And then Edward decides we should retreat. So we do.
And that's dumb. Edward, I'm trying to like you but you're dumb. Stop being dumb.
Anyway, next room and this guy is revealed to be a monster in disguise woo scary. That... never comes up again, and it's kinda underwhelming.
Okay, maybe as a kid I thought this fight was vaguely difficult because he has Hurricane and all but... it's really not. He doesn't even get to put up a fight.
Miracle of miracles, we get another fight here without having to retreat first.
Unfortunately, it's these guys. I don't know why they even bother with this one. It's just embarassing for Baron.
...Yang, no. We are not. You're all dumb. Stop helping the villains get closer to their goal!
Edward tripping here might just be tactical genius in stalling and stopping Yang from being an idiot.
I say "might" but, no. It's just Edward being incapable of walking.
Yet another fight with these guys, so we turn the Captain into a pig this time. Same results as Toad, so you know how this ends.
Though in this case, I petrify him. Because I can, and beating up a pig is just cruel.
Now that we've helped Golbez et al. get to the crystal, they stop throwing worthless mooks at us. And we need Cecil here because if not the game locks up again.
Of course, now we have to fight Kain. This could be fun and challenging, in a way.
But, no. It's unwinnable as per usual. Even if we could stop the Dragoon murdering everyone here, the game would freak out and he'd never stop jumping.
On a similar vein, the fight is meant to take two turns. I'm sure if you have low enough HP or actively kill yourself it'll continue as usual.
Then again, the second turn does have dialogue again before Rydia gets blasted for more than ten times her max HP.
Amazingly enough, Cecil isn't completely stupid here and realises what's going on pretty fast. Then, somehow, things get worse.
[Music: Golbez ~ Clad in the Dark]
Golbez sure makes one hell of a first impression here. You hear about him being this dude who just took over the Red Wings along with basically all of Baron because of the crystals. There's no real need for him to turn up here, personally. He has all these dudes at his command who can handle the grunt work, but he just wants to rub it in our faces how much stronger he is than us.
So he just waltzes in like he's collecting his laundry or something and wrecks half the party with Sith Lightning. Imagine being a kid and seeing this scene for the first time; that's gonna stick with you.
Just to make matters worse, he gets the crystal and then kidnaps Rosa entirely to piss Cecil off. Then he just casually walks out. If you can forget even for a little while that Golbez was just a puppet for a moonman that's personification of hatred then this scene is really awesome.
The characters aren't completely stupid, Kain's major weakness is his emotions and pride, Golbez just walks all over everything and they continue the trend of having spellcasters actually use magic when it's useful out of combat. It's simple but damn is it efficient.
And then Rydia's even the one who points out that sitting around moping isn't going to achieve anything. You could come up with a few reasons for why that is, but no matter how you get there you can't deny that she is right. We just need to do to Golbez what he did here.
[Music: Fabul ~ Yang's Theme]
Before we do that, though, there's some stuff we can get in Fabul now. Our second pair of Hermes' Shoes being the most important.
Edward's there because the stuff at Fabul is absurdly volatile and so I kept the full party around until we're done here. There's still a couple of times the game checks for Cecil's presence so I just left everyone in until later.
We can also press the obvious switch for the obvious not-hidden door and pick up some more things. Other than the Spider's Silk, we get some shield for Cecil and an Ether.
We're also stuck in Fabul until we use the inn. This is the sole reason Fabul has an inn; you can't steal the King's bed when he's in it, unfortunately.
At the inn itself, we plot how to invade Baron. Flying's out and it's not like we can walk back any more, so that just leaves a naval invasion. Conveniently, Baron's dedicated sea force sucks balls... because they don't need one. Baron's equivalent of the RAF and the Navy are the same thing.
This isn't a well thought out plan.
In spite of this, the King gives us a boat and a sword that has a chance to immediately murder people. This would be nice if it wasn't just going to be turned into vendor trash sooner or later.
Also our boat is now parked at that convenient bridge leading nowhere. Nothing else to do over here so let's head on out.
Sheila Leiden is good people. Shame we're only going to come back here once and after that we'll never see her again. Which is one less return trip than usual but still.
As for the boat ride itself? I kinda dislike it, honestly.
It's a boat ride in a Final Fantasy. I sure hope nothing bad happens, like a creeping crustacean attaching itself to the hull or JENOVA appearing and murdering all the unnamed NPCs or Leviathan attacking and leaving us shipwrecked.
Oh no, what a surprise. Something bad is happening.
And it's Leviathan. Gonna be a while before Final Fantasy VI steals this and reuses it for a boss battle, but II already did it and had him eat us so it's a wash.
And because this scene is engineered exclusively to isolate Cecil in the most hamhanded and contrived manner possible, Rydia - and only Rydia - gets knocked overboard. Yang dives in, and Edward stays on board the entire time.
You'd think Cecil, if anyone, would go overboard on account of all that armour he's wearing. But nope.
Still, dumb plotting aside, Cecil wakes up on a random beach in the middle of nowhere.
Anyway, important thing here. The game uses this event as the excuse for Rydia's change to her adult sprites and moveset. That does not really happen here. That does not happen at all until the first boss fight of Act 2. This means we're gonna be running around with only level 1 elemental spells in areas where the game expects you to have level 2 or higher. Zot is gonna be fun, huh?
We washed up right next to a town that we're no doubt going to have to visit just to continue past this chokepoint and-
Oh. We can just walk around it. Okay, sure. There's no point to it though, when you can't do anything else without entering in the first place.
[Music: Mystic Mysidia ~ Mysidia Theme]
Y'know, I really like Mysidia. It has memorable and bizarre music, brings us some great new characters in Palom and Polom, has some surprisingly good writing with the regular NPCs. Oh and it's Magical Pravoka. The only thing it's missing is the pirates.
Next time: the Peninsula of Power. Oh and something about those twins, chocobos and zombies.