The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy IV

by Mega64

Part 6: Cecil Kills Another Mother

Chapter 6 - Cecil Kills Another Mother

Meet Cecil's girlfriend, Rosa. She's a White Mage, which means her Will stat is a big focus for her. She can use staves and bows, the latter of which she can make great use of due to her special ability, Aim, which guarantees 100% accuracy with bow attacks. Rosa also has a cut ability, Pray, which gives a random chance of curing a small amount of HP. It's removed from EasyType as well, so it's not just more censorship paranoia. It's also not as useful here as it is in later versions, where it can heal a bit more and can recover MP.

I can't resist quoting this post made at the beginning of the LP.

BrainWeasel posted:

Ah, gender dynamics in video games, one of my favorite topics. It's old saw that women in video games tend to exist solely as a) kidnapping victims to be rescued and/or b) murder victims to be avenged. Final Fantasy games typically take place in a dangerous enough setting that the average agency of female characters is raised slightly, but not much, and the series as a whole has a mixed history with gender dynamics. Even X-2, the series' primary exploration of girl power, kind of gets this wrong in reverse -- the main character's primary motivation is searching for her boyfriend, which isn't particularly progressive beyond that simple role reversal.

But I'd like to point out some of the opportunities that were missed with Rosa, and we've already hit one of them. That NPC comment about Rosa becoming a White Mage to be helpful is telling. White Magic has been a sort of de facto specialty for female characters in Final Fantasy all the way back to the first game (which honestly says more about the audience than the developers back then, since all the characters in that game were supposed to be male). Not to give away too much, but Rosa has a specific, innate combat specialty that has nothing to do with magic, and she is the only mage-type character in this game for whom this is true. This is a subtle hint about Rosa's upbringing; she might have gone into a completely different character class, one more fitting to her natural talents, except that she wanted to be "helpful" to Cecil, and she's living in a society that socializes women to study healing magic rather than physical combat.

The fact that this goes basically unremarked is the game's first failing with regards to Rosa's character. Gender dynamics is a careful dance between the societal pressures a character accepts and those he/she rejects, so to have a character who seems to have completely caved to those pressures makes her seem either weak or one-dimensional. Neither is a sign of good characterization.

What I'm pretty sure BranWeasel's getting at here (correct me if I'm wrong) is that it's possible Rosa would've been an archer, perhaps even a part of Baron's guard, if not for her desire to help Cecil moving her toward a career in white magic. It would've been an interesting direction to approach Rosa, though no versions of the game actually suggest this, nor have I heard it anywhere. The point is that the game could've gone on that direction if the developers were actually interested in developing Rosa further than "Cecil's love interest," which they didn't because she's a woman in a video game.

Yeah, Rosa's probably the weakest character plot-wise, though she does have her moments, one of which we'll see shortly.

In this version, arrows are finite, so it's a good idea to have a good amount on you at all times. You can only buy Iron Arrows right now, which is a shame since White/Holy Arrows would be nice in the upcoming dungeon.

Rosa's White Magic gives us two new spells. Peep is better known as Libra/Scan, which detects an enemy's HP and weaknesses. Slow reduces an enemy's movement speed and is a fantastic debuff spell in that it affects everything, including bosses.

One fun fact is that the US/EasyType versions are missing three White Magic spells: Protect, Shell, and Dispel. I don't know why those three are gone. Dispel's useless so no biggie there, and while Protect and Shell are nice they aren't really effective enough for me to miss them too much. As long as the game has Slow, Haste, Blink, and Stop, I don't care what other de/buffs are missing.

It's time to make our next stop: Mt. Hobs.

Video: Rydia Casts Fire

Cast the spell of Fire, Rydia.

You can do it, Rydia!

She's afraid of fire because her village was destroyed in a fire...

Listen, Rydia. You're the only one who can melt this ice.
If we can't get through here to Fabul, more people will be in danger......
Please, Rydia!

This scene really loves shoving ellipses into your face. You think I was exaggerating with two pairs of ellipses per use?

I like this scene. Rosa helps Rydia overcome the trauma of her home burning down and casting the spell needed for them to further continue. It's a shame we don't get more conversation between Rydia and Rosa, because it'd really have been interesting to have Rosa act as a mother/sister figure to young Rydia, especially after Rosa encouraged her to cast Fire. Or, hell, just to have Rosa do anything like this again.


Anyway, the obstacle is gone, so now it's time to explore the mountain.

Spirits absorb fire, but are weak to Holy attacks.

Gargoyles can be a pain, as they have lots of HP and can cast Weak, which reduces a character to single-digit HP.

This dungeon is where Edward shines. The enemies here can be tough, but they can also screw themselves over pretty hard with their own attacks if Charmed. Edward's attack is much more reliable than his song, so abuse the shit out of the Charm Harp for fun and profit.

Another fun fact is that flying enemies are weak to projectile attacks, such as arrows.

Thus it's not too difficult to make short work of the Gargoyles.

Bombs are pretty tame. They can Explode, but they're not a threat. GrayBombs, on the other hand, hit like a truck, and if they explode at full health, it will hurt.

Rosa picks up Life1, which saves on those items I've been stockpiling.

There's also Skeletons. How convenient that Rydia just picked up Fire1.

It's a pretty small dungeon, only four rooms with one being optional and full of treasure. The middle section does have something interesting, though.

Video: The Gang Meets Yang

He must be a Karate Fighter of Fabul!

The Karate Man manages to beat the shit out of two enemies immediately. Must be Imps.


The game then goes into battle with three Imp Captains, with the game itself controlling Yang.

Yang's regular attack involves his fists, while his special ability is Kick, which deals small damage to all enemies. He also has two abilities removed from this version: Focus, where Yang sacrifices a turn to deal higher damage the next turn (good mainly for counter-heavy enemies), and Brace, where Yang has heightened defense for that turn. All of Yang's abilities are situationally useful at best, and he's usually just best off punching the shit out of the enemies.

That one will not be easy!
Let's help!

Meet MomBomb. This fight's kinda gimmicky in that MomBomb has a timer.

After a certain amount of damage/time, she'll expand into... that.

Then a short time later, she'll explode, damaging the entire party for a good amount of damage and leaving behind a bunch of smaller bombs in her place.

You do not want to fuck around here, as those GrayBombs hurt, and those bombs will explode for big damamge before long. You may want to consider casting Slow, assuming you're not busy healing like mad.

Things got a little hectic, but it still wasn't overly difficult.

We were training when they attacked us.
We're on our way to Fabul.
Golbez is using Baron to get crystals...

No doubt. Damcyan was already attacked and had the crystal taken away.
Fabul is next!
But...! We are now helpless. I am the only survivor of our main forces. Those in the castle have just started on their training!

Golbez must have sent those monsters.
To keep us busy here and attack Fabul!?
Then they will be attacking any minute!
But you are a Dark Knight!
It's not only your problem, but also ours.

And she is Rydia. I was fooled by King of Baron and I had to defeat her mother.

That may have been the single worst possible thing Cecil could have said.

You have your own reasons, I see. Would you help me then?
Of course!
Fabul is to the east over the mountain. Let us go!

So we now have a five-person party. Two attackers, a Black Mage, a White Mage, and a debuffer. Overall, a pretty balanced party.

Yang is all about the Strength and Stamina. He also has a weird glitch where his HP stops growing after L70 or so, but that's kind of a non-issue here.

Yang's weapon of choice is the claw, and he can equip one in each hand. There are other elemental claws as well, which can be nice in the right situation.

The rest of the dungeon is short and uneventful, and soon we're back on the overworld. It's still a bit of a trek to Fabul, though.

Needlers are the next step up from SwordRats. They also counter with Needle. It's fun to Charm them.

Formations such as this one are a tad annoying.

Cocktric's hang out here. Once again, Edward's Charm pays off as Cocktric's can cast Beak on themselves, which petrifies and instantly kills them.

There are four summons that drop as items. Cocktric is one of them, but it's dummied out in this version.

Cure2 heals more. Stop completely freezes the chosen enemy's ATB bar or whatever, meaning they do nothing. I find it lasts much longer and has a better chance of working than Hold, at least from my experience in TAY. Nice for the more difficult random battles.

Next time, we'll visit Fabul and start one of the coolest sequences in the game. The next two or three updates should be great fun.