Part 39: Bonus - The FF4 Cast: Where Are They Now?Bonus - The FF4 Cast: Where Are They Now?
Most of you know that seventeen years after the original was created, Square realized they were running out of consoles to remake FF4 on. Thus, the only logical solution was to make another FF4 to remake on a bunch of consoles. Their solution was to release Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, which takes place seventeen years after the original. Unfortunately, they figured adding an awkward subtitle was enough, as the quality is, well, pretty low.
To its credit, it's pretty faithful to the FF4 universe. In fact, it's too faithful, as the game outright recreates a majority of the scenes from the original, because fuck creativity. All the characters from the original are back, and there are some new characters as well, some of which are actually not that bad. Some characters now suck ass, while others are actually pretty awesome. The plot is pretty lackluster and stupid, and the gameplay can vary between needlessly frustrating and pretty damn fun. It's a flawed game, but it does has its merits.
This feature is to give a brief overview of the plot and characters of FF4: The After Years. If you want a more in-depth look at it, I've already done an extensive Let's Play for it. I figured some people who didn't read the original LP might not want to read a very long SS LP for a mediocre game, so here's this summary.
HUGE SPOILERS FOR FINAL FANTASY IV: THE AFTER YEARS
The game begins exactly like the original, except the protagonist is Ceodore, son of Cecil and Rosa. Yes, they named their child Ceodore, probably because they hate him.
He's under the command of Biggs, who also hates him. There's also Wedge, who kisses Ceodore's ass because he's a prince and all. They're there to help Ceodore undergo a test to officially join the Red Wings. He does this, managing to awaken his one-fourth Lunarian blood and unlocking a mediocre ability I never end up using. He also talks about not wanting to become a Paladin and shit and who cares.
Then monsters randomly attack and crash the ship.
Meanwhile, monsters attack Baron, and Cecil goes off to slay them. He later joins up with Rosa and Cid in the same exact ways he did in the original, and the three of them join up to kill more shit. They also notice the Lunarians' moon is back for some reason.
Then this woman shows up and wrecks Cecil's day with Bahamut, because why not?
Meanwhile, Ceodore's airship crashed and everyone except him dies.
Ceodore meets up with a left-handed man named Hooded Man near Mt. Orleans who tags along because why not? They head to Mysidia, chat with Porom, and then take a couple of generic mages through the Serpent Road, which has become a fucking teleporting dungeon. Once they get to Baron, the soldiers are all brainwashed and the team has to sneak in through the Waterway, because fuck murdering two whole guards. Once they reach Baron, Mr. Man learns Ceodore's the son of Cecil, the mages leave, and Mr. Man meets Cecil in person.
Cecil's clearly brainwashed, so Hooded Man cuts off Ceodore and decides the two of them will go to Mist because, hey, why not? They do so, and the tale ends. Oh yeah, and Kain's still at Mt. Ordeals, which means the Hooded Man definitely isn't Kain, right?
Meanwhile, Asura's pissed that Rydia keeps going to the Feymarch and interrupting her sex with Leviathan or whatever and tells her to leave. Then Mysterious Girl shows up and turns everyone but Rydia to stone. Rydia's sad that she just lost her summons and leaves.
Rydia meets up with Luca, who's now an engineer apprentice and a playable character, and they find out from Giott that the Mysterious Girl is stealing the crystals. They decide to go to the Sealed Cave and take the crystal from its secure place because, hey, why not? Tagging along are Luca's dolls, Calca and Brina, who are also playable characters. They encounter the Wall again, beat it, and then the Mysterious Girl appears at the entrance of the dungeon and steals the crystal. Great job, girls!
They go to the overworld, where Calca and Brina go haywire and Luca has to put them down. Then the Red Wings shows up and shoots them down at Agart, where they go dungeon diving for parts. After a ton of fucking obnoxious grinding, they manage to even find parts to fix the dolls. Then Titan attacks Agart and they have to kick his ass. Then some random dude jumps in for no reason and the tale ends.
Yang has to deal with his power-hungry daughter Ursula, who just wants to punch things until they die. Then a meteor falls west of Mt. Hobs and Ursula runs off, forcing Yang to bring his generic monk entourage to get her. Then Ursula literally recreates the scene of when the original party first meets Yang, and they fight the fucking Mom Bomb again. Together, everyone visits the meteor, where nothing happens, and they go back. Yang and Ursula decide to sail for Fabul.
Unfortunately, their sailing vessel runs out of fuel, so they have to get some Palm Oil off a remote island to fuel the sails. Yang and Ursula have flashbacks, and eventually Ursula learns true power and a new move when beating up a turtle. Yang finally makes Ursula his pupil, and together they sail off merrily into the sunset, at least until Leviathan attacks their ship. No, really.
Palom's over in Troia to train one of the eight Epopts, who just happens to be the same girl Palom was bragging to in the ending of the original game. Palom's an even bigger asshole now and an aspiring sage who idolizes Tellah yet knows no white magic. He takes the timid trainee, Leonora, to a tower where he teaches her basic black magic in one of the game's most humorous moments. They pass, and Palom bitches about the stupidity of it all. Then they go back, and the Mysterious Girl fucks shit up. Palom and Leonora take the crystal and fly a Chocobo to the Sealed Cave, because hey, why not? Their brilliant plan to hole up in a dead end fails, Palom petrifies himself, Leonora heals him, and then the Mysterious Girl beats them up and takes the crystal anyway. Oh well.
Edge, who's currently in his forties mind you, has actually matured quite a bit, keeping his wit yet not being a brash meathead. He also has four of the most annoying hanger-ons imaginable and sends them off to spy. Gekkou, the honorable and smart one, visits the meteor site near Eblan and spies on the Mysterious Girl, wisely deciding not to fight her. Izayoi, the girl, hangs out at the tower Palom and Leonora trained at, learning nothing of any use. Zangetsu, the old one, dresses as a dwarf and also learns nothing. Tsukinowa, the kid, goes to Mysidia and develops a creepy obsession with Porom, also learning nothing. Edge then goes to the Tower, with his creepy hanger-ons slowly joining him along the way. Then they get attacked by the Mysterious Girl and Ifrit.
Edge abuses the game's love for recreating scenes from the original to escape through the trap door in the crystal room. Then there's a nice, tense chase scene where they run from Ifrit, then they jump from the empty Falcon room and randomly land on the Falcon, where Edge reunites with Rydia, Luca, and that guy I mentioned earlier.
Porom has playable flashbacks, goes to Mt. Ordeals, gets Kain, and then Kain betrays her and steals the Crystal. That's it.
Edward's still King of Damcyan, assisted by his Royal Secretary, Harley. Harley goes to visit the meteor site, and Edward has to go and get her back. A Baron delegate shows up and tells Edward to fuck off the meteor, so Edward and Harley with some soldiers go to Baron to talk to Cecil. Except fucking useless-ass Harley has to go and get Sand Fever, so Edward decides to walk all the way back to the Antlion Cave, by himself, and get the Sand Pearl to cure her. In the game's biggest twist, Edward actually doesn't fight an Antlion to get the pearl. Harley's cured, and they sail to Baron.
Cecil and Edward talk and give each other gifts. Cecil gives Edward what is obviously the same bomb ring that blew up Mist, while Edward plants Whisperweed in the Baron throne room, thus being the only person in the game to actually accomplish anything. Edward's also smart enough to know he has a fucking bomb. Then he and Harley watch Leviathan blow up Yang's ship.
Kain's Tale involves Kain trying to become a Paladin. Then he joins Porom, betrays her, steals the crystal, and follows the Mysterious Girl through the fucking teleporter maze. He promises to give up the crystal if he gets to murder Cecil, as Kain has gone crazy after seventeen years in seclusion and is all about the murder. Instead, the M.G. makes Kain head of the Red Wings because hey, why not?
Meanwhile, Ceodore and the Hooded Man scale a mountain and make their way to Damcyan, intercut with Kain's invasion of Damcyan. We find out Rosa's hiding at Damcyan, where Edward decides to blow up his own castle with Cecil's bomb to stop Kain. It fails, and Kain steals the crystal and Rosa. Ceodore and Hooded make it right after all this, and then Cid comes in on the Enterprise and takes the two and Edward to Baron, where they run into Kain and Rosa.
Turns out Hooded Man is actually Kain, and the other Kain is Dark Kain, and then Hooded Kain beats Evil Kain and becomes Paladin Kain. Yes, really. Then everyone goes to the throne room to beat up the Mysterious Girl and Cecil.
Next up is Golbez and Fusoya's Lunar Adventures, during which we learn it's Golbez who's hanging out with Rydia and Edge, and during which Golbez steals a sword from his own dreams. Together, the two manage to successfully kill the Mysterious Girl, only to find out there's actually multiple copies of her. They go through the Lunar Subterrane, with the Lunar Crystals shattering as they advance. They make it to the end, fight Zeromus's Malice (the malice of the hatred of Zemus), and then Fusoya teleports Golbez onto the Lunar Whale, which is the last we see of Fusoya this game. Golbez then proceeds to have a flashback of every fucking scene he's shared with Cecil, even including the cut childhood one with baby Cecil.
The next section cribs from FF6's end game, where the party of Rydia, Luca, Edge, and incognito-Golbez have to travel the world, recruiting allies and gaining back Rydia's summons. Meanwhile, Cecil beats up Kain and the Mysterious Girl summons Odin, who's smart enough to not have any of this shit. Eventually, Rydia's party hits Baron, Golbez reveals he's Golbez to everybody, and together they all beat up the Mysterious Girl. Cecil's free of her spell, but unfortunately he's literally dumbstruck and can't talk or really do anything. All twenty-two characters decide to go to the non-Lunarian moon before it crashes into the planet Majora's Mask-style.
So then five people delve into the world's longest final dungeon, the first of many parts of which is a near-replica of the first game's final dungeon.
Along the way, they run into crystals harboring all the bosses that weren't already rehashed in this game, including the elemental fiends. There's also optional cut scenes along the way as a last-ditch effort to shoehorn in half-assed character development. Rydia also gets back Leviathan and Asura in here.
At the end of the first half of the final dungeon, they meet Dark Knight Cecil because hey, why not? Using the power of love or whatever, Paladin Cecil regains his senses and together they beat up Dark Knight Cecil. Paladin Cecil becomes a badass again and everyone goes to the second half of the dungeon.
Not content with rehashing almost every single boss from FF4, The After Years goes one step further and rehashes bosses from the other 2D games. We fight bosses from 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6. This isn't a bonus dungeon, this is fucking canon. Then they make it close to the end and Rydia gets back Bahamut.
The party reaches the final boss, where they finally learn the plot of The After Years. This guy's part of a race who sent out crystals to capture DNA or some other Lavos-inspired shit to various worlds. So FF1-6 are all connected in this game. He sent out the Mysterious Girls, which he calls Maenads, to get the FF4 world's crystals. He decides the FF4 world is inferior to the death-ridden FF2 world and desires to murder us all because he went insane. So we kick his ass, he freaks out, and the Maenads nuke him in an epic chase scene. We also take a little Maenad girl for some reason.
Golbez goes back to the moon to find his maybe-dead uncle, while everyone else has a happy ending. Leonora ditches being an Epopt to become a sage, Rydia adopts the Maenad girl, Edge still doesn't get to fuck Rydia, and Kain becomes the new leader of the Red Wings. Everything else ends like you'd expect it.
So that's everything you need to know about The After Years. Aren't you glad you followed this LP instead?