Part 3: Bartz vs. Education
So we're making a stop at Tule Village. We don't have to come here yet, but it doesn't hurt.
In the RPGe version, they want beer. In the GBA, grog. All three are wonderful choices, of course.
Faris isn't in our party while we're at Tule. That's...kind of a relief, honestly. Pirate Faris sucks.
So this guy offers to take us to the Hall of Learning...later? Wha?
...I don't think I trust this guy...
I've beat this game several times, even did a FJF last year. I'm no beginner, lady.
...Welp. The correct answer, of course, is "Yes."
That said, there's not really much in here that most FF players don't already know. Unique to this game is the status effect "Aged" or "Old," where you get white hair and your stats and level steadily decrease until you do pathetic damage and take a lot. It really sucks, and the only really effective way I've found to deal with it is to kill that character ASAP to kill the effect, as even when it stops, you'll still have the reduced stats until the end of the battle.
Also, this version uses Tonic, which was kinda weird even from the FF6 US release. This was before they really standardized everything with the FF8 translation, giving us Potions and HiPotions and Firaga and all that stuff.
And of course, there's monsters in certain treasure chests, though this only has a measly goblin. We do get some LeatherShoes out of the deal, an accessory that slightly boosts defense.
terrible monster in the canal!
As usual, the townspeople have some interesting things to say.
And some...not-so-interesting things.
faster that way! Next boat from Walz should be comin' anytime now.
Another one fell beyond the mountains to the west.
This sounds like the set-up to a joke. Of course, there is none.
Right, that's enough foreshadowing over things that are presently meaningless to us. Let's dick around a bit more.
Unlike FF4, this game goes back to the tradition of buying magic from shops.
What's really awesome is that, unlike the NES games, you only need to buy a spell once, and then everyone in your party can use it. Thus, there's really no reason not to buy spells when given the opportunity unless you're strapped for cash. Even though I can't cast any of them yet, I go ahead and buy them because why not?
In a handy cue from the game, Faris will join us in weapon and armor shopping so we can see how we could outfit her without guesswork.
I go ahead and buy another Broadsword for Bartz to help out with the next dungeon, giving Galuf the Knife.
Overall, nothing too impressive right now, which is to be expected.
We can also crash the tavern and talk to the pirates, though they don't have much to say.
This game also has dancers, who dance. Nothing as elaborate as FF4's numbers, but they're there for that 16-bit sex appeal.
I don't have the music for this, not that it's really that stellar, but let's check out one now.
I didn't just do that for show, of course, as it's the only way to move them from our real goal:
The piano. This little baby is actually the first step in our journey to become a piano master, one that can reward handsomely. But more on that much later.
For now, let's go bother our drunken pirate comrade.
Oh, Bartz, I didn't know you were that kind of guy.
I, uh, dunno. I must just be seeing things.
Let me see!
...just gorgeous...got me all excited!
What are you two babbling about?!
I like how Bartz and Galuf don't really give a shit that they're both lusting over a man. It makes sense given how even the game itself isn't bothering hiding its big plot twists, but if you think beyond the game having a cheap laugh, it's kinda interesting to see two of the guys lusting over another guy. Then again, I seriously doubt they put much more thought into this than "Hahaha, the heterosexual guys think the other guy's smoking hot!" since it's a 20-year-old game made in Japan.
Of course, Faris has to ruin everything by speaking.
So overall that was pointless, but still worth seeing. Even if the story can be lackluster, this game excels in its nice little character moments.
Friend of yours?
Yes. He built the gate to Torna canal.
Of course, he's not home yet.
Let's come back later.
He won't show up until we visit the Wind Shrine. Since we've done everything else in town, let's go over there.
Not that we're going to leave Faris behind, of course.
The shrine is at the northeastern-most part of the lake we're on. All we can visit right now is Tule, the Pirate Hideout, the Wind Shrine, and the Canal Entrace, the last being locked up. The Shrine it is.
So here we are at the Wind Shrine.
What on earth happened?!
The wind stopped suddenly... Then monsters attacked the Shrine.
His highness went to the top floor...but hasn't yet returned.
Something must have happened!
So monsters have invaded, making this our next dungeon.
Something good to know for later, if only as flavor text.
Not all of these guys are useless, as this guy gives you free Tonics.
There's also this pot to give you free healing.
Anyway, here's the entrance to the dungeon proper.
That said, it's a very short dungeon, not that it stops it from being annoying on this version due to the load times of battles. Ugh.
These guys are...probably stronger? I don't know, they go down just as easily to broadswords. At least they were nice enough to drop a pair of Leather Shoes.
And this is what a save point looks like. Two rooms into the shrine, and we have a save point. Thing is, we're also halfway to the boss. Seriously, this dungeon is so short you could theoretically rush it to the boss without hitting an encounter if you're lucky enough.
Of course, I dick around and get piddling treasures, so I run into encounters like this Whitesnake.
Even more mercifully, this game gives you a nice shortcut here, as a small reward for trying stuff out and exploring. I wish more games rewarded you by taking up less of your time.
That room has a third Broadsword, putting everyone on equal footing since Faris deals the same damage as the others with her Dirk.
I also run into...Mauldwins?
As you'll be noticing, this translation kinda drops the ball when it comes to the monster names. Oh, will we see some wonderful things as time goes on.
Anyway, these guys were nice enough to drop a freaking Elixir. In the first dungeon.
Four steps later, same damn encounter. Fortunately, I snag a second Elixir as well.
Right, that's all to explore. Time to take on the boss.
The first boss of the game is the Wingrapter. Uh, right.
Its main attack deals ~20 damage to everyone. Considering we only have Tonics and such, it's not a bad idea to come into this fully-healed.
I didn't bother, so poor Galuf bites the dust.
I end up using Tonics on my three living guys, leaving Galuf dead because Phoenix Downs cost money, dammit.
While I heal, the Wingrapter goes into defensive mode. Like other games, the first boss has a defensive mode where they'll counterattack. Granted, I don't think this guy's nearly that dangerous, but I might as well wait and then wail on him a bit.
Overall, a simple boss. Of course, that's partly because we can't do anything besides Fight and Item, but eh.
As a final bit of insult, we still have to climb another floor after that. It's short, but there's still potential for another encounter to pop up. None of the encounters are really that threatening, though.
And we've made it to the crystal room!
Courage, the essence of fire...
Kindness, the essence of water...
Hope, the essence of earth...
Quest, the essence of wind...
...Quest? The best they could do for wind is "Quest?"
The other three are the same in the other two versions besides the GBA having the better-sounding "Devotion" over "Kindness." As for the Wind essence, RPGe has "Pursuit," and GBA "Passion."
So really, no matter what the version, Bartz gets kinda shafted in the essence department. That said, Passion probably explains him best, and "Kindness" and "Courage" describe Reina and Faris pretty damn well. Hope just seems a bit shoehorned in for Galuf, but eh, I guess it kinda makes sense later. Whatever.
They're spirits in the RPGe translation, but minor difference.
Hear me. You are the four chosen warriors... The keepers of the four essences.
Father! What does it all mean?
The Wind Crystal is shattered, and the other three are at great risk. Go and protect them.
FADE TO SILENCE
What are these?
Ladies and gentlemen... the game has fucking begun.
We'd better go!
At least we don't have to backtrack.
Fuck no, little buddy.
Yeah, same to you too.
Next time, blah blah blah Tule, blah blah blah Canal, blah blah blah Let's get to the jobs already.
So you guys decided to vote that each job would only go to one character. Right now, we have seven jobs available, including the Bare class, but we're going to ignore that one for now. Let's do a quick overview of the various jobs.
(Note: Stat increases/decreases based on a base stat of 24)
Knights are physical powerhouses that get access to some of the best swords in the game. Their early abilities are pretty useful, letting them protect allies and nullify physical damage. Later abilities let them sacrifice shields to do more damage, and to allow other classes to equip swords and armor. Very nice physical class overall.
Vigor +23, Speed +1, Stamina +20, Magic -14
Monks attack barehanded, which is awesome early-game but can wane in usefulness later on. Early on, they can learn the Barehanded skill so that other classes can attack with their fists, and their later abilities increase their maximum HP, which is already the highest of any job, along with their Strength.
Vigor +26, Speed +1, Stamina +26, Magic -23
Thieves are all about the speed. Their early abilities are those of convenience, showing off secret passages and increasing speed while the later ones are more helpful in combat, letting you steal items and reduce back attacks. Their final ability lets another class have the speed of a Thief, which is tied as highest in the game.
Vigor +1, Speed +16, Stamina +2, Magic -6
White Mages cast White Magic, which heals allies. They don't get as much status magic since that has its own magic class now, but they're still invaluable in healing loads of damage with their large MP reserves. The more White Mage levels you gain, the more magic you can use outside the class. Their final level lets them increase their max MP.
Vigor -7, Speed +1, Stamina +0, Magic +25
Black Mages can cast powerful magic spells that will deal huge damage to the enemies, plus they have the MP to be effective in regular battles. In this game, Black Magic is almost always useful, especially since it has one of the highest Magic Power values, so it's always handy having one around. More levels give other jobs more Black Magic spells to cast, and eventually you can increase its large MP as well.
Vigor -9, Speed +0, Stamina -2, Magic +31
This game is the debut of the always-awesome Blue Mage. This guy's a decent fighter on his own, but the guy's big strength is Blue magic, which is learned by being hit from certain enemy spells. Blue magic's awesome in how versatile and powerful it can be, and leveling the job lets other jobs learn and cast Blue Magic. Definitely one of the more fun jobs to play with.
Vigor -8, Speed +1, Stamina +3, Magic +23