Part 17: We get an airship but we don'tChapter 17: We get an airship but we don't
Following Maria's solo, we go immediately to a dance scene. It's not really worth seeing in motion, seeing as they just walk forward and back and spin around each other.
Music: Wedding Waltz/Duel
An interesting detail is that the further away you get from the stage itself, the more faint the music becomes. This becomes even more evident when we walk out into the lobby.
: Uh oh! I'd better tell the Impresario.
Incidentally, the letter wasn't in the place where Ultros left it when Locke went to check on Celes the first time. What, was he hiding on the ceiling or something?
(skip to 1:16)
Right on cue, some guys in really ugly purple outfits storm the ballroom and start attacking the guards...
Followed by the man of the hour himself, making his entrance by running over the villain. Unfortunately, as we've seen before, Chocobo injuries do absolutely nothing to people, besides give them the urge to sing.
(1:48 to 2:31)
For the rest of my life
I will keep you near...
It is a duel!
: With that!
A four ton weight? Really? What, couldn't find any anvils?
Ultros: N'ghaaa! This is heavier than I thought! It'll take me five minutes to drop it!
By the way, Ultros's statement isn't just hyperbole. You have exactly five minutes to get this done, but if you're using Sprint Shoes, you'll probably only need three.
For comedic purposes, you can go against the Impresario's wishes and pull the other switches, but the one on the far left just barks at you...
The one on the middle turns out the lights...
And the one closest to the far right switch dumps you out onto the stage.
This is actually somewhat important to know for later, but for the moment, Locke and Co. have to weave their way back across the heads of the crowd.
The actual far right switch doesn't seem to do anything at first, but what it does is it unlocks the door in this left passageway so you can get up into the rafters.
In a rare case for a Final Fantasy game (at least until FFXII), the enemy encounters up here are visible and avoidable.
The long and short of it is that if you kill the green rats before killing the yellow rat first, the yellow rat will summon more green rats. Or, to put it another way, these monster encounters are designed to waste your time. Here's a tip: Fire Dance is your friend!
Still, they give 3 Magic Points, so it's worth killing a few of them if there are some basic spells you've left unlearned.
Even when I took out every rat formation up here, I still had a minute and a half left over.
To nobody's surprise, dueling up on narrow catwalks turns out to be a bad idea.
Fortunately, the group discovers some actors below to slow their fall.
There's a bit of uncomfortable silence, and then...
: I, Locke, the world's premier adventurer, will save her!
Impresario: Ugh, what terrible acting.
Sadly, the game will never explore the concept of an undersea monarchy, so we'll just have to assume that Ultros is making up stuff to look good.
Impresario: Hmm, might as well make the most of this. MUSIC!
Ultros has changed quite a bit from his previous encounter. He still has the tentacles and the ink, mind you, but he's picked up a few new tricks as well.
To start, he's now developed an intense hatred of Sabin, to the point where he'll automatically counter any Blitz with Acid Rain. Whatever happened in that brief moment that Sabin was underwater is probably left unsaid.
Granted, he does that against Swdtech techniques as well, but it makes more sense this way.
Ultros' main gimmick for this battle is that he'll dive under the stage and pop back up again in a new place. The techniques he uses vary by his location, but even worse, his health gets replenished every time he does that. I'm not sure that it's possible for him to do this fast enough that it's impossible to kill him, but Nakar would probably know better than I.
Some annoying techniques he's picked up include Level 3 Muddle, which confuses everyone whose level is a multiple of 3 (that would be Edgar, the guy who I just ordered to cure Locke. Hilarity ensued).
Ultros: Imp! Pal! Buddy!
And Imp Song, an ability with a random chance of turning characters into an imp.
As an Imp, Locke would have been unable to use any special abilities or magic (besides the spell Imp) and his basic attack would have been a lot weaker. Fortunately, I planned ahead and bought some Green Cherries in town.
Overall though, I found Ultros to be an entertaining boss. He's weak to Fire and Lightning, so taking him down isn't too difficult so long as you put even a little time into training up your magic. As a reward for your troubles, you get a whopping 2 GP!
: What a performance!
Look who finally decided to make an appearance.
Music: Setzer's Theme
Maybe this planet just has really light gravity or something, because that's at least the half dozenth time we've seen people make ridiculous leaps or fall from ridiculous heights.
Impresario: What fate lies in store for her? Stay tuned for Part 2!
Stay tuned? What, is this a television program now? Jeez, Woolsey...
: I'll deal with you in a minute!
Meanwhile, not even a minute into Celes' captivity, Setzer commits the #1 mistake when taking prisoners: never leave them alone in a room with a view.
Case in point: Celes immediately finds an open hatch and drops a rope down.
Thereby allowing the rest of the group to make their way up onto the ship.
: What a performance!
: Enough, already.
I like to imagine that Locke is doing a mock-Setzer voice there, but that's just me.
: Setzer, we need your help. We have to go to Vector, and we need this ship to get there.
: Look, if you're not Maria, I don't want you aboard.
: And that you were the world's most notorious gambler!
: I'm the King of Figaro. If you help us, you will be well-rewarded.
Hello, glitches. For some reason, Gau wanted an impromptu piggyback ride from Celes in an alternate run I did, and I couldn't resist throwing it in.
: Come here.
: Don't misunderstand me. I'm still not sure I want to help you.
And...scene change. Huh...that was kinda nonsensical, really.
Anyway, we now have the option of mucking about in Setzer's ship before talking with him again.
This fellow is quite handy, though how he manages to track down Shadow, Cyan and Gau while we're floating up in the air is a mystery. Heck, he even hops over to Zozo and removes Terra's gear that she shouldn't even be technically wearing right now. This man's a wizard, I tell you.
These fellows in the south end of the ship heal the party to full and sell basic items. Pretty good for when you're on the go, but they don't do anything for keeping you up to date on gear.
Anyway, we've put this off long enough. Time to claim our new airship.
: Stop thinking of yourself! Many towns and villages have been smashed by the Empire!
: The Empire's also totally rotten! It's using Magic to enslave the world!
: The Empire and my realm were allies...until recently.
: The Empire'll end up owning you!
By the way, it turns out that bringing Gau up here was a complete waste of time, because he has nothing to say.
: The Empire...evil...?
This statement will become hilarious when we actually see what Vector looks like.
: We all hate the Empire for the same reasons, that's why-
: You know, you're even more lovely than Maria.
: WHAT?! Are you stupid?!
: We haven't any choice.
: Yes, it's settled!
: We'll settle with a coin toss. If it's heads, you'll help us, but if it's tails, I'll go with you. Well, Mr. Gambler?
: Oho! Fine, I accept!
: Listen to yourself, Celes! You can't become his wife! You just can't!
Fortunately, unlike certain panicky treasure hunters, Celes actually has a plan in motion.
: I win! Now honor your part of the bargain!
: How unusual...a coin with identical sides...
: ...That coin! BIG BROTHER! Don't tell me you...
I don't see why Sabin's complaining. It just means that Edgar did the heroic sacrifice thing before it was even in style.
: I think you've been hustled, Mr. Gambler.
: Ha! How low can you get? I love it! All right, I'll help you. Nothing to lose but my life...
: When things fall, they fall. It's all a matter of fate...
: This ship's gonna stick out like a sore thumb. Better land some distance away.
: Right. I'll wait on board in case of emergency.
Wait, what? You mean we've got an airship but we can't actually ride it?!
No, don't shift to this atmospheric view of the Imperial capital looming in the distance like a terrifying creature. I want answers, darn it!
Next Time: Seriously, with a place like this, who would EVER think the Empire is evil?