Part 19: The Birds and the BeesLoose Ends, Part 5 (I think we're on 5 now. Not that it matters)
Those of you who've played Final Fantasy VI already have probably realized that there's not a whole lot of information on the game's villain, if any. In fact, if you want to know his origins at all, you've got to go out of your way...
...to a cafe in Vector's north side.
Patron: Here's one for you! That guy Kefka? He was Cid's first experimental Magitek Knight. But the process wasn't perfected yet. Something in Kefka's mind snapped that day...
Kefka Palazzo, ladies and gentlemen! Doing the "brain-damaged test subject" thing years before that weirdo in Final Fantasy VII. And...that's pretty much all the backstory you hear about him.
Chapter 19: The Birds and the Bees
Last time, Celes pulled a Warp spell out of nowhere and Esper juices destabilized the Magitek Research Facility. The less time you spend trying to rationalize it, the happier you will be.
Cid: You've helped me come to a decision. I'm going to talk to the Emperor and have this stupid war stopped!
By the way, while this next segment shouldn't be too much of a problem, I should note that there aren't any monsters to grind Magic Points off of down here. When I was younger and stupider, this next section gave me a lot of trouble due to my lack of preparation.
Cid: But she was forced to become a Magitek Knight, and she's done some awful things. If I could only talk to her, I'd apologize for the way her life has turned out.
Fortunately, Cid's reminiscence is interrupted by the familiar laughter coming from...
...The fourth wall? Seriously, from what I can tell, the elevator's the only way down. What's he going to do? Fall 100 feet down into this station?
Actually, what with past trends, he could probably do it.
Obviously, the only way out of this facility is through an ugly low-res minecart sequence.
Music: Save Them!
Seriously, even when I was a kid, I thought that this looked like arse. It's even worse in motion.
Apparently, the game designers thought that not having Celes in the party was a huge handicap, because the monsters in this sequence are ridiculously easy to beat. For some reason, they drop Skeans and Shurikens, even though Shadow can't be in the party at this point. How peculiar.
There's also a boss in this section, but he's just...eh. That's the only word I can think of to describe Number 128 here.
The only special gimmick about this fight is that he's got multiple components to him, but his blades only do physical attacks and they go down if you even sneeze on them.
There's a nice weapon to be had from robbing him though. It's another one of those weapons that casts a spell randomly when it's swung, but you know what spell it casts? Wind Slash, aka that spell that Gau was using to one-shot every group during the Battle of Narshe. Oh, we are going to have some fun with this one.
The boss casts Haste and gets some extra attacks when his blades go down, but by the time that happens, he's probably a blow or two from being wasted himself.
We probably could have rode the cart all the way out of Vector, but there was a Magitek Armor on the tracks. That fellow will be regretting that decision, that's for sure.
Note that we can go back into the facility, but not only is it still shaking, but the pipe leading further into it is broken. Hope you grabbed everything on the first time through.
: What's up with Celes?
: We'll talk later. Let's get outta here!
Wait, what are you doing all the way up there? You were just in the facility a second ago.
Anyway, so Kefka pushes a button in the top of the tower, and out pops...
They're cranes! Freakin' cranes! The party is quaking in fear of construction equipment! This is just stupid...
Music: The Decisive Battle
These things can be a little mean at times, actually. Since we're in a Pincer Battle, and these things hit pretty hard even without the bonus from hitting somebody in the back, the party's going to take quite a beating.
Fortunately, Setzer's fighting with us today, and he's got his own special trick that he can do.
Generally, the results of Slots are up to chance, but the game's fairly generous with giving positive results. There's a way to game the system, which I'll go into later, but for now, the game will have a tendency to either give us three Chocobos or three diamonds.
As for the bosses, they've got their own special trick. If the crane on the left gets hit by Bolt, it'll get "Electrified," and if the one on the right gets hit by Fire, it'll get "Heat Source." If they get up to level three, they'll hit with Gigavolt or Fire 3, which is, needless to say, quite unpleasant.
You'd think that the solution would be to just not use Bolt or Fire on them, but after a while, they'll start hitting each other to power themselves up. Needless to say, you'll want to focus all your attention on one of them as soon as possible.
Setzer's a big help in this fight because all of his techniques are non-elemental and they hit both sides. This is 7-Flush, the result of getting three diamonds on the Slots.
Theft-wise, the one on the right has a new tool for Edgar, but it's not worth the time to get it right now.
: Terra? Who's that?
: I'll explain along the way...about Terra...the Returners...the Espers...
What are Gau and Cyan doing here? They're supposed to be in Narshe, protecting Banon. The whole reason why they couldn't come along was supposed to be that somebody needed to watch over the old guy, remember?
Suddenly, one of the Magicite that we brought with us causes a reaction in Terra.
: Father...? I remember it all...I was raised in the Esper's world.
You know what this means, folks?
Music: Another World of Beasts
That's right, a flashback! This time of the playable variety! For this section, we'll be playing as Maduin the Esper, covering the events leading up to, during, and immediately following Terra's birth.
Now you may be asking to yourself, "How the heck does Terra remember what happened before she was even born?" That's a very good question, one that the game doesn't care to answer.
I'm surprised that this doesn't happen more often, honestly, given that they leave the thing wide open all the time.
Words to live by.
We immediately switch scenes to a different house, where the woman's hiding in a bed behind the text box. The fellow with the grave expression and the fancy clothes is the Espers' Elder. More on him later.
You remember how we were told not to bother the lady? Well, guess what we have to do next.
Maduin: Did I awaken you?
Girl: You're... an Esper? What's that pendant for?
Maduin: It's... yours now! It helps protect the Esper World.
Girl: Esper World... Boy, did I take the low road or what?
Maduin: The Esper folk are pretty upset, you being a human and all...
Girl: You're the one who saved me?
I guess that's why he moved to the Esper World, so he wouldn't be so tired.
Maduin: That world is filled with desire, greed and loathing. It's highly infectious. Are humans and Espers truly so different?
I'm not sure those thoughts really ought to be side by side like that. Are you making some sort of point about how Espers are just like humans, or are you trying to say that Espers are better than humans?
Also, for some reason, we know Madonna's name, despite her not introducing herself.
Madonna: I'll return to my world tomorrow.
Maduin: You'll need a guide.
Uh oh! The Elder is listening in! This...won't have much impact on what happens.
Madonna: But humans and Espers can never co-exist!
Maduin: How will we know unless we try for ourselves?
Ugh...this is going to be painful. It's like if a Mom had to tell her 8-year old about where kids come from.
Maduin: How do we know...unless we...
You see Timmy, when an Esper and a human love one another very much, they dance around each other and trail off little sparklies.
And when a sparklie from an Esper meets a sparklie from a human...
A beautiful baby just jumps out!
Maduin: We've given her a name.
Maduin: It's Terra. Not bad, huh?
Two years later...
Music: The Empire
If you want to keep humans out, you could always invest in a mystical item called a door. Just saying...
But no, thanks to their open cave policy, Espers are being carted off left and right.
Though we've seen him before, this is our official introduction to Emperor Gestahl. The man's very goofy-looking, but he's sadly the only villain we have at the moment other than Kefka. But who'd take THAT guy seriously?
: Those ancient writings told us of this world, and described the awesome magical properties of these beasts! Grab them! Riches to any man who captures an Esper! GO!
Maduin: You mean...the Magic Barrier™?
Elder: Here's the plan. We'll cause a tempest that'll sweep all the nasty creatures out of our realm. Then we'll seal the gate. I am the last of our kind able to cast this magical seal.
Maduin: But in your state, you might just...
Elder: Pass away...but at least we will finally be safe.
Okay, looks like everyone's on board with this, except when we try to leave.
Esper: I'm sure she helped the others find us!
Maduin: Get a grip on yourself!
Esper: No! She's one of them! Soon she'll be wearing our hides!
Before we can contemplate the going rate on Esper-skin coats, Madonna's off through the door like a shot.
Actually, she's less getting drawn into it as she's running headlong towards it because an Esper said a mean thing.
Elder: Impossible! It's too late! I've already begun casting the barrier! There's no turning back!
Maduin: That fool...
At that moment, the wind picks up, and the soldiers and Gestahl begin flying out.
: Shriek!!! Just when we were in reach of a veritable bonanza...!
Maduin: I understand that...
Oh, look who isn't being sucked out, despite being right next to the door.
Maduin: Can you make it back here?
WHAT?! She took the baby too? That's just...
Oh, and thanks to them being startled by their baby flying through the door, Madonna and Maduin fly through as well.
Madonna: Please...take care...of my baby...
: YOUR girl? Hmm...then she's half human and half...how absolutely fascinating! She will help us realize our dream faster than we ever imagined!
So thanks to Madonna's lack of common sense, her husband becomes a specimen in a jar, and Terra becomes a mind-controlled killing mission.
: We will own this world! Ha, ha, ha!
: I finally feel like I can begin to control this power of mine...
: So Gestahl must have known the secret of the Espers' power back then.
: And the Espers at the facility were grabbed during that expedition! That means Celes' power came at the expense of an Esper...
: They can't get away with this! We have to strike back!
: Hmm...maybe we should head back that way...
Terra has rejoined the party, but there's still a lot left to do before we head to Narshe, so...
Next Time: We see the world and unveil one of many game-breaking techniques.