Part 11: Mood whiplashAUDIO: Cyan
I shall meet him on the field of battle.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the samurai is named Mr. Thou.
And meet him on the field of battle is exactly what we're about to do...
"...but before that, I shall honourably slaughter his entire army single-handed!"
"I can see there's more of them behind you!"
But unfortunately we're not allowed to murder the last three because then MrThou would be free to wander the world map and wipe out the entire rest of the imperial army as well.
Instead, we'll have to make do with the man in black and resign ourselves to the upcoming cutscene incompetence.
MrThou is a weird character. His skills are generally quite nice, but all but the first one ("Fang", which is a pretty good physical attack) require charging, much in the same way as the ATB bar. "Sky" causes him to counter when attacked, and it's pretty painful but usually pointless since you rarely know when the enemy intends to attack him.
It ends this fight in one move, though, so I suppose that's something.
MrThou is a pretty good physical attacker, but he's pretty much outclassed by people like Matt and Tim whose skills are also free but require no charging. The fact that they are later outclassed by Aeris, Meryl and anyone else who happens to be good at magic, places MrThouh quite firmly in the less-than-awesome tier.
For now, Fang one-shots pretty much everything that gets in his way, and that's good enough. Killing the captain nets us a Black Belt, a relic that causes the wearer to counter physical attacks. It's pretty useless for the same reason Sky is useless.
And the few lucky remaining soldiers run off.
Withdraw into the castle.
We shall wait within its walls, while our enemies grow tired without.
And we cut back to Matt and Batman, who are currently exploring the Imperial camp.
There's a locked chest in here, and we're given the choice of leaving it, punching it or kicking it.
Punching it causes it to open without a problem, kicking it leads to a fight...
...with the dog we just saw.
I'm told this is the only place in the game where Doberman shows up, so I guess that's an exclusive picture. Still, like mostly everything else, they're vulnerable to being dropped on their heads, so they're not a big threat.
...the treasure? A Star Pendant. It prevents poison.
That looks kind of dangerous...
Just a few more steps, and Batman hears something and goes to hide behind a wall to listen in. Sneaky guy, that Batman.
So, they're using their favorite strategy...
Hardly surprising. If I had a giant fuck-off castle and some guy attacked me, I think I'd prefer to sit tight until they get tired of bashing their heads against the walls as well.
I mean. They literally attack by bashing their heads against the walls. It's ridiculous.
General... We're ready to storm the castle as soon as you give the order...
Patience! If we attack now, there will be too many unnecessary casualties.
But... General! I'm prepared to lay down my life for the Empire at any time!
Huh? I mean, yes, sir, I am, but... why do you ask, sir?
You would have me go there and deliver the news of your passing to your family?
What would I say when I handed them your sword? How could I even look at them?
You're a human being before you're a soldier. Don't be so eager to throw away your life.
Emperor Gestahl wouldn't want you to die for nothing.
Are we talking about the same emperor Gestahl? The man who employs a psychotic clown as a court mage?
He walks up into the tent above, and another identical soldier comes running from the west. You can't tell them apart, but trust me when I say that's what happened.
General Leo, sir!
A carrier pigeon arrived from Emperor Gestahl!
Leo takes the message and reads it.
The emperor summons me. I must return at once.
I'll leave the rest in your hands.
Listen to me... Don't rush things. That's all I ask.
Sir! Leave it to us, sir!
The word "sir" no longer has any meaning to me.
And it's only going downhill from here.
I'm counting on you.
And he walks away.
A bit naïve, perhaps, but decent.
But we don't get far before Batman spots something else and has to go and hide again.
Anyone who touches it'll be pushing up daisies! Hee-hee...
Hmph! I'll take care of things faster than you ever would!
Nothing dirty, Kefka!
They may be our enemies, but they're still human beings. Try not to forget that.
We needn't show mercy to those who side with the Returners.
...which is good, because I never seem to have any of the stuff.
But rather than stab Kefka for being a failure as a human being, Leo walks away. God damn it, Leo, you have no idea how much trouble it'd have saved us in the long run if you just shanked the little fucker in the face right here.
But, General Leo said-
Leo's not here anymore. I'm in charge now. Fork it over!
Some of our people are being held prisoner inside the castle! If any of them were to drink the water...
Who cares? They're the ones who were stupid enough to get caught by the enemy!
Batman is not going to stand for this shit.
Gah...! Pests at every turn! Guess I'll have to take care of you, too!
"Wait," he says...
Do I look like a waiter?
Kefka flees. After him!
...after a short side trip.
Satellite here isn't anything special, but it counters blitz attacks with Mega Berserk, which... causes Berserk status.
Guess who remembered that and put a ribbon on Matt before opening the chest? (No points for correct answers.)
The reward for dismantling it is a very nice new hat, which would be superior to our old stuff in every way even without that extra HP bonus!
The other chest holds a Mythril Glove, a relic that casts Protect (which reduces physical damage taken) on the wearer when they're critically wounded.
It's about as useful as it sounds.
See Kefka's boots sticking out under that dialogue box? I think it's expecting us to go talk to him.
GUESS WHAT TIME IT IS
"Wait," he says...
Do I look like a waiter?
And off he goes.
There is no round three. He sacrifices a pawn to stall us, and...
...that's all it takes.
There's a great deal of activity in the Imperial camp. I think they may be preparing another assault!
If by "odd" you mean "glowing magenta" then yes. The water looks odd.
The screen pans over the castle, showing several people collapsing.
It must be... poison!
What low-down, contemptible...!
I know this is a serious and tragic scene and all but come on. That expression! It's hilarious.
We must warn the king!
We're given control of MrThou for a brief moment here and because he's not wearing sprint shoes, it doesn't feel like he's very eager to reach the king.
Yes! The throne room is just ahead!
After this, the game takes over again and MrThou speeds up a bit.
...so, to ruin this "poignant" scene even more, how does the king, who is nowhere near the water, suddenly get poisoned at the same time as all the rest? Did all those guys out there take a sip at the exact same time? I could understand the mass death from before if it causes some kind of gas that kills people who breathe it, but that doesn't explain how MrThou and that nameless sentry are the only survivors when the king, indoors bites it.
MrThou, Your Excellency!
I suppose you could just assume plot armour, but that's pretty lazy.
Oh, MrThou... My sight is failing... I cannot see your face...
Excellency! Please, you must be strong!
You have defended this realm since the days of my father before me... I thank you... for your service. Urgh...
Forgive me... I failed to protect our kingdom...
No, Excellency, the fault lies not with thee!
I fear for your family...
Ohhh... my chest burns... with every breath...
Speak not, my lord! Save thy strength!
Go... to your family... *cough*... *gasp*... ...
There may still be survivors in the castle!
Let's split up and search...
MrThou quickly gets it together again...
This... This is unpardonable...
This is not possible...
This cannot be happening!
AUDIO: The Unforgiven
...and just as quickly, loses his shit.
And this is where Matt arrives on the scene.
Ouch! Probably shouldn't have gotten in the middle of that...
Matt: master of the obvious.
Going to talk to MrThou from any other direction has less painful results.
Let me give you a hand!
I know not thy name or allegiance, but I welcome thy aid!
He's pretty eloquent for someone in a murderous rage, but that's part of his charm.
MrThou joins in these fights as an uncontrollable party member. These enemies are the same ones he was killing by the dozen just a few minutes ago. This is what I mean when I talk about cutscene incompetence.
Also, fuck potions. Fuck potions so very much.
More imperials arrive. Much the same as before.
These ones next!?
Grrr! They are tougher than they would appear!
No, MrThou, they're really not. Your grief has reduced you to an incompetent NPC. You know that line about anger leading to the dark side? This is what they were talking about.
Fortunately, the people I do control are more than capable of dealing with these cretins... in the usual manner.
Gaaah! Who poisoned the river!?
Two more soldiers appear.
Look, I think we're gonna have to do this together!
The thought had occurred to me as well!
One extremely short battle later...
No need for thanks! I'm Matt, from the kingdom of Figaro.
We should get out of here!
But I must avenge my family and my countrymen...!
If we stick around any longer, we'll have an entire regiment down our throats!
SHOCK! Except Batman is way too chill to be bothered by something trivial like an entire regiment of imperial soldiers.
I have an idea... Follow me.
I'll explain later! Just climb in!
From tragedy to stupid comedy. Final Fantasy VI is a classy game.
Listen! See that lever? The one right by your hand? Push it down.
Sir Matt! It appears to be in reverse!
Yeah, yeah... Come on!
Honestly, this is probably the dumbest sequence so far, and I'm only saying "so far" because there's another equally dumb one where people pull skills that require specific training out of their arses later on.
The fact that it's "funny" right after the whole "my entire family and everyone I know were just poisoned to death" scene is rather jarring, although the fact that they were poisoned to death by a psychotic clown makes it kind of hard to take it seriously in the first place.
But you're not here to listen to me ranting.
So I'll just shut up and let you enjoy MrThou flattening imperial soldiers with his giant mech that he has no idea how to drive.
Of course, Batman found his own mech and made a lot less fuss about it.
There's a couple of forced encounters on the way, but...
...they shouldn't be a problem.
Unfortunately, we don't get to keep the magitek armour.
I believe the only route passes through the forest to the south, but-
If we're going into the woods, I guess we won't be needing these hunks of scrap metal anymore.
And so they do, but not until next time.