Part 45: Imagine a boot stamping on a clown's face - foreverThe Soul Shrine is behind us and we're never looking back.
But something bothers me. Remember what we found after defeating the last of the original dragons?
On its face is a short inscription...
"The seal is broken and I am free..."
"You who defeated the legendary eight... I shall await you at the Dragon's Horn..."
We found something at the Dragon's Horn, but Kaiser certainly didn't seem pleased to see us. Could someone else have written that message...? Perhaps there is something we missed?
It's time we took one last trip into the Dragon's Den and uncovered the source of this mystery once and for all.
Three million caves and little green asshats later...
Step into the portal?
Something awaits us. Something that puts all earlier foes, even the Kaiser Dragon itself, to shame -
...oh, it's just another palette swap of Ultima Weapon's overworld sprite. Awe-inspiring.
Oh, it's another palette swap of Ultima Weapon's battle sprite, and the colours don't even match!
Batman chucks an Impartisan at it. 9112 damage. It's... acceptable.
Omega only has three "lives" as opposed to Kaiser's five. I suppose he's meant to be more powerful to make up for it... but we're so strong at this stage, it's really no challenge.
He does know Dickmove Alpha, though.
I could just have tossed another Curaga, but I suppose if I'm ever going to use one of these, the real ultimate optional final boss is the place for it.
I don't even know why I bothered.
Omega's worst trick is that he dispels all buffs after losing his first life, including Reraise. I was kind of worried there, for about five seconds.
Yeah, I think you're entitled to an extended victory pose. You've proven yourself the most dangerous being in the entire world.
And that's it.
It's clear that Omega is supposed to be the big challenge here, but Squeenix rather shot themselves in the foot in making the path to actually fight him so long. Why's that? Well, let's take a look at our main team before they ventured into the Dragon's Den for the first time, and by the time they finished off Omega.
Gaining 50k EXP from that Glutturn while all the others were dead pushed Robin ahead quite a bit. She didn't need it, but it made her considerably more difficult to kill. Also, that magic stat.
Batman doesn't really do much. He's by far the weakest member of this party, what with all the best throwable items being in limited supply and/or generally painful to obtain. But he's here because he's the Goddamn Batman and if he's going to rant at the final boss about friends and family, I'm going to make sure he spends as much time as possible with them before he kills himself.
Alfred's magic is far behind Robin's, but it's still enough to deal 9999 with Ultima and it's really all he cares about. Magic beats Lore in pretty much every way, though I have in fact used Mighty Guard once or twice. I'd probably get more mileage out of Gogo with Lore as one of his three secondary skills, which would allow me to steal stuff as well, but I'm not going to let Robin go out and kill dragons and demigods without her dear old granddad.
Fixed Dice x4 can deal pretty impressive damage, but it can also fail miserably. Gambit is a high-risk character, but when he works, he works quite well. He also knows a lot of magic so he can support with things like Reraise, Arise and Curaga. Honestly, anyone could fill this slot; the only reason Gambit is here is because I think he's kind of neat.
But I'm sure even these super-human death machines must be tired after a long day, so let's find a nice bed and...
...have nightmares. Great.
Join me, Clyde...
I'm not sure I follow.
Maybe if we sleep some more.
Clyde: A million gil! What a blast! This is the life!
Baram: Guess it's time we started thinking of a name, huh?
Clyde: A name?
Baram: All good bandit duos need a name! I, uh... I sort of have one in mind...
Clyde: Well? Let's hear it!
Baram: ..."The Batman Bandits"! What do you think? Not bad, eh?
It... could have been worse, I suppose.
...hmm. I'm going to have to sleep on this.
Baram: How bad is it? ...This isn't m-my blood... is it, Clyde?
Clyde: Don't worry, you're gonna be okay!
Clyde: Don't talk! The town's just a bit farther...
Has there ever been a time where someone has been told "not to talk" and they haven't died soon there after? You'd think people in a bleedin' opera would have more respect for last words.
Baram: You don't have to pretend. I know. This is... my blood, isn't it? I'm done for...
Get going! Leave me here. I'd only slow you down.
Baram: You wanna get caught?
Clyde: How could you ask me to do something like that...?
Baram: You know what they'll do to me if they catch me alive!
I don't want to have to go through that... Touch my arm.
Feel it shaking? I've never been afraid in my life, and now I'm quivering like a little girl.
Please, before I wet myself and have to die a coward... Just take your knife, and-
Clyde: I can't do it!
Clyde: I'm sorry...
Welp, talk about depressing stuff in our cutesy little jrpg about psychotic clowns causing the end of the world! I wonder what's coming next...
Woman: In a small village called Tha... sa... Come on now, pull yourself together!
Mysterious! And no matter how much I sleep, I never got to see the conclusion.
Never found out what the small village was called, either. How frustrating.
I'm going to go out and summon some espers instead.
VIDEO: Esper summons
Here's Crusader's "Cleansing". It's pretty shitty since it hits your characters as well as the enemy.
Imagine what might have happened if I put this on someone with a decent magic stat...
You've already seen this thing, but here's 10000 Needles.
And here's Diablos' Dark Messenger, which deals percentage-based damage and inflicts Sap (damage over time). If I had this 20 hours ago, I... probably still wouldn't have used it.
But we've put this off long enough. It's time to go put an end to Kefka's bullshit once and for all, and this time we're bringing a full party.
The trek through the tower is uneventful. The "post-game" save restores the game to how it was just before you hit the last switch that takes you up to Kefka himself.
We've already seen this, so you'll have to excuse me if I don't show it all again. We get some different people saying the generic lines, but in the end, they're still the same generic lines.
There are a few more lines from the self-help book, though.
A person worth protecting.
The person you're thinking of doesn't need protection, or at least, wouldn't need it if she weren't a female character in a JRPG.
A wife and child who live on within me.
That sounds vaguely disgusting, but I'm sure it's very heartwarming. Or something.
Friends... and family.
We have a little more to go on this time, and it only makes what comes later even more ridiculous.
A peaceful kingdom.
A loving brother who always looks out for me! Gah-ha-ha-ha!
I have no idea what I was thinking when I came here without Matt last time.
Well, I do, but still. Matt is a great character.
Someone willing to accept me for who I am.
It just happens that "who she is" is less "general" and more "love-starved twit" than previously advertised because women are not allowed to be strong in JRPGs.
An adorable little granddaughter.
An obnoxious grandpa... who I couldn't live without!
Those two. Her line makes a lot more sense when said grandpa is present, though.
Wings from a dear old friend!
New pals, kupo!
These people! All them! Uwaooo!
Gogo doesn't get a line of his own, and I neither know nor care if Gandhi does; with all characters recruited, you are two slots short, and I decided to leave the two of them behind so you could see Bruce's line here. (Such sacrifices I make.)
This line is more appropriate than ever.
Indy's getting way too much screen time here.
We've eaten so many Ultima counters by now, it's getting to become a habit. Anyway, Reraise and suddenly the final boss is even more of a joke than he used to be. Repose? Denied.
VIDEO: Ending (full party)
The only real difference here is that Aeris is present from the beginning instead of coming in to land just as we finish off the boss. It makes me hate her very slightly less.
She still falls on her face, though.
Here are some new scenes!
The bridge disappears, and Tim is... left hanging.
I, umm... Mechanical devices are... not my strong point.
He runs in circles around the button for a while, then jumps on it.
Yeah, keep telling yourself that.
Gambit's scene remains unchanged by the new arrivals; it uses only the mandatory three characters.
This scene does change, however...
...and Matt catches the chunk of metal that Tim, Meryl and Gambit could barely move together!
I knew you'd look out for the kingdom. I wanted to be able to look out for you.
That's why I went off to become stronger...
He throws the scrap metal in the pit, and they run out through the door.
Galuf's scene does not change.
Not does Gandhi's...
Bruce adds something, however.
His "shortcut" involves jumping over those areas we weren't allowed to walk on. Fuck you, Bruce, the only reason you're able to do that is because you're in a cutscene.
Then he tosses Meryl off a cliff. Bruce is a dick.
Meryl's scene differs a bit...
...in that it's Indy who catches her instead of Gambit.
She was better off with Gambit.
I won't let go... I promise!
And surprisingly, he actually manages to keep that promise.
But we don't get an explanation from Meryl this time, because Indy grabs her and jumps away, because she is a woman and can't do anything on her own.
Nothing new here.
Robin was the one having trouble before, but now it's Alfred having a hard time keeping up.
Any more whining out of you, and I'll paint your picture!
Oh, no! Anything but that!
She starts dragging him along.
...But, you know, someday I really would like to paint your portrait.
...On canvas, I mean!
Oh, Robin... Look what you've done!
You've made me go all misty-eyed, and now I can't see where we're going!
...makes a little more sense as he hopes he has more luck killing himself this time.
Alfred has some difficulty reaching the wire up to the airship, but...
...manages to jump up and catch it, pulling it down so Robin can also get on.
And that's all.
Well, except for one thing I've been holding off on showing.
As I've stated before, having just one person who can Reraise the entire party in a single turn trivializes pretty much anything the game can throw at you, never mind the quint-Ultima, and don't even get me started on stealing more Souls of Thamasa from the Glutturns.
But that's not all you can do. There is actually a way to trivialize this game even further, although in this case it's a legitimate bug and not the game just being that breakable.
For my next trick, I'm going to turn Aeris here into an avatar of destruction to shame even Robin.
First, we're going to make a hard save. I haven't made one of these in ages, so I really have no idea where I'd end up if I game over'd.
Next, we're going to make a quicksave in the same spot.
An option like that would be very helpful on a portable game, but I've never used it; savestates are just so much more convenient.
Now, we're booted back to the title screen. Instead of picking Continue, we're going to start a new game.
We don't care about the quicksave; it's not important.
Fast forward through the intro as best you can, or go make some tea or something.
Or just watch it for the fuckty-billionth time because you've nothing better to do.
Anyway. Next step:
(Your characters, obviously. Not your actual self. I am not a real doctor and you should not take anything I say too seriously.)
Aeris blacks out and...
...pops back in where we made our last save...?
I get the feeling something isn't right here.
Those current HP and MP were her maximum values when we made that save. Through some kind of electronic wizardry, she has gained over 800 HP and 500 MP! But the most interesting thing about this is the fact that while stats, position and progression was loaded from the save we made, her level was loaded from the moment she died.
On with the Growth Egg, a good stat-boosting esper and away!
...a few times...
...and you end up with some kind of unholy behemoth of mythical proportions!
This actually works the same way with any character, but A, most of them take a lot more time to obtain in a new game, and B, most of them will start at higher levels, making the method slightly less effective.
Still, endless levels = endless esper boosts, and it would be relatively trivial to max everything out this way.
And that's it - for real, this time.
(Until Squeenix shits out another awful sequel, at any rate.)