The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy X

by The Dark Id

Part 8: Episode VII: Speak My Language

So that is it for Baaj Temple. Sorry, no rematch with the previously unbeatable Geosgaeno. It is an endgame optional boss alongside an endgame optional revisit to Baaj Temple.

Instead, Tidus' terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day takes him to the deck of a ship in the middle of the ocean. I suppose waking up there is an improvement over sharktopus infested waters.

Tidus groggily comes to and discovers a most alarming fact about his captors aboard the boat...

Fanny packs! Fanny packs for days! All of them are sporting fanny packs. Clearly, we've fallen in with a bad crowd here.

One of Tidus' guards takes issue with our hero cringing at lame his belt satchel and gun-whips him for the insult.

"Ain't there like laws about abusing prisoners? I think I heard a chick ramble something about that on--"

"Whoa... Okay."

The party is interrupted by the girl from earlier and a new ridiculously designed fellow. A blonde mohawk, swimmer goggles, belt gauntlets, suspenders, and tattoos that go way below the waist line? Really, Nomura...?

The girl walks behind Tidus and lifts him to his feet in an arm lock...

"Uhh... Okay?"
*caveman grunts and motions in the air*
"Err... What...? Charades? Ain't you supposed to have like at least a six pack in you before doing this...? Whatever. Subject is umm... something you want me to do?"

The tattooed fellow continues grunting like a caveman and makes assorted charade movements...

"Aren't you supposed to tell me how many words the thing is...? Tch. Whatever. Okay. First word umm...? Throwing? Falling? Getting a hummer? Is it that? It's that, isn't it? That's it."

"OK. Second word... Umm... Err... Pushing? Pushing through a crowd? Looking through a closet? In the closet?"
"...I don't like where this is heading."

*grunts and motions at Tidus again*

"Tu oui hud cbayg?"
*motions to self*
*makes hand puppet talking*
*thumbs down*

"Yeah, not really a goggle person, chief. Mess with the hair."

"I am NOT wearing goggles so you can blow a load in my face! You people are SICK!"

The rest of Captain Pantomime's posse grow sick of Tidus' lack of communication skills and pull their guns on him again.

"He said you can stay if you make yourself useful."

"What the hell, lady? Are you all so bored that the only entertainment is making me play games with Chief Gobbledygook?!"

Tidus takes another elbow to the head. I'd almost be willing to write off a bit of Tidus' general stupidity later in the game due to brain damage from all the blows to the head. But not quite...

And so Tidus is drafted into... whatever the hell these folks want to go diving in the water to do.

So we're now free to walk around on the deck and talk to everyone, as well as save our game.

Of course, we still cannot understand any of the crew on the ship. Though it is worth talking to this guy, at least.

Regardless of the language barrier, he shoves three potions into Tidus' hands. Hopefully Tidus didn't do that in exchange for marrying his sister or something like that.

Speaking of language barriers, discarded in the corner of the ship is a little blue half-circle item. Picking this up will reveal...

A rather half-baked game mechanic: Learning the Al Bhed language. These vaguely Slavic sounding folks (except for the girl for some reason just has an American accent) on the ship are a race called the Al Bhed and they, obviously, speak their own unique language. By collecting this Al Bhed Primers across the game, we can make Tidus (and the player by extension) slowly learn and translate the language. So how do they go about doing that?

Well, Al Bhed is straight up a letter cipher. So by collecting Al Bhed Primers, we can get one letter of the code. Be sure to drink your Ovaltine!

Here’s the complete translation:
A = Y
B = P
C = L
D = T
E = A
F = V
G = K
H = R
I = E
J = Z
K = G
L = M
M = S
N = H
O = U
P = B
Q = X
R = N
S = C
T = D
U = I
V = J
W = F
X = Q
Y = O
Z = W

Here we learn the Al Bhed Y is actually an A in English. Or Basic, or Common, or whatever the hell they call the localized language in this fantasy setting.

Now when we talk to Al Bhed speakers, the letters we’ve learned will automatically be converted into the correct English letter. This means we’ll not be able to make out dick for quite some time.

There is, however, a way to remedy this on secondary playthroughs. This is back at the beginning of Baaj Temple where Tidus first wakes up on the rocks. If we have swim to the northeast side of the area instead of straight north to the temple, we find...

Another Al Bhed Primer looking dealie. But this one is special.

This is actually a node from which the player can load from a save file later in the game where all the ciphers are collected and start from the beginning with all of ‘em intact. It’s pretty much the closest Final Fantasy X has to a New Game Plus element.

That all said, learning Al Bhed will reveal... absofuckinglutely NOTHING of interest during the course of the game. Outside of two areas in the game, this being one of the two, we scarcely see any numbers to make a difference. And even then 99% of the untranslated dialogue is either incidental chatter of little interest or else basic shit you could probably guess from the context of the situation. Any major Al Bhed characters also speak English so plot wise it will never matter.

Much like underwater combat, the whole Al Bhed gimmick is another thing that sounds good in press releases but really adds very little to the overall game. I’ll post a mini-update in a bit detailing what all we missed with the lack of translation earlier.

Anyway, talking to the only English speaking girl (who is strangely lacking any sort of foreign accent) will lead to a fucking LONG and boring tutorial on the leveling system in Final Fantasy X. The thing is, we haven’t actually gained enough experience from battles to put any of it to use yet. So we’ll just skip this crap and I’ll explain it when it can be put into first hand practice in a bit.

“It's not active now, but there should still be some power left. We're gonna go down there and activate it... and then we should be able to salvage the big prize!”
”Umm... neat.”

This character retains the ???? title for the bulk of this next segment. But that’s annoying to write around. So spoilers: her name is Rikku. If you cannot guess by this overly enthusiastic pose, Rikku fills the token bubbly space cadet anime girl niche for Final Fantasy X. A role previously filled by characters in earlier installments like Yuffie in VII or Selphie in VIII.

Tidus leaps on top of the nearby guardrail like a jackass...

”Hey wait. We’ve got some gear for you and...”
“Nah. I’m good with what I’ve got on.”
“But you don’t even know where we’re div--”

”Ec ed zicd sa un ec dryd kio geht uv y duum...?”

Episode 7 Highlight Reel

Al Bhed Ship Concept Art

Salvage Ship Crane Concept Art