Part 33: Episode XXVII: Practice My Whistling
You know how we just had that lengthy tutorial on blitzball? Well, Square decided to be all avant-garde with their tutorial presentation by sticking a thirty minute block of decidedly non-blitzball gameplay between the tutorial and the actual game.
Tidus walks forward a few steps and runs into...
[A lady summoner!]
[We must report.]
[Just... play it cool, man.]
"Some Al Bhed saved me the other day, and..."
"Well, they saved me then beat me up and forced me to go deep sea diving for some reason. Long story. Well, that happened and..."
"This girl Rikku gave me food and..."
"...she was pretty hot but she sounded kind of young and I'm not sure what kind of age limits you guys have before going in not cool territory and..."
"Fryd ec drec zylgycc cyoehk...?"
"Dyga y kuut muug yd res. Tu oui naymmo lyna...?"
*scratches head* "Uh... Heh... You don't understand me, do you? Uh... Uh, anyway... If you meet Rikku, tell her thanks for me. Oh, and as for the first game? May the best team win!"
Tidus leaves the two Al Bhed and continues down the corridor...
Welcome to the central lobby of Luca's blitzball stadium. It is patrolled day and night by Luca's finest. I'm not sure how Luca's finest patrols with hats obscuring 90% of their field of vision or what purpose assorted screwdrivers serve in lieu of front breast pocket. But I am assured that they are indeed the finest security guards in all of Spira.
Most of the lobby is on lockdown due to the whole blitzball tournament thing. But we can run to the other end of the upper level to reach the second set of locker rooms with the popular teams.
There isn't much going on here other than fans waiting to see the ever popular Luca Goers alongside some brooding Kilika Beasts. Did you see the one guy on that team with an eyepatch? No depth perception in an underwater ball game? That guy is fuckin' hardcore as they come.
Speaking of which, on the ground right behind the Kilika Beasts is our sixth Al Bhed Primer. Today we learn [V = F] Wepocyom!
In this room we also see our first Ronso woman. It is just as terrifying as you might imagine.
Returning to the main lobby, we can see the mini-map urges Tidus' spastic jogging to carry him toward the south. Doing so will progress the game. We'll get to that in a minute.
Instead, we can have our plucky hero capitalize on the commotion caused by the blitzball tournament in order to perform a staple of any JRPG protagonist's touring of a new town...
Robbing the place BLIND while nobody is looking. And if they are looking, it's not like they are going to try to stop us. Pfft... NPC peasants.
At the assorted docks surrounding the blitzball stadium, Tidus can loot:
- 600 Gil
- Phoenix Down x 2
- Tidal Spear - A weapon for Kimahri with Waterstrike and Piercing (ignores armored enemies' defenses) abilities. Not bad.
- HP Sphere - Turns an empty space into +300 HP node.
- Magic Sphere - Turns an empty space into +4 Magic node.
We could come back and get this loot later. But hey. We're in the area. It's not like there's any rush. Though I do feel like we may be forgetting something...
Right then. With pockets full of fresh ill begotten treasure, we're free to travel south toward Luca proper in hopes of getting Auron back in the party. Sounds like a plan!
A quick gallop southward...
I need to start some sort of stretch/yawn counter for Tidus. You just jogged around the largest sporting stadium on the planet, guy. You shouldn't be acting like you just rolled out of bed.
A bit further ahead we find Yuna and Kimahri has accumulated a bit of a crowd while Tidus was dicking around. Poor Kimahri always looks so bummed out and bored with standing around getting ignored whenever Yuna gains a band of admirers. He needs a fantasy iPod or the like to pass the time.
Tidus runs over to Yuna...
*looks around* "You're... really famous."
"I mean I used to get crowds like this all the time, no problem, back in Zanarkand. But this... this isn't too shabby..."
See this screenshot? Exactly one second passes between this and the next shot. In that time Tidus manages to see something shiny and float off in a completely different direction. And Kimahri just straight it falls into a wormhole between cuts. This portion of the game is not particularly well edited..
*looks around worried that her entire party vanished*
"What was that?!"
"...What seriously? You've never heard anyone whistle...? How sheltered are you...?"
"In Zanarkand, we do this to cheer on blitz players." *whistles again*
Tidus walks over to Yuna, of who he is clearly only about three feet away from... Meaning either Yuna really needs to get fitted for some glasses or Tidus is just a spaz whistling in people's faces.
It's probably a combination of the two... Regardless, they proceed to have a conversation where the voice actors were directed to pretend they had their fingers in their mouths... but not actually shown a video of the scene for reference to when said fingers ought to be placed in their mouths.
"Uh-uh, not like that."
*sticks fingers back in his mouth* "Like... thhees."
*nods* "Then you just... blow."
"N-Nothing. I just thought of something funny..."
Yuna tries once more and fails. As per friendship tradition, Tidus is now obligated to ask everyone else he knows if they can whistle and then mock the ones who cannot.
"Hay, use that if we get separated. Then, I'll come running, okay?"
"...I just told you to do the thing you can't do, didn't I...? Err..."
"That would be the case."
"Well, guess we should just stick together, then, till you can do it."
*chuckle* "Yes, sir!"
Yuna Chambers is now following Tidus around for the next leg of the adventure. Nobody seems too concerned about Kimahri's disappearance, though.
Anyway, the mini-map now wants us to head east. But we're going to ignore it again for another detour to the north of this map.
Here we find a grand, impressive looking building. On the outside, at least. The inside holds architect technology and mechanics of a game clearly made before high speed internet was a widespread thing.
For you see, this is the Luca Sphere Theater - a magical place where Youtube has yet to exist and the player was instead forced to spend extravagant amounts of money for the privilege of listening to tracks from the OST or rewatch scenes from FMV Land. How much are we talking here...?
Well, special spheres are sold by two fantasy midgets hanging out in the lobby of the Sphere Theater. One sells Music Spheres and the other Movie Spheres. Buying one of either media sphere will unlock an FMV/music track. So how much would these things set us back, were we so inclined to purchase 'em? Well, both music and FMV unlock as the game progresses.
We've heard 27 tracks from the game's OST. Music spheres are a mere...2000 GIL a pop. So that is 54,000 Gil for everything we've heard thus far and a mere 136,000 to catch 'em all. And if you are wondering, Music Spheres unlock tracks sequentially. You cannot cherry pick the good stuff. In addition, Square had an intern give names to all the tracks instead of keeping the naming consistent with the OST.
The tracks unlocked at present are...
- Tidus' Theme
- Battle Theme
- Enemy Attack
- Game Over
- Out of the Frying Pan
- Victory Fanfare
- Leap in the Dark
- Underwater Ruins
- The Blitzers
- Spira Unplugged
- The Trials
- The Summoning
- Braska's Daughter
- Yuna's Theme
- Good Night
- Decision on the Dock
- Movement in Green
- A Fleeting Dream
- Calm Before the Storm
Edit: So here's a obscure bit of shit I never knew about this game. Wakka has his own theme music. It NEVER plays during the course of the game and isn't even on the game's OST. It only can be heard if you purchase it in the Luca Sphere Theater. And remember, you cannot choose which music tracks you can unlock. They are just unlocked sequentially for 2000 gil a pop.
Which track is Wakka's Theme? Why the VERY last one, of course. Music Sphere #71. It gets better though! Music Spheres #69, #70, and #71 are part of a "Special Music Set" package deal which is only a mere... 40,000 gil.
TLDR: Wakka's Theme costs fucking 176,000 gil to hear.
Music: Wakka's Theme
The other two "Special Music Set" tracks are Tidus humming the Hymn of the Fayth as a kid and Lulu's Theme that only plays once in an entirely optional quest.
On the other side of the coin, we have Movie Spheres at 5000 GIL each. We have 15 FMVs unlocked out of a total of 50 in the game. So only 250,000 Gil for all of those. Making a grand total of 386,000 Gil to unlock all the media in the game.
All that said, the world has changed a bit in the last decade and this feature will proceed to collect cob webs forevermore. Unless they put some kind of trophy/achievement for unlocking everything in Final Fantasy X HD...
And that's a wrap for the Sphere Theater. The real reason we came here was to nab the second Al Bhed Primer in Luca. Today's lesson: [K = G] Pyhyhyc!
Tidus also leveled up to the next rank of fantasy language comprehension. Spiffy. I'm guessing he still is unable to strike up a conversation with those Al Bhed Psyche characters. Or take heed of the funny way they're eyeballing Yuna.
Now that we've squared away that optional relic of a locale, we're free to explore the rest of Luca. And by "explore" I mean proceed to the only other map in the entire city.
A power walk into town later...
"Luca is the second largest city in Spira."
"I thought every town was little -- you know, like Besaid and Kilika."
"Though I'm not sure how big Kilika was before err... the unpleasantness..."
*looks down* "Towns don't usually get bigger than that. Because when a lot of people start to gather..."
"What about Luca? It's safe here?"
"I'm all for awesome half-time shows. But if THAT thing is gonna show up and sing, I'd like to know first..."
"It's not any different, but the stadium is here. The Crusaders fight to protect it with all their strength."
"They protect the stadium?"
*nods* "Blitzball's really the only entertainment that we have. Spira's a little short on fun these days."
"There are... other... recreational mini-games. But the less said about those, the better..."
Whoa! Yikes! When did Kimahri drop back out of the wormhole...?
"Is Zanarkand like this, too?"
*looks around* "Hmm... Well, there are more buildings. All tall ones and cramped together."
"And by 'more' I mean I mean this entire town barely fills up a block and by 'tall' I mean you'd have to stack up three of those blitzball stadiums to even make it on the skyline."
*looks up* "Oooooooh. They must be so tall! Don't you ever get dizzy?"
*laughs* "Maybe if I paid much mind to gravity. But I am a blitzball player."
"Let's go find Sir Auron!"
Oh... right... Auron. We were supposed to be finding him, weren't we...? This town square is literally all there is to Luca proper and most of it is closed up due to the blitzball tourney.
So for a change, let's just go ahead and follow the mini-map marker to our next set of cutscenes.
So a blitzball player, a lady summoner, and a furry walk into a bar...
Yuna starts asking the patrons if they've seen a middle-aged samurai in the area while Tidus sulks by himself for a time...
After a bit of dicking around the dive a commotion followed by gasps is heard coming from the other end of the cafe...
New Music: People of the North Pole (Recommended listening! Even if this is a pretty crappy place to first play one of the better songs in the game.)
It appears all of Kimahri's haphazard teleporting into and out of areas and cutscenes has landed our big blue friend in hot water with a couple of Ronsos wanting to pump him up...
Tidus wanders over to Kimahri's side...
"Leeeeave Kimahri, Yenke. Kimahri is smaaall Ronso.
Kimahri soooooo smaaaall can't see Yenke and Biran's faaaces."
"Biran taught Kimahri to be strong Ronso."
"Maybe taught too much."
"Take 'em on!"
*groans* <Nancy boy does not need to get involved in Kimahri's affairs...>
"Oh, look. Small Ronso have tiny friend. How cute! Maybe he carry around like baby doll to look big an—“
Kimahri proceeds to knock Yenke the FUCK out. Man, why didn't anyone tell me there would be drunken bar brawls between giant Scandinavian cat dudes? I'd have made the trip here much sooner.
Kimahri gets sucker punched by the remaining Ronso. But who cares about that nonsense? We're missing the opening of the biggest game in Spira! By the way, I want you to pay attention to all the scenes that are coming up and calculate in your head how much time Tidus needs to have been standing around slack-jawed looking at the bar television going "oh no!" for him to have viewed all of the events.
"Today, on this glorious day, players from all over Spira have assembled here...to participate in this great contest o bravery, skill, and strength."
"Let us sing to the glory of the winners, and applaud equally the valor of the defeated."
Maester Mika performs the blitzball prayer...
Music: Blitzball Gamblers
Spira seems to have a slightly less impressive way of filling its massive water sphere for the game. You know, it most be kind of hard to watch a sport taking place entirely within a three story tall rippling ball of water mid-day with the sun beaming down on it...
In any case, the blitzball tournament all day event has finally begun... without Tidus since he's still back in that bar watching TV even after viewing a speech, the twenty minutes or so it must take to shoot jets of water into a huge invisible container, and everyone prepping for the kick-off. Nice going, hero!
Episode 27 Highlight Reel (Recommended Viewing)
Luca Concept Art
Yenke Ronso Official Art
Biran Ronso Official Art