The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy X

by The Dark Id

Part 61: Episode LIII: Keep My Head Down

Our next destination is Macalania Woods by way of the Thunder Plains. By the way who is holding the map overlay at new locations? Is it Tidus? Is he drunk? Stop spinning the map every time it pops up, it is makes it very difficult to follow. Unless you are purposefully trying to hide from the player the fact that there are only a handful of locations left before we hit Zanarkand… Yeah I’m on to your game, Square…

Anyway, who’s up for an obnoxious character quirk from a party member who’s not been on the team remotely long enough for this to come off as endearing…?



"See the lightning rod towers? The lightning is drawn to them... hopefully."
"We head north, not too near and not too far from the towers, ya?"
"Meaning we should avoid wide, open areas."
”So you’re saying we should basically haul ass across it and hope for the best…?”

"Okay, okay! I'll go!"

Pfft. Trying to pull one on Auron. I know you’re new to this party, kid. But keep in mind: your astraphobia crap?

New Music: Thunder Plains

Well then, time to hit the road. Now with a terrible new gimmick! Err… Wait… The “Gandof Thunder Plains”? Come the fuck on, Square. That’s just plain lazy. What’s next? A canoe across Fodo Lake to reach Mt. Legola?

So anyway, about that terrible new gimmick. The Thunder Plains, as the name suggests, has lightning strikes all the damn time. Apparently Tidus keeps his hair permanently feathered in all conditions via a highly unusual Zanarkand shampoo which unfortunately is EXTREMELY conductive of electricity. To the point that now lightning only strikes two places in the Thunder Plains: The Lightning Rod towers…

…and Tidus’ head. Being struck by lightning doesn’t actually hurt Tidus. Or cause random battles or… anything really other than wasting time with a two second animation of Tidus flopping to the ground and getting back up (plus about five steps of travel time eroded.)

Getting close to the towers in the area will prevent lightning strikes from hitting us. But unless Tidus plans to stand beneath them forever saying “WELCOME TO CORNERIA” while walking in place for the rest of his days, that won’t do us a ton of good since their effective range is pretty abysmal and they’re rather far apart.

So instead we can attempt to dodge lightning bolts. If we hit X as soon as the screen flashes, Tidus will skillfully evade mother nature’s vendetta against the Zanarkand Abes. It would be nice if Tidus skipped forward a couple steps when dodging lightning but… the animation still erodes almost the same amount of space in distance travelled and lasts maybe a half second shorter than getting hit. So yeah… traveling through this area is pretty goddamn tedious.

There is a reward for dodging lightning. Specifically dodging 100 bolts. In a row. But we’ll cross that bridge in the end game and I don’t have a split second input lag that is juuuuust long enough to make lightning skipping near impossible while recording.

In addition to the whole “the game will knock you back every 10-20 seconds thing” this area is also host to a fairly frequent amount of random battles. All of which love, shockingly enough (), thunder based magic. So dropping a few grand on some of that Lightning warding armor back at Guadosalam, especially for more squishy fragile characters like Rikku, isn’t too bad an idea.

Stalking the Thunder Plains we have the Aerouge. Yes that is a face growing out of its crotch. No I’m not going to ask why. Aerogues are the lightning cousins of the Vidatu back on Mushroom Rock Road. Every turn they spam Thundara on a single character, which being our first encounter with Level 2 spells can pack a punch. But they only have around 200 HP and Wakka can easily one shot ‘em. So not too much of a threat unless leading an ambush.

Next up are the Buer. Pallet swap of the other winged eye monsters. They’ve received a slight bump in stats from the last incarnation and a newfound Water weakness. Still have their eyes easily poked out by Wakka.

An elemental inclined area wouldn’t be complete without a floating rock enemy of the same element. This is the Gold Element, the Tier 2 cousin of the Yellow Element. These jerks have triple the HP of their early models and spam Thundara instead of just piddley Thunder. Lulu is on point with Watera to rain on their parade.

Probably the beefiest monster of the Thunder Plains is the Kusariqqu. While another palette swap, their melee attacks now cause Slow status effect and they can unleash a pretty damn powerful full party lightning spell against our team. As usual, Auron or Kimahri wreck armored enemies.

Following those jerks is the Melusine lizard critter palette swap. Tidus/Wakka > Lizard Dudes.

And last (well technically there is one more enemy but it is side quest related) is the only genuinely new enemy we’ll encounter on Gandolf’s Thunder Plains: The Larva. Larva follows the trend set by its mates in the area in spamming Thundara against its enemies. The only difference with it is that once its HP falls below 50% (of a total 1498 max HP) it will begin casting Thundara on itself to heal. But Lulu and Watera can nip that in the bud fairly efficiently.

That does it for random battle mobs. Now before we take the rather uneventful trek to the next landmark, there is something worth mentioning first. Remember that cutscene with Chappu looking fuck all like Tidus and Wakka talking to his dead brother about giving away the Brotherhood sword? Well the game doesn’t mention it but that cutscene magically gotten buffed with +15% Strength, Waterstrike (super useful for this area at least), and a Sensor. So that’s pretty nice for this point in the game and gives Tidus a nice boost for random battles. Shame it doesn’t help with the lightning strike situation.

A couple of towers down the road we come upon Maechen chilling out waiting for another round of history lessons. Sure, I would like to hear why there is permanently a spiteful; traveller targeting thunderstorm camped out in the middle of the continent. That seems kinda weird…

”Was that time three minutes ago? Cuz I got struck by lightning for the tenth time three minutes ago…”
“'Plains of lightning, plains of thunder, those who cross are torn asunder.' they used to say. Then a name named Bilghen appeared. Using machina, he built towers that served as lightning rods across the plains. Finally, travellers were able to cross in safety.”
”If one ignores the gaps between the towers and the roaming swarms of fiends.”
“Bilghen was building that tower over there...when he was struck and killed by lightning."
”Kind of a downer ending.”
“Bilghen was an Al Bhed. Our history books never mention him."
”Then how do you know about him?”
“Take care, and farewell.”
”No really, then how do you know about hi—BZZZAAAHT!” *gets struck by lightning*

Further down the road is a mysterious glowing stone. There are three of these stones in the area. They’re tied to a side quest which… we’ll get around to in the end game. Spoilers: We’re pretty much going to be revisiting the entirety of Spira in the end game for assorted nonsense.

A bit further up the road we find Shelinda hanging out under another pylon. Maechen clearly possesses Old Man Teleportation powers no doubt lent from Balthasar over in Chrono Cross (expositioning old men need to get around somehow.) But what is Shelinda’s excuse for already beating us here, much less dodging lightning the whole way?

"Hi there."
"Is it true? I heard that Maester Seymour and Lady Yuna are to be wed! It's such great news! I have to tell everyone!"
"Where'd you hear that?"
"From the Guado. They were all very excited!"
"Ehh… I'm afraid you heard a little wrong. Yuna's gonna turn him down."

We can choose how to respond to Shelinda. It changes absolutely nothing. But frankly I’m not thrilled with those Guado going around bragging about how Seymour is tagging Yuna already. Since you know that’s what the word really is. Tell me you can’t imagine Tromell droning on about how masterfully Master Seymour felt up Yuna’s boobs.

“That's unfortunate. Well I'm sure that people would have rejoiced all over Spira."
”They were already calling the couple Seymoyuna in the gossip columns.” *sigh*

Welp, other than Shelinda and Maechen there isn’t much going on in the Thunder Plains other than a lot of open fields and poorly lit brown. Halve the draw distance and stick a few hundred guys in armor out here and this could easily double as a Drakengard map.

A long stretch of lightning strikes on Tidus’ head and walking later…


*walks by* "Stop kidding around."
"Yes, ma'am..."
"Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh..."

"Eh heh heh heh heh heh heh..."
"'Heh heh heh...' You're givin' me the creeps!"



Rikku drops on all fours…

…and blasts the dankest fart this side of a Mexican buffet. Al Bhed are gross.

Okay maybe not. But I’m not sure why the director decided a dramatic zoom right up her ass.

Determined to out-spaz Tidus, Rikku proceeds to speed crawl on all fours in serpentine fashion before latching onto Tidus’ leg.

"I wanna go home! I hate lightning! I hate thunder!”

"This storm never stops. Better to cross quickly."
"I know, but... Just for a little while?"
"Hehe, well? What now?"

So, what is Auron’s decision on the party’s next move…? Time for a pit stop…?

Pfft. Auron would have to give a fuck for that to pass and we all know that is not the case. Rikku is promptly abandoned and the party wanders off in silence. Ahahaha!

“I'm scared of lightning! Let's rest, please? Pretty please?”
“…” *continue walking away*

“I'm too young to die!”
“…” *continue walking away*
“You're mean...cruel! Your moms would be ashamed of you!”
”My momma’s dead, ya know?”
“As is mine.”
“Mine has passed as well.”
<Kimahri’s miss Ronso mother’s Tonberry Soup. Kimahri should send post card at next stop.>

“Are you having fun doing this to me?"
“…” *continue walking away*
*follows the party* “She’ll be fine… right…?”

Five minutes later…

You know Auron is stuck in a shitty party when he longs for the days when Jecht getting shitfaced and trying to fight a fantasy elephant was the most annoying thing to happen that week.

Episode 53 Highlight Reel

Thunder Plains Concept Art

Aerouge Concept Art

Larva Concept Art