The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy X

by The Dark Id

Part 64: Episode LVI: Cut My Wood

And now for something entirely different! If the transition from the Guadosalam to the Thunder Plains wasn’t enough of an indication, around this point Final Fantasy X has roughly as much of a natural progression between geographical regions as your average Sonic the Hedgehog zone. So welcome to Macalania – the crazy magic ice forest! Sure, why not?

To be frank Macalania Forest reminds me a LOT of a Final Fantasy XIII area. I mean the two games are rather similar in their linearity when you get down to it. This game has a lot more breaks of the random battle dungeon grind between cutscenes and enough buffers to make it feel as though you are not just running down corridors looking for the next cutscene. Except for this area…

Macalania Forest is a very pretty but 100% narrow corridor with nothing to do but cutscene hunt and fight random battles. Everything is very busy scenery wise to the point I had to defer to the mini-map to figure out where the hell I was heading, a problem I had with XIII as well. And the fact that it is just kind of thrown in with no rhyme or reason other than being cool looking. I kind of liked how Spira had sort of a decent progression from coastal region to inner plains, to a way shittier coast then marshlands followed by forests. I think an actual feeling of progress in travel across a land is spiffy and too few games do it well.

Anyhow. Tidus needs to walk forward five steps to trigger the next cutscene… At least there is nobody in this game I wanted to punch in the face as much as Hope or Snow.

"'Course I'm worried about her. What is she thinking?"
”I mean… SEYMOUR?! Where do I even begin at how nuts that is to marry that guy…? The hair? It’s the hair I should start on, isn’t it?”
"The simplest answer would exchange for agreeing to marry him...she hopes to negotiate with Seymour."
"Negotiate what?"
”…I saw Guadosalam. The whole afterlife portal was nifty but uhh… yeah having the best tree fort in Spira isn’t much of a bargain…”
"I wonder."
"What? All by herself?"

”Dude is like a used car salesman version of a priest… maester… whatever! I feel oily just listening to him.”
“I would not use that analogy in Spira.”

"Well then, why don't we do something about it?"
"Yuna wants it this way."

Auron turns back to Tidus…

“She doesn't want us caught up in whatever it is that she's planning."
"Yeah, that's what I thought. But that makes me worry even more. She could just tell us."
”I mean I’m just saying I am unfamiliar with ‘Yuna Plans’ since like… there have been none beyond the pilgrimage… like ever… And even that is kinda an already done before strict guidelines deal, right?”
"That's the way she is.”

”Needs to decide whether she is going with long or short hair as the median is off-putting… Has a distinct divide between a conservative outfit and clearly visible bra straps… A generally terrible choice in Guardians when put on the spot.”
“…I was speaking more of the Al Bhed girl whom has been nothing other than an overly childish annoyance contributing nothing to the group…”
“…Of course…”

"You're probably right."
"Yuna's easy to read."
"Yeah, she is."
"But hard to guard. Stand by her, always."

Hey! Next cutscene just right over there. Got to get that cardio workout in somehow.

”Hmph. Perhaps we should travel the next two night straight to make up for the time spent dealing with certain party members’ infantile fears.”
“Hey! That’s not fa—“
*walks off*

"Maybe it was because I realized that Yuna wasn't marrying Seymour for love. Not really. It was just her duty -- something she had to do before returning to her pilgrimage. That's what I kept telling myself, anyway. And well, maybe... I realized that Yuna and I'd never... You know...”

Yup. Come on. The last stretch before the game gets good again awaits.

New Music: Macalania Forest

So welcome to Macalania. It is sort of a broad joint to visit and we’ll be here for a while. And that constant shift of the map perspective is not at all obscuring the fact Spira is roughly the size of Rhode Island, guys…

I will need to refer to the mini-map to explain this section of the game. There are two paths at the start of Macalania Woods. But not really because going northeast results in…

“And, if I may, congratulations on your betrothal."
"Maester Seymour's people are expecting you."
”…Not my first choice for marriage but…”
*points northwest* "Take that road to go to Macalania Temple.”

Well nice to see the two of the whole three surviving Chocobo Knights are accounted for. Both ladies have a bit of additional dialogue if we speak with ‘em again. So let’s check it out.

Tidus speaks with Lucil…

"We've received several reports of summoners disappearing these last few days. Please be careful, my lady."
”Yeah, no worries…” *glares at Rikku*
*nervous whistle*

Tidus speaks with Lucil again…

"When our assignment here is done, we will be heading north. Hopefully we'll catch some chocobos and rebuild our unit."
”You know… after we train chocobos… and people to ride chocobos. And people to fight while riding on chocobos… And chocobos with people riding on them willing to fight Sin…”

Tidus talks with Lucil one last time…

"But I must's been a while. Maybe too long since we've had anything to celebrate."
”Wasn’t the whole Operation Mi’ihen disaster like a week ago…?”

Tidus tries Elma…

"We're on watch duty at the temple at least until the wedding's done. Anyone tries to crash our party, we'll send 'em packing!"

So from what I gather… Excommunication from Yevon is remedied by wedding bouncer duty…? Am I reading this right…? That must be a weird verse in the Yevon scriptures or whatever yahoos like Wakka or Shelinda pretend to have read over to feel morally superior to others by virtue of their religion.

Elma Mk. II!

“Oh, yeah, Clasko's back there with the chocobo. Stop and say hi if you've got the time."
”To the chocobo of course… That thing… Man… On the road we came upon some guy that got some Sin Toxin in him somehow. The captain and I were going to help it to a clinic over in Guadosalam. But then that chocobo just walked over to the guy, looked him over for just a moment. Then it casually wrapped its beak around his neck and just snapped it like a twig. Maybe it was out of mercy… Maybe it just wants to kill anything that has any part of Sin inside it… I don’t know, man… I just don’t know. That Chocobo… That thing has seen some shit, guy… Respect!”

Elma MK. III!

"Next time you see us, we'll be the proud Chocobo Knights once again!"
”Or subjects of Führer Chocobo. You know how these things go…”
“Elma, you are *far* too devoted to that surviving chocobo…”
”Your lack of faith is why you’ll die first when the battlefields do not sate its lust for blood…”
“Nothing, ma’am!”

And of course if we attempt to pass by the surviving Chocobo Knights we shall be herded off in the proper direction of plot progress. Tch… FINE!

There is really nothing much to be said about Macalania Forest as far as transferring the thing goes. You follow the extremely narrow path. If there is a corner with a tree then it is probably obscuring a treasure chest. There is nothing cool in any of ‘em. That’s about it…

There is exactly one new enemy in the random battle mob pool which is not a palette swap. New cousins though?

Murussu. Fire weak cousin of the Bunyip.

Wasp. Slightly buffed Bite Bug with a higher chance of poison.

Xiphos. A buffed version of that tutorial monster when we met Rikku back in her bondage wetsuit days.

Iguion. Ice weak version of the lizard dude from Kilika Forest.

And finally Blue Element. Water version of the generic Element enemy class!

But like I said, there is at least one new enemy class in this region (which still has two palette swaps to come), the Chimera!

The Chimera is sort of sticking to its mythological roots of being a mash-up of animals in an err… stupid monstrous fashion. The mythological chimera was a lion, a goat, and a serpent. Here we have a bull, an eagle, a werewolf, and a snake coming out of its ass… Close enough for Japan, I say!

Chimera is another mob list enemy that may as well just be a random mini-boss coming with 5,250 HP and kicking a load of ass along the way to defeating it. Plus a 1,220 AP payout (1,830 overkill.)

The Chimera isn’t really all that tough. It just takes a while to kill and deals respectable but not particularly dangerous amounts of damage. Tedious is what I would describe it as. The type of encounter where you burn through a quarter of Yuna’s MP to top off everyone’s HP every time an overly long fight against it ends. It doesn’t help it is naturally strong against physical attacks without actually being an armored enemy type. That said this is one enemy that Kimahri can Lancet to learn a new Overdrive – Aqua Breath.

Aqua Breath allows Kimahri to spit all over the battlefield. Gross… Not really useful. Just the thought of a large man-cat spitting fifteen gallons of saliva is highly unsanitary and I do not approve. No sir.

Anyhow, that is basically the bulk of the gameplay aspect of this area. So let’s find the next cutscene a map and a half over, shall we?

"Dona? Can't say I have."
"What's up?"
"We got separated on the way here. Damn it all! I've got to find her!"
"Calm down."

Auron walks up to Barthello…

"Running around in a panic is not going to help. Right now, you have to keep cool, and search."
"Guard your emotions, then guard your summoner."
”What about guarding your summoner’s emotions?”
“The summoner’s emotions are inherently a part of the summoner. There is no change in my advice.”
“Ah, right… I knew that.”



…Final Fantasy X does not know how to properly use dramatic zooms. Or cross-fades. Especially cross-fades.

"Shall we search?"
*blitzball prayer* "No, I've taken up enough of your time. Thank you, Sir Auron."

Barthello runs back from the direction he came. Rikku briefly runs after him but quickly stops…

”…Yeah, Rikku? What… is… up…?”
<Kimahri feel like Kimahri missing some sort of in-joke. Or fart. Kimahri hope it not silent fart…>
*shifts eyes and sniffs*

”Psst… Who the heck was that guy?”
“He’s some kind of pimp for a hooker summoner or something. I don’t know. It’s weird.”
“…I see.”

The next cutscene, and only other noteworthy part of Macalania Forest, is just up the hill… err… branch? Tree trunk…? No… The incline. It’s at the top of the incline.

And it is a mystical harp playing parrot head Native American… Sure… Sure, why not?

Ah correction: It is a rhyming mystical parrot-headed Native American. This is an important distinction.

Anyway this fellow is here to clue us into another terrible mini-game. Perhaps the least tedious of the deluge of crappy mini-games in Final Fantasy X. But still nothing I would file remotely under the banner of “good” or even a generous “mediocre”. It’s still bad.

Basically in the woods there are now butterflies floating about. If Tidus runs into one he’ll automatically catch it and a countdown timer will begin. Tidus now has a minute to go catch six more BLUE butterflies in this particular map (each load zone has its own butterflies.) Each caught blue butterfly will cause an ethereal chest to float past. If Tidus gets all seven, he gets a lame prize.

However there are also RED butterflies in the area. If Tidus touches a red butterfly then a mandatory battle (with no chance to flee) takes place, usually against a high end mob like Chimeras.

In any case the prizes for the butterfly catching mini-game suck when we first visit Macalania. We’ll need to return here during the end game for some real goodies. So let’s just get the heck out of this place and hope for a region which isn’t perpetually night time.

A narrow twisty path through pretty scenery later…

Macalania Forest isn’t nearly as long as the Thunder Plains and we soon reach the penultimate map of the area alongside a save point and that prick O’aka. Feh… Let’s see what everyone’s favorite cockney war profiteer is up to.

“Holiday prices on all items in celebration of Maester Seymour Guado's wedding!"

O’aka is still peddling mostly useless and definitely overpriced crap. This time though we can actually back out of the transaction and…

…tell him his wares are way too expensive. And he’ll actually knock off about 20% off the prices.

I mean they’re all still useless crap that has been supplanted by random battle drops already, but hey! Little haggling mechanic. There you go.

Right across from O’aka down a dead end and most certainly obscured by the scenery is our fifteenth Al Bhed Primer. Today we learn the ancient arcane secret cipher of [U = O!] E fuhtan fryd lenlma uv ramm ryc dra tyshat beqam rihdehk vun ymm adanhedo.

Tidus’ Al Bhed Moonspeak abilities have also reached their next level. Oui ghuf ev Vehym Vyhdyco Q RT ajan lusac uid draca buehdmacc dedma drehkc femm ymm pa ylreajasahdc. Oui ymcu ghuf Vehym Vyhdyco Q RT ec hajan lusehk uid.

Tidus wanders a few paces past the cockney barter bin and…

“It is here...somewhere."

"Something you should see."
”Man do you ever just give a direct answer? C'mon, guy.”
"But, Sir Auron..."

Auron decides to channel his manliness to temporarily shift Jobs from Samurai to Lumberjack. Subsequently, why has Lumberjack never been a Final Fantasy Job? Square-Enix needs to get on that shit.

Oh well… Add the environment and the survival of ancient magic trees to the list of things Auron cannot be bothered to give a fuck about.

The party follows Auron…

Come on game… Just load the next cutscene. This is getting silly.

"This place... It's just water, isn't it?"
"This is what spheres are made of. It absorbs and preserves people's memories."
”I thought spheres were those pyrefly things…?”
“It is complicated.”

Music: Enemy Attack

Oh goddammit, Auron! You’re supposed to be the competent guardian in this train wreck of a pilgrimage. Purposefully leading the party into an entirely avoidable boss battle to satisfy some ill explained cryptic whim? Is your full name Auron Uzuki?!

Episode 56 Highlight Reel

Macalania Forest Path Concept Art

Macalania Forest Concept Art #2

Macalania Concept Art #3