Part 14: Episode 6 - Zanarkand Riverquest SafariventureEpisode 6 - Zanarkand Riverquest Safariventure
Welcome back. We've retraced Yuna's steps and seen how the world has adjusted to the Eternal Calm. What we've seen is a world divided; Youth League versus New Yevon, Ronso versus Guado, machina versus chocobo, Blitzball versus Sphere Break. Now we've arrived at the end of the journey, where Yuna made the ultimate choice and set this future in motion.
I wanted to keep that feeling, this place within me forever. Now look at it.
Whose idea was that?
Zanarkand has been overrun by "sphere hunters," but it looks like we don't have to worry too much about being beaten to our goal; the competition seems to be made up of tourists and thieves.
And there are tour guides stationed around, reading from a script emphasizing what a fabulous adventure we're having. Up on the observation hill, we see a familiar face.
It's good to see you again, Isaaru.
I'm honored that you remember me.
I know Isaaru is being polite here, but he tried to duel Yuna to the death once. That's not something you forget quickly.
Why are you here?
Ah, yes. I've been helping Cid with his work. I guide people through Zanarkand, once the most sacred of places. People come from all over Spira. Sphere hunters, too.
Ugh! What the heck is Pop thinking?
I can see this is upsetting you. But this is a place of great historical importance for all of Spira.
I know. But, still... I never wanted anyone else to stand there.
Nothing. Forget it.
If you say so... Ah. I must be getting to work now. Please, take care, Yuna.
Further on, we see our old airship, the Fahrenheit, floating overhead. One of the visitors tells us they were brought here on the Fahrenheit. And at the entrance to the dome, we get a sense of exactly how dangerous this "adventure" is.
Um... What was the clue again?
Come on! It's "key!"
All right, let's head out!
The people outside make a big deal of the fiends in the dome, but they just let three little kids go in alone, so it can't be that dangerous.
Actually, you'll probably see more monkeys than random battles. Always with the monkeys. These ones steal a little bit of gil if you talk to them.
Leblanc goons appear as random encounters inside the dome. We're not the first ones here. Halfway through the dome, we catch up with the kids.
Do you remember me?
This is the last time, I think, we're tested on our memory of nobodies from the previous game. Pacce doesn't appear to have grown very much, though.
You remembered me! This is Hana, and this is Taro.
Nice to meet you, Lady Yuna.
What are you doing here? There are fiends around!
Uh-huh! That's right! We're sphere hunters.
You here on some kind of treasure hunt?
So "key" must be a clue to finding the treasure.
Anyway, they run off. Note the eavesdropper in the background. We run around to him shortly.
Oh, hey. I wanted to double-check that clue. It's "mon," right? ... Nah, it's just that I heard some kids saying it was "key." ... Yeah, I figured it was "mon." Over and out.
Wha...? The Gullwings? We won't let you off so easily this time!
Now we run into a couple of forced battles against Leblanc goons.
We get the illusion of choice on some of these battles, but we have to fight them no matter what we answer.
Once we're into the Cloister, we see of exactly what kind of operation is being run here. Zanarkand has been turned into the Spiran equivalent of the Jungle Cruise. The appearance of Isaaru at the beginning was supposed to suggest that the matter was being handled with at least some level of respect and dignity, but that looks to have gone straight out the window. The first time I played the game, I got seriously offended during this segment, and I'm pretty sure that's what they were going for.
Rikku also notices some more monkeys, apparently in mating season, reinforcing her belief that the clues are supposed to combine into "monkey." In fact, we can head back to the airship at this point, suspending the mission, and see what the party thinks;
So the clue for the ruins is "monkey!" I knew it!
Keymon... keemon... kimon? Sorry, but there is no way the clue is "monkey."
You probably don't want to do that, though, since it starts you back outside again when you beam down.
The tour guide in the last screenshot is the only one who seems to recognize Yuna and go off-script. Inside the chamber of the fayth are even yet more goddamn monkeys, which block the path until we speak to another familiar face.
Come to buy a clue from Uncle Cid, have you?
I feel like the translators could have localized this another way, but chose not to because "Here's fifteen gil, go buy yourself a clue" was destined to become an inside joke at the Square-Enix US office.
What are you thinking!
This choice is actually another branching path. If we don't stand up to Cid, Paine will try to play along for the sake of this supposed sphere.
Well, then, I don't see the problem.
Now, you mentioned clues. You're selling them?
Darn tootin'! But I'm all out right now.
Well, I only sell four of them a day.
I gotta say, I don't totally understand that business model. If you're already selling useless clues to worthless items for almost no money, why would you voluntarily limit your supplies? Anyway, most people will probably pick the complaint option.
So what's eatin' ya?
It's... just not right.
It's like us turning the ruins of Home into a theme park!
I believe the implication is supposed to be that Cid's motivation is to raise the funds to rebuild Home, so Rikku's comparison would really hit... well, home. He shuffles off to mope and we head inside.
Our false hope.
You have done well to make it this far, sphere hunters. But you will not have the treasure you seek so easily.
The voice that calls out is one of the most overplayed evil villain voices I've heard in a long time. In fact, you might need to hear it to believe it.
Video: Um, What Are You Doing
If you want the treasure, you must speak the password!
Oh, I know! The password is "monkey!"
Uh... yes, good. Uh, okay! So now tell me: What is the meaning of life?
I don't know what's worse, the way this line gets stumbled over, or the implication that the speaker is surprised we didn't figure it out. Maybe four clues a day is the maximum they can sell before the visitors who loudly announce important information are dense enough that they start hearing each other.
Anyway, we're given one more choice without choice. If we pick any of the first four, Yuna shouts out something random, and the reply comes:
Wait a minute. This voice sounds familiar. Is that Issaru?
But if we let Yuna be the smart one:
Hey. That sort of does sound like Isaaru.
Is that your final answer?
The jig is up! Show yourself, Isaaru!
Well, now we know why Maroda didn't want to answer any questions. It's like his brother retired from being a superhero to get a job at Six Flags.
Um, what are you doing?
My job. I bring excitement to those who've come to see this sacred place. I, too, once traveled with the hope of seeing this place someday. Working here somehow fulfills that wish.
'Kay! Thanks for coming!
This is probably the most cringe-worthy moment in the scene. The voice actor is putting on this big, bombastic game show voice, and Isaaru's face model isn't actually designed to express that kind of wide-mouthed sound. He was animated to be quiet and serene in the prequel, and they didn't make any changes to the model since.
We done here?
The sphere oscillo-finder picked up a signal. There should still be a sphere nearby.
Okay, let's try this again.
We then run down these stairs at the back of Yunalesca's old platform into another really short boring boxy corridor. I have to assume that the new map added to Zanarkand is only supposed to be the end of a maze-like dungeon, because otherwise it's completely stupid that Cid or Isaaru didn't already find the sphere we're looking for.
As usual, there's a boss attached to this thing, so let's prep first. There's no one thing you can do to completely shut down the boss this time, but if you've done this mission last, you've got a lot of options. I'll be showing two approaches. The first is the brute force method, simply out-damaging the boss and out-healing its damage.
Two Warriors and a White Mage will do the trick. The Protection Halo will give us a little defense boost, and Mythril Gloves for even more defense on Yuna. We've had three opportunities to buy Gleam accessories, which add elements to physical attacks, and each Warrior gets one.
We're not alone.
Think we need a password?
How about "kick... its... ass."
Guardian Beast has two important attacks; a standard physical, and Damocles Photon, which hits everybody for half their max HP. Damocles Photon can be mitigated with Shell, but that reduces the effectiveness of Cure as well. Also, remember how I said that bosses can be Oversouled on a New Game +? That's happening here, which adds Berserk immunity to the Guardian Beast, taking away the only way of preventing Damocles Photon from being used.
The strategy is pretty simple; White Mage cures, Warriors attack. The elemental accessories are there because the Beast is weak to every element, so that's an easy way to double your damage. The White Mage can cast magic with a ring if you're feeling safe, too. Also note that the brute force method can become the finesse method with just a little tweaking and preparation. If you've got White Wind and Mighty Guard for your Gun Mage, she can actually shine in this battle (this is probably the only time I will say that) and a Songstress on hand for Matador's Song and/or Darkness Dance can help with the Beast's physicals.
The other approach I took for this boss is the even more brute force option. Paine's Special Dressphere is a pretty good match for this fight with relatively little preparation. Paine gets free elemental attacks and free healing, and some easy-to-acquire abilities, like Blind Wing and Pumice Feather, will help you go toe-to-toe with this guy. The primary danger is how little Agility the special jobs have. For best results, use the Unerring Path grid, which is given to you when you get your first Special Dressphere. It only has two slots, making special transformations very easy.
Video: Boss: Guardian Beast
All that... for nothing.
Well, it can't hurt to take it with us.
I can't believe how much this place has changed.
We got what we came here for, but Yuna's still uneasy about what she's seen. This is probably part of the reason she decided to live in seclusion after defeating Sin, and also maybe a good reason she shouldn't have been quite so secluded. Who knows how many people would try to profit from Yuna's fame without her to stop it?
Now that we've completed both of the story missions, we're past the point of no return. As soon as we're back on the airship, an alarm goes off. We don't even get the chance to save or check on our party.
We're getting reports of an "awesome sphere?" Looks like it's already drawn quite a crowd. The reports are from Kilika Woods.
It's as good as ours! Let's scramble!
We can't even back out of the World Map. Next time: an incendiary situation at the fire temple!