Part 15: Episode 7 - It Belongs in a Museum
Episode 7 - It Belongs in a Museum
Welcome back. Last time we passed a point of no return and headed for Kilika Port. My first time through the game, I got kicked out of my suspension of disbelief. Why is this mission so urgent that the game has to railroad me, when the last two plot missions weren't, aside from needing something to end the first chapter? Again, it's a detail I glossed over while I was focused on my FAQs; the Besaid and Zanarkand spheres were detected by sphere radar, which I guess nobody else has, but this one says there's reports of a sphere, meaning other parties already know it's there and are probably after it.
Anyway, it's so urgent we can't beam back to the airship, so no comments from the peanut gallery this time.
One of the good reasons to come to Kilika early is that, once this mission starts, people's dialog changes to reflect it. It's also interesting to note that there don't seem to be any straight-up New Yevon supporters living on this side of the gate, outside of Barthello. The best we see are people who look back on Yevon with fond nostalgia.
I wonder what this "awesome sphere" is like.
Well, it's definitely awesome!
It will be, won't it!
That face is the only reason I'm including this pointless exchange in the update.
Keep this up and someone will beat us to it.
If we didn't come here earlier, we would have to talk to Dona to proceed. Since we already did, we finally get let out of town into the woods. And it looks like there's a special guest.
These are all sphere hunters?
I don't think so.
Look over there.
Okay. Nooj is a fine character. And as we proceed through the game, he becomes a very important parallel for Yuna. But he's also perhaps the worst example of character design I've ever seen from this series. I don't even know why he's wearing one fur sleeve or what's going on with his hair. The only element I like is his artificial leg and cane; for how deadly the world used to be, someone who managed to survive something horrible with only a missing limb is pretty rare.
Anyway, the assembled crowd seems to be almost entirely Youth League. This must be that important mission they've been planning, and it looks like they were quite successful in publicizing it. Nooj steps up to inspire his followers.
Video: Nooj's Speech
Greetings, friends! An important sphere is hidden in Kilika Temple. A sphere documenting the true history of Spira. We are here today to demand that New Yevon make the contents of that sphere public. Yet, as always, the voice seeking truth goes ignored. My friends, I ask you: why?
I tell you know, this has gone on long enough! My friends, stand with me, and together we will bring the truth back to the people.
It's a good enough speech. But I can't help noticing it sounds a little... hollow. After the third time somebody calls me their friend, I start to get suspicious. Anyway, there's a lot of them between us and that sphere.
Hey, that's our sphere! Oh, poopie! So what now? Call it quits?
Don't know about you, but I could use an awesome sphere.
Once we head into the forest, we see that the confrontations have already begun. From here on out, we're going to start to see NPCs actually interacting with each other, so my single NPC icon won't quite be enough. Where it's necessary, I'll try to denote New Yevon with blue and Youth League with red.
Hand over the sphere!
Spheres? Secrets? What's this about?
Don't play dumb! We know you're guarding something!
Hey! We're here to guard our families from rabble like you.
What did you say?
I think it's time you left.
This part of the mission is just hiking through side paths in the forest to avoid New Yevon checkpoints.
When we're on the Youth League controlled side of the forest, we'll be attacked by Yevon Guards...
...and the League attacks us once we're past the checkpoints. This seems backwards, but it makes sense; wherever we are, the people controlling the area assume we're on their side.
Also, I'll point out that the guards at the checkpoints are the same as the guards we fight in random battles, but since their guns are cutscene guns, we can't just steamroll through the checkpoints.
There are a few points of interest in the woods. Off in the corner, some Youth League layabouts are talking about a password of some kind.
And there are yet again even more goddamn monkeys. These ones you can collect and turn in later for a prize. I already have the prize.
As we pass this point, Dona runs by in the treetops. At this rate, she'll get there first.
At the north end of the map, we can spy on some Yevon guards discussing their daily passwords. Not only is this the solution to a puzzle coming up, the game puts a checkpoint in our way so we can't proceed until we see the solution here.
If the number of guards at the checkpoint is even, the password is Craven Monkey. You got it? Forget again, and I'll feed you to the blasted monkeys.
Are monkeys like the funniest thing in the world to Japanese people? Is this a cultural thing? I wouldn't know, I only watch anime with robots in it.
The last point of interest is this tree, which we can jump up to reach a chest overlooking the town.
This is the last save point we get, so it's time to prep for another boss.
Shockingly, a Gun Mage will be particularly useful again in this fight. However, because the boss doesn't have any MP to Absorb, we need to get a little frugal. We don't need the Shell part of Mighty Guard, so Yuna gets the Helios Guard to cast the much cheaper Protect, and the Silver Bracer will give her more MP to play with.
Rikku gets to be the warrior again, and Venom Shock, which we bought from Guadosalam, adds poison with her melee attacks.
Paine is going to start out with my new favorite song, as well as Blind from the Still of Night, but she's switching out of it quickly, because it's more efficient to contribute to damage than to try to mitigate it.
As we head up the steps, the Yevon guards will start grilling us on the passwords we overheard.
It doesn't get at all difficult until the second test (there is a guard hidden behind the foreground firepot).
The other checkpoints try to fake you out with awkward jump cuts, or by having guards run up off-camera. The reward for passing all four perfectly is the final of the four basic elemental grids. At the top, we find that Dona's team has beaten us to the temple.
Which is why I keep telling you...
I don't know what you're talking about.
Hey! I found the sphere!
There you have it.
Suddenly, the screen starts to shake.
Nice knowing you!
Does anybody kind of miss Old Yevon? At least they maintained some pretense of class and piety when they were screwing you over.
The girls run, but get boxed in, and the battle is joined!
YSLS-Zero is a purely physical powerhouse with a punch, a double punch, and several flavors of rocket fist. It's also an example of how Oversouling can make an enemy harder in one sense and easier in another (there's probably going to be a lot of oversouled bosses, I beat the game right after collecting all of them in the bestiary). Oversouled, the boss gets rocket fist attacks that silence or poison, and a lot more HP. On the other hand, it's now vulnerable to poison itself, and the extra attacks in the attack list mean you won't see its most powerful attack, Blast Punch, as often.
Yuna's healing as a Gun Mage this time around because Blue Bullets work when silenced. That takes all the threat out of this boss. Rikku steals and then Armor Breaks, and Paine does what she can to hamstring the boss' regular physicals before switching to Gunner. The highest damage value in this battle is actually done by the poison Rikku inflicts; one neat trick is that poison can benefit from and/or extend your Chain combo.
Video: Boss: YSLS-Zero
The celebration isn't allowed to last long.
Actually, we're sphere hunters.
Gullwings, let's go! Sorry, Dona, the sphere is ours.
When the going gets tough, the tough call for close air support.
Thus ends Chapter 1 of five. We get a chance to save right after that last scene. If you're aiming for a first-cycle 100% file, you should be at 25.2% right now.
Next time: is the sphere awesome?
I CAN SEE FOREVER