Part 51: Interlude 12 - Test Your PatienceInterlude 12 - Test Your Patience
So, the cave we rescued Cid from. It was pretty big, right? And we barely got to see any of it. I bet you were hoping we'd get the chance to explore it in more depth. Well, if you were, you won't be disappointed.
Actually, you will be disappointed, but in a different way.
File this one under B, for "Bad Game Design." If we go back into the Thunder Plains cave (a reasonable thing to do, considering the disparity between its size and what we got to explore previously) we're immediately assaulted by numbers, then informed that this cave is a math maze. There are a bunch more doors beyond the one Cid opened for us, and we have to open them all in sequence by adding numbers together.
Really, this is less a puzzle and more a test to see whether you own a pencil, a piece of paper, and a calculator. You have to keep track of randomly generated numbers, how many battles and how much Gil you earn between each door, and the final combination of every door, then add two numbers from that data set to open the next door. The game tells you how to solve every puzzle, and the only difficulty lies in trying to confuse you.
Note the note in the center box in the above screenshot, though. Later doors like to try to throw you by making you add two or more numbers together before adding two numbers together, and since previous doors' answers can play into these calculations, the numbers can get big quickly. (This is also how I know it's not intended to be a memory game.) Someone in the playtesting group must have discovered that you can actually end up with codes too big for the entry field, but, rather than deciding to make their math game less ridiculous, the developers instead hard-coded a damage limit into the system.
What's most offensive is when the game makes it obvious that you're playing a minigame for elementary school kids. Remember when you learned about negative numbers in school, and how that messed with your head for a little while? The game obviously wants to avoid alienating players of this age, and so tells you to treat negative numbers as zero. You know, because otherwise that could be confusing.
There's also a fifty-fifty chance of getting a bonus after every door, which can be anything from a list of data to a free pass on the next door. The free pass is the only one worth a damn, and even then it can screw you over if you go looking for the door after that and forget to hunt down the bonus chance from the door you skipped.
The reward for completing this cave successfully is a grid. However, if you return and complete it a second time (I don't know, maybe you couldn't afford to buy both X-2 and Brain Age DS) you get this unique accessory that grants Omnistrike and Omni Eater. Is it worth it? Maybe? I know Final Fantasy has always catered to the number porn demographic, but this is just vaguely unsettling.
Whatever. I'm don't math for the rest of my life.