Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Final Fantasy Tactics, Part 4 - Queklain's Tinnitus

 Previously on Final Fantasy Tactics... I defeated Gaffgarion at Golgorand Execution Site, one of the toughest fights in the game. Now, I take a moment to fondly look back on the awesome cover art. It made a strong impression on me when I was younger, even though it lied about the five-character party. A lot of these battles only allow four characters! Da hell, Square?




Look at all the classes I've got unlocked now. Dragoon is a big one, but unfortunately it isn't any good until lances become a purchasable weapon type in stores. That isn't the case just yet. Went Thief to try and steal Gaffgarion's Blood Sword, but that ship has sailed. Alas.

I thought I was trapped in this corner of the map, but it turns out that you can walk through Lionel Castle without getting pulled into a fight (as long as you don't stop on it). If Golgorand Execution Site was a brutal fight, it's probably a good idea to stop and grind here, which means backtracking.

Lionel Castle has more difficult fights, starting with Ramza being locked into a one-on-one fight with Gaffgarion.

He's still a badass, and if the player is unprepared, this is definitely a place where they can hit a wall.

No Blood Sword this time, so no second chance at it. I'm guessing this was to prevent people from stealing a second Blood Sword. When I was younger I'd always get the sword from him at Golgorand, so I figured the Ancient Sword here was what the game gave him to make up for his lack of weapon. Not the case, it gets replaced no matter what.

The characters outside of the gate have a handful to deal with, too.

Luckily, I grinded to prepare for the fight, and have Ramza simply teleport off the wall. He then annihilates the enemy Summoner while Gaffgarion roams around aimlessly on the other side of the wall.

Now that the battle is fully under control, time to show off some new moves from the grinding on King Kai's Planet. Here's the Ramuh summon, which unleashes electricity as usual.

Here's Titan, the earth summon and the strongest of the first tier. This was a big one in Final Fantasy VII too.

Golem is the most useful summon overall, and provides a shield for the party that absorbs a set amount of melee hits. It does this in most of the Final Fantasies it appears in, which sadly isn't many.

Agrias unleashes a holy sword attack that I didn't demonstrate previously. This one does a lot of damage and adds the Doom/Countdown effect. Not as good as the move that has a chance to insta-KO, but it usually does a little more damage and has a better range. This might be the holy sword move I get the least mileage out of, though.

Hallowed Bolt is debatably the best one. It hits all enemies in a five-square space and sometimes silences their casting. It also does significant damage and has terrific range.

Divine Ruination is the final holy sword attack, and blasts all enemies in a straight line (with a confuse effect). I still usually call it Holy Explosion, the awesome PS1 version name.

Speaking of straight line attacks, Monk Shockwave can go through the wall to hit Gaffgarion. I could just sploit this until I win, but I'll play his game.

Ramza teleports through the wall again and opens the gate. This way if Ramza is losing the fight, other characters can come in and intervene.

He doesn't, though. Too bad the battle ends as soon as Gaffgarion falls (due to all the goons outside being defeated already), and I don't have the chance to get his crystal.

Reset and did it again (yes, the entire battle) just to find out what abilities he has. YAWN.

Cutscene with Delita and Ovelia walking. I don't remember this from the PS1 version.

Some goons appear, and they take a moment to talk smack about Gaffgarion. Apparently everyone is shocked that he didn't take out our heroes. This immediately plays him up as the big deal that he was.

PSP bonus battle time! Delita is controllable, which is pretty cool in and of itself because I don't think he ever was in the PS1 version.

Delita gives Ovelia the ultimatum: "Come with me if you want to live."

This is a good time to talk about the deleted scene on the back cover of the game:

This is a great back cover, with the classes represented and a compelling description. The screenshots are colorful, too. The only problem is...that top screenshot isn't actually in the game. It's a battlefield that doesn't exist, and the Bahamut summon doesn't normally get that up-close and personal with the field either.

It's the best shot on here, so it's pretty weird that it isn't actually from the game. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if it was a scene from a secret battle, but we can probably file it away in the same category as "Culex in FFIV". A red herring, nothing more.

Man, now the Cardinal is talking smack about Gaffgarion too.

He makes a startling revelation: Princess Ovelia has joined the New World Order!
 
Also, he's a demonic hellspawn. Wait, what?

The Cardinal whips out one of the Zodiac Stones and uses his own body as a conduit for -Lucavi-, the evil bastards who nearly brought ruin to the world once upon a time.

Time for one of the creepiest boss themes of any game ever.

Cuchulainn will always be Queklain from the PS1 version to me. This guy made an appearance in Final Fantasy XII, since that game had all of the bosses from this game as summonable espers. It also had the final bosses of the first five Final Fantasies to go with them and round out the esper clique.

Queklain has a beastly stomach-mouth (and you really don't want to see his vagina).

This fight is way harder than it should be... if you have bad luck. Queklain himself is a pretty weak opponent, but he likes to inflict Doom and Sleep on characters. Once a character is asleep, they're asleep forever unless one of your other characters spends a turn attacking them. Queklain is content to rain area-effects on the party and watch them expire to countdowns while they sit around asleep. Whoever ISN'T asleep has to futilly attack him.

Luckily, I manage to break Ramza away from the pack and have him do all the damage. Queklain, the Impure King, is defeated. One could argue that he was the first real boss of the game, though I'd say Gaffgarion had that honor.

So, was this the Cardinal's "true form"? No, not exactly. Queklain and the other Lucavi are ancient demons who lurk within the Zodiac Stones. Possessing those stones is akin to holding The One Ring, and if one is corruptible (i.e. nearly anyone), the corruption will make its way into their body. Before they know it, they get taken over ala The Thing. At that point the Lucavi just waits inside them to strike. The Lucavi only possess people in positions of power, since their goal is to cause war and unbalance. You'll never see one of these vile bastards taking over someone who does blue-collar work.

Delita is moving up in the world, and has landed an audience with Duke Goltanna. One of the claimants to the throne, and Larg's sworn foe, Goltanna finds a much-needed ally in Delita. Joke's on him, because Delita is loyal only to one thing: The Poon.

Delita's first act as Goltanna's new ally is to expose a traitor in his midst...

...and kill him in front of the Duke. I like how Orlandu (top right) reaches for his sword at the first sign of violence. Orlandu doesn't mess around.

Thanks to the actions of Delita and the New World Order, war is upon us. Delita wants to see Ovelia reign, while the NWO just wants lots of oil violence. Then there's Larg and Goltanna who each think they're running things.

Fast forward a bit, and the various factions are meeting to hear about the massive casualties they've sustained.

Marquis Elmdore may look like Magus, but he's a dick.

Orlandu is fed up with this whole thing already, but no one at this table is listening. Blanche certainly lives up to his name.

There is no room for dissent in the New Ivalician Century. If Goltanna gives an order, it's going to be followed. He assures you.

Chapter three out of four begins. Game is moving right along. This is probably a good place to end the post, but instead I'm doing a special double-stuffed post to try and catch up to where I am.

Ramza narrates. The tide is against him, but he's going to find a way to stop this war. He's basically Jack Bauer in Season 2.

At the center of the map is the Imperial Capital.

A ton of new weapons become available at this point. No lances yet, but we've got weapons for Ninja and Samurai now.

I'm gonna regret this, but let's check in with my army and see how things are going...

::strobe lights and George Michael fill the barracks::

Oh COME ON! What the hell is this? Some kind of chocobo orgy? This is an outrage!

"Deal with it! Wark!"

Look, man, no offense, but the neighbors are complaining at this point, and...

"A homie's gotta get his beak wet! Wark!"

You've really turned out to be a jerk, Boco.

The next battle is an interesting one, and takes place in a snowy mining town.

 Really good music here, fitting of a "snowy mining town". One of the more relaxing tunes in the game, which works because it isn't a difficult battle at all.

There's an interesting guest character here: Orran, the son of Orlandu. He isn't playable, which is too bad because he has a very interesting ability. Seen here, it spins the battlefield around and freezes every enemy in their tracks (if it works).

It might be the most impressive-looking ability in the game. Too bad this is the only time you see it. Would have been an amazing ultimate ability for Time Mages instead of the weirdly out-of-place Meteor (which should have gone to Black Mages).

Orran with a fairly badass statement.

Ramza confronts his brother...only to find that Zalbaag is also drinking the war kool-aid.

Ramza is concerned about Delita throwing in with the New World Order. Fuh-fuh-fuh life.

A very polite emissary of the church arrives... to haul Ramza in for a hanging. Turns out that killing the Cardinal has some repercussions, and Ramza is now an enemy of the church.

Alma is an AI-controlled guest in this battle...and the squishy priestess immediately runs to the front line to tank. Yeah, great.

The good news is that Ramza can teleport right behind the enemy leaders and plaster them with a devastating attack. Usually takes two shots to end the battle.

This guy is woefully misguided.

Ramza tries to explain, but it falls on deaf ears. This guy already made up his mind that Ramza is Satan.

When it comes down to it, this is actually a pretty sad game. Most of it consists of Ramza having to fight people he doesn't want to fight and has no legitimate reason to fight.

For the Inquisitor, I break out the dark-based summon: Hades. This guy is from Final Fantasy IX, and he's very creepy.

This is a second-tier summon, but not a particularly strong one. Probably about on par with Titan. Looks very cool, at least.

Next, we return to Orbonne Monastery to visit Simon, the kindly gent from the intro. He explains things that are already quite apparent vis-a-vis the NWO.

Speaking of, the NWO is here, infiltrating the vaults to find more Zodiac Stones and break out more of their Lucavi allies. This means lots of goon-fighting as our heroes battle floor-by-floor. Dragoons show up on the enemy side here, and they're actually armed properly. The good news is that Ramza can teleport in and decimate their Chemist immediately with his new Dual-Wield ability. That's right... Ramza has finally moved on from Monk and become a Ninja.

Ninja abilities (Throw) aren't that great from the looks of things, unlike Monk abilities, but Dual-Wield is a total killer. Blade Grasp might be a good counter too, not sure. Haven't un-equipped First Strike (the best Monk counter) since I got it. I'll look into this.

Isilud is a formidable Temple Knight who makes his first appearance here. He's an NWO member, but he isn't possessed. He's extremely dangerous, but the battle ends when he's defeated (or reduced to critical, even). He bumrushes the party, so all you need to do is focus all attacks on him.

After a quick skirmish with Isilud, we get to have a quick skirmish with Wiegraf. He's NWO now, having donned the shirt in the previous post.

Wiegraf proceeds to annihilate half my team before I even have a chance to move, knocking out my Summoner and vastly diminishing the HP of Agrias and Lavian.

This is a short, very brutal fight. Wiegraf also charges your heroes, and like the previous battle, all you need to do to win is take him out. He has goons on the way, but they don't even really get a chance to do anything. This is basically Wiegraf Vs. Party, and even 5-on-1 he has a legit shot of winning.

Note: I mentioned earlier that Zaland Fort City's theme only played for that one battle. Well, it plays again here. Either this is a new PSP addition or I was wrong. It's entirely possible I just didn't notice in the past because this fight is so short. If it's a new addition, hopefully it made it into more battles later.

Wiegraf is still himself, despite holding the Aries stone. After he loses (barely), he retreats from the monastery.

Isilud has Alma captive, and most of the remainder of the game will revolve around Ramza's attempts to recover his sister.

For his part, Wiegraf lays down to die here. He was a formidable opponent, and he will be missed.

But wait. His despair is so palpable that it wakes up the Aries stone.

It hovers and speaks. Well, that's creepy.

Wiegraf makes the ultimate deal with the devil, giving himself over to the stone in exchange for power. He was already NWO, but now he's NWO...fuh-life.

Wiegraf is possessed by the demon Belias (Velius in the PS1 version), the deadliest boss in the game and the bane of many players. Belias is named after Belial, devil prince of the fourth layer of Dante's Inferno.

He'll always be Velius to me though.

Thing-Wiegraf, now firmly possessed by Velius, teleports away. This is going to get complicated.

Final note before I close this out for today: Here's Ovelia's amazing theme.

Next time on Final Fantasy Tactics: Ovelia finds love in a hopeless place.




3 comments:

  1. Excellent post, hitting a lot of high notes.

    I agree, this cover is one of the best. It immediately gives a sense of what the game is about and feels like despite being so abstract. As for the back cover pic, I guess it was too cool to remove.

    Your training to prepare for this fight certainly paid off. You beat it twice!

    Thanks for the excellent summon and special move pics.

    Two hundred THOUSAND wounded?! This is a massive number of people getting F'd in the A by this war!

    Orlandu is someone who truly lives up to the hype.

    You're right about how depressing the game goes for Ramza. It shows what it's really like to have facts contradicting the establishment narrative.

    I forgot about Orran's special move but not his manly look.

    Ramza's relations with his brother sure are frought.

    Wiegraf, man. You can see where he's coming from.

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  2. Yeah, I definitely gotta go with Hallowed Bolt as my favorite.

    It's a shame you didn't get a chance to CONSUME GAFFGARION'S SOUL... oh wait, you did. I guess you already had all of his good stuff.

    This Cuchulainn doesn't look Irish at all. He's definitely more of a Quek.

    The end of Chapter 2 is great because first you get a 8-5 battle (and you have all of one terrible grind spot on the map), then you you get the first two-parter battle with a one-on-one (potentially) against Gaff as part of it, then the first Lucavi fight which immediately shows you why 5-on-1 in your favor isn't necessarily a gimme.

    The end of Chapter 3 of course makes all of that look like cake.

    Great description of the Lucavi in the Zodiac Stones. To mention the end of Chapter 3 again, I really like the discovery later on that they actually have a potential for something positive as well.

    I also like when Cid reaches for his sword. Funny thing about that scene is that we never learn if the guy was actually a traitor or not. The way he freaked out would suggest that he was, but the guy didn't exactly get a trial. Either way Delita got his "in."

    There's a fair chance Elmdore is tainted at this point (I don't believe he was in Chapter 1). It would make sense anyway since he's speaking like this at the beginning of the chapter and you know he's Lucavi by the end of that chapter.

    I'll read the second half of this in a bit!

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  3. Boco is a real Soopa Feen.

    If Time Mages had this though... enemy Time Mages would become super OP. There's a reason you never really fight Calculators.

    Zalmour is one of the few church guys you fight who isn't a Lucavi... and yet he's one of the biggest dicks.

    There's no need to argue, Confessors just don't understand.

    Blade Grasp (a Samurai ability) is the best counter in the game. With that people usually have less than a 20% chance to hit you. Magic still does, but that's true with First Strike as well. Though do note that it's called "Shirahadori" in this version.

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