Friday, April 1, 2016

Final Fantasy Tactics, Part 6 - Rampaging Monolith

Today on Final Fantasy Tactics... a special guest star arrives: The Yellow Rooster himself, Cloud Strife, sans nose. Bawk.

After the defeat of Velius, the relatively short Chapter 3 comes to an end.


The twins join at this point. Rafa uses "Heaven magic" while Malak uses "Hell magic". More on that in a moment.

::techno plays::

Since we're running out of room due to the chocobo orgy, it's time to boot these buffoons out.


Finally, we're down to the leader. The source of all the trouble. Notorious Boco himself.

"Sicker than 'yo average! Boco been smooth since days of underoos!"

Now we build a wall to keep out any more chocobos! YOU WON'T TAKE OUR JOBS, BOCO!

 "You bitches! You haven't seen the last of Boco! Brrrrap Brrrrap!"

Vormav (well, Folmarv now) has long since left Riovane to the vultures. At this point Ramza recognizes him as the #1 threat that he is. Even with Wiegraf out of the picture, the battle isn't over yet.

The spell-sets of Rafa and Malak. I don't really use either of them because their spells are bizarrely random. They have the same area of effect as your typical black magic spells, and fire off multiple times once cast. You'd think this would make them better than regular black magic, but that isn't the case. Against groups of enemies, you'll probably get the same number of hits overall, and against single enemies, it's possible that every shot of these spells will whiff.

The next battle transpires on some cliffs, as Ramza and Luso hold the front line. This is a good time to show off the ultimate summon magic...

...Bahamut. While he takes some time to summon, he dishes out mega-damage. The only other summon on his level is Cyclops (which is slightly faster and slightly weaker).

The final regular story character you get is Meliadoul, and she's yet another magic-knight. Pretty good one too, far better than Agrias and second only to Orlandu. Unfortunately, first we must DO BATTLE.

Here she demonstrates one of her devastating attacks. They not only do damage, they also break equipment. This makes her a PITA to fight with, yet particularly effective once you have her. The only real downside to her is that Orlandu also has her break attacks (plus everything else). I think Orlandu should have been relegated to Holy Sword and Dark Sword attacks, which still would have been more variety than any other magic knight. Leave the Divine Sword attacks to Meliadoul.

Of course, at this point the battles are essentially broken. After the enemies all get to go first and take out a couple of my characters, I simply teleport Ramza behind the enemy leader and unleash hell with dual-wield. Often, the battle is over right then and there.

Quick shot of Delita brooding at a window. Truly, he is a tormented soul.

At this point Delita teaches Ovelia how to play the grass flute. that's what the kids are calling it these days.

But seriously, it's a tender moment.


...wait, what was that?

Oh my God. It's...the swamp of the chocobos. Boco has returned for vengeance, and ambushed our heroes in the harshest terrain possible.

What's worse, Boco has formed a new army. It's...

...Boco Haram.

::screams are heard as Luso gets Choco Meteored::

This is legitimately one of the hardest fights in the game, because the chocobos level up with Ramza. If you've leveled Ramza way up by this point (which is likely), the chocobos are nearly unstoppable. This fight ended my first playthrough of the PSP version (yes, I've had two playthroughs of this game end abruptly).

Boco Haram unleashes destruction! My summoner is already down without even having a chance to move, as usual.

The horror! THE HORROR!

Quick, Ladd! Do a Shockwave! Luso is bleeding out!

::screaming is heard::

Oh you son of a...

Boco defeated.


This day will be spoken of in the history books. It will be touted as Delita's greatest victory.

Speaking of...Ramza and Delita now meet in a church, Highlander style.

They're going to battle the tide of evil in their own ways, yet together-ish.

The Church is after our hero again. He can't even pray in peace!

Ramza and Delita argue over whether or not to fight back. Oh, and now that we're in Chapter 4, Ramza is sporting skin-tight butt-pants. He's probably also wearing Ugg Boots and a North Face jacket.

Oracles pop up here on the enemy side. They're essentially Green Mages. Their spells revolve around inflicting status effects, which can be very dangerous when used properly. I don't really bother with them much, though. Prefer to just do damage and get the battle over with.

Delita calls out the GOP. Why is everyone in this game so anti-GOP?

The battle rages on for a few minutes until I decide to dish out Ramza's teleporting mega-sassinate. So much for the Confessor.

Ramza and Delita shake hands while Delita's new cohort looks on. She's mysterious and doesn't really get explained too well.

They argue a lot. GET A ROOM, YOU TWO. Ovelia can join in, but it's more likely she'd be weeping in the corner.

In the desert, our heroes are confronted by the newest member of the New World Order: Balk. This guy likes guns and poison, as a student of forgotten-age technologies.

I one-shot him too. Moving on.

Meanwhile, Goltana gives his full confidence to Delita, who continues to rise up the ranks House of Cards style. "You, and you alone...and that mysterious blonde who keeps hovering around."

Hey, Goltana! APRIL FOOLS.

Next, we finally go to Bethla Garrison (now Fort Besselat), the impenetrable fortress mentioned earlier in the game. This is the one part where you can choose what battle you want to fight, making the other a missable battle altogether.

The choices aren't much to write home about. Ramza can either take on the front gate or the back gate. Dirty joke here. Both fights are full of jobbers, and I sent Ramza in alone to whoop up.

Cutscene time, as Duke Larg gets stabbed to death by Dycedarg while Zalbaag looks on confused. Man, Ramza's brothers are real disappointments. Dycedarg is House of Cards ing his way up the ladder while Zalbaag refuses to take a stand on anything.

The Zalbaag of the other army (in terms of raw power), Orlandu, is targeted for termination. Ramza gets to him first, and since Orlandu is practically his uncle, we get our next party member.

Alas, his time-stopping son still won't join the party. As far as I know, he never does.

He's a Sword Saint (Holy Swordsman in the PSX version) which means he has access to ALL of the holy sword type abilities. That means he has Agrias' power, Meliadoul's power, and Gaffgarion's power... plus an ability or two that no one else even gets. Combine this with the auto-haste from his Excalibur and the big attack boost from his Bracer, and he's a complete wrecking machine. One could un-equip him and share the wealth a bit among other characters while still having Orlandu be decent, but I'm going to keep him intact for now.

Elsewhere, trusted advisor Delita assassinates Goltana out of nowhere. As he stabs his liege, he leans in to whisper "hold me closer, tiny dancer" in Goltana's ear.

Ramza opens the floodgates of Bethla Garrison, flooding the nearby valley and murdering thousands of soldiers on both sides. It's the only way to stop the fighting, but will Ramza be able to sleep at night?

Wait a minute... this woman looks familiar. Is that Aerith? She isn't giving any sign of being a fish out of water, so maybe she's just a doppleganger.

Talking to various tavernmasters about recent events leads to the Island of Nelveska being unlocked on the world map. It's one of the few secret areas in the game.

A rampaging sentinel lurks on the island, an advanced relic from an age long passed.

I could go there now, but it isn't time yet. Gotta do some very tedious backtracking to get this sidequest done the right way.

Walking all the way back across the map to Goug Machine City (and getting attacked every other step) leads to this cutscene where Mustadio and his father have unearthed a strange machine.

This quest chain gets us a few new characters; all of them are easily-missable, and none are as good as Orlandu. This quest chain would have been perfect in Chapter 3.

Beowulf here, besides being a palette-swap of Wiegraf's first outfit, is essentially a Green Knight. He has magic sword abilities that inflict status ailments on enemies, much like the Oracle. He's quite decent, but his speed is low. His main problem is that you have so many good characters at this point that he ends up being your sixth man more often than not.

Trying to take on Orlandu in his first battle: Humiliation.

Or to put it another way: Orlandu wins lol

Our next character to recruit is Beowulf's girlfriend...a purple dragon. Look, dude, I'm not into man-on-dragon here. This is one thing that I definitely side with Rick Santorum on.

Regardless, having a dragon on our side is good. She's slow, but she has powerful attacks.


...okay then.

We finally get rid of the Choco-party and now we have to deal with listening to these two at night.

Back at Goug Machine City, Sam Beckett leaps into that robot we found and it comes to life.

This is Construct 8 (Worker 8 in the PSX version) and he talks like the Tetujin in The 7th Saga.

Construct 8 is another slow, lumbering character. Like Reis, he has strong attacks, but he's so slow that his usefulness is limited. He also has poor movement range. He also has no faith, and...


He/it starts with all of his abilities. Three out of these four are heavy melee attacks, while Dispose is a long-range energy bomb that does significant damage in and of itself and is very useful for finishing off bosses.

Back to the tavern to listen to more endless gossip. This tavern is like working at a Home Depot.

NOW it's time to go to that secret island. This place is home to Construct 7, the rampaging, berserk predecessor to our new robot pal. He immediately unleashes ANNIHILATION MODE.

This involves opening fire on our dragon with his chest-cannons. Between Construct 7 and the two hydras, this fight isn't easy.

After winning here, Reis transforms into a beautiful woman. Oh, I get it now. You're alright after all, Beowulf. didn't sleep with her in dragon form, did you?

Back at Goug yet again (all this walking back and forth across the world map is incredibly tedious, given the high encounter rate). A dimensional portal that Mustadio and his dad dug up has brought us a visitor, and it's... Cloud Strife, of Final Fantasy VII fame.

Cloud is too cool for school, and doesn't even look at our heroes. I wonder if this is Cloud from after Final Fantasy VII or before. Because he never mentions this in FFVII, but he's such a jerk here that it seems like it's his pre-FFVII self...

"Just tell me where to shoot" he says while making gun-fingers at something. Cool your jets, Vasquez.

Cloud runs off by himself, because every inter-dimensional traveler / time traveler / fish out of water needs to do that right away. It's a rule. He immediately runs into the girl who looks like Aerith. Well, this'll be interesting. He'll think he knows her, but she won't know him, and...


...wait, what? Her name is actually Aerith? Is it the same Aerith? Why doesn't she know who Cloud is? AHHHHH

A bunch of hooligans accost her. Rum-dutchess? Well I never!

After an attempted rape (yes, that happened) Cloud reappears to unleash Bray Wyatt's most fearsome quote.

After that quick brawl, he joins the party. Aerith...just sorta poofs. I have no idea if that was supposed to be the real Aerith or what, because none of that made sense. A thoroughly pointless cameo.

Cloud himself was a much-hyped character in this game, but he's actually pretty terrible. He starts out at LEVEL ONE, unlike nearly every other character, so you need to grind and grind and grind if you want to get him up to where he's on par with your existing crew. He also doesn't even start with a weapon.

His abilities are all limit breaks from FFVII, aside from Cherry Blossom which is new...and curiously above the all-powerful Omnislash. That's...very weird.

While it's really cool to have FFVII limit breaks in this game, they all have charge times. Meaning that, like Archers, Cloud needs for his target to not move for a while or he'll attack an empty space. This means his later, slower limit breaks are essentially useless since you'd need for your target to be afflicted with Stop if you want to have time for them to land.

He can't actually use any of these abilities until you find the Materia Blade for him, either.

Where is the Materia Blade, you ask? On top of a volcano. This is Bervenia Volcano, one of two or three areas on the world map that are never used for story fights (the others are swamps, nothing interesting). This is a very fun map, and a good place to fight random battles if you want to enjoy the menacing scenery.

Ramza climbs the MOUN-TAIN (OH-OH! AH-AH-OH-OH!) and retrieves Cloud's damn sword for him. Should have been the Buster Sword or Ultima Weapon. If it had an auto-haste effect on it it'd fix a lot of his shortcomings, but it doesn't, and he's still terrible.

Cloud is now complete. I guess. I wonder if this guy is any good if you really take the time to build him up. As far as I can tell, he isn't, which is pretty disappointing. I've read that making him a Time Mage first and learning abilities of theirs like Haste, Stop, and Half Charge Time makes Cloud vastly more useful since those abilities cover up his weaknesses. Still, in a world where we have holy knights like Orlandu and Meliadoul wrecking everything with no charge time and without needing to buff themselves or stun enemies to get their attacks off, leveling Cloud just seems pointless at this point. Too bad we didn't get him in, say, early Chapter 2.

Here's a video of all of his limit breaks in action, since I'm not taking the time to build him up or get any use out of them. Cherry Blossom looks really cool, as it turns out, while the majority of the rest are underwhelming. Especially Omnislash. That isn't freaking Omnislash.

Now that this side-quest is over, time to move on with the game. On the next episode of Final Fantasy Tactics: I recruit another very special cameo character, and this significantly better than Cloud. I also fight not one, but TWO Lucavi. NEXT TIME, ON FINAL FANTASY TACTICS!


  1. I always steal Balk's gun.

    It's my opinion that Beowulf is the second best character in the game. His abilities are Oracle skills that are actually useful, and stuff like Chicken is absolutely devastating. He can equip all of the same stuff that Orlandeau can as well. His drain completely wrecks the final boss.

    Did you turn Reis into a human? She's fairly useful like that.

    Quantum Leap didn't last long enough to get to the shark-jumping "Sam is a robot" episode, sadly.

    Ah, there's human Reis! She's great.

    It seems a "rum-dutchess" is... "a jolly handsome woman." Alright then.

    The Materia Blade isn't even that strong! Forcing him to have it equipped to use his (lousy) abilities is crazy. I guess in this version he can become a Dark Knight at least, so you could have a really viable Cloud for those who are big fans. Still, given his crappiness compared to Orlandeau, Beowulf, or even Agrias, I wonder if he was deliberately neutered because the team making the game didn't actually want to put him in it.

    Next post we get the guest star who should have been in /this/ Ivalice all along!

  2. Musk Pole, eh...

    Meliadoul! And she's mistaken about who killed Isilud! Ahh, it's great to see her.

    Ramza looks older and sadder in this chapter. Hey you got his Bravery up to 100! How?

    The grass flute is symbolism of who's the real peasant!

    Boco Haram, lolol. Excellent job setting this up as a revenge battle, and it's amazing they still pack such a punch.

    I forgot about Ramza and Delita converging at this part of the game. Glad they're still brothers.

    "Ovelia can join in, but it's more likely she'd be weeping in the corner." Ooh, that one hit me. Made me feel sad because of the realness.

    At this point in the game we can say the shit has hit the fan.

    The way Ramza's brothers act make sense. It's Ramza that's the uncommonly good guy.

    I'm very happy Orlandu's life was saved.

    Getting away with killing Duke Goltana is truly audacious.

    I agree with the theory expressed above that maybe the game-makers didn't want Cloud in the game. Or maybe they knew people who use him so much would be the kind who are such fans they don't care about all the drawbacks. Also I hope they sent him back to FF7 world later!

    It's very cool to see all his limit breaks, at least. Climhazzard they did very well. Chery Blossom is the most impressive. These shouldn't have charge times.

    I think Brayn is right that human characters are more useful than monster characters every time.