Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Part 2 - Neon Genesis



The doors to Corneria open as our heroes return, stylin' and profilin', with the Chaos Shrine finally shut down.

...Neon is literally wearing bandages for pants. I've seen some obscene female outfits in games, but I think this one takes the cake. At least she's super-cute. I'm trying to keep the camera somewhat angled downward during gameplay, though the cutscenes are going directly for that ground-level booty shot.


The King is finally impressed.

One of them can come multiple times!

...I don't know what's wrong with me.

So right now their orbs are all dark, until they absorb the power of the elemental crystals.

This very familiar-looking minister sends our heroes to Pravoka as their next destination. It's a town to the northeast, best known for containing lots of pirates.

Jack makes sure to let Princess Sarah know that they weren't able to find Garland at the shrine.

She's bummed, but so it goes. At least she didn't get kidnapped in this cycle of history (or whatever this is).

We get the traditional FF1 intro as the King orders the bridge troops to let our heroes cross. It's a little different in that the bridge isn't destroyed in this version of events.

Pravoka is darker than expected, and feels more like the upper level of Midgar.

This kid waddles up and, recognizing the characters as being Corneria folk, blames them for his dad dying on a Chaos-fighting expedition that the King ordered.

Our heroes tell him not to blame the King, blame Chaos, the thing that actually killed said dad.

I disagree with them on this. It's perfectly legitimate to blame the guy who ordered the troops into battle. That's the responsibility leaders are supposed to take, but it seems they sure are good at evading it while hiding behind "patriotism" and so on.

Pravoka is over in a blink, as our heroes find out that Bikke now runs the town and he's hiding out in his cave with a bunch of pirates. If we want a boat, we gotta go talk to him.

So wait, no town exploration in this game? That's right, no town exploration. It feels like there's supposed to be town exploration, but it just didn't get done during development. Actually this whole game feels like something they developed a while ago, didn't finish, and decided to turn it into a game release. Not to take anything away from it, but it's like FFVIIR if they omitted most of the NPCs and exploration. Towns only come into play via cutscene.

Found Red Mage. It's at the bottom of the Mage skill tree. Actually, it appears that all three traditional Mages (Black/White/Red) are unlocked via the Mage skill tree. Mage is more of just a generic starter class, but it's basically a Black Mage Pichu form. An Eevee if you will.

The class unlocks in this game are often hidden behind multiple classes, which means you have to plumb the depths of multiple skill trees to get them. This means: Switch between classes frequently and level them all up. Classes max out at level 30 (at least, as far as I've seen), which isn't too hard to reach. Generally they need to be about level 15 to unlock whatever their more advanced class is, so there's nothing saying you HAVE to take them all to level 30 either.

Dragoon is unlocked via leveling the Lancer and Marauder classes. Lancer is just Dragoon Jr while Marauder is Berserker Jr.

Only Dragoon can use Jump, though, and Jump is AWESOME in this game.

Pravoka's water cave is full of some stunning scenery involving glowing crystals and plants.

Yeah, this place is awesome. I already forgive them for not having Pravoka in this game, because this water cave is an entirely new area.

Here's Bikke's ship. We're gettin' close. It's like No Man's Wharf in Dark Souls 2 combined with WoW's Deadmines.

Mon dieu. Who says this game has bad graphics? Yeah they seem a bit dated (this game wouldn't look out of place in 2014), but you can make up for that with art direction and cool lighting effects.

My old nemesis, the Sahagins, pop up here.

"Soon the surface will be ours!" they croak.

Here he is. Bikke.

He correctly assesses that we've got a bunch of badasses here, but he insists on fighting regardless.

Second boss fight! This one wasn't bad at all once the adds were eliminated. Felt more like a mini-boss. I didn't even record it.

Bikke refers us to Astos, the notorious dark elf, and drives us to Astos' Western Keep. Apparently Astos can help us. Yeah, right.

...wait, we're just skipping right over Elfland?

What are these Fool's Missives on about?

...yep, we're completely skipping Elfland. This is super weird for me because I always spend a ton of FF1's early-game grinding around Elfland to afford all the new stuff there. This game doesn't have shops, though, so there isn't much point in Elfland being included unless they're gonna add some plot there. The sleeping king seems to have been completely omitted. Actually, this is where the game starts to deviate from the source material a bit more.

Western Keep is a pretty damn gorgeous locale...and a full-on sprawling dungeon.

Much like the Chaos Shrine and Pravoka Cave, this place goes on and on and has a ton of depth / things to find. It's clear that 90% of the dev time went into creating sprawling dungeons. At the end of the day, this game is more or less a dungeon crawler.

Dragoon unlocked.

I make sure to upgrade Neon's weapons. Nothing compares to her starting dress, and the ally characters barely get hit compared to the MC who draws most of the aggro.

Damn, the Western Keep is really something. On the NES, this place was like...one room.

It also contains Souls-style ballistas in the distance that can snipe you until you take them out.

After clearing the outer walls of the Keep, the main building is called Demonshold. This should be clue #1 that Astos isn't actually a helpful guy. Bikke LIED TO US

Black Knight is the next boss, and guards Astos. This is another fight that feels more like a miniboss, and is probably the easiest fight yet.

Jack finishes the fight by turning the knight into red crystal and shattering him. Jesus Christ!

And here's Astos. He...does not look the way I expected.

He's basically Ghaleon from the Lunar series, and talks to our heroes in flowery prose before sending them off on a mission to a "tower in the marsh"

Not the notorious Marsh Cave. Nope, this is something different. Well, at least I don't have to fight a bunch of Piscodemons that leap out of a box.

They're still on the lookout for that Garland guy as they prepare for the next expedition.

Still don't understand why Neon wished to become Chaos...or became it for that matter. So after her three party members were all KIA while trying to find Chaos, she just went into a fit of despair and wanted to be Chaos, since Chaos seemingly didn't exist? And then she lost her memory and turned into Chaos? I mean, alright. Just roll with it.

At this point, a mere few hours into the game, my inventory was full. You can discard items, but it's a WAY better idea to disassemble them at the Smithy. Later in the game, the Smithy can add effects to weapons with the mats you get from this. He can also do that now, but it's best to wait until later when you're using the mats on really good weapons. It's like Enchanting in World of Warcraft... exactly like it.

Unfortunately, in the game's biggest design misstep so far, this means I have to painstakingly sell around 480 of my 500 items one by one and it takes like five minutes. At least the best / most recent ones are at the top of the list so you can just blaze through the rest of it clicking everything.

Back to the world map, and the next section...is the marshes. Let's find out what the deal is with this tower.

1 comment:

  1. Pichu form, hahahaha.

    Getting a lot of FF14 vibes from this post.