Thursday, June 9, 2022

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Part 5 - Clint Beastwood


Jack is so one-dimensional and flat that he somehow loops back around to being interesting. What is he going to say and do next in his pursuit of CHAOS?

I have to figure out where I left off with this. I have like, almost no clue.

Our heroes have been working on their ::makes quotes with hands:: Drip and now look, and I quote, mad fly.

Last time, we defeated Marilith. So now the hunt for Kraken begins. Of course, this game takes things in all kinds of weird directions.

This next area is actually the Lonka Ruins from FFV. They just dropped it in here en-route to the Sunken Shrine. Unfortunately, the music here doesn't reflect FFV's soundtrack, which had a really good track for this part.

Metal soldiers patrol this area. I'm really liking how this game contains a "greatest hits" of FF series dungeons. At the same time I'm beginning to wonder if some of these were created for something else. The game really does feel like an "asset collection", like they threw all of their unused area designs from FFXII / FFXIII / FFXV in here.

More Lufenian memos give away more of the plot here. They created the crystals on this planet to stabilize the elements and make the planet more hospitable. Does this mean they did the same on other worlds, which would explain the cut/pasted dungeons and foes from other games? Very likely. I love how this is tying the FF series together a bit.

In other news, the Lufenians, or at least the one writing this, despise humans and regret not wiping them out. If I'm understanding things right, humans who are exposed to a crystal and have a lot of darkness in their heart have the potential to become Chaos, the biggest threat to order and balance.

Piscodemons FINALLY show up here (the Marsh Cave isn't a thing in this game).

They're a threat as usual with their Mind Blast attacks, but not quite to the level that they are when first encountered in the NES game.

The actual boss here is Cray Claw, of FFV fame. At least, I think it's from FFV?

Note the bird-shaped cannons, which are very Lonka Ruins.

Here's the fight. BEHOLD THE DUBSTEP!

I like how character class/costume changes carry over into cutscenes. Poor unutilized Jed is still in his Just Some Guy outfit.

Aside from the Lufenian logs, we've also got these Fools Missives that give away way too much of the plot.

Dimension 7 = Final Fantasy VII. So it appears that this game's version of the Sunken Shrine is actually based on a Mako Reactor. This is all getting exceedingly weird.

Neon now has a shocking revelation. She's turning heel??

Nope, it's just that her Orb was given to her by Astos.

In this game the Orbs and the Crystals are separate (as they probably are in the NES original, though it's un-clear). The Crystals are four unique items that exist in the depths of their dungeons. Orbs on the other hand are fairly common and can be carried by regular people. All of the "Four Hero" wannabes have them. However you need to bring them to a Crystal in order to actually infuse them with power.

Neon here was infused by the Fire Crystal after that absolutely sick fight with Marilith. Let's see that again:

Incredible music here, damn.

Jack is beginning to warm up to this crew. This cast isn't anywhere near as bad as people thought from the trailers, and I think it's actually one of my favorite FF parties.

A collective fist-bump. Time to find Kraken and get the final crystal.

I've been making use of the Breaker class, which I think is the most OP in the game by a mile. Why? One word...

...Zantetsuken. The FF series' legendary instant-death attack is ostensibly just a charged slash in this game, meaning it's WAY too powerful for the effort/resources needed to fire it off. I'm spending time in every class to get the platinum, which means switching classes out as they reach max level, so I'm just enjoying my Breaker time while it lasts. If I were just bum-rushing the game, though, I'd go Breaker for the rest.

The Sunken Shrine is absolutely a Mako reactor. Not sure how I feel about this. Was kinda looking forward to it being a water-dungeon like it was in FF1 (and...World of Final Fantasy)

This means Tiamat and Marilith's dungeons were true to their original forms, while Lich and Kraken's dungeons got changed to completely different places from other games. At least Lich's being a tomb makes some sense. This reactor has got nothing to do with Kraken.

Sophia questions Jack's touching ability. He can be delicate, dammit!

After a while of trudging through the reactor, here's Kraken.

He looks totally different from the original game, more like a Sahagin Emperor or something.

He says that our heroes have no idea what the true power of the crystals even represents, and the battle begins.

This is the first fight since Tiamat to actually pose a real challenge...and maybe the last such fight until the endgame. It's still not as tough as Tiamat, which - and I said this before - felt way out of place like a sequence break.

Kraken unleashes a WILL SMITH SLAP.

I couldn't have made that joke in March, so at least there's one benefit to waiting several months to finish this game off.


The actual fight with Kraken. One detail I appreciated was that his physical attacks were highly-damaging, much more-so than his spells, which is true to FF1. Kraken's attacks in that game were PAIN. In the final Temple of Fiends run, the point I was most likely to lose a party member and have to start the dungeon over...was always Kraken.

Another Lufenian flashback. Now we see that Jack himself is in the sterile room, getting instructions on how to slay Chaos. Every so often, humans get too big for their britches and collect the power of the Crystals, then one of them turns into Chaos, then another round of humans is sent out to stop them. Or something. I don't know. Jack seems to be a recurring leader for the squads of humans sent out to stop the various Chaoses. There's a time travel component here too, so I think his being recurring is actually because they keep going back in time and sending him out again, each time with a different group. Not because they're memory-wiping him or anything. They're just resetting the timeline and trying something different every time, brainwashing Cornelia's greatest warrior Jack and sending him out to do their bidding by slaying Chaos.

...everyone getting all this? Because I'm not.

We get a close-up of a Lufenian, but Jack's memories are hazy and distorted from his brainwashing.

The place begins to flood, and it's time to git.

With all four crystals found, it's time for the Temple of Fiends! ...except we already did that at the beginning. So instead it's back to Cornelia.

We're greeted by a mob of angry faces. Did someone discover that Jack made a Problematic Tweet ten years ago?

No, it's worse than that. It seems that since our heroes have been out restoring crystals, the darkness has just been getting worse and worse. Now the sun isn't even coming out, and the monsters roaming the land have turned into an army.

The Four Heroes prophecy stated that them finding the four crystals would prevent all of this, so what gives?

Also, there are FIVE of them! FRAUDS!

The Minister is pissed.


The world is in even worse turmoil than before...way worse.

The Princesses show up.

Given that everything is in (heh) chaos now, I guess the reward for finding the four crystals is off the table and we can't all marry Sarah. Not sure how that ever would have worked.

Next thing we know, the Pravoka pirate brigade is attacking Cornelia!

Jack only knows how to destroy. In these turbulent times, there's a place for him. But what about later?

As pirates launch attacks at the gates, our heroes say farewell to the throne room. They aren't exactly welcome here since they're being blamed for everything that's going on.

The next area sets us loose in the actual streets of Cornelia, finally, taking on pirates.

All these mentions of Cornelia have reminded me that I've never covered Star Fox on here.

As the pirate war rages, it begins pouring rain. It's a MAD HOUSE out here!

Bikke shows up...but something is wrong. This isn't the sensible Bikke we last saw.

He's now "The Possessed". Still pretty much the same fight, just significantly leveled-up.

After knocking Bikke out of his stupor, he reveals that he and his pirates were taken over by the darkness that is sweeping the land.

He says Astos will know what to do, as Astos has been fighting against Chaos for untold centuries. Unfortunately, Astos is now nowhere to be found, after constantly appearing out of thin air to sass us for the entire game.

The next the Tower of Babel from FFIV, which has appeared nearby. However, not to get TOO excited, because it bears very little visual resemblance to the place from FFIV. Just has a similar enemy lineup. I like the music here:

This is one of the most "SoP" tracks in this game.

At this point I've gotten most of the classes mastered (level 30) but still have a bunch to go. Dark Knight is a class I was working towards for a WHILE and was pretty excited to get.

Thing is, Breaker totally upstages it. Between using katanas and having that one super-OP attack, Breaker pretty much obsoletes the other melee classes, even the ones that come after it.

Battling through the tower. WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN NEXT?

...I HAVE NO IDEA. This game is just a barrage of fun homages and nostalgia trips. Though I will admit that at this point the battle system was beginning to wear a bit thin, and enemy HP is starting to border on grindy.

Video of the day: Rain sounds from Sunleth Waterscape. Very cool zone if you turn the music off (and very cool if you leave it on too)

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