Well, its Day 2 of my attempt to play through Final Fantasy VI ( click here for day 1) and I gotta tell ya, I feel like an idiot. Day 2’s adventure began at the foot of Mt. Kolts, an area I’ve been to before in previous attempts to play the game and I knew what awaited me at the top; Vargas, son of Duncan, martial arts expert, and patricide who has thwarted every other attempt to play this game I ever made. As I began my climb toward the peak of Mt. Kolts, I swore this time, he was going down.
Mt. Kolts went as I remembered, following its labyrinth cave system, opening chests and dominating random enemy encounters with Edgar’s auto-crossbow and following the “mysterious” shadow to the summit. The party of Edgar, Locke, and Terra reach the top and there standing in front of the final cave I need to enter to make my way off the mountain stands the shadowy figure, finally revealed to be Vargas and he is not in a reasonable mood. Thinking our heroes are here to bring him to justice for the murder of his father, he attacks.
The first phase of this fight plays out as it has before for me. Vargas is protected by two bear-looking creatures that I have to take down first before I can do any damage to him. They go down fairly easy as I have Edgar using his auto-crossbow to damage both at once, with Terra and Locke doing follow-up damage to each of the bear creatures and they go down fairly quickly. After about one round of attacking Vargas himself, Edgar’s brother, Sabin enters the fray. It is revealed that Sabin has trained under Master Duncan as well and had a bit of a rivalry with the jealous Vargas. Vargas uses a powerful blizzard ability that blows away Edgar, Locke, and Terra with Sabin being the only one trained to withstand the attack. This leaves Sabin as your sole fighter to defeat Vargas and settle their rivalry once and for all.
This part is why I say I was an idiot through all my previous attempts at defeating this boss. You see, Sabin isn’t without his own special abilities and the game prompts you to have Sabin perform this. His ability is called Blitz, and you have to enter a command before confirming the attack. Truthfully, before I entered the fight I looked up how to do this and it turns out I’ve been doing it wrong for years, never inputting the command correctly. This time, however, I pull off Sabin’s blitz attack on the first try and it kills Vargas in ONE hit. One stupid hit is all that was standing between me and furthering a game that I’ve been stuck on for years. But I digress. There was no time to dwell on the past as I now had the future on Final Fantasy VI to play.
After the battle, Sabin joins the three other heroes on their journey, offering to add his skill to theirs in the fight against the Gesthal Empire. With that, the now party of four head down the Mt. Kolts to the secret hideout of the resistance group The Returners and meet its leader, Banon.
The group is given an audience with Banon, who like the Empire, wants to use Terra’s magical powers to bring them to victory and asks Terra to be their “ray of hope”. Terra is conflicted by this. She wants to do the right thing but feels everyone is just using her for her power. Edgar, however, explains to her that he is aware of how she feels but makes it clear if she is to assist The Returners it will solely be her choice and they won’t force her. Terra tells Banon she will remain and fight for them to try to stop the Empire from bringing ruin to the world. As The Returners begin to make their plans to save the world, who else shows up at the doorstep of the resistance base but the Gesthal Empire itself.
Banon quickly formulates a plan for everyone to get to the town of Narshe where Terra had earlier encountered an Esper so she can speak with it and use it to fight the Empire. However, in order to throw their opponents off their trail, Locke is sent by himself to South Figaro for his own covert mission. Meanwhile, Edgar, Sabin, Terra, and Banon escape via raft.
The first of these sequences you play is the party of four on the raft as they make their way downriver towards Narshe. You are tasked with keeping Banon alive during this river ride and this part is actually pretty easy. Between Edgar’s auto-crossbow, Sabin’s Blitz attack, and Banon’s ability to restore a large chunk of the full party’s HP at once, none of the enemies really offer a challenge. The only “difficult” part is a boss encounter with an octopus monster at one point in the river.
Ultros, the octopus monster, likes to cast blind on Terra a lot but this doesn’t pose much of a problem if you’re just casting magic with her. Otherwise, Edgar and Sabin just keep throwing out their strongest attacks. The main strategy here is to have Banon continuously use his health ability to make sure the party is at max HP throughout the battle. This is because Ultros will use a tentacle attack that can down a party member in one hit. He’ll also use a very powerful multiple tentacle attack that strikes all party members at once so it’s wise to make sure everyone is as healthy as they can be at all times and have a few phoenix downs (an item that revives a fallen party member) on hand. A few rounds of this and Ultros sinks beneath the river’s surface. Sabin isn’t convinced the monster is dead and dives in to finish it off but is quickly smacked clear of the raft and lost in the water, going separate ways from his comrades.
At this point, the screen goes black and a Moogle appears that you take control of. You use the Moogle to select which scenario you want to play between Locke, Edgar and his group, or the water-logged Sabin. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Locke so I choose this scenario.
The beginning of Locke’s scenario starts you off in the southeast corner of South Figaro. You are required to make your way through town using disguises to access various areas of the town and find an underground tunnel that leads out. Your first have to enter the item store where a merchant calls Locke a thief instead of a treasure hunter, much to Locke’s ire. They battle but the goal is to use Locke’s Steal ability to take the merchant’s clothes in a humorous scene that leaves the merchant naked and embarrassed. Locke dresses as the merchant and you’re given access to the back door of a house that leads to another area where you fight a Gesthal Empire officer and steal his uniform. Continue like this until you gain access to the basement of the large house in town with rich owners. The Empire is using this house as its base in town and Locke finds a prisoner in the basement being tortured. The prisoner turns out to be Celes, one of the Gesthal Empire’s Generals. It seems she had a moral disagreement with the Empire’s methods and wound up on the wrong side of their wrath. Feeling bad for her, Locke frees her and promises to protect her as they try to make their escape from town. I really liked this section as it focused on puzzle solving and deception instead of just battling your way through each area. This added a different mechanic and kept the game fresh because it required you to think your way out rather than just being sure you’re making good decisions in battle. Kudos to the designers on the pacing of the game though because as good as this part was, I was ready to get back into battle and with Celes in the party now, that’s just what came next.
Making your way out of these tunnels was your standard Final Fantasy dungeon crawling fare and that’s just what I needed at this point. Celes, like Terra, seems to have abilities in the use of magic with an ice spell in her arsenal. As to why Celes can use magic is a mystery to me at this point but I find it intriguing and look forward to learning more about it. Celes has another ability called Runic. This allows her to absorb the spell of an enemy and negate its damage. Below the rich man’s house, I didn’ get any use out of this ability as the enemies we encountered didn’t use any magic. Finally, we made our way out from below the house and back to the world map. Now we had a path back to Narshe that included going back through the cave we used when first heading to South Figaro at the game’s beginning.
Incorrectly, I assumed that because I had come through this cave before, the enemies would be as they were before and my leveled up characters would easily cut through them, making my journey back to Narshe quick and easy. Instead, I was treated to fresh and stronger enemies that took a little strategy to make sure Locke and Celes survived their trek through these caverns. Added to these new enemy types was a strange roaring sound that would play every once in a while and Locke would question exactly what this noise was. Of course, upon trying to exit the cave we were made aware of just what this noise was in the form of the next boss battle. A drilling machine capable of casting magic spells stood before us and Celes mentions her runic ability to absorb the spells and keep us safe from damage. This gave me a confidence, thinking as long as I use this ability this fight would be a cakewalk. I realized two things at this point; first, I need to stop assuming things, and second, the machine can also use some physical attacks that can crush my characters health to nothing.
With Locke and Celes in K.O. status, I was given the game over screen and at this point, I figured it was enough for the day. This magic drill son of a bitch won’t hide from me for long though and I’ll be back to take him and the rest of the Empire on very soon. I’ve got to admit, only two play sessions in and I can feel myself getting hooked and a few hours after getting that game over screen, I’m already itching to jump back in so I can see what happens to our cast of heroes. I hope you’ll keep reading my attempt at finally finishing this game and would love to hear if any of you have games like this that you meant to finish but never got around to. See ya next time for Kev Plays Final Fantasy VI Day 3.