Friday, February 21, 2014

TEXT PLAY: Final Fantasy 6 (SNES; Square 1994): Issue #005: Three Concurrent Paths: Sabin's Branch, Part One: The Three Ass-Kickers

At first, I was going to go for a Little House On The Prairie joke in the title, but somehow something more Three Stooges seemed better.

But funny stuff aside, when Sabin washes up on the bank of the river when he got separated from the others after the fight with Ultros, there's this house that's just there, for some reason. By the well, we'll find Shadow the Ninja, who says he'll join us. At first, I checked my gold because I could have sworn he wanted like 3000 gold to come with us, but maybe that's later on. Shadow explains that the Empire has built a base along the river very near Doma Castle and we can go through there to get to Narshe and rejoin the others. He also tells us that he's prone to buggering off whenever he damned well pleases. Fortunately, I was not so unlucky as to have had that happen, at least not so far.

The way to the base is sort of a long way around some mountains. Gotta start by heading west. Granted, I haven't played this game as much as I have Final Fantasy 4, but I've still done it enough to remember which way I need to go to get where I'm going.

Once we get to the base, there's quite a lot of things that happen. To start things off, there's a pair of soldiers discussing Kefka's being a nutcase. Quite right, of course. He's going to demonstrate that in a bit, but for the most part, he's just going to be a dickweed here, too. As things move on, we can collect a few items from the tents. I was dumb enough to get in a fight with a guard once. The gold and experience was nice, but I wish I'd avoided it. There's a Star Pendant Relic here, which protects against poison. That would have helped on Mt. Koltz, but I don't think it was available at the time. There's also a helmet called the Green Beret. I think that's got a few stat bonuses too, but I didn't put it on anyone.

As some of that's going on, we'll have a handful of brief fights with Kefka. Knocking him on his ass is no problem here, but he doesn't stay down just yet. Too early in the game for that. He'll make you fight a Magitek Armored guard after hitting him twice. Once that guard is down, Kefka poisons the river and kills off all but two of the people in the castle.

While all this is going on, Imperial troops are storming the castle. Cyan, retainer to the royal family of Doma and head of the knights is first tasked with chasing off the invaders by beating their commander in a duel. It is possible to fight the soldiers, too, but not really worth it. I thought we got low-level healing Potions for our effort along with gold, but at just 96 gold per round with them, it's not worth the effort to do it with just one guy, so I just went after the commander, who looks like Lord Helmet from Spaceballs. The easiest way to get rid of him is to make sure you've got a decent amount of health going in, and then set up Cyan's Retort sword tech, which is number two on the meter. Gotta take some damage to make it work, but it returns somewhere in the area of 700 points of damage, which is a one hit kill in this case.

The next time we see Cyan, it's after Kefka poisons the river. Apparently, only Cyan and one of the palace guards were smart enough to notice the difference in the water and not drink it. No matter what else you do, everybody else in the castle dies from it, including the king and Cyan's wife and son, Elaine and Owain. Cyan goes crazy with grief and runs off to the Imperial base to start cracking skulls.

After three rounds or so doing regular battles, Cyan joins the party and offers to show them the way to Narshe after Sabin and Shadow help him bust out of the base on Magitek armor. This is the only other time I really remember getting to do much with it. Now that I think about it, there may be one other time we see it, but I can't think of where off the top of my head.

Once we've cleared the base, Cyan tells us we can get to Narshe by going south through a nearby forest. It's kind of a roundabout way of getting there, too. The forest itself is haunted, and there's a rail station there, with a train all set to depart. But that's a choo-choo ride for next time. Until then, stay safe, have fun, keep gaming, and DFTBA.

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