Wednesday, March 5, 2014

TEXT PLAY: Final Fantasy 6 (SNES; Square 1994): Issue #008: Three Concurrent Paths: Locke's Branch

From deep-sea diving to escaping from a town. This should be fun.

Not nearly as long as I remembered it being, but fun.

When we pick up Locke's branch of these three, he's done everything he can to mess with the Imperial forces in South Figaro, so it's time for him to get the hell out of Dodge, so to speak. This is the part of the game I was thinking of before, where Locke gets to swipe a dude's clothes and give the bookie a drink.

At the start of this one, Locke is being chased by a trooper, who gives up soon as our hero jumps behind a nearby tree. Locke then tells himself that it's time to go, and he needs to find a way out. To do that, he needs to get the rich guy's book keeper to tell him about a secret passage. This is where horking the clothes comes in. There's a merchant in the Item Shop who fits the bill. You'll need to look like a merchant to get past the book keeper's grandson in the basement of his place.

Once you do get past the kid, you'll need to go to the cafe, like the first time the party visitied. Only this time, we can actually get the cider that the merchant in the basement was going to take to the book keeper and do it ourselves instead. The book keeper tells us that there's a secret passage to the rich guy's house that his grandson will open if we give him the right password. Too bad he doesn't remember it.

The grandson gives us three choices for the password: “Rose Bud”, “Courage”, and “Failure”. While I've not played this game as much as I have Final Fantasy 4, but I have played it enough that I should have remembered that the password was “Courage”. Why I thought it was “Rose Bud”, I don't know. But the kid whacked me for it, and I had to get the Merchant's clothes again. At least I got to see the “B.Day Suit” alternate form these guys get when you steal their clothes one more time.

There's really no good way to work this in, so I may as well just mention it. The merchant in the Item shop isn't the only NPC's clothes that can be stolen. There's also a soldier whose uniform that can be stolen. He's the only one dressed in green, if memory serves. Far as I've ever been able to tell, there's nothing special that happens as a result. The only real changes I can recall are a few bits of dialog in this part of the game. One's with the grandson who lets you through the basement. He'll say something like “Soldier? Go ahead.” instead of “Merchant? Go ahead.” There's one other line that changes a bit, but I'll mention that when we get to it.

So, when I gave the grandson the correct password, he let me through the secret passage to the rich guy's house, since the soldiers wouldn't let us through the streets. Once inside the main house, the rich guy's wife tells us the the soldiers have made the place their base, and the man himself laments betraying the town for money because he came to realize that he didn't need the money nearly that badly. There's also the sound of wind in his room, coming from another secret passage behind the bookshelf. I think this got mentioned by the guy's wife on the last visit to South Figaro.

The guy's daughter also says “Wind the clock, wind the clock!” and then claims that it's only a jump-rope rhyme because there's a soldier in the room. It's actually a clue as to how to actually get out of the interrogation rooms in the basement. Before we go, though, we need to get another new character and a clock key. This new character is one of the Empire's generals, a woman named Celes. I'm not entirely sure how to pronounce her name. I've always gone with “cells”, but I keep hearing YouTubers go with a single-l pronunciation. She can use magic, just like Terra, but instead of fire magic, she has the first level ice spell, and will even learn the imp spell before we get to the end of this.

When Locke takes the chains off her wrists, she'll ask him what he thinks he's going to sell in the dungeon if he's got the merchant's clothes on, or she'll quote Princess Leia from A New Hope, I think it is, and suggest that Locke's a little short to be a storm trooper if he's got the soldier's uniform. Either way, he'll change back to his normal clothes and the quest goes on from there. There's also an option to take whichever costume off before even looking into the chamber that the soldiers are torturing Celes in and forgo either scene.

The torture chamber is in the first door. Once Celes joins the party, she tells Locke that the sleeping guard in the room has the clock key we'll need to get out. What plays out is a bit of humor, because just before Locke went in, the guard bragged to his superior that he could go for days without food or sleep. When Locke gets in there, the guard is already asleep and dreaming of food. When Lock grabs the key out of his shirt pocket, the guard jumps up and demands more bread before dozing back off in the chair and asking for more soup, too.

There's a save point behind the next door to the right which is a good thing to use, just to be safe, and in the last door is the tunnel out of the rich guy's place. This'll let us get out of town to the east. The direction we need to go once we're out of town is north and west, back through the Figaro Cave. There's new monsters in here, but no new treasure. Along the way, there are rumbling noises every now and then. Once we get back to the end closer to the castle, Locke finally asks what the rumbling noise is. There's also a recovery spring. I can't recall if we got to use it before, but it comes in handy now, because before we get out of the cave, there's a boss fight with a machine called TunlArmr. Celes explains how this thing can use magic, but she and Locke will be safe because as long as she's got a sword, she can use a move called Runic Blade. This allows her to absorb the magic points it takes to cast a spell instead of taking damage from it. That move will come in handy for quite a lot of the game, and this first demonstration proves that.

Once the TunlArmr is destroyed, Locke and Celes head out for Narshe, and Locke's thread ends. I honestly thought there was more to do with Locke and Celes here, but once they go out the mouth of the cave, this part of the story ends and we have to go on with Terra, Edgar and Banon as they finish their raft ride into Narshe.

And that's where we'll pick up next time. See you then, folks, and until then, stay safe, have fun, keep gaming, and DFTBA!

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