All right, where were we? Ah, yes. Picking up Masks and Rods and doodads to unlock a seal on Mysidia Tower that's supposed to give us the Ultima Spell. Maria can't wait.
The next stop on our Ultimate Fetch Quest is this tropical island...
which is totally a logical location for stony catacombs far below sea level:
In the depths of the mines, we find a mysterious palm-tree-lined cave (what?) full of these characters:
Why you speaky in Hollywood native stereotypy accent?
So apparently we're about to get into the heroic job of cultural appropriation:
"You no findy, so you no takey. Kekeke!" crows another local. I approve of "kekeke" as an all-purpose moniker for Firion.
At a quick count, they outnumber us. This could get messy.
Undaunted by cultural sensitivities, we descend through the vines, jungle, underground grottos with fireflies and pretty streams (isn't there a Disney ride like that?)...
Oh, hi, Lara. Don't mind us. Just passin' through.
Aha, here we are. We'll let Guy do the honors as Captain Obvious...
Why do half the bosses in this game tetrafurcate into clones when the battle actually starts? Meanies.
We obtain the mask and teleport to the surface before a horde of ravening ethnic stereotypes chase us down.
So, we've got the mask, but what do we do with it? We sail back to Mysidia for a rest in the Inn, then consult the...library!
Here we find buckets o' backstory, including the baseline plot of many future Final Fantasy games:
We also learn a little more about the masks. We're supposed to put the Black Mask on some kind of dopplegänger when we run into one. But we don't know where.
Well, one of the mages said we needed to retrieve a Crystal from nearby Mysidia, so we go spelunking for a plot coupon.
Not far inside, we find a poor hapless Doppleganger of Firion who's trapped in a neverending nightmare: it's a clone of a piece of cardboard!
We put the black mask on it, which provides it with personality. Antimatter and matter cancel each other out, and it vanishes.
Hilda clone, Firion clone... there's actually a glimmer of magical metaphysics here, but I suspect the game isn't going to explain who's doing the cloning or how it works. Onwards.
Gee, it looks so easy when you just screencap the end of the dungeon and skip over all the battles it took to get here!
Beam me up, Scotty! (Teleport to surface)
All right, it's finally time to seek Minwu in this Mysidian Tower we've been hearing so much about.
Oh, look, the 20th anniversary edition has added a "down the whirlpool" FMV. WELL THAT'S JUST PEACHY.
Aaaand... we lost the ship...
...and Leila. Mog on a shish kebab, this sucks.
(Luckily, I had been shamelessly following a walkthrough, so I knew to remove her items and give her Gold Hairpin to Guy. Guy likes hairpin.)
GUY: One fish, two fish, red fish...
So we're wandering around the gastrointestinal tract of SOMETHING (at least it's not a worm in an asteroid) which includes pools of acid that burn when we wade through them. Also icky blowing clouds of green gas because ALL CAVES HAVE WEATHER PATTERNS.
Eventually, we find Ricard the Dragoon, who scoffs at us...
... until we waggle our Crystal Rod at him. Then he decides we're on the same side and joins up.
Oddly, his mugshot avatar looks rather batman-like. I would also like to know why someone who loves wyverns is wearing a dragon's skull for a helmet. We'll hope it's stylized metal rather than an actual dragon cranium.
We bumble about. There's a lot of would-be Jonahs down here. Minwuuuuu, where aaaaare yoooou?
So there's a whole village of people here, from all over the world, swallowed by Leviathan. It's nice to see a FFII mainstay in its very first incarnation, staying fairly true to the myth on which it's based.
I should've talked to more of them. Lassarina has the hilarious lowdown, including the fact that there's an old guy who shows us HIS Crystal Rod. So apparently ALL the people down here were hunting for relics and got caught.
Even now, I'm guessing, a masked islander is entering Mysidian Cave chortling, "Kekekeke!" Soon she'll be setting another fake Crystal Rod on the altar, all ready to snare the next thief who makes off with their sacred mask.
As I'm pondering poetic justice, we abruptly transition from "cool dungeon idea" to "ick."
Sigh. I signed up for the hero job and wind up on de-worming duty.
Worm dispatched, we commandeer the convenient ship anchored here and sail back home to Fynn Castle. There we are glad to see that at least one party-guest npc has survived her encounter with us.
Thank goodness, Leila got out. Sucks to be her crew, though. (I saw at least one of them inside the guts.)
Hilda, also, is relieved we haven't added yet more names to the body count...
Urk. Thanks for the reminder of our past suckage. You sure you wanna take that number four spot in our party, Ricard? The track record so far has not been very auspicious.
Meanwhile, Master of Toads is trying to make up for earlier wussitude. He greets "the last Dragoon" with grand words...
I kinda miss the old, cringing Emo Flash Gordon.
After Ricard was so snarky about the idea that Dragoons and Wyverns might've been conquered by Palamecea, we ferry him home to ruin his life. He takes the news surprisingly well, vowing to return once we're done saving the world...
KAIN? A character from a game I haven't played yet, but... heh. I wonder if that was added to this remaster or whether it was in the original script.
After all this running around, I stop in Altair to rest up in the Inn and find that nobody's ever told this poor rebel schmuck that the war's won and he can go home:
All right, ONE MORE TRY. Operation Minwu Rescue, Part the THIRD.
We use the Crystal Rod to break the sealed entrance of Mysidian Tower...
Which has some fun wacky Uematsu harspicord music.
Aaaand the usual unrealistic wading through molten lava.
Don't be alarmed, folks. Just remember, Video Game Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid.
A series of mages test us along the way. Green mage? Fooey, he turns himself into a Fire Giant. Maria wants this spell.
At least these battles have better boss music.
FFII Old Boss Music:
FFII New Boss Music, starting in Mysidia Tower:
Muuuuuuuch better. That first music was just too weird for regular "WE ARE NOW KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES!" battles for my taste.
Up we go, changing elements every few levels of the tower. The next mage turns into an Ice Gigas.
These mages are really useful for siphoning off MP with our new shiny spell, Osmose. Unfortunately, Ricard is using up all our MP just as fast by getting KOed every few seconds.
Eight floors up and counting, even the regular monsters are getting to be bosses!
Seriously, open a treasure chest and find THIS?
Minwu! Honeycakes! Long time no see!
To my surprise, he does not say something infinitely cooler than "en garde!" and demand that we have to fight him, the guardian of the Ultima Tome, to prove ourselves. Instead, he just tells us to stand back so we don't get clobbered when he does THIS...
Ah, bloody hell. Minwu! Wait! We'll put Ricard back where we found him. Hold on, that fourth party slot will be free for ya in just a sec—
Inside, we stumble across four standard-issue Final Fantasy Orb Crystal Materia Sphere Thingumbobs on pedestals, although no shiny dressphere changes. FWIW, the elemental correspondences in this game are:
- Wind: Agility.
- Water: Intelligence.
- Fire: Strength.
- Earth: Spirit.
Fooey. Ultima is white magic in this game. Maria's stats are all tailored for black magic, so I'm going to have to give Ultima to Mr. Cardboard Hero.
I bally well hope that this Ultima Tome thingie is worth losing Minwu. Time to head home and report.
Oops. Home...is gone, or at least Altair is. Galtea, Poft, Poroom are blasted husks. You know it's bad when even the inns and shops are closed.
A few survivors are left to tell the tale in Fynn...
We hurry to the castle. Hopefully Gordo and Hilda had sense enough to evacuate the castle denizens into that ginormous bomb shelter of a basement they've got there?
As usual, the folks at the front gate spill ALL our leaders' secret plans, long before we get to the throne room to pick up our assignment. Security, what's that?
Master of Toads is having a chicken wuss relapse, and isn't much help...
Well, THAT makes us feel so much better about Minwu's death!
We finally dig a clue out of Princess Hilda.
Hope that egg's hatched by now. But there's an awful lot of us to ride on one itty bitty wyvern!
Paul gives his assessment of our plan to summon a baby wyvern to fly four fully-armed warriors into a magical hurricane...
Disturbingly, Paul tells us to feel around under his bed for his secret stash. We are relieved when it turns out to be weapons and armor he's stolen from the castle treasury. Thus arrayed, we climb to the top of Fynn Castle to summon ourselves a Wyvern.
That little dragon's gonna carry all of us? I'm calling her "Fawkes".
So we head out to do battle with the evil puffy gray
I love how they give the FMV black borders to show it's widescreen, when the iPad window is already widescreen.
So! We fight our way through the emperor's defenses, taking great satisfaction in wiping out the Four Horseman of Ass-Handage who KOed our whole party at the beginning of the game.
I'm not even going to ask how the emperor managed to get mounted cavalry and stables in his flying fortress in the middle of a cyclone.
Just in case it wasn't clear who the fabulously pink villain was, the torches in here are fabulous as well.
At the top of the tower, we find our fabulously purple emperor. Amano, you LIED A LIE. I see no pink horns.
Nevertheless, this snooty Thranduil lookalike is our villain, and now's his chance to flex his gloating villain credentials.
*Taunt judging* 7.5 6.8 GUY SPEAK BEAVER 6.9
All right! Let's get this show on the—
We get to fight... four more horsemen.
Don't tell me, a leader who actually has MINIONS fight for him, instead of putting himself in harm's way? Isn't that against the code of the Fantasy Villain?
And then he throws... two horsemen at us? Aw come on, emp, let's rumble!
Two boss battles later, Mateus bestirs himself to look mildly, ever so mildly whelmed.
Ah, here we go.
Keys to the entertainment center, right?
So, then... heh, okay, now we get the Full Amano treatment. Not pink horns, but definitely fabulous. Also more prudent than most later FF bosses...
Richard, this battle would be a lot quicker if we didn't have to worry about keeping you alive.
BOOM BLAM BLAM I DO SO LOVE BLACK MAGIC SPELLS.
Wow, Guy got the killing blow for a change! Three cheers for Dances With Beavers!
Back in cutscene-land...
*Maria pokes Mateus in the belly button*
You were saying?
Now we just have to get back to the Strahl before... uh oh, how do we summon that Wyvern again?
Nevermind, Hilda's using her terrifying telekinsesis to drag us back to town, up the stairs of Fynn Castle and into the throne room! *pant pant* Hiya, queenie! (You gotta be a queen at this point, woman!)
Time for a ho down!
Wait. Leila, aren't you gonna dance? Knock Firion down and take Maria for a whirl, woman!
Oh, scratch that. Flapping loose end Leon isn't here, but he's still a party pooper.
A dying messenger bursts in to tell us...
Love the way Leila's standing back there doing a shimmy while everyone else is frozen and petrified.
"It can't be!" Hilda cries.
Yeah, seriously. We should be halfway through the closing FMV at this point.
Oh, heh, Ricard was still poisoned from the last battle; no wonder he wasn't dancing. Annyhoo...
Maria, of course, says she must go to Leon at once and talk sense into him. Gordon gets a sliver of touching characterization, asking whether she'll really be able to fight her own brother. Since, of course, he's currently filling big brother's shoes (and chair).
On Leila's recommendation, we go to Paul's place to get the lowdown on breaking and entering impregnable fortresses.
He is not the least bit helpful, and instead bestows us with a ghastly pun...
"...the Dark Knight has to go and louse things up again."
Thanks so much for alerting me to the disgusting etymology of an everyday expresson.
Yo, Paul, focus! Secret entrances? Wait, what's Cid doing in your house?
Maybe he's come to apologize for foisting that Hilda impersonator on us?
Yeah, yeah, I'm sorry and all that, but...
...well, yeah, we WOULD like your airship, as a matter of fact, but...
Oh, carp. Beds are the kiss of death for NPCs in this game. Cid? Cid? There he goes. Dang, FFII chews up secondary characters like potions.
We sail to the ruins of
While we're over thataway, we also check on the town of KEYBOARD SMASH, which has apparently made it through unscathed and is totally out of the loop.
Not so scary, huh? You haven't seen Mateus' purple and gold David Bowie duds.
We also check in on Mysidia.
I wonder... was the Ultima Tome really worth Minwu's life? Seems like it's not helped much yet. Guess I'd better start leveling it up.
From there we fly onto the imperial capital of Palamecia, which I totes forgot to screencap. And I just gotta say... sure, the defenses are top notch, but if the castle's only access point requires a wyvern ride, isn't it hard to get a plumber inside when the toilets break?
Thrashing our way towards the throne room, we find that Leon is keeping the emperor's zombified corpse in a box. Yeeeugh.
Annnnd our first bona-fide sighting of a Final Fantasy Coeurl.
One of my all-time favorite Final Fantasy critters, even if they're often deadly. Yes, I still haven't forgiven Squeenix for making them ugly in FFXII.
So! Up to the throne room, it's time to check in with an old ...friend?
Maria attempts to shake some sense into the boys.
"Weak words, from the weak," sneers Leon, demonstrating a textbook case of testosterone poisoning. That, or he's just jealous that Maria can spank his fanny, BARE HANDED.
While the boys are flexing their penises, a shadowy figure appears on the throne.
Ha. Thought so. He keeled over suspiciously easily. Every final boss battle comes in three parts. Apparently this game is going to stagger them.
Mateus continues his Evil Overlord Pep Talk. "The empire? Ha! I've no need for such trifles now. ALl the world shall fall by my hand and the powers I gained in hell."
There, Leon. THAT is what certified evil gloating looks like. Watch and learn.
Wait, stop the presses, hold everything. Ricard is having a Moment. Cardboard Firion is confused. (He thought he was the hero, didn't he?)
(ETA: Hey, Ricard, it's going to be a lot harder than you think, since I replayed this scene in order to STRIP YOU OF ALL YOUR EQUIPMENT BWHAAHA)
The Wyvern scoops us out of there just in time to watch a pretty FMV of a castle falling up, like the ending in Krull...
We report to Hilda. Who is totally not impressed that we brought the DK with us...
Firion's explanation leaves something to be desired:
Hilda waits patiently while we unfold the saga of our latest suckitude.
Firion then begs Leon to join us, even though he was TRYING TO KILL US a short time ago and has not particularly shown any remorse. Then Maria pleads with her brother. The laughably laconic reply...
Don't bowl us over with your enthusiasm, big guy.
I guess this counts as character development, at least compared to FFI? I'd still like to know why Leon went from being one of four friends escaping the Empire's sack of Fynn to a battle-hardened Evil Knight with formidable mind control powers, working for the Empire. HEY, GABRANTH, IS THAT YOU UNDER THAT HELM?
But now he's taken off the helm, which makes him a good guy, of course.
I'm going to pause this walkthrough here, as the final dungeon — as so often with Final Fantasy games — was much bigger and took rather longer than I expected.
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