Hello Little Lights, I once more return to one of the more bizarre Rom Hacks I have played. My favourite Final Fantasy got transformed into a bizarre mix of RPG and Anime references. So far we recruited Cloud Strife, fought enemies from Dragon Quest and Disgaea and in the last episode we fought against Predator, Vega (from Street Fighter) and of course Raditz! The heightened difficulty might make this a bit troublesome though! Let’s see how our adventures go this time and if we will go for a fourth instalment!.
It’s Boring Again
I just left from a fairly challenging dungeon so I expect the game to go lenient on us, yet the first enemy of the new area is a Mind Flayer, which takes a lot of violence to take down, two ki blasts, a poison nova and and Blade Beam from Cloud! Why don’t I mention Aurora! Didn’t see anything? No she did not because she got turned into a pig! Now this is a change from the status Toad.. but I would think a Toad is a bigger punishment?! So why a pig?! Doesn’t Gi Nattak, the creator of this Rom Hack know that frogs are better than pigs?! Except as pets! Bulbasaur is a Frog and Tepig is a pig… and guess which one is the better starter! I do like the little light the mind flayer has on top of it’s staff though! I feed the party pig a Tulaberry and it turns back into Aurora.
I decided to level everyone up to at least level 12 and kind of make a promise to myself that in each new area i will gain one level for everyone… However I do spend very long grinding and getting this done! However the result is pretty good! Aurora learns a spell that should petrify but for now seems to insta kill at the cost of costing a lot of Mana and Ronan learns a new combo.. as I try to master this new combo I spend a fairly long time to familiarise myself with it, the shoulder buttons followed by up down seems simple but for some reason I kept messing it up! After what seems like a long time for search an early level however everyone is the level I want them to be and I can enter the lair of the Crimson Blades and speak to Astral.
Unfortunately for me Astral is not the spirit thing from Yu-Gi-Oh ZeXal, I didn’t really expect it to be.. but that was the only Astral I know and with how this game has been going I would not even be surprised to fight the Robot Micheal Jackson from Moonwalker so who knows! It’s just some fruity old wizard who upsets Aurora by talking about Pandora’s box though! She got controlled by the slave crown and all that.. but once again I find myself a bit disinterested when the story takes itself so seriously. I know this stuff happens in the original game and I like it there but here it is just told much less adequately which comes from the lesser sound design
Bonetrousle on a Rivier… with Rick James
This game shines best when it is being out of the box and here the creators are once more stumbled by their own ambition. Cloud begins talking about how someone important to him was killed by the Empire and that is kind of interesting.. is it Aerith?! Locke had a sleeping beauty of his own … will Aerith be that person..does that mean Tifa will be Celes?! The scene is ruined though by his second line “I joined the Crimson Blades to avenge “That Person” .. that’s not how you talk about people that are important to you! You address them with a proper pronoun.. I might be nagging here.. but this is annoying to me.. it just feels like a fake line to keep us in suspense. It feels written. FF VI was so organic.
I decide to let Aurora join the rebels without much issue and the river scene is next, for some reason the trees are blue and the rocks are green.. it does feel nice and otherworldly and Ronin plays like a bunch of Moogles. He can inverse (shift the enemy to a backrow) or cast Miracle which I think is a group heal but I am not fully sure what it does! Choosing my directions I assume the choices will differ from the original so I go wild and pick! I do find some treasure underway but nothing all THAT special! The music here though is killer! It has this Sega Genesis Vibe to it that I really really like! See this game is at it’s best when it is like this! I make my way down the river fully expecting a hard boss battle. I spare Aurora from using her magic! So she can nuke the boss which normally is Ultros… but this time it’s… RICK JAMES?!!
No just kidding, it’s Ultros.. whose saying he is Rick James! That’s ..random?! Ultros does look a bit different though all orange like and more defined.. like in later editions. Bonetrousle plays as the boss theme! What the heck am I in for?! Turns out it’s nothing special! Ultros is a bit of a push over! It does spout a lot of referential stuff though. Boondock Saints, Lord of the Rings and much more! He even calls people out on their class which is kinda cool! Then the whole Not-Sabin gets separated from the group bit and that will lead to what normally is the Cyan meet. Or I could play as Cloud and meet what would be Celes. Thirdly I can play the main party and go back and go Fraust… that one I will save for last! ..I guess I will go Cloud’s adventure first! I assume this will lead to meeting Tifa. She seems to fill Celes role in more ways than one!
So for the first part of Cloud’s Story I am going to have to do that weird item trading thing that happens in Final Fantasy 6.. however this time random NPCs are replaced with characters throughout gaming history. Shang Tsung wants a drink for example..why?! Not sure! He fills no role but they edited the sprite to look like him! It just gets better after that though! Cloud buys a Silk Dress.. seeming very eager to buy it too! When the sales woman asks him if it is for his girlfriend he just says.. yeah something like that! Oooh this is going to be good! Little did I know it then.. but what follow would be a sequence of events so good I could not tear myself away! So I am all writing this after I stopped playing at this point! The goal here was simple.. find a merchant that gives you a Hourwatch,Give that Shang Tsungs grandson for access to another part of town, by the silk dress Cloud is known for.. a guard meanwhile has lost at cards and will let you on if you beat the guy who took it from him. From there on out you can go to the inn, beat a shady merchant for some rum and give that to Shang Tsung who gives you a riddle towards a secret entrance..
However there is so much more in town, the love returns, random houses have completely customised sprites such as the I am Error Guy from Legend of Zelda II. He looks like a 16 bit rendition of the original who said it while it would have been way easier to just let another guy say it , the reference would have landed anyway. There are little things like this everywhere. In the secret base Cloud transforms into his crossdressing form and he can investigate the enemy base. Inside there is a room for playing children. Much like normal..BUT, this time there is a Chrono Trigger pet in the room, there is this gameboy creature that is a reference I do not get and there is a Yoshi doll on the table. Non of it has a function but it all moves and is interactable with. Then you find the Dungeons and my suspicion turns out to be true! Tifa indeed does take the role of Celes!
Gameplay wise however she is a combination of Sabin and Setzer and Celes’s Magic. Tifa can cast a few good White Mage spells, such as Protect, Shell and Cure as well as some ice magic. She also can punch twice with both her weapons equipped. However Tifa also has Reels.. her Limit Break ability makes an appearance in this game so the character feels sooooo much like Tifa. Get three boxing gloves in a row and you get Beat Rush as an attack, get three slimes in a row and you get Water Kick.. get a non matching combination and you get Lucky rabbitt a weak heal that also casts Esuna on the entire party clearing them of any negative effect. Tifa is really powerful in this game and I really like playing as her. While her dialogue is a bit stale when it comes to seeing Cloud, they barely know each other in this world, and she wonders why he cross dresses. You have to rescue some other prisoners before you leave and the key the enemy drops is the boss key from the legend of zelda. It’s not on screen for more than two seconds yet the original item was painstakingly replaced with a new item . Kudos . During all of these events various Final Fantasy VII music plays. I love being a gamer!
The Trip to Fraust
After escaping town you’d think we would be just about done with the awesomeness, but no, we get two random Crimson Blades travelling with us. One is called Gus.. and the other.. I forgot his name already.. something like Winston. Winch.. Winny! It’s getting late and I got sucked in so I forgot to take a proper screenshot of his name! Let’s call them Good Guy Biggs and Wedge for convenience sake! GG Biggs has the ability Mimic, which allows him to Mimic whatever party member goes before him.. although at a bit lower power… this is awesome! It means I can cast Cloud’s Limit Break .. TWICE.. Tifa’s Reels.. Twice.. and well GG Wedge is a dragoon so he can leap up and come down.. and GG Biggs can copy that as well. It feels so delicious! Do I risk it all on the slots?! Those sure are my most powerful moves but there is risk involved, if I pull if off though I totally decimate the field and I love it. It feels a lot easier to get pairs than with Setzer as well, I miss about 1 in three times I think Which means that fighting with Reels is about as effective as attacking normally, with Reels more focussing on burst damage and normal attacking on reliability.
The final boss of the chapter is the iconic Guard Scorpion, the final boss from Final Fantasy VII , while it’s appropriate boss theme plays as well. But that’s not all, it’s being pilotted by classical final fantasy monster Tonberry… it’s so hard to notice but my friend pointed it out to me while we were discussing how awesome this is! Suddenly that Dragoon Jump ability is super useful because the Guard Scorpion targets people for it’s more powerful attacks. Jump.. kind of works like fly in Pokémon so imagine seeing your enemy use Solar Beam on you and then you choose Fly.. dodging the Solar Beam next turn. I felt nostalgic seeing those attacks being rendered in 16 bit.. and after that false start I had a blast with the gameplay session I had. When this game is paying tribute to stuff it is amazing! Cloud and Tifa have a cute interaction before leaving and now I have to pick if I will follow Ronan’s story or Aurora’s. I will go with Ronan’s story next and that will be our next episode!
That episode will be an important one as well. For now I have established that the content that Gi Nattak makes to highlight our amazing geeky history is amazing.. but the story content they create themselves.. is much less captivating. If I enjoy Ronan’s story I might play this game until it gets too hard for me to progress (I know I will hit that point) if I do not like it I will play the game up to the Esper Transformation and remember the amazing refferences fondly… but I will move on to a new project cancelling the show after a season finale as it were.. soon we will find out…but not today!