FFVIRMC – Chapter 4: Don’t tease the octopus kids!

This is a part of the Final Fantasy VI Red Mage Challenge run. If you want information on the rules please see here (link to rules page). This post will include spoilers for a, now reasonably old game. If you haven’t done so already, please play the game – it is great.

Our heroes are now on a raft trying to escape from the imperials who are encroaching on the Returners’ base (except for Locke who is running over to South Figaro to make some nuisance). Firstly, I find the sprite work for the background and the water particularly beautiful in this section. It’s a really nice environment (which FF6 is full of anyway, it is really beautiful).

While doing this I get into battle, kill off Edgar and Sabin to try and keep to the rules and then kill Banon.

Game over…

Banon cannot die during this mission. Therefore, I cannot keep in the challenge rules and have any characters who are not Red Mages be dead in battle when another Red Mage is available. So I have to adapt the rules a little. I decided that in this case Banon has to live, but he doesn’t have to do anything. I have him use defend each term, which still has an effect on the outcome of battles, but I didn’t want to have him switch rows each turn (as that would do the same but make everything much more luck reliant) and you have to take some action to get to the next person’s role. So, I tried to make it into a true (e.g. a bit irritating) escort mission.

Terra was at a good level going into this so there weren’t any concerns going onto the raft. We got through the save point regions with no real problems. Then we get to another wonderful character – Ultros. Ultros is a purple octopus who full of wit and is another fun enemy. This game has some bosses which are more standard (magitech drills ect.) but then they have Ultros and Kefka. I imagine this could be influenced by the popularity of Gilgamesh in FFV, as it’s a bit of that humour coming through again (but don’t know for sure on this one – was Gilgamesh well received when FFV came out?). FFVI has a serious story but allows the space for humour and fun – it’s like a hybrid of FFII and FFV in the state of the world, tone and how it handled the story.

Ultros remarks that Terra looks like quite the morsel, and she ain’t having that so she sets him on fire. He didn’t like the idea of becoming seafood soup and so barraged Terra and Banon with tentacle slaps and scratches. The fight takes a while, as Ultros hits hard and Terra needs to heal Banon, but we manage to make it through.

Sabin then wakes up from his unconscious state and jumps in after Ultros, leading to him being flung far away from the raft and going down a completely different path to the rest of the party. Edgar initially seems worried but Banon doesn’t seem to care much about it, which Edgar eventually adopts as an attitude for himself. This leads to the party being split into three different paths that we now get to select between. This is a really interesting game mechanic and helps to provide that feeling of how big the story is. It’s a good way to approach the narrative. 

However, personally it feels to me that the Terra section is a bit too short and the Sabin section is a bit too long. On one hand this makes sense, it allows a player to have more time with Sabin and Cyan (and Shadow, and to a limited extent Gau) all of whom you haven’t had to use all that much in the game yet. This is a good thing for giving people the opportunity to decide who they want in their party at a later date. However, when I get up to this point in the game I do feel like the Sabin path drags on a bit too much.

But we will go through the Sabin path in the next post. For this one we select the Terra path (so that we can make sure Terra is a high enough level to get through the game so I don’t have to do much backtracking). So we are returned to the raft and fight some more battles. The enemies are suddenly a little bit tougher, and Banon dies at one point (putting my current death count at 3), but after realising that I focussed on healing a little more and made it through without much trouble.

We arrive right next to Narshe and head towards the city. The guards are still on alert about Terra, so we have to take the side passage that Locke took us down before. The mines are not particularly tricky, the enemies are reasonably easy. However, we then come to a light puzzle. This is a puzzle where a light follows a specific winding path across the room to get from one side to another. If you don’t follow the path, you are surrounded by spinning lights and will have to fight a battle and reset your position if you cannot press the orange light at the right time. Unfortunately, I was having a bad spatial reasoning day. It took a few tries for me to figure out where I needed to go. But I did eventually make it through. 

The party went through the mines a bit more and then I take a little diversion. I don’t need to go there, but I’m in Narshe Mines – so of course I’m going to visit the Moogles!

Mostly this is because I love moogles, but I am also able to get access to a rune blade while down here, which will likely become useful in the future (is a strong sword, but also uses MP to force critical hits to happen). We then start to head back towards the surface and…

My console crashes …

I last saved at the path choice, so I needed to do a load of the path again, which was frustrating. But I basically repeated the same things and got back to this point. We carry on heading to the surface and end up back at the house of the man who helped Terra later (now given his actual name of Arvis). We talk to Arvis and agree that having Banon and Edgar here may be able to sway the public opinion in Narshe about their current neutral stance on the war. They agree to go and talk to the town elder.

With this, we end the Terra path. As I said, it was pretty short, but it helps to move the story along. When I have previously played the game, I often did the Terra path last which lead to the narrative nicely moving into the meeting with the Elder, but in this case it’s going to be a bit more fragmented. Still we are heading towards getting the whole party together, which are the point we do will lead to a fight where we can have three party members who can qualify as Red Mages together for the first time. This is going to be really fun after these segments that only have one person.

Next up, we’re going to go into Sabin’s path, which has a lot more story and some new characters (also, as a spoiler warning, there is a really tricky section at the end for following the Red Mage rules, so starts to add something a little bit harder in which is fun).

Thanks for reading! Catch you next time.

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