The Final Fantasy Project: Final Fantasy IV, part 7

I don't expect it to last, but it'll be nice while it does.

Artwork from a sketch by Yoshitaka Amano

Apparently, collecting all of the Crystals will open the path to the moon, which Golbez thinks is super important.  Kain also has the Magma Stone, which he’s sure can be used to enter the Underworld, although he’s not sure how or when or why or any of that stuff.  That’s some real good thinking there, Kain.  Cid is undeterred, however, claiming the group can just fly around on the Enterprise until they find the right place.

I would have thought the Enterprise got destroyed when the Tower of Zot collapsed, but apparently it has a plot-specific autopilot that brought it back to Baron.

Everyone goes to sleep for the night, I assume in the same bed, and then it’s off to find the next place we have to go.  Of course, if you’d already explored and found the town where everyone is apparently part dwarf, you can probably piece together what you have to do next.  Time for a quick restock and then a trip to a weird little village with a pit!

This isn't really relevant to anything I'm writing about here, I just wanted to use that line.

The main characters, looking for all the world like they’re preparing for the world’s most boring threesome.

Once the group arrives at the town, Cecil looks at the mystery well in the center of town, then tosses the Magma Stone down it.  Keep in mind, no one has suggested he do this or implied that it might be a good idea, nor does he have any way of retrieving it afterward.  His plan is literally to just throw the key to the Underworld away in the hopes that it’s the right thing to do.  Maybe he realized that his actions to try and fix the world have literally only made things worse up to this point?

Seriously, if he’d never retrieved the Earth Crystal Golbez would still be out one crystal and Tellah would be alive.  Mad, but alive.

Anyhow, due to the law of games this turns out to be the right course of action, resulting in a hole being blown open just north of the town.  The townsfolk are apparently unfazed by the explosion that literally pierced the world, so there’s nothing to be done other than having the team just hop in the airship and fly underground.

In the underground, the group is shocked to find the Red Wings present, despite the fact that Baron is no longer under Golbez’s control and theoretically the Red Wings should be on our side now.  The game’s not too clear on this point.  They’re trading fire with another faction, and Cid tries to get the group to safety with the Enterprise, but flying in the middle of a battle proves to be too much.  The ship crashes, but as this isn’t Final Fantasy III it’s not a complete wreck; she just needs a repair.  Conveniently, Cid crash-landed right next to a castle, don’t that work out well.

Dwarven Castle is filled with, well, dwarves, happily shouting their traditional greeting of “Lali-ho!” and generally milling about.  The team heads in to see the dwarven rule, King Giott, who tells the group that they’re already down two crystals in the Underworld.  Cid agrees to repair the ship and then head back to the surface for some extra armor, waving a quick farewell to the group in the process.  Yang is pretty sure that the group is being spied on, and they rush into the crystal room… only to be attacked by a group of murderous dolls.

Sometimes it seems like the developers chose adversaries for this game more or less at random.  I realize that I spent some time in Final Fantasy III appreciating the idea that you fought some wacky opponents that just showed up with no explanation, but a group of vicious killer dolls that unite to a single super-doll seems like something with backstory, you know?  I kind of want to know the deal here, especially since the game is ostensibly more focused on storytelling.  Yet no explanation is forthcoming.

I mean, it would have at least been an effort.

“By the way, before you come in… this is August, so we do have a minor infestation of demonic dolls working for the main villain. Totally normal, nothing to worry about as long as they stay away from the crystal. Just keep your eyes open.”

Anyhow, Calcabrina isn’t a terribly difficult fight.  Unfortunately, right after that fight, Golbez suddenly teleports in.  For no real reason, he explains that collecting all eight crystals will open the Tower of Babil, which leads to the moon, which contains a source of great power.  Not really clear on why he wants it in the first place, but I suppose that’s not the point.  He summons the Shadow Dragon, killing off the rest of the party and preparing to kill Cecil as well…

At which point, out of nowhere, a Mist Dragon shows up.  Now where have we seen that before?

Rydia, to the great surprise of Cecil, shows up significantly older.  The result is a real race of a fight; you have to work quickly to resurrect the rest of the party while still damaging Golbez as quickly as possible.  Once he’s down, Rydia explains that Leviathan took her to the land of the Eidolons; she grew up as a summoner, but time flows differently in that realm, hence her sudden appearance as a woman in a green bathing suit.  Before the group can leave, however, Golbez’s animated arm breaks free of his body, grabs the Crystal, and vanishes.

King Giott proposes a plan – rather than trying to race Golbez to the last remaining crystal, a plan which has failed literally every time it’s been tried, why not strike against the Tower of Babil and nab some of the other seven crystals?  After all, Golbez needs all eight, so whether he’s down by one or by six he’s equally out of luck.  Everyone agrees, so after a quick rest in the inn it’s time to start looking around and gear up for the operation.  For the first time in forever, the gear upgrades in the shop didn’t bankrupt me, and let me tell you I was happy that I didn’t have to write “and now more grinding” here.

I am a bit curious as to how this plan addresses the fact that Golbez has proven quite adept at chasing down the crystals, but that’s a different discussion.

One of the little secrets tucked away in the dwarven castle is a developer’s room, which contains a few gag conversations and the like.  It’s a cute little easter egg, albeit not with much substance to it (considering it’s a gag anyway).  A bit more searching yields several treasures, including more equipment for Yang and a plethora of items.  Then it’s out a tunnel and into another part of the Underworld; we’re bound for the Tower of Babil and we’re taking out anything that’s between us and the already stolen crystals.

Also, once again, we appear to be cascading toward the endgame.  We’ve still got more to go, though.

About expostninja

I've been playing video games and MMOs for years, I read a great deal of design articles, and I work for a news site. This, of course, means that I want to spend more time talking about them. I am not a ninja.

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