The early Final Fantasies are interesting to return to, as they show the origins of various things that have become series mainstays over the years.
Today in Final Fantasy II, we see the first mention of the Dragoons in the series; while you can’t actually be a Dragoon in Final Fantasy II, you do learn a little bit about them and their companion Wyverns. We also see the Lifestream for the first time; this concept hasn’t been in every Final Fantasy, but it does play a prominent role in both Final Fantasy VII and, of all things, the CG movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Bet you’d forgotten about that, hadn’t you?
Maria also spends a lot of time training her Scourge spell, and we get into a real mess trying to get back out of a dungeon. Because, well, we’ve set a certain amount of precedent at this point, haven’t we?
We’re here at last! It’s the finale of the first Final Fantasy game, which means it’s time to return to the Temple of Chaos and sort this whole mess out once and for all.
If you thought later games in the Final Fantasy series got a bit confusing with time kompression and whatnot, then know that this has emphatically been A Thing in the series since the very beginning, as you’re about to see.
Still, after all our intense training in the four Soul of Chaos dungeons and the Labyrinth of Time, we’re more than ready to take on whatever awaits us… so let’s finish this!
The end is in sight… but there’s one more endgame challenge before we can finish this thing: The Labyrinth of Time!
This dungeon was added in the PSP version of Final Fantasy, and suggests that you forget everything you thought you knew about the world. And this is good advice; you’ll be doing things in here that you don’t do anywhere else in the game!
It’s one of the most satisfying challenges in all of Final Fantasy, and while some might argue that the fact it was added in 2007 means it’s not “authentic” to the original, it’s certainly a whole lot of fun! Let’s do this.
Oh boy. It’s a long ‘un today… but it’s worthwhile. We finally clear Whisperwind Cove, and with it, the Soul of Chaos dungeons are complete!
Well, except for going back and fighting all the bosses we didn’t see before, obviously. But I’ll spare you that for now, as we’re getting ever-closer to the end of this first game in the series.
Pack a lunch, there’s a long journey ahead.
The Warriors of Light are about to take on their longest, most significant challenge yet: the 40-floor Whisperwind Cove!
Thankfully, the boss fights in here aren’t quite as brutal as the devastating foes who lurked at the base of Lifespring Grotto, but 40 floors is certainly a lot to get through. Thankfully, there are plenty of places to rest and regroup along the way… including a village full of absolutely fabulous-looking mages.
I have no idea how long this is going to take, so if I manage to get enough episodes recorded in advance, there may be two episodes a week just while we clear out this monstrosity. And then we have the Labyrinth of Time to clear after this, too… why did I start this again…?
While for most of this playthrough, I’ve been keeping honest and true to the original NES version’s restrictions on saving… when it comes to a 20-floor endgame dungeon, you’d better believe I’m going to save before the most notoriously difficult bosses in the whole game.
Lifespring Grotto’s incarnations of Shinryu and Omega from Final Fantasy V are the toughest superbosses in the entirety of this particular version of Final Fantasy, and accidents happen. An accident did, indeed, happen. Thankfully, I had remembered to save.
Even more thankfully, after restoring said save, challenging the other one of these two notoriously challenging opponents proved to be a much better idea… even if the fight ended up being the longest we’ve seen in this whole playthrough!
In this sixth episode of the Final Fantasy Marathon, we take our legitimately gotten gains (courtesy of the Mystic Key) and take a trip to go and visit the dwarves.
Dwarves are another example of an aspect of Final Fantasy that was lifted from Dungeons & Dragons, though few can deny that the Japanese series puts its own unique twist on the dumpy delvers. Their catchphrase of “lali-ho!” (or variations thereof depending on who was on localisation duty at Squaresoft that week) became a recurring feature for a number of installments… and indeed at the time of writing the dwarves have most recently made a comeback in fanservice festival Final Fantasy XIV as part of the Shadowbringers expansion.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. I’ve got some Nitro Powder burning a hole in my pocket (quite literally) and I can’t think of anyone better equipped to make good use of it than a dwarf.
After last week’s little… mishap, the fifth episode of our Final Fantasy playthrough sees the Warriors of Light taking full advantage of the mysterious Time Magic known as “Load”.
From thereon, we proceed to track down the wrongful owner of the Crown we found in the Marsh Cave, kick his head in, then set off in search of the mysterious, magical Matoya, who has been feeling a bit left in the dark recently.
We then proceed to spend considerably longer than I intended finding all the locks that the Mystic Key fits. Because treasure.
Oh dear. It had to happen sooner or later, didn’t it? And Final Fantasy veterans will be unsurprised to hear that it happened in the Marsh Cave.
The Marsh Cave is probably the first “real” dungeon that you encounter in Final Fantasy I, and its main challenge is one of endurance: it’s quite long and branches off in two different directions, so getting everything in a single expedition is challenging. Not impossible, but still challenging.
Sometimes bad things happen. But we can learn from them and try again…
Our Final Fantasy I adventure continues as the Warriors of Light cross the ocean to Elfheim and discover their prince is having a bit of a sleep problem.
Never ones to shy away from an apparently supernatural-inflicted disaster, the group sets out to find out exactly what is going on, setting their sights on the first full dungeon of the game: The Marsh Cave!
In this episode, we start to see some more of the Dungeons & Dragons influences at work as well as how the game expects you to explore rather than leading you down a linear path. A bit of an adjustment if you’re accustomed to some modern JRPGs, for sure!