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"Luckily the Valuans dug the tunnel big enough for the train and an airship to fit. I don't recall that the tunnel was always that wide, but hey! Look over there! Boobies! Whoops, wrong game. Or is it?! (That's foreshadowing.)"
     -Jeanne, Skies of Arcadia Part 5

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Final Fantasy IV : Part 4
By Ben
Posted 07.22.11
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4
Welcome to the latest installment of "Ben catches up on recaps he's neglected for several years"! I don't have much of an excuse for this one (do I ever?!), but maybe it has something to do with the fact that my old PC, which had the emulator and my saved game on it (put down your pitchforks, I legally own the game too -- three times over!) died, and I really didn't want to play through the first three hours in all their badly-translated glory again. But eventually I did, so here we are. Incidentally, I should point out here that in the time since Part 3 was posted, this game has been remade and/or re-ported no less than FOUR TIMES. Is it any wonder that Squeenix now take five years to shit out the next installment in their flagship series when they seem to spend most of their time milking the last dregs from their 90s cash cows? I mean, I know they're good games, but does anyone really need another version of them at this point? /rant

Anyway. Last time we checked in on Dark Knight Cecilia and his band of gaudily-dressed companions, they tried to defend Fabul from a Baron offensive and failed spectacularly, losing both Rinosa and another of the Crystals. In the process, Cecilia encountered his old butt-buddy TBBM, now shockingly under Golbez's control. He didn't even have time to put on his Celine Dion CDs and have a good ol' cry before the party's ship was attacked by Leviathan, presumably killing his friends (and Edward) and leaving him stranded on the shores of Mysidia. Hearing of his plight, the Elder gave him a couple of kids to babysit and told him to purify his dark heart at Mt. Ordeals. Whew.

I start this recap on the world map, meaning I get to fight several hundred random battles right from the get-go. Lucky me! The positive aspect of this is that Phil and Lil level up several times by the time the party reaches the mountain, learning the Fira Fire2 and Cura Cure2 spells, respectively. Well, at least they'll now be of some use to the magically-anaemic Cecilia, so I can no longer begrudge their presence in the battle lineup.

This scene is almost as grey as a recapper's dead, cynical soul.

The first thing that hits me upon entering the mountain itself (apart from the...shall we say limited colour palette used for the area) is an almost exact replication of the scene from Part 3 where Gyftyd removed a sheet of obstructive ice with her fire magic. Oh, but this time, Phil uses ice magic to extinguish a barrier of fire, so it's clearly totally different. Next time, look out for someone using wind magic to clear a landslide!

Phil is so proud of the fact that he put out a freaking fire that he does a little victory dance, prompting Lil to thwack him on the head and remind him that their Elder "taught [them] not to submit to arrogance!" Apparently, submitting to violence is A-OK though. As Lil snits "Shall we go now?" we transition into a Black Screen of Alternative Viewpoints. Ooh, this is new! "Meanwhile..." the text box says mysteriously, before we fade in on a generically-high tech area. Rinosa is struggling in some kind of restraining device with TBBM standing next to her, all brooding and shit. Oh God, she's going to start screaming for Cecilia to come and saaaaave her, isn't she? I don't even notice Golbez is there too until he calls for someone called Scarmiglione Milon. Christ, not another dull-as-ditchwater villain. How many can there be in a single game?!

Milon materializes before His Blandness, looking suitably-generic in a terracotta hooded robe. "Milon of Earth, at your service," he introduces himself, secretly hoping his master won't be too pissed off by their respective outfits clashing. Golbez basically tells him to bring back Cecilia's head, claiming that his "Dark Sword" will be ineffective against their monstrous forces. Well, far be it from me to disagree, but it seems to have done a pretty decent job on the monsters he's faced thus far. Golbez reveals that Cecilia is at Mt. Ordeals, hoping to become a Paladin. Wait, how does he know this? It's not like they have CCTV on the mountain, and I doubt any of the Mysidians will have spilled the beans to the guys who almost wiped them out. I'm just going to assume Cecilia has somehow been bugged using the same technology that allowed his package to explode at just the right moment way back at the beginning of the game. Interpret that as dirtily as you wish -- it's not my problem if you have the mind of a 12-year-old.

'...and I can certainly vouch for his...prowess.'

After Milon warps back out using some crappy light effects, Golbez turns to his second-in-command and muses "Things are becoming quite interesting, don't you think?" TTBM steps forward and adjusts his helmet, replying "Yes. But Cecilia might prove quite a formidable opponent." Again, take that however you want. I'm not getting involved with all this immature innuendo anymore. Golbez brushes off TBBM's concerns, claiming that Milon is one of the "Four Fiends of Elements" and will have no problem taking out Cecilia. Well, I can chalk that up as bullshit right now -- there's no way I'd be so fortunate as to have the game end this quickly.

In other words, he has a fate worse than death.

As Golbez gloats to Rinosa about her intended boyfriend's imminent demise, TBBM suddenly yells out "Let me take the task of slaying him instead of Milon!" Wow, someone's bitter about the breakup. Has he forgotten who betrayed who? Golbez is incensed by his subordinate's demands: "How dare you ask for such a task! I've had enough of your blundering. You only have to watch this girl!" To be fair, I would probably try everything I could to get out of Rinosa-sitting duty, too. Even if it meant being forced to kill my former lover, it would mean brief respite from the screeching and passive-aggressive bitching, you know?

A more desirable job than being Rinosa's captor?
Interior designer in Silent Hill.
Jizz-mopper in HoYay Castle.
Recapper of Final Fantasy X-3 -- a Tidus dating sim.
What are you talking about? It would be SOOO COOL to be Rinosa's guard! We could, like, do each other's hair and stuff, then we could gossip about all the hotties in Baron. We'd be BFFs! Stop being so mean about her!


Resigned to his whiny fate, TBBM slinks back to his position next to Rinosa, who breathes "Cecilia, watch out...!" If their supposed twoo wuv enables him to hear her warning telepathically, I'm turning the game off. Actually, something's just occurred to me -- why the hell did they capture her anyway? She doesn't seem to have any Sue-like world-destroying powers, and she isn't exactly an effective bargaining chip, given that Golbez is sending his minions to kill Cecilia anyway. I could understand using her as a hostage as a means to lure Cecilia into a trap, but what happens if Milon or some other random wanker kills him beforehand? "Oh, sorry Rinosa, we have no need for you anymore. It's the chopping block for you!" Fact is, every Final Fantasy lead female must be kidnapped at least once during her lifetime or the universe will implode; I guess, as the prototype for the "classic" FF heroine, Rinosa had to set an example to all those who came after her, no matter how unnecessary her abduction was to the story.

What kind of station?

We abruptly cut back to Mt. Ordeals, where Cecilia and his pre-teen party make short work of roughly a zillion "Skeltons" and "Red Bones". It would be more accurate to say that Phil makes short work of them with his fire magic, since Cecilia can only attack one enemy at a time and Lil's physical attack deals single-digit damage (if it actually connects at all). Because I'm an idiot, I'm halfway up the mountain before I remember that healing magic damages the undead, but it's not like it matters much when Phil is dishing out ~500 damage to the entire enemy group. Yeah, he might be annoying, but he can stay.

After replenishing Phil's depleted MP, Cecilia leads him and Lil towards an opening in the mountain wall, from which emerges none other than Tellah, the crazy old sage last seen in Part 2. After exchanging greetings, Tellah exclaims "You seek for Meteo as well?" Apparently Lil is fluent in Engrish, for she stage-whispers "He knows of Meteo. That means..." What -- he's played a Final Fantasy game before? Phil gets up in Tellah's face, all "Hey, you're Tellah, right?" Lil resists the urge to smack her twin again, but hisses "Watch your mouth! Call him Master Tellah!" Because she's the polite and respectful one. Get it yet? Also, I love how all these people instantly know who the dude is, despite having never seen him before. I mean, surely there's more than one crazy old wizard who's heard of the Meteor spell?

Lil practically genuflects before Tellah, spouting a few text boxes of "Oh, we're so honoured to meet you" crap. Because he's the immature and over-excitable one, Phil lets slip that they were "sent to spy on..." Hmm, I wonder who they could be talking about? I do wish the game designers wouldn't keep me in suspense like this. This time, Lil does slap her brother again, before hastily changing the subject. During this exchange, Cecilia just stands there pretending to admire the lichen on the walls, not letting on that he heard Phil's comment. Lil continues the damage limitation exercise, informing Tellah that they're here to guide Cecilia to his redemption. Yeah, "guide". Absolutely no spying going on here!

Well, she *is* a girl, and she probably considers herself his friend, so you're not totally wrong, kiddo.

Trying to get a word in edgeways, Tellah asks Cecilia where Gyftyd and Edward are. After careful consideration of the best way to break the devastating news, Cec replies that they were attacked by "Leviatan" on their way to Baron. "Oh! No!" Tellah replies melodramatically, like he isn't secretly overjoyed that the spoony bard he so despised has become fish food. "...and Rinosa was captured by Golbez," Cecilia finishes as an afterthought. God, nobody cares. Just forget about her already. As if to illustrate my point, Tellah stays silent upon hearing of Rinosa's current situation. However, Phil "discreetly" sidles up to Lil and whispers "That must be his girl friend!" Lil yells at him to shut up, making her my new favourite character in the game. If she could make everyone else shut up too, I'd build her a shrine and offer up daily sacrifices to her.

Tellah mopes that his spells alone won't be enough to defeat Golbez (I'm assuming he wants to kill him in revenge for Anna's death, and that Rinosa doesn't even register on his radar), explaining that he's been trying to find Meteor, the "magic of legend". Apparently, he felt a strong power coming from Mt. Ordeals. I would speculate as to how he actually got here, given that Baron has seized control of the skies and the only passenger ship in the world is currently in splinters in Leviathan's belly, but the guy's a wizard -- I'm sure he has ways and means.


Phil suddenly blurts out that Meteor is too dangerous a spell to use, and besides, Tellah's too old anyway. Lil fights the urge to smack him with every fibre of her being, and Tellah replies that yes, he may be old, but he'll avenge his daughter whatever the price. Foreshadowing mallet at 12 o'clock! Phil kvetches about grown-ups, and Lil tells him to cram it for the millionth time in the last ten minutes alone. Their love-hate, brother-sister relationship isn't getting old at all!

Attempting to ignore the pre-pubescent chittering in his ears, Tellah finally asks his old comrade what the hell he's doing here. "Taking my niece and nephew for a picnic," Cecilia would reply if he were as snarky as I'd like him to be. Of course, he fills Tellah in on the whole Paladin shtick. "My Dark Sword cannot defeat Golbez..." he finishes, caushing Phil to do a full-sprite rotation and ask who Golbez is. "You don't know?! He's controlling Baron!" Lil tells him. You know, I was starting to quite like this pair until I realized that they're basically two exposition fairies in the guises of small children. I will never again be fooled by this cheap trick.

James Arnold Taylor?

Apparently, the game designers didn't think I'd suffered enough during this endless conversation, because they decide to throw some more appalling dialogue at me. Still talking about Golbez, Tellah shrieks "He is the source of all evil!" Really? Like, I already knew the guy was a pretty despicable person who's gathering shinies for some nefarious purpose, but clearly I underestimated his importance in the grand scheme of evilness. I'll bet he even has horns under that helmet of his!


Still bringing the cheese, Tellah continues "Paladin...there must be some secret hidden in this mountain. I will come with you!" As the pensioner shuffles his way into the party, Cecilia recalls the advice he was once given about never working with children, the elderly, or animals. Now he just needs to come across a three-legged dog and he'll have the best party ever!

A little further up the mountain, Cecilia and his awesome party discover a rather disturbing new monster. The fiend -- named Lilith -- is supposed to be some kind of snake/woman hybrid, but to the trained eye of a recapper pervert recapper, it looks like a woman being reamed by a large, spotty penis. Interestingly, her only attack is called "Slap", and I don't think she's using her hand to perform it. And now I have that image in my head whenever I fight the monster, so do you guys. Hey, if you're willing to read this and share the amusement of my misfortune, you can share some of the pain, too.

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