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  -Part 1 :: [02.13.02]
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  -Part 10 :: [04.11.05]
  -Part 11 :: [02.17.08]


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"Now we see an old temple, the floor of which opens up, filling the screen with light as we hear the Star Trek 'beam me up' noise. Ah, so the characters aren't the only things to be re-used -- sound effects are recycled, too. It's nice to see Capcom doing their bit for the environment."
     -Ben, Breath of Fire IV Part 1




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Final Fantasy VII : Part 11
By Jeanne
Posted 02.17.08
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6
Well, it looks like the latest installment in "Jeanne catches up on overdue recaps" has brought us back to that most classic of RPGs, Final Fantasy VII. Last time, Bitch and his all-male party managed to track down the dreamy Sephiroth to a Shinra ship, only to have that little cocktease teleport after siccing his gross tentacled mom on them. Someone's bitter about the breakup. A chance meeting with the mad scientist Hojo gave our heroes their next destination: west of Mt. Corel. Not that that's vague or anything.

The first step is to find Mt. Corel. I'm sure this would have been easy as pie three years ago when I last played the game. Orienting myself to the clunky old controls makes this a larger ordeal than necessary. Plus, I get stuck for a while when I find an actual mountain path that isn't Mt. Corel. Silly me -- Mt. Corel is actually a cave set into the base of the mountain. I have to stop thinking logically and starting thinking more like a game designer. Speaking of which, while wandering aimlessly about the mountainous area, the party ends up fighting this monster that resembles a giant disembodied Terrence and Philip head. If I don't kill it fast enough, it vomits out progressively smaller Terrence and Philip heads, until I'm forced to fight a whole group of fart-obsessed Canadians. Seriously, this game.

 
Shut your fucking face, Unclefucka!

The cave leads to a short rocky path spotted with trees. A random guy sits in the middle of the path, providing exposition to any travelers that happen by. In this case, he mentions, "I just passed a guy in a black cloak back there." I don't know why we should care -- we're looking for a man in a Black Dress Cape, not a black cloak. "I just tried to tell him that it's dangerous up ahead, and he ignored me!" the NPC laments. Oh, Bitch knows exactly how it feels to be snubbed by Sephiroth. And yes, that's who it is -- confusion about the apparel aside. "Sephiroth..." Bitch whispers, a tiny blocky tear in his pixelated eye.

Next South Park cameo?
Dr. Mephesto as Dr. Hojo's replacement. Instead of sick breeding experiments, he'd just create monkeys with multiple asses.
Pre-Super Adventure Club Chef as Mr. T's cousin who randomly sings songs about having sex with women. Needless to say, he's not very popular.
Mr. Slave as the latest Honey Bee Inn..."male entertainer."
It wouldn't work because the South Park graphics would look way too good for this game.

 

Uncomfortable with the show of emotion from the supposedly badass Bitch, Gay Lion is all, "Yeah, I'll just be going now." Mr. T agrees. They're getting a bit sick and tired of Bitch and his constant moping over this guy from five years ago who treated him like crap. There's an opening in the rock wall just up ahead, with the light of hope flickering just beyond it, but before the party can take a single step, they run into a random battle. So this lucky sucker of an NPC can take an afternoon nap in the middle of the trail without a single attack, but I'm some sort of monster magnet? How unfair. And the NPC doesn't even get off his fat ass to help me out against the blocky turtle lizard thing and his two flying buddies. Jerk.

Okay, the entrance to this area on the overworld map was clearly a cave opening in the side of the mountain. Yet it seems that the trail is winding through some type of canyon or crevice, open to the sky. Another example of overworld map designers never talking to the local map designers. Maybe there's some sort of festering rivalry there. I'm looking forward to exploring this in future recaps.

 
Flare-tastic!

The peak of the short, disappointing path supports a single tree, backlit by the setting sun, producing a beautiful and inspiring Lens Flare of Hope. But wait! The next screen brings the party to a winding staircase that descends to yet another phallic symbol of evil -- a Mako Reactor. The shaft is smoky and destroyed, its broken shape underscored by the ominous Mako Theme thrumming along in the background. The atmosphere is somewhat ruined by the drunken bumbling of Bitch as he goes back and forth between the last screen and this one, almost as if his controller couldn't see the microscopic pixels making up the stairway and kept guessing the wrong directional button to press.

Eventually the party makes it past the reactor, ending up on a set of double roller coaster tracks. I don't see an amusement park nearby (yet), so this is probably an old mining system. The numerous splits in the track indicate that it's likely not in use anymore. Along the way, the party ends up fighting a monster that uses an attack called Vacuum -- this involves a hilarious suction animation that removes hit points from the party. I'm kind of surprised that Squall doesn't have this attack in FFVIII.

Is he freaked out, or getting off?
 

The dangerously shitty mine tracks constantly break as Bitch and his elephantine party members stomp over it. If I'm quick enough with the circle button, I can make it across the newly formed gaps without falling. Miraculously, I manage this and I'm all proud of myself until I read the strategy guide and find out that I could have received some nifty items if I'd let myself fall. God damn it. The one fucking time I'm not a klutz.

Bitch follows the lower of the two roller coaster mine car tracks and finds himself at a dead end. Well, it's actually a split bridge that is currently in the "up" position -- much like Bitch himself around Sephiroth. For some ungodly reason, Tita, Airhead, and Yuffie are already standing at the bridge. Maybe they took teleportation lessons from Sephiroth when I wasn't looking. Or...okay, I got nothin'.

 
Gross.

Tita has been there long enough to figure out the bridge contraption. Along the upper track -- which is also visible on this screen -- is a wooden shack containing the bridge controls. Although she's right, there really is no way for her to know this. Well, unless she walked up there already and then backtracked to this location. In which case, the smart thing to do would be to lower the fucking bridge first. Since she didn't, I would say that it's unlikely that she went to the shack at any point. At least that's what I would say if we were dealing with people of average or higher intelligence here. Tita probably did go up there and leave the controls untouched just so Bitch could go take care of it. Then she could pretend he did it all for her because he's so very much in love with her.

Adding to my suspicions, Tita suddenly acts the helpless female, claiming that her exhaustion and fear of monsters make it absolutely impossible to help Bitch out. Good lord. The camera pans over to the right, and the Mysterious Text God points out the location of the shack, complete with silly anime emoticon. Apparently the MTG in this game is a teenage girl. So now I have to retrace my steps to the previous screen and take the upper path to the control shack. I do everything around here. Once again, Airhead tries to worm her way into the party via a sneaky PHS option. I don't think so. You chicks chose to sit around and whine instead of offering to help, so you don't get your daily dose of Bitch stalking.

On the way back to the upper roller coaster track, Bitch and his two male companions run into a new set of monsters. The only reason I'm pointing this out is that they look like disembodied penises with multiple mouths along the shaft. So first Bitch has to deal with a bunch of clingy females who make him want to run into the arms of the nearest burly man, and now even the wieners have turned evil? Bitch is not having a good day.

PENIS!
 

Moving along. As Bitch walks along the upper set of tracks, the three women waiting below scream exclamation-point-ridden encouragements at him, as if this extremely simple task is on the same level as fighting off Shinra soldiers on motorcycles or trying to disarm a bomb. The desperation here is just embarrassing. My discomfort and irritation is rewarded with a rather amusing sequence, though. It's based on that cliche where you can't see what the characters are doing, but their dialogue makes it sound like they're fucking (this would be the second time we've encountered this cliche). Anyway, Bitch disappears into the tiny shack, squealing, "OW!! Sure is tight in here..." Either Mr. T or Gay Lion responds, "Come on, Bitch, don't let it get to you. Let's see...this is it." Next, Bitch wonders if "something will happen" if he turns something unspecified. Oh, you bet it will. And it does -- it lowers the bridge so the supposedly tired women can start sprinting across. As entertaining as the sexual innuendoes were, I'm relieved that Bitch wasn't actually fooling around with Mr. T or Gay Lion in there. Although it would sooooooo serve Sephiroth right, that heartless jerk!

Bitch's magical SOLDIER intuition (the strategy guide) provides a tip on some hidden treasure nearby. If Bitch walks a little ways past the shack, he'll hear some chirping, which indicates to people more perceptive (or high) than I that he should climb the retaining wall in that area to find a bird's nest. Inside the nest are two very round and fuzzy baby birds, their cute animal-ness momentarily soothing my wounded recapper's soul. I think Mr. T also finds them cute because he starts to talk in some sort of weird gibberish involving excess vowels. I know that the term "gibberish" kind of loses its meaning in this poorly translated game, but let's just say his dialogue becomes even less understandable. Apparently there are valuables hidden in this nest, as Bitch gets the choice to "take the damn treasure" or to leave it be. Obviously I want the treasure, but the strategy guide makes it sound like this choice means that Bitch is an animal-hating asshat and his party members will give him shit over it. Not that I care about what these two dipsticks think of Bitch, but I don't want to be mean to cute animals. It's my weakness.

Even so, my greed wins out. Contrary to the warnings of the strategy guide, the party members don't appear to give a shit when Bitch steals the 10 Phoenix Downs from the tiny fluffy birds. At least I don't think so, anyway -- I can't decipher Mr. T's dialogue. The only "downside" to this act is that Mama Bird shows up and attacks the treasure hunters thieves. Do wild animals and monsters even use Phoenix Downs? Anyway, the mother is just another of the random battle monsters I've been fighting in this area, so it's not even a boss or anything. But its name is "Cokatolis" which is good for some laughs. Hmm, maybe it's actually the dad. That would make me feel better about killing it, since the mom would still be around to take care of the babies. Whatever it takes to help me sleep at night.

With that very necessary errand finished, Bitch now has to backtrack to the roller coasters again and take the lower path again. I wish these people would take a hint from the FFX-2 ladies and learn how to freaking jump. A winding, broken mine cart track leads to a secret cave. On one hand, the cave contains some handy items, which is cool. On the other hand, the cave is occupied by a lazy jackass who sits on his old bulldozer (don't ask me) and whose dialogue consists of my two favorite things: whining and exposition, with some foreshadowing thrown in for good measure. To sum it up, the town of Corel used to be famous for mining with a veritable assload of jobs for the taking. But now it sucks, and there are no jobs, not even for this impressive go-getter of a bulldozer driver. "Me, my bulldozer...everything's out of work," he laments. Seriously -- there are no bulldozing jobs anywhere on the entire planet? According to him, the shame of not having a job (even though it sounds like no one else has a job either) drove him to hide out in this cave, where he's pretty much ensured that he will never have a job again. Moron. Well, Bitch doesn't care and neither do I -- besides, I know that this is just the tip of the whining iceberg in this chunk of footage, so it's best I leave.

 
Maybe if they did actually go to pot, they'd be able to make some money.

Eventually, the party ends up on a suspension bridge. The camera is located at the opposite end of the bridge, pointing straight toward the party in order to give us some interesting perspective. Ten years later, this still looks pretty cool, as long as you ignore the awful character graphics and the way the screen shakes to signify the swinging of the bridge. I think I just said something positive about this game. Holy shit.

And you know what? It's good that I went ahead and plundered the living daylights out of that bird nest, because I end up using three Phoenix Downs on the bridge, thanks to the stupid Bombs that see fit to hang out on the surprisingly char-free wooden structure. And I only had five Phoenix Downs before the bird incident, so it's a good thing I didn't give in to my sappy conscience. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

I know I'm rambling a lot, but I'm really just trying to put off recapping the next sequence. See, because of the helpful exposition I obtained earlier, I know that North Corel is a run-down piece of shit town. And you know what that means -- lots of whiny poor people. Hooray. Sure enough, when Bitch enters the town proper ("town" being a rather generous term for this place), we can see that...well, actually it's kind of difficult to make out the details of the town because of the unfortunate graphics. It appears to consist of a group of broken down shacks, dirty canvas tents, and various other ramshackle structures all scattered on a beige background of rocky dirt and mine tracks. What a paradise.

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