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  -Part 1 :: [03.13.04]
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"Once again, the guards don't do a damned thing until Red Cloud runs right into one in his haste to find the next shiny gem to add to his growing collection. Still, all work and no play makes Rose cranky, so it's in the boy's best interest to provide some hapless guard ass for walloping. Meanwhile, as I type this, I can hear a spiritual chorus of the favored men in my life saying 'Sounds familiar!' Shut up."
     -Kelly, Legend of Dragoon Part 10




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Final Fantasy Tactics : Part 3
By Ryan
Posted 10.10.04
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Last time, Chapter One came to its thrilling conclusion, as Rinoa got shot before Delita's very eyes and his faith in the Nobles (including erstwhile breast best friend Cesario) crumbled. Then everybody got blown up. Throw in some drug talk and a high-speed interstate car chase, and you've got yourself Bad Boys III, right there.

But -- thankfully, I might add -- we are spared a steaming helping of hammy Martin Lawrence's script mangling in favor of Cesario's dour thoughts immediately following the explosion that should, by all rights, have claimed his life. I mean, it totally killed Delita, right?

I've taken my whole life for granted.
When it came down to it
I dropped it all and ran.

The screen features a distant still of the blazing FORT ZEAKDEN and, as is their wont in this game, the wank-over types itself out across the screen in super small print and super slow speed. A save prompt marks the official end of the Chapter. Whatever.

The camera makes a spiraling descent around BONNEOR MONASTERY and settles on Gaffy and the new and improved, more masculine Cesario. I guess by "dropped it all," she meant that she was finally ready to face the knife. Our baby is officially post-op, folks! Sans melons but most assuredly avec zucchini, Cesario now sports a simply fabulous purple cuirboulli leather jacket and white greaves. Also, most importantly, the beloved ponytail got the axe and is probably warming the head of some depressingly queer chemo patient right now.

Anyway, Gaffy asks Cesario if he knows who the Man in the Golden Armor was, and Cesario responds with, "........" Which totally means that it wasn't Delita because he's dead. I mean, it's not like we had a random recap of Cesario/Delita backstory and then Delita lived to continue to be a part of the story. We all saw him get blown up, right? Right!?

Our old acquaintance Heidi busts out of the Monastery just then, reminding us that Gold!Armor has hijacked the Princess and can't have gone very far. Gaffy asks Heidi if she intends to chase down the Princess, and Heidi's all, "Duh, I have to before I can face the Royal Family again!" Gaffy poo-poos the notion, claiming that the never-to-be-mentioned-again "contract" doesn't cover Princessnappings, so he doesn't have to help and furthermore, neener neener neener.

Heidi says that she doesn't need the help of somebody who isn't even a knight and maintains that she, a knight, can take care of it because "a knight must fix his own mistakes." Somewhere, just now, part of Joan of Arc's immortal soul shriveled up and died, taking a portion of the feminist movement with it. Heidi calls to her fellow Knights to rally to the cause, and just as the Tour de Force makes to hit the road, Simon, the old and balding Priest I may or may not have previously referred to by name, emerges from the Monastery. He's all, "Princess. Answers to Ophelia. Didn't we used to have one?"

Heidi reiterates her burning desire to make haste and regain the Princess, but who the hell is she kidding. Gold!Armor totally could have hopped the northern border by now. Simon half-heartedly argues that Heidi should not attempt to save Princess Ophelia because then Heidi, female that she is, would be in danger. Cesario steps forward to tell Heidi that he wants to go too, and since he's officially a big strong man now, he can protect Heidi from the big bad world. My words, not his.

Gaffy flips his shit at Cesario's brashness, because Gaffy is evil the leader and has issues, but Cesario is so adamant to see if Gold!Armor is Delita, which he so obviously is not because Delita died in a fiery explosion visible from space, Gaffy's heart of stone softens, or something, and he offers to come along too. The camera zooms out a little bit and "Chapter 2: The Manipulator & The Subservient" rolls across the screen.

Okay, I know I've seen a porno like that before.

 
What? Your armor? Don't mind if I do!

Sepia checkers cascade across the screen, ushering in the Recruitment menu, where I can decide if I want to let Heidi and Gaffy's cohorts, Alicia, Lavian, and Rad, join up. I do. The scene ends and we fade up on the world map, and the first thing Cesario does is strip Alicia, Lavian, and Rad of their weapons and kick them out on their sorry asses. He's got more important Generics to worry about. Yes, even though Cesario is assumed dead by his friends and family, changed his last name and faked his death in the explosion to become a mercenary, his loyal crew of random soldiers and leftover weirdos from his school still follow him around. No, I don't get it either.

Bonneor Monastery is located southwest of DORTER TRADE CITY, so Chibi!Cesario leads the party northward and the screen flips out, RED style, even though DTC wasn't a RED. I mean really. Just when you come to expect certain protocol to be followed, they go and switch things up on you. Sigh.

A Round of Generic Square Dancing, formerly known as pre-battle management, ensues, and the camera fades up on a conversation between an "old" (read: he has gray hair but is probably, like, 30) knight in armor and a purple tunic and a thief/mercenary. "How about 500 gill per head?" the Knight demands. The Mercenary indignantly crosses his arms and asserts that he requires "2000 gill a head" instead. Wow. This must be what the Oval office tapes from the end of Clinton's term sounded like. Knight innocently lets Mercenary know that it would "be easy to make all of [them] heretics," and Mercenary, spineless toad that he is, argues for only a little bit longer before the two agree on 700 gill a pop.

And not a moment too soon, because just then, the clomping of Birkenstocks off-screen heralds Cesario's arrival in Dorter. As Knight makes his dastardly escape, he reminds Mercenary to kill every last one of them. Mercenary recognizes Gaffy and whines that 700 gill was too cheap. Like it even matters. Dead Merc walking, folks. He whistles for his teammates, who were all waiting just off-screen, and the camera pans down to the party. Gaffy sort of complains about the ambush and Heidi kind of tells him to cram it sideways. Then they both charge forward and use their oh-so-cool Magic Swordskills to whomp ass. Except for the part where they are both dumb and use their crappy first-level Black Magic instead. Jesus, I hate Guests.

What? Your soul? Don't mind if I do!
 

Anyway, battle proceeds uneventfully until one lone and charmed (thanks to Samantha the Thief's feminine wiles) enemy Thief wanders helplessly about the screen as Cesario and the remaining Recapper!Generics snatch up the treasure chests and crystalline souls dropped by his dead comrades and use "Accumulate" to gain precious Job Points. Anybody who's played this game realizes how absolutely gratifying battles such as these are. Anyway, after all the booty has been grabbed, the Thief gets killed by a crushing blow to the head courtesy of Kelly the Time Mage, and Heidi stirs from her unconscious stupor to remind everybody that there's no time to waste.

Gaffy also heaves his unconscious form upright to demand of Heidi what she plans to do, exactly. He's all, "It's not exactly like Ophelia left a trail of breadcrumbs for us to follow, genius," and Heidi divines that there's only one place they could possibly have gone. "Impregnable fortress... Bethla Garrison." Impregnable. Snort. My inner sixth grader is greatly amused.

World Map. Far out to the east, a RED that I'm sure represents BETHLA GARRISON tauntingly glows at me, as three REDs bridge the gap from here to there. Cesario stops in DORTER TRADE CITY to stock up on supplies and equipment, and then takes his as of yet Not!Gin-soaked self into the Bar to sample the local flavor.

Now, if this were a Grand Theft Auto game, I'd get some lovely options like "Pick Up A Hooker," "Score Some E," or "Get Trashed," but it's FFT, so the only options in the Bar are "Rumor" and the teasingly-named "Proposition." Even though the Belle behind the Bar is totally itching to have a go with Cesario's wedding tackle, the only Propositioning he'll be doing is sending Generics off to clandestine locations in search of big payoffs. But those joys, sadly, are for another day, so Cesario decides to check out the old Rumor Mill instead. The Barkeep informs Cesario that there are three rumors "floating around," and like, Jay-sus, I'm glad we stumbled upon this veritable wealth of information. Three whole rumors? It's like I won the Exposition Lottery!

The first rumor talks about how, after King Omdoria's headline-dodging death, his wife, Queen Ruvelia, tried to rule. Ruvelia even went so far as to oust every person that tried to stand against her, until "The Empress," who will -- everybody together now -- never be referred to again in the course of the game, banished the Queen to Bunabon, a minimal security prison with laundry service and conjugal visits, where she promptly died. The Barkeep suspects poisoning. I suspect contrivance.

The second rumor addresses the feuding between B!LL and W!LL, and is basically a rehash of the now very stale opening video. After Omdoria died, political struggle erupted between the two, culminating in a fight for custody of Orinas, the next Prince in line. The Late Queen apparently sided with W!LL, but the Nobles that got displaced in her zealous search for centralized power sided with B!LL. And, as of late, the rumor mongers seem to believe that W!LL will be appointed Orinas' regent. Next!

There was a Peasant riot in ZELTENNIA, a province in B!LL's territory, somehow caused by the aftereffects of a drought "as welll" --note the extra "l"-- as rising taxes to pay for the war. The rumor also notes the rising of a group of ex-knights called "Ryomoku" is probably behind the rebellion, much like the Happy Sunshine Cult of the last chapter. Baron Grims, who we probably will never hear from again, and his army of Black Sheep Knights, who we probably will hear from again, are locked in heated battle with the Ryomoku. Now, everybody wipe the steaming exposition off of your clothes, because we're headed east to the ARAGUAY WOODS.

 
Easy for you to say.

A Pick-up Round of Generic Square Dancing gets everybody limbered up for battle as the camera fades up on a lone Chocobo surrounded by a throng of multi-colored Goblins. A Black Goblin steps forward to enunciate, "Gob, gob! Gobgobgob!! Damn, bitch, why you gotta be bringing that shit into my house?" and the Chocobo replies, "W-Wark!! I jus' wanted to score some rock, ess!" A Red Goblin on the outskirts of the gang turns around as he hears Cesario's infernally loud Birkenstocks clamoring around off-screen and shouts, "Gob, gobu--!! Shit, it's the man!"

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