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  -Part 1 :: [10.29.04]
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"Sadly that's about the extent of the swag around here, other than the Hammer of Recapper Revenge, seeing as Twink got it all on his first trip here. Jesus, Ganondorf, you could have restocked the bar chests while I was gone! Some host you are."
     -Sam, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker Part 7




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Final Fantasy VI : Part 3
By Sam
Posted 03.22.05
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4
In the ADD spazathon that was part two, Ryan figuratively poked Edgar, Winona and Twiggy in the backs of their heads until they remembered to go meet up with the Returners Rebels. On the way they ran into Guile, Edgar's juicin' twin brother who, in retrospect, was probably smart not to accept that fat Major League Baseball contract, no matter how many homers he would have hit. Twiggy barely had time to mope over her new and unwelcome role as the Rebels' Light of Hope before the Rebel Hideout was attacked, and the group, sans Winona, had to flee down the river, protect The Sunflowardly Lion for no apparent reason and fight a giant purple octopus with bad teeth. How's a girl supposed to cry perfect, crystalline tears with all that shit going on?

We pick up where Ryan dropped off our heroes, on the Black Screen of Meta-Game Commentary, where our Moogle narrator is waiting to see whose path I am going to follow. You might recall that Guile was separated from his big bro and the others thanks to his brilliant plan to jump in the damn river and beat up the aforementioned giant purple octopus. The fact that Guile is available as a choice here must mean he didn't die due to his own stupidity. And given that he's not dead, he must be up to some wacky hijinks! Let's check it out!

I could make the Moogle simply walk up to Guile and talk to him, but that would be boring and non-erotic. So the Moogle instead chooses to approach Guile from behind and give him a little nudge, in that way, humping him right off the Black Screen of Meta-Game Commentary. "What dire fate has befallen GUILE, who fell from the raft after the fight with [Urktros]?" the Moogle, smoking a cigarette, asks as we fade out. Uh, "fell"? He fucking leaped into the river like he saw his brother naked down there. It happened five seconds ago, writers--a little too soon to try and trick us into thinking Guile's not a moron.

 
A fanfiction is born.

So what did happen to Guile after he "fell"? Well, it just so happens that he washed up ashore right next to a lone, tidy little cottage. The house just happens to feature a free, hopefully clean bed and a fellow on a Chocobo selling various helpful items. This way, Guile will be all rested and ready to take on the local monsters, which are conveniently right at his difficulty level! That is some super keen luck! Wow, fabulous!

More important than those comforts is the man standing next to the well outside the house. Why, judging from his Midnight Blue Gi of Despair and the Doberman at his side, I think this must be Flaffy, bad-ass ninja extraordinaire. You'll remember that Guile was not yet in the party when Edgar peed his royal-issue bikini briefs at the sighting of this fearsome fellow. So he has no trepidation over chatting Flaffy up, and asks if he knows how to get to Narshe from here. "You could try swimming back upstream to where you jumped off the raft, dumbshit," Flaffy doesn't say. That would be me. Instead, Flaffy non-sequiturs, "Imperial soldiers have built a base somewhere beyond the forest." Well, I'd give them a cookie, but I'm fresh out and also I don't care. Guile seems to think this is news, though. Flaffy goes on, "They seem to have their sights set on Doma Castle." This increases Guile's desire to reach Narshe and his big bro's lovin' arms. But apparently this whole tangent is going somewhere: Flaffy finishes, "Your only hope is through Doma. I'll show you the way."

This sounds nice and all, but Flaffy just has to throw in a caveat. "Just know that I may take off at any time, if I feel like it," he tells Guile. And he fucking means it, guys. Lounging at the local bed and breakfast? You'll wake up without so much as a note on the pillow next to you. Defeat a totally meaningless random baddie? Flaffy will see this as a sufficient fulfillment of his obligation to you and take off for Aruba. In other words: Flaffy is a shameless asshole. But he does do buckets of damage with his shuriken (pointy things you throw, for you non-Nipponophiles), which are happily available for purchase from the guy on the Chocobo. And his dog also has the potential to unload on an enemy as a counterattack for Flaffy. The dog, incidentally, is named Interceptor, and, well, there's no way I'm getting away from this without renaming the dog Intercourser. It would eat me up inside if I didn't.

Once Flaffy and Intercourser have been folded into Guile's pectoral muscles, Guile heads inside the house. Thinking that stoves, like clocks, might contain delicious, nutritious Elixirs, Guile walks up and touches the pipestove in the room, only to be scalded by red-hot metal. "Phew! No child could be this mischievious [sic]!" says someone. I don't know if it's the old man standing there, or Guile, or Flaffy, or what. It's just there. And misspelled. Following this mysterious uttering, the old man definitely says something. "Child...? Ain't no child 'round here! Bolderdash!" Bolderdash? And here I was told that this was a cleaned-up translation. The old man blahs on, "I'm ready for you to leave! Go on, git! I'm tossin' ya out onta the Veldt!" Well, how rude. Unless the Veldt is some magical meadow with Guile's favorite china and flowers and naked Edgars.

You should know that my brain registered 'eye' as something else.
 

Guile and Flaffy spoon for the night in the old man's bed, and wake up to find him still standing there, leering at them like a creep. The old man freaks out and runs across the room as soon as Guile says hello, asking if he's the clock maker. Is that like this game's version of the TV repairman, and the old man is the lonely, horny housewife? There is no porno guitar kicking in, so I guess not. Anyway, Guile's all, "Uh...no." The old man seems not to hear him and complains that his clock hasn't been working for as long as ten years. Oooookay. Nutbar.

Back on the world map, and I've already forgotten where Guile and Flaffy are going. I'm becoming a space cadet just by playing this game. Right, right, some place named Doma so we can get back to Narshe where Guile would already be if he weren't a stupidhead. Using my mad navigation skillz, I have Guile walk toward the closest white dot on the mini-map. It's far enough away that I have to suffer a large dose of this game's high encounter rate, but between Flaffy's flesh-ripping weapons and dog and Guile's new Genji Glove (what, you think I was giving that to Twiggy?) the many random battles between points A and B pass without incident. When our boys reach a small patch of desert sand east of a stone bridge, they're whisked forthwith from the world map.

The placard at the top of the screen tells me I've reached the Imperial Camp. As I would expect, the screen is filled with drab military-issue tents serving as bunkers and large crates full of WMDs or whatever. But there are also rough stone walls everywhere--around the tents, on the perimeter, everywhere. I imagine the game designers added these walls to both make the space look more interesting and to make it harder for me to just waltz around the joint, but in terms of in-game logic, why the hell are they here? I thought the Empire just decided to invade Doma. Is Doma such a popular target of military conquest that the walls were placed here as a convenience for future evil empires? Like campground sites at a national park?

Okay, my apologies for clearly overthinking that one. Guile and Flaffy patiently waited behind one of these walls for me to finish ranting, and now are getting the lay of the land. "This is an Imperial base," Guile explains to me, for I am stupid. "Too many soldiers..." For one thing, I see all of three soldier sprites on this screen, which at a military base seems like not enough soldiers, really. For another, shut up, Guile. Shut up a lot. Guile observes as two of the soldiers onscreen gossip about something. One of them frets, "Shhh! Quiet down. If Kefka catches us, we're toast." Oh, what's he gonna do, give you a makeover? Turns out that the guys are worried Kefka is jockeying to take command of this here invasion and push the formerly name-dropped General Leo out on his ass. Neither gossiper has a very high opinion of Kefka as a military master (can you blame them?), as evidenced by SOLDIER B's haughty exclamation, "If someone like him becomes a general, I'll go home!" Because I'm sure they'll totally let you do that. Keep thinking positive, though. Moron.

Kefka chooses this not-at-all contrived moment to walk out of the tent closest to where Guile is hiding. Predictably, the soldiers who were talking shit about Kefka not five seconds ago completely change their demeanor, slurping his ass like it's a strawberry milkshake. Kefka, to his credit, snaps, "Please! Save your petty small talk! Just do your job!" Once he's exited to the south, the soldiers carry on with their Kefka-bashing. Man, if they're getting this riled over Kefka being in charge of one stupid invasion, they're really not going to be thrilled with the direction the Imperial Army takes later. In the midst of the behind-the-back smack-talking, SOLDIER A mopes, "I hate that weirdo, Kefka. I don't even think he's human, not like General Leo..." Ow, Plot Mallet. Also, if these guys love Leo so much, why don't they marry him? Jesus.

A commander sprite walks up to the gossipy bitches at this point and tells them it's time to storm Doma Castle, and they're going to be part of the cannon fodder assault team. They scamper, thankfully quietly, offscreen.

Cut to a castle on a grassy knoll. Doma's turban-wearing soldiers stand atop the castle behind the parapet, presumably waiting for the Empire to show up and defeat them, because they're sure not doing anything otherwise. Pan below to a company of soldiers led by the commander from a minute ago. He commands them to attack with a wave of his sprite-hands, and they...well, this is going to sound odd, but I don't have another way to put it. A couple soldiers pick a spot on the castle's outer wall and begin ramming their heads into it, complete with hilarious bounce-back effect. Another guy chooses simply to keep walking against the wall as if to push it back with his superhuman strength, while his friend on the opposite side tries to jump up the wall like he thinks he's Spiderman. And still two more men pace back and forth, as if realizing the futility of the entire endeavor. I have prepared an animation of this "invasion" for your enjoyment.

 
The Empire's tax dollars at work. (0.8 MB)

Meanwhile, inside the oh-so-invadeable Doma Castle, a sentry wearing a turban reports, "It's hopeless. We can't keep them out." Dude, unless your castle's walls are a foot high and made of crackers, I think you can keep them out. Really. "A moment, sir!" the other soldier calls, and a new sprite, lacking a turban, enters from a door on the right. Like Guile, he's a beefy specimen, but he has a fabulous flowing black ponytail rather than a crew cut mullet. "Allow me the honor!" he says randomly. And he only gets one silly line before he's shunted along into the Black Screen of Meta-Game Commentary. Jeez, Twiggy had several scenes before her hazing. What gives?

"Faithful retainer to his family's liege, with the courage and strength of a hundred men..." the BS drones. If you're expecting some badass Auron-type, think again, folks. CYAN here is also an older man, and he does have a huge...sword. But I don't think Auron has either a gay mustache or a curly ponytail tied in a festive blue ribbon. To wit: he's like Auron, but gay. Like, "guy from the Brawny commercials" level of gay. So CYAN becomes KYAN, both to keep me straight on how to pronounce his real name and to repeatedly remind all of you of how homosexual he is. Kyan. Gay. Learn it. Live it. Love it.

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