March 25, 2016

Final Fantasy Legend II - Ranking

Not going to lie — nostalgia is going to play a big role in the ranking and I don't even care.  This shit saved me several summers' worth of staring at trees and rusty farm equipment.  There's no way I'm giving out anything less than a 50, out of sheer gratitude.

Story & World

Each world in FFLII is its own little world, with nothing linking them together other than a loose network of space vines.  It's like each one is its own chapter, but the chapters all come from different books and yet it somehow still kinda works.  There's a few reoccurring characters that pop up from time to time, notably Dad and Apollo, but they're not really enough to tie everything together.  Speaking of Apollo, does he take the prize for most obvious villain of all time?  I like how, even if we did nothing, Apollo still would have failed due to missing the one MAGI he didn't know about.  Shit, if he was so lazy as to make us gather the MAGI in the first place, maybe if we did nothing he just kinda would have given up.  I wish I could have liked Dad a lot more, as he was pretty decent in combat, but I have no respect for cheaters.  Good thing I'm a robot and don't really care what that walking, talking piece of shit does with his genitals (which are small).

The little details in each world continued to impress me throughout the entire game.  For example, this one cave was suppose to be so otherwordly mindblowing that we needed a special MAGI just to be able to begin to comprehend its splendour.  Now, how to accomplish that when you have a colour palette of monochrome?  How about a checkered floor pattern that constantly scrolls downward?  Even better, it scrolls at the same speed as the character moves, giving the funky illusion that the floor isn't moving, but just the walls are.  I never thought a GameBoy game would ever be able to get me to trip balls, but there you have it.  15/20

Character Development

Four classes that function very differently from one another in how they're built.  Humans and mutants are further split by being able to choose male or female, although I didn't see much difference between my two muties.  Party configuration itself can have a huge impact on how the game is played as a whole.  Human and robots are going to make for a costly party, which means a lot of grinding.  All monsters would have minimal grinding but be a challenge just to survive.

There are no levels to speak of.  Instead, stats randomly go up (for humans and mutants) depending on what weapon or magic they are using.  Robot stats are equipment dependent as well, but their stats are immediately altered and do not change after battle.  Monsters are all over the map, with all stats and abilities changing after eating fresh chunks of meat.

I really like how all the weapons are usable by all the classes (except monsters).  You want to make a ranger brandishing an axe and a bow?  You can do that.  You want a Jedi Knight type of character dual-wielding two laser swords?  Word up.  You want to be completely made out of chainsaws?  Well, it's been done already, but go ahead with yo bad self and doowhutchalyke, kid.  I think it also goes without saying that any game that allows a robot as a playable character is going to score big with Shen-dawg.  Weapons also have a limited number of uses before they break, adding another layer to the inventory management.  More powerful weapons generally break sooner, so it behooves the party to keep some weaker weapons on hand for the scrubby minions.  16/20

Combat & Monsters

With every character having multiple forms of attack, combat never becomes a case of button mashing.  Many foes have resistance / vulnerability to different elements and a good team leader will be mindful to keep a decent mixture of firepower on hand.  Groups of monsters are arranged in a manner I've not seen very often; they have depth in addition to breadth.  There can be a maximum of three sprites across the battlefield, but each one of those can have up to nine individuals in it.  Sounds daunting, but there must be limits in place as I never saw any single pack get to the max of 27.  Still, a single stack of nine can ruin your shit if they manage to go before any of the PCs that can harm entire groups.

In addition to usually outnumbering the party, monsters have a variety of special attacks at their disposal.  Some of them are pretty rank when encountered in a large stack.  For example, slime type creatures generally have a corrosive attack with ignores defense, putting me at a high risk of having my sweet chrome finish tarnished (also, death).  16/20

Graphics & Music

The attention to detail is staggering, with each world having a distinctive tileset and very few tiles being reused (other than basics like trees).  Monster sprites are nicely detailed although they lack animation.  Not all is lost, however, as the attacks themselves are animated and differ depending on the weapon or spell.

Music is pretty good, though bear in mind that it's heavily influenced by my nostalgic ear filters.  You can pass judgement for yourself by listening to a few of my favourite tunes here and here15/20


How well one deals with the economy depends entirely on the chosen party configuration.  I love it when games allow the player to customize the difficulty with the initial party selection (Final Fantasy I is the same way).  I much prefer this over having a nebulous difficulty setting because usually the details of such settings are hidden.  Of course, one will only become familiar with the different classes and their effect on difficulty by replaying several times, so the game itself better be worthy of multiple playthroughs.  Thankfully, FFLII totally is; I'm already thinking about having a go with an all mutant party (one male and three sexy, sexy females (*wink*)).  The overall pacing is brisk, though very linear.  The party isn't allowed to move on to the next world unless all the MAGI in the current world is found.  17/20

Final Ranking:  79/100

March 09, 2016

Final Fantasy Legend II - End Game

I didn't go too nuts with the chainsaws, I just replaced my arms, legs, and eyes.  As I sliced and diced my way through the various riddle locations, I came across a fellow robot guarding the exit to one of the caves.  I thought he'd do me a solid and just let me by, but his AI wasn't nearly as sophisticated as yours truly.  It's too bad as I was ready to let him join our little entourage.

We even blinked in unison, creepily enough.

Instead, I reduce him to spare parts for myself, gather up the last of the MAGI in the area and go back to see Apollo, who isn't there.  Shrugging, we continue on to the next world, a small area with one town full of Guardians.  Guardians are those brave folk who have made it their goal to gather and protect MAGI, and apparently Dad is their Captain!

Heh heh heh.  Oh wait, you're serious?
Let me laugh even harder.

After being mistaken for spies and thrown in jail, Dad comes to bail us out.  I have a ton of questions for Pops but he insists that we go have a rest.  Of course, during our nap, the base is infiltrated by piles of enemies looking for MAGI.  Dad joins our crew and we fight our way out of the trashed base, encountering an enemy just outside.  He brags about capturing Dad's daughter and dares us to chase him into the next world.  Aha!  Caught red-handed, Dad!  I knew you were cheating on Moms all those years!  Dad quickly tries to cover his tracks with some cockamamie story about how he was just acting as her father figure since her real dad "disappeared" and he was just "being there" for her mother.

This guy's definition of love confounds
even my dual quantum processors.

Dad bravely dies against the abductor and the crew and I have to take care of business, which we do with ease.  After returning my stepsister home, I leave that whole affair behind and head to the next world; a world run by the goddess Venus, who is obsessed by beauty and kicks anything she deems ugly out of her city.  She is super impressed with my flawless chrome finish and abundance of fireball decals, but I have to decline her offer to become her king because MAGI.  I get involved in a love triangle between a girl named Flora and two dudes named Leon and Nils.  Flora and Leon were set to get married but Leon was kicked out of the city due to being injured (and horribly scarred I presume).  Nils swept in and somehow forced Flora to agree to marry him instead.  Damn, humans, y'all would get so much more accomplished if you'd just stop thinking with your genitals all the time.  After exploring some sewers, I meet Leon in some shithole outside Venus City and give him the lowdown about Flora and Nils.  After relishing his human misery, I head off and explore an active volcano (because why not?) and then travel back to the city to watch the wedding.  Of course, when it comes time for Flora to say "I do.", she hesitates, giving Leon just enough to interrupt the nuptials in an appropriately dramatic way.

Parachuting in whilst screaming her name.

Leon tries to take on Venus with — get this — a knife and single Power MAGI and summarily gets beat down.  Flora, not to be out-dramaed by Leon, begs Venus for mercy and, when Venus refuses, Flora grabs Leon's knife and slashes her face, destroying her beauty.  Venus is aghast by Flora's action and looks ready to start punishing all involved.  I sigh, drag myself away from the buffet table, and interject for some reason.  That reason ends up being the MAGI that Venus starts to hemorrhage after we defeat her.  I think the three idiots work everything out afterwards; I'm not sure as I'm busy counting MAGI.  The next world has our old buddy Apollo and he's hosting a dragon race with MAGI as the prize.  There's four dragons to choose from, with the faster ones being more expensive.  I go with the fastest since I weigh a tonne and figure it'll balance out.  It doesn't and my dragon is so quick that I'm constantly crashing into the safety barriers.  It works out in the end, though, since I don't see anybody else racing and win by default.

Your ingenious scheme has too many
deep, complex layers for me to even
begin to have a hope to unravel.

After leaving the master of intrigue behind, the feudal world of Edo beckons.  Here, there is an illicit importing of an illegal substance that is going unchecked.  A village detective named Hana suspects local merchant Echigoya because, yeah, it's usually the importers that are mobbed up.  Hana's had troubled pinning a conviction on Echigoya and thinks that the Royal Court is corrupt and perhaps even the Shogun himself.  Boy, this mystery substance sure must be something; I wonder what it could possibly be?

Back in my day we called it China White.

Solving this mystery will take all my sleuthing abilities, which pretty much consist of wandering from location to location hoping to trigger event subroutines.  Eventually I track down both Echigoya and the Shogun meeting at an inn, laughing openly at how bad they each are and complimenting one another on said badness.  Too bad they forgot they're living in feudal Japan and the doors and walls are made of paper.  I bust through the paper, scream "OH YEAH!!" in my best soulless robot voice, and prepare for mortal combat.  Echigoya is surprised but confident in his nine bodyguards, no doubt reasoning that while my six chainsaws were busy shredding two-thirds of his force, the other three would be able to kick me or something.  His smirk disappears when he notices my groin compartment slide open, sees a massive cannon extend out, and then hears the final cries of all his men as I ejaculate sweet death unto them all.

Mmmm yeah... anybody got a cigarette?

Echigoya's dossier on me must have been outdated as I got rid of the chainsaws awhile back.  While they were totally sweet and awesome, they made me much too slow in combat so I upgraded myself to be a bit faster at the expense of not being chainsaws.  Since my main strength is dealing damage to entire stacks of enemies, it's crucial that I act quickly before a large stack gets all their attacks.  In order to increase agility, I had replaced the chainsaws with a set of laser guns and installed them in the appropriate spot.

Ahh, I can see again.

Echigoya falls soon after his guards and the Shogun starts losing his shit, calling for his daddy — who turns out to be a gigantic demon.  He's too big to battle well within the building so we head up to the roof in order to fill our quota of fighting in cool scenes.  Like all bad guys, he's supremely confident in his chances of winning.  One sliding of the groin compartment later and he's stunned into giving us a free round of attacks.

I get the same response from the ladies.

Next up is the appropriately titled Nasty Dungeon and it's here that I spend a good amount of time just exploring its vast depths.  I often have to bail since the fights are so tough, but the keen loot is just too tempting.  I pillage all eight levels and feel positive that I'll have little trouble handling Apollo, Oh! I mean, um, whoever is the nebulous, sinister force behind this shadowy, diabolical plot.  We make a stop in Valhalla to beat up Odin for some reason and then it's off to Final World, which I'm thinking is probably the final world.  Before I get there, in what has to be the shock of the century, Apollo shows up and reveals that it was he that had masterfully manipulated me into gathering the MAGI for him to exploit for — wait for it — POWER!  After I refuse to give him a damn thing, he warps in some of the people I've interacted with in previous worlds and threatens their lives.  Solid plan, for sure, but forgot to take in account that I'm a robot and don't have any goddamn fucking emotions.  I give him the MAGI anyway, as he's just so sad and pathetic, I kinda want to give him a chance to succeed.  It's totally worth it to see his eyes light up in devious joy and hear the sheer bliss in his laughter as he runs off to complete whatever his crazy endgame plan is.

Aww, of course you will, honey.  Now run along and
destroy the universe; I've got some baking to do.

Oh, and guess who shows up just in time to not fight?  Yeah, Dad's back and not dead somehow.  He actually comes with useful information as he tells me that Apollo is missing one of the MAGI.  The Guardians had spread misinformation about the total number of MAGI as a protective measure and Apollo is now one short.  Oh no!  Polly could get hurt!  I begrudgingly let Dad join and he says the final MAGI is located in the Final Cave.  Its location is near Final Town, which — now I'm just speculating here — may just be the last town so we quickly grab a few items.  I don't fully stock up as time is of the essence.  Who knows what kind of trouble Apollo could be getting into?  The Final Cave is a deep one and the walls are made of screaming faces whose constant wailing assaults our very souls with the anguish of a hundred lifetimes of pain and suffering.

Say cheeeeeeese... Dammit I blinked again!!

I daresay I'm having the most fun in this cave as its forces me to reconfigure myself once again, bringing down agility and boosting strength and defense.  The monsters here are quicker than I can reasonably make myself.  If I boost my agility to compete with these creatures, I won't be able to deal enough damage to make a difference.  I almost max out strength at 96 and have defense at a respectable 76; I am ready to face the final boss of Final Cave.

Which is me? Huh??  Oh wait, he's
missing the sweet fireball decals.

With the last MAGI safely stored in my upper-left torso compartment, I rush off to Apollo's castle to try to stop him from doing things.  I'm ready to give him the MAGI and help him out but he gets all uppity with me.  It kinda pisses me off so fuck him, it's on, beeotch.  He uses the Aegis MAGI to erect a shield for the first five rounds or so, which protects against most sources of damage.  I say most because, in case you forgot Apollo, I've had that Aegis in my possession for a hell of a lot longer than you and I know its weaknesses.

No dude, we've been consistently hitting
you for 1000+ damage each round.

Eventually, Apollo transforms into his second form which is actually capable of damaging us, but just a few rounds later his body starts to deform as the incomplete set of MAGI warps and mangles his pretty boy face.  Even while he distorts into twisted mass of fleshy chunks, I continue to pump hot lead into him, thoroughly enjoying the squishy sound each round makes.

Except for the dangling eye there.  That
actually makes me kinda nauseous.

Just before completely turning into soup, Apollo explodes and Dad valiantly (accidentally) absorbs the brunt of it, dying in the process and giving me my absolute favourite screenshot.

The game feels the same way about Dad as I do.

So, for you married folk out there, don't be a Dad and cheat on your spouse (unless they stop putting out, of course).  Think of your robotic children and how they won't feel.  At any rate, my joy is short-lived as all the MAGI merge and revive the goddess Isis, whose first act is to resurrect Dad, even though no one asked her to.

There can be more than one villain
in a game, you ignorant slut.

This isn't the finale, however, as the whole place starts to fall apart and we have to race to the exit.  Isis joins the party, flaunting her 99s in all four attributes like I'm suppose to be impressed or something.  The path out of the collapsing complex in very long and the random encounters start to take their toll.  I seriously start to regret not stocking up on healing items before at Final Town.  Completely tapped of said items, the exit looms near but one more obstacle must be overcome — the automated defense system, of which there are two.  Isis tackles one by herself (you go, girl!), leaving the other for the rest of us.  The ADS is bristling with weaponry, including four huge lasers and a massive energy cannon, and only one thought burns in my mind as it begins to power up its impressive array of destruction.

Ma... marry me?

Regrettably, I have to shut her down and so, once again, Shen misses out on an opportunity for love.  Oh well, as long as I'm wrecking stuff.  With Arsenal's destruction, Isis promises to repair the damage done to the worlds and I set off for the ending credits, revisiting each place I've been to over the course of my journey.  Once home, it's time for sleep mode until Dad wakes me up to inform me that he's going off on another adventure.  I take a special pleasure in noticing Dad's crestfallen face as both Moms and I announce that we're going to accompany him this time.  I only wish I had a tongue to be able to lap up his sweet tears of disappointment.