As always, before you even start reading this blog, Check out Dankempster and his blog that inspired me to start this one. After a silly Safari error this dude's hurting real bad right now, so show him the support he deserves.
Previously On Enduring Final Fantasy IXWe only just started and you've already forgot? Well just to recap, we met Zidane, Tantalus and Vivi and have now just sneaked our way into the play with our new friend/master Puck. Check it out here if you havem't read it already. Now onto business:
I Want To Be Your CanaryBy the time Vivi's got into the play, it's already begun and we get to see Tantalus preforimg Alexandria's favourite play. I'm not going to go into too much detail about the play, it's good to watch but probably not the most riveting thing to talk about. It is awesome that Squaresoft really went out of their way to establish this fiction for the world, between plays like this and a detailed timeline that you can explore and learn about, it really does strengthen the feel that this world is just as real as ours and that there's a thousand more stories that could be told about it (which makes me sad because there should be a thousand more stories set in this world.)
After watching several minutes of the play, the player finally gets to take control of Zidane as he and Blank put on a sword fight for the nobles watching. For those who haven't played IX you can check out the sword fight here, but basically it's just a simon says style game where Blank calls out a command and the player has to input it as fast as possible. It's a fun minigame, although it's quite hard to work out why, as the transitions into animations are a bit stilted (the animations look awesome though) and it does just boil down to pressing a button when prompted to.
After the fight, Zidane and Blank rush offstage into the castle, where they rough up a couple of guards and steal their uniforms. Planning to use the uniforms as a means to get to the princess, Zidane bumps into a girl on their way to her chambers. Being the lady pleaser Zidane is, he flirts with the girl, but when trying to get a closer look at her face, she bolts down the stairs, knocking Blank out the way. As Zidane runs to chase her he reveals to Blank that she was infact...The Princess! Chase after her Zidane, and whilst you do so, I'll introduce the blog readers to her:
The Knights Of Pluto We now get to see two of the most annoying characters in Final Fantasy history, two court jesters by the name of Zorn and Thorn, who've just discovered the Princess is missing. As they make their way to the Queen, they're constantly talking to each other, but they do so in a way that just grinds against the plauer. They both say the same thing at the same time, but the words are arranged ever so slightly differantly. I'll slap a picture on the blog to give you an idea but it gets annoying fast. At the same time though, it's supposed to be annoying, and it just goes to show how amazing Squaresoft could be at character design when they wanted to be.
After breaking the news, the Queen orders her best to go out and find her...her best being General of the Alexandrian army, Beatrix. She also sends our third playable character, captain of the Nights Of Pluto, Adelbert Steiner:
It doesn't take long for the player to realise why Steiner's a bit of a joke in the castle, the Queen doesn't even remember his name for christ's sake! In assembling the Knights Of Pluto, all he get's is the two guards Zidane and Blank jacked earlier, and they still haven't got their uniform back. Furious, Steiner resorts to finding the Princess himself, punishing any of his Knights he finds a long the way.
After exploring the castle, Steiner finds himself at the top at one of it's towers. Just as he's about to give up hope, he looks across to the tower opposite where he see's Garnet running away from Zidane. We now get to see an awesome FMV that really cemented how awesome this game is to me. Don't have me ruin it with words, watch it for yourself.
How awesome's Garnet!?! Maybe she isn't the little girl everyone makes her out to be.
Well it turns out that she landed on the theater ship (handy) and after being chased through it by Zidane, Garnet reveals that she is running away from the castle and asks Zidane to kidnap her. It's nice when things work out like that and just when the plan looks like it's in full swing. Steiner confronts them. After trying to escape from the Knight, Garnet, Zidane and Steiner find themselves on stage where they are forced to improvise to not blow their cover. Stiener though is still trying to save Garnet and the whole sitaution is above him, and he takes the play ever so slightly too seriously, in a hilarious way.
Just as things are about to wrap up, Vivi is chased on stage by two guards who've realised he's snuck in, and whilst trying to defend himself with his black magic, he accidently sets fire to the princess, who is forced to throw off her cape and reveal her identity to the crowd. Queen Brahne isn't happy about this, so whilst the theater ship is trying to is trying to make it's getaway, she fires a bomb (you know the common Final Fantasy enemy) onto the ship, which explodes, sending the ship down into a nearby forest below. Not the best of escapes, but things are about to get a whole lot worse, this forest is more dangerous than you might expect....
Feedback and TriviaAnd there wraps up episode 1b and episode 1 as a whole. Thank you for reading, and as ever, PLEASE leave whatever feedback you can. Thank you and stay tuned for episode 2, where we'll fight our way through this forest and maybe even tackle the magical ice cavern and it's frosty dangers. Before it's fully over though, let me introduce you to one last feature: