Today we are going to be talking about video games. Why? Because we here at worst cartoons ever firmly believe that videogames are an animated medium. Think about the animation of modern video games, and how far it has come from the old arcade games of the 80s. The styles as well as the technology have evolved to the point that many of the cut-scenes in modern games can rival the cgi found in films. There is also the pile upon piles of bad video games that just deserve a good kick in the face.
There was a lot of debate about which game should first be featured on our website. Some felt the classic Atari port of E.T. belonged here, others wanted to take on any game featuring aqua man. We finally rested on a game we feel best embodies the problems of a major video game Genre. That game is:
(Shudder) I can hear the fanboys amassing already. Let me just make my self clear. Final Fantasy 6, or 3 as it was known in the United States, is not a horrible game…by itself. In fact it is probably one of the most beloved SNES RPGs of all time. The reason it’s here on our website is because of the legacy it has left the RPG genre.
The major complaint we all had with this game: Where’s the story? FF6 is a long game, which is really par for the course with most FF titles, but lacks a major narrative drive. If you ask 2 fans to summarize the plot of this game, you are likely to get 2 very divergent answers. The reason is that FF6 has a very weak story. In fact, you can argue that it has practically no real plot, just a premise. That premise? An insane clown/political advisor named Kefka is manipulating a nation to wage war against all the neighboring kingdoms in an attempt to gain access to some item that will let him destroy the world and become a god. Take away the insane clown twist, and you have most RPG villains.
FF6 tries to compensate for this basic plot by having a huge number of characters for the play to use. Including the two bonus characters there are a total of 14 playable characters. That, even by modern standards, is a crap load of characters. The problem with having this many characters is that you can’t really develop them all.
As it stands the development of these characters is almost entirely optional. 12 of the characters are picked up naturally over the story, but outside of an initial motivation for them to join your party, most of these characters don’t have much in terms of their own storylines or even a personality.
The strangest thing about this game is the indecision over who is the main female protagonist. The game begins with the character Terra, an amnesiac mage, who spends most of the game trying to figure out her origins. By the end of the game she isn’t even required to be in your party, and can very easily be forgotten.
The other female lead is one named Celes, one of those 18 year old generals that only seem to exist in video games and anime. She has been experimented on by her government to make her a soldier capable of using magic. From the point of her introduction, to the end of the game she becomes not only the main romantic lead, but the example of how deep and interesting this game and its characters are. The source of this love? Just take a look:
This scene is considered one of the most dramatic of the FF franchise. There are accounts of people tearing up over this sequence, and frankly I don’t get it.
The major twist of this game is that the bad guy actually wins. At a little past the halfway point Kefka the *snigger* evil clown/jester/cospaly enthusiast…whatever, actually becomes a godlike being, and reshapes the world. You gain control of Celes a couple of years after the point living on a tiny island with her mentor. You try to save your mentor’s life by getting him fish…in perhaps the lamest mini game ever. When your mentor kicks the bucket, or gets better, you leave island and spend the remainder of the game recruiting your old friends. Then you climb a tower and kill the clown…The End.
This game in a lot of ways is the model that most JRPGs follow. The concept of the villain succeeding was fairly new, as was the concept of introducing the main villain early in the story. It also was one of the early RPGs that tried to be more character focused. In this case though, the large number of characters prevented any one cast member from being fully developed.
The game play was fun, but game play alone cannot compensate for a weak story at least in a RPG. FF6 is a sprawling adventure, but lacks a narrative focus or enough attention on any character that they become more then their archetype.