A Gamer Looks At 40

Ep 102: Final Fantasy 4 (Part 2) - Moments and Characters

May 20, 2024 Episode 102
Ep 102: Final Fantasy 4 (Part 2) - Moments and Characters
A Gamer Looks At 40
More Info
A Gamer Looks At 40
Ep 102: Final Fantasy 4 (Part 2) - Moments and Characters
May 20, 2024 Episode 102

Last week, we started the FF4 fire by documenting our initial impressions. On this week's episode, we go deeper into the big (and small) moments that left an impact along with the  characters that made this SNES launch title a game to remember. 

STARRING (all handles from Twitter)

Barry Carenza of Premium Edition Games (@HawkHellfire)
Greg Sewart of the Player One Podcast and Generation 16 (@sewart)
John Trenbeath (@crazyjohnt)
Julian Titus (@julian_titus) of The Stage Select Podcast (@StageSelectPod)
Mekel Kasanova (@MekelKasanova)
 Mike of the Distorted Illuminations YouTube channel (@MadMonarch_DI)
Mike aka MageORage on Twitch and YouTube (@mageorage)
Mike Albertin of Games My Mom Found Podcast (@mom_found)
Moses aka @thewellredmage of the-pixels.com and Gamelogica on YouTube
Ryan Lindsay of KISS 105.3 in Ottawa (THERyanLindsay)
Trevor and Jeff of New Dad Gaming Podcast (@NewDadGaming)

SONG COVERS

Final Fantasy IV - Overworld Main Theme - Classical Guitar Cover by Atomix - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hux9iMPdYkQ

Final Fantasy 4 Celtic Moon Track 5 Main Theme by Ozzylifeson Soundtracks - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX2vIjZgxuY&list=PLBCFB68C388EC836D&index=5

FINAL FANTASY IV: 'Rydia's Theme' | Classical Guitar | John Oeth by John Oeth - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgsyimjKsxk

My Website: agamerlooksat40.com
My Discord: https://discord.com/invite/SdaE4atGjC
My Twitter: @agamerlooksat40
My TikTok: @agamerlooksat40
My Facebook: facebook.com/agamerlooksat40
My Insta: @agamerlooksat40
My Patreon: patreon.com/agamerlooksat40
My Email: agamerlooksat40@gmail.com
My Phone Number: Ehhhhh, not gonna happen. :-D  

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Last week, we started the FF4 fire by documenting our initial impressions. On this week's episode, we go deeper into the big (and small) moments that left an impact along with the  characters that made this SNES launch title a game to remember. 

STARRING (all handles from Twitter)

Barry Carenza of Premium Edition Games (@HawkHellfire)
Greg Sewart of the Player One Podcast and Generation 16 (@sewart)
John Trenbeath (@crazyjohnt)
Julian Titus (@julian_titus) of The Stage Select Podcast (@StageSelectPod)
Mekel Kasanova (@MekelKasanova)
 Mike of the Distorted Illuminations YouTube channel (@MadMonarch_DI)
Mike aka MageORage on Twitch and YouTube (@mageorage)
Mike Albertin of Games My Mom Found Podcast (@mom_found)
Moses aka @thewellredmage of the-pixels.com and Gamelogica on YouTube
Ryan Lindsay of KISS 105.3 in Ottawa (THERyanLindsay)
Trevor and Jeff of New Dad Gaming Podcast (@NewDadGaming)

SONG COVERS

Final Fantasy IV - Overworld Main Theme - Classical Guitar Cover by Atomix - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hux9iMPdYkQ

Final Fantasy 4 Celtic Moon Track 5 Main Theme by Ozzylifeson Soundtracks - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX2vIjZgxuY&list=PLBCFB68C388EC836D&index=5

FINAL FANTASY IV: 'Rydia's Theme' | Classical Guitar | John Oeth by John Oeth - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgsyimjKsxk

My Website: agamerlooksat40.com
My Discord: https://discord.com/invite/SdaE4atGjC
My Twitter: @agamerlooksat40
My TikTok: @agamerlooksat40
My Facebook: facebook.com/agamerlooksat40
My Insta: @agamerlooksat40
My Patreon: patreon.com/agamerlooksat40
My Email: agamerlooksat40@gmail.com
My Phone Number: Ehhhhh, not gonna happen. :-D  

Support the Show.

Hey, everybody, Bill here, and I wanted to set some expectations real quick before we launch into this new episode. This show is a full spoiler cast. I will be spoiling all sorts of story beats, getting some new listeners thanks to this Final Fantasy series. They may not be used to the show. So if you're listening to this or any episode of a game or looks of 40, we spoil, we spoil, we spoil. So if you haven't played Final Fantasy four. Stop what you're doing right now, take a week off of work, and get that game done because it truly is a masterpiece. Let's jump into the episode. Cecil becoming a paladin, Kane's betrayal, Palam and Poram sacrifice, Brideous Titan, Sid just being Sid. Final Fantasy 2 was more than mode seven effects in the active time battle system. It was a collection of personalities carefully woven into a genre defining narrative. Talk about this game's big moments and memorable characters almost seems too daunting a task to tackle in one episode. Let's give it a shot anyway. On this episode of A Gamer Looks at 40 we share our personal stories of moments and characters that rocked us as kids and whose power and influence continues to resonate today. Time to equip our finest threads, gather a party, and try not to cry when Sid launches himself into a crater as we embark upon episode 102, Final Fantasy IV, part two, Moments and Characters. at as a collective, the story of Final Fantasy IV is really one giant moment, or at least it feels that way when you're in the middle of playing it. But that doesn't mean some pieces of the story hit harder than others. To talk about some of these bigger moments is content creator, Mikhail Casanova, followed by Julian of the Stage Select podcast and Barry Karenza of Premium Edition Games. I want to say when you get the orders, And this is the beginning. Right, right. When you're when this came and so so and you had to go to the town where Riddia is and basically you're not told the reason for going there and you destroy the town that impacted me. I felt such guilt when we destroyed the town inadvertently. And kill the Eidolon. I like to call it Eidolon. You can say icon or something. However you want to say. Yeah. But like when we when we killed the one in the in the cave and I just it just hit me so hard that when I was a kid I cried because I'm like I felt such guilt for having destroyed all these people's lives like it. was something I wasn't used to because, you know, every game typical, the mainstream games at the time, the fighting games, the platform is the action games. You just run through just, you know, without consequences, run right, kill everything, get to the end. But having to have consequences for your actions and in seeing how it negatively impacted Rydia, killing her mother and family and friends and all that, that... Just stuck with me and it took me a couple days to come back to it because Wow, i'm a very impotent, you know, in fact, empathetic person, you know empathic. Okay. Gotcha. Yeah. Yeah. So like when that happened I had to process that because I was never that that wasn't the norm back then. Yeah. And so I just I needed time to figure out like, okay again, Like my my other older brother Devon's like bros just again Hmm loose. It's just a gang press forward. You're still at the beginning of the game. I'm like he's like this is so much more unit I destroyed this whole town man like I think he's like 14 or 15 at the time now is 9 or 10 and he's like yeah, dude That that one last thing with me and then we know it's at this point. It's a true You write to it all the time, but at the time, that right there is just, yeah. And what's really amazing about that too is that you hit on something, you did it. Like you're controlling the character that did this bad thing. And even as a 10 year old, you understood the morality of it. You understood the questioning of it. You understood this was not okay. I now have to live in this character's shoes. Like this is me. Like you talk about self -inserting and you don't... like to self -insert into games, but we inevitably do because we're controlling these characters. We have that agency in the game. So not only have you witnessed this terrible thing, you're the one who did the terrible thing. You are the bad guy, you know, air quotes, very loosely stated. That's tough. And the game confronts you with Rydia right away. Like, hey, here's the lone survivor. She gets mad, she throws Titan, boom, you and your buddy are off. And now you have to like deal with this related reconciliation and to actually confront it probably for the first time. Cecil's been, is confronted with the results of his actions. It's such a huge character arc situation. I mean, it's just, and to experience that. Yeah. And then like the dialogue between Kane and Cecil, like about that, the guilt. And then questioning the king about the whole thing too. Like it just, it was so heavy. And then following that, the betrayal from Kane. I was like, are you serious? Yeah. You know? Yeah. Come on. Are you serious? I feel like they did it better with Shadow and Final Fantasy six, but like for the first time experiencing something like that, I was like, I'm like, every time you got to control Kane again, I'm like, I don't want this backstabber in my party. How long till you turn on me? And you find out, you find out it's it's really something else. And again, the the the game just goes places and and all the Final Fantasy games, even the first one. Yeah. But especially like the second two and three Japanese two and three. The stories. go places, like they're not afraid to go for it. When I played two, I was shocked on how much they go for it. Like, they're killing people left and right, there's real drama here, and I'm like, this is a far cry from Final Fantasy I, light the four orbs and fight chaos at the end, right? And every subsequent title, they've always focused on character and making those characters very real and believable. And yeah, that's a great moment. I mean, yeah, that opening, it might be one of my favorite openings other than Six, but Six was such a formative game for me. striking any big, small, you know, anything, anything from the game that you recall as striking. the game constantly pulling on my heartstrings, right? Like, it does that a lot. I mean, and that's the thing, right? I remember, you know, not to get too far ahead, but a lot of people will say that Final Fantasy seven was like the first video game that made them cry. Final Fantasy four was the first game that made me cry and it did it more than once. And it's because like. throughout a large portion of that game, they trick you into thinking that the worst has happened to characters that you love. And they do it so well every time. And then just, you know, like other moments like the big whale coming out of the ocean, right? And like that first trip to the moon. And, you know, again, like so much of my stuff is music related. Landing on the moon and that music starting out so weird. And like, you're like, at least for me, I was like, I don't know how I feel about this. And then when it gets into the actual full moon theme, it's like, wait, this is gorgeous. Just so many things like that. It's one of my favorite endings because it actually does give you closure for the characters, even if it's done in the very, as Jeff and Ryan from No One Can Know About This say often, like the... the puppet theater nature of the game, right? Like it's just a little overworld sprites kind of like play acting, but it's still, it's very effective for the time. Yeah, I mean, there's really nothing about it that I don't love. It is, you know, it's not a perfect game, very few are, but like, man, you know. It just it makes me so happy to play it. Now, the downside to that is that since I have played it so often as I've, you know, like past like the age of like 25 or so, it's difficult for me to finish it these days simply because I've gone through it so often. So I hear right now, like like I've been going through the pixel remasters. I am about at the midway point on Final Fantasy four. Now, granted, I've been playing a lot of other new games and they, as I said, they're they're very long. But even so, like, I know that I haven't been striving to get back to it simply because it's like the known quantity. But at the same time, but it's just great. And like, I'm not caught up on Final Fantasy 14 yet, but I know that the Raid series from the Endwalker expansion is all based around Final Fantasy 4. Like, they were kind of like, no, we're waiting until we conclude this first big story arc to give you all of the Final Fantasy 4 references. Thank you. And I was like, okay, I'm here for this. That's like, you've got a $40 mount. That's the big whale that can seat eight players. Yeah, I'm going to buy that even though I never play with more than two people at a time. Because it plays the lunar whale music when I fly around in it. So yeah, I need that. For that you remember you mentioned yeah Palom and yeah Yang our way the yeah, you know yang sacrificed himself and then you had to go to his wife and tell her That yang sacrificed. Yeah, that was such a moment Like I was like what this game is making me do this or maybe you didn't have to that's I think that's how you got the spoon Well the knife but for us it was a spoon. Yes, but but but it was like She gave you that for telling her the information, but you had to deliver that. It's like the police knocking on someone's door saying, sorry, your husband just got killed. You know, it was such a heartbreaking scene and it still stuck with me to this day. I haven't gone back and played much of 4 proper since the Super Nintendo because I don't like to replay games. And when it's still so vivid, it's what, almost 25 years, 26 years later, and I still remember that. That's how much of an effect it had on me. It was that good. Yeah, the game really does force you to go emotional places because all the deaths in for are sacrifices, if I remember correctly. They're all sacrifices and they're all for the greater good. And you're right, they do have the Disney thing. And I'm looking it up while we were talking and not sure if the SNES version did that. Obviously the remasters and the subsequent games, they kind of call it the Disney death where they come back in the end because they're not really dead. Everyone except Tela. Yeah, Tela dies. Tela dies and I think he stays dead. He does not come back. But everybody else eventually returns in some form, some way, some shape. And... But when they happen, it's all for the greater good. The biggest one for me, was Palam and Porma. yeah, you stopped the walls from closing. Them turning to stone. When I played it again on the remaster, I think it was now two years ago, I gasped, I forgot. I had completely forgotten what happened. And when they sacrificed, I had one of those moments. And I'm like, this is a 30 year old game and it hit me. Yeah. Like it did like it would have when I was 11 or 12, I played. Next up to discuss some of the more science fiction elements of Final Fantasy four is Mikel Casanova, followed by Mike of Major Rage TV on Twitch and then Greg Seward of the Player One podcast and Generation 16 series of videos. closes the section by talking about the game's possibly most powerful and talked about scene. So as a kid, I think when you learn about the Lunarian and like that whole shift of, you know, learning what's okay as an adult, it's out of nowhere. It's almost at least to me. It's almost as out of nowhere as the the final boss of Final Fantasy 9. You're like, where the heck did that come from? So as an adult, it doesn't make sense. As a kid, I was like, whoa, we went from medieval nights and all that to now, you know, all this stuff from the red moon and, and all that, like, what? We got aliens now? Like, you know, I'm just like, I was just so mind blown back then, but. As in the - We're on the moon. We're on the moon? Right. What are we doing now? On the moon? Really? Okay. You know, and the fact that Final Fantasy XIV's, what is it, Inwalker, before the new one came out, like they even touched on that. Like they were just referencing, because that is basically, XIV is such a reference. I love XIV. But as a kid, it just was wild because I had never experienced anything like that. Like I was really, you know, I was like, wait, Cecil is he's Lenarian and you know, he's got all these other abilities and all the bad guys, his older brother. I was like, what? And I'm just like geeking out about it, like going to like friggin like kindergarten and first grade, just like geeking out to my, my friends about it. And they're just like, what, what are you talking about? Are you going to play Contra? Are you going to play Street Fighter 2? Like, What? You know, it's just weird. but as an adult, I go back to it and I'm just like, that could have been executed a tinge bit better. You know, a little bit more foreshadowing would have been nice. It's, it's very Stephen King. It's like a Stephen King ending. It's just where we have a bad guy now. Here's your big bad. I've spent too long on this 900 page novel. Let's just get to end it. Let's get to end it here. Big bad. It doesn't make sense, but you've read this long anyway. She might as well just roll with it. It's literally feels like a Stephen King ending to a story. It's very, it's very funny. You mentioned it like that. standout moments for you or things that you remember connecting to? I love the big reveal that he's his brother. That they're siblings. I thought that was a nice touch. Sorry, spoilers. This is a full spoiler cast. So don't even don't worry about it. Spoil away. This is well established as a spoiler show. So by all means, go for it. They it's a it's a wonderful it's tropey. And. But it's unexpected. Like, it doesn't feel telegraphed at all, but it is slightly foreshadowed. And I feel like there's a balance in the storytelling in Four that he hadn't been able to hit yet, and it was almost assuredly because of, you know, just having so many extra characters for the text and being able to tell a more complete kind of story. But... It just really is tight narratively. Like you said. Yeah, man. Absolutely. So so the foreshadowing is there, but not excessive. And so it doesn't feel telegraphed in and therefore cheesy. It feels like a genuine twist and not something that was done just for shock value. I totally agree. Yeah. And it'd be so easy to do just the shock value twist. You see it out of Hollywood all the time. And I think what's very interesting about that is that you hit, I think you hit on something really interesting in that it wasn't done for a shock value and it left just enough breadcrumbs where it felt earned. Like it felt like an earned surprise as opposed to a cheesy twist, which is I think what you're kind of going for there is it definitely felt, yeah, like an earned surprise. And when it does hit, I didn't get the feeling of, come on, really? Yeah, Luke, I am your father. Is that what we're doing now? You never get that feeling. You really feel there is a genuine surprise, but there's enough breadcrumbs hidden throughout the text that when you think back, you can start making those parallels. Yeah, I agree. I think it's a very well -crafted subversion. I was just going to say, I like that you made the Star Wars analogy right there, because, I mean, It's kind of fitting with four with all the sci -fi elements to it as well. You've got the extra reveal that not only are they hidden siblings, but Cecil and Golbez are Lunarians. They come from the moon. You go there, you meet another Lunarian, get him in your party and get another badass old mage in the game. I love the badass old sages, man. The sage is a beast of a class. I love it. I love it. As I get older and older and find myself as the oldest person in the room more and more often, I am adopting that. I'm adopting the Sage mentality. I love it. I'm like, I'm cool with being the old person. I'm cool being the old guy. This is great. I can tell you when Netflix sent you DVDs. I can tell you stories of yore. I'm super into it. So I totally agree. The wise old Sage trope is a very fun one for me. I love it. then they tell us to take our pills and go to bed. That's it. It's great. Good. Thank you for reminding me. I would have forgotten if you hadn't done that. That's fantastic. I love it. The obvious one is Cecil becoming a Paladin, obviously. That moment of Cecil becoming a Paladin, I'd like to dine on that a bit because I think it's one of the best examples in Final Fantasy of game and play and story, gameplay and story combining and into making something that really works on both levels thematically. The fact that when you are, let's say, resurrected or reborn into a Paladin, you start from level one. Yeah. Like that's cool. Like that's like there's like there was like there was a cost to it. Right. And yeah, it was almost it was almost like being born in a lot of ways, because also if you you know, when you're up on Mount Ordeal and that happens, none of his previous armor fit there, works anywhere. You can't wear it. Right. So if you didn't know it was going to happen or you didn't have the forethought to because you're in the city before that and all the the light, I forget what it's called, but all the light gear is available that you can't wear yet. I mean, you could easily just buy it all anyway if you wanted. But you know, you didn't necessarily know what was about to happen. And I know actually I just played that part today and I'd forgotten. I knew what was gonna happen, but I'd forgotten that my armor wasn't gonna be useful anymore. So when you're coming back down out of the mountain, not only is Isso at level one, but he's very vulnerable to attack, which was great. Again, it's almost a feeling of being born. and it's told through the game system, so not so much as, you're not warned about it in any way, because I remember getting into battle right away and it's like, wow, he really took a lot of damage there, what's going on? And then I checked his equipment, he's like, he doesn't have any. He has his sword and that's it. Wow, it's so good how they incorporated that. It's one of those moments that really do stick with you. It is time once again to thank my wonderful patrons, starting with Greg Seward of the aforementioned Player One podcast and Generation 16 series of videos, the Let's Play Princess, Tim Knowles, formerly of the Lidist, Seth Sergel of the All N Podcast, Terry Knair, Games with Coffee, BT Gobbles, Julian of the State Select Podcast, and finally the wonderful and always well -groomed Pete Harney. I don't know that as a fact, I'm just assuming. If you want to join these amazing human beings in supporting the show financially, move on over to A Gamer Looks At 40 on Patreon. Patreon .com forward slash A Gamer Looks At 40. Review the tiers and if something strikes your fancy, sign up today. Big moments are what dominate the top 10 lists of the internet. Final Fantasy IV is filled with dozens of beautifully small moments as well. Lovely grace notes that enrich the story beyond a typical set piece centric experience. To talk about these tiny but mighty moments, Mikhail returns to Bat Lidov followed by John of the B. Cron's foundation. What were some of the big moments that you remember? Sticking with you and maybe some of the little moments as well that that that just kind of stuck with you either playing it again as an adult or as a kid We're okay with spoilers. I mean the game is like 30 something years old. We spoil it away. This is all spoiler. Yeah, totally So I think for me one of the big points when I was a kid and also when I you know went back and I Played the pixel remaster back when it came out The biggest thing for me that really stood out and it should be other scenes. But when Tella showed up at the castle and found his daughter dead. That. It just hit me like how angry he was and how like he was just reckless, you know, his reckless abandon, like just going after. You know, the empire basically, you know, for what they did. And I'm just like, that struck me as a kid because I wasn't, you know, I'm so used to as an example, bad dudes. OK, bad dudes versus dragon ninja. Right. Or a ninja dragon. We're over here like, you know, hey, the president is kidnapped. Are you a bad enough dude to go see the president? And you know, yes, I am. Right. Like that's the most motivation I need. But I'm over here and this character is telling me why he's angry. And the range of emotions. And as a kid, I'd never experienced that outside of like watching movies. I'd never experienced that in a character in a game. So I was gripped like, and not to say that I wasn't gripped at any other points. So like when Rydia was brought in, like that, the whole scene with how Kane and Cecil inadvertently destroyed her town and, you know, killed her mother and everything like that, like that was, that hit me. But Tella, like his whole thing just grabbed me and I'm like, yeah, I gotta play this through to see how this goes. Yeah. Tella is such an interesting character because again, I played this for the first time probably three or four years ago. So again, very recently, it was just one of those I had never gotten around to. And I've heard all the great things. And I saw, I totally identified with Tella in that moment. where like, cause I have kids, I have a son and a daughter and I'm like, yeah, that murderous kind of single -minded, not even raised, just as determined, I am going to get revenge for this. Like this is now going to happen. Like this is now my mission and I'm going to do this. And it's not, and the way he approaches it is with an energy of this is now the mission. This is now what life is for me. And not like he's angry. but he's not like rageful, crazy. He's focused. He's, I'm going to learn meteor and I'm going to take him down. And I don't care what that costs. The cost is irrelevant. And I look at that, I'm like, man, I totally get that energy, right? Like I could totally, you know, as a father, we want to protect our kids. That's what we do, right? That's part of the gig and any parent and you know, mother, father, anything, but it's just like part of it, right? And that I understand, like I get to see the source of that. And then I can't help but think like as a kid, how would that strike me? Cause again, I didn't have that experience. So it's really cool. You caught that too. Just even as a young person, you were just like, yeah, I got it. That makes a lot of sense. about Final Fantasy 4. Obviously the game's again very curated experience, narratively, the pacing is fantastic in that game and there's lots of big moments. I kind of bring up big moments, but I want to know if there are any smaller moments of Final Fantasy 4 that really you connect with either then or now. Well, some of the smaller ones. We all remember the Paladin and we all remember. Yeah. I can't believe we've talked about Final Fantasy 4 for this long and not. Once have we said you spoonie bard so I mean that's Fair I mean that's like and At the time it's a small moment, but I think it's probably become the biggest moment It's up there Yeah, you know going back and talking to Yang's wife or Young or I always called him Yang Going back and talking to his wife and getting the frying pan and going and bonking them on the head in the in the underground. That that's a cool little moment. A bigger moment when Edge's parents have been turned into the monsters and like when they're kind of coming out of there being monsters and they're having that conversation with him. Like that's a really touching moment in the game. And then having Rubicante come and be like, hey man, that wasn't me. I'm really sorry about that. That was that crazy dude and you just killed him anyway. So my bad for hiring him. I'm really sorry, but bye. But like that, that is. an underappreciated moment, I think, in terms of video game emotional moments. When you're younger, you maybe don't appreciate it as much, but being older and seeing it... Because I played through 1 through 6 last year, right after the Pixel Remaster came out, and seeing that again, and it had been a little while since I've played it, it was like, man, that's a really kind of... A bigger moment than it gets credit for I think. Yeah, it's a deep moment. Yeah. Yeah. As far, maybe another moment would be when Rydia comes back. I mean, like, Golbez is about to defeat you, and then she comes back and saves the day. That's a cool moment. My biggest gripe, I will say, between four and six, because to me, they're more closely tied. I think to people our age who maybe played those back in the day because we played them back to back. Right? A quest doesn't count. You look at the villains and the and I think that's why six and seven are so highly regarded is because they've got the best villains. They've got Kefka and you've got Sephiroth and they're kind of the they're not necessarily the villains up front right away. But once they become the villain, They are the bad guy. And that is one thing I will say about four is that they do this really good job of introducing Golbez and him being the big bad. And then like later on it's like, no, they're the bad guys on the moon. Why wouldn't the bad guy be on the moon? Well, that's where bad guys come from is the moon. What is wrong with you? So that's the only part of four that I really... don't like is you've got this build up, build up, build up. And then when you finally do fight Golbez, it's kind of like, and then he joins your side anyway and is your brother and you go to the moon and he's not even the, you don't get introduced to the real bad guy until the very end. And I, that's like, I think maybe one of the first times Final Fantasy does that trope of, Here's the bad guy. psych. No, he's here's the real bad guy, right? Yeah Yeah, like cuz that kept happening like it happened in eight it happened in nine I Guess with ten that didn't happen. I haven't played through all twelve. So I don't know how yeah I mean it's sin, but it's not you know, right? And I will say I thought 15 did a good job with like establishing a bad guy and it being the bad guy. I know some people didn't like 15. I liked 15 a lot. I really did. Cool. But that's, that's, that's not what we're talking about now. Way, way, way down the line. Way down the line. But that would be my biggest complaint with fours. Just like that switch of who's the villain. Next up, Greg Seward returns to talk some small moments, followed by Julian, then Mike Alberton of Games My Mom Found, and then Greg returns once again to discuss Final Fantasy IV's ending. But Palam Mporum's sacrifice, that stuck with me. I vividly remembered that when I played through it the first time, just because you didn't see it coming. And the fact that they also left those two there in stone for the rest of the game, and you could come through there whenever you wanted. Really? Yeah. You could always go back and get that reminder. And then to the other thing that I really remember is the first time going to the underworld when you gilded the bottom of the airship. I forget, was it a volcano? You're under a crater or something. It's a crater, I think. It's a crater. And getting down there and realizing, my god, there's a whole other world down here. What? And then you end up on the moon. Yeah. Yeah, again, the sense of scope is so, it feels massive. It really does. It's very effective. So I talk a lot about, of course, big moments in the game. And of course, Final Fantasy 4 is full of those big moments. Are there any small moments of the game that resonate with you that you remember either being taken aback by or just something to hit you? Yeah, I, you know, I'm always amazed at, like, the small, like the subtle moments. I love even though, you know, he's a he's a relatively easily, you know, mocked character. when you have a moment to stay in an inn after you get Edward the Bard, and he gets out of bed and he goes and he starts playing his music because he's missing Anna, and then he gets attacked, right? And so he has to defend himself and he is a terrible character to battle with, especially Solo. And then her ghost appears to him and kinda tells him that he has to stand on his own. It's such a beautiful little moment. And then again, later on when... He helps you, you know, to fight defeat the dark elf, which is a nice little throwback or a nice little callback to Final Fantasy one. You know, little things like that. And and I think I think for me, a lot of it also, you know, you might have a special segment for this, so I don't I won't go too far. But like musical bits, right? Like Final Fantasy four is one of my favorite soundtracks of the entire series. And there's there's certain parts like specifically. The town of Macedia and the town of Fabul. Those were me and my cousin's favorite like town tracks. So once we got the airship, we would make a deal. I could go to Macedia and just sit in Macedia for a while and just listen to that music for a bit. As long as we then took the airship to Fabul so my cousin could hear the music from Fabul for a few minutes. That's amazing. That is so great. That's the kind of thing that wouldn't exist anymore, because again, you have online Spotify, YouTube. You can just listen to that. You had to get your fix. That is so great. I love that memory. That is so funny. You just sit there, listen to it, just kind of hang out and let the songs play. That is amazing. What a tribute to that music. The music is, I mean, singing is good. It's crossed the board. Me again, we're talking Final Fantasy, right? But it is pretty special, for sure. That studio music in particular. hit a chord with me like, wow, yeah, that's a really very, very solid stuff. Yeah, I mean, I'm sure I won't be the first person to say it, right? But Rosa's theme of love is taught in Japanese schools, like in music school, right? Like it's just a seminal piece of music. And also, as we're recording this, I just listened to your interview with Arnie Roth from Distant Worlds, and he had mentioned how Uematsu's like has a big Celtic influence. And I urge every person who's listening to this episode to pause it right now and go look up Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon, which is a Celtic remix album that Uematsu did of Final Fantasy IV. It is incredible. And you're welcome. Wow. Yeah. Now I now have something I'm going to be listening to right after this. That sounds amazing. It's so fantastic. When Cecil becomes a paladin, I'm sure I've stuck out a lot of people just the change of that I remember that really surprising me Well, Rydia when Rydia when she first Rydia how I'm righty is all I said when she when she becomes an adult after you lose her I never liked her as a kid because I don't like mage's as much but my father really liked her he's like Hey, she's good. She can summon this and I like I don't like her. I remember that as a kid. I Complaining so you weren't a righty a fan or pretty a fan not fan. I mean, I'm not I still player bgs I don't use magic as much and just not my thing, but I'm trying to better that but no I mean, it's just something that I didn't like I just remember that like also running across the summoners cave Just by accident as it when I was a kid Not knowing what what the hell's going on and all of a sudden getting to that bottom part and there's monster town I remember being like what the hell a lot of shock and all Yeah Monster Town is super cool. Yep. Very, very, very cool part of the game for sure. I remember that. Yeah, I remember I didn't play Final Fantasy four until like relatively recently. I never had it as a kid. I always I always had I went from one to six or guess one to three in the US. I kind of skipped to because I was early. I was so busy in F zero and Mario and the other games. I just didn't go back to Final Fantasy two. So for me, it was one to three. It's an uglier game compared to like some of the stuff you just mentioned. the sprites are smaller and it doesn't have that same look like 6 really stands out for example like when you're used to the bigger sprites like Super Mario World or you just meant I know you love Super Metroid stuff like that yep yep the sprites in ff2 slash 4 don't stand out nearly as much from that from Final Fantasy 4 either current playthroughs or old playthroughs? I mean there's nothing else that's really jumping out except for and I mean you know jumping to this is kind of I don't know if it's gonna get us through this conversation too fast but that's fine. Finishing that game when the credits rolled on the Super Nintendo and I don't know what it's like on these remakes but I seem to remember the credits rolling very similarly to the pre -roll in the Star Wars films. where they rolled sort of in and away from the camera and then went up the screen. And I just remember thinking, I mean, I was already of the mind that this was a very cinematic experience. But when I was a kid playing that for the first time, also thinking like, they finally got hardware that they can realize this vision on. I don't know, there was just something about it. There was something about the way that even that ending was. was presented that just, it was just such, it was a whole package, right? Again, it felt like video games were getting closer to film, which to me made them more of an art form for lack of a better term, you know? But yeah, I mean, other than that, I mean, Spoonie Bard, I remember Spoonie Bard. How could you not remember the Spoonie Bard, of course? The cast of Final Fantasy IV remains one of the most varied and interesting in the entire series. From Cecil's Road to Redemption to Tela's Quest for Revenge, each adventurer has their own distinct backstory, arc, and moment to shine. To start our character study with some overall thoughts is Greg, followed by Kiss 105 .3 and Ottawa on -air host Ryan Lindsay. But yeah man, it's just a special game, and I like the fact how... in Final Fantasy IV, they took the job system of three and they kind of turned it on its head a bit. And instead of saying, OK, you're going to have these three, let's be honest, pretty boring characters that you can do all these things with. Let's have 12 really interesting characters that represent the different jobs. I really dig that. I like my Final Fantasy and that like that. Yeah, I mean, it might be a little bit unfair to say it this way, but Final Fantasy III, the characters were really blank slates. Yeah. You know, I mean they they had more care. They had more defining characteristics than that I know right really at the end of the day they were blank slates where you know every every one of the characters in Final Fantasy 4 just had its their own personality I mean they were those characters. I do remember and I didn't feel this way I do remember back in the day people complaining about how your characters your party would change so frequently and it is true But I was totally okay with that You know, having the characters, I thought it was really gutsy to do that. I mean, I had seen something similar, well not really, I guess, similar I guess in Phantasy Star 2, where you were choosing to take characters in and out of your party, but to have them sort of ripped away from you based on the needs of the story. Again, narrative drove everything. And I thought it was really, really ballsy at the time. I wish more RPGs would do it. I think it's cool. I think it adds some variety. And I think, again, it gives you a different taste of the different play styles and different jobs. And it allows the game to do that in a way that makes sense, not only narratively, of course, but with gameplay as well. If I'm doing a lot of switching around on my own, I could see myself getting into trouble, which is why I never really liked job systems in the first place. Up until very recently, I was very kind of like, I don't wanna like level up this and then start from scratch on something else. That's not fun for me. And how do I know in this next dungeon if I'm taking the right jobs in there? And I'm probably overthinking that, but I'm exactly the same way. Sure. Yeah. So I never really loved a job system in a game. I know people, again, lots of people love them and it's a beloved thing. But for me, I always liked a little more of a linear progression where, okay, this is what this character does, they do this well, I'm gonna build up this character, I kinda know what I'm getting. to a CirqueCinema. What characters do you remember really hitting you hard as a kid? Like, or even as, go so far as to say, like, identify with. That's the hard part. Obviously, anybody playing it identified with Cecil off the bat. You're like, yeah, we've all had those dark moments. We've all, I've done some things I'm not that proud of, but I can come through and I can become a better person. And he does, wah! But this was the first one where that diversity showed up. Because instead of you going, okay, I'm a fighter, I'm a thief, I'm a mage, you didn't know what these people were yet. You found out when you were playing, right? Right. So as I saw it, every time you saw a different thing come in, you're like, did he just jump off the screen? Did he just come like, that's such a cool attack, that's neat. Did she just summon? I don't even know what's happening here. What's going on? That guy just kicked everybody on the screen. And every time you had one of those progressions and one of those new abilities and things you hadn't seen before, it's not an issue of me identifying with them, it's me going, that's so cool. And I found the joy in that and you wanted your players to have these people and we get that in the next one, but we'll get there again a little bit later. We will, we will. Yeah, it's very interesting when I say that, because it really depends on the person. Because again, when I played it, And then again, I can talk about, we'll talk about sticks a little bit later. But I played it as an adult, you know, I'm looking at it like from character perspectives, like wow, this character arc is awesome. As a kid, no, Cecil kicks ass. He's like this awesome knight dude that jumps in the air and stabs people in the head with a stick. That's fantastic. So I love the different expressions. I think they're both really valid. I don't think there's any problem with saying, I don't know, I thought that Dark Knight was really cool. Is Dark Knight's arc. Very cool. Is like, Kane was so cool to me when I first played him. my God. Like a dragon, this jump concept, this is the coolest thing I've ever seen. And then he turns his back on him in the first couple minutes. He's like, what just happened? my God. The awful part is, we all get older. I'm like, man, tell us the best. That guy represents everything that we need to be at the current age that we've reached. I'm like, yeah, Cecil's cool. Palmin forum are clearly annoying children. That's OK. Yes. Fair. Yes. Over time, when you go back and play it, those characters that you do bind yourself to and find similarities with, that's changed drastically. Like you said, you only played it for the first time about four years ago. Obviously, for me, it's a lot longer back than that. I was a kid when I played it first and it was like, that's so cool. That's so cool. That's so cool. Now you play it and there's like, more real tears that fly because you have real emotions like, there's his kids, man. my God. And now there's statues, what? Come on now. He's sacrificing himself because Mrs. Waller. It hits so much harder as you get older and you go back and go, my God, like the things they poured into this game that I thought was so cool when I was a kid and now I go back and I'm like, damn, this is so brilliantly written. And what better way to continue a character conversation than discuss Final Fantasy IV's main protagonist, Cecil. Or Cecil, or however you pronounced it back in the day. Starting us off is Moses aka The Well-Read Mage from thepixels .com and GameLogica on YouTube, followed by Mike of Major Age, and then Barry Karenza, and then finally Trevor and Jeff of New Dad Gaming join the conversation. despite Trevor's less than perfect recollection of the game itself. And we can talk about, of course, the Dark Knight turning into a paladin and that whole thing, how beautiful that is. And it could be some, I think, religious things going on there, Mr. Game Magica. I don't know. Yeah. Seems like sacrifice to resurrection. I don't know. That's what I saw. There's certainly a lot in there. Yeah. You know, he hears a voice from heaven as his father and stuff like that. Yeah. The, I think the Cecil is one of the more fascinating Final Fantasy protagonists because of that development. And he can't, because of his age, rely on just kind of coolness factor to carry him. Let's, let's say he's not super shonen or anything like that. Can you just kind of get a guy who hates his job because he has to go around murdering people. And he doesn't have the courage necessarily to stand up to his majesty and say, well, no, I'm not going to do this. But then he has that transformative moment of redemption. But I think that Cecil's story really has more just beyond that moment. Like that's the moment that everybody remembers from that game, because it is so dramatic. It is so impactful. It's a key part to his character. But it's like after that, what does he do about absolution? Right? So he, he, he overcomes kind of that internal darkness, right? And, and wonderfully he overcomes it by not returning violence for violence, right? He has to not attack his shadow self in order for it to be, you know, exercised from him. but then. He's got to wrestle with guilt for the rest of the game, right? And, and forgiveness of seeking forgiveness from Rydia, the survivor of, of mist. and, you know, given its age, there's things like, I would love to see kind of added to that. Like I'd love to see more of a dynamic, more of Rydia's kind of pain with her loss and how that impacts Cecil. now as a paladin, I'd love to see more of that. I'm not suggesting that this game should get a trilogy remake by any stretch. Are they already? Yeah, I'm not suggesting that. You know, sometimes art limitations intrinsic part of it. That's just how it is. Yeah. But then he also sort of has to figure out how to forgive himself. And then at the very end, he has a chance to forgive someone else. And I think that's the domino effect of forgiveness, right? Where like, if you experience forgiveness, you may be more willing to forgive others, but those who haven't found forgiveness from others or for themselves by themselves, may not be so ready and able to forgive others. And so I think Cecil's final test for his transformation is there at the end when he has the chance, not just to for Forgive Kane and Kane. That's maybe a little easier because Kane was a best friend for so long. But Forgive Golbez. That's a little harder. And that's something I did not remember at all from the original game or from the original time that I played it. So seeing that was really cool. Kind of seeing the I love that they didn't make it so easy for Cecil. He wasn't just like, yeah, I forget everything's fine, bro. You know, he had resentment there, you know? And so in that regard, maybe some of the darkness of his heart was still there. You know, that kind of that hardness. Yeah. But it's a it's a nice note in the game on, I think. Yeah. And I love the way you put that in how nothing really comes easy for him. Yeah. Like nothing. He has a road and it's not a situation, even when he first becomes the paladin. He starts back at level one, which as I was talking with my guest yesterday, that's kind of how job classes work, right? Like if you look at four as a combination of the best of one, two and three, and then you make four, which is like that great distillation of those three into like this lovely fine point. But even thematically, there was still a price to pay for it. He still had to pay something. He still took a step back. Now the game is smart in that it lets you level pretty quickly. You're with strong characters. You're evidently your weapon is stronger against the enemies on Mount Ordeal than it was before. You do you inflict more damage even though you're weaker. But even that little note of you start from zero or you start over from from from level one and you have to start growing again. I think that's a really interesting thematic point. Again, that blending of game and theme. Yeah. And there's a lot of duality there, too. You know, there's a. There's the whole idea of the two moons, the Lunarians. you know, just like Cecil kind of having two different, heritages, right. is that the plural for it? Yeah. And heritages, and yeah, so it's something out there, with like the lineage of his, his father lineage of his mother and, figuring out how to bridge that, I think is, is a key part for his journey. So I really think he is a fascinating. Character we weren't allowed to kind of make him sort of or again overly glamorized like a couple other Final Fantasy protagonists happen to be I think part of their appeal is their sex appeal But there's not a whole lot of that going on with Cecil, you know We've got later art and things like that and I've never seen too many people have the hots form or anything. I'm sure they're out there there's a yes, there's a flavor for everybody. But I mean, that's yeah, you're right. There's there's a lot there. The limitations of the the medium presented a character that required a little more emotional investment to get into. Yeah. As opposed to, which one was hot. Right. Right. Right. And he looks cool as a Dark Knight. You know, there's no argument there. But I don't think that I don't think that the thrust of. the Cecil fandom is that he looks cool. You know? Yeah, no, I agree with that. So it gives you a little more depth of character despite the fact that he comes from a much more linear... I identified a lot with Cecil's kind of, you know, story. That kind of fighting the, you know, kind of inner dark and the light. I think that sort of motif, I was kind of... I was an aspiring little historical, biblical scholar at the time, so kind of motifs of good versus evil were kind of fascinating to me at the time. The dynamic between Kane and Cecil I found really great. You know, later found out, you know, there's an entire literary trope around, like, that they follow. So he's literally his lancer. Yeah. I thought that was a great little touch by Sakaguchi -sama right there. Final Fantasy IV, do you remember any characters in that game or even moments, character could be antagonist, protagonist, et cetera, that you actually kind of connected with? Cecil. That you kind of almost identified with? Cecil. And if not in for, go ahead. Cecil, Cecil, hands down. Cecil, okay. I was in high school, bullied. It was just self -esteem. It's kind of one of those things where it's like, and. And that lifting up, just the moment of just repent almost. Because if you're bullied, I don't know if you were ever bullied, but when you're bullied, at least for me, it was like I did something wrong. It's my fault that I was bullied, even though it wasn't. But that's how you feel. Like, they're making fun of me, or they're attacking me because it's my fault. So that's kind of what Cecil was. It was like I did these horrendous things. even though he was ordered to, he still carried it out. It was his fault. So it was really cool to see that journey. And then of course, you know, as a kid, you know, as a teenage boy, you want to get the girl, right? You know, it's like, he gets the girl, he's got Rosa there. And Rosa is one of those that dedicated, you know, love interests. She stands with him despite everything. And it was great, you know, it's... And of course, with after years, they have a kid. So it's like they have the happily ever after in a sense. They get married. They get married at the end of four. And that's how it ends. It's great. For such a gloomy game, you're ending on a high note with a wedding. Yeah. And it's great because everyone comes together and you have this really nice celebratory moment. It really is great. And I like how you said about Cecil's redemption and his personal redemption. Because Cecil's journey is an extremely personal one. Because you're exactly right. He was just following orders, but he realizes the orders were not moral and were not okay and takes responsibility. And it's this true repentance that makes him this really interesting and easy to root for character, even though he does heinous things. And even at the beginning of four, when you are... in the shoes of Cecil doing these bad things. I remember feeling, I remember recognizing at least, and I didn't play four of its times, I played later, but even recognizing, wow, I'm in the role of almost the bad guy. I am playing as the bad guy. I am doing a wrong thing. And the game is, by the language of the game, is telling me to do this thing, so I can't feel too much guilt, but. understanding and being in those shoes and doing those bad things and recognizing it, really powerful. And that's interesting. You connected that with some of the unwarranted guilt you felt from your experience, because it sounds like you held some of that as well. And we're able to find that connection. I mean, even if you think about the beginning, you know, he's he's he's like questioning orders and like you got to why why you questioning just follow the orders and he does and you bring, you know, he goes to Riddia's village and they have the package. And he realizes, wait, we shouldn't be doing anything. And before it's too late, the package bombs and the whole village is gone. And it's like, at that moment, you're like, yeah, we got to revolt again. it doesn't matter that he came to this realization. He came to it too late. And then of course, Riddia is the last survivor and he feels guilty and takes her in, adopts her and the connection to Riddia then. And it's just, it's such a moment. It's interesting about when Cecil turns into a Paladin, he starts over. He starts over at level one. Yes. So you. Yes. So just to your point, you suck. Yeah, you suck now, Cecil. Yeah, you had this great revelation. You're now a good guy. But boy, boy, you are ineffective in combat, my friend. He's not good. Did you like his transition? I love it. When he moved, I'm like, great character development. Awesome. But I don't like what you're doing. I didn't like the cape. I kind of like the blue helmet. He looked kind of like badass. Like it looked... Yeah, him and Kane are gonna rule the world. It's gonna be great. And I'm like, he's turned. He's like, Yeah, he's a little too... You didn't like his fit, as the kids say. You didn't like his fit. His drip. I did not. And then I thought maybe I could change it with equipment. But no, like he had like a yellow cape and a purple medical hat or something. What I thought was a medical hat. I thought it was like a... As I further, as I wrote Descend, I'm gonna say Ripen. As I further ripen into my mid -40s, I find myself drawn to the wise old sage trope. For many of us growing up, Tela was the grumpy old guy with a stack of spells you couldn't use. As older gamers, however, he means so much more. Greg Seward returns to talk some Tela, followed by Mike of the Distorted Illuminations YouTube channel. And Julian weighs in and then finally the lads of New Dad Gaming drop back in to drop some... facts? Let's jump in. The other character that I kind of like, mostly because of the scene we were just talking about, is Tela. Because when Cecil becomes the Paladin, obviously the way that he does that is you get into a battle with his dark side. The whole game is Star Wars, basically. But he gets into a battle with his dark side, and the way that you get through that battle is not to attack. Like a paladin wouldn't attack. I think the game even tells you a true paladin would sheath his sword at this point, and that's the game hinting at you, just defend until the battle's over. But that whole time that he's learning that, and sort of his, again, being reborn, Tela remembers his most powerful spell, and he's completely driven by revenge. So like it's this great juxtaposition where this old man is and he's very open about it. It's not like a secret plan he has. And no matter how many people warn him, like if you use meteor, this spell that you've remembered, you're going to die and he doesn't care. He's like, if I have to give my life to get revenge for my daughter, then that's what I'm gonna do and nothing's gonna stop me. And it's like, you know, you've got Cecil over here becoming good and you've got Tela. in the exact same room in the exact same moment saying like, I remember this, let's go kill Golbez. Yeah. It's so interesting. I love Tela as a character. I'm always a fan of the old Sage. I just like the old Sage character. It's a trope that I enjoy. I don't know why, but it's very interesting. And I was talking with another guest of mine earlier this week. He reminded me that when you have Meteor, you never have enough magic points to actually use it. Yeah. Which is so interesting and thematic and good. Like that's such an interesting note. I didn't even connect with me when I first played it. Yeah, it's really, I love that idea of that revenge. And as a dad, I get it. It's like, you can feel that energy, right? It's like, yeah. And that's, I think that's again, a great example of sort of enhancing the storytelling through just the simple systems. Like they don't come out and say, you don't have enough MP to cast meteor. It's just that you just don't. You just don't. Right? It's so interesting. And also he starts with a very low MP. He starts with very low spells, but he does have that remember command where if you choose that during battle, he might randomly remember a powerful spell and cast it. It's like, that's great. That's really great. He's a doddering old man who's forgotten his skills. This is awesome. Yeah, it's great. I think it's and again, it's again that combination of gameplay and. and storytelling is that they just combine so well in Final Fantasy. Go for it. Yeah, go for older. Yeah. Mm -hmm. I'd probably put edge in about a strong number four Okay these days I Think tell us probably my favorite just because again old man Tell us a very interesting character in Final Fantasy 4 because I love the idea of the I agree with you I like the old wizard trope I think to have the to have somebody who's old and ancient to a certain extent, but incredibly powerful and learned, I think is a really great mix of abilities and personalities. And I also really like when he shows up on your party, he is very overpowered. Like he's got all the stuff, if I remember correctly. He has the up to fire two first, or the twos. It's not until he rejoins at the mountain you become a paladin where his power's like reawakened. Right. Mind you, he is still a frail old man. He can not take a punch to the face at all. No, you gotta put him in the back, back row. Don't hit with your stick or whatever you got in your hand or a knife. Just do magic stuff and call it a day. But no, I really like, except as I'm older, just to look at what hate can do to a person. Because that's inevitably what brought Tela down was. Yep. His rage and anger was the end of him. Yep. He, his quest for vengeance is surprising almost given his age and his experience. You almost feel like he should know better. His whole story is so interesting. And again, now that I'm older and I can look at these things from a more detailed perspective, I start to realize certain things. And part of this is also like the Super Nintendo version that we got originally was so watered down. Tella gets weaker as you level him up because he's an old man. A big part of his thing mechanically is that he can't remember all the spells that he's learned over his time. He has access to a relatively small pool of spells when you first get to him. And then once Cecil becomes a paladin, he remembers his spells, including Meteor, but he never has enough MP to cast it. And the understanding when he confronts Golbez, the person he's one revenge against for his entire story arc, is that... he cashes in his hit points to give himself enough mana to cast Meteor. And then lives long enough to see that it didn't help, that it didn't do the job, right? Like it's just such a powerful bit of emotional storytelling, but also using the game's mechanics in a way to foster that story. I'll mention is the death because that was the first video game where I had where a character died and it was yeah Tela right I remember him like yeah, I got a cast meteor and It was against goblets goblets Another quick thing. I think this was the time in my life where I was learning to read and a lot of these characters got messed up in my mind and even Chocobos I used to call Chebaccos and that For whatever reason it's not spelled that way But I carry that all the way until it was And it was like wait, hold on But anyway side note the the character deaths the character deaths were something like brand new to Me and the gaming world I think I don't think many games have that where they just kill our characters and even like the little kids the twins How long and poor they turn themselves a stone. I'm like, my my god. I've said this a hundred times already on this Even though I played it last year with the Pixel Remasters, I audibly gasped when that happened. I went, ugh! So, spoiler alert for you, Trevor, two children sacrificed themselves to save you in a dungeon. Okay, I'll be honest, I didn't know they died. I mean, they were a character, so. Well, now I'm getting you back for spoiling something, you spoiled Earthbound for me, I think it was, like, many, many years, two years ago. God. That's only fair. Jeez, those kids die? God, I kind of hated those kids, so it's all right. Well, I mean, so the other one died, I can't remember. They don't die, they don't die, they kind of sort of. They get rescued. They just get wrecked. Because the thing I remember is it's one of those kind of almost classic Final Fantasy tropes where you have the characters, you have the guys you like, you're starting to build them up, they got the best weapons, this is great. no, I got to go off to a meteor. no, I'm falling down a pit, blah, blah, blah, blah. It's like cool, but don't worry, you can use your side character, those other characters. Right. It's like no, I can't game because they're level two and they don't have any damn things and I'm gonna just die frequently I seem to recall actually ruining If not these Final Fantasy games a couple of them where I had zero management of my party and then my actual buff characters went away And they're level two going against 45 goblins. It's like well doomed this save files dead. I got to start fresh I I don't know how much of all you can see you can You can run into some trouble like that in Final Fantasy IV. You usually have a core of people that stick around, but you're right, there are people leaving and going. I haven't talked about in a while. My pals at New Dad Gaming podcast, that's who. Hosts Jeff and Trevor provide the most dad friendly podcast on the interwebs. The news of the week interspersed with their unique experiences being gaming dads, all packaged in a tight 30 minute show perfect for listening while doing dad things. For me, it's dishes. always dishes. Those these kids eat like I don't know. Insert Final Fantasy reference of choice. And if you want to hear my melodious tenor on this very program, they made the grave mistake of having me guest a couple weeks back on episode 325. What can I say? They asked. I said, yes, they're suckers for punishment. Check them out wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts, the amazing and wonderful New Dad Gaming. Every Final Fantasy game has a big bad to conquer. And while I maintain series antagonists are kind of hit or miss, Final Fantasy 4 features a really fun one. Let's join Mikael and then Mike of Distorted Illusions as they discuss the villain Golbez. And then Distorted Illusions Mike, followed by Greg, change the topic and discuss everyone's favorite summoner. I even think the antagonists in Final Fantasy 4 are are interesting as well. The main one, of course, being Golbez, who's the main person, which of course then at the very end, it's like, no, he was being he was under control too. We have another big bad for you, which again, classic Final Fantasy style. But what you take on Golbez as like an antagonist, as kind of that force you're pushing against for most of the game. Every encounter with him for me was, at least as a kid, terrifying. Cause he was just so, he had the Sephiroth effect before Sephiroth went mainstream, if that makes sense. Okay. So, so for people who don't get that, if you played Final Fantasy seven back in the day, I know we're, we're talking about four, but I gotta give you the reference for seven. You play Final Fantasy seven back in the day, Sephiroth, whenever he showed up, you had... I forgot the name of the track that played. It wasn't one wing and angel. You only ever heard one way an angel at the last battle, but, the soundtrack that played was like super horror inspired, you know, every time he showed up, he was cutting somebody down to striking fear. You had all the screen effects. You were terrified because you know, stuff was going down when Sephiroth showed up now before Sephiroth and even before Kefka. Well, before the other guy too. But Golbez did that for me. He showed up. I'm scared because I'm like, as a kid, I was easily scared because you know, pumpkin head and all the horror movies and all that stuff that my brother subjected me to after this guys. But you know, he would show up and I'm just like, we're going to lose because they always made it a point to show how powerful he was, how cunning he was and just how For all intents and purposes he knew how to outsmart You know Cecil, so I'm just like What can we do even as you gradually get more powerful throughout the game? You still never had that sense of confidence that I can take him on evenly so yeah for me I just was terrified whenever he showed up and I thought he was a great villain going back to it now. I'm kind of like He's not as one dimensional as Every you know, I guess or typecast and what we say typecast now, but you know He's not as typecast and we're one dimensional as everyone else But I thought as a villain, you know, especially if you compare him to cloud of darkness from three I think he was a better villain overall. Totally. He gave me he gave me also kind of I would say he's kind of like an evolved form of the Emperor Like he's in the sense of his cunningness and demeanor. Yes. He's not just powerful, but he's crafty. He has a craftiness to it. There's a cleverness. He knows how to turn the screws. Yeah. Which I think he's a very solid, serviceable antagonist in a franchise that I don't think does antagonists particularly well. Except for one that I'm going to talk to about a lot in Sonic 9 and 6, because Kefka is just... Sorry, I mean, I don't know. He's still to go. Listen, he's still to go. I'm sorry. Still to go. There is going to be a Kefka episode on this podcast. I'm just going to episode of Kefka because I love that character so much. And yeah, anyway, we will talk about it. What's your take on the antagonist of Final Fantasy IV on Gobles? Where do you land with him as a character, or even an idea, a story beat? Well, let's be clear, Golbez is not the antagonist. Right, right, right, right, right. But for Golbez himself, he was okay. Okay. That's fair. You really don't... know anything about him until you actually find out, he's been controlled this whole time. So I don't think you actually get that much on Golbez. Like, he's fine for what he is. He's a bit of a vessel. I've always felt him, I had a little sympathy for him, especially after you realize what's been happening, you know, after he's been controlled. There is some sympathy to that character. I know there's not much to him per se, but I think there's a sympathy once you learn the story. Yeah. As for the actual antagonist of Zemus... Yes. I don't think he was one of the better Final Fantasy antagonists. I kinda agree. Kind of just... I'ma take it all over. Because I'm a dick. Yeah, I'm gonna just take it over because power is good. You can certainly have something like that that's interesting. Mm -hmm. But in this case, it's... This story is very much clearly held up by season. What else on Final Fantasy IV? Do you have any favorite sections or favorite encounters or bosses? Well, actually, here's a question. What character in Final Fantasy IV did you really connect with? And again, we can talk about it as a kid or even now, you know, again, because that changes. Yeah. As a kid, it was Edge and Rydia. Interesting. Rydia, I think, just... You see her as the kid first, you're immediately worried after the whole... Titan... thing with the mountains caving in, avalanches... And then the surprise to suddenly see her come back. She's your introduction to the whole world of Summons. Mm -hmm. It was fantastic. Edge, I kind of immediately sided with him, just... Cause you could feel the anger he had. It's one of those things, again, it's hard to say, cause that's... Kind of where my opinion started to form on these things is around Final Fantasy 4. Like, these days I wouldn't say it's my favorite. I still really love it, but it was the root of a lot of things for me. Just again, like storytelling in general. Again, before that it was Super Mario World. Not really a story there. Right. Absolutely. I totally agree with that. And Edge also just is a cool character. He's like a cool looking, basically a ninja almost. Or at least he looks like a ninja. But it's a really visually appealing character too. So it's not surprising that's a character you would really fall for. yeah. I loved Rydia. I loved her story, how she starts as a child and obviously, you know, disappears while swallowed by Leviathan at one point. And then when she comes back, she's all grown. Like she's sort of time moves faster for her, which was great. And she's super powerful then. I just, I even loved the idea of the little scene when you're trying to get over the mountains towards Yang's home and it's blocked by fire. or no, it's blocked by ice and somebody needs to cast fire to get through there and she doesn't want to do it because of what happened in her village and what killed her mother. It's like, that's that's interesting. Like, you know, it's nowadays when you look at it, they don't give it the amount of time that you would want for that sort of you don't get that dramatic pause. Sure. But she's still a very quiet girl at the beginning until she kind of perks up a little bit. And. And again, I love how she comes back. you Wrapping up our character conversation is Greg followed by Mike Alberton and then Michele talking about their favorites. And then finally, Major Age Mike, Julian and Ryan combined forces to talk some Palam Empora. Any other moments? Actually, before I go there, I love Sid. This is my favorite iteration of Sid. I love Final Fantasy IV Sid. I'm a big fan. This was the first time I remember really, I think in North America, that we had the Sid character. Correct. Yeah, he's not in one. Yeah, this version of Sid is Sid to me. Yeah, okay, fair. That's interesting. Mine was always the Final Fantasy VI version, the guy in the yellow coat, but this one I just love the fact that he's just down for whatever. He is just a wild man. Whatever it takes, let's get it done. I just love that energy about Sid, that crazy person. Are there any any any characters you really connected with when you were a kid again? You mentioned you weren't much of a magic user. I really like Kane as a kid. Cool I just thought he was so cool that green armor stood out to me as a child To this day. I still really like Kane like that hasn't changed Kane's cool. Yeah, this Kane's very cool Dragoons are awesome when I played Final Fantasy 11 My goal was become a Dragoon like that Dragoon has if that stuck with me all my life. I I love dragons. Very nice. That's very cool. So that's one of the effects Fallen had on me. That's awesome. So you kept that going even through like Fallen Fantasy XI? That was your go -to class? For a little bit until I realized how bad it sucked at the time. But yes, it wasn't good for... Yeah, I don't know if you ever played XI or not, but trying to get parties, I didn't go in Samurai because that was the only way to get parties and level up and be efficient because Dragoon wasn't good enough. One of the other characters too I really liked, within that same scene, you know, when we got introduced to Edward, I was like, he was, as a kid, I just viewed him, he's just a cowardly character. Like I see that in all the cartoons, you know, in Darkwing Duck and Rescue Rangers and all that. You see all the cowardly characters. But going back as an adult and seeing the complexities of Edward, like, wow. Yeah, very complex character, very, very interesting. Yeah, definitely one of those interesting characters that has a lot of depth. There's a lot going on. And that's what's beautiful about Final Fantasy 4 is that all the characters, there's a lot going on. Like, Final Fantasy 4 for me, of any Final Fantasy game I've played, maybe other than 10, has the least amount of fat on it. Like, it is this trim experience, like everything fires on all cylinders. And it's not this big sprawling adventure. It's big. It's not like a Final Fantasy six that's just big sprawling, lots of branching paths. But boy, is it like tight, controlled and the stuff it focuses on, it focuses beautifully. And it's one of my favorite marriages of gameplay and story in the entire franchise. I was just so taken aback by how well they merged those two things. And I think the characters really speak to that because they're all. They're all interesting in some way. think are phenomenal characters. They're one of the first instances you see of like kind of very like anime or manga tropes seeping into the series. But no, so the twin sacrifice during the escape from Baron Castle I feel like is one of the best character moments not only in that title, but the entirety of Final Fantasy. Absolutely. When that happened, when I replayed the remasters, I didn't play Final Fantasy 2 slash 4 as a kid or as I was younger. So I played it, not relatively recently, but within the last like 15 years. And then I played it again on the remasters a couple of years ago. When they have that sacrifice moment, I was shocked. Like I audibly gasped. I forgot. I had forgotten that moment existed. And I gave out like a, I was watching a movie. It was so stunning. And what I love about all of the... the passings in Final Fantasy IV, because people are dropping left and right in that game, it so much has to do with sacrifice. Everyone is sacrificing for the greater good. And I think that's such an interesting theme for a 1991 SNES game, to truly convey that in that way. So I think Palomimporum is such a great example, and a great, great moment. It stuck with me. It really resonates. I'm gonna talk about it a lot because for some reason, of all the moments in Final Fantasy IV, this one hit me probably the hardest is when Palam Mimporum had their sacrifice themselves. When they turned to stone. I did not see that coming and I audibly gasped. I went, On my seat, I was shocked at what happened at that moment. And... The game is so full of those sacrifices. It's a very much so about that as far as its theming goes. Definitely. And I love, you know, and this is even in the original Super Nintendo translation, you know, like after they do it. And again, I love it when Final Fantasy actually takes the elements of the game and puts it in the story, right? So they turn themselves to stone, which is a spell in the game. Tella then tries to like heal them, which is supposed to. you know, cure status ailments. But because they did it of their own volition, he can't do it. And the first thing he says is, you know, something along the lines of like, like you little brats, like an old person's, it's an old person's responsibility to go first, right? Like he was supposed, he should have been the one to do the sacrifice play, but they just jumped in and did that. What about the game grabbed you when you were playing it for the first time? What caught you? Story and character development. It's not all of the other games that we played, even the original Final Fantasy, OK, where you picked your own party and you're like, I'm going to be this, I'm going to be this. I'm going to take four red mages. you created these strategies to make these characters and they were great. But you named randoms and there was no real story tied to them. It was like, good job, warriors. Like, what a cop out, right? Two comes along, and again, I'm gonna use two instead of four. I know there's gonna be people that'd be like, I'll tell you, but I'll use two. Two comes along, and the characters have depth to them, and they have different emotions, and all of these storylines, and you're learning this backstory about this one and this one, they're kind of like peeling layers off as you go through, and I just, I loved it so much. That character development really pulled it in for me, and you had characters that you get attached to. I mean... I don't need to say that it's a spoiler alert thing, but I'm worried that people are going to be like, that's not how you pronounce it. Everybody has a different way to pronounce every name in these games, right? Yep, absolutely. Language is fluid, right? Pronounce it the way you want. It's a relatively free country. There is not a single person that I know that played the game in our age range that didn't do everything they could. everything to try and turn them back. I don't even have to explain that. Anybody listening to this obviously has played these games, has gone through it. They're like, man, I tried like using every soft I could find and I just, they wouldn't have petrified. I'm like, I know, I know, I get it. It's emotional. It was the first video game that brought that emotion and I loved it. This might be the single hottest take you may ever get on this, okay? I don't think they should have come out of the stone form. Just them. I don't care about anybody else in the story. Everybody else can have their happily ever after. Everybody else can have their moments. Everybody else can have their character development pieces that show that they've moved on and done great things in the world. I don't think they should have come back. That's the only one that I think no matter what, nothing should have. I think you make a really good point. They kind of Disney -fy the ending a little bit. It's kind of like this, hey, everyone's back, okay? And it's fine, but I kind of agree with you where it lessens the impact of the actual sacrifice if at the end it's all hunky dory. It's kind of like the end of, totally random off topic. It's kind of like the ending of Encanto that I don't like. Where everything's back to normal. It's like, no, the whole point of it was you don't need the magic, the power of community and friends and family can get you through anything. It's like, now your power's back. Well. OK, I guess we need to make a sequel at some point. I guess that's what it is. And Chuck did out the door. Yeah, it take it. You know, they made this beautiful sacrifice. And had they left it that way, even again, if everybody else had a happily ever tied up, beautiful ending, leaving them in stone, in my opinion, would if there was like rankings of best video game endings and moments you can't believe it would still be like number one on all. yeah. Super Nintendo game that came out. when we were just hitting double digits. Okay. Imagine if you imagine with you and all your friends who are back, go back to that place when they're in stone and just had this little moment of reflection like what? What? What? It's the end game funeral scene except it's stone kids. I there's no way to explain it because most people listening to this will probably understand exactly what. Yes. It's that sequence and nobody told us that would be it. Right. And you could have made references to it in future games or moments or anything, but it's forever. I think the impact would have been huge. That's cool, man. I never thought of that, but I kind of agree, man. I think that's a really, really interesting point. But if you didn't have them come back, you wouldn't have the after years, which everyone was clamoring for sarcasm meter on very high. Never touched. Not going to lie. Never touched. Not once. Neither have I. And I from. Yeah. From what I understand, it's one of those that we just don't need to. It's fine. There was no need. Move on, everybody. Just go back and play it and enjoy it. You don't have to have a, hey, you know what? Well, what we did was we decided to make a side quest. Joey was never better than Friends. Let's be real. There are not a lot of spin -offs that do anything close to what the original does. And that's a terrible reference, but I'll get bonus points because my wife is the biggest Friends fan ever. Nice. I just... Thank you so much for listening to part two of our Final Fantasy IV series. Next week we conclude our exploration of this amazing game by talking about story, mechanics, and a whole hodgepodge, a huge, what do you call those things, potluck, yeah that's it, a giant potluck of topics and thoughts and information and recollections about this amazing game. Thank you so much for checking out episode 102 of A Gamer Looks at 40. If you enjoyed this episode, there are a hundred other episodes out there on the feed ready for you, as well as a host of Final Fantasy ones. We've covered one, two, three, and a survey course of the entire franchise. So there's plenty to enjoy back down to Pike, including an awesome interview with composer Arnie Roth way back in episode 96. So be sure to go back and check that out if you haven't already. If you could do me a favor, if you've listened this far, tell a friend or a colleague or a coworker or just somebody randomly on the street about this podcast. If you have friends who are into this franchise, I really think we're capturing a wonderful collection of stories here that really tell a personal side of Final Fantasy as opposed to what's been done before. So please tell a friend if you enjoy this. Thank you so much to my patrons for their patronage. Thank you to Kev from the Discord and Pete Harney for cutting up these interviews. And thank you for listening to A Gamer Looks At 40. And until next time, just be kind to yourselves and each other.

Intro
Big Moments - Mekele, Julian, Barry
Big Moments - Mekele, MageORage, Greg
Patreon Shoutout
Small Moments - Mekele, John
Small Moments - Greg, Julian, Mike A, Greg Again
Character Intro - Greg, Ryan
Cecil - Moses, MageORage, Barry, New Dad Gaming
Tellah - Greg, Distorted Illusions, Julian, New Dad Gaming
New Dad Gaming Shoutout
Golbez and Rydia - Mekele, Distorted Illusions, Greg
Other Characters - Greg, Mike A, Mekele, MageORage, Julian, Ryan
Outro

Podcasts we love