Thanks to my discovery of the wonderful thing that is a comic convention (a misleading name indeed when it covers gaming, movies, and TV in addition to comic books), I have been able to amass a semi-respectable collection of video game items, including figurines, plushies, and replica weapons and the like. It also fueled my obsession to the point that I have felt compelled to purchase these things even when I’m not visiting the comicon. I just can’t get enough gaming goodness! Wherever these wondrous items came from, the point is, my collection is pretty sweet. I guess. Continue reading The Duck’s Gaming Hoard Part 1
As I’ve written in a past post, I have been trying to catch up on many of the old “Final Fantasy” games lately, and my next choice after “Final Fantasy VIII” (still left unfinished as of writing this, but I hope to beat it someday) was “Final Fantasy VI”, which I’ve heard is actually supposed to be as good as or even better than “Final Fantasy VII”, which is quite impressive, considering how amazing “FFVII” was. Well, after playing it, I can’t say it’s quite as good as “FFVII”, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because very few games are. Nevertheless, it is still a fantastic game, and I had a most wonderful time playing it.
As you may remember, I wasn’t a huge fan of “FFVIII”. I’m sorry, I just wasn’t. Fortunately, I found “FFVI” to be most refreshing because I really got the opportunity to see exactly what people were talking about when they said the old “FF” games were great. This game was indeed quite wonderful, with a good story and a lot of great characters, including the infamous Kefka, who I’ve heard is considered by some to be one of the best video game villains of all time, and I suppose I can see what they’re talking about, as he’s definitely…different, to say the least. Continue reading Final Fantasy VI: Why Sprites are Sometimes Better
Today’s 30 day video game post is number seven, my favorite video game couple (which is perfect for Valentine’s Day, no?). Now I am not normally the type that is into love stories, as I have mentioned in previous posts, but video games are an exception, probably for two reasons. One, because I love them. And two, because never have I found a video game that focused mainly on the love story more than anything else. There aren’t any romance video games, as far as I can tell, though there are certainly books and movies of the romance genre, which is far too upsetting to me, as I can only stand it in small doses and only when it isn’t too…icky.
And so, despite this normally being a topic that repels me, I was able to think it over with no gagging whatsoever. Yay. And several couples came to mind, Cloud and Aerith from “FFVII”, Yuna and Tidus from “FFX” (and even Vincent and Lucrecia from “FFVII”, which is not a favorite, but it came to mind when I realized all three of these couples ended tragically). I even thought of Kafei and Anju from “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask”, a couple that will always have a special place in my heart simply because I had to do so much darn work in that game to make it work out in the end. But, no, those are not my favorite couples. Why did I even bother listing them in the first place? I don’t know. What’s it to you? Ahem, my favorite game couple…contains spoilers for “Super Paper Mario”, so read at your own risk.
Yes, my favorite couple is not one of those more well-known pairings from famous “Final Fantasy” games (alliteration), but from a “Mario” game. A “Paper Mario” game, but still. This couple is one which remains secret until later in the game. Oh, we know this couple exists, as we get little snippets of dialogue whenever we complete a chapter, but the people involved in this particular love story are not known to us at first. One of them is injured, while the other nurses them back to health. One of them is from the Tribe of Darkness and is shocked to find this fact does not bother the other. And they meet with opposition from a father that doesn’t approve of the union. It’s really quite typical, really, but it kept my attention because of the mystery surrounding it. Who were these people? Who was this Blumiere and Timpani? And how does it relate to the game?
Eventually we find that Blumiere now goes by the name of Count Bleck, this game’s main antagonist, who was not always evil like we see now. We know his heart aches for this Timpani, whoever she is, and despite the fact that this fiend is trying to destroy all dimensions with the Void, you can’t help but feel a bit of pity for him. This Timpani was lost to him when his father banished her to wander the space between dimensions due to him not wanting his son to marry someone of another race from theirs, and though Blumiere looked for her, he never found her, and his anguish caused him to create the Void in an attempt to destroy all worlds, worlds that are too terrible to be allowed to exist, if something like that could happen. A bit rash, I must admit, but his story is still a tragic one, nonetheless.
Well, we do end up finding out the fate of his beloved, and she turns out to have been with you all along, though unrecognizable from her previous form. Mario’s sidekick, Tippi, turns out to be the lost Timpani. Once an ordinary woman, she was found by Merlon, near death after her wandering between dimensions, and the only way he could save her was to turn her into a Pixl, though this also caused her to lose her memory of her past. Her memory does finally return to her towards the end of the game, however, and she and Count Bleck are reunited, at which time he has a change of heart. This is not enough to stop the Void, however, as someone else still wishes to see all worlds destroyed, and after a nice, epic final boss battle (necessary to a proper love story, wouldn’t you say?), Tippi and the Count find there is only one way to fully stop the Void, which was created by the Chaos Heart when Count Bleck forced Bowser and Peach to marry at the beginning of the game. This solution (a rather corny one, but hey, we’ve been collecting Pure Hearts the whole game through, so I guess it’s unavoidable at this point), in so many words, is true love, basically. The former Timpani and Blumiere marry, at which point the Void is destroyed (I rhymed), but the couple cease to exist.
And so Count Bleck has redeemed himself, as Tippi and he sacrificed themselves to stop the Void (he really shouldn’t have created it in the first place, though). Things are both sad and triumphant, as the two seem to have been wiped from existence, but at the same time, all worlds are safe from the Void again. However, we find things to not be so sad, after all, as we then get a short scene with the silhouettes of the Count and a certain woman in the distance, on a grassy hill in a beautiful place, where they stay for a short time before they walk over the hill and are lost to sight. So it seems that, things did finally work out for Blumiere and Timpani in the end, after all.
So it may not be the best love story out there or the best couple, really. But, I still enjoyed playing this game and wondering who these two people were. It was the most interesting part of the game for me, as I wanted to know so badly who they were and what would happen to them next. And how shocked I was to find this couple was the main villain and one of the main protagonists! So this couple turned out to be my favorite, both due to the mystery of this particular story and the two people involved in it, the sweet Tippi and the charming Count Bleck (if you can get over his attempts to kill everyone, that is). This is a love story I can handle.
Favorite Duck Couple, Couple of Ducks
I enjoy a variety of different video games. I like plaformers and first-person shooters. Adventure games and action games. And the occasional fighting or racing game. But, few can compare to the RPG, a genre that lets you immerse yourself in a game beyond what regular video games can offer. They let you level up your characters and customize them, while also providing us gamers with some of the best characters and stories you’ll ever find. RPG’s are complex, amazing games and are an experience unlike any other, and the best ones usually are those from Japan.
So I, along with my fellow bloggers from My Two Caps, Recollections of Play, and Planet Zombo, have all decided to write about our favorite JRPG. Why don’t you check out their posts? My Two Caps is writing about “Chrono Trigger” for the Super Nintendo (a game I’ve heard is great, but I still haven’t gotten around to myself). Recollections of Play discusses a relatively new game for the Wii called “The Last Story”. Another game I really must check out.
So what JRPG did the duck choose? Well, I’ll tell you. The game I chose as my favorite JRPG of all time is an old one from 1997, the famous “Final Fantasy VII” for the original PlayStation (spoilers ahead). I have written a post on this one before, but now I am focusing specifically on why it is my favorite JRPG (and one of my favorite games ever). This game is considered to be one of the greatest games ever made, and it took me years to get, as it was rather elusive by the time I decided to start looking for it. I had first heard of the game because the “Kingdom Hearts” series included characters from “FFVII”, which caused me to look into it, and it seemed amazing. I had trouble finding an affordable copy of the game, but I did at least watch the movie “FFVII: Advent Children”, which was confusing as heck, but that’s not the point.
After meeting the characters in “KH”, and seeing them in action in “Advent Children”, and reading about them on the Internet, something strange happened. I ended up becoming quite attached to “FFVII”. And this was still before I had ever played it, mind you. The game just seemed so interesting when I looked into it. I’ve rarely been so drawn to a group of characters or a story from a game I’ve never even played before, but that’s what ended up happening. There are plenty of games I’d like to try someday, but I don’t have nearly the same desire to get them as I did with “FFVII”. It drove me rather nuts sometimes that this amazing game was either impossible to find in stores or was expensive on the Internet.
Finally, I decided I would wait no more. Life’s too short to deny yourself something as simple as an absolutely awesome video game. I found the most affordable copy I could, and I finally played the game, and it was so worth it. (And I actually had to buy two copies, as the used copy I got was NOT “like new”. So I just got a brand new copy to avoid any more trouble. Still worth it.) The game was amazing and did not disappoint me, and I now present you all with several very compelling reasons why this game is my favorite JRPG ever.
1. It’s iconic. At least, in my opinion. As I said before, I was already familiar with the characters before I ever played. For me, that was because of “Kingdom Hearts”, but I think that, even for those that didn’t play the “KH” games, characters from “FFVII” are probably some of the more widely known JRPG characters. Cloud and Sephiroth (the main good and main bad characters, respectively), for example, are likely much more well-known than, let’s say, Vaan and whoever the main villain of “FFXII” was (because I don’t even remember). Of course, JRPG’s are not confined to just the “Final Fantasy” series, but that is one of the more well-known series, and “FFVII” is the most famous of those. (I personally would consider it to be like how “Ocarina of Time” was the iconic “Legend of Zelda” game.) According to Wikipedia, VideoGamer.com called Cloud the “poster boy for the entire JRPG genre”, and Sephiroth ranked very high in many lists of top video game villains. Also, GameSpot also thought that the scene with Sephiroth in front of the flames of the burning Nibelheim “might be one of the most recognizable cutscenes ever to grace video games”.
2. The characters. Okay, lots of RPG’s have great characters; that’s why I love them. But, I think “FFVII” had one of the greatest groups of characters ever. I really cared about these characters. In some RPG’s, it feels like they are too complex, and I just can’t relate to the characters at all. But, that wasn’t true of this game. Just Cloud, the main character, was a very relatable character. He was a hero, but he was actually a bit of a loser. He wasn’t really a member of SOLDIER. Tifa wasn’t even originally his friend at first when they were kids. His mom wanted him to get an older girlfriend so he had someone to take care of him. Does he sound like someone you think can save the world? (And he once said the words, “Let’s mosey”. Nothing more needs to be said there.) But, that’s why I liked Cloud. He was an ordinary guy, but he was able to do something amazing.
Then, there are plenty of other great characters. There was Tifa, who was nice, but didn’t put up with any crap. (I even have a figurine of her. She looks sad stuck in that box, though.) And everyone loved Aerith (whose named was incorrectly translated as Aeris) the flower-selling girl, whose death was considered by many to be one of the most painful moments in video games. And I very much liked Vincent because I thought he was pretty darn cool (though a bit of a grump). I liked pretty much all the good characters (with the occasional exception of Cid, who could be funny, but who could also be a total jerk face). And Sephiroth was a great villain. He was one evil dude. I was actually personally motivated myself to stop that scumbag. I really hated him. I usually don’t hate villains as much as I hated Sephiroth. But, it was good because it made me even more motivated to play the game and stop him for more than just the sake of finishing another game. And at the same time, I also felt somewhat sorry for him, as well, because of what was done to him. A great, terrible villain.
3. The story. Once again, RPG’s usually have great stories, but this one stood out to me. Not only did the characters likely play a big role in my love of the story, but I was just simply very interested in what would happen. The story involved stopping an evil company called Shinra from draining the planet’s life to use as power, unbeknownst to most of the world (oblivious people). Human experimentation. And stopping a crazed man obsessed with his “mother” from grievously damaging the planet with Meteor. It was just awesome. When I got this game, I played way more video games everyday than I normally do. I just needed to know what would happen next. I needed to learn more about the characters’ pasts. I wanted to see more of Cloud’s and Aerith’s relationship. I wondered what the heck Jenova was. And I looked forward to helping the characters stop the evil Shinra corporation and, of course, Sephiroth himself.
4. In short, this game is fantastic. Even the music was great. Almost every bit of this game was just awesome. I had so much fun playing it, from helping Cloud to disguise himself as a girl (wasn’t he cute?) to defeating Lost Number in order to save Vincent (who could’ve shown more gratitude) to a completely epic (a bit too epic…) showdown with Sephiroth (who possesses the most ridiculously long attack in the world, one of the only parts of the game I actually really hated).
I can’t even fully express how great a game it was, but I can say that I really felt a personal connection to it and its characters. It had such an interesting story, and I felt like a part of it because I cared so much about what the characters were working towards. I even almost gave up on part 2 of the final boss battle (stop healing, you stupid boss, stop healing!!!!), but after giving another look at my little, blocky characters fighting their little hearts out, I just couldn’t leave them. We had been through so much together, and I had to see this thing through. I had to save the planet. I had to avenge Aerith. I had to kill that crazy mama’s boy! I couldn’t let them down! I just couldn’t!
So if you ever get the chance, consider playing “FFVII”. It is an amazing game. Even after all these years, this game is hard to beat (in the way that it is hard to find a better game, but I suppose it is hard to complete, as well), and I don’t see myself finding a JRPG that I like more anytime soon. Now that this post is out of the way, “let’s mosey”.
The Duck That is Going to Mosey
I recently finished a most epic “Final Fantasy VII” picture. Behold my most recent marvel! I have been working on this picture off and on for almost a year. I sometimes took breaks to work on other pictures because this one just plain tired me out. As you can see, it includes a collage of all the main characters from the game, including Jenova in the form of a severed head (when Sephiroth beheads her at the Nibelheim mako reactor, I assume, because that makes her more portable). Meteor also shows up, as well, coming down towards the poor Midgar below. I used a screenshot from the instruction manual for the background.
This picture is the biggest picture I’ve ever done, I believe. It could be a lot of fun at times, and it could also be very tiring. I spent so much time figuring out the poses for each character and the placement. Then, I drew each character separately. Then, did a test placement picture. Then, put them together in the real thing. Cleaned up. Colored. It was absurd, but I think it paid off. I’m rather proud of it. But, I vow to never do a picture of more than a couple characters ever again. I hope you guys like it.
A Duck Who Never Plans on Being This Epic Ever Again and Needs a Nap
Yet another exciting adventure I had in my sleep. This one took place the night of 12/26/11. It started off with someone telling me that I had a half hour to go ten miles. I was supposed to walk the first mile, then, drive back in a truck the last nine miles (which really makes no sense, when you think about it). I started off, completely doubting that I’d even be able to go the first mile within a half hour, considering just one mile in PE class had me gasping for breath (while another kid spewed, but that’s off topic). So I walked off through something like a mountain pass, then I decided to fly past this town. Somehow, I was able to jump pretty high, then, I would glide along. I went much faster in the air than I did on foot.
Then, I was out in the desert, my ten mile challenge apparently forgotten. I found this town, and at this part of the dream, there were several characters from “Final Fantasy VII”. I was Tifa, I found Aerith, and we were waiting for Zack. He showed up later. Then, I decided to explore the town. It was a pleasant, quiet place. Dirt roads, trees. There were two paths leading off one way, parallel to each other. Down one, there was a dead end. Here, children were playing with these creatures called Movers, which were these groups of bouncing balls that caused me much trouble in “FFVII: Crisis Core”. They didn’t mind the children, but one started to chase me, so I ran.
Then, I went to check out the other path, and here is where things got exciting. There was a shady alley between two buildings, and for whatever reason, you were supposed to go through in a taxi owned by these thugs (who later turned out to be the thugs from the second “Ratchet and Clank” game, who were part of Thugs-4-Less). If you didn’t ride their stupid taxi, they would shoot you. Very odd. But, I decided to ride through the alley in a bus, so the thugs opened fire. At this point, I was Ratchet from the game I just mentioned, and I got out of the bus and ran into this old abandoned building.
It was a bit dark in here. There was a hallway that went down the right side, with rooms to the left. I went into a room and hid behind an armchair. The thugs came in, and I stayed very still and tried to stay quiet. I likely had a gun ready. Then, I think lights were on, and some woman sat in the armchair next to me and saw me, and yet she thought I was fake and didn’t raise the alarm. Lucky me. So the thugs started to leave, and I decided to make a run for it. I ran down the hallway onto the roof somehow (even though we were on the ground level), which was kind of a courtyard. Here I found a giant yellow Precursor Orb (from the “Jak and Daxter” series). It may have been something I was looking for, as I remembered hearing of something on the roof of a building that I needed.
So that was my adventure. I don’t remember if the thugs returned or not. It was a very strange dream, and I apparently really had video games on my mind, I guess. I hope you thought it was as funny as I did.
Since I had much fun on my post where I listed the top 10 songs from “Final Fantasy VII”, I wanted to write about my favorite songs in “Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus”. I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier. This game has a few good songs, but I couldn’t think of 10, so here’s my top 5. Once again, I provided links to youtube.
5. “Messenger of the Dark” is a good song and is first heard when you’re fighting Nero the Sable for the second time. That was an annoying battle.
4. “Splinter of Sadness” is Vincent’s theme from this game. It’s pretty, but sad. All of Vincent’s themes are like that, I guess. You depress me, Vince.
3. “Counteroffensive” is another good song. I like the parts with the saxophone.
2. “Silent Edge” is a very good song and fits in very well with the rainy, empty town ofEdge. The music makes you feel alone and you are.
1. And my favorite is “Redemption”, played during the final credits. It is in Japanese and was sung by Japanese singer Gackt (who was the inspiration and Japanese voice actor for the character Genesis, by the way). You may want to have the volume lower at first. Just a warning. My favorite part is from 1:04 to 1:20.
Dirge of the Duck
In “Final Fantasy VII”, Aerith tends flowers growing in the Sector 5 church in the slums. Later in the game, you may be able to see her ghost there, taking care of the flowers as she did when she was alive. I didn’t get to see it, even though I checked the church several times, but I saw it on youtube. (I guess it’s random or something.) It made me very sad because it was like she was alive again. She didn’t look like a ghost. She’s just there, taking care of the flowers, and then she’s gone. So I recently drew her in the church with her flowers. I didn’t draw her ghostly, as she didn’t appear that way in the game. But, perhaps you notice she doesn’t cast shadows on anything but herself, and the light doesn’t touch her because she’s not really there. (I thought I’d mention that the light’s shining through a hole in the roof, in case it seemed out of place.)
I wish the background had been better, but this is what I was able to do. I made the back wall a bit blurry because it’s farther away. I also added texture to the wood (I used something called underpainting), and I drew every flower and flower stem separately. The stems were drawn like hair, with dodge and burn for shadows and for lighter areas. There is a front layer and a back one. I know the area with the flowers is supposed to be bigger, but I’m leaving it as it is. It’s not a great picture, but I think Aerith looks good, and I like how it really looks like she’s sitting in the flowers. And Aerith and the church are property of Squaresoft/Square Enix.
The Duck’s Tired of Flowers
I recently beat “Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core”. This game tells the story of SOLDIER member Zack. Zack was seen a tiny bit in the original “Final Fantasy VII” and was Cloud’s friend. The main villain of this game is Genesis, a 1st class SOLDIER member that left Shinra. We find that Genesis was created as a result of Project G, but is degrading and trying to find a cure. I’m not sure why attacking Shinra really helps him at all in this, but okay then. This game also lets you see what Sephiroth was like before he turned evil, plus Cloud and Aerith are in it, as well. (I got this game for 10 cents at the game store due to a coupon and store credit. It was awesome.)
This game ended up being a lot of fun and was my favorite game on the PlayStation Portable. The story was fairly interesting, and the game became more fun once you got further into it. My favorite parts were those that related to the original game, the events that happened in Nibelheim five years before “Final Fantasy VII”. The ending was really sad, even though I knew what would happen. In “Final Fantasy VII”, you see that Zack dies, and that is how this game ends. Very depressing.
Anyway, the gameplay was a lot of fun in this game. It is played in real-time rather than being turn-based and has something new called the DMW. In the upper left corner of the screen, when you fight, three pictures of characters are scrolling, and if they line up with three matching pictures, you get a limit break (an extra strong attack) that corresponds to that character. For example, with Aerith, Zack gets healed, and with Cloud, Zack uses Meteor Shots. Sometimes you might also get summons. Phoenixis the best because it hurts the enemies and gives you a Phoenix Down, which brings you back to life if you die. Sometimes, you can summon things like Cactuars, Tonberries, or Cait Sith. These all have silly little cut scenes associated with them. The Cactuar one is the funniest. Zack does this weird little dance with the Cactuar. It’s hilarious. Only Zack can get away with such goofiness.
What I don’t like about the gameplay is that the DMW is random. Sometimes you don’t get limit breaks for a while. Also, you need three 7’s to line up to level up. Sometimes you can level up a lot, sometimes rarely. I don’t like not having any control over these things.
The game also has lots of extras. There are 300 extra missions. But, they are all pretty similar, so it can get pretty boring. I still tried to finish them anyway, and I got to 68%, but then I found that I couldn’t do about 16 missions because you can only do them earlier in the game, so I gave up. I want to get 100%, not 94 and 2/3%. That would be lame.
I thought I’d mention that Yuffie shows up a tiny bit in this game and Vincent kind of does, too. Yuffie is seen trying to pick a fight with Zack early on in the game, even though she’s probably about 10 years old. Little monster. And she shows up in some extra missions, too. And cries several times like the brat she is. And Zack finds Vincent fast asleep in a coffin in the basement of Shinra Manor (once again, I feel the need to tell you that he’s not a vampire!). But, he decided to leave Vincent alone. I don’t blame him. If I found a guy sleeping in a coffin, I likely would have left them alone, too. Who knows what kind of weirdo they might be.
Also must mention that the Tonberries in this game are creepy like usual. And now they bark. Evil beasts. I hate Tonberries.
Now, I know I analyze things too much, but what is with all these characters with one wing? Originally, Sephiroth was the one-winged angel, but now more characters are sprouting a single wing. Everybody has one wing nowadays. It’s not unique anymore. Thanks for ruining the one-winged angel thing, Square Enix. And I doubt you can even fly with one wing anyway. Honestly.
Anyway, this is a good game. It’s a lot of fun, has a lot of extras (even if they are all pretty redundant) and tells you what happened before “Final Fantasy VII”. The ending depressed me, but strangely, I like games that depress me. Is that weird?
1st Class DUCK
“Final Fantasy VII” has some awesome music, so I decided to tell you guys my top 10 favorite. If you want to listen to them, I provided links to dear youtube. I think you’ll like them.
10. “Aerith’s Theme” (in the game, her name was Aeris, but I think Aerith is her official name). It’s a pretty song.
9. “Fighting” is the song you hear a lot because it’s during normal fights. If you play the game, you better like it because you’ll be spending A LOT of time listening to it. Also, it is one of the first songs I heard, so it gives me special memories.
8. I also like “Valley of the Fallen Star”, the theme of Cosmo Canyon and Red XIII. I hum this one often. It’s very pretty. And has a good beat.
7. “Attack of the Weapon” is also a good song.
6. “Fight on!” is the boss battle music used most. It goes really well with the fight. It makes you want to kick butt. And so I did. My favorite part’s at 1:03.
5. “J-E-N-O-V-A” is another good song. Sometimes used as boss battle music or just in regular battles. Also epic.
4. Another is “Birth of a God”, the theme of Bizarro Sephiroth (yes, that’s right), final boss part 2. I kind of like this song. It fits the boss really well. I like the part at 0:53 a lot. And I love how it ties in another song you hear in other parts of the game relating to Sephiroth at 1:25. Genius.
3. “The Nightmare Begins” is a lovely song and the theme of Vincent. It’s kind of sad. I heard it’s played with a harpsichord.
2. “Bombing Mission” (or “Opening Theme, Bombing Mission”, which takes a little bit of time to get to the good part) is an awesome song. It’s played during the first boss and some other parts. I heard it the first day I played the game. I loved it. It’s pretty good, with a lot to it. The good stuff starts around 1:13.
1. And last but not least, if you listen to just one, listen to the well-known “One-Winged Angel”, Sephiroth’s theme and the music I got to enjoy while watching that long Super Nova attack (which I ranted about in my previous post). It is really amazing, very complex. The words are sung in Latin. There is a newer version in the movie, “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children”, but this is very good, too. I think it’s especially good at 1:10 and 3:38.