Final Fantasy VI: Playing Defense

Twice now, I’ve encountered a special sort of mini-game in Final Fantasy VI, one where you have to defend a position by moving troops around on a network of tunnels, taking care to keep all possible routes blocked. FF7 had something similar to this, in an optional bit where you could get some special Materia by defending an egg on a mountaintop, but that was more of a pure minigame, with mechanics completely separate from the main game. Whereas in the FF6 version, each confrontation is fought out in the regular combat engine, using the same characters that you’ve been using all along.

Mind you, the first time around, I hadn’t yet accumulated the palette of playable characters I have now, so only one of the three groups I controlled had established characters in it. The rest were filled out with moogles. The second time, I have seven characters and have to divide them into three groups, which makes for a nice bit of tough decision-making. I want each group to be capable of wiping out an attacker in one or two rounds; this requires characters with special skills that let them attack multiple enemies at once, and I only have so many of them. Ideally, I also want a healer in every group, but I only have two mages.

Gau the wild-boy may be the key to that. His special ability is the ability to mimic the attacks of monsters he’s watched you fight. In other words, he’s kind of like the Blue Mage in FF5, but with some key differences, such as that you can only tell Gau what creature to imitate, not which of that creature’s attacks to use. (I understand there’s another Blue Mage-like character to come, and I will probably go into more detail when I encounter him.) At any rate, one time I found a creature that lets Gau cast a resurrection spell. It didn’t do much good, because no one in my party was dead at the time, but it gives me the hope that I might be able to find a creature that lets Gau cast healing spells. He knows a lot of creatures, though, and it’ll take some time to try them all out, so I’ll probably get through the current defense mission before discovering it. I’ll just have to rely on potions.

I think I basically prefer the FF6 version of the defense game to the FF7 one, because of the way it’s integrated into the game, but there’s one thing I find annoying about it: it’s constantly interrupting me. The whole thing is realtime, you see. If I decide that I want to move one of my groups to a particular spot, the enemy keeps advancing while I do it. If they engage a group other than the one I’m currently controlling, I immediately have to fight the new group. By the time that’s done, I’ve lost track of what I was trying to do on the main map; by the time I’ve got it figured out again, I’m plunged into another fight. Maybe it would be better if the main map were turn-based, but that would be contrary to the nature of the game as a whole, with its “active battle” system. I think what I really want is for it to be mouse-based, or in some other manner to allow me to tell a unit to go to a particular destination, rather than having to control it every step of the way with the D-pad. In other words, an RTS interface, because an RTS is essentially what it is.

1 Comment so far

  1. Gemma on 21 Nov 2008

    If you’re keen on using Gau, there’s a superb Rage Guide on (the author’s name, I think, is Djibriel, although I may have misspelled that).

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