Final Fantasy V: I am an Idiot

It turns out that I actually got explicit instructions about where the Adamantite was, but failed to understand them, and then forgot them. This lack of understanding was made possible by a complete misinterpretation of Galuf’s flashbacks, which I will now correct point by point:

Galuf and his cohorts did not create or place the four crystals. In the flashback, they discussed creating a prison for X-Death using the crystals. But the crystals were already there. The presence of the Crystals is probably why they chose this planet for his prison in the first place. This leads into the next misconception:

Galuf is not hundreds of years old. Since the crystals had been there for as long as anyone could remember, and Galuf put them there, it seemed a reasonable conclusion. But, as noted, Galuf didn’t put them there. By now, I’ve reached another scene where he says that X-Death had been sealed away a mere 30 years ago.

Galuf did not stay on this planet. My idea that he had was based mainly on the fact that he said he came in a meteorite, just like the monsters. To return to his homeworld, he’d surely need some kind of flying machine, and meteorites, it seemed to me, are more like falling machines. Well, it turns out that these are two-way meteorites. He actually returns in one after a certain point.

Galuf’s granddaughter lives on his homeworld. It’s just that the two worlds have extremely similar customs and architecture.

And finally, the one crucial point that separated me from the storyline for the bulk of last session: The game starts with a meteorite crashing into the area near Reina’s castle. That was Galuf’s transport. His initial amnesia was a consequence of his crash-landing, and not, as I had assumed, of his being crash-landed at.

This also means that the destruction of the first crystal was not in any way caused by the first meteor, as I had assumed. Rather, the reverse: Galuf returned because he had seen that the crystals were failing. This means that the “amplifiers” probably are to blame after all, although X-Death certainly helped matters along once he was able.

Now, in order to figure all this out, I looked at a script at GameFAQs. This script is for the SNES version, so it’s not identical to the text in the version I’ve been playing, but looking at it, I see multiple references to Galuf having come 30 years ago, as well as Galuf’s reaction to being told that we need Adamantite: “Remember that meteor I came here in? I think I remember seeing some inside of the meteor!” If there was anything like this in the version I played, I could have saved myself some trouble by remembering more of it. But even in this version, it looks like the player is expected to have figured out a thing or two not explicitly spelled out — like that the “meteor I came here in” is the one where you met Galuf in the first place.

I don’t mind having to figure things out. I play adventure games, right? But to figure things out, you need access to information, including information you’ve seen once and forgotten about. Games are mocked for the unrealistic way that people repeat the same things every time you talk to them, but it’s kind of essential. And it’s often done like that here, especially for useless information: if I want to be reminded about how the wind is failing and ships will be unable to sail, there are any number of villagers willing to repeat what they said back at the beginning. But since this isn’t Planescape: Torment, you’re not given the opportunity to repeat conversations with player characters. If Galuf says “30 years ago”, and you forget that detail, there’s no way to make him repeat it, short of restarting or restoring. And I’m not likely to do that, because I want every monster I kill to count.

So, let me now record the rest of what’s happened since then, lest I forget things and get confused again:

  • Reina’s father was, in fact, under X-Death’s control. He met us at the site of the last crystal, urged us to kill the crystal’s guardian, then broke it.
  • X-Death is now free, and has returned to his (and Galuf’s) homeworld to work his senseless evil.
  • Galuf’s granddaughter, Krile, came after him in another meteorite. She undid the whammy on the King, who then gave his life to save the rest of us
  • Galuf and Krile returned to their world in Krile’s meteorite.
  • Cid put together a teleporter so that the rest of the party could follow, but it only works once. We’ll have to find our own way back.
  • X-Death captured the party and used them to bait Galuf. Galuf rescued them, so everyone’s together again now, but they’re in lost in a remote wilderness.

2 Comments so far

  1. malkav11 on 9 Dec 2007

    This is why I am so happy that most PC RPGs figured out that they needed a quest journal for this sort of thing. (Spiderweb Software games go one better and allow you to record any dialogue or textual cutscenes for later perusal.)

    Of course, JRPGs have mostly decided to solve the problem another way – extreme linearity. Can’t get confused as to what to do next (or not very) in FFX…there’s only one way to go!

  2. Mark on 9 Dec 2007

    The retranslation for the Game Boy Advance version clears a lot of that up. There’s still no quest journal (although Japanese RPGs have begun including a substitute via some variant on the “talk to your party” ability – oddly enough, the very traditional Dragon Quest series seems to be the best about it), but now you can at least tell what people are saying most of the time, making it easier to remember and harder to misinterpret.

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