Final Fantasy Theatrhythm : Curtain Call

My player card. I haven't unlocked much to change it around.

My player card. I haven’t unlocked much to change it around.

I am not the biggest fan of rhythm games. Generally I suck at them. I make an exception for the Theatrhythm games—I’m not saying that I don’t suck at them. I do. It’s just that I love the music so much. I own almost every Final Fantasy album out there (I’m sure the newer ones have slipped through my grasp but…) I’ve been playing Final Fantasy games since…high school.

My first real exposure to Final Fantasy came when my boyfriend at the time was playing a brand new Super Famicom copy of Final Fantasy V in Japanese and translating it for me. His translations must have lacked something because he got mad at me when I didn’t cry when a certain character died. If you’ve read my about page you know that I have a very neglected website devoted to Final Fantasy V. You’d think it would be my favorite since I made an entire website devoted to it. It’s not.

I’m torn between favorites. I love the nostalgia of V. But my favorite would either be IX—The ending made me cry so hard—or VI. My favorite character is Locke from VI. I played VI over and over my freshman year of college. It was the only game I had for my SNES. I just dated myself didn’t I?

So, it’s a given that I’d pick up Theatrhythm. I played the first one a lot, but I was really bad at chaos mode. I could play some of the songs on hard. Some of them not. While I played the songs over and over and over I didn’t unlock hardly any characters because I couldn’t get the right colored shards.

I was iffy about the sequel. But this is me we’re talking about. I bought it on launch. It plays almost exactly the same as the first. That’s not a bad thing. This go around you can play using buttons instead of the stylus (or even in conjunction with it apparently but I’m not that talented). Using buttons seems like it could be easier than the stylus, but since I played the previous game a lot so it just feels natural to continue using the stylus.

HNI_0052When you start off you only get to choose four characters out of a preselected set. From then on you have to unlock everybody. You still use crystal shards of various colors to unlock characters. However, for most colors you get to choose between at least four characters. So for the most part you should be able to pick up most of your favorite characters more easily than the previous game IMO. I already have four characters from Final Fantasy V, and I’ve only played for about 5 hours. So I’m a happy camper.

It seems like every thousand rhythm points or so you are given enough shards of a certain color to unlock a character. So you don’t have to get all the characters exclusively from this version’s chaos mode. But there is a chaos mode. In Curtain Call chaos mode is called the Quest Medley (at least in the JP version) There are three lengths of quests; short, medium, and long. There are also quests you get from streetpasses, but I’m not holding my breath that I’ll ever get one of those being in the states and all. I don’t know if the length of quest Medley affects the rewards. I have a sneaking suspicion you may get more rewards the longer the quest.

Overview  of the first short quest I did.

Overview of the first short quest I did.

The picture on the left shows what you can expect from this quest medley (which I completed). There are 6 BMS songs and 4 FMS songs. The quests are laid out much like Find Mii where you have to choose a route so you don’t do all of the songs in one run through. As you can see I did 4/6 of the BMS and 3/4 of the FMS. In addition there’s one locked door. While I have a key, it wouldn’t let me unlock that door, so I think maybe I need a different colored key?—I haven’t really figured that part out yet as you can tell. The bubbles are “events” within the quest. There’s one square where I get a key for a reward. One square where I get a fat chocobo. No ships. One crystal which if I’m reading correctly acts like a save spot so if I die I can restart from that point. And that last gory thing is the boss. There’s only one boss in this quest. A medium one I did had two bosses so I got double the rewards.

Boss: King Behemoth

Boss: King Behemoth

This handsome guy was the boss I vanquished from the short quest medley. Just like the previous game he has the possibility of dropping three items. As a reward (not a drop!) I got 3 deep red crystal shards. I’m not sure if you have to kill the boss to get the reward. I think you get it just for making it through the quest.

Just like the last game there’s paid DLC. I dropped a lot of money on extra songs last time. Unlike last time there are also paid characters you can download. As of the time of writing there was only one, Yufie from FFVII. She cost 150 yen (roughly $1.50). I bought her. She steals things. I don’t regret my purchase. But I don’t know what characters are DLC so it could cramp people’s style if they have to pay for their favorites. [The level up picture above shows Yufie on the right looking glum because she didn’t level.] There were a couple of free songs you could download. I’m not sure if they’re free for a limited time or if they’re just trying to get you hooked.

There are two bosses in this mid-length quest.

There are two bosses in this mid-length quest.

I was robbed! The orangey banner with only one music note lets you know that this was easy mode. I kick butt on easy usually.

I was robbed! The orangey banner with only one music note lets you know that this was easy mode. I kick butt on easy usually.

This is actually the lowest rank I've gotten. The blue banner with 2 music notes denotes medium difficulty. This one was hard!

This is actually the lowest rank I’ve gotten. The blue banner with 2 music notes denotes medium difficulty. This one was hard!

Other than that, characters still have abilities and level up. You can play a vs. mode. I haven’t tried that yet. You still collect cards! That reminds me. I believe you can use said cards to enhance the stats of your characters. But since I’m still really low level with most characters I haven’t really looked into this. You can use up to 8 cards to change character’s stats. It looked like it was permanent to me so I haven’t played with it. It also has a success rate and a critical rate so I don’t know what happens if it fails. I’ll post more about it when I figure it out. Or if someone out there knows, enlighten me. 😉

Must play now!

Final Fantasy: Finished

I didn’t think I would actually finish Final Fantasy 1 on time. Nevertheless, sometime after midnight on 7/31 Chaos was struck down by my Master, Ninja, Black Wizard, and White Wizard.

The latter half of the game progressed much more smoothly than the first part of it even though I never did figure out how to access the world map. I know the brooms in Matoya’s Cave told me how, but I wasn’t paying much attention to them at the time.

The game got progressively easier as I found armor that cast spells. My favorite was the healing staff. Towards the end of the game my white Mage just spammed heals with the staff and very rarely used any of her mana. The black wizard did the same thing once he got the black robe. He just cast blizzara on everything regardless of its weakness.

If I were to play again (and if had taken the whole month for this I probably would) I would definitely take a knight. It seems like about 70% of the equipment found in chests was geared toward the knight. I felt cheated having walked all across the dungeon to get it and then not being able to equip it.

One of the downsides to playing most of the game on the road without headphones is that I didn’t get to hear a lot of the music (Korn > PSP speaker). I played some of the latter dungeons late at night and got to hear the music. My favorite was the theme in the sunken shrine. It was haunting. Listening to the MIDI from the FFI soundtrack I have, not so much.

after over twenty years, I can see why Final Fantasy captivated audiences back on the Nintendo. Its gameplay is a little rough around the edges for current RPGs, and its story was a little loose, but still a great beginning to an epic franchise. They get better from here.

With a new month, a new Final Fantasy. Moving right along I’ll tackle Final Fantasy Ii on the PSP. If it has a Japanese language option I will probably attempt to play it in Japanese and be just as confused.

Final Fantasy: Slow Going

I’m thinking that maybe two weeks to complete Final Fantasy was a bit ambitious on my part. It wouldn’t have been if I wasn’t also attempting to play Dragon Quest IX—which steals all my attention. And 牧場物語ふたごの村 (Harvest Moon: Twin Villages).

Initially I was setting a timer to play Final Fantasy for 30 minutes a day (I know, a timer to play games? WTF, but I’m easily distracted and having a timer for distraction-free time is immensely helpful). Then 30 minutes became 35…then 40…but I didn’t seem to be making a dent in the game. I was still running back and forth to the same spots and hadn’t even made it to the first crystal.

I hate to say it but FFI is a little bit boring to me so far. The fighting classes are lackluster. They just attack or defend. The mages are a little more interesting since you have to buy spells and can’t have them all. I’m all about customization. And the random encounters? ugh. It took me three tries to get through the Earth cave because I kept running out of MP.

To spice the game up a little bit I decided to play it in Japanese. I only know a little (少し)but I get really excited when I recognize things, like the shop keepers welcoming me (いらしゃいませ!)or the innkeeper saying good night (お休みなさい!)。This is a bonus since I’m studying Japanese on my own. I think of it as 2 for 1 time.

I’m on vacation right now and I thought ‘this will be the perfect time to catch up on Final Fantasy!’ What better time than 10 hours of driving to play, play, play?! Well, on three hours of sleep and with an anxious cat in (and under) the back seat dungeon running is not optimal. On yesterday’s drive I played…not at all.

Today however I feel very accomplished. Stuck in the hotel room in the morning since this is a working vacation for the hubby I finally made it through the Earth Cave and lit the Earth Crystal. The Vampire(バンパィア) and Lich (リッチ)went down quite easily with firea and dia. I was somewhat vexed that I couldn’t use anything from the chests. All the gear was for a warrior. I don’t have one…

So, with any luck later tonight or tomorrow I will work my way to the fire crystal. I have a seven hour drive tomorrow sans anxious cat. If I get my sleep I may finally get somewhere in the game.