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Game Overview: The Villains of Final Fantasy Week 6
Oct 31st, 2008 by Dan

Insert another credit, because it’s time for your weekly video game news and you’ve just hit the Game Overview screen.

With every Final Fantasy game there exists great (and not so great) teams of heroes bent on saving the world from some sort of evil force. While we could take a look at those heroes, let’s instead take a look at the evils that motivate these heroes to do what they do.

It should be noted that this feature will be full of spoilers.

Week 1 – Garland
Week 2 – Emperor Mateus of Palamecia
Week 3 – The Cloud of Darkness
Week 4 – Zeromus
Week 5 – Exdeath

It’s no secret that I love everything about Final Fantasy VI. The game was my second best 16-bit game, if you remember that old feature. In fact, this feature was inspired almost completely by the antagonist of the greatest Final Fantasy villain to ever grace the screen: Kefka.

Heading away from the job system and small parties, Square did something they’d never done before by creating a large, mostly de-centralized cast of protagonists. The main character is, ostensibly, Terra, but pretty even attention is given to at least four or five other characters, you can spend quite a bit of time without Terra in your party, and you don’t even have to re-add her to your party once you’ve reached the World of Ruin.

Then we have the main evil man of the series, Kefka. Talk about an odd one. The guy looks like a clown, both in his sprite and his Amano-inspired portrait. It turns out (and I don’t think this was that clear in the original translation, the GBA one is clearer) that he is not a jester of any sort, he’s the court mage of the Empire and one of the Emperor’s big four general-types among Leo, Celes, and the magic soldier Terra.

So he’s an evil henchman, so what? I bet there’s some ancient evil that secretly steals the scene and becomes the true villain, right? No…not even close. Kefka is truly evil, and a nihilist to boot, with actions that are truly deplorable. Edgar and Figaro won’t cooperate and hand over Terra? He sets Castle Figaro on fire. Assault on Doma taking too long and Imperial losses getting to be too much? Poison the city’s water supply, murdering women, children, captured Imperial soldiers, and everyone else.

It gets even worse. He brutally massacres a bunch of espers, throws the balance of magic off in the entire world, and causes the apocalypse. After becoming a god, he brutally unleashes his wrath against people, seeking to end life on the planet, because he can. All this unparalleled evil, yet in most every battle with the player, Kefka just runs away at the completion.

Here’s to the most evil, human villain Final Fantasy has ever seen.

Evil Rating:

War criminal, bringer of the apocalypse, brutal murderer, slaver. An all around bastard embodying the worst of humanity. He also looks like a clown :shudder:

10/10

Cool Rating:

Pure evil, mage, jerk, first speaking part in a Final Fantasy game, but also has a penchant for running away from battles that he can’t win. He also looks like a clown.

8/10

Images:

Sprite
Amano Art
More Amano
Battle Sprite
Anthologies CGI
Final Boss
Kefka Godform
CGI Godform
Dissidia Kefka
Dissidia Concept Art
Kefka Figurine

Video:

Kefka Cosplay:

Kefka Battle:

Grand Slam: End of a Drought
Oct 30th, 2008 by Dan

So the 2008 World Series has finally come to a close. The last three innings were certainly tense and exciting, but at the end of the day the Phillies were just able to edge out the Rays 5-4, ending a Philadelphia drought of about twenty years of no major sports franchise winning a championship.

Although I absolutely hate the Phillies and hate that they beat a Florida team, I’ll try and be a bigger man and say:

Congratulations Phillies.

Wednesday Morning Quarterback: Overexposed, But Maybe Over Soon
Oct 29th, 2008 by Dan

You’ve probably heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20 on Monday morning, so just imagine how well I can call ‘em two days later on Wednesday. That’s right, it’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

The World Series and the onslaught of new video games has mostly prevented me from being able to stay on top of any other sport but baseball. Unfortunately, that leaves me mostly at a loss for content today.

Be sure to tune in for the last three innings of Game 5. If the Phils pull a win, the series is over. If the Rays manage to win, we’re still on. Go Rays! I’m not done with baseball yet.

Grand Slam: World Series History
Oct 28th, 2008 by Dan

After a disappointing Game 4 loss, the Rays knew they had to make something happen in Game 5. Unfortunately, Kazmir did what Kazmir does and he managed to give up two runs in the first inning straight away to Shane Victorino (Kaz has given up 8 runs in the first inning this post season).

So the Rays were down 2-0 for a while until Peña and Longoria did what they’re supposed to do. The both of them had gone a combined 0-30-something this World Series, but this time they managed to get on base and Longoria batted in Peña. 2-1

It’s raining pretty hard at this point, the 6th inning, but BJ Upton manages a single anyway. After Cole Hamels takes three years to keep trying to pickoff BJ at first, Upton steals second with Peña up to bat and two outs. Then Peña does what he’s supposed to do and gets a single that knocks in Upton. 2-2.

At this point it’s been raining ridiculously hard for about an inning and a half. There’s this peculiar rule in baseball that some of the uninformed might not know. If the home team is up and 4.5 innings have been played (or the visiting squad and five innings), then a game is official and it can be called a win at that point. Bud Selig probably should have called the Phillies game before the sixth, but how would that look for the World Series to end on a rain delay cancellation? Instead he let the players soldier on and once the Rays tied it up, he called it, since no one can complain about one team getting the unfair advantage. The result: World Series history. No game has ever been suspended for a day due to rain, so the Rays and Phillies will finish what they began yesterday…TONIGHT! And interrupt House…damn…but also awesome cause the Rays are still in it.

Embedded Reporter: Retrospectives!
Oct 27th, 2008 by Dan

Deep from the trenches, it’s time for your Monday video feature: Embedded Reporter.

Gametrailers is at it again with not one, but two retrospectives this week. With Fallout 3 and Wrath of the Lich King coming out soon (Fallout 3 a lot sooner), they’ve put out their one part Fallout retrospective and part one of what I’m guessing to be a three or four part Warcraft retrospective. Enjoy!

Grand Slam: Game 3
Oct 25th, 2008 by Dan

Game 2 went precisely how I wanted it to, which leaves today’s matchup, Garza vs Moyer, particularly big and important. It’ll probably be the coldest, temperature-wise, game the Rays have ever played, for one. There’s also that alarming statistic about dome-teams having a hard time beating non-dome teams in the postseason that needs to be proved wrong.

The big important points for the Rays:

-Score early
-Help Garza manage the Phils and keep them off of base.
-If previous fails, hope Garza doesn’t give up a home run
-Stop letting the Phils get into scoring position. They may be 3-28 or some ridiculously low number like that, but this is baseball and they’ll start performing when you least expect or need it.

If they can manage that, I’ll be a happy camper watching the game from a bar somewhere in DC tonight.

Game Overview: The Villains of Final Fantasy Week 5
Oct 24th, 2008 by Dan

Insert another credit, because it’s time for your weekly video game news and you’ve just hit the Game Overview screen.

With every Final Fantasy game there exists great (and not so great) teams of heroes bent on saving the world from some sort of evil force. While we could take a look at those heroes, let’s instead take a look at the evils that motivate these heroes to do what they do.

It should be noted that this feature will be full of spoilers.

Week 1 – Garland
Week 2 – Emperor Mateus of Palamecia
Week 3 – The Cloud of Darkness
Week 4 – Zeromus

Final Fantasy V took a step back from the ridiculously large cast of characters in FF IV and refocused on a cast of four characters in order to fully emphasize the hardcore, awesome job system implemented within the game.

The new four light warriors (one of whom was quite unfortunately translated as Butz…) were united by trans-dimensional travelers as they attempted to solve the crystal shattering crisis affecting the entire planet. Once it became apparent that they were fighting a concerted evil entity, they found out the dreaded monster’s name: Exdeath!

Exdeath. What a terribly generic name for a decently evil villain! His ultimate goal was to unite the two dimensions and harness the power of the Void to erase existence. Pretty basic and common villain stuff, par for the course for a Final Fantasy game. His evil deeds do include sinking an entire island and killing off one of the Light Warriors in plain view of his granddaughter. She eventually takes up his mantle as a Light Warrior and fights the good fight with all his abilities, but the loss of a character you’d just spent about half to 3/4 of the game with is one FF players won’t feel for another few years.

Then things start to get weird. You see, Exdeath was originally…a tree. I’m not kidding. A tree. A malevolent tree who somehow managed to get himself into the form of a man, but who returns to his tree form near the end of the game.

Tree…

Evil Rating:

One of the first permanent deaths in a Final Fantasy game of your core group, the sinking of an entire island, and the merging of two dimensions while shattering crystals. Not a bad rap sheet.

8/10

Cool Rating:

One word: Tree.

1/10

Images:

Exdeath (Amano Artwork)
Tree Form (in game)

Video:

Grand Slam: World Series Game 1
Oct 23rd, 2008 by Dan

We’ve reached the home stretch for the baseball season, so those of you who get bored of reading about baseball should only have a few more days left.

Game 1 did not go quite as well as I’d hoped, with the Rays losing to the Phillies 2-3 in a game that was well-pitched by both sides, just a little better by Hamels. Kazmir’s loss was sealed more or less early in the game after an Utley 2-run blast in the first and a Carlos Ruiz infield RBI that brought in Shane Victorino. He didn’t allow anything else, but the damage was done.

Which brings me to my next point: Kazmir in the post season is not as great as he is in the regular season. He’s given up too many homers and the Rays can’t necessarily deal with this against the Phillies. We’ll see what happens tonight!

Unrelated Note: I’m so pumped for the KOTOR MMO!!!

Wednesday Morning Quarterback: It’s Here!
Oct 22nd, 2008 by Dan

You’ve probably heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20 on Monday morning, so just imagine how well I can call ‘em two days later on Wednesday. That’s right, it’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

Listening to the Baseball Today podcast, it becomes very apparent that half of this World Series matchup doesn’t make sense. TV execs were hoping, nay, wishing for a Dodgers/Red Sox World Series. Torre vs. Francona. New Manny vs. Manny’s old team. Two huge market teams going at it for all the glory. Heck, they would have even settled for a Phillies/Red Sox series, with all those big names and big guns on both sides. Not to mention a Cubs appearance on their lucky 100th year of losing.

Instead they’ve got the Phils and the Rays. The losingest team in baseball (Philadelphia) against a team that has sucked every season of its existence until this year. Will ratings be low again for this World Series? It’s likely, what with the baseball audience mostly dwindling and since football season is in full swing. Will it be more exciting than the Sox? Most definitely. In fact, it’d be best if the series went the distance. A seven game series would do wonders for an event that has sorely lacked drama in recent history.

Speaking of drama…

Why does the BCS have Ohio State ranked above UF again? Two weeks of byes and all of a sudden we’ve forgotten how good UF is? A few games against mediocre teams and we forget how traditionally OSU is overrated? This should hopefully be resolved this weekend with the Kansas game.

Strange Bedfellows: Ire
Oct 21st, 2008 by Dan

Hey Sarah Palin! I’m a real American. Don’t think for one second that there are multiple classes of Americans based on who does or doesn’t agree with you. This country was founded on the basis of free speech, intellectual discourse, and differing viewpoints and I guarantee you that I’m just as American as Joe Sixpack, even though I don’t live in a small town.

Hey Rush Limbaugh! You’re being offensive and shortsighted to assume that Colin Powell only supports Obama due to his race. Obama is an agent for change from the Bush years and as a Bush dissenter, I would think that it makes sense for Powell to support him.

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