Thursday, July 05, 2012

My Top 50 Final Fantasy Locations: #40 to #31

Welcome to Part 2 of 5 of My Top 50 Final Fantasy Locations list. Yesterday I gave you from #50 to #41 so today we'll naturally go from #40 to #31. Let's get straight to it!

Please note: This list will talk about spoilers. If you have not played the game that each location represents I'd avoid that entry.

#40: Northern Cave
Game? Final Fantasy VII
When do you go? Final dungeon
Revisitable? No
Description: A large cave. Simple. Well not really, there's a lot of history in this cave. Jenova landed here when she arrived on The Planet and for the entirety of Final Fantasy VII this is actually where Sephiroth is; it was Jenova using images of Sephiroth throughout the game. The cave itself isn't anything special until you get to The Planet's Core, where your final battles with Jenova and Sephiroth take place.
The fact that Northern Crater, the final chapter in the amazingness that is the story of Final Fantasy VII lacks so much in grandeur definitely knocks it down to 40th place in my list. Don't get me wrong, because I've played this game so many times I know every nook and cranny of this cave, but you can't help but feel a lack of inspiration for three quarters of the time you spend here. The payoff at the end is amazing of course The Planet's Core truly is a place of gruseome beauty, but Squaresoft didn't really pull all the stops to make you feel like you were going to enter anything other than a bog standard cave for the most part. Which is a shame.

#39: South Figaro
Game? Final Fantasy VI
When do you go? Very early on, towards the middle of the game and towards the end
Revisitable? Yes
Description: A regular Final Fantay VI town in some ways, but with lots of events happening here and with it being the first town you can properly visit, it's quite a memorable place.
You go here three times, firstly you go through it early on when you're on your way to the Returners Hideout, then you come here a bit later on and recruit Celes, and then lastly you go through here after Kefka destroys the world and are suspicious of a mane named Gerad, who is a badly disguised Edgar. I just love South Figaro, it's a pleasant FF6 town considering for the most part its under Empire law, and the fact that many cut scenes throughout the game happen here makes it an important place to go.

#38: Rabanastre
Game? Final Fantasy XII
When do you go? At the beginning, and many times throughout the game
Revisitable? Yes
Description: A very large city, probably to scale one of the biggest and most busy cities in the history of Final Fantasy.
You probably visit Rabanastre of Final Fantasy XII more than any place in the history of Final Fantasy, if we're not including airships and the like. You go here very often during the entire course of the game, it's arguably your 'home', if there was one. It's where Vaan and Penelo are from, two of the main characters of the game. It's just a very iconic city, everything about it, the size, the story line progression, the music, everything about it you'll not forget easily. Almost to the point where it's annoying actually, but I don't think it goes that far really, otherwise it wouldn't be in this list!

#37: Forgotten Capital
Game? Final Fantasy VII
When do you go? Nearly half way through the game, and towards the end
Revisitable? Yes
Description: A small mythical city completely in ruins, once belonging to the Ancients, houses still intact yet desolate.
It goes without saying that this place serves witness to one of the most iconic moments in video gaming, the death of Aerith. As a place it's not really that amazing in my eyes, as beautiful as it is, but the scene that will be mentioned over and over again as one of video games most horrific moments; when Sephiroth drives his long and slender sword through the back of Aerith, mercilessly, that happened here, it has to mentioned amongst my Top 50. It's a very short area yet some of the landmarks are just unforgettable, particularly the lake and of course, the Cetra castle and altar in which the above happens.

#36: Magitek Research Facility
Game? Final Fantasy VI
When do you go? Nearly half way through the game
Revisitable? No
Description: A rusty, gritty, filthy research lab, where The Empire conduct life-threatening experiments on the Espers.
The Magitek Research Facility has one of the best in-game songs of Final Fantasy VI, and yes, that does form a big part of why I put it in this list. But it's also a big part of the first half of Final Fantasy VI, the infiltration of the research facility and going to Vector in general, marks the first time you're really taking it to The Empire. What you find happening here however was not what was bargained for; seeing six Espers being completely drained of life in test tubes is a pretty damn horrible scene, and not done justice in a Super Nintendo game (which makes me point to my article on Why I Want a Final Fantasy VI Remake). The Magitek Research Facility is definitely one of the more intriguing places in Final Fantasy VI.

#35: Moonflow
Game? Final Fantasy X
When do you go? Approaching half way through the game
Revisitable? Yes
Description: A large river that separates Spira into two halves; you cross the river to get to the Northern parts of Spira. A huge surge of pyreflies make the river glow at night, creating a beautiful scene that many of the people of Spira hold in high regard.
The Moonflow is another one of those places in Final Fantasy that are just so damn beautiful. Squaresoft/Square Enix truly know how to pull of imaginary places and make you wish so bad that they were real. You don't spend that long here in Final Fantasy X, but a few things happen, you recruit Rikku permanently (one of my favourite female characters), you see Shoopufs and Hypellos for the first time, (and I loves the Hypello yesh yesh) and Auron tells you of an awesome story about when Jecht came here for the first time. It's just a good little place storyline wise, and scenery wise, it's damn gorgeous.

#34: Lake Bresha
Game? Final Fantasy XIII
When do you go? Very early in the game
Revisitable? No
Description: Once a lake, when the party land on Lake Bresha it is completely crystallised due to the fal'Cie Anima, landing here, defeated by you previously.
You have to walk on this crystallised lake to reach the Vile Peaks, but more importantly than that is the storyline that occurs here. It's here that your party realises they're branded l'Cie and will turn into monsters or crystal. They all bicker and fight, taking out their frustrations on each other before taking it out on the PSICOM soliders who are trying to capture them. Snow stays put, having found his girlfriend, Serah, turned to crystal. All of this happens on Lake Bresha, which in its crystallised state, is a damn beautiful sight.

#33: Iifa Tree
Game? Final Fantasy IX
When do you go? Towards the middle of the game, and after the final battle
Revisitable? Yes
Description: On appearance it's a large tree but in actuality it's the source of all the Mist in Final Fantasy IX, and is the filter of the souls of Gaia.
The Iifa Tree is such an important part of Final Fantasy IX. So many things happen on the Iifa Tree, in the Iifa Tree or because of the Iifa Tree. It's an ugly thing yet there's that certain weird beauty about it, it's fundamental in FF9. So important in fact that you find yourself back here when you deal with the final bad guys. It's just one of the true landmarks of FF9 and its look stands out so much.

#42: Shumi Village
Game? Final Fantasy VIII
When do you go? Completely optional, from half way through the game onwards
Revisitable? Yes
Description: A village built 323 meters underground that is host to the species of Shumi and Moombas.
I love the Shumi Village. It's so quirky and random that you can't help but like it. Most of the stuff that happens here is pointless, bar some small hints that Laguna once visited here, but the Shumi Tribe are lovely people and of course, Moombas are the cutest Final Fantasy creature never to appear in a second major FF title (bar its cameo as one of Lulu's dolls in FF10). You just can't help yourself, admit it, the Shumi Village kicks ass.

#31: Gold Saucer
Game? Final Fantasy VII
When do you go? Twice, towards the middle of the game
Revisitable? Yes
Description: An enormous amusement park and a huge tourist attraction, it's built directly over Old Corel, where Barret and a few other characters where born.
Ah, the Gold Saucer. So much happens here and it's so flashy and awesome that you just can't ignore it. Some people love it some people hate it. I lean more towards the former, I love playing a lot of the mini games here and the storyline progression here is pretty good, not to mention the awesome combination of dates possible with Cloud on the Gondola! It's just a great part of the game, the two times you come here, at least I think so.

And... that's enough for today. Part 3 of my Top 50 Final Fantasy Locations listing will be posted tomorrow. Until then have a good night.

Click here for #30 to #21.
Click here for #20 to #11.
Click here for #10 to #1.
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