In light of coming down to Earth from a Sunday full of video game nostalgia, I decided to take on yet another project involving Legos and game scenes. Before I do that, I must count down 10 of my favorite scenes from Square/SquareSoft’s role playing games (or RPGs). This list is my personal opinion and includes some of my favorite games existing inside or outside my personal collection. If you’re interested in viewing my game collection, visit the collection page.
NOTE: There are so many scenes from video games I love that there aren’t enough top 10 lists to cover them all. This is just the first of many top 10s on the subject. Thanks for reading.
Falls Basin | Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
This may seem a weird entry, but this area has always been at the forefront of my mind ever since I originally played this game with my buddy James. He got FFMQ (Final Fantasy Mystic Quest) for his birthday the year it came out and we were glued to the screen. I don’t know if it was the over-indulgence of caffeinated beverages or the saturated fat from potato chips, but when James entered this area and the music played, it resonated with me. I love the ice puzzle and layout of the map. Having the main character there with Phoebe made the game fun. Say what you want about this game, but it will always be one of my favorites.
Camp Fire, Lucca’s Dream | Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger is a once-in-a-generation game that is so captivating, one game console couldn’t contain it. CT was ported from the original Super NES version to the Playstation and Nintendo DS. There are so many amazing moments from that game that it makes it almost impossible to narrow down the list. There is one scene, however, that sticks out more so than many others.
During a very recognizable sequence, the Chrono Trigger characters huddle around a campfire in an optional side quest. While tinkering with Robo, Luca falls asleep and starts a dream sequence.
During the sequence, we witness Luca waking from the campsite and entering a special time gate. The gate transports Luca to her home. As she reads the journal notes littered around the home, Luca realizes she’s at home when she was a child. The journal notes piece together her father’s obsession with machines and her mom’s willingness to help the family. One night (the night Luca was transported), her mother was cleaning and she got too close to one of her husband’s machines. She accidentally turned it on and got her clothes caught in a conveyor belt. Luca watched as her child self tried to help her mom. But, just like then, all she could do was watch in horror as her mom lost one or both legs in the machine.
This was a major parallel to the ‘Radical Dreamers’ theory (one of many theories) of Chrono Trigger/Chrono Cross. Through all the time traveling the main characters did during their adventure and changing outcomes of history, this is one event that could not be changed. Luca’s mom was never meant to walk again. It’s the first time the game forces a realization that everything cannot be fixed with time travel and questions if anything has actually changed at all. Mind Blown!
Mt Ordeals, Summit, Crystal Wall | Final Fantasy IV/2 US
I’m just going to come out and say it, Final Fantasy IV (2 US) is my number 1 favorite game of all time. Because of that bias, I limited my choices for favorite RPG scenes with this game to 1. While there are many awesome scenes in this game (final fight with Zeromus, to name one), the pinnacle point of Cecil reaching the summit of Mt. Ordeals to confront his evil self ranks very high.
During Cecil’s reign as Captain of Baron’s Red Wings airship force, he did unspeakable things to many people while obtaining crystals for his master, King of Baron. He lives with the guilt that dwells inside him. We wants to uphold his honor as a dark knight of Baron, but feels so much remorse for his murderous actions. During sea travel, the great Eidolon Leviathan capsized the vessel and Cecil washed ashore close to the town of Mysidia. The people hated Cecil. He stole their crystal and murdered their people. However, the elder took pity on the knight and sent Cecil on a quest to shed the evil that dwells within him. That quest led Cecil to Mt. Ordeals.
At the peak of Mt. Ordeals, Cecil magically sheds his dark knight past and becomes a paladin. However, his reflection in the beautiful crystal wall did not change. Cecil comes face-to-face with his dark self in a battle of wits over brawn. Once Cecil defeats his dark half, the spirit calls him “son.”
This scene sets the stage for the next major plot point. It’s the beginning of the end for Tellah, Cecil’s companions (Palom and Porom, the young mage prodigies) make a sacrifice to save the others, Cecil begins unravelling the clues to his Lunarian past.
Hero in the pot | Secret of Mana
Secret of Mana is simply a fun game. It takes the action genre and has fun with it. What started out as Final Fantasy Adventure for the Game Boy in the United States, Secret of Mana (or Seiken Densetsu 2 in Japan) takes the action further. It gave us a 3 person party and the ability to ride on a dragon through an overworld. Great stuff.
One of my favorite scenes occurs when our hero is caught by Goblins and thrown into a pot. The dialog of the Goblins turning your character into dinner is just a great concept.
Phantom Train, Dinner | Final Fantasy VI/3 US
Sometimes when you board a haunted train that’s heading to ‘the other side,’ it’s nice to have a sense of humor. That’s the way Sabin saw his situation aboard the Phantom Train in Final Fantasy VI (3 US). Sabin, Shadow, and Cyan are running from train car to train car attempting to outrun the ghostly spectres that chase them. Since men must listen to their stomachs, Sabin took an opportunity to fill his belly with some ghostly delights. One Phantom car appears to be a dining car with a very attentive ghost waiter. Sabin sits down, orders, and eats everything that poor waiter ghost brings him.
The scene is very comical and is completely out of context with the events occurring around the party, but totally stays in character with the ghost waiter and Sabin’s appetite.
… until you have to fight the train…
Temple of Fiends, Revisited | Final Fantasy
The first trip to the Temple of Fiends at the beginning of the game was to defeat the poser Garland. He was the prick who kidnapped Princess Sarah that started the four Warriors of Light on their destined quest.
However, it’s not until the Heroes are plunged back in time that we get to see the Temple of Fiends in all its glory. When we visit The Temple again (revisited), we are confronted with a horde of difficult monsters and the inevitable final battle with Chaos. It’s an all-around awesome feeling from Square’s first Final Fantasy game.
As a bonus, my absolute favorite version of this game was the PSP remake for the Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary. It’s an amazing game with the core fun still present with updated sprites that don’t look like cartoon piss. I’m talking to you Final Fantasy VI for iOS…you shit.
Princess Ovelia Kidnap | Final Fantasy Tactics
There are several scenes in Final Fantasy Tactics that really pull at my feelings, but the one that gets me the most is when we realize that our long-time friend Delita kidnaps Princess Ovelia.
It’s not the act of kidnapping that pulls at me, but more of the fact that our character, Ramza, has no idea of all the politics behind the battle grounds. It’s the moment we realize that Delita is involved in so much more than we are and the scale of the game’s story has just be blown wide open.
Delita was but a young recruit soldier when he was forced to fight along-side Ramza. He dreamed of becoming General and wanted nothing more. His fate changed, however, after witnessing the death of his sister. After this event, the game flashes forward to current time as we see Delita kidnap Princess Ovelia for unknown reasons at the time. It would be known later that his intentions were to use Ovelia as a replacement for his sister and manufacture her into a monarch. This would allow Delita to get revenge on those who killed his sister.
The story is long and complicated, but the realization to Ramza was quite clear. Betrayal came fast and hard.
Ultima/Atma Weapon | Final Fantasy VI/3 US
Traveling through the Flying Continent in Final Fantasy VI/3 was difficult enough and then you run into this guy.
Atma (I like that name better than Ultima) was the last opponent to stand between our heroes and confronting Kefka and Gestahl. Atma’s design, the blue breathing flame, and the slight mechanical aspects made him terrifying. The battle ends up being one of the more memorable in the game and there is a real sense of satisfaction once you beat him.
Not to mention, the events that occur once you dispose of this nuisance only make you want to wish you hadn’t.
World of Ruin, Celes and the Peak | Final Fantasy VI/3 US
The scene is simple. After Kefka destroys the world and leaves it ruin, Celes is left on an island to care after Cid. Cid becomes ill and eventually dies on the island. In a moment of desperation, Celes climbs a cliff that overlooks the ocean and leaps off. She attempts to end her suffering, but she was not meant to die yet. The current brings her back to the island and she survives so she can leave to find her friends.
Too. Many. Feels.
It’s good she survives because I actually like having her in my party. Thanks for not killing her Square!
Dream’s End | Chrono Trigger
At the conclusion of the time traveling epic that is Chrono Trigger, Chrono and his friends ascend into the belly of the beast. Literally. The heroes have made their way into the magical armored shell of Lavos to battle the alien from within. However, it’s not the underwhelming final battle of Chrono Trigger that gets me; it’s the location stamp when you access the game menu when inside Lavos. It reads “Dream’s End.” It eludes to a moment of time, but nothing specific.
I’m not really sure why I feel so strongly about this line of text, but it emphasizes two things I don’t want to happen in Chrono Trigger. 1) The game ending and 2) The whole adventure was a dream. There were several nods to the dreaming parallel within the game and I never wanted to accept that answer as fact.
So, there you have it. 10 scenes I can’t erase from my brain. Thanks for reading. Cheers!
Where’s my beer?