February 24th, 2008


Seals were made to be broken

I made it through the Forest of Moore in Final Fantasy V, and I noticed a few common tropes for games of the sort at work in the battle with the crystals and its aftermath:

1. The heroes do the wrong thing and inadvertently help the villain, but there's no way for the player to avoid this. It's like how Cecil in Final Fantasy IV gives away the elemental crystals at the drop of a hat.
2. After a grand but ultimately futile last stand, a character dies in a way in which none of the life-restoring items or spells will work on them. It's never entirely clear which forms of death Phoenix Down is effective against, but I suppose there's some kind of difference between "KO'd" and actually dead.
3. There's some great evil that some other heroes fought against a long time ago, but they didn't kill it, instead merely sealing it away. Of course, the seal always breaks during the time period of the game. Apparently ancient heroes have the same approach to ultimate evils as the United States government does toward the environment and paying for things: "Someone in the future will handle it!" In FF5, there were actually TWO seals placed on Exdeath, one from centuries ago, and the others created by the Warriors of Dawn a mere thirty years ago. That means you can interact with the earlier warriors, who seem to have been a cooler team, since they included a werewolf. The best the present generation could come up with was a transvestite pirate captain.

The sealed-away evil concept shows up in a lot of games, and apparently even the Almighty isn't above using it. In Revelation 20, Satan is locked up in an abyss for 1000 years, during which the faithful rule with Jesus. Then the Devil escapes and leads a whole bunch of troops in the war of Gog and Magog, which he loses. But if everyone is used to this world ruled by the ultimate good and free from the ultimate evil, how does he get this army? Is he just that cool and charismatic? I guess he DOES have rock music on his side. {g} More importantly, why not just kill him off BEFORE the advent of the millennial kingdom? Is there something in his contract? Really, pretty much everything in Revelation happens in fits and starts, doesn't it?