The Anatomy of Metroid Fusion | 4 | Return of Return of Samus

Once you get a handle on some of Metroid Fusion‘s mechanics beyond “run/jump/shoot,” you also get a little lesson in reading its map to find secrets. In a game from the cartridge era, where no pixel of space existed without good cause, this empty room should pique your curiosity. It seems to be a dead […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 15 | Kefkaesque

This is it: The big payoff for everything that’s come so far. The three diverging story paths converge once again, with everyone arriving in Narshe — some admittedly by a more circuitous route than others. All that Final Fantasy VI has presented to this point comes to a head here, and after the upcoming battle the nature […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 14 | Dive alert

Sabin’s chapter is surprisingly lengthy. Even after teaming up with Shadow, sneaking through an Imperial base, fighting through Doma Castle, and undermining the supernatural order of the human race’s afterlife, there’s still more to do. Shadow won’t take part in it, however; if you’ve managed to hang on to him to this point, here’s where […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 13 | Triple triad (part the third)

With the introduction of Cyan comes a weird new special command: Bushido (formerly SwdTech). It’s almost really interesting as a command, but it suffers from a deep flaw that renders it largely useless — or, at the very least, ensures you’ll never make use of its advanced permutations. Weirdly enough, the otherwise dreadful iOS port […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 11 | Triple triad (part the first)

Until now, Final Fantasy VI has treated Terra as the game’s main character. Even in the brief sequence where you controlled Locke, you didn’t really control him — he made his way through the Narshe caves on auto-pilot, and the entire multi-party battle transpired with Terra unconscious in the background. She’s been a constant presence through […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 10 | Down the dolce vita

The other side of Mt. Kolts doesn’t offer many points of interest to choose from. Two or three hours in, FFVI is still very much in “linear” mode as the story’s premise continues to unfold. The only point you can travel to here is the Returner hideout — which, if we’re still going with the Star Wars parallels […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 9 | Martial law

There’s a lot to say about South Figaro, considering it’s a totally optional space in this portion of the game. However much time you spend there, though, all roads will eventually lead you to Mt. Kolts, the path leading to your next story objective: The base of the rebellious Returners. Coincidentally, a new party member happens to […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 8 | Anatomy of a town

Once you get to South Figaro, you can… …skip right past it, as a matter of fact. For the moment, nothing in the city is mandatory; in fact, you don’t even need to stop there at all once you complete the cave linking the city to Figaro Castle (or at least its former resting spot […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI: Episode I

Finally, at long last, I’ve kicked off the promised video companion series to Anatomy of Games. This is a complement to the text pieces, not a replacement. Please enjoy, or at the very least don’t be too nasty if you hate it. It’s not a coincidence that I’m launching this on Thanksgiving. When I think […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 7 | M-m-m-m-magic

The party’s escape from Kefka’s assault on Figaro involves yet another fixed, mandatory fight. All appearances to the contrary, these are not the norm for Final Fantasy VI. They seem to be heavily front-loaded, or at least attached to major plot events… which are heavily front-loaded. This time around, you the player are on the […]