The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 6 | The meretrix of Figaro

Once you leave Narshe, the overworld is basically walled off to give you a small amount of territory to explore, but not so much that you’ll get lost. Between Narshe, the Chocobo Stables, the blocked cave, and a castle standing in the desert to the south, you can only travel to four destinations. Everything but […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 5 | The didact

Everything until this point of Final Fantasy VI — approximately 45 minutes of play time — has been a sort of prologue that doubles as a subtle tutorial. But now that you’ve made your way into Narshe and back out again, you have the opportunity to experience a genuine, overt, no-bones-about-it tutorial section. These training houses appeared first […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 4 | Moogle rush

Annoying admin note: Hi everyone! If you’re enjoying The Anatomy of FFVI, please consider supporting this site on Patreon. The campaign is less than $45/mo. away from the point at which I’ll turn the FFVI series (and future series as well) into videos, which would be pretty rad… please, help out if you can. Almost all the post-tax money from […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 3 | Terra battle

Not only is the game not over once the mystery creature locked in ice explodes ??????’s Magitek device, we’re not even done with the prologue. The girl awakens in a cozy bed with a guy described in the dialogue as “old man” watching over her. He doesn’t look that old, but I realize that most JRPG […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 1 | Slave 4 U

Twenty years ago this week I drove across town to the nearest Target one afternoon as soon as my classes were out. My goal: The Super NES game case, where a brand new release was on sale. I’d seen it advertised in late-night MTV commercials, of all things, and the gushing EGM review from a couple […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 13 | Top secret

Area 11 is as colorful and bright as Area 10 was dim; rather than the Empire’s sewers, this appears to be its furnace. You’ll meet a few human enemies here, but the real challenge comes from the need to perform non-stop advanced grappling in order to proceed. For instance, the level begins with a moving platform, which you […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 12 | Loose ends

Once you’ve rescued Super Joe, he mentions a guy called Destroyer-3 in Area 18. This answers one of the weirder questions of the game, which is, “What’s with all those ‘Destroyer’ dudes in Area 18?” If you happen to enter Area 18 before completing Area 7 and rescuing Joe, you’ll find these three guys — Destroyer-1, […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 11 | No more another castle

Bionic Commando doesn’t want you to rescue a princess or a damsel in distress; instead, the plot revolves around saving some old guy from captivity. This was clearly a game designed when ’80s action movie stars were still in their prime. The glass ceiling of viable heroism hadn’t begun to shift upward to accommodate the entire […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 10 | The waste land

Quick housekeeping note: I’ve changed the structure of the Patreon for this and my other side project sites to work on a monthly basis rather than per-item. Please consider supporting my work here and elsewhere! Your contributions are a huge help to sustain this work, and for me personally as well. Thank you.   The newly […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 9 | The back nine

Oh, so you managed to survive the gauntlet that is Area 6 of Bionic Commando? The stage that serves the same “do or die” road bump as, say, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne‘s Matador battle? Nicely done. Welcome to the rest of the game. The travel pass you acquire from Area 6 has exactly one use in […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 6 | Botany bane

Note: I just realized I never bothered to mention that The Anatomy of Mega Man Vol. I is available on Gumroad, if you’d like the PDF. So… there’s that.   If Area 2 was the game’s optional warm-up, Area 3 is more of an instant-kill death trap trial-by-fire… though still an optional one, as it […]