I’ve actually owned Vagrant Story 3 times now. I bought it when it first came out back in 2000. I was living in Cornwall at the time and I remember seeing it in the only video game shop in Newquay (which to my horror I learned last November is now a vape shop, because everything is becoming a vape shop nowadays) and wanting it.
“Squaresoft!” I thought. “They made Final Fantasies 7 and 8 and I loved those!”
So I bought it, and I just couldn’t get to grips with it. For so long I was used to turn-based combat with the ATB meters, and here we had this ACTION RPG, gasp shock and horror. I got to the Snowfly Forest and finally gave up. Traded that shit in for Final Fantasy 9 later that year.
Something about it stuck with me though, and so in 2001 I gave it another shot. I saw it in Game in Salisbury for dirt cheap (at this point, my father was entering his final year of service in the RAF and he was given the option of remaining in Cornwall for it, or returning to Amesbury in Wiltshire; he ended up choosing the latter) and thought “why not give it another go?”
Man oh man, am I glad I did. Having read up the mechanics of the game on GameFAQs, I was armed with a greater understanding of what to do and where to go, and could go about my merry way through the catacombs and streets of Lea Monde. Fuck the Snowfly Forest still though.
The third time I owned it? I bought it on the PS Vita so I can play it wherever I go.
The Setting of Vagrant Story
Set in Lea Monde, a city that, 25 years prior to the start of the game, suffered a terrible earthquake that destroyed much of the city and left the ground generally unstable. Lea Monde is part of the kingdom of Valendia, which was recently embroiled in a civil war between the Regency of Gurunas, and the noble houses under House Nalzarc. The rising of a cult known as Mullenkamp culminated in the son of Duke Bardorba, a key figure in the civil war and who now controls parliament behind the scenes, being kidnapped by cult leader Sydney and his right-hand man Hardin. They flee to Lea Monde, and in pursuit is you, Ashley Riot, Riskbreaker of the Valendia Knights of the Peace!
Then, shenanigans happen, shit goes down, the dead rise up and so on and so forth.
- Ashley Riot, he of the assless chaps apparently.
- Sidney Losstarot, who has metal arms like Jax from Mortal Kombat, minus the missiles.
- Romeo Guildenstern, massive asshole.
- Callo Merlose, damsel in distress.
- Jan Rosencrantz, also a massive asshole.
- John Hardin, who’s too old for this shit.
- Duke Bardorba, who spends the whole time in bed or something.
- Samantha, is useless.
- Joshua, a child, ugh.
- Tieger and Neesa, who have to share this bullet point, such is their joined-at-the-hip nature.
- Grissom, oops zombie.
- Duane of the Awful Hair
Why I Does Love It
It took a long-ass time to grow on me, it really did, but it eventually cemented its way into my heart as one of my favourite games of all time. Partly due to the amazing story, the stunning (at the time) graphics that, frankly, still hold up today, the wonderfully deep crafting and combat system that saw you creating different weapons for different situations (skeleton enemies? Smash them to bits with Blunt weapons! Armored? Find their weak points with Piercing weapons! Fleshy foes? Chop them up with Edged weapons! Throw magic around! PROSTASIA HERAKLES DEGENERATE TARNISH oh now I have no MP).
The game has a really strong visual design that almost emulates a comic book, with the speech bubbles and whatnot, the language used is flowery and almost ye olde Englishe but without tipping into triteness as it so often does in other games that try to use it. There’s also a sense in-game that nothing is wasted; loot a crossbow but don’t need it? Break it down into parts and use them to forge a new one! Add in gems to increase or decrease various affinities, making them more useful against this enemy type or that enemy element. Upgrade armour, upgrade shields, upgrade weaponry. Not prepared for a fight? That’s on you; the game gave you what you needed, you just haven’t assembled it yet.
There is no voice acting, yet every character is acted perfectly. Again, the comic book look really lends itself to this feeling.
According to Yasumi Matsuno, the game’s writer and designer, in order to hit release date they had to cut out quite a lot of stuff; almost half the story and features. Half the story! The game could have been so much MORE and it was already amazingly detailed, with twists and turns galore. If only they did a remake of it; one that saw these cut story threads and lost features brought back in.
Now that I’d be so down for. With next year being the 20th year since its release, maybe Square Enix would do something to commemorate one of the greatest games ever made, one of the original Playstation’s swansongs as we headed into the PS2 era.
One can only hope.
Anyway Final Fantasy XV has been released FINALLY, it’s the 30th anniversary of the series next year (or of XV’s announcement ohoho) and I figured I’d do a brief look at that perennial figure within Final Fantasy games; Cid.
Note that I’m only going to include the main numbered series, plus side games I’ve actually played!
THERE WILL PROBABLY BE SPOILERS FOR GAMES THAT AREN’T XV.
Final Fantasy I
Interestingly Cid originally didn’t appear in the first FF game, but subsequent rereleases of the game added in dialogue making mention of a Cid that was the inventor of the airship, a theme common to a lot of the Cids we see! The addition of Cid into FFI was probably the result of Square wanting a Cid in every game, so they had to chuck one in here.
Final Fantasy II
Originally a knight, this Cid jacked it all in to be a glorified taxi man, charging people for transport on his airship and using the money to maintain it. Dies when Emperor Fabulous throws a cyclone his way, but not before he gives the hero the airship! What a nice guy.
Final Fantasy III
Cid Haze is, shock horror, a creator of airships, and turns your regular old sailing boat into a soaring airship for you because that’s totally a thing that can happen easily. He also joins your party briefly and is summarily useless with a basic Fire spell, but he does like to twat things with a hammer occasionally too.
His wife gets sick when he’s with you, but she gets better.
Final Fantasy IV
Cid Pollendina is, GUESS WHAT?! Yes, an airship designer! He rebels, he’s imprisoned, you free him, he joins you. Likes to hit people with spanners, but then who doesn’t?
When Cecil and Rosa get married, he’s the best man, because let’s be honest he IS.
Final Fantasy V
Cid Previa is an
airship engineer who helps you out by building a ship for you that requires neither magical crystals OR the wind to use. The fire-powered ship!
So like an airship engineer but in water. Okay. Of course when you DO find an airship, he’s the one that activates it because all Cids like to play around with unfathomable vehicles.
Final Fantasy VI
Cid Del Norte Marquez invented Magitek things in this game. He rips magic out of espers and plonks it into machines and people. What a nice man. He’s the one who made Kefka the insane murderclown we all know and love. He ends up helping you out, and tries to help Setzer rebuild his airship. Cid’s advice falls on deaf ears though because Setzer (rightly so!) doesn’t want to remove his casino.
Dies if you feed him shitty fish, so watch out for that.
Final Fantasy VII
Cid Highwind is a
prick mechanic and wants to be the first man in space. He blames his wife for his first failed launch attempt, and is pretty damn keen to express that at any interval. She was doing a safety check as she wasn’t confident in the rocket, and he didn’t want to kill her in the takeoff.
Oh hey, turns out his wife was right about those safety checks, ’cause an oxygen tank exploded and damn near killed Cid. He mellows out a little after that.
Final Fantasy VIII
Robin Williams Cid Kramer is your headmaster the husband of a sorceress. No engineer here, though he does reveal to you that your school is capable of flying around so he fulfils that traditional Cid role of throwing airships at people.
Used to run an orphange with his wife until he needed to train children to kill her.
FFVIII is a complicated game.
Final Fantasy IX
Cid Fabool IX is
a philanderer the ruler of Lindblum that got turned into an insect, then later a frog, after his wife discovered an affair he had. Plans the kidnap scheme at the start of the game, kicking the events of FFIX into motion.
Designs airships even as an insect. Also retains that ludicrous moustache.
Final Fantasy X
Cid *mumbles* is Rikku’s dad and is therefore awesome. He leads the Al Bhed, he captains an airship, he dug said airship OUT THE OCEAN, and much like any old man, is a bit of a traditionalist, which is why he ends up falling out with his kids.
Ends up turning some sacred ruins into a tourist trap, as you do.
Final Fantasy XI
Cid *something* has bare shoulders and muscly arms. I’ve not played FFXI but he’s already become Best Cid. Engineer and inventor, of course.
Final Fantasy XII
Cidolfus Demen Bunansa is the first Cid you actually get to beat the shit out of! Airship creator, yadda yadda, he also comes across a bit mad, babbling about gods and whatnot. Turns out he wants to wrest control of mankind’s destiny out of the hands of the gods and into ours.
Oh and also become a god himself, as you do. Overthrow the gods, but then take their place. Bad boy.
Final Fantasy XIII
Cid Raines is another Cid who wants to return control of fate to humanity from the gods! Also not an engineer, but a military commander! Stationed on an airship though so I guess he can’t shed that part of his fate.
Easily the youngest, probably the most typically handsome, and he’s another you get to kill! Yay him.
Final Fantasy XIV
Cid nan Garlond is the leader of a group of engineers who don’t like The Evil Empire and supports the player character in their fight against them. Yes, he makes airships, but more importantly he gives you your own suit of Magitek Armor!
He apparently uses a gunblade when in a fight. Stole that from Squall, I bet.
Final Fantasy XV
Cid Sophiar is from Final Fantasy XV and NO SPOILERS ‘CAUSE I’VE NOT PLAYED IT YET.
Sure LOOKS like a mechanic. Probably made the boybands’ car. Also ancient.
Final Fantasy Tactics
Ah, the BEST Final Fantasy game. Cidolfus Orlandeau, commander of the Order of the Southern Sky, and probably THE game breaker of the whole series. Seriously, he pretty much trivialises most fights he participates in. Probably a good job you get him really late into the game.
Fakes his death with Delita’s help so he can sneak off and join Ramza defeat a bunch of demons. Delita framed Orlandeau for the death of Goltanna, a death Delita himself performed. History is dictated by the victors.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Cid Randell doesn’t make airships in this one. Cid in this one is the awesomely titled JUDGEMASTER. He enforces the law. HE IS THE LAW.
Judges in this game are annoying. Oh sure, ban all the things my units are good at.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift
Cid *mumble* is the leader of Clan Whatever You Call It and is our first (only?) non-human Cid!
He’s a nice guy. That’s about it.
Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
Cid is not a person in this game, but a title bestowed upon the greatest engineer in all of Lapis. The girl pictured above is called Lid, and she aspires to be the next Cid. She has an almost aggressive love of money, and a bit of a grudge against her brother who DID get the title of Cid.
Her Halloween unit variant is one of the best 5* attackers in the game. Hoo boy Hex Strike is awesome.
Confirmed to be set in the same Ivalice as Final Fantasies XII and Tactics, Vagrant Story doesn’t have a Cid per se, but it DOES have a Sydney!
Levitatin’, dragon summonin’, teleportin’, functionally immortal, even being shot right in the heart with a crossbow or having his fake limbs cut off barely stop him (though in the case of the latter he just slaps them back on). He’s one of the antagonists of the game, leader of a cult that preaches about the END OF THE WORRRRRLD.
He carries the Blood Sin tattoo, which is apparently key to mastering the dark magics of Lea Monde. It was passed to him by his father to save his life after an unknown, near-fatal accident. If one dies, the other dies with him.
In trying to give the powers of the dark to either his brother or the main character (something about ending the curse, finding a person who “doesn’t desire power” because they tend to not misuse the power they DO get), he ends up being attacked by Romeo Guildenstern, and having the Blood Sin ripped literally off his back. Painful.