project FF Dog II: Final Fantasy II
an insert credit pictures production
directed by tim rogers
starring doug jones, tim rogers, julie schimmoller, and squaresoft's final fantasy ii
(with a special appearance by tuffy the dog)
filmed on 04182003 and 04192003
written commentary by doug jones and tim rogers
~two bad dudes
one hot babe
(one good, one evil)
ten final fantasies
no sleep till la charreada
this is project FF Dog~
Tim and I are back. This time, we've got reinforcements. Julie has cemented herself as a permanent member of Project: FF Dog. We've got chicks. We've got ducks. We've got bunnies. We've also got twice the Dr. Pepper, and many times the action.
Take a seat, relax, get comfortable, and grab a tall glass of your favorite beverage (as long as it's Dr. Pepper), because here comes:
PROJECT: FF DOG, PART II: A Mongoloid in Monk's Clothing
The date: Friday, April 18th, 2002. The time: 8:30pm. The place: La Charreada Mexican Restaurant.
Tim and I sat and conferred at our favorite dining establishment. We were waiting for Julie to get off of work. She teaches biology at a local university, and her Friday night class isn't over until 9pm. The chips were light and crispy, the salsa was hot, and the plans were simple:
"We play for twelve hours, and see how far we get. We can decide at that point whether we want to finish it or not."
After Dinner Tim explained to me over mouthfuls of cheesy, beany, goodness about having watched his friend Keith obsessively play the fan-translated rom in college. I listened intently, and wondered if it could really be as bad as I'd heard. It was the first story-driven game in the series, after all.
After eating our fill, we returned to the car and called Julie. She'd just gotten done with class, and was on her way over. We raced to pick up some Dr. Pepper, the official drink of Team FF Dog, and get back to my house before she got in.
When we arrived, we found Julie playing with Ally, an Australian Kelpie owned by the people I live with, that Tim has nicknamed 'Tuffy'. She's also the official mascot of Team FF Dog. We briefed Julie on the tentative plan, checked our emails, and got set to take a head-first dive (01) into the world of FFII.
We boldly fed the game to my Playstation 2. After selecting Final Fantasy II on the title screen, the game came roaring (02) to Amano-inspired character model Full-Motion Video life. Aki Ross from 'Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within' made a cameo appearance dressed for a masquerade in her best Edea Kramer costume.
After the introductory FMV sequence, we set about naming the characters (03). FFII was the first game in the series to have the characters' names pre-determined. The name assignments went like so: Billy as Firion, the generic hero; Jules as Maria, the obligatory female mage; Doug as Gus, the mongoloid-who-talks-to-animals; and FF Dog as Leon (04), the official lost-friend-and-brother-that-the-party-searches-for character.
A fter a short dialogue sequence, the game thrust us into an impossible battle. Our initial party was efficiently disposed of; they awoke in an unfamiliar castle, less one FF Dog, and bent on retribution for the loss of their town, their families, and their friend. The queen of said castle set us free to wander after donating a little gil and a keyword to our noble cause.
Wandering, however, was not as simple a task as it first appeared. It turned out that if I led the party too far from the beaten path, enemies that we were in no way equipped to handle would turn up, dealing damage approximately equivalent to 1000% of our hit points (05). No, I'm not exaggerating.
Because I know what some are thinking, I'll say it now: Running from battles is, in a word, impossible. In the 12 hours of our lives we spent playing FFII, not once did our party ever successfully escape from a battle. Apparently, before even thinking about running, you need to be an ungodly amount stronger than the enemy. It's rare in the beginning of the game to make it out of battle with only one or two party members left alive (06). Usually in those situations, if one character dies, they all do.
The three of us got a little tired of the three of them getting bullied around. Several hours in, we had been able to do nothing significant, and had gained only a meager amount of HP. We decided that it was time to take action (07). After unsuccessfully searching for FF Origins FAQs, we decided to get some food, go to Wal-Mart to try to find the strategy guide . . . and get some candy, too (08).
When we arrived (09), we quickly nabbed some candy, and stealthily infiltrated the electronics department (10). They weren't carrying the guide, so we paid for our assorted confections and left. Tim was not pleased with Wal-Mart at all (11).
With a little bit of anger, we found our way to Meijer, a store you might never have heard of. (12) You might be better off having never heard of them.
While filming a video in Meijer, the unthinkable happened: Tim got lost. It was a very frightening experience. He cried out into the toy aisle in desperation as he filmed the whole thing. (13)
Back at the House that FF Dog Built, the digital clocks struck 1:08 AM. (14) Witness Tim's admission of "Crying to Bobby" following a dangerous random encounter at White Castle.
"It was the hottest anything I've ever eaten."
A mere forty-one minutes later, we'd figured out that gaining hit points involved ending battles with low hit points. Our first flight on an airship (15) is preceded with Tim's admission that eating of Sweetarts makes him talk like Jar-Jar Binks.
The revelations kept on coming, as we learned that hitting yourself is a fast road to getting hit points. Follow the method laid out in this video (16), and you then can "kick the mule in the back of the head."
GameFAQs.com kept spilling out the information. Less than a half an hour later, we learned of a very unfair, loophole-ish trick that allowed us to build up our stats. Beware, you who download this video (17), for a l33t joke does occur.
< Brandon's Note: So...they searched for FAQs, "couldn't find any", but hadn't checked GameFAQs?? HMMMMM." >
At 3:02 AM, we finally reached 100 hit points. We stopped to do a story check: my character speaks like a mongoloid, Billy is the hero, and FF Dog is Jules' brother. We are, in essence, searching for FF Dog. We are employed in a resistance to . . . well, witness our confusion as we stare at a status screen. (18)
Four and a half hours into the game, we entered and conquered our first proper dungeon. We meet the first boss, and Tim requests to be kicked in the junk. Do we struggle as we fight? Do we beat the boss at all? Does Tim get kicked in the junk? Or do we win in one round, resulting in drama-loving Tim's angry ordering: "Turn the friggin' camera off!"? See for yourself. (19)
Moments later, I picked up the controller for the first time, as Doug "Major D" Jones decided to nap for "ten minutes." The weakling. Here, during a random battle, I struggle with mock-English pronunciation and coin the phrase "He took a hit! He took one!" Watch and weep. (20)
At 5:11AM, Doug tried to stay awake with a little guitar. While watching Julie muddle through menus, feeling the music flow through me like too much Dr. Pepper, I sang a little song I like to call "A Fairly Domesticated Tuffy." (21) Expect your local radio stations to soon be assaulted with requests for this one.
I . . . don't know where I got the lyrics. Only one inspiration is evident to me. You, dear viewers, might be able to figure out what it is.
Just before 5:30AM, as Doug slept and slept on in his devastated tiredness, I, in frustration and bad need to urinate, uttered a three-word phrase the meaning of which I don't think I'll ever understand. That phrase was "Frankenstein Gun Machine." (22)
As in, "They pulled it out and fired it all over us."
From this point, as they say in kindergarten, this shit gets weird. Something about the game, its difficulty, the bluntness of the Dr. Pepper, and the lateness of the hour fermented to drive Julie and I mad as Doug slept on. When Doug finally awoke, he too was mad.
In our madness -- or perhaps, in just my madness -- I . . . began saying things. I don't know what 90% of them mean. You who read this, you who download these videos, know: there is much shocking language afoot.
I suppose the danger began when, just before 6:00AM, I affixed the word "Charlie" to the front of "Frankenstein Gun Machine." Speaking into a glass of Dr. Pepper (23), I mused as to whether or not we had Mech Assault; I'd been talking about it all night. Had I ever, in truth, even played the game? What bizarritude lurked around the corner of the dawn?
"Six in the morning, and I still got my Pepper."
Josef, hero of the evening, a monk, hopped into the game to punch enemies with sound effects that reminded us of a young FF Dog in Final Fantasy I. (24) In that game, we likened his punching to the sound of an electric knife cutting through a frozen ham. Witness, now, something that has nothing to do with a brick going through a glass window.
What does it mean to load a nad? What is "Charlie Nad Loady"? Why do I now want to silkscreen a T-shirt that says "hey j00d" on it? Watch this video (25) about forty times, and you might never know. And realize that, as I just typed "and," it came out as "nad" twice.
I, Tim Rogers, have a family. I also drink Dr. Pepper. Witness my lovely early-morning tea-party with friends and a Monk-Monster. Well -- "Use the back of my nads as a punching bag!" (26) Witness Julie telling us to keep our volume down. Witness a Pepper-chugging money shot.
"Keep an eye on your garden hoses." This is the face of a killer. He might be stalking around your neighborhood's front lawns, stealing garden hoses. (27)
Just before 8:00AM, the first Doctor died. (28) Upon finishing it over a victory jingle and a cackle, my senses snapped back to me. We mostly had awoken.
On a break from the game, we decided to watch our videos. It was then, at 8:14AM, that we realized we were geniuses. (29) We realized this while watching our videos. Snapped back to sense by the Death of the First Doctor, we watched our insane videos with eyes that could proclaim genius. We then realized we should have a million dollars by now.
We're going to take this thing up a notch in budget soon, you who read and download. Just you wait. Soon, you will give us your money.
For now, a word on the guitars. My guitar, a white Oscar Schmidt folk model named Masamune, was born in 1988 and continues to rock for the forces of good today. Dougs, a black Oscar Schmidt folky named Murasame -- complete with pick-up -- was born before time began, and is now short a low E string. The guitar hides in the shadows, and supplies bass for our theme song.
Yes, we're going to play "Fight 2" from Final Fantasy IV every FFDOG, until we have perfected it.
And we're going to keep drinking Dr. Pepper and product-placing it all night long until we got some bombad sponsorship. I'm not kidding when I say this: I love Dr. Pepper. It is a quality beverage -- cola with a little cherry, a little vanillin, and a whole lot of love from the Dr. Pepper corporation. We stand for some serious shit when it comes to consumption of Dr. Pepper.
So when the Second Doctor Died (30), we mourned. We can't go on this way. Ignore my witty quip upon spiking the bottle like an American football -- I was hurt, and sad.
The thing is, we need more Dr. Pepper. Now, Penny Arcade has some kind of deal going on with Sprite, which is a product of the Coca-Cola company. We here at insert credit and Team FF Dog, as devoted drinkers of DP, demand some kind of sponsorship. If we're going to continue risking our sanity for the sake of art and videogame journalism, we're can't keep worrying about the small things -- like purchasing of Dr. Pepper.
We have good shit coming. Know that. And donate. To me. So as to not make insert credit look like a bunch of whores, I will gladly accept all of the donations on my behalf.
For your donation, you'll get more classic comedy involving two bad dudes and one hot babe (or: three sleep-deprived gamers) as they lay down ProTips like "Never run from a battle. They give you the option because they hate you." You'll hear us enigmatically call out to a devoted fan: "I'll see you when I get there, FF Dog: and it looks like I'm getting there soon." You'll witness us near defeated in a dungeon, as we 31) run out screaming.
After running out screaming several hundred times, we ended up confronting Shrieker, the first real boss. (32) "How deceiving! An enemy wrapped in flame [uses ice magic]!" Doug cries out toward the television. Julie sensed dissention in Team FF Dog -- as I reveal that I knew all along, through FAQs, that the boss absorbed ice magic. I had thought to make it more interesting with my cries of "It doesn't heal him -- it hizeals him!"
After finally killing the boss, we ended up in The First Chocobo Forest in Final Fantasy History. Hilarity ensues as we feel the breeze through our Chocobo hair and make fun of town names like "Bafsk." How do you pronounce "Bafsk"? How should one do it properly? Download (33) and find out!
As Doug continued his Chocobo ride, to keep myself awake, I resorted to the lowest form of internet browsing. Listen to the anti-journalistic struggle of my speech as I neither hate nor dog on IGN. (34)
And yes -- I really am that hungry. Generally, and at that moment.
The rest of team FF Dog was hungry an hour later, when, somewhere near the final dungeon, near tears, we died again. Doug said something about taking a shower. We'd then head to La Charreada. A look at the clock -- 10:15AM (35) -- revealed we'd been playing for more than twelve hours. We'd met one goal, and failed at another. And did it really matter?
Do I regret not beating Final Fantasy II in twelve hours? Do I think that I could have done it had I taken up the controller myself? No, and . . . maybe.
Was La Charreada good?
Well, not exactly. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Let me attempt to explain in as few words as possible:
Julie ate herself sick.
Well, it wasn't entirely her fault. She'd only eaten a little bit at the time she got sick. Doug and I were, quite frankly, a little upset that she'd gotten so sick so quickly. She wanted to go home.
However, only seconds later, the two of us, too, became sickened with HCHQ (hardcore-high quality) Mexican food, and required multiple trips to the bathroom.
So it was; discovered that eating a large amount of Mexican food following a sleepless night of candy, Dr. Pepper, and Final Fantasy might not be good on the gastrointestinal tract.
Does this mean that we plan not to do it again? No. Let me tell you why: we ate at the other La Charreada. Cry, dear reader, that your town contains zero La Charreadas, and cry twice if you're a vegan, that Anderson, Indiana, has two on one street. Hell, cry three times if you're vegan. Their guacamole salad is worth it.
We, Team FF Dog, however, remain optimistic. Optimistic that, just as some Final Fantasies are better than others, so are some La Charreadas. So it was that we vowed that in the future we shall play a better Final Fantasy (or else a worse game), dine at a better La Charreada, and never, never again be fooled by a monk in mongoloid's clothing.
Until next time, we remain two bad dudes, and one hot babe. And we've still got two guitars -- one good, one evil.
The good guitar is shedding its light silently. What does the future hold for FF Dog?
Aside from adventure?
--team FF Dog