Friday, December 26, 2008

Fantasy Star VI: Myriad of Locations

Fantasy Star is a 12-part analysis of the similarities between Final Fantasy XII and the Star Wars trilogies.

Final Fantasy XII is set in Ivalice, a setting used in previous installments. The game’s vast range of environments, just like in other Final Fantasy games, allows the player to travel from cityscapes, to deserts, to swamp lands and more. The Star Wars galaxy is presented in a similar way. The characters travel across numerous planets, with each one representing a distinct type of environment. What further makes Ivalice feel like the Star Wars galaxy is the inherent mixture of different races in many of the settings. Previous Final Fantasy games featured predominantly human characters. The few non human characters that did appear were often scattered throughout the game, with their towns representing a minute portion of the world map.

Dalmasca is like Tatooine. Not only is it located in a desert environment, but it is also the most revisited location in the story and the home of the protagonist. The city of Rabanastre is like Tattoine’s Mos Eisley space port. The Sand Sea tavern is like the Mos Eisley Cantina. Just like in Star Wars, cantinas and bars are locations the characters visit to find information. The desert to the west of Rabanastre is inhabited by a number of deadly creatures and indigenous races, similar to the Dune Sea on Tattooine.

The sky city of Bhujerba is like Cloud City of Bespin. Both locations attempt to stay neutral from the greater conflict occurring around them. Bhujerba’s economy is based on mining Magicite like Cloud City’s is based on mining tibanna gas.

Mt. Bur-Omisace
Mt. Bur-Omisace is a spiritual center in Ivalice where the Kiltia practice their faith. The Jedi Temple on Coruscant is the headquarters of the Jedi Council. The Gran Kiltias at Mt. Bur-Omisace gives guidance in the same way the Jedi Council did in the Jedi Temple. The Archadian Empire invaded Mt. Bur-Omisace in order to retrieve Larsa back to Archades. Judge Bergan, under the influence of Venat and powered by manufacted nethicite, slaughters the Gran Kiltias and everyone he can find at the main temple. In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker and a legion of Clone Troopers invaded the Jedi Temple. Anakin, under the influence of the Dark Side, slaughters the Jedi within the temple.

The Feywood is soaked with Mist energies as are parts of Dagobah with Dark Side energies. The party must navigate a number of puzzles in the Feywood before gaining entry to Giruvegan. Luke trained under Yoda at the cave where a Dark Jedi was defeated. The Dark Side cave presented Luke with visions of fighting Vader and glimpses of the future.

Eruyt Village
The homeland of the Viera is located deep within the Golmore Jungle. The massive trees’ branches and roots are wide enough to use as paths. The trees themselves stretch high into the sky, allowing the Viera to build massive structures that use the trees for support. Eruyt Village resembles the Wookie villages of Kashyyyk and Ewok villages on Endor’s moon.

The city of Nabudis, just like the planet of Alderaan, was wiped out in a single display of firepower. Judge Zecht was ordered by Emperor Gramis to steal the Midlight Shard and unleash its power on Nabradia’s capital city. The Nethicite explosion destroyed the entire city, leaving only a ruin full of Mist and monsters. Grand Moff Tarkin targeted Princess Leia’s planet of Alderaan as an example of the Death Star’s firepower. A single blast made the entire planet explode and reduced it to an asteroid field.

Archades, the capital of the Archadian Empire, resembles Coruscant, capital of the Galactic Empire. Both are examples of vast urban development. Skyscrapers tower over much of the cityscape. Vehicles fly along air routes to access different areas. The poorer members of society are relegated to the lower levels in the shadows underneath the buildings. Archades and Coruscant also have an Imperial Palace for their respective rulers.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fantasy Star V: Diversity of Race

Fantasy Star is a 12-part analysis of the similarities between Final Fantasy XII and the Star Wars trilogies.

It’s interesting to note that the various races in Final Fantasy XII talk with distinct dialects and accents just like the alien races found in Star Wars.


The Garif and Wookies are both physically imposing races with bodies covered in fur. Both races are traditionally peaceful, but can be formidable in physical combat. The Garif warrior code is similar to that of the Wookies.


Viera are a race very much in touch with nature. The Viera’s Eruyt Village is reminiscent of the treetop habitats built by the Wookies and Ewoks. The all female Viera’s skimpy fashions and exotic natures can also be compared to the portrayal of female Twileks in Star Wars.


The Seeq are like Gamorreans. Both races have pig-like snouts with teeth visibly protruding from their lower jaw. Seeq and Gamorreans are often seen doing grunt work in the background.


Bangaa and Gungans have lizard-like features. They have long snouts and long ears that flop down on the sides of their heads. Both races also speak in very thick, almost stereotypical, accents.


The Ultan-Yensa make use of Yensa, native creatures in their desert environment, as beasts of burden. Tusken Raiders and Jawas use Banthas as beasts of burden. The harsh environment inhabited by these respective races requires them to wear protective clothing that hides much of their physical features.

The similarities between the Humes in Final Fantasy and the Humans in Star Wars are pretty self-explanatory. Aside from the physical resemblance, these races primarily speak English, dress according to the environment and are the primary heroes and villains of their respective stories.

There are also creatures and monsters which are too numerous to mention every single one.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fantasy Star IV: Actions of Others

Fantasy Star is a 12-part analysis of the similarities between Final Fantasy XII and the Star Wars trilogies.


Larsa is a child prodigy just like Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace. Despite their ages, both characters are quite knowledgeable with technology. They are also seen as instruments of power due to their seeming naiveté. The Senate wants to install Larsa as a puppet Emperor of Archades. Palpatine sees Anakin as the one capable of bringing the Sith victory over the Jedi and the galaxy. Both boys also befriend relatively older girls. Larsa bonds with Penelo while in her company just like Anakin does with Padme.

Marquis Ondore

Marquis Ondore’s role in the game corresponds to the roles of Lando Calrissian and Admiral Ackbar in Star Wars. Ondore leads the sky continent of Bhujerba. Lando is in charge of Cloud City of Bespin. Both characters were coerced into capturing the heroes while visiting their respective sky cities. Ondore then becomes military commander of the Resistance forces against Archades like Admiral Ackbar does with the Rebel Alliance. Ondore leads the Resistance attack against the Bahamut superfortress similar to Ackbar’s Rebel assault against the second Death Star.

Tom Kane, Ondore’s American voice actor, played Admiral Ackbar in Star Wars: Battlefront. He’s also had roles in Robot Chicken: Star Wars, Lego Star Wars II, Star Wars: Empire at War, The Phantom Menace game, the Revenge of the Sith game, Star Wars: Clone Wars, Star Wars: Republic Commando, Star Wars: Battlefront I and II, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic I and II, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II and III, Star Wars: Jedi Academy, Star Wars Bounty Hunter, Star Wars: Jedi Knight II, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, Star Wars: Demolition, Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles, Star Wars: Force Commander, Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, Star Wars: Episode I - Racer, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire and Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter.


Reddas is a hardened warrior like Mace Windu. The attack on Nabradia made Reddas question the motives of Vayne just like how the Clone Wars made Mace question the motives of Palpatine. Both characters are gifted in swordsmanship. Reddas and Mace die in energy-related deaths from locations far above the ground. Reddas is consumed in the mist explosion after destroying the Sun-Cryst at the Pharos of Ridorana. Mace is thrown by a blast of Force lightning from the Chancellor’s tower office.

Phil Lamarr, Reddas’s American voice actor, had roles in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I and II.


Montblanc, the physically diminutive leader of Clan Centurio, is the counterpart of Yoda, the equally short Grand Master of the Jedi Council in the prequel trilogy. Both characters are as cunning as they are versed in combat. Montblanc creates a fake hunt in order to lure out the mysterious Hunter Killer. Yoda attempts to learn the identity of Darth Sidious through his Force sensitivity and finds out that it is Palpatine. Montblanc’s ultimate goal for Clan Centurio is to raise warriors, such as Vaan and company, to become strong enough to finally put an end to Yiazmat. Yoda’s goal after the Jedi extermination is to train Luke to be the one that ultimately defeats the Sith.


Miguelo is the blue-skinned Bangaa store owner in the desert town of Rabanastre. Watto is the blue-skinned Toydarian store owner in the desert town of Mos Espa. Both characters employ the respective protagonists of the stories. Miguelo has Vaan while Watto has Anakin. Despite their positions of authority, Miguelo and Watto have taken a liking to the young heroes because of their loyalty to their respective businesses.

John DiMaggio, Miguelo’s American voice actor, also played General Grievous in Star Wars: Clone Wars.


Reks plays a role similar to Biggs Darklighter. They are the sources of inspiration for the protagonists. Both characters enlist into military service and are able to leave their isolated desert homes. Reks dies from injuries inflicted by Gabranth, the Darth Vader analogue in Final Fantasy XII. Biggs dies when his X-Wing is destroyed by Darth Vader.

Reks’s comparison to Biggs should not be confused with the inclusion of the Biggs and Wedge pair found in other Final Fantasy games. The pair makes a cameo as the anagrammed Nalbina guards, Deweg and Gibbs.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fantasy Star III: The Villains Unleashed

Fantasy Star is a 12-part analysis of the similarities between Final Fantasy XII and the Star Wars trilogies.


Judge Magister Gabranth clearly takes inspiration from Darth Vader. Not only does the design of Gabranth’s mask echo Vader’s, speaking through it also gives his voice a deep intonation. Underneath the mask, Gabranth resembles Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones. Gabranth’s allegiance to the Emperor is a result of a series of personal tragedies. The death of his mother and seeming betrayal from Basch influenced him to seek a path towards the Empire. Just like Vader, Gabranth is convinced by the heroes to turn on the Emperor. Again, like Vader, Gabranth is fatally injured in the ensuing battle. They are redeemed for their past actions by the surviving heroes.


Vayne and Palpatine are introduced as charismatic politicians seeking stability among the populace. However, they believe it can only be achieved through absolute subjugation. Both ascend to higher positions of power through deception and treachery. Both characters disband the Senate after proclaiming themselves the Emperor. Like Palpatine, Vayne expects the utmost loyalty from his subjects. Vayne orders Gabranth to kill Judge Magister Drace as a test of his allegiance, much like when Palpatine ordered Anakin to kill Count Dooku. Despite his seemingly delicate appearance, Vayne is well versed in combat and the manipulation of Nethicite. Despite the overwhelming powers at their disposal, Vayne and Palpatine die onboard their respective superfortresses after being betrayed by a trusted ally.


Doctor Cid is as much responsible for Vayne’s war effort as Count Dooku to Palpatine’s. Both were once revered members of their respective organizations before being corrupted by power. Cid’s manipulation over Nethicite is comparable to Dooku’s mastery of the Force. While both characters are quite formidable in combat, they still rely on others to do the fighting for them.


Judge Magister Ghis, like Grand Moff Tarkin, is a senior Imperial officer that answers only to the Emperor. The two share some facial resemblance. Both overestimate their safety as a result of the hulking vehicles under their command and take great pleasure in gloating to the respective princesses they have captured. Ghis died onboard the Leviathan when it exploded due to an unforeseen mechanical failure from a small piece of Nethicite. Tarkin died onboard the Death Star when it exploded from an attack by small group of starfighters.

Archadian Empire

The Archadian Empire plays the same role as the Galactic Empire. Members of both empires talk with British accents. Both share a seeming centricity towards humans over the other races. The Judge Magisters are the Archadian equivalent of Sith Lords. Judge Magisters not only hold high positions within the Empire, but they’re also gifted with magical abilities beyond that of a normal person. Along with these terrifying individuals, the empires also favor the use of superweapons against their adversaries.


Gilgamesh, like General Grievous, is a multi-limbed master of blades. Gilgamesh challenges adventurers and takes their weapons upon defeat. Grievous does the same with vanquished Jedi foes.

John DiMaggio, Gilgamesh’s American voice actor, also played General Grievous in Star Wars: Clone Wars.


Ba’Gamnan, along with other bounty hunters, eagerly seeks the reward for Balthier. He has a professional relationship with Gabranth similar to the one between Boba Fett and Darth Vader. During a battle with the heroes in the Nam-Yensa Sandsea, Ba’Gamnan falls off a platform to his seeming demise, just like Boba Fett’s fall into the Sarlacc Pit.

Steven Blum, Ba’Gamnan’s American voice actor, had roles in Star Wars: Empire at War, Star Wars: Battlefront II, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I and II, Star Wars: Jedi Knight I and II, Star Wars: Force Commander, Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance and Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fantasy Star II: The Emergence of Heroes

Fantasy Star is a 12-part analysis of the similarities between Final Fantasy XII and the Star Wars trilogies.


Vaan resembles Luke Skywalker from A New Hope. Both characters are blonde haired orphans of roughly the same age. Vaan and Luke are very naïve about the world around them due to their sheltered lifestyles. Vaan lives in Rabanastre’s Lowtown rather than Rabanastre proper, just like how the Skywalker family lives outside of the busy Mos Eisley port city. Both characters dream of possessing flight vehicles in order to leave their homes in the desert. Through a series of events, Vaan finds himself joining up with two criminals, a forgotten knight and a princess, and getting involved in a conflict against an empire. Vaan’s first weapon is a sword, similar to Luke’s use of a lightsaber as his weapon. It’s also interesting to note that one of Vaan’s first missions is to clear a sewer of Dire Rats, earning him the nickname “Vaan Ratsbane.” One of Luke’s pastimes included shooting womp rats with his T-16 Skyhopper.


Balthier is a near match to Han Solo. Both wear similar outfits, consisting of a white long sleeved shirt, vest, dark pants, dark shoes and holsters. His initial weapon is a gun, echoing Han’s use of a blaster as his primary weapon. Beyond superficial similarities, Balthier shares the same cocky attitude as Han, as well as the tendency to use a reward to mask acts of altruism. He demands Princess Ashe to give him her ring as payment for escorting her to the Garif village but he eventually gives the ring back. This mirrors Han’s demand for a reward for rescuing Leia and later coming back to help the rebels despite having already been paid for his service. Balthier is a sky pirate with his own ship, the Strahl, just like how Han is a smuggler operating via his Millennium Falcon. Both characters have become notorious enough to have prices on their heads, causing ruthless bounty hunters to chase them.

Gideon Emery, Balthier’s American voice actor, has done work in Star Wars: Empire at War and Star Wars: Battlefront.


Fran serves as the Chewbacca to Balthier’s Han Solo. On top of the animalistic traits, Fran also shares Chewie’s minimalist approach to clothing. The two characters are adept mechanics and are extremely loyal to their respective partners in crime. Both are capable of dealing great amounts of physical damage during fits of berserker rage. Fran is also introduced in the game with a bow and arrows as her weapon. Chewbacca uses a bowcaster, a traditional Wookie crossbow, as his weapon. She is significantly older than the other members of the party. Fran is a Viera, and like Wookies, means she naturally has a longer lifespan than humans.

Nicole Fantl, Fran’s American voice actor, appeared in Attack of the Clones as Senator Lexi Dio.


Like Obi-Wan, Basch is a former knight of an overthrown government and is long thought dead by the public. Basch’s initial weapon is a sword, like Obi-Wan’s choice of a lightsaber for his weapon. Both characters adhere strongly to a code of honor, willing to dedicate themselves to a cause greater than personal gain. Basch has a personal connection to Judge Magister Gabranth in the same way Obi-Wan Kenobi is connected to Darth Vader, destined to meet each other for one final battle.

Keith Ferguson, Basch’s American voice actor, played Han Solo in Robot Chicken.


Princess Ashe is very much like the amalgamation of the political aspects of Princess Leia and Queen/Senator Padme Amidala. She shares their dedication to the citizens. Ashe is fighting to liberate her people from the corrupt Imperial rule. To do so, she joined the underground resistance and became an important figure within the group. She values peace but also does not shy away from physical combat. Ashe is descended from the Dynast-King and therefore able to use Nethicite much like how Leia is Force sensitive due to her being Darth Vader’s daughter.

Kari Wahlgren, Ashe’s American voice actor, has done work for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Star Wars: Empire at War and the Revenge of the Sith game.


Penelo is an amalgamation of the nonpolitical characteristics of Leia and Padme. Penelo is the most emotional and most passive member of the party. Penelo parallels Leia in the sense that she is simultaneously like a sibling and an ambiguous romantic possibility for Vaan. She also develops a friendship with the young Larsa, similar to Padme’s connection to the young Anakin in The Phantom Menace.

Cat Taber, Penelo’s American voice actor, voiced Mission Vao in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and plays Princess Leia in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Fantasy Star I: A Brief History

Fantasy Star is a 12-part analysis of the similarities between Final Fantasy XII and the Star Wars trilogies.

I bought Final Fantasy XII a couple months ago. I enjoyed the new developments it had from other games in the series with regards to gameplay and graphics. As for the story, there was something about it that kept me from fully enjoying the experience. It felt very familiar. I thought I was just being paranoid but the more I played, the more I realized that Final Fantasy XII is actually Square Enix’s take on Star Wars. I looked online and found that I wasn’t the only person to notice the similarities. However, these people usually only have a brief list of the parallels from the game and the two Star Wars trilogies. Since I didn’t find any in-depth articles about the subject matter, I decided to write one on my own.

Before jumping into Final Fantasy XII, it’s best to look at prior games in the series because finding Star Wars references in Final Fantasy certainly isn’t anything new. A comprehensive list of them, along with others unrelated to Star Wars, can be found at Final Fantasy Compendium. I’ll just point out several of the more notable examples from various games in the series.

In Final Fantasy VI, Locke rescues Celes and their resulting exchange echoes that scene of Luke rescuing Leia in A New Hope.
Celes: You’re awfully short for a soldier.
Leia: Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?

In Final Fantasy IX, Necron says to the main characters, "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." That quote was part of Yoda’s dialogue in The Phantom Menace.

Out of all the Star Wars references found in the Final Fantasy games, the inclusion of two characters named Wedge and Biggs has become as integral to the series as those of chocobos and Cids. The pair can be found in Final Fantasy VI, VII, VIII, X, X-2 and, of course, XII.

What separates Final Fantasy XII from past games and their simple references is its incorporation of themes from the Star Wars movies. These range from characters, to plot elements, to music, to art direction. As you’ll see in the following installments, Final Fantasy XII takes things to another level.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Assessing Creed

I don’t have much new material to add to this current hullabaloo regarding Ubisoft’s cease and desist order concerning a pornographic comic depicting Jade Raymond, one of the talented individuals behind Assassin’s Creed. People from all sides have made valid points. Ubisoft has no legal standing, the comic falls under free speech, the comic and its creator is offensive, Something Awful has nothing to do with the creation of the comic, etc. However, among the numerous blog posts and comments, something caught my attention.

Holly of Feministe made an interesting observation concerning the artistic quality of the comic. Holly writes:

Sadly, it wasn’t a poorly drawn doodle by a talentless teenager: it was a pro-quality web comic done by someone experienced. (Update: it was in fact a published comic author who made it, see below.)

It’s been brought to my attention that the comic was drawn by Dave Cheung, the creator of Chugworth Academy. I’m mentioning this in part because some might assume the comic was a hasty stick-figure scribble by a middle school brat. But Cheung is a published author who’s well known in some circles; you can buy his latest book on Amazon, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you crave glossy schoolgirl wank material. Plus, the comic is still up on his Deviant Art page. Since he seems to enjoy degrading other creative professionals–enough to have created and posted a congratulatory “Made Jade Cry” achievement on his site–I figured his name might as well be out there too. Of course, he’ll probably just enjoy the negative attention, so please don’t feed the trolls.

Since I wasn’t sure how relevant those details were to the situation, they stuck clearly in my mind. I want everyone to try to answer the following question: Would this situation have been any different if the comic WAS a poorly drawn doodle by a talentless teenager as opposed to a pro-quality web comic done by someone experienced?

I’m no longer a teenager nor am I a talentless artist. But let’s pretend that I am so talentless, that I am unable to draw anything besides snowmen. I made my own rendition of Dave Cheung’s original comic in that artistically retarded snowman style.

Here’s the NSFW original. Compare that to my crappy five minute rendition. It has snowmen masturbating and one getting a snow job. Not sure if that qualifies as NSFW.

So tell me, is the comic more or less outrageous? Does being a crappy artist somehow soften the blow (no pun intended, wait, pun intended!)? I personally think it does discount the subject matter to some degree. Think of what South Park is able to get away with in each episode and then imagine that same episode as if it was done in live action, child actors and all. It’s an unfortunate but inescapable aspect of life that people will continue to judge someone or something based on appearance. It’s unfortunate because it shows exactly how one individual with the same intention as another can be discounted merely due to their difference in technique. It’s inescapable because it’s human nature. It ultimately goes back to one of the main arguments about this topic concerning Jade Raymond: if Jade Raymond wasn’t a woman, let alone an attractive one, perhaps none of this would have happened.

The only other opinion I have on the matter is Ubisoft and possibly Raymond will look worse coming out of it than Something Awful or Dave Cheung. Think of the way the MPAA and RIAA have been suing individuals and shutting down websites. Sure, digital piracy is wrong because the materials in question are owned by the corporations. But the way the lawyers emphasize money and ownership makes it seem that they’re being all the more greedy. Apply this to Ubisoft’s actions. The extent to which Ubisoft is attempting to protect Jade Raymond’s image and reputation makes it seem like said image and reputation is more important than that of anyone else on the Internet. And aren’t we all people that can get just as offended if we found ourselves as the target in a pornographic comic?

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