I went into this project asking myself ‘Was FF6 T-Edition the definitive version of the game?’ and the answer– which I should have assumed much earlier– is... no. It adds too much and switches up the canon too frequently for it to be considered the same experience. Beyond the additional content and graphical enemy replacements, I’m also very touchy about the game changing music selections. It’s not a deal when the scenario is something completely new like the hunting quest you get at South Figaro. It is a deal when its the big fight in Narshe at the end of Act One.
Recently, I’ve learned about compilation romhacks– romhacks that are composed of several different patches. At this point, I shouldn’t be surprised that FF6 has megahacks like these, although its a concept I haven’t thought about with since my days playing Minecraft. While I’ve not looked into them myself, apparently projects like Ted Woolsey Uncensored Edition or Final Fantasy VI: Revised Old Style Edition are better answers to the question of what is the definitive form of FF6 SNES. And of course, the Pixel Remaster of FF6 is out there now, too.
So I’m switching up the question. I’m playing Final Fantasy VI T-Edition not wondering if it’s the definitive version of the game, but rather if it’s the ultimate version of the game. That’s a descriptor that probably fits it better, although its still too early to know if it live up to that title.
We come in with me doing the Opera House chapter. It’s a bit of moment because it is a longer section where you don’t have access to conventional saving. Even if I use save states, it gets me a little anxious. The localization changed some of the opera lyrics, I think. The new lyrics fit the syllability of the midi singing better now.
When it comes to action time, you have five minutes to reach Ultros and stop him from crushing the theater performance with a 4 tonne weight. With Gau, Locke, and Cyan in my team and not possessing too many great skills, the rafter section was a close call. Too many fights with those rats can waste all your time. It didn’t help that I instinctually used Locke’s Mug ability which takes a half second more than his regular Fight command. If I didn’t deek out one of those rat encounters, I would have never made it in time.
The fight with Ultros was eh… okay. He has some nasty attacks but thankfully he only used his high physical damage attack once. Being that Cyan’s Jagged Blade attack was the biggest damage dealer on my team, eventually the battle funneled into Cyan doing that move over and over and the two others making sure Cyan can keep on doing that move– keeping his health up and ridding him of Toad if he was inflicted.
I optimized my tactics by doing the following: the battle is a pincer fight with Gau on the left, Cyan and Locke on the right, and Ultros in the middle. If an attacker attacks someone with their back turned to them, that attacker will do additional damage. In the case of Jagged Dance, which is already a move with good damage, this bonus adds up. Later on in the battle when I got ahold of keeping my healing up, I would have Gau slap Ultros to get his attention then follow up with Cyan’s quartet of slashes with the squid’s back turned.
A really cool thing T-Edition adds is the audience members participating in battle which meant sometimes healing Ultros, sometimes throwing a wrench at him or Locke. It’s pure personality and a definitive addition to the battle!
After that battle, it leads into the scene where Celes and the heroes try to convince Setzer to help them fight the Empire. This is a point of contention in the fandom, albeit a minor case. In the original Japanese text, Setzer mentions that his business has been down since the Empire has began their conquest, inspiring him to fight against it. In the Woolsey SNES localization, that line is changed significantly– Setzer says that the Empire has been good for his business. It’s a single line but it changes the context completely and gives a different impression on Setzer. Is he a businessman that changes his tune when the Empire’s disorder hurts his profits or is he a risk-taker that has benefited from the Empire’s imperialism but changes his heart anyway?
I like the Woolsey version of him but Mato’s translation on T-Edition goes with the GBA translation which was more accurate to the original sentiment in the original Japanese. Apparently– I only found this out recently– this new translation that I attributed to Mato retranslated the Japanese text is actually the English GBA version of FF6. It’s been awhile since I played that version so I guess I didn’t know but experiencing it in this context, it’s seems pretty solid.
The Southern Continent
After crossing the sea to the Southern Continent, you land near Albrook. A couple things of note: you can buy both of Locke’s stealing relics at the relic shop (I had them both, already) and there was a quest available at the pub. I was to deliver packages to Tzen and Maranda, the other two towns on the Southern Continent. Fair enough task. In vanilla FF6, most towns on the Southern Continent don’t have a lot going for them but I was curious to what T-Edition had to add to those burgs, and really any differences– I would want to check them out.
I could have used the experience and AP anyway, as Celes was behind on the levels. She had been clinging to that Ramuh magicite since we first got it and she still hadn’t learned Thunder. The enemies on the Southern Continent’s world map were very deadly. An encounter with three Jokers can easily be lost if they do their Acid Rain attacks in succession. It’s pretty dangerous walking around the world map but I guess that makes the world feel more hostile. That’s what I like about difficulty in JRPGs, especially these kind of old-school ones, is that the dungeon and journey experience is textile and risky. You really feel the danger of even just moving from one part of the map to the other.
T-Edition’s versions of Tzen and Maranda are pretty similar, right down to shop listings. Delivering the goods to the item shop nets the player 5000 and 8000 gil, which is nice. Nothing else around the Southern Continent so I went right to Vector and continued the story.
Vector is a pretty big dungeon and by the time you get out of it, you will be five (eight in the original) Magicite richer but will have to have beaten four different bosses. The enemies in here, like in vanilla FF6, have high defenses so using magic is recommended. Not everyone has a great Magic stat, though. Cyan’s physical oriented and while his Jagged Blade is affected by the high Defense rate, his Fang Strike cuts through it. Gau got a lot of use out of two Rages he learned outside on the world map: both of them magic attacks that hurt all the enemy party. Well worth the tradeoff of losing control of Gau!
Only Celes was competent enough in spell magic to use it effectively and when she learned Thundara, the second level thunder attack, she became much deadlier although I wasn’t using it a lot because it is an expensive spell and would drain through her MP reserves quickly, even with a piece of headgear that gives her an MP bonus.
The first boss battle is against Shiva and Ifrit. In the original fight, they cycle in and out and you have to get one of them down to finish the fight. In this version, you fight both of them at once and once they are low on health they will roll out some second and third level magic attacks. It can be chaotic but once I got one of them KO’d, the fight got under control. Earlier in the game I had found a Fire Rod, which is a weapon you can use as a consumable item to cast Fira on the enemy party, healing Ifrit but hurting Shiva for large damage.
You get their magicite after the battle like in the regular edition of FF6, but both espers only have two spells– the first and second level magic of their respective element. In the original, Shiva came with a lot of spells including the useful Osmose.
The second boss of Magitek Research Facility is Number 024, Final Fantasy VI’s barrier-changing boss. If the heroes have been keeping up with their esper spell learning, one or more of them might have Libra, the ability that scans enemies and allows you to see their stats, including elemental weaknesses. Their weakness changes whenever the boss uses their Barrier Change move but for most of the fight they were weak to ice and Celes could hit them with Blizzard, dealing pretty decent damage. Their attacks were fairly powerful though and if you hit them with a non-elemental attack, they’d counter with Overdrive which confused the attacker.
Worse yet, when Number 024 gets low on HP, they use Heal Force to heal quite a lot of health. I was stuck for a minute but then I noticed Sleep (another new spell I learned from an esper) procced on Number 024 each time. Unfortunately I got them stuck in a state where they were weak to none of my elements attacks so I got in the loop of Sleep’ing them, attacking with Cyan, smacking him when he is inevitably confused by the Overdrive counterattack, continue. Eventually Number 024 went down.
I didn’t take the time to check out the new Magicite and what spells they taught but Celes leaves the party for awhile, and Cid leads Locke and the two others to the underground rail. There’s a long section where you do fight after fight with no opportunity to recover in-between. The enemies weren’t hard during the minecart section but keeping up with their damage with my weak magic healing was an uphill battle.
The Number 128 boss at the end of the rail section was easier than the two boss fights earlier in the facility. 128’s a multi-part boss with its two claw parts that function like separate enemies. You can kill them but they will come back with time. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a very consistent all-enemies attack so I spammed Jagged Blade with Cyan and used Locke to heal with potions. The boss went down eventually.
THEN! as you escape on Setzer’s airship, you are attacked by two Cranes. These are the bosses that attack themselves with elemental magic and built up power to unleash a super attack on all party members. The boss has been given a little trick in this T-Edition, one I was not able to figure out very accurately before I finished the battle. One part of the boss could revive the other upon its own death. It seemed like you were supposed to kill them both at the same time but I ended up killing one before the other and I still won the battle, albeit with two heroes facedown on the floor.
Vector shows how intense and maybe puzzley boss battles can get in T-Edition. All four fights were pretty memorable, and the weakest one, Number 128, comes after a forced section of fights so I’m glad they went easy on me with that one. I’m excited to see more of this romhack. Soon it’ll be the end of Act Two and I will have an airship ready to explore the world. What will I find in this T-Edition World of Balance? Stay tuned with me, and we’ll find out.