Finally, you reach the headquarters of the Empire where Gestahl resides. An, aw man, the fucking music. It’s simultaneously creepy and depressing. Go ahead and remind yourself why Nobuo Uematsu is a goddamn genius.
The place is dreary. There appears to be only soldiers and poverty. Try to bum rush the front gates, though, and you run into this oh-my-god-I’m-gonna-die!
After you sneak in, you work your way through a complex labyrinth of conveyor belts, which is fun, but also frustrating when you take the wrong one and hope you have enough stamina to survive. When you finally work your way to the end, you fight a depressing battle with Ifrit and Shiva. And if that weren’t depressing enough…
It’s the first moment when you truly realize that it’s not just Kefka that is evil, but the entire Empire is depraved and must be brought down and you’re not powerful enough to stop them. Hell, you’re barely powerful enough to stop these assholes:
See all those dead guys? Yeah, that was my party. The cranes were the hardest boss I had fought in possibly my entire RPG life to that point. I believe I died six or seven times and was close to restarting the entire game over because I stupidly didn’t have a save point prior to Vector. If I recall, I got lucky on a Setzer slot machine and moved on from there. After that, the mine chase is a more relaxing diversion, though not a cakewalk by any means.
After all that, Gestahl and Kefka are still as powerful as they were before you walked in. It’s depressing as hell, and it was the highlight of the game for me. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the return to Vector after the Espers finally throw a shit fit and destroy the place. The dinner with Gestahl is really cool, especially since you get the sneaking suspicion that he’s just setting you up. But it’s cool to see Kefka brooding on a jail cell toilet.
And that’s the end of the list. Did you have a favorite moment you missed?