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Final Fantasy 12’s best scene is still great, a decade later

Don’t listen to Ondore’s lies, guys

I wasn’t a huge fan of Final Fantasy 12 when it first came out back in 2006. But one early part of the game has always stuck with me, and the new PlayStation 4 remaster — Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age — has reminded me of just how great that part is.

Teenage hero Vaan isn’t the most likable Final Fantasy protagonist. He’s basically a one-note character with boundless energy and a pretty face, one of those rotten youths who drive curmudgeonly older folks wild. But before Final Fantasy 12 itself realizes just how boring Vaan is, there’s a short mission he must complete that births the game’s most iconic moment.

“I’m Captain Basch from Dalmasca!” Vaan cries as he runs around his hometown of Rabanastre. “Don’t listen to Ondore’s lies!”

Here’s the context for this instantly memorable pair of lines: Vaan has just broken out Captain Basch, one of the game’s better characters, from the dungeon where he was held captive for years and years. Believed to be dead, Basch asks Vaan for help in giving him some of his notoriety back ... by running around Rabanastre and shouting out to everyone who will listen that the infamous Captain Basch is alive and well. That’s despite what Ondore, ruler of a neighboring kingdom and ally to the Dalmascan kingdom, has told the people of Ivalice.

It’s an inane minigame that legitimately involves players sending Vaan all around town, screaming in people’s faces. The event became a meme, immortalized by Final Fantasy fans and the comedy group Mega64 in one of its best videos:

Vaan’s pinnacle moment returns in The Zodiac Age. Watching the strangely muscular teen scream about lying liars in people’s much higher-res faces is one of the reasons why I’m actually excited about giving Final Fantasy 12 another swing. It helps that the remaster’s received strong reviews, as well — but I’m really here for Captain Basch from Dalmasca, as should we all.

The next level of puzzles.

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