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manasteel88 avatar 4:56 PM on 04.10.2009  (server time)
That One Mook: The Dark Knight Gafgarion

I read through dudemullet's blog and found out there is a little contest going on for the community that Ckarasu is sponsoring. While reading his tribute to Wiegraf I sat back and thought that while Wiegraf annoyed me alot, Gafgarion was the one that really pissed me off. This is my tribute to that one mook Gafgarion.

At the beginning of Final Fantasy Tactics you fight some enemies along side a Dark Knight named Gafgarion and a Holy Knight named Agrias as a mercenary protecting Princess Ovelia. During the skirmish to protect her the one attack Gafgarion is constantly using is his Night Sword ability. This ability allows him to absorb the HP from his opponent and is very effective in the battles with him. Not only is the absorption ability a good way of keeping his HP up, but its an excellent long range attack as well giving Gafgarion the ability to attack and run in a single turn. This ability is only rivaled by Agrias's Stasis Sword which has the same range but doesn't absorb HP instead causing the status effect Stop in some rare instances. Even with all this help Ovelia still manages to get captured.

You eventually catch up with the would be kidnapper at Zirekile Falls and learn the truth, Gafgarion was there to kill Ovelia. This starts the first of 3 battles against Gafgarion who at that point in time is one of the two strongest characters in your party. This not only means he's stronger than your party members, he also has the best quality armor and weapons. So with a decked out Gafgarion betraying you, it wouldn't help that your entire party is at the bottom of a waterfall making it easier to be attacked. To make this matter even worse you have to insure the welfare of Princess Ovelia who is stuck on a bridge with her kidnapper Delita being the only one to protect her against the 5 Knights and Gafgarion surrounding her. Delita assumes the role of Gafgarion and does take out a few enemies for you but if you did put all your eggs in Gafgarion's basket like I did, you're out of luck with this fight. In the end after taking enough damage Gafgarion escapes into thin air leaving you to clean up with the final 5 knights. Delita then leaves with Ovelia and you leave with your main powerhouse Agrias.

Your second battle comes when you try to rescue Ovelia from her execution. Gafgarion using this to bait your party has set up a trap leading to one of the harder fights of the game. Your party is outnumbered and split up in an 8 on 5 fight with all enemies starting off with some elevation control. Two time mages sit on top of the two secluded characters. To top it all off there is Gafgarion moving freely around and attacking you with his long ranged Night Sword stealing your HP away. This is the spot where most new players that haven't leveled up properly will see a real challenge. Gafgarion almost always gets the first blow in and follows with the two Time Mages attacking your secluded characters (one of which is Agrias)with Slow, leading to a long drawn out battle. Once you have finally defeated Gafgarion, he disappears once again leaving you to fight a stand off against the 7 other enemies. From there its off to Lionel Castle for one last showdown with the sneaky Dark Knight.

As you get to Lionel Castle and try to open the gates to the castle, Gafgarion appears behind you as a group 6 enemies (one of which is a Summoner) ambushes your party of 4 sitting beneath you on the other side of the castle doors. You're stranded and the only way to get some help is to join up with your outnumbered friends. All you have to get through is Gafgarion and its a long walk to the switch that opens the door. There is no way except through heavy grinding to actually beat Gafgarion by yourself and this long walk takes four or more turns and with Gafgarion constantly attacking from a distance with his Night Sword leaving the player completely exposed. If you fail to press that switch, there is no one in your party to help you. Its Game Over. When you do finally get their you still have to survive and take on Gafgarion on one side of the level and the rest of the enemies on the other.

The biggest problem that faces your party is the fact that you cannot attack and heal yourself at the same time. So normal players that haven't stocked up on Hi-Potions are out of luck as it wears through your inventory trying to keep alive. Curing yourself with White Magic also doesn't work because of the time it takes to charge. So your stuck running and healing yourself hoping that you can make it in time to get the 4 other members of your team to hopefully get in their and save you before that final thundering slash cuts through you.

These battles defined what a pain Gafgarion truly was as a boss character. At no point was he vastly stronger than your party. It just happened that he always had the upper hand in battle. Every battle preceding Lionel Castle left you with only one option; take out Gafgarion first and hopefully your party won't be too damaged to fight the others. In that final battle however there is no way you can possibly attack Gafgarion head on. As a player you get left running towards a goal and having your character get attacked with a loud crash that slowly drains your health while making him stronger. Gafgarion was one of the first truly sneaky antagonists I'd ever encountered in gaming. You always had to face Bowser or Sephiroth or most other gaming bosses head on. Final Fantasy Tactics changed that for me as I was sent running from a constantly attacking enemy that was always just outside of my reach.

In doing this I kinda wanted to make this a response as to why I always felt that the Gafgarion fight was harder than Wiegraf. I also really doubt that this would ever make a Memory Card moment so I'd make my own Memory Card. When I originally sat down with my first play through of Final Fantasy Tactics (my first Strategy RPG), these fights were the first that I really started to have problems with culminating in that last frustrating fight where I was completely stranded from my strongest character Agrias and the rest of my team with nothing but a few potions to keep me moving. My big strong Knights were always weak against the Archers and the Summoner (even if he was slow as molasses). It was always a bout with frustration. After a few Game Over's and a lot of luck I finally beat Gafgarion. To make this battle even worse, I had used up all of my strong potions and pheonix downs leaving me with nothing for the upcoming fight with Queklain afterward since it proceeds right after Gafgarion's death. Through the multiple playthroughs and with hindsight, this becomes an easier and easier battle but at the time it took a lot of luck to get through the later battles with Gafgarion.

So in conclusion Goodbye, cheap traitorous bastard.

I created a video to kinda showcase what I'm talking about.

Direct Link to Video

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