Onion Knight and Cloud of Darkness

        Moving on to Final Fantasy III, we have another hero and villain to look at, though I personally find them both a little odd in different ways. Onion Knight, much like Warrior of Light, isn’t a defined character from the game, but he does at least represent a class, but there may be more to it than that. Cloud of Darkness, on the other hand, does not come off to me as very villainous and does not have her original appearance.
        The Onion Knight is your starting class in Final Fantasy III, and the weakest, getting hardly any stronger when you level up. However, once you reach level 90, every level up will increase your stats drastically, pushing it up to the very strongest class, in addition to have the Onion equipment exclusively, which is the strongest gear in the game. It also has no special abilities as it is the starting class.
        In the DS remake of the game, however, it can use magic. In fact, it can use any white or black spell, no matter what it is, and it doesn’t begins the rapid stat growth until level 93. In addition, it is now a secret class that can only be unlocked through the game’s Mognet feature where you can send letters to NPCs in the game or other players. By sending messages to seven other people with the game, then four letters to Topapa, the player will receive a message about children being in danger.
        Rescue the children, and the Onion Knight job will be your reward. Since I don’t know even one other person who has the DS remake, I couldn’t get the job myself, which is probably why all future remakes instead let you do that sidequest once 25% of your bestiary is complete.
        The Onion Knight character in Dissidia seems more similar to the DS version in terms of ability, as he makes use of both white and black magic along with his sword skills. He does not seem to be based on any of the protagonists from the remake, though some of his alternate costumes change his appearance to resemble two of them. Taking all of his different costumes together, he seems to have all of the colors of the four Onion Knights from the original game, and can basically be seen as one of them, since they have no personality attributed to them.
        As for his own personality, he comes off as analytical but confident, even from his first scene. He too is searching for his crystal with Terra, reassuring her that while he isn’t sure about all this, and what significance the crystals have, he will figure it all out. He may be a little too smart for his own good, because he outright ignores a warning of Terra’s that she feels a strong presence and she doesn’t think they should go near it.
        He is certain that even if it is one of Chaos’ minions, he can handle any of them because he is simply smarter than they are. Given what we have seen with Garland, who clearly has knowledge none of the protagonists do, and the Emperor, a schemer who wants to conquer everything, Onion Knight may be a bit out of his league in the brains department, and judging from his small size he likely cannot compete in strength either.
        In the next scene they run into Exdeath, who, in his own words, came here just to kill time. Onion Knight can sense, now that he is so close, that this creature is very powerful, and does not think he can protect Terra while fighting him, so he instead acts meek and helpless, suggesting to Exdeath that they would not be much fun to battle and that he should find someone stronger… unless he is the cowardly sort who only preys on the weak. He seems to be banking on Exdeath being too prideful to consider attacking those weaker than himself.
        Exdeath decides to let them go, as they would not be entertaining, but also gives Onion Knight a bit of advice- that he will never find his crystal if he is ‘without valor’, or, to put it another way, acting cowardly as he just did, flipping the insult back on him, before vanishing. Onion Knight doesn’t seem effected by this, going on to say to Terra that even if Exdeath had attacked them, he would have run, as he does not fight anyone unless he is sure he can win.
        Terra is a bit suspicious that he let them go so easily, and wonders why he gave them advice. Onion Knight considers the advice foolish, that charging into battle if you do not know you can win isn’t valor, it is simply being reckless. When he sees Terra thinks Exdeath may have had a point, he decides he has to prove to Terra he does have valor by finding the crystal, and so they go on after this presence Terra senses.
        This presence turns out to be a trap, as something takes over Terra’s mind and makes her attack Onion Knight. After a brief struggle, the spell controlling her teleports her elsewhere, and Cloud of Darkness appears, mocking him for leading her straight into a trap, saying that, had he not been so insistent, she would never have fallen for it. “Who was the brute who chose not to ease her pain, but to use his sword instead? Who was the fool who dragged the unwilling girl here? …You have only yourself to blame for this. Your shallow cleverness got the best of you!”
        Onion Knight is later visited by Cosmos, who explains that the Cloud of Darkness put a curse on Terra, and that the only way to remove it is to defeat Cloud of Darkness. Onion Knight balks at this, as he doesn’t know he can actually win such a battle. He quickly changes the subject, asking if he could find the crystal and use it to save Terra instead, saving him an uncertain fight.
        Cosmos does not blame him for wishing to avoid conflict, but asks if that is truly what he desires to do. She says, basically, that the way to find the crystal is to follow your heart and be true to yourself, though she cannot give further details. She leaves, and as soon as she does, Golbez arrives, giving further advice that unless the curse is broken, Cloud of Darkness will use Terra as a weapon, making her battle mindlessly until she finally succumbs and dies.
        However, Onion Knight cannot defeat the Cloud of Darkness, and he knows it. Golbez says he would be wise to avoid her. Onion Knight hesitates to respond, and Goblez asks why that is. Why ignore what you assuredly know to be true? But if he will not listen to reason, then perhaps his heart will give an answer.
        The next scene has an unconscious Terra being watched by Cloud of Darkness, who seems disappointed at how fragile she is. She sees Onion Knight’s approach, and asks if he is there to fight. He says he is not, and instead offers to take Terra’s place if she would be let go. Could of Darkness seems willing to do this, getting closer, and Onion Knight takes the opportunity to slash her, running to Terra’s side.
        Cloud of Darkness vanishes from sight, saying that Onion Knight has already taken quite a beating, and that he alone certainly cannot change the world. She proves her point by sneak attacking him, but he does not fall, and does not seem fazed, still ready to challenge her. He defeats her, which she actually seems to find amusing before she vanishes from sight.
        Terra, luckily, is merely unconscious, as Golbez appears and reminds Onion Knight of. He says that he admires the knight’s resolve, and seems happy that Onion Knight has found his true path. As he says as much, the crystal appears, and Terra awakens. She doesn’t seem to know where she is, but Onion Knight assures her she can rest, because he is there to protect her. Then, warn out from battle, he lays down by her to rest himself.
        So, story aside, how does Onion Knight fare in battle? While all of the characters use some blend of melee and magical combat, Onion Knight is equally good at both and uses them in equal amounts. He is also one of the fastest combatants in the game, both in terms of movement and in his attacks, landing lightning quick, multiple strikes. The downsize is, as you might expect from looking at him, his strikes aren’t very powerful. However, they all chain into HP attacks or another Brave attack, your choice, which means once he has you, you’re in trouble.
        His melee HP attacks tend to be close-range, as you might expect- Blade Torrent has him lunge forward and slash repeatedly if he connects, but if he doesn’t he stumbles and is left open. Wind Shear has him spin in the air and draw in his enemy, who is then slashed and sent flying, but again, it leaves him open for a moment if they can avoid it. Most of his attacks do have a moment where he can be easily struck. His magic HP attacks do have good range though, such as Comet, where he summons a small meteorite and slashes it, sending shards of it at the enemy to do Brave damage, before finally kicking the last bit at them. Again, he is left in the air for a moment, but given the range it may be less likely to be exploited.
        As for his EX Mode, like Warrior of Light and Galand, he changes his job, but unlike them he changes to either Sage or Ninja, and flips between them as long as Ex Mode lasts. If he attacks physically he becomes a Ninja, and if he uses magic he switches to Sage. As a Ninja he uses two blades, doubling the amount of hits he lands per attack, and as a Sage his magical attacks make more projectiles, accomplishing the same thing.
        This is an allusion to the original Final Fantasy III where these two are the ultimate classes, Ninja being the best physical class and Sage the best magic class, so swapping between them for optimal results makes sense. His EX Burst actually changes depending on which form he is in, but they works fairly similarly.
        As a Sage, you are given a Final Fantasy III style command window, where you are supposed to pick Magic, and then Holy. Onion Knight will then blast the enemy with it for Brave damage, then casts Meteor to finish them off. Incidentally, these are the strongest white and black spells in the game, respectively. As a Ninja it works the same, but now you need to go to Throw and pick Shuriken, which in the game did 9999 damage when throw. He throws several at the enemy before vanishing and reappearing behind them for a sneak attack, slashing them with both blades.
        Moving on to Cloud of Darkness, she is the final boss from Final Fantasy III, though I do not really consider her a villain, the reason being that she is more akin to a natural disaster. Her role is to appear if the world has been covered in light or darkness, representing the other element, and destroy everything so it all resets, and equilibrium is established again. In that game the world was flooded with darkness thanks to the efforts of a sorcerer named Xande, and so she was called forth and needed to be stopped by the heroes.
        In Dissidia she basically is doing the same, aiding the heroes in stopping the invasion of Manikins before the events of the first game, as they were disrupting the war in a way that would not restore balance. The Manikins, by the way, are the crystalline copies of the characters you face as minions throughout both games.
        Due to their mindless nature, they will not stop battling a foe when they cannot fight back, and they will kill their enemies, removing any chance of their being brought back. A portal once was opened to let them flood into the world and they were commanded to obliterate the forces of Cosmos, but Cloud of Darkness’ intervention made sure they were stopped. As for her actions in Onion Knights storyline, she does not seem to have any reason to manipulate Terra, only doing so because she is going along with Kefka’s plans for the girl. I don’t know why she necessarily goes along with what Kefka plans, but oh well.
        In battle, she is unusual in that she has a lot of HP attacks, but only four brave attacks, two for the air and two for the ground. They all simply make her tentacles sway back and forth, but by pressing the attack button as she does so, you can produce one of three different attacks, adding up to twelve different moves. The third option is always a projectile of some sort, while the first is a close range attack, and the second stretches her tentacles in some way, generally for more distance. Timing is key.
        As for her HP moves, again, she has many, most some variation of her Particle Beam attack. Anti-Air has her fire beams up to stop enemies above her, Feint has her teleport and reappear elsewhere to strike the enemy, there’s a long-range and wide beam, and even a counter where if you strike her a the wrong time she counters with a laser.
        She also has Aura Ball, where she lets out homing balls of energy that explode when you stop holding the button. My two favorites are 0-form, where she fires a giant laser, and Fusillade, where she lets out a barrage of projectiles that turn to home in on her enemy. The latter does leave her open, however. Given the sheer number of HP attacks, she is much better at blasting off your enemy’s health bit by bit rather than destroying all of their Brave to build up for a big attack.
        Her EX Mode is Flood of Darkness, where she loses her cape and her colors change to look like she did in her original game. Her ability, [Null] Particle Beam, makes it so she has no lag between her HP attacks, allowing her to fire them out much more quickly. Her Ex Burst is Ultra Particle Beam, where she charges up via you holding down the button. Charge up to 120% exactly, and she will let out a gigantic laser to decimate the enemy.
        And that’s all there is to these two. Unlike the last two games characters, they do not share any many similarities. Onion Knight is a quick fighter that is well balanced at long and short range, while Cloud of Darkness has average speed, moves that use both, and a slew of HP moves. Not much similar between them, but they are both certainly interesting.

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