My next stop is “Olympus Colliseum”, because Greece and Rome are the same thing apparently. The land of Disney’s very questionable adaptation of the Hercules myth.

Hades - a man with bright blue fire hair and pale blue skin in a black robe - lecturing Cloud Strife, a man with blonde spiky hair, a metal shoulder blade, and a scarf.

I accidentally deleted the previous version of my post, so let’s be brief. Cloud Strife from FF7 is here, for some reason, under contract(???) to kill Hercules. Hades gives me a ticket to enter the games, which is a series of arena fights against Heartless who don’t drop healing items, and then orders Cloud to kill me. So I fight Cloud. If you die to Cloud the plot advances anyway, but I want to beat Cloud properly. So when the next boss killed me, I loaded game, and set a save state just before Cloud so I could practice.

Cloud is definitely a cut above the other bosses in this game. Quite a few of his moves remind me of one of my favourite bosses in Dark Souls, Artorias.

A combined image with two pictures. The top shows Sora, Goofy and Donald facing off against Cloud, who's holding his enormous Buster Sword. The second is a screenshot from Dark Souls, showing the character Artorias, a giant knight with a huge sword and ragged blue robes, facing off against the protagonist, another knight.

I spent a while fighting Cloud and got him down to a third or so a few times, but eventually decided one Estus healing potion wasn’t enough, so I reloaded and redid the arena fights to retry Cloud with three potions. And eventually… I got him! :D

Cloud kneeling on the floor in a medium shot.

yeah, you kneel on that floor.

Apart from a slightly tweaked cutscene, that changes almost nothing story-wise. And of course speedrun strats would be to die to Cloud asap. But it was very satisfying when I beat him.

Now for the actual boss: Cerberus. I have no idea what Hercules is playing at here. Like what does he have to gain from any of this? Cloud can’t very well kill Hercules if he’s been killed by Cerberus, can he? Why would he fund us to enter the competition if the objective is to get Cloud to kill Hercules?

For that matter, what are we doing here? The Heartless don’t really seem to be a threat to this area: if anything, they’re useful fodder for the Colliseum. But I guess Phil the Satyr questioned our heroicness and we have to prove him wrong? Masculinity is a limiting narrative etc. etc.

Cerberus turns out to be pretty hard without any potions left, so I head back to Traverse Town. On the way I work out how to access the ship-building minigame.

A blocky, low-poly spaceship with garish white and green colours.

Magnificent! Sadly I can’t yet paint my ship nice colours until after I reach ‘Twilight Town’ apparently, which requires doing the ‘second part’ of Traverse Town.

I have another look around Traverse Town, and discover I can now cast a fire spell to open a door with a fire symbol on it. Inside, I find a small ruined hut, and a vision of Kairi. The inhabitants turn out to be Merlin and the Fairy Godmother. I didn’t actually realise that version of King Arthur was a Disney property? But anyway. Magic! Anyway I can come back here to cast spells on animated furniture any time.

I also electrified some wires. It’s not at all clear what that did.

Some of the hotel rooms are open now. I try to find Squall again from the alleyway, but there’s no sign of him, unless he’s behind the ‘closed off’ grating.

I return to the gizmo shop, and find out what electrifying that wire did. The mysterious lift-like objects in there turn out to be lifts. Which means I can finally check out the upper area! Some text earlier heavily hinted I’m supposed to ring a bell at the top of the Gizmo Shop (somewhat misnamed, as no gizmos seem to be on sale). First, though, I should look out for the Belfy Gargoyles… no, that’s the other game.

The Gizmo Shop has a pretty cool candy clockpunk aesthetic at least:

A room with machinery in a variet yof pastel colours, primarily pink and yellow, and a tiled pattern of triangles on the floor. Pipes, cogs, gauges and telescoping platforms can be seen, and the walls are decorated with spiral patterns.

I make a wire on the ceiling light up, and observe that the clock is stuck at 6:54. I guess I have to unstick it somehow to make the bell ring. But someone does seem to have stuffed two postcards into it. I guess I should feed them to the hungry hungry postbox.

Outside, I find a ladder I somehow didn’t notice before (unless it was the ladder that was previously too rickety to clime.) There’s more bell symbols, but I can’t do aything with them. I can, at least, parkour over to a balcony of the third district with another postcard.

So anyway I beat Cerberus and get licensed as a Junior Hero. Cloud has some very goffick parting words.

Cloud facing the camera, saying 'I tried to exploit the power of darkness, but it backfired'.

And Hades is indeed working with the other Disney villains. (Disney definitely made a right mess of that character. But eh.)

Onwards to the next world!