Part 17: Chapter 17A final status update as I head into the last boss battle. It's been requested that I fight the Emperor without any armor or weapons, so these are everyone's stats buck naked:
Fry's gained 2 levels in Cure and Mini over the course of this gigantic dungeon crawl. Also just for lulz he's gained a little bit of experience in various useless crap.
Weapons and armor are largely irrelevant against the Emperor, so unequipping Marty should not be all that huge a problem. Her agility is not quite maxed out, though, so it'll take a couple layers of Blink to get adequate evasion. Also she does have a very specific backup weapon, as I would be remiss if I did not show off one of the game's biggest mechanical abuses.
Guido's up to level 10 Toad, which is about as high as it's likely to get outside of deliberately abusing the system to grind skill levels; at this point many fights no longer give any skill points for it at all unless it gets used repeatedly, and if you have Toad 10 you generally shouldn't need to be casting it more than once. Although Guido's been spending a lot of time practicing Haste while Fry takes care of battles with his mini spell.
I gave Lenny a couple of spellbooks that I had lying around in my inventory but he hasn't had a lot of opportunity to train them. Being dead most of the time tends to do that. (It doesn't help that I didn't really bother trying with him, either.)
No one can ever argue that the Emperor is not a guy who gets shit done, but damn. Dude really needs to work on polishing his villain speeches.
Just because I can't get enough of this track: OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD.
I've defended the balance and difficulty curve in this game a lot in this thread-- now, sure, if you don't know what you're doing it'll be a bit slower, and once you reach Jade it gets really, really painful, but it's still possible to soldier through. But this fight is pretty much indefensible. Even if you're fairly competent at the game this fight will tear you a new one unless you cheese the living shit out of it. This fight will tear your new one a new one.
First, the obvious:
He absorbs Toad and all similar spells, so you're stuck actually trying to fight him. The Emperor has stupidly high defense (as much as the basically weaponproof slime enemies) so nothing except the Masamune can even scratch him. You could abuse the Ancient Sword to inflict curse status that bypasses elemental immunities, except he has ridiculously high magic defense. He gets 8 or so highly accurate hits per attack, and each hit drains HP based on your maximum HP. So armor is useless and having lots of HP only enables him to heal himself rapidly by leeching off of you. Mercifully he doesn't have any particularly bad status spells, but he does have a couple of really powerful attack spells:
First is Flare 16, concentrated on a single party member at a time for tons of unblockable damage. This is where running into half a dozen Abyss Worms every 3 steps in Jade turns out to have been a godsend: the Tornado attack they spam at you means the whole party is losing hundreds of HP each fight, which means huge HP growth for everybody. You have to try very hard to actually make it this far and not end up with enough HP to survive this spell. Having to constantly heal a thousand or so HP at the end of every fight also means that Fry's Cure spell is leveled high enough to actually recover all that HP quickly.
Next is Meteor, a spell unique to the Emperor. It hits everyone for several hundred non-elemental damage, making it about twice as powerful as any other hit-all attack spell in the game.
Even with 1000ish HP for everybody, Flare can still fuck you up when you only have one healer. Luckily, although the Emperor resists any spell that can be resisted, Aspil is non-elemental and can easily drain several hundred MP. The Emperor doesn't have all that much, so after a few rounds of draining him all you have to worry about is dodging his physicals.
This can be kind of tricky if you don't have a shield and haven't maxed out your agility. Spamming Blink works wonders, though. That takes care of the Emperor's attacks; as far as doing damage...
The Blood Sword deals damage in 1/16th chunks, so anything that's not undead dies in 16 hits. (Marty got a boost from Haste, since she doesn't have enough sword levels to get 10 hits on her own. The Blood Sword is terribly inaccurate, otherwise she'd be hitting about 12 times and taking the Emperor down to 25% in one shot.)
If you don't have a Blood Sword handy, then I hope someone knows Berserk. A few decent Berserk spells and it doesn't matter what weapon you're using.
Or not using, as the case may be (this is an unarmed attack from Marty, after three Berserk 5s from Guido.) If all else fails you can just use the Yoichi Bow over and over again for its free Berserk 3, but it will take a long time to stack enough power to get anywhere since the bow's effect is spread over the whole party.
At this point Marty is perfectly capable of punching the Emperor to death, despite her complete lack of unarmed combat skill. But I came here to make toads and chew bubblegum... and I'm all out of gum.
We've already established that Guido's super-effective Toad spell simply gets absorbed outright by the Emperor. However, Lenny also knows Toad, albeit at a vastly weaker level and without the stats to support it.
Normally this would be completely useless even in the best of circumstances. However, I hypothesize that if Lenny was to join forces with Fry, their combined lack of usefulness will combine to create a force so useless that it will effectively "wrap around" and become the most useful thing in the universe.
: "It's just crazy enough to work!"
: "Whatever. Hurry up and fail so I can finish this asshole off, it's been a while since you jerks let me actually win a boss fight."
: "Concentrate, Fry. You've got to suck harder than you've ever sucked before. What's the most useless thing you can possibly do?"
: "Yeah, that should do it. Here goes nothing!"
The following animation is brought to you in EPIC LARGE-O-VISION:
Okay, I can't even begin to take credit for this one--I didn't even know this was possible until a couple of weeks ago. I was searching for some obscure FFII fact or another on GameFAQs and happened to find a thread on the message board detailing several bugs, including this one which I've never seen mentioned anywhere before.
So here's what just happened. When you successfully cast the Wall spell on someone, it automatically blocks offensive spells of equal or lower level. Unlike some of the spells in this version, Wall functions perfectly well; it's just that by its nature it tends to be useless, so I haven't actually used it before now (other than just training it up for the hell of it.) Enemy spells start out around level 4-5 (well before you'd have access to Wall unless you sneak off to Mysidia really early) and scale up to the point where by the end of the game you will almost never see an enemy spell lower than level 9-10, and level 16 spells are really common. So in order to get any benefit whatsoever from it you have to grind it to a level far above any level you would ever actually reach in regular gameplay even if you were casting Wall in every single fight.
Here's the catch: normally if a spell fails due to enemy magic resistance or inadequate level/stats, it just does nothing and prints "Ineffective." When a spell is blocked by a wall effect, though, it displays the spell's full animation. So, Fry casts Wall 4. It's a beneficial spell, so the Emperor doesn't roll magic defense against it. Lenny casts Toad 1, which is blocked by Wall (hence the "Failed" message), triggering the Toad spell animation... which includes the target monster dying, turning into a toad, and disappearing from the battle forever.
Time to sit back and enjoy the ending!
Everyone who didn't sacrifice themselves in largely meaningless fashion comes up to tell us how awesome we are.
: "Someone should probably tell them that the door's the other way. I think they just walked into a closet."
: "Uh, yeah, about that. Remember when your brother tried to kill us all and take over the world?"
: "A small price to pay, as long as it gets rid of you."
: "He's right... I can't stop him."
: "No shit, you just defeated the Emperor of Hell by breaking reality through sheer force of uselessness. I don't know why I even expected you to be able to stop him in the first place."
Everyone who did sacrifice themselves in largely meaningless fashion comes back to haunt Fry force-ghost style, but Fry snaps out of it pretty quickly.
Aaaaaaand... roll credits. Normally I'd link to the ending music, but it's kind of disappointing. Besides, given how I put the game to rest I think it's clear that there is only one appropriate song for the finale.
okay I know he's technically not a toad but whatever