The Let's Play Archive

Breath of Fire IV

by Daeren

Part 49: Chapter XLVIII: Castle Crashers, Part I

Well, this is it. The last obstacle between us and Fou-Lu. Before we go inside, we have a few last things to pick up.

First off, checking on the faeries shows we've nearly got a full village. I also set the art faerie to music to enable War Shout.

Ryu's level allows for a very nice move from Lyta.

This move completely stops anything that attempts to affect the user for the rest of the turn, no questions asked. It can be linked in combos, as well.

I actually could have done this since I came back to the eastern continent but it slipped my mind until now.

"I've got to have it! Here - I'll give you this treasure in exchange! Don't worry, I didn't steal it. I found it, honest!"

Yep, looters found the sandflier. However, they have a treasure ball, so it's all good.

A quick application of combos later (Rest+Vitalize+FaerieBreath), we have enough hits to get a move from Kryrik.

: "Days like this always make me think of my old, how's it going? Think you're ready to learn what it's like to be a real sailor? That's the spirit! Looks like you've been working really hard. All right, then, I'll teach you Megaphone. We only teach that to real sailors!"

I didn't get a screenshot, but Megaphone increases the attack of all enemies while lowering their defense. I guess that can be useful. Kryriks next moves would be at 50 and 70 hits, but here's the catch: we already have both of them, Cleave and Disembowel. So, by learning his first move, we have cleaned him out.

: "Well, it looks like you've become just as good a sailor as I am! Maybe better, even! There's nothing more I can teach you - good luck!"

And that's it. No more errands for now. It's time to kick some ass and take some names.

An obscured path down from the bridge Fou-Lu crossed leads to that chest we saw, which has a ring that removes status effects if you rest in the back row. Surprisingly useless.

Gee, this looks familiar.

Hmm, Fou-Lu had A-Tur carry him here, how are we gonna do it?

Game, if you make me fight A-Tur again I will ragequit.

Wait, what?

: "I see now that thou art the other half of my master. I shall carry thee to the Castle, where my master awaits thee."

Works for me.

: "Walk safely, young master."

And with that, A-Tur disappears. When we want to leave and come back from this point on, it's simply a dialogue option at the edge of the abyss.

Welcome to the Imperial Castle. The music here is amazing. It gives a fantastic sense of urgency and "Yes, this is the end dungeon, thanks for noticing." A note about this update and the next: the Imperial Castle is huge. Like, STUPID huge, with tons of overlap, backtracking, paths intersecting, and rooms you see more than once due to newly opened paths. If I made an exhaustive screenshot representation of the path you take and how intricate it is, this would probably be at least four updates. Just trust me when I say this place is a labyrinth in simultaneously the best and worst ways, and I'll be skipping over a lot of rooms with nothing interesting in them.

First things first, let's explore the joint.

Damn. Let's go to one of the doors nearby. The upper path in the top-left of the screenshot leads to a room with nothing in it, as of yet.

This is a room that you can rest and save in without having to go to the world map. There's two more, one at the bottom and one about halfway through. When I say this place is gigantic, I mean it.

: "This is the night watch's room. 'Course, the castle's full of monsters, so we don't go out much. Hmm? The key to the stairs? Come to think of it, that's around here somewhere..."

Really now. I wonder where that could be?

Before we open that gate, we have something to see first.

Yep. We got keycard sign.

Anyway, just under the fifth floor (yes, the entrance is the fifth floor, and there's several basements) is a walkway area with a lot of support beams. The fourth, third, and second floors all have a central area like this.

What final dungeon is complete, however, without random encounters designed to make you cry?

Meet the Kolpum. These guys are asshats. Normally, they attack with Double Blow, which can actually stand a good chance of instantly killing a party member if you're unlucky. If they're hit with an elemental attack, they switch to using that element's physical attack (like Flame Strike or Searing Sand.) In larger groups, they can wreak havoc on the party.

This is a room on the fourth floor, by the way. The one on the fifth is just like it without the fence on the right. I'll go ahead and say they're elevator rooms, but we won't actually see the elevators for a little while. And there's no call function, which makes using them pretty aggravating at times.

A small room tucked away on this floor holds a bunch of books. Here's the lot of them:

"You found a record of the Empire's attempt to summon a god and what went wrong."
"You found a record of experiments involving different methods to kill dragons and other gods."
"There are many scrolls and books written in ancient languages on these shelves."
"You find a list of all the people who have been used as sacrifices for the Carronade..."

I think we found Yuna's bathroom readers.

This is the face of death. Ambushes in this place almost guarantee a party member is going to bite it, especially with Cray already mangled beforehand. The samurai with black armor on the right is a Chingol. It casts Speed on its allies to make them go fast, then utterly ruins your day with Shadowwalk.

Yes, there's an enemy with Shadowwalk. Yes, it's pretty much instant death. KILL CHINGOLS FIRST.

As for the wizard guy in the back, that's a StarGazer. They use Concentrate to supercharge their magic, then Recall to randomly cast a spell from a huge list just like the Wizards from earlier. This can either be hilariously ineffective (like Burn) to completely devastating (Typhoon and the like.)

Have I mentioned that this is the point in the game where every random encounter is actually trying to kill you? Because they are. And it only gets worse the deeper you go.

In our descent we stumble upon a storeroom filled with goodies. We take away a Water Ward, two Icicles, and two MultiVitamins. Pretty nice haul.

This is the general look of the third floor: lots of wood planks.

We get introduced to a new gimmick with this enemy. Karon has some nasty magic and a nastier attack, but that little bat next to it is a Shade. They're all over the place from this point on, and if they're in an encounter with some enemies they power them up. They have almost no HP, and if you kill them their ally weakens. You lose some experience, but that's better than being hit with Curse, Death, and Blizzard.

The second floor is very ornate and detailed, with lots of side paths that end in dead ends with items.

Orochi will kill you if you don't fight them correctly. Every single physical attack that hits them increases all their stats as well as their regeneration. Too many hits, and you won't even be able to run away. Nuke them into oblivion with magic.

Murdering abominations (why ARE there so damn many monsters in here? Did Fou-Lu make them? Did some of Yuna's science projects bust loose again? Both?) gets Cray Quake. He's pretty horrible with it thanks to Kahn's "Wisdom Is For Big Blubbering Sissies" school of training.

Ursula also gets Inferno, which is far more useful for her.

This room looks pretty cool

A little altar. I love the touches in this game. It's not just a random hallway, it's a random hallway with a purpose.

Somehow we can see the other side of that door has a blue seal on it. We'll be back for that item later.

That big door totally isn't ominous or anything.

Actually it serves no purpose beyond being intimidating and never opening. Kinda creepy.

So, I said I wouldn't farm for the super rare weapon drops. A random Kolpum decided it would be charitable with its "this item has one of the lowest drop rates in the game" stuff.

Another new enemy (with a rather awesome design), the Horseman's gimmick with Shades is that it completely heals itself each round.

Huh, is that a house suspended on chains? That's weird. That's the first floor down there, too.

This room's off to one side of the central area. Looks like a break room or something.

Kyrie is a holy spell that can instantly kill demons or the undead. Pity it almost never works.

Another rare item drops from a random Karon.

Not nearly as useful as the Slicer, sadly, but still pretty hilarious as a novelty weapon. It doesn't always work, it just triggers Death on the target.

Another room off to the side holds a library full of books on the history of the Empire between emperors. Compiling them, we can order the emperors thusly:

First Emperor: Fou-Lu
Fourth Emperor: Temul (A possible reference to Genghis Khan!)
Fifth Emperor: Mugul (Mughal or Mongol Empire, perhaps)
Eighth Emperor: Mei
Ninth Emperor: Shei
Twelfth Emperor: Ahtar
Thirteenth Emperor: Soniel

Man, no wonder Soniel was so unlucky.

Well, this is the first floor. This balcony doesn't go anywhere though, so we have to find another way down there.

Oh joy, another seal color. It's never easy, is it?

This appears to be some sort of kitchen or laundry room. Right through that door is the first floor, and the path to that house or whatever. Wonder what's in it?

...yeah, that's totally not a boss or anything. Maybe we can sneak past it and grab that floating blue thing.

God damnit.

Boss Video XXI: Dragonne

Well, I think I've figured out why I do dumb things and fumble on the menus in some of these videos. When things go wrong, I get stressed out and my ability to make snap decisions goes down, leading to longer deliberation and dumber ideas. So no, I don't get drunk before I do these, I just get angry when the computer starts pulling bullshit.

Anyway! Blue Charm acquired. We can now open blue doors. How DOOM.

This room, by the way, holds something very special.

It houses all the Goo enemies in the game, in addition to three new ones. This is the Baby Goo, which can only attack and use Burn. For some reason Baby Goos are way stronger than Eye Goos. The blob of pineapple Gummi Bear mix is a Goo Nurse, which heals its allies, and actually heals your party as well on occasion.

The real contender around here is the Goo King. Yes, the legendary holder of the Goo King Sword is back, and he's as much of a colossal pain as he usually is. He's incredibly fast, and runs away at the start of combat. However, if you can steal the Apple he holds before he can run...

He sticks around and starts to murder you. If you can kill him, you have a chance (we're talking like 1/256 here) of getting the strongest single-hit sword in the game.

When he can do shit like this though, it's just not worth it.