The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy II

by Camel Pimp

Part 3: Powering Up

Semite Falls. Let's go.

Semite Falls is our first major step up in difficulty. Now it's not because the enemies are that tough. The cave mostly has enemies we've been fighting, and even the new ones aren't that bad. No, it's just kind of long. It's five decently sized floors with two hard fights at the end (although one of those is optional.) If you're playing normally, Minwu helps ease you into this. He's got way more MP than you really need at this point in the game, and if you're really in a bad way, he already comes with Exit.

I don't have that safety buffer at the moment. So I have to play fairly conservatively.

One of the first things you see in this dungeon is that blue block thingamabob. And everyone who played this game probably spent a good minute poking and prodding this thing before realizing that it doesn't do anything. What a tease.

Rank 1, HP 20, MP 10, Attack Power 9, Attacks 1, Accuracy 50%, Defense 0, Evasion 0, Magic Resistance 1-50%

And we see the first instance of the "balloon" type enemy.

Like the balloons in later games, they will attempt to self destruct. However, they'll attempt to do this even at full HP; it just won't work. So in practice they end up wasting most of their turns. In any case, the strategy is still the same as for every other balloon enemy in Final Fantasy; make sure to take them out in a single hit. Fortunately, Vivian can usually do that with her normal attack.

Although, hell, even their self-destruct spell isn't that dangerous. Self-destruct isn't reliant on the monster's HP total; it just does a certain amount of damage.

As for the dungeon itself-

It doesn't start on a high note.

The second floor, at least, starts giving out slighter better stuff. For those of you who've never played a Final Fantasy game, Eye Drops cure blind. Nothing here causes blind, though. There are two more treasure chests on floor two; they're just potions.

Still, while the floors are decently sized, they're not that big, and the toughest enemy we've got are the soldiers (which Vivian can at least scratch now.) You may wonder why FF2's dungeon design is so loathed, even by people who like the game.

And here is why. Only one of these doors lead anywhere.

The other three? Leads to something affectionately called the "ambush closet." You're placed in the middle of the room, and for whatever reason these rooms have the encounter rate jacked up.

This was just after two steps. You're usually going to run into one battle before you get out of the room, and it's not uncommon to get two.

The correct door, by the way, is this one. And I only realized that was the correct door after went into each and every other door. I've played this game many, many times before. I would have swore I had this shit memorized, but apparently not!

Now we head to the third floor. Now- must think you're so funny, FF2.

Anyway, what's even more annoying about the ambush closets that they don't just show up a few times; every dungeon is littered with them. That door? Leads to an ambush closet. At least if there's a line of doors, one of them is guaranteed to lead somewhere. Doors by themselves, on the other hands, usually lead nowhere. The key word is usually. Some of them actually do lead to places you need to go, or really good treasure. There's absolutely no way to figure out which are ambush closets and which are important unless you go through all of them, or you have a map.

Yeah, I can't even pretend to defend that shit.

And speaking of ambush closets, we have another game of Lady and the Tiger! And like last time, I choose tiger twice before I get the right one. (It's the leftmost door)

But hey! We found the captured townsfolk. The girl by Paul is Josef's daughter. I just thought you wanted to know.

Also it turns out Paul's gonna do our job for us! We still have to find the Mythril, though; there's two more levels to go.

I wasn't gonna push my luck. I probably could have gotten to the bottom; I've got that Ether from Minwu in case I run out of MP. But I really didn't want to risk it (and I wanted to save the Ether). Those two enemies at the end are very capable of killing me, and I didn't want to have to start from square one if that happened.

On my way out, I was a little surprised to gain another level in unarmed.

But not as surprised to find that I had quietly picked up another evasion level. (Ignore the attack stats; for whatever reason they don't immediately show up on your stat screen.)

And in the next battle this happens:

Well damn. Now I've definitely got to run out and save.

And now I'm one-shotting Soldiers. How far we've come in such a short time!

Anyway, along with saving, I might as well run back to town and hit up the inn.

Vampire Thorn
Rank 1, HP 20, Attack Power 4, Attacks 1, Accuracy 60%, Defense 0, Evasion 0, Magic Resistance 1-50%

Oh, I never ran into these guys before! They, uh, exist. That's all I can really say. They dropped an Eye Drop.

One thing I like to do when I heading into town is to intentionally waste all my MP on one battle. While I'm going to get HP gains with decent regularity, because Vivian's chance of dodging attacks is pretty random, MP gains are much trickier to get. So I'll have to force them. That'll be why my MP total is going to have improved significantly by the end of this update, in case you're confused.

After resting, I decide to hit up the item shop.

Each item shop in the game is exactly the same. They all have three people behind the counter, and they all sell the same thing.

X-Potion are actually what you'd call Hi-Potions. They don't restore that much, they actually would not full heal me, and they're also stupidly expensive. I just go for a couple of regular Potions instead.

These are all status restoring items. Crucifix cures curse, which is somewhat rare, Echo Screen cures Amnesia, which is permanent silence, Maiden Kiss cures toad, and Gold Needle cures stone. Echo Screens will be useful later on, the rest not as much.

The game also lets you buy the high end consumables from the get-go, but actually having the money for them is another story. Just in case you've never played a Final Fantasy: Phoenix Down cures KO, Ether restores MP, Cottage restores all HP/MP for everyone (alive) but only on the world map, and Elixirs cures all HP/MP for a single character.

Back to the mines.

Queen Bee
Rank 1, HP 30, Attack Power 9, Attacks 1, Accuracy 50%, Defense 4, Evasion 1-10%, Magic Resistance 1-50%

Huh, there's a quite a few enemies I didn't run into first time around. Weird. Queen Bees are one of the first enemies in the game that inflicts permanent, honest-to-goodness poison. At this point Vivian's punch tears through these guys like tissue paper, so it dies before doing anything.

Ones thing I started noticing is that while my strength and attack power were rising nicely, I was getting a ton of intelligence losses. I must have lost four or so points of intelligence, and only gained one back. Also all of my spells were still at level one. How much intelligence had I lost any-

Wait, I gained another evasion level? And a level in magic defense? Magic defense levels in much the same way as the evasion count does; by being targeted by magic spells. Bow and self-destruct do count for this, by the way.

In any case, I tried to use my spells a little bit more. I couldn't rely on them, as Viv's MP total is decent but not enough to be using magic in every battle. As long as I mixed some magic in that should stem the intelligence losses-

Damn it!

Anyway, on the fourth floor there's one of the first decent piece of the treasure in this joint. For a full party this can be pretty useful; if you know it's here you can skip buying the Fire tome and save your money early on, or give it to another party member to have two fire casters. In my case, though, I'd rather just start leveling this spell as early as possible rather than wait to get it. (Of course, it was still at level one at this point anyway...)

Rank 2, HP 10, MP 6, Attack Power 4, Attacks 1, Accuracy 50%, Defense 210, Evasion 0, Magic Resistance 1-50%

These enemies are far more likely to pop up on the last two floors on this dungeon. They apparently can show up on the early floors, but it's rare. Slimes here are pretty similar to slimes in later Final Fantasies; you can't scratch them with attacks, but magic wrecks their shit. Even a multi-targeted Fire 1 takes them all out.

Slimes are also the first Rank 2 enemy we've seen. You may have wondered what "rank" means. Rank is used in the calculation for weapon levels, magic levels, evasion, and magic defense. The formula used by pretty much all of them is Rank + Times skill is used (or times targeted for Evasion and Magic Defense) - Skill Level + Multiplier. Weapons, magic, evasion, and magic defense all have different multipliers. Evasion actually has a negative multiplier, while the rest are positive. Once our skill levels get higher, we have to either use the skill a lot of times in each battle or fight higher ranked enemies in order to make meaningful progress. The fact that she has already has an evasion level of four probably tells you how much Vivian gets targeted in each battle.

In any case, here we are on the fifth floor. The Mythril is actually really close by, but there's a treasure chest on this floor that I really wanted to get first.

Land Turtle
Rank 3, HP 140, Attack Power 35, Attacks 2, Accuracy 65%, Defense 35, Evasion 0, Magic Resistance 2-50%

Hey, Final Fantasy figured out monsters-in-a-box. How nice.

First off, regular attacks are right out. Honestly, the fact that I can hit it at all is kind of surprising. One thing you can say about going unarmed is that early on your attack power is much better. Early game weapons are really shit, and stat gains and levels don't help them as much. Weapons will start getting a lot better really soon, though, and fists lose their early game advantage. Unarmed will never do bad damage, but it just won't be that great.

For the monster's part, the land turtle is more than capable of bringing the pain. That's actually on the low end of what it can do; at least it didn't get both attacks off.

Fortunately for us, they have an ice weakness.

Even at level one, it only takes two ice spells to put 'em out.

I have to admit; that went better than I had thought it would. it my birthday?!

While I probably could go and beat the other nasty guy here, I'm using my new exit spell. I was probably being paranoid, but damn it, agility gain. Ain't losing that.

For whatever reason, the game designers felt they needed to make the exit spell carry a downside. I guess they thought giving you the spell so early on was too generous.

It's an annoyance, but not that big of a deal. Just make sure when you use it that you have at least some MP left for a cure spell, or some potions kicking around.

You can use exit in battle, and it actually acts one of the game's many KO spells. I just cast it here to demonstrate; I will never use it in battle again. (Hell, it's probably never going to gain a single level.) At level one, exit is a hideously inaccurate spell, as are most KO spells. Still, at higher levels KO spells, even Exit, gain enough accuracy to be pretty devastating. Seriously, read Gabriel Pope's LP if you don't believe how much a insta-death spell can utterly, utterly destroy the game's difficulty.

I finally got Fire up to level 2. Other than that, got some MP and assorted stat gains on my way back to town. Heal up, and then go through the mines for the third and thankfully last time.

On the way back, I got an level for ice.

And a level for cure. Whenever you use a spell from the menu, it always adds two points to your progress.

And of course the mythril we need is behind a door, with no indication that it's here. Of course.

Rank 3, HP 140, MP 10, Attack Power 35, Attacks 2, Accuracy 70%, Defense 25, Evasion 1-30%, Magic Resistance 3-50%

You might have thought that the Land Turtle's high defense was a fluke, but it wasn't. Bosses in this game tend to have sky-high defense; there's no way a normal party can even scratch this boss with attacks unless they had someone with high unarmed skill. Of course I say boss, but what this game does is pull later game enemies and just calls them bosses. Land Turtles will be normal enemies pretty soon, but Sergeants come from much later on. There's actually very few unique boss enemies.

In any case, Vivian can do some damage with her attack, but it's not much. Best to stick with magic. Sergeants have no elemental weakness, so we just need to go with our highest level spell.

This guy doesn't fuck around.

It's not a bad idea to get blink up, although I haven't described how blink actually works. Blink raises your evasion level, but not the percentage... at least, that's how I've been told it works. One would think that I would get absolutely no use out of Blink, since I'm never going to have a problem with Evasion level, but Blink at higher levels I swear does actually help, even with max evasion level and low percent. I wonder if it works differently at higher levels, if it raises evasion level past the max (I would think it couldn't) or if I'm crazy. Who knows?

Sergeants can also use the bow attack, which gives us a decent breather.

Even with it's high attack power, this wasn't too bad. I just had to make sure to keep healed up. The only stat gain I got from the fight is some MP, which is nice but I was kind of hoping for more. Oh well.

And here we go. Time to warp out and head back to town.

...sometimes this game is really annoying.

Next time, we're getting some super awesome Mythril stuff. No, really. Promise. Warning: not an actual promise

Power +5, Agility +2, Vitality +5, Intelligence -1 (Could be worse...), Soul +2, Evasion +2, Magic Defense +2, Magic Power +3, Unarmed +1, Fire +1, Ice +1, Cure +1, HP +154, MP+33