Part 6: Castle Cashew
Oh, well, there's the Sun Flame. But we can't just grab it with our hands. We have to get a special torch deep within the castle, light it, and then run it to the Warship. It's like the torch relay, but at the end instead of sports, people die.
We use the bell to unlock the door and-
Oh hi Gordon.
The only thing he had on him that was worth a damn was a Bronze Shield and two potions. The rest of his armor is worthless. Hell, even on a normal run he's usually not worth keeping alive; his stats are balanced and quite decent, but he doesn't have any spells or weapon levels.
The first floors just has enemies that we saw in the last dungeon, and a Cure tome. The real dungeon starts on the second floor.
Rank 2, HP 100, Attack Power 25, Attacks 1, Accuracy 65%, Defense 17, Evasion 1-20%, Magic Resistance 2-50%
If Vivian had less levels in fisticuffs or less strength Ogres might be a time sink, but she's one-shotting them without problems. They can hit for a bit of damage, I guess.
Rank 2, HP 60, Attack Power 9, Attacks 1, Accuracy 65%, Defense 9, Evasion 2-20%, Magic Resistance 2-50%
I only encounter Wraiths once, however they have a drain touch attack, which is a very interesting and annoying mechanic in this game. But again, only saw them once and I don't think they ever hit me.
Rank 2, HP 60, Attack Power 17, Attacks 1, Accuracy 60%, Defense 4, Evasion 2-20%, Magic Resistance 2-40%
Wererats would be utter pathetic if not for one thing.
They can poison you when they hit. And not that pansy ass temporary shit. This translation doesn't actually give it a different name on your display, so that's really annoying. I think it does call it something different when it hits, but I don't entirely recall. (To be honest, I'm turboing through a lot of these fights, as they're mostly Vivian punching out each enemy one by one.) Poison would just be a mild annoyance if not for the fact that if you're inflicted with a permanent status ailment, and it's not cured by the end of the battle, you can't get any stat increases from the battle whatsoever. (I don't even think the battle contributes to weapon/spell levels.) This is why Heal is important, even if I had to cast it three times before it worked.
So, remember how I said they like to pull enemies from later on call them bosses? In this case, they pulled an enemy from the next dungeon. As random encounters they're rather annoying, actually. They require three Ice spells to kill, and I've only got 61 MP. They're also the enemy that can come even remotely close to killing us.
Yeah, I'll be honest. This dungeon is just kinda... there.
I did end up burning an Ether, though.
First piece of decent treasure is also trapped, but only with Wererats. Why?
Rank 3, HP 140, MP 30, Attack Power 25, Attacks 2, Accuracy 65%, Defense 17, Evasion 1-40%, Magic Resistance 3-40%
You might have noticed that this game really likes to palette swap. Oh and hi Land Turtle. Vivian can just punch those out now.
Wizard Ogre just like to bombard you with spells, generally favoring Ice 5, although they can cast some status magic. All of the spells they use are multi-targetted, and from here on out most enemies that cast magic will cast it on your whole party. (Even on a single target.) As you can see, the damage it does is pretty sad. Even for a full party, it's not terribly threatening. For most of the game, magic damage (not statuses) is more of an annoyance than a threat. If nothing else, it helps to boost your the HP of characters in the back row.
There is one oddity about getting hit with magic. There's a bug where if you're hit with multi-targetted magic, the game doesn't count it towards your magic defense. Instead Solo (and only him) will randomly gain Soul from it. The game designers did actually (kind of) compensate for that; magic defense has a large multiplier. Vivian's magic defense level is actually very high right now, all things considered. It's not uncommon to end the game with only level 4 or magic defense.
The remakes fix this glitch, and the remakes from Dawn of Souls onward change the formula for magic defense. The PSX remake, however, fixes the glitch but keeps the formula. You tend to get sky high magic defense levels in that version.
Remember when Vivian could barely give a Goblin a paper cut? Yeah, those days are long over.
There's a treasure room on the fourth floor. The other two are the Mythril Sword and Axe, but the Werebane (or Were Mace but it's called the Werebane in all the other versions) is a neat find. Unlike the original Final Fantasy special weapon properties work, and this is strong against were beasts. So... that's something. Also it sells for a goodly amount and that's what's actually relevant for me.
The Wizard Ogres can drop several different spell tomes, although none of them are that great. Sleep is a temporary status ailment, so it's automatically not worth the time. There's one I did want, but it never dropped. Oh well.
This is on the fifth floor. Again, Gold Armor is heavy and worthless, but at-
Rank 3, HP 190, MP 30, Attack Power 35, Attacks 2, Accuracy 70%, Defense 25, Evasion 0, Magic Resistance 3-40%
They just love their monsters in a box, don't they? Mines are a substantial upgrade to the Balloon type enemies. Single target Bolt or Fire still does the trick, but I'd rather not spend the MP. Vivian's attack can sometimes one-shot them, but it's not 100% reliable. Either spend MP or risk getting blown up.
There's another treasure room on the same floor, but all it has is an Eye Drop, Echo Screen, and an Antidote. Not great.
Rank 3, HP 100, MP 30, Attack Power 25, Attacks/Accuracy 2-60%, Defense 9, Evasion 1-30%, Magic Resistance 2-50%
Yup, more undead. They kind of end up running together, don't they? Other than their decent HP, and a chance to paralyze upon hitting (which I never saw), nothing else to 'em.
Shortly after getting the Gold Armor, we go to the next floor and find the boss already.
Rank 5, HP 540, MP 30, Attack Power 35, Attacks 1, Accuracy 80%, Defense 40, Evasion 1-60%, Magic Resistance 4-40%
Red Soul is an odd little boss fight/random encounter they're calling a boss fight. It keeps throws out attack magic (multi-targetted, of course) every turn.
And it absorbs all elements. All of them. Including status ailment spells; if I cast Sleep or something it'd absorb that too.
It doesn't have a lot of MP, though, and it runs out in four turns. The Red Soul's attack power is not that great, and it only gets one hit, so there's no way in hell I'm dying to this thing.
The biggest stumbling block is the 40 defense. For armed fighters, even though you can finally get some decent weapons you're still not going to be doing a lot of damage. Spells are right out, although if you can get to Mysidia there's a spell that's non-elemental and can harm the Red Soul. But if you can get to Mysidia and back, you're beyond caring about a single Red Soul.
At least with Vivian's unarmed skill, she can do some okay damage. It's not a short fight, but she takes the chump out with little difficulty.
Of course I made it a longer fight by spending a few turns practicing magic. Got an MP increase at least.
All right! Warp out!
Now we have to walk aaaaall the way back to Poft to catch a ride back to Altea to report back to the princess, right? Not quite. From the castle, just keep going down.
Say hello to the first chocobo of Final Fantasy.
We catch it, and now once we exit the forest we can ride it. Unlike later Final Fantasies, instead of running around really fast the chocobo disappears and reappears.
Chocobos in FF2 are pretty limited; there's only one chocobo forest in the game, only one chocobo, and the chocobo is a one-way ride. Still, it's an easy way back to town that's random-encounter free. In this game they can't cross rivers, though, so I either have to get off at Palm to cross the lake, or go the long way. Ah well.
Before that, I grab two ethers and two cottages. That's a bit excessive, but I'm thinking I'll need them. Besides, that money ain't doing much else.
Ha ha, Hilda hates your stupid guts Gordon- wait, Hilda isn't actually supposed to be here. What did I- oh, I forgot to actually get the damn Sun Flame.
This LP is an astonishing monument to my forgetfulness.
And here's a short little cutscene I was supposed to get earlier. The Warship kidnapped Hilda and Cid, and then it parked its ass somewhere on the world map. I was going back to Altea to get a NPC to tell you that, but you don't have to and I'm not going back again. Instead, we're hopping on the chocobo again.
There's two ways to get to the Warship. You can go north from Altea, past Finn into the area that would previously killed us. Or we can go south of Kashuon and past the desert. Normally you'd choose the first route; you're probably going to be in Altea when you figure out where the Warship is, and from there it's a shorter journey and the enemies along the way are easier. But from Kashuon it's faster to go by chocobo.
There's an arena and a castle in the desert, but we can't enter either one. The desert has much harder enemies than we have any business fighting, so there's no point stopping off here to check it out.
But the Warship is just a little ways past the desert. Next time, I do something incredibly foolhardy.
Vitality +4, Soul +1, Magic Power +1, Unarmed +1, Cure +1, Ice +1, HP + 135, MP +12