Part 9: Chapter 9
So I guess we've probably got super important rebellion stuff to do, but first: shopping! Having the ship makes it really easy to get to Mysidia; you can debark just a few steps away from the river. If you sail around to the other side of the world you can land even closer to the town, but I'm lazy.
On the way there I run into a couple of new enemies. Werewolves are pretty generic, basically a stronger version of the other were-enemies. Mantises aren't particularly special, except they have a really brutal melee attack. A decent evade tank renders them fairly harmless, though.
The Vampire Girls are a bit more annoying, because they can do this:
Confusion sucks. Luckily it tends to wear off fairly rapidly.
Shopping time! The Ogre Axe is the strongest weapon available at this point in the game, but for now I'm sticking with the Winged Sword; having a weapon that does crazy damage vs. fliers is great, since "flying" covers a lot of monsters (including many you probably wouldn't really think about.) The Ice Bow is a nice upgrade for Fry, though; not only is it stronger, there are plenty of ice-vulnerable enemies in the stretch coming up.
The spells are all fairly useless, so I'm not really sure I'll ever even really use them seriously. But there are a few things they do that can be kind of almost useful sometimes occasionally maybe (probably not.)
Speaking of niche uses... Peep sucks and is too terrible to bother using, Shell is generally more trouble than it's worth, but I have a Special Plan for them.
Huh, that sounds weird.
Ok, that confirms it: we have stumbled into a portal to Bizarro World. Let's go talk to Bizarro Hilda, she probably has useful answers for us!
I like where this is going!
: "Me hate Bizarro World, baby!"
Fry shoos everyone out of the room, but pirate wench seems hesitant. Unfortunately, she walks out at the last second before Fry can suggest a threesome.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that Fry has absolutely no clue what to do when a horny woman throws herself desperately at him.
: "It's a trap!"
The rest of the party rushes to join Fry's side.
: "Screw that, just for that reference I'm on her side."
: "Huh. Who knew Marty plays for the other team? I guess I probably should've seen it coming..."
Boss fight! This chick is annoying; she has ridiculous HP, ridiculous magic defense, a very high number of very accurate attacks that inflict sleep on hit, and a high-level confusion spell.
Luckily, I have a Secret Plan. Remember these spells I bought? Take any spellbook and use it in battle, and...
You use it as a one-shot level 8 version of that spell. Shell is the magic-defense equivalent of Blink. Enemies have some really nasty status spells, so it's really nice to have. The problem is, enemy spells tend to be stupidly high level, and depending on which version you have you either A) get stuck at really low magic defense(NES version), so it's not worth trying to boost it using low-level Shell or B) get brokenly high magic defense very easily (PSX/GBA/PSP versions), so it's probably not necessary to use Shell to boost it.
By using the spellbook, you get the benefit of a well-leveled utility spell without the tedium of actually trying to level it up yourself. The problem, again, is that inventory room is terribly restrictive. Dumping all these spellbooks in this fight is only really practical because it's a boss you fight right in town without having to fight your way through a dungeon (consuming supplies and gathering loot.)
High magic defense not only makes it easier to resist spells, it also makes temporary status effects more likely to wear off. So next turn I can go straight to the buffing phase.
: "Called it."
Thankfully, confusion doesn't affect whatever move a character currently has selected, and Marty's heavily boosted magic defense throws off the confusion before she has a chance to murder any teammates.
The lamia queen has a pretty buff defense, but after a few rounds of Berserking that's not an issue.
: "Uh, hello? Did she even do anything in that battle?"
: "My womanly intuition told me Fry was in danger. I was the one who led us to intervene before she could overpower him!"
: "Hey, I have womanly intuition too. Right now my intuition tells me I fucking hate you guys."
All things considered I prefer the later Final Fantasy games where princesses sometimes do things other than getting captured.
Of course, no one ever sticks around for more than 1-2 dungeons in this game. It's a good idea to unequip pirate wench before you fight the Lamia Queen; of course, this means you have to fight with pirate wench unequipped, but if you're relying on her then you've got problems.
For once, everyone in the rebel base is useful and informative. I'm not ready to rule out "trapped in Bizarro World" yet.
It would be very easy to simply go to Kashuon and get a chocobo to ride to Paramekia. But this is the way of cowards!
As usual, the boss from last dungeon shows up as a random monster right afterwards. They do appear in smaller numbers out here, though, so at least they were still tougher as bosses. The Antlions they should up with aren't nearly as threatening. Neither are the rays, although they've got a fat pile of hitpoints and no elemental weaknesses. Guido's attack spells are starting to really struggle to contribute, so Guido switches to Toad as his spell of choice. Unfortunately this means I have to unequip the shield and Thief Gauntlet and take a big evasion hit, although he still has the Main Gauche.
The arena building starts out locked if you try coming here early via chocobo or seriously overleveled characters, but now we can get in.
Oh yeah, this is going to be the easiest assassination ever.
One of the few changes I don't like in the remakes is that they make the original boss music more exclusive (I think it might be used by the actual final boss only) and give other bosses either a much-wussified version of the old boss music or a somewhat awesomeified version of the standard battle music. In the NES version, when you get to this fight the music kicks in and you know damn well that you are in for EPIC BATTLE.
Of course, if you have an even halfway decent Toad caster you can just one-shot him.
In retrospect, this plan was kind of dumb.
Well, this was all pretty pointless.
...oh. Buuuuullshit. We can take these guys.
Unfortunately, we end up getting stuck in the one jail cell in the entire Empire that doesn't have secret passages or easily breakable bars.
Wait, what's that?
Paul is here, and he's going all Solid Snake on the Imperial jail.
: "Huh, I thought I heard something around the corner. Oh well, no need to actually go to the effort of looking around the corner."
This dialog box speaks for itself.
Most people send thank-you cards. Paul sends Get Out of Jail Free cards.
The one in the narrow hallway to the right yields an Ether, a Cottage, and an Elixir. Elixirs are 50k a pop, so it's not a bad haul (even though we're rapidly running out of things to buy.)
You have got to be kidding me.
After going through lots of dungeons beating up perfectly ordinary monsters for all kinds of crazy loot, the chest with an Antidote finally yields a monster-in-a-box with unique enemies. They're not especially powerful, though. The Column is a stronger version of the Stalactite that is no longer vulnerable to poison, and the Dual Head Zombie is a version of the DualHead that is now vulnerable to Life.
The stairs up are pretty much just on the other side of the wall from the Antidote monster-in-a-box. It's a short dungeon, and thankfully the encounter rate actually seems to be a lot lower.
I really wasn't kidding when I said the cell we started in was the only secure cell in the entire Empire.
Some new enemies. Spectres have some truly nasty spells, but thankfully they don't use them very often. They're one of the few classes of toadproof enemies in the game, but Fire and Life take care of them nicely. They also qualify as fliers, so the Winged Sword delivers ridiculous damage to them. Guido zaps one for kicks and gets Bolt 6.
We've found Hilda, but I'm going to hang around in this hallway for a little while longer because there's an enemy group you can find around here that is rare, extremely lethal, and fantastically lucrative.
OH FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF THERE'S 4 OF THEM
The sorcerers are deadly (at least if you're not playing the remakes where magic defense levelups are common), but they don't have much HP; Fry and Marty take out one apiece. Meanwhile Guido is lucky enough to land a Toad spell, which is not at all guaranteed at this point given his mediocre level and the wizards' high magic defense.
: "Oh no! Guido has been hoist by his own petard! Or should I say... petoad?"
: "No, because that would be petarded."
Toads can't cast spells and have terrible attack and defense. They have full evasion, though, so the captains aren't much of a threat just yet.
Well, you can't select spells as a toad. If you were waiting to cast a spell already, that spell goes off as normal.
Also, the toad casting animation is hilarious.
Next turn the Wizard casts Aspil, stealing a good chunk of MP from everybody. It's one of the less lethal spells they use, so the party dodged a bullet here. Luckily it buys enough time for Fry to arrow the wizard to death, which means he finally has a chance to use the Heal spell I have been painstakingly training all game.
You are terrible Fry!
It's a good thing toads can still use items, or I'd have to kill all these dudes with just Fry.
Thankfully, the AI targetting bug kicks in and Guido takes one for the team. Was it worth it?
This is the Diamond Plate, a lightweight armor with very high defense, normally found very close to the end of the game. The Quartz Plates will be readily available very soon, but they're still decent lightweight armor for free.
But nobody really cares about armor, even if it's actually good armor. The important thing is the Aspil spell, which you might recall drains MP from the target. I now have effectively infinite MP. The value of this cannot be understated, even if you're not a magic whore. There's several really crazy valuable spells you can get from the Wizards, but this is easily the best.
So with that out of the way, on with the plot.
Yeesh, Hilda. You need to stop settling, girl!
So long, suckers.
Another secret passage, just for good measure. The exit is just around the corner to the southwest.
Time to head back to Altea. The cottage looted from the basement floor comes in extremely handy, since everyone's practically out of HP and MP. Along the way, Fry manages to level up Heal, so he can now fail to cure petrification as well as toad, curse, and amnesia.
Well this is... unexpected. Hell, pirate wench is in charge for an afternoon and the rebel army is ready to kick ass and take names. I told you she was way better than these other losers.