Part 13: Chapter 13
Alright, the story's been a bit weak lately, so a quick refresher: we just collected a bunch of masks and a Crystal Rod so that we could unseal Ultima, the ultimate magic of ultimatility. This is a spell that's so ultimate they had to seal it away before it destroyed the world. I mean, it's literally impossible to conceive of a spell more ultimate than this one. This is some seriously ultimate shit we're talking about here.
First some shopping to top off our Elixir supply. Final Fantasy II: acquire fabulous wealth, and then drink it all away!
The game isn't really clear on where this "tower" is, but there's one very prominent landform that's hard to miss on the map. If you came poking around here earlier you'd find a wierd tower that you can't get in, but now we have the Crystal Rod, so...
Huh. I kind of pictured unsealing the ultimate magic involving less capsizing.
Oh crap we've fallen into some sort of weird Giger dimension full of orange Kool-Aid (which hurts when you walk in it.) And our wench is missing!
Luckily this horrifying organic prison is loaded with great loot. The Spiral Helmet and Power Armor both add (non-stacking) +10 strength, and they're very lightweight armor unlike the Giant gear. They also have some nice status resistances (but not quite as nice as the Black armor.)
Looks like we're not the only ones in Entrailsville. Uh... nice place you've got here guys, I guess?
Thankfully they were swallowed along with the treasure chests of powerful magical relics they happened to be carrying around at the time. (As expected, this thing is just a gauntlet equivalent to Power Armor/Spiral Helmet.)
: "Ah, where are my manners? My name is Richard, of the Dragoon clan."
: "A Dragoon...? I wonder if he knows what has happened to his people..."
: "I dunno. You probably ought to tell him."
: "Boy, this is great. I can't wait to finally get out of here so I can go back to my completely ungenocided homeland in time to save it from the Empire using Ultima!"
: "Aw fuck."
Richard's stats and equipment are actually kind of decent (although the Knight Armor is trash and has to go.) Doesn't matter, because like everyone else I'm just going to hand him a bow and stick him in back.
The dudes who sealed Ultima (for being way too awesome for anyone to use ever, natch) were actually kinda clever. I mean, they took their incredible super-powerful magic and sealed it away in a tower that only a special artifact could unlock, that's pretty standard stuff in this genre, but then they went a step further and created a gigantic underwater monstrosity explicitly to eat anyone who gets a hold of the key to unsealing the tower.
This is a really short dungeon--there's a brief intro passage with a little bit of loot, then the "town" full of refugees, then this floor is basically Leviathan's mouth which happens to have a bit more loot. The Diamond Shield is just another flavor of magical shield, equivalent to all the other ones we're carrying around but with a different resistance (lightning), but the Earth Sword is a long-awaited upgrade to the Winged Sword that was picked up like five dungeons ago. It's a bit stronger and does critical hits against any enemy with the "earth" type flag, much like the Quake spell does.
The enemies in here are mostly just purple versions of the basic seagoing enemies. The ElecFish can be kind of annoying since they have lots of HP and absorb the one elemental vulnerability that other water enemies have, but since they're not ToadFish Guido can't care less about that.
I'm not sure how this is physically or mathematically possible. Marty's stupidly high evade basically auto-dodges the first 8 hits of every attack aimed at her, and I don't think the Worm gets 9+ hits per attack.
Oh well. I wash my hands of you, Land Worm that is inexplicably found at sea!
: "Hey, uh, Leviathan... you've got a little something in your teeth. There, got it."
AWESOME 8-BIT CUTSCENE SFX (hope no one had epilepsy)
Welcome to the Tower of Mysidia, a tower so special it gets its own music.
The loot, too, is... special.
Of course, that's just because the good loot is hidden behind the obligatory secret passage walls. The White Robe (or possibly Wheat Robe, I'm not entirely sure) gives a +10 Soul bonus and has a ridiculous suite of status resistances and high magic defense. Obviously, it's the armor of choice for any character focused on white magic.
Next floor. The first floor is extremely straightforward with a ridiculously prominent exit (making it easy to end up missing the White Robe if you're not thorough), but the next one is annoying and mazelike.
I'm kind of noticing a theme to the treasure here.
Many of the monsters here also show up on the overworld around Mysidia and the cave with the Crystal Rod. I don't think we've run into any Imps yet, even though they're also a random encounter in that area. They're annoying, with high magic defense and ridiculous level 16 Confuse spells; thankfully, at this point you've got several pieces of armor that grant immunity. The Devil Flower is new, I think, and it inflicts status if it hits you or something, but like most enemies in this part of the game it just whiffs uselessly for a little while before turning into a toad.
Yeah I'm really starting to think there's supposed to be some sort of theme here.
The Flame Sword is an even stronger sword, and hits one of the most common elemental vulnerabilities. The Earth Sword gets tossed out only a few minutes after being acquired.
Here's some new enemies. The new malboros are basically tougher versions of the old ones, but the basilisks are really annoying; they like to spam a petrifying Glare spell, and unlike cockatrices you can't just out-evasion them. The White Robe and Black Armor both resist it, but I hope you've got at least Heal 5 because at least in this version it's basically impossible to carry enough Gold Needles to unpetrify your other party members every time they get stoned (unless you are playing the remakes with reasonable inventory systems.)
More flame stuff. Flame Helmet is kind of unusual; it seems a lot of RPGs mostly stick to armors and shields for typical elemental equipment. It's really heavy, though, so basically junk.
Miniboss time! The Fire Gigas is a massively beefed up version of the standard Gigas, with a few added abilities like a hit-all fire attack and a single-target "Rock" special (basically Bow on steroids.)
It has a gaping vulnerability to ice, though, as well as the typical vulnerability to basically any instant defeat spell at a reasonable level.
: "So I guess he really was a m..."
: "DO NOT EVEN SAY IT YOU ASSHOLE."
I'm noticing something different about this floor, but I can't quite put my finger on it.
More elemental armor. You could probably put together a pretty thorough set of elemental resistances by mixing and matching this stuff, although the stat-boosting equipment is almost certainly more useful (especially since most of it comes with more valuable status resistances built in!)
The ice theme continues on the next floor, with icy cold water that hurts you when you walk on it (just like the lava/cherry kool-aid on the second part of the fire section.)
Also Marty picks up the third sword upgrade in about 20 minutes of gameplay. It is a real upgrade, too, not just an ice-elemental equivalent of the Flame Sword. Her attack power has almost doubled since entering Leviathan. I guess maybe the good swords are delayed in order to give the player a reason to possibly use non-sword melee weapons for a while? Weapon skill growth in this version still heavily discourages rotating weapons, but in the remakes weapons catch up super quick so it makes sense to switch to new weapon types as stronger ones become available.
: "I think technically this one is a toadboss."
Next floor up. The last section was the ice segment, and the one before that was the fire segment, so I guess that makes this the... purple segment. It represents the elemental force of purpleness.
Naturally the dungeon designers have to throw in a completely useless Potion for no reason at all. The Evil Staff sounds a bit more interesting. Nothing bad could possibly come of using something called the Evil Staff, right?
Hell yeah! Not only does it have a really high level elemental spell when you use it in combat, it's single-targetted so you don't have to worry about the crappy split damage!
Er, wait. The spectre died last turn, why is the staff targetting it?
Uh... I admire the sentiment, Evil Staff, but there is no Emperor in this battle!
The gimmick of the Evil Staff is that the Aero 16 spell it casts is aimed at a completely random target, which can include enemies that are already dead or enemy slots that aren't even used in the battle (I'm not sure if this part is a bug or not.) It can also hit party members, although I couldn't get this to happen after a bunch of tries so I kind of gave up.
Hmm, maybe this isn't the Purple Elemental Zone after all. No, wait... purple, black, and white. Maybe it's the Elemental Blacklighting Zone?
There are several shitty combat items on this floor, but these are the only ones worth mentioning. They cast the Haste spell, which adds extra hits to your physical attacks and is super awesome.
Hint: the "T" stands for Toad. Or at least it does once Guido's done here.
If you feel like save-scumming, the elemental gigases have some interesting loot they can potentially drop (including the Charm spell, which is actually ridiculously rare), but nothing super important so I don't bother.
Next we come to the Zone of Pure Elemental Bullshit. There are about eight or so of these little hallways with encounter closet rooms at the end, and you have to guess which one has the exit.
It does have a Flare spell, guarded by a completely laughable monster-in-a-box (as usual.) Flare is like a black magic version of Holy: high non-elemental damage, even higher than Holy, but nowhere near enough to really compete with the 4x damage from hitting an enemy with elemental weaknesses (which is about the only time to bother using elemental spells.) Besides, we're almost to the top of the tower and that means AWESOME WORLD-SHATTERING ULTIMA MAGIC.
The Zone of Pure Elemental Bullshit even has treasure that fits the theme. The Crucifix cures cursed status (which isn't much of a major threat and can be fixed with even modestly low-level Heal spells), the Eggtimer casts Stop (which has the same accuracy and typing as Toad, except it causes enemies to pause briefly instead of permanently removing them from the combat.)
Wait, I take it back, this is awesome! The Black Robe is, naturally, the counterpart to the White Robe: +10 Intelligence and a bunch of elemental resistances (not as useful as the White Robe's status resistances, but still handy.) All we have to do is beat the usual joke of a monster-in-a-box and
OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH G--oh wait Toad still works.
Just for variety's sake, though, I eschew my usual tactics. This is what Guido does to Marty's attack after 2 Berserk spells (and note: she was doing double-digit damage before he started casting.)
Next floor up (after a series of doors that you would expect on a floor made of pure elemental bullshit), where Turban Guy has apparently been chilling out for like the last third of the game.
: "Most people have a full measure of life... and most people just watch it slowly drip away. But if you can summon it all up... at one time... in one place... you can accomplish something... glorious."
: "Fuck you, you can't die yet! First I need to kill you for that retarded reference."
Godspeed, turban guy. You may be dead, but in the process you've unlocked the most ridiculously powerful magic in the universe!
Oooh. World-breaking magic is shiny.
These orbs each give a random party member +10 to the relevant stat. They're a pretty nice bonus, assuming that the stat boost actually goes to someone who can use it. And preferably not to the lackey presently occupying the revolving-door fourth party member slot.
Marty gets +10 Strength (yes!) and +10 Soul (blah), Guido gets +10 Intelligence (yes!), and... Richard swipes the all-important +10 Agility.
Oh well, I'll just have to take this RIDICULOUSLY BROKEN UBERMAGIC as a consolation prize. It's technically white magic, so it goes to Fry. Let's fire it up!
OH HELLS YEAH. That's not all that much damage (most enemies have HP in the high triple digits around this point), until you consider that it's doing nearly as much damage at level 1 as Fry's Holy 4! After putting up with underpowered attack spells for most of the game so far, the game tosses us a bone and gives us a spell capable of worthwhile damage. I haven't bothered using the select/cancel trick since it's completely unnecessary, but now that we finally have a spell awesome enough to justify the effort, you'd better believe I'm going to grind that sucker up to level 16 ASAP.
Just kidding. I'm not retarded.
Level 16 Ultima, baby! LET 'ER RIP!
So here's the deal with Ultima: in addition to having pretty impressive base damage, it's supposed to have power that increases cumulatively not only with its own level but with the sum of every weapon and spell skill the caster has. Problem is, this function is completely inoperable in this version of the game and it does basically the same damage regardless of what level it or any other spell is.
The remakes fix Ultima so it works properly. In the portable versions, low-level weapons and spells level up so rapidly that it's fairly easy to get level 5 or 6 weapons across the board and a spell list full of level 5 or so spells, at which point Ultima is more or less competitive with other damage spells (which is to say, still pretty crappy) even if Ultima itself is not leveled that high. I can only hope that Ultima wasn't originally intended to power up at the scale it does in the GBA remake, because building up that many skills in this version would be absolutely insane (even with select/cancel it's pretty crazy.)
So... I guess if for some reason you need to do about 200 damage for 1 MP, Ultima is your spell. Other than that, it's completely useless in this version, and in the remakes it's still generally only good for doing modest amounts of damage on the cheap (barring retarded amounts of grinding.)
Hmm, I'm pretty sure these things never showed up outside of Leviathan before. I'm sure there's absolutely no significance to it, though.
Maybe it's just me, but... didn't Altea used to seem a little bit... well... less demolished before?