Part 8: Stalin Murders CapitalismGot a nice double-update for you guys today.
We've left the Floating Continent only to discover that most of the world is flooded. That said, there are a few landmarks here.
There's a temple and cave, but we can't actually go here yet.
There's also what must be an incredibly tall tower sticking out here.
Did I mention this world is huge? If you don't have Sight or plenty of Tiny Pans, it's going to take a long time of bumbling around to find where you're supposed to go next.
Eventually, I find what we're looking for: a wrecked ship on this tiny island.
(Listen to this)
Once we get on board, we hear this haunting melody play.
This kind of drives home just how fucked the world is right now.
However, there are a couple of survivors still intact.
Old Man: The young lady sleeping over and I are the only ones left now. I found her clinging to a piece of wood that was drifting on the sea.
We'll have fun with this shortly.
Elia: Then the crystals have chosen their warriors! Thank goodness!
Elia: My name is Elia. I am the priestess of the Water Temple.
Stalin: What in the world happened here?
Elia: The power of Earth caused that great earthquake, and also sealed off the power of the water crystal. The people, who were protected by the Water Crystal, were turned into stone, and the continent sunk beneath the sea.
Trtsky: But are you well enough to travel?
Elia: I am all right. In any case, the world must be saved from... cough!...
Stalin: We understand.
Elia: Thank you!
We have a new partner and a new mission: Check on the Water Crystal. With more crystals come more jobs, so I'm in favor of this.
Let's see what Elia has to say.
Elia: Let us go to the Water Temple. There should be a fragment of the Water Crystal there.
Elia: There is a sealed door in the Water Cave, but with the fragment of the Water Crystal we should be able to pass through it.
And there's the menu pic of Elia.
Elia's theme, linked above, is one of the more famous pieces from this game. It's really haunting and beautiful when played in-game, considering you hear it in a shattered ship on a tiny island containing what could be the last two people alive on the main world, one of which is a sickly-yet-determined young women who wants to help save the world.
After a few more minutes of searching, we find our way back to the Water Temple.
Elia: Let us go to the cave to the north.
Elia: I can remove the seal in the Water Cave with this crystal fragment.
We can heal or revive here as necessary. The latter isn't deemed necessary.
The Water Cave has no treasure to speak of, though it has plenty of off-paths to make you think there are. It also seems to have a high encounter rate.
Mad Toads will Poison you. Twin Heads don't. Both hit pretty hard.
Elia unlocks more dialogue at this point.
Elia: With the remaining light in this fragment, I may be able to wake the Water Crystal and bring the sunken world back to the surface.
Elia: I see that the crystals have chosen you. I feel a warm light from you. It holds both kindness and power...
Not enough power, I guess.
Ropers aren't that special, though I do come up with a great strategy for this dungeon.
I decide to wield the Blood Sword with the Brave Shield.
The Blood Sword is slightly weaker than our current swords, but it does recover a fourth of the damage I deal with it. Combined with the shield and a Knight's general tankiness, and Stalin barely takes any damage, plus he easily recovers what he loses. The dungeon takes longer, but it also means I don't have to waste a single Potion on Stalin. Awesome.
Fortunately, these Cockatrices aren't the kind that use petrification attacks.
Lots of split pathways to nowhere. Pretty dungeon, though.
Agarias hit slightly harder than the rest of the enemies here, but still nothing the Blood Sword can't heal.
After a somewhat-lengthy trek and a ton of dead enemies, we make it to the crystal room.
Sweet, we just saved the world. Time to celebrate with our new jobs!
And Elia takes an arrow for the team. Man, FF4 really borrowed a lot from this game, didn't it?
I don't know whether this is the first we hear of Zande. He's the big bad of this game. As far as villains go... meh.
I remember reading a FAQ long ago saying Kraken was a complete joke. I call bullshit on that.
I still have that fucking Ice helmet, and Kraken could theoretically two-shot me with Ice-2. That said, he follows that spell pattern mixed with attacks, so it's easy to prepare for.
Strategy is to spam Hi-Potions and attack when I get a chance to breathe. I restocked a bit after Hain, but I still don't have many to spare.
So I decide to rush him with SuperBombs, which some of the enemies in this dungeon drop. SuperBombs count as Fire3, and they hurt Kraken quite a bit.
Some attacks and three SuperBombs later, and I squeak by Kraken.
Elia's death was tragic, but it's really hard to imagine the impact of it for people playing for the first time unspoiled, especially Japanese gamers playing this back when this was a technological marvel. I'm pretty sure I was spoiled, so it lessened the impact a bit, but watching a feeble young woman sacrifice herself to save the heroes still carries some emotional resonance. It's certainly a punch in the gut to our heroes.
The party stands there in silence for a minute or so before the screen starts shaking.
The good news is that we saved the world.
When our party comes to, they're in an inn.
This is Amur. Once again, I love the music for this place, pretty bittersweet and rather fitting for what we've been through. Despite three days of rest, the party must still be weary from what they've been through so far.
Other than this old man, nobody has any memory of what happened. It's essentially as if the world drowning never happened.
Also, seriously, how does an earthquake be so damn powerful that it both floods the world and disrupts everything in a floating continent?
Goldor has also chained our ship up, so we can't actually leave this area until we deal with him.
Oh yeah, and we have seven new jobs. Many of them aren't really useful yet due to a lack of items for them, and a lack of summon magic in the Caller's case, but the two most important to us right now, the Viking and BlackBelt, have equipment in this town to make them useful.
So much for that, let's go shopping.
Nothing for Knight Stalin, but then Stalin's days as a Knight are going to be put on hold here. We've got equipment for the Viking, BlackBelt, and the Thief job we got back from the Fire Crystal. Thieves can use Boomerangs from the back row and are pretty handy with them. Vikings can equip Axes, Flails, and Hammers. BlackBelts still use claws and are still better off without them.
Jim: ...monsters in there!
Stalin: Yes, but we have to go after the last crystal, so...
Jim: Crystal?! You're not those legendary warriors, are you?
Old man 1: Well, let's go!
Other old men: Right! Let's go!
Jim: Be careful down there!
The sewer's a short dungeon with no boss, but we might as well prepare first anyway.
There's some useful stuff in the grass up here.
We can't fly or sail anywhere due to the chain. So we have no choice but to go to the sewer, get the damn shoes, and use them to be able to reach Goldor the asshole.
Just one thing we need to do first.
Vikings are all about the defense. They are one of three classes tied for having the highest Vitality in the game, which means while we're a Viking we'll be making the most out of our HP gains. Hell yeah.
Alright, let's do this.
Stalin hits even harder with Morning Stars than he did with swords. Of course, being defensive doesn't mean he's a complete tank, but he'd be damn awesome if I bothered using a shield.
Fuck that, gaining 92HP with one level up is awesome enough for me.
Everything dies quickly, so I don't know their gimmicks.
And then they randomly wander around. Huh.
These guys can inflict Charm, which is still more a nuisance than a threat.
There's some good items on both sides here.
This is what I'm talking about.
The Power armlet increases your Strength by five, which is awesome.
Also, FF3 actually tells you when you gain stats from equipment. So why the fucking hell doesn't FF4 do the same fucking thing?
This thing is weaker than our Morning Stars, but I think it inflicts lightning damage. Meh.
At the end of the sewer is this old woman.
Delila: Who's there? What do you want from me?
Trtsky: Well, let's try asking for the Floating Shoes...
oh god it's you again
Oh. Uh, thanks.
Old man: Hey, Delila! These guys don't deserve that! They're the true warriors around here!
Delila: Really! Sorry, I didn't know.
Old man: Delila, can't you spare 'em for a bit?
Delila: Well, if it's you asking, yeah, I guess. Here, take 'em.
So it's a good thing those four old men are friends with an old woman who lives in a sewer. Our heroes?
I don't know what the fuck.
I should've gone in here earlier, as they actually explain what the hell's going on in here.
Old man: Goldor thought you were those four warriors, so he chained your ship here to keep you from taking his crystal.
I.E. Magic is useless against him. Just like it's useless against most everything that aren't rats.
As I said, nobody has any memory of what happened.
FUCK EVERYTHING LET'S JAM
The area around Amur is a bit big. We also have an opportunity to use that damn Canoe.
You can fight Mermaids on the canoe. Sure, why not?
This takes us back to the Water Shrine and Cave, though, so there's no point going back here.
There's a Chocobo Forest to the east, perfect for storing all this useless crap.
You have to head south from Amur and then loop around to reach this area. That black part will kill you if you don't have the Floating Shoes. And I mean kill you, as you immediately get a Game Over.
We reached Goldor's Mansion, and we're already closing in on our fourth crystal, and thus even more sweet jobs. And we haven't even explored the world yet!
There's a small problem, though. While Viking Stalin wiped the floor with enemies over in the Sewer, here he can't really put a dent in these enemies.
He gets overwhelmed and croaks. Bleh.
So yeah, Viking Stalin's not going to cut it here. Change of plans. First, let's return to Amur to restock.
More useless enemies. I did pick up another Fire3 spell item from the latter encounter, at least.
Alright, what we need is power. Do we have anything that has some awesome offense?
Hell yes, we do. The BlackBelt is an upgraded Monk. His special ability is storing up power, allowing him to double or, using up two turns, quadrupling the power of his next attack. Useless now, but there's instances where it's actually handy. Of course, his main point is being able to kick all sorts of ass.
With all this equipment, Stalin has +10 to Strength and +5 to Agility and Vitality.
Did I mention the BlackBelt is another of three classes tied for highest Vitality in the game? For awhile, I'll most likely be switching between Viking and BlackBelt, depending on the situation.
Oh yeah, with a BlackBelt Stalin's now getting up to eight hits per attack. Awesome.
Another random enemy to beat up.
Alright, let's try Goldor's Mansion again.
Stalin has crap defense as a BlackBelt, but he will OHKO any enemy here.
The first floor has four rooms, all of which are locked. This is where a Thief is useful, but I have eight Magic Keys, so fuck that.
G Bears are perhaps the most frightening thing here, as they can try to inflict gradual petrification on you. Keyword being "gradual," as it takes two or more hits to actually kill you. It misses a lot, and they prefer to attack, but it's still a big danger with four of them around. It's nothing worth freaking out over, but this is a time where you may actually want to carry around Gold Needles.
Three of these rooms are unremarkable. One has statues, one has bookshelves, and this is just empty.
The top-right room is what you want. See that marked wall on the left?
Yeah. You can also pass through the bottom tiles to bypass the maze. Once you know where you're going, this dungeon's actually pretty short.
Hit hard, die easily, blah blah blah.
These horses can use Charm. Stalin punches them in the face because there's nothing classier than punching a horse in the face.
Just one douchebag away from more of that jobby goodness.
Goldor is a bit of a pain.
At least we can punch the shit out of him.
Like Kraken and Hain before him, Goldor also loves spamming the shit out of L2 spells. And since the BlackBelt has jack shit in terms of magic defense, well.
You know, I forgot to check the top area. Let's do that.
Eleven Gold Swords and a Dragon Claw. The swords are junk, but they can be sold for a decent price.
Not really much difference for me between claws and fists.
At some point, I took this shot to show off how awesome BlackBelt Stalin is. L29, 1400HP, and fists that could break rocks with the speed to break eight of them. Too bad he's too stupid to function in society.
Why am I showing this off?
Because my Plan B is to try fighting Goldor as a fucking Scholar. A light breeze would kill this guy. That said, my thinking is, hey, maybe his huge fucking Intellect could help him take a hit from magic.
Alright. Fuck this shit, it's time for Plan C.
The C is for Cider.
You see, Cider casts a little ol' spell called Haste. You may know Haste as the spell that speeds up a characters' ATB bar. Since FF3 still uses a good old-fashioned turn system, it doesn't quite do that here.
Instead, it gives Stalin a shitload more hits to beat the everliving tar out of this fucking dickhole.
Three attacks and twenty-nine punches in the balls later, and Goldor goes down like the capitalist chump he is.
I love Haste.
Trtsky: Even with the chain taken care of, though, the crystal's still...
Lenin: ...toasted, yeah.
Trtsky: Now what?...
Now? We finally explore the world. There's still plenty of enemies to beat up, after all!