Part 2: Soldia02. Soldia
So, we were sent to Mist to... do something or other.
This might be a bit of a problem.
Of course, after inadvertantly committing matricide last time we now get the joy of having to pull off suicidal infanticide. This day just keeps getting better for Rydia.
Though it, uh, doesn't quite go as well as you'd expect. It's almost as if giving an incredibly powerful magical child incentive to kill you is a bad thing.
Also we can't go back to Mist for a long, long time now. Were it not for this happening, for the first and last time ever, we could just waltz back in and get overpowered.
And, finally, Rydia wore herself out by being in two places at once or something. If Cecil's not in the party here, you can just wander around this screen but never leave it. It's as exciting as it sounds.
Since Titan spawned an extra set of mountains, we're stuck over here. Also Rydia doesn't get healed after the scene which would be a problem if I sold any of those free Phoenix Downs from Baron. Fortunately, I didn't so we don't have to worry about a random encounter being an automatic game over.
Speaking of which, these guys appear around here fairly often. They're also in the Mist Cave but somehow neither of them turned up at all there. They're mostly uninteresting, but if you hit an Insectus with a spell that doesn't kill it then it counters. With this:
Osmose quite literally drains your MP. The "damage" is dealt to the MP of whoever gets targetted by it, and that same amount is given to the caster. It's going to be kinda useful when we finally get it, but then again Ethers will almost definitely be plentiful before we hit level 32.
Other than that, there's nothing interesting about these guys.
Not far from where we landed, we can find a very small looking town.
Of course, in the desert we can also immediately run into these guys too. Hundlegs have lots of HP and that's about it. They take 3 whole hits with the Rod's Magic Arrow attack to kill!
I gave it another chance to do so, a short while later. Turns out: that was a bad idea. Earthquake really hurts.
Desert Sahagins, meanwhile, are far less interesting. You hit them and they die. There's no exciting tricks there or anything. They're just giant pushovers.
In the actual tiny village itself, Cecil runs off to the inn...
And nothing else happens. The scene here just doesn't trigger if Cecil's not in the party. I guess that means it's secretly optional. It isn't.
So, since we don't have to deal with that we can look around Kaipo a bit. There's nothing here but this Ether though.
Well, okay, Cecil's girlfriend's kinda got a serious disease. Guess we're off to find this Sand Ruby thing.
Except, there's an issue there. Since we haven't done the scene in the inn yet, we kinda can't leave Kaipo. So we need to switch Cecil back in.
This lets us pick up our free stay at the inn, and have a couple of guys that work for the King of Baron burst in.
Since they want to kidnap and kill Rydia, we need to deal with this... boss fight...? More like a miniboss, really.
There's also a super easy way to handle this fight and render their gimmick completely irrelevant.
The Baron Soldiers don't attack unless the General tells them to, and the General doesn't attack at all.
So, we can deal with this in a few ways. Take note of their status resistances. The only one either of them has is the Confusion resistance for the Baron Soldier. Rydia doesn't have that, but instead Sleep and Hold. Both work. Both work really, really well.
No matter which option we take, we take out 2 of the soldiers and then go to the ailment. Since they both wear off eventually doing it this way makes it easier to pull off.
That done, we hit the General twice with Chocobo Kick. This takes him out of the fight and doesn't give him the chance to run.
You don't even really need to do that, since it's not a hard fight. It's just more fun and varied than "smack it and it dies."
An equally viable alternative would be to kill the General first. That done, the Baron Soldiers don't run away. Rather, they actively kill each other before the last one kills himself. I dunno why they decide they should die, whilst the General tries to save himself but I'm not complaining about this at all.
Poison is basically just there to inflict the Poison ailment on things. I'm sure it'll come in handy at some point, but I guess we'll see.
That done, we can now leave Kaipo and move on. Normally this is where Rydia would join the party but we already have her so instead...
Let's go to the next dungeon.
The Waterway is really, really long especially compared to the Mist Cave. It's probably the longest one for quite a while, oddly enough, so it's strange that it comes second.
[Music: Battle 1 ~ Battle Theme]
As you'd expect, it's full of enemies weak to Thunder. This is mostly not a problem, except MP is still kinda at a premium this early, making the spell multi-target cuts the damage making it somewhat less useful and that Water Bug has a counter.
Whenever you hit it with magic that doesn't instantly kill it, this happens. It gets all of its HP back... functionally for free. It might cost MP, but it only has 7 and can use it at least 5 times so it'd be 1 MP if any.
Of course, this doesn't matter if you oneshot it, or if it survives for a few turns. Since it will always end up doing this if you don't kill it:
I find that it's more convenient right now to just let it run, honestly. As is, Rydia just doesn't have a high enough Intelligence stat to consistently one-shot it so that's a coin toss.
Sometimes it happens, and that's nice and nets full EXP from the fight. Others it doesn't, so you need to try again but that means you've gone from 10 MP for the fight to 15 already. Possibly more depending on how unlucky things go.
So, uh, not really worth it when Rydia's still got like 70 MP at most.
Diet Food here is the most common drop (128/256) from the Water Bug's Vile Shell buddies. It cures Pig which cuts your attack stat by half and stops all types of magic from doing anything (except the Pig spell) and a bunch of other effects. It even stops Regen working which is... something, I guess.
It's just a shame that there's only a handful of enemies that can inflict it, and only one of those is possibly a threat.
Speaking of status restoratives, though, right by the entrance we can pick up yet-another-Potion and this thing. It cures Toad, which is vaguely clever. A whole 6 enemies can inflict it, and it functions identically to Pig above. Just replace the word "Pig" with "Toad."
On the far left side of the screen, we can find an old man. If we hadn't seen Rosa at Kaipo, then he wouldn't let us past because that's how plot flags work. We have, so he joins the party.
And by "joins the party" I mean I steal his weapon and send him to hang out with Cecil in the aether.
We could have bought a Staff at Kaipo, but that's dumb when you get one for free mere moments later. The minor boost to attack is... nice, I guess. Never gonna be relevant, but at least it's something. The Poisona-on-command is better since it renders Antidotes irrelevant. Better off using the Rod right now, since nothing here can inflict poison but at least we'll have it there when it becomes useful.
And I guarantee it will.
For now though, the last item at the start of the dungeon is this. Rydia starts with one. A few characters start with one, even. The ones that don't? Usually they start with better things.
It does nothing exciting. It's just a piece of armour.
At level 12, Rydia picks up Warp which is nice for backtracking and nothing else. It was originally going to be a basic instant death attack in combat, but that function was removed so now it does nothing. All it does, is lets you go back one floor in the dungeon. That's it.
Apparently this area's easy to miss? I dunno. I can't remember a time when I didn't know it was here. I just saw a waterfall and ran into it. Unsurprisingly, that led to treasure.
Admittedly, only these two are decent. The third is just a Phoenix Down. The X-Potion is nice for being full HP whenever you want it. I have a different use in mind for this one, though. The Dry Ether just restores more MP than the regular Ether. It's also obtainable from one enemy in this very dungeon, albeit as a fairly rare drop.
Level 13 gets Toad. Toad's... well, Toad. I'm going to presume you haven't forgotten what it is in the past few minutes.
This is basically the perfect example of how all fights here go at the moment:
Step 1. Multitarget Thunder.
A little ways in, we reach a save point and get a minor rest. Tellah and Cecil just chat about Rosa and the upcoming boss.
Much more importantly, immediately afterwards we can pick up this thing. The Ice Rod is very nice, since it casts Blizzard for 0 MP when used as an item. Unlike later rods, this doesn't break it so we can do this infinitely.
Obviously it has a few downsides beyond "doesn't immediately murder everthing." It deals less damage than a normal casted Blizzard (because it ignores your Intelligence stat), it can't hit more than one thing at a time and having it equipped does not boost any ice spells.
Further past that, we can grab some money and this. These are Rydia's only means of dealing Fire damage until we get a bit further in the game or I go insane and grind to level 42. Guess which is going to come first.
Bomb Fragments are like the Ice Rod only for Fire, can be used by anyone rather than just people who can use rods, and are also stat independent so even Cecil can be effective-ish with it.
Hey, a bunch of toads. Weak to Ice, and... no, that's about it for interesting features.
I'm pretty sure if I were to just cast Blizzard on all three they'd have died already but this is free and oneshots them anyway so it's not that big a deal.
That chest over in the corner was oddly the one thing here I couldn't get to for a while.
Somehow, I didn't think to try and see if there's a hidden passageway over here. It's kinda obvious that it's there, really.
It's just an armour upgrade, but it's helpful all the same. +1 defense and +2 magic defense isn't exactly insignificant right now after all.
Now this entrance/exit to the passageway that leads to the Feathered Cap is easy to miss. You can't even really find it by accident.
Ordinarily, I'd just run from these things. They have absolutely bonkers defense, and can seemingly only be damaged by fire... which Rydia can't use.
This doesn't matter too much, since their magic defense is really pretty low. 2 Ice Rod uses takes one out, and they can't deal much damage either so this isn't much of a problem.
There's not much of a reason to fight them, though. They don't have Rainbow Pudding here sadly. At least they're easy.
Just by the exit of this part of the dungeon, we can find something that should sound familiar.
Antarctic Winds are like the Ice Rod except that they can be used by anyone rather than just people who can use rods, and are also stat independent.
There's also some Toadgre's over here. Considering they're the upgraded palette swap of Gigantoads and appear in the same dungeon it's not much of an upgrade.
Their big defining feature over their yellow bretherin is that they can do this. It doesn't stop us massacring them en masse with the Ice Rod, but it's kind of an effort I guess.
We could even revert it without using that Maiden's Kiss we got for free, but then we might get turned into a frog again before the fight's over. So we'll kill these things first.
And in the process, Rydia gets Stop. I'd prefer the Hourglasses over this, since they don't cost 15 MP and don't have a charge time either. At least with this, we're not wholly reliant on them which is nice.
I kinda like the goofy portraits for these ailments, honestly. Were it not silly and possibly suicidal, I'd consider leaving Rydia like this for a while.
Instead, I revert her back to normal go pick up a second Hourglass and then get this. It's a weapon upgrade... for Cecil. Just gonna sell it when we get to a place with a store in it.
Just before we leave the Waterway, Tellah... tells us... we can use a Tent on the world map.
So, of course, we do so. The MP restoration alone makes it worthwhile, since Rydia has 100 exact now.
The boss itself is just a little bit further ahead, so it shouldn't take too long to reach.
Once we enter, though, we can't leave quite so easily. Think of it as a mini-point of no return for the time being, if you like.
Also the enemies here are much more dangerous. Alligators alone can be quite lethal at times, and they sometimes come in pairs.
Rydia can poke it in the Ice weakness quite handily, at least, but that only gets around its durability. It doesn't get around its offense, necessarily.
No, you didn't miss anything there. It did just get two attacks in a single turn. That's not unique to the Alligator, though it's the first instance we've seen of it.
Also that Silver Apple it drops is +50 to max HP. It'd be nice to have but it's a 1/64 drop and I don't want to spend hours farming for that.
Most of the treasures in this part of the dungeon are just armour upgrades. That are exclusively for Cecil. Sometimes I wish they'd just give me the money up front; it'd save so much time.
This is the sole exception, and it's a wonderful exception. There's only 6 of them available outside of the DS port where you can buy them. What they do is pretty simple; they cast Haste. This is absurdly useful, but with only 6 uses of it all game I have to plan carefully where I use it.
For now, though, we have this thing to fight. Let's get to it!
[Music: Battle 2 ~ Boss Battle]
So, Octomammoth. It's faster than you, and hits for a fair bit too.
Also it has a lot of HP, jeez. That Lightning weakness is a bit misleading, since it's Magic Defense is just enough to make Rydia's Thunder spell not particularly effective.
Yeah, that's very not good. And, of course, the Darkness weakness is just there so Cecil can pretend to help. Normally Tellah kills it, Rydia heals and Cecil... does stuff, I guess.
Of course, the real gimmick to this fight is right here. The more damage you deal, the less octopode tentacles there are left. This gives the impression that it's going to deal less damage.
This is wrong.
Instead, it takes more damage. The more you hurt it, the more it gets hurt. That sounds like such a "no shit" sentence, but it's actually true here.
The fight itself is pretty simple though. Since Rydia can hurt this guy, it just comes down to blasting it with Chocobo Kick a lot and tossing a Potion when low on health.
At a little over halfway done, Octomammoth's down to just two left. And this perfectly highlights the increased damage aspect of his gimmick:
With all 8, he took 35 from every single Thunder. Now, it's 55. Not much of an increase, but it's an increase all the same.
And then before you know it...
We're finally done with this absurdly long dungeon. The fight at the end was nice and quick, really.
And now we can finally go to Damcyan. Let's see what all the fuss is abo-
...Oh. Um, well then.
Next time: we see what the deal is here, steal some useful armour from a bard and then completely invalidate two bosses gimmicks.
Octomammoth ~ Amano artwork.