Part 68: DS Off the Rails part 2DS Update 13: Off the Rails part 2
Hello, all! Last time, we left off outside Troia, our next plot destination.
But, we're not quite done playing with our new toy yet. There are still some new places we can go.
Our first stop today lies directly south of Baron.
It's the small town of Agart.
Argart is a cool place, though it's kind of boring at the moment. We don't even have to come here yet, though there's really no reason not to. A fellow near the village entrance sums up the place quite nicely:
Dwarven, you say? Now that you mention it, we haven't run across any of the Generic Fantasy Races(TM) yet, have we? No elves or dwarves. Everyone we've met is human, even the summoners of Mist.
I'm sure there's some deep meaning you can derive from this, but I'm drawing a blank.
Instead, let's poke around a bit. There are a lot of hidden items to collect here!
On the western side of town, there's one of these hidden in some shrubbery,
and one of these in the tall grass just to the north. Why is the game still giving me these things as if they have any practical use anymore?! We no longer have access to Edward's Salve ability or Palom's Item Lore shenanigans, either, which would make regular ol' Potions at least somewhat worth it.
Eh, whatever. Further north, next to a pond,
one of these puppies is hiding in the bushes. Now, these are always nice to have around, especially freebies!
One of these is waiting for us in the extreme southwest of town. Now this is more like it! Toss me a few more of these, game, and a few less Potions.
Swinging over to the east side of town, we'll hit up the Inn next.
Man: Their world has its own sun, which they called "Magma."
Magma? As in molten rock? The stuff that spews forth from beneath the crust as lava? That magma?
Suspicious! I'm sure it's not important, though.
There's an item shop here, too, which sells nothing interesting whatsoever. Just the usual stuff.
Surprisingly, a night at the Inn is dirt cheap! It's the same price as the Baron Inn. I'm not sure why. I imagine this place doesn't get many tourists, but wouldn't that be a reason to charge more, not less?
Just to the right of the innkeeper is this guy. He sells the same stuff as the lady in Troia's tavern, minus the Member's Writ. Couldn't hurt to visit him if you're running low on Gysahl Greens, or if you really like spell-casting items!
Oh, really? I'm sure we'll run into her eventually.
Girl: That's what Anne Cesters used to say, but I don't know who that is or what she meant.
And I'm pretty sure this lady was drunk when she said that, kid, or else she was just bullshitting. I mean, yeah, I know what's she was referring to, but it still doesn't make much sense, does it? I'm pretty sure "light" would still exist if there were no darkness. Hell, it's the opposite! "Darkness" only exists in the absence of light: i.e. shadows- even "night" is essentially just a big-ass shadow! That lady had it ass-backwards.
Oh boy. We'd better get out of here. These peaceful little hamlets never stay that way for long once the heroes get involved!
But first, what would an inn be without some live entertainment?
I'm... not even sure what I just saw! Let's just move on.
Old Man: Time has long since sealed the chasm over, though. And even if it hadn't, you still wouldn't be able to reach it unless you could fly.
Well, it just so happens...
The sun's stone? Do you mean our sun, or that Magma sun thing? That's the problem with legends: they never tell you anything specific!
Wow, that's a heck of a lot of generations there, kiddo! Keep dreaming the dream.
This guy, and the well in question, is in the exact center of town.
I wonder just how deep this thing is. Wouldn't be that hard to find out! Anybody got a rope? A really long rope?
But then you'd have to deal with the smell!
Old Man: Dear me, I seem to have forgotten!
Well, you're sure not all you're cracked up to be, buddy! You're a disappointment to "wise old man" stereotypes everywhere!
How about a bit of shopping? Now, don't get too excited. Even though we're not "supposed" to come here until later in the game,
the equipment here... kind of sucks! Kain was rocking this stuff at the very beginning of the game! Oh, but there is one interesting thing to note here: unlike in previous versions, Cid can use shields! I will not be buying him this particular shield, but rest assured Cid will get a shield of his very own before too long!
The weapon shop's offerings are similarly underwhelming. The Boomerang is the only notable thing, and that only because we don't have one yet. I'll pass for now. No one in the party can use it, and they'll be available again before we pick up anyone who can.
Back to looting for now.
Southwest of the shops, we find an interesting item. Gaia Drums cast Quake, an earth elemental attack which targets all foes. Definitely worth your consideration!
East of that, another one of these. This I'll just add to the pile.
I can't even remember if I've picked up one of this particular item yet. It's just an ice-flavored version of the Zeus' Wrath. Meh.
Of course, you also would have noted our friend -ingway in that screenshot! Let's have a chat with him.
I'm really quite ashamed of that whole incident last time. You'll be glad to hear I've cleaned up my act. Now I'm gathering pudding for my new girlfriend. She adores the stuff.
And now that I've changed my ways, it's only proper that I change my name.
Oh boy. Here we go...
Yeah, I bet you can't!
If I must...
Truly? Oh, thank you!
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the worst part of the Namingway quest in the entire. FUCKING. game. Why is it so bad? Ohhh... oooh. Oooh.
The Rainbow Pudding is a rare drop from flan-type enemies (Red Mousse, Yellow Jelly and the like). Just how rare is it? Really fucking rare! Its drop rate from most flans is a mere 0.4%. Let's put that into perspective, shall we? Converted to a fraction, that's a 1/250 drop rate. Compare that to oh, say.... the infamous Sword of Kings from Earthbound, which has a drop rate of 1/128. Yes, that's right. Rainbow Pudding is twice as rare as the Sword of Kings!
Still not as rare as finding a shiny Pokemon, though! (Base encounter rate of 1/8192!)
That's enough numbers for now. I'm sick of 'em. I wanna explore some more before I tackle this bullshit sidequest!
Eh... not necessarily. They did have their own version of the sun, "Magma," right? At its core, the sun is just a bigass energy source. Geothermal heat is also a huge source of energy. So... not the same sun, technically, but still a massive energy source!
On Earth, there is only one ecosystem that does not depend on energy from the sun: hydrothermal vents. The critters that live in such environments are dependent not on solar energy, but geothermal, given off from the super-heated water from the vents. Hordes of bacteria thrive in the mineral-rich water, especially sulfur, and form the base of the vent food chain!
And if that wasn't enough for one update, there's one last stop to make in Agart.
Ooh, I love observatories! Let's check it out!
There have been some unsettling changes on the lunar surface as of late, and we are hard at work studying them.
I think Carl Sagan would be proud.
Upstairs, we find the telescope itself.
Very intriguing, our twin moons. One is utterly devoid of life, but the other shows unmistakable signs of habitation. And in recent months, the moon's surface has begun to turn crimson, almost as if it were being stained with blood. I hope with all my heart it is no ill omen of events to come, but I must admit it weighs heavily upon my mind.
Really? Let's have a look!
Still looks pretty normal to me! I guess we'll have to check back later.
Our next stop is a tiny island almost directly south of Fabul. It can be a bit tricky to find, but thanks to the lower screen, now you know how to find it!
Mythril! Mythril is always special stuff in any fantasy setting, and Final Fantasy is no exception! Plus, this town is awesome. I love it!
Why? Well, for two reasons, actually!
From my perspective, you're just really tiny! Mini, even! You know, I have some items/spells that could help with that...
They even forge weapons and armor sized for humans!
Well, how convenient! Pictured: the two reasons Mythril is awesome. All the inhabitants are permanently under the effects of the Mini, Toad, or Pig spell, and they're adorable! Reason two is we can buy some sweet equipment here!
You'd think it would be weird that the citizens of Mythril would make stuff that's too big for them to use, but it actually makes sense. Assuming they're the only place in the world with access to Mythril ore, which seems to be the case, their goods would be in high demand! It makes financial sense for them to manufacture human-sized weapons and armor.
And now, to the best Inn in the game!
Just because it's run by a pig, not because of its price. Holy hell is that expensive! That's as much as a Cottage! I'll pass, thank you very much.
Ant steaks? What would that even taste like? I'm kind of afraid to find out!
Froggy here has a point. Cold-blooded animals, like amphibians and reptiles, have really slooooooooow metabolisms. Large reptiles only have to eat once a month or so. Frogs and salamanders, maybe once a week, if that. Mammals have crazy high metabolisms by comparison. Small mammals have to eat nearly constantly. Larger mammals have a bit more leeway, but it still takes a crazy amount of food to keep a mammal of any size going!
Ah, here's our first piece of mythril equipment! There are a few freebies scattered throughout town, like this one, hidden in the foliage on the northeast end of town. How did it get here? Was it tossed here by some angry apprentice? Who knows! Finders keepers.
Seems it takes a lot of effort to get this mythril stuff! I bet they charge a mint for it once it's refined and forged. Lucky for us we found that free Mythril Staff, huh?
And that's not all! Right next to our froggy friend is more free mythril stuff! This one isn't as immediately useful, but couldn't hurt to have around.
Speaking of mythril equipment, here's where you can buy it! But first, let's see what these guys are up to.
You guys dance, too? Color me intrigued!
That... that was... magical! You guys should to weddings, seriously.
In in the bushes just to the left of the dancers...
Oh yessss! This town has a lot of good stuff for sale, but it doesn't come cheap! This'll help us afford more of it!
I keep harping about what this town has to offer, but I haven't shown you yet. Let's rectify this!
The armor shop is run by a pig. I love this town.
Yes, yes, yes. All good stuff, all expensive! And there's still the weapon shop to consider!
For now, I buy Mythril Shields for Cid and Cecil. I've a feeling I'll want to see what the weapon shop has to offer before I go too crazy with the armor...
Let's check it out right now!
The proprietor is a frog.
Yes, I'm glad I saved my gil. We already picked up a Mythril Staff and Knife, and looks like I have just enough to afford the Hammer and Sword!
Well, what are we waiting for? Let's get our boys kitted up! Cid benefits greatly from being able to equip shields in this version.
The Mythril Hammer provides a significant offensive boost for our buddy Cid! Just make sure to hang on to his old Wooden Hammer, at least for now!
There! We'll have to get him some better armor when we can afford it, but this'll do for now.
Now, Tellah has some options. We could give him the Mythril Rod,
or the Polymorph Rod we picked up in Mist.
As far as spells go, the Polymorph Rod casts Pig if you use it in battle, while the Mythril Rod casts Esuna. It's a toss-up. I suppose a free Esuna would be marginally more useful, but you can't multi-target spells cast in that manner.
I opt for the Mythril Rod. Tellah mostly pulls heal-bot duty with his limited MP pool. Extra spirit is just what he needs!
I also toss him Rosa's Sage's Surplice to boost his spirit even higher.
Cecil gets a swank new Mythril Sword. Sure, his spirit stat takes a bit of a hit, but who cares? Cecil's job is to hit things, and this'll help him hit things harder!
He's the only one in the party who can use the Mythrhil Knife, and needless to say he will not be equipping him. I'll save it for a rainy day. I'm sure someone down the line can use it.
The Mythril Shield rounds out his ensemble with some nice defensive boosts.
I think the crew is just about ready. Ready for what, you ask? Oh, you'll see. Yes, you will see.
Just a couple more goodies to grab and we're done with this place, at least until we have more money.
Southwest of the inn, something not terribly exciting. These cure the Pig status... which we can already cure with the Pig or Esuna spells, so bah.
Last treasure is in the well at the southeast corner of town.
How would this even get in there?!
Enough! We're done here. Let's see what kinds of enemies prowl around this place.
First up, a Treant and some Needlehogs. Treants are weak to fire, as you might expect, and have 335 HP. Needlehogs boast 398 HP, and no crippling elemental weaknesses.
However, my real reason for doing this is to show off Cid's Analyze ability.
Just look at those goggles. Those are some sweet-ass goggles!
Analyze works just like Libra, except...
It works on all enemies at once!
If you need help filling up your bestiary, Cid is your man!
And from that encounter, Cid gets his first level up! He takes a little bow. Rock, on Cid!
Man I love this ability! As you can see, Cave Nagas have 428 HP and they're weak to holy. The critters in the back are Ettin snakes, 316 HP and weak to ice.
Yang, armed with his elemental claws, dispatches them with ease!
And Cid finishes off the Cave Naga. His damage output is perfectly respectable, about on par with Cecil's. All in all, he's a welcome addition to Team Asskicker!
Tellah seems to have remembered how not to lose stats on level up. Good job, Tellah!
On the way back to the airship, the party is ambushed by one last new enemy, and it's a doozy.
Its normal attack is nothing to write home about.
Although its buddies do give me an opportunity when they drop Tellah down to critical HP.
I get to show off Cecil's Cover ability! Cecil will automatically Cover for allies in critical status. Another nice thing about this is it gives him more chances to Counter as well!
Now, this is why you need to watch out for these things, and their ilk. Blaster is an instant-death attack. No questions asked!
Fortunately, it's not terribly accurate. Their name does amuse and intrigue me, though. The original game predates FF7 by a lot. Did these enemies have the same name there, or was it changed in later translations as a nod to 7? I have no idea!
Makes you wonder which games are cribbing off which, doesn't it?
Anyway, with 632 HP and no elemental weaknesses to exploit, these things can take a few hits. Cid finishes off this one.
And Cecil profits from the experience.
Now, we're not quite done exploring for the day, and we especially aren't done fighting, not by a long shot! To that end:
We stop back in Baron Castle to rest up in Cecil's bed. As was pointed out in the thread, you can always rest in Cecil's bed for free. However, I still prefer to rest up at the Baron Inn. Cecil's bedchamber is pretty deep inside Baron Castle. It's a bit of a hike, whereas the inn is right there, and it's only 50 gil.
Save time or save money, it's up to you!
Poking around the west side of the world map, we run across this ginormous tower. I mean, yikes is this thing ever huge!
There's also this inaccessible cave just southwest of the tower.
However, our next destination lies to the southeast.
I save before venturing inside. I strongly suggest you do the same if you're attempting to do what I'm about to do!
The music that plays here is the same as the ruined Damcyan Castle.
Welcome to Eblan Castle! You may recall, Leave didn't fare too well when he first ventured here. You can go here at this point, at the earliest. You're just liable to get your shit wrecked, so there's not much point... unless you have a Clever Plan.
We're going to clean this place out!
A four-way intersection. Which way to go?
How about north first? North is good.
and right away, I spy treasure!
As to how you get it, well, this place is just lousy with secret passages. This one doesn't lead to anything, however,
the one on the other side certainly does!
A rather underwhleming start, all things considered. But I'm sure it'll get better!
The second floor promises lots more loot! Oh boy, oh boy!
However, in order to get it,
you have to ignore it, for the moment.
An empty throne, as empty as the rest of the castle.
And it looks like somebody left their... something behind it! I have no idea what this thing does. Guess I'll just hang onto it.
From the Throne Room, we can begin looting in earnest. First, slip through the secret passage in the eastern wall.
Then south through the void, to some hidden stairs.
Ooh, somebody pinch me!
In the chests: a Gold Needle, a Cottage, and a Maiden's Kiss. Pretty crap, except for the Cottage. I'll never say no to free Cottages!
And now let's pop through the other side.
From these chests, we picked up a Unicorn Horn and an Alarm Clock. Alarm Clocks cure sleep. Not a bad thing to have around if your healer's sleeping on the job.
We've tapped out the keep. We'll continue our exploration in the east tower.
Pretty fancy looking! Also, it kind of looks like Cid's knocking on the door here, doesn't it?
Once again, treasure.
And once again, the way to get them is through secret passages.
Over and around,
and success! These cast Death. I don't imagine I'll ever use one. Chances are, if you can't outright murder it, it'll be resistant to Death anyway. Funny how that works, huh?
As before, in order to get the eastern chest, you have to go to the next floor first.
Hit this inconspicuous switch on the wall,
and a doorway opens. Time to get looting!
Someone needs to tell Hermes to quit leaving his old Sandals everywhere. It's kind of gross.
Handy if you need to get out of a place and don't have a magic-user with you... I guess?
Nothing I can say about this, really.
Time for another secret passage.
Slip around to the south and,
all right. Before opening this chest, make sure your HP is completely topped off. You have been warned!
It's go time!
These things are wicked fast and they hit like a freight train, a freight train hauling anvils.
The blue cats in the front are Coeurls, and I guess they're a mite pissed off at us carrying around the whiskers of their dead brethren. They have a whopping 2,015 HP, and no elemental weaknesses. And as you can see, the damage we're dealing to them isn't even close to cutting it.
Oh dear lord, that's not good! Now Tellah's at critical HP, and Confused to boot! That snake lady is a Lamia, which sports an absolutely terrifying 7,480 HP and no easily-exploitable weaknesses.
By the numbers, we don't stand a fucking chance. We are going to get beaten to a pulp! Unless....
Unless I do something drastic! Remember these things? We've picked up these throughout the game. We found our first one in Baron, in fact.
I told you I'd show them off at an opportune moment. Well, here it is!
The Bronze (and Silver) Hourglass casts Stop on the entire enemy party. The difference between them is the duration. Bronze Hourglass is a "short" duration Stop, while the Silver Hourglass is longer. Did I mention these enemies are vulnerable to stop?
Because they are!
Now we have some breathing room. Even so,
I doubt we can deal enough damage before the Stop wears off. I need to try something else. And unfortunately Tellah is having a senior moment right now, so he's not in a position to help.
At least Cecil can take the opportunity to heal him up. On a single target, Cecil can do a pretty respectable job at healing! Just don't have him heal the whole party at once. Leave that to the real healers.
When Tellah finally comes to his senses, I can implement the next phase of my Clever Plan.
Break petrifies the target, but I guess if you use it on a Stopped enemy,
it just out and out insta-kills it!
The boys actually managed to drop one Coeurl while Tellah queued up another Break. Nice job, guys!
And we get... I believe that qualifies as a butt-load of EXP?
One for Cid!
And Tellah! ... And the loss of another Strength point, I see. Just keep on... keeping on, Tellah.
Levels for Cecil and Yang too!
And one of those Coeurls dropped something else for Yang! No Attack increase, surprisingly, but they boost a bunch of his other stats by a good bit, so I'll toss 'em on him!
In order to proceed, we must drop through this hole.
Now, this part is tricky. It looks like you can't get to that chest, but,
If you hug the wall, you can skirt around the edge of the hole,
and claim your prize! Perhaps the game is trying to hint at the very strategy I just outlined?
Down the hole we go!
We wind up in the basement. There's more treasure to collect down here.
But first, ninja manuals hidden behind sconces?
Two Ethers in these chests. Extra Ethers are always welcome.
Before opening this chest, make sure your HP is full. I feed everybody a few Potions to top them off.
Bring it on!
These are Mad Ogres. They're rocking a beefy 6,812 HP, and no easily-exploitable weaknesses.
They're surprisingly fast for something that looks so slow and they also hit like a goddamn freight train!
So, I'm going to do the same thing I did before.
Is it cheap?
Do I care?
(Those Ethers come in handy, too. Tellah just doesn't have that much MP to burn!)
Holy hell look at all that EXP!
Two level ups for Cid!
One for Tellah and Cecil. (And no red numbers this time. I'm proud of ya, Tellah.)
Two more for Yang!
Sweet lemon-flavored Jesus, that was awesome! I've forgotten what was even in that chest. It pales in comparison to all those sweet, sweet level ups!
That passage dumped us back outside.
So, I save and Tent up, and we're ready to tackle the west tower!
Let's go right first.
Again, in this chest, there be monsters. Make sure you're prepared!
All right, these guys. Ugh, these guys.
These guys are assholes.
Ouch, oh ouch!
And if that's not enough, his buddy slammed us too! This isn't good, not good at all.
So, for any of you thinking I'm cheesing these for the hell of it, fuck you! This is the only way I can survive.
Oh, yeah. The skeletons are called Skuldiers. They have a comparatively measly 2,512 HP and the usual undead weaknesses to fire, holy, and curatives. The robot-looking thing is a Steel Golem, rocking a much more intimidating 6,630 HP and a weakness to ice.
Tellah starts doing his thing.
While Yang tosses Cid a pick-me-up.
I have Cecil get started on healing duty, even though there's no much point.
Two Breaks from Tellah later, and its all over.
Cid's coming along nicely. His HP isn't bad. Not as good as Cecil's or even Yang's, but still pretty respectable!
Tellah... just keeps on being Tellah.
That's more like it, Cecil!
Let's check out our prize. The Sleep Blade offers a hefty attack boost, and it can Sleep enemies on contact!
I suppose I needn't have bothered with the Mythril Sword in retrospect, but whatever!
Tellah heals everyone up, and we continue on.
In the corner there is a hidden staircase. Well, hidden to us. I'm sure Cid could see it just fine.
These things do the same thing they do in the GBA version, i.e. cause the user to self-destruct. Deals massive damage, but KO's the user. Ehhh, pass.
Looks like we found someone's secret booze stash!
Yet another secret passage down here in the corner.
These have a chance to inflict Silence on attack, best used with a bow. Remember, in this version, you only ever need one of these!
Hell yes! That is a lot of money! I know where I'm going after we're done here!
Speaking of that uh... we are actually done here!
Before I go shopping, let's knock out that errand for -ingway, shall we?
To do that, I suggest going to the Antlion's Den. Any flan-type enemy has a chance to drop Rainbow Puddings. The only other of those that we've run into thus far are the Red Mousse in the Ancient Waterway. There are a couple more such enemies in upcoming areas, but let's just take care of this now.
Aside: check out Cecil's new sword! Looks pretty nasty, doesn't it?
Right. Here we go. If you want to do this the "proper" way, go to the Antlion's chamber. These things seem to spawn at a higher rate there. Turn on some music or a movie or something, and just run back and forth.
Or, you can do what I did.
I'm sorry, but a 0.4% drop rate is just fucking bullshit. There is one enemy in the game that drops these things at a higher rate, but even that is still only 1%. 1 fucking percent. Plus, said enemy doesn't appear until the very endgame. Nope. Sorry. Not happening. At this point in my gaming career, I just don't have the patience for that kind of bullshit. I'm a busy woman and I have better things to do.
So, here it is. Yeah, elusive is right.
We're done here. Tellah, take us home!
Right. First, shopping.
I'll take these,
The armor is still beyond my grasp. Next time, perhaps.
The Mythril Helm beefs up Cid's defense by quite a large margin.
So do these. Between the Helm and Gloves, his defense more than doubled.
Cecil's defense increases aren't so dramatic, but then again he had pretty good equipment to begin with.
And now to cash in that sidequest.
Yes. Take it. I hope you choke on it.
I'd best give this to my girlfriend.
And with that, he vanishes. We can now get inside his house.
It contains a single Phoenix Down. That's all we get. No prize, no nothing. At least for now. We're not done with -ingway yet.
When I played this game, I was never able to find a Rainbow Pudding, so I never got to see the conclusion of the Namingway Sidequest. I look forward to seeing its conclusion along with you folks.
That will do for today. Next time, we'll head to Troia Castle and see if they'll let us "borrow" their Crystal.