If I remember right doesn't this game have a really bad encounter rate? Also, I think I'm probably one of the few people who like Ceodore because of the whole "stop putting me on a pedestal because of my parents".
Something I haven't mentioned in the below update, but yes, the encounter rate can be incredibly annoying. I got lucky this round, but god damn can it be irritating.
And Ceodore's not that bad after the intro, as everyone's about to see. Speaking of which...
Time to tackle the first dungeon!
We're about to begin our journey into the Adamant Isle Grotto. Not to repeat myself, but your orders are to obtain the Knight's Emblem.
I like Biggs.
Your provisions are just basic items. Since this is a jRPG, we're obviously never going to use them anyway, but they're there to help you on your quest to get 99 of every item for that perfect file we're trying for here.
Just kidding, I'm not that insane.
Prince Ceodore! May you have the best of luck in battle!
Wedge can get pretty damn annoying with the way he kisses Ceodore's ass.
Anyway, we get Biggs and Wedge in our party.
Biggs and Wedge, clearly experienced members of the Red Wings, outshadow us in levels and stats. They also don't gain levels, which speaks much about their longevity. If I get any stat-boosting items, I know who I'm giving them to!
They even know some basic magic. Magic we won't actually be using this dungeon, but still. Magic!
This tile triggers our first battle.
This is an excuse for Wedge to pratter on about Lunar Phases some more. I'll spare you the details and sum it up like so:
Green good. Red bad.
That's it. That's everything you need to know about Lunar Phases.
If you look closely, you'll see Ceodore doesn't even get a turn. That's right, Biggs and Wedge outclass him so badly that they'll get 2-3 turns before he gets a single one. Considering there's usually (or is it always?) four enemies max in each battle within this dungeon, you won't have Ceodore acting unless you deliberately grind here, and frankly there's no reason to do so.
Speaking of which, being L1, Ceodore will gain levels like mad.
Move a little more, and you'll hit another trigger point where Wedge decides to go into another tutorial rant again. At least this time it's about something we haven't covered yet: Bands.
Bands are multi-person attacks that do various things. Attack all enemies, gives the party various boosts, what have you. You can have as many as all five party members participate in one Band.
They explain that people have to have a bond with each other to perform a Bond, which is understandable since
For example, Biggs and Wedge's Bond, Vibra Edge, works via both using the Attack command. You don't have to worry about this for the initiating member, in this case Wedge, but if I chose, say, Black Magic for Biggs, then the Band would fail and I just wasted two members' turns. Luckily, this is only for the first time you use a Band, as afterward you can just select the band from a menu and do it automatically. Still, it makes searching for Bands so much fun, especially when you get to three-person Bands!
But hey, that's what GameFAQs is for!
Finally the Band costs MP for both members, so you can't just spam them over and over.
Still, Bands can be worth it sometimes.
When I played the game before, I never actually bothered with Bands. This time I'll probably experiment with them, find some useful ones, and then still never use them come boss time.
That's Bands, the second of two additions to the battle system. Everything else is the same, down to the exact same spells as its predecessor.
So how about we actually get back to this dungeon?
The rest of this floor is standard fare. Useless items, pathetic random battles, you know the drill.
Okay, Ceodore, it's all yours from here.
Don't worry, Prince Ceodore. Remember, you have the blood of King Cecil and...
This is where Ceodore stops being mopey and shows an actual goal. Granted, it's not as glamorous a goal as "Fight against the power-hungry kingdom you were born and raised in," but it's something.
Of course, the possibility that Ceodore might not want to be known merely as "that son of super-awesome King Cecil" goes right over Wedge's head. Because his head is still lodged up Ceodore's ass.
Looks like you've got at least half a backbone in you.
At least Biggs understands what Ceodore's trying to accomplish here.
Anyway, we're going to solo the rest of the dungeon.
It's still ridiculously easy, and without Biggs and Wedge hogging the experience, Ceodore can gain levels even more quickly!
Hey, a spell item! It's as useless as 90% of the other spell items!
There is one such item that I absolutely love, but we won't see that for awhile. The rest of these are nothing more than junk I'll forget to sell.
L5 nets us our second White spell, Libra. Oh boy!
The only noteable loot in the dungeon, which raises our defense by a whopping 2.
And here's the rest of the enemies in this dungeon. This game really likes reusing old enemies.
In just two floors, Ceodore has jumped from L2 to L8.
I could've used a Tent here, but decided not to. This kind of bites me in the ass later, but not in the way you'd expect it to. You'll see what I mean next update.
At any rate, we're finally here.
All we have to do is open the chest and that's it!
How stupid do you think I am, game?
Our first boss. He's pretty much a gimmick boss, to the point where I didn't even bother healing fully for him.
Ceodore will get 2-3 turns to Sand Worm's 1, which makes this fight incredibly easy.
Sand Worm can deal a bit of damage, but nothing a fully-healed Ceodore can't shake off.
And there's always Cure if needed.
At any rate, after you do enough damage...
This is...this is my battle to fight!
You don't have to push yourself so hard!
My father...and my mother...have nothing to do with this...
Two hits and he's dead.
I love how Ceodore apologizes for passing out after a tough battle.
I knew you could do it, Prince Ceodore! You have amazing powers hidden inside you!
Even after all that, Wedge is still an oblivious idiot. Ceodore didn't do it because of his own strength, he did it because of the power he got from his super-awesome dad! Thanks, Wedge!
Now you're a full-fledged knight, my lord!
We got Biggs and Wedge back! Of course, we still have to backtrack.
Oh yeah, that ability! Ceodore gained his second of two special abilities, Awaken. It restores his HP and boosts all his stats for a few turns. The downside is that after it wears off, whether during or after battle, his HP goes to single-digits. Kind of situational, but if you're at low HP anyway, it couldn't hurt!
One thing FF4 does well that few other RPGs, including other FF games, do is incorporating gameplay elements within the story. I'm not just talking about using spells, like Wedge did earlier. See, in FF4, you start out with two experienced Baron soldiers, who are suitably L10. You then get a young L1 character that learns skills quickly, then an old character who levels very slowly and only rarely gains stats. Later, when Cecil becomes a Paladin, he reverts to L1 and quickly develops his new powers as a man of light.
Why am I bringing this up here? We started off with Ceodore at L1, with Biggs and Wedge getting off two turns before Ceodore could get one. Now? Ceodore's still slower, but he can finally pull his weight and get some hits of his own in. The game is using its own gameplay to show just how much Ceodore has grown from this test.
This is one reason I think this game works as a sequel.
Also, for no reason at all, I decide to strip Biggs and Wedge of their equipment. I don't even need any of it! Ceodore has the same equipment anyway, and I doubt I'll get that much money from their stuff.
Oh, but don't let this fool you into thinking Biggs and Wedge are expendable or anything! I'm sure they'll be sticking around until the end of the game!
Um...Wedge? Captain Biggs? Thank you... Thank you for everything!
I expected nothing less from you, Prince Ceodore.
At this point, even Ceodore is getting tired of Wedge's relentless ass-kissing.
We must hurry to the airship. We'll get an earful if we're late again.
So Biggs arbitrariliy leaves the party. We'll be walking a whole ten steps before he's back again. This is probably another example of the gameplay telling the story for us, but hell if I know what it means. I'll let you guys sort that out.
Anyway, that's it for this update. Next time, shit goes down!