Part 13Chapter 13
Before we entered the Sealed Cave, I did a little experimentation to determine the most effectively way to tackle this dungeon, because Sealed Cave is kind of a pain in the ass, though less so in this version since they weakened the enemies.
It doesn't matter what a person's Strength or Intellect is. So I don't really need the Warrior's Clothes on Calca, as the big strength boost doesn't affect Dancing Dagger's special attack, and his physical attack is weaker anyway.
Anyway, I get another Dancing Dagger so both dolls have one. Rydia's sticking with that Healing Rod for now.
Since Warrior's Clothes are worthless with Dancing Dagger, I decide to give Calca the speed boost, then give Brina Angel's Clothes to boost her healing. Since Rydia has that Healing Rod, and because I will destroy most random encounters anyway, healing is not a major concern.
Since Attack's up and Special's down, I move Luca up front. Without those Warrior's Clothes, Calca has no business being up front.
(Excluding the Battle and Boss themes, this has to be the most-played music in this game).
We made it in time?
It's going to get worse from here, folks.
I sure hope so.
It's one thing when Ceodore does it. He really doesn't have any idea what's going on. But you should really know better, Rydia. You've been here before. You saved the world. You should really know what the hell you're doing by now.
We better hurry, then!
You got that right.
Instead, Luca's the one with the brain. You know, the person who wasn't that involved in the original's events.
We've got to get our hands on the Crystal first!
And then what?
GOD DAMMIT RYDIA YOU SAVED THE FUCKING WORLD YOU SHOULD BE THE ONE WHO IS ANSWERING THESE QUESTIONS FOR FUCK'S SAKE
Then we'll head for the Overworld and let my master know about this!
You all right?
We'll show 'em what my master's Falcon can do!
I know the intention here is that Luca's hiding her own fear of what may happen, but I prefer she's silently getting annoyed at how useless Rydia is in this plot.
Besides, I'm sure you're worried about Cecil and the rest, aren't you?
C'mon, let's get going!
Rydia is the same person who rallied everyone together after Rosa was abducted. Rydia's the one who wailed on Edward and Cecil after they lost someone dear to them, despite having recently lost her own mother. She was one of the big driving forces in the original game, and the moment where she breaks down after Edge gets his ass kicked is actually pretty significant, where even the person constantly pushing the party forward toward their goal starts having a mental breakdown over all the good people they've lost so far.
They've taken one of the deepest female characters in the FF series (huge achievement, I know) and made her into some spineless sex symbol who has no fucking clue what she's doing. Whimpering about the Feymarch, and now it's pretty much Luca leading the party at this point, even though it's Rydia who's been through this dungeon before.
It's kind of depressing just how pathetic Rydia appears in this chapter. Fortunately, we have Luca to serve the Rydia role here.
As thus, I'm making Luca lead the next bit. You can still change characters in this game with the press of a button. For Classic Controller, that means Y.
I have nothing to fear in this dungeon. Liliths don't counter-attack magic attacks like, say, Dancing Dagger, so they're harmless. Even groups of two won't get one attack in.
Blood Flowers cast Pollen, which does insignificant damage and inflicts Sap status on everyone. Also a joke.
In FF4, the Sealed Cave has these empty rooms, probably as a call back to all the "Hahaha fuck you" blank rooms the original FF2 would play. While TAY prefers to say "Fuck you" through the way it bastardizes your favorite characters and the original game's plot, it was thoughtful enough to bring back these useless rooms.
Ah, the bane of every FF4 player. Some doors in the Sealed Cave don't open like the others, so when you press A you get in a battle with these guys.
This guy's gimmick is to Target someone, then use an attack that instantly kills that character. In this case, Trap Door is targeting Brina to get OHKO'd. It does this once or twice before summoning a monster to finish the rest of the battle.
In the original game, if you cast Reflect on the Targeted character, the instant death spell would actually reflect upon the Trap Door, instantly killing it. Unfortunately, we don't have access to the Reflect spell.
Fortunately, we have access to the Stop spell, which gives you plenty of time to take it out before it recovers.
Mage's Clothes are the black mage version of Angel's Clothes, in this case boosting Intellect by 10 and Spirit by 5. They'd be great if Jive weren't such a useless skill.
OH GOD DAMMIT
We also have Cait Siths here. Dancing Dagger eliminates them, too.
Dancing Dagger eliminates everything. Seriously, most random encounters are a joke.
Luca gets a really nice damage boost thanks to this baby. Now she finally gets to out-damage the dolls.
Rydia also learns Pig in this dungeon. She already knew Toad when the game begins, and Toad nullifies magic and physical attacks as opposed to Pig nullifying just magic. Why would I ever cast Pig and not Toad?
Another reason Dancing Dagger rocks. It's non-elemental magic, so it cuts through the Flans in a way Luca's attacks can't.
Did you know Cave Nagas counter magic attacks with Slow? Did you know they also go down to Dancing Daggers as effortlessly as everything else?
Seriously. Nothing in this dungeon can survive two DD's.
This is the only threat in the dungeon, and that's because I managed to get back-attacked by this group multiple times. Needlehogs like to stick with their pathetic Needles attack, yet at the start of battle they hit hard. Still, that's what Healing Rod, Dance, and Potions are for.
Horned Armor boosts Strength too. On the downside, it hurts Intellect and Spirit, but what use does Luca have for either?
I knew they'd pull this. Anyway, that's all the Kokkol Ore in this chapter.
Decide to Tent up here. Special Abilities get boosted, so Luca has better reason to use Big Throw. Even still, it has a slight charge time, and everything's so weak that Luca and a DD kills everything anyway.
I'm just showing this off because it's the closest I get to death this dungeon.
That was a joke. I sure hope there's not a giant wall waiting to crush us to death!
I actually grind a bit before hitting the bridge just as an excuse to heal my characters in battle. Why waste Potions when Healing Rod and Dance can outdo any damage the enemy delivers?
This game just loves those callbacks.
As much as people hated those Trap Doors, this guy was a huge dick in the original. Every turn, he advances slowly, all the while attacking the party. Once he's close enough, he starts crushing characters, instantly killing them. At this point, you're screwed unless you're close to killing him. It's a pretty memorable and brilliant battle, making it a race against time.
The thing is, when it's a race against time, the ability to manipulate time comes in handy.
Here's a summary of the battle:
Calca: Dancing Dagger
Rydia: -ara spells
Brina's dancing was unnecessary due to how unfrequently Demon Wall attacked, but I kept hoping to get Haste or Blink.
I did get Curaja though, so that's something.
Demon Wall can also cause Gradual Petrify. Brina manages to pull off an Esuna Dance later to nullify it.
This match wasn't close. Demon Wall moved four notches before I took him down, and I wasn't even going for pure offense here. Dancing Dagger wasn't that effective, only doing ~150HP damage a hit.
This match more than anything is a testament to just how awesome Slow is.
It's pretty amazing how, despite being gimmick characters, Calca and Brina are pretty damn kick-ass in battle, often-times even more useful than Luca and Rydia.
So, we've finished the Sealed Cave. You may think we've defeated the most terrifying foes there. We took down those Trap Doors, we defeated the Demon Wall, the scourges of FF4 players all over. But no, we have yet to meet the true terror of the Sealed Cave. You see, the scariest enemies within this cave are none other than...
I ranted in Ceodore's Tale about how Cave Bats prolong battle by spamming the same time-consuming Bloodfeast move over and over. So how do you make an enemy that spams an annoying move even more annoying? Ramp the hell out of its speed.
That's right, Blood Bats are even more aggressive in spamming Bloodfeast, to the point where even Calca has trouble out-pacing them. They just spam the move over and over and over to the point where you want to take the guy who thought it'd be a great idea to have enemies that spammed one lengthy move non-stop and just slam his head against a wall repeatedly.
I hate this game.
So here we are at the entrance. You remember what happened here last game, right?
Too bad, because we're going to flashback to it anyway!
That's right. As if it weren't obvious enough that the game wants to recreate every single scene from the old game, they even replay the same scene from the original just to reiterate that, yes, they're about to make yet another callback.
This game is that shameless.
This isn't a duplicate. Rydia actually does the exclamation mark twice.
Though to be fair, she has good reason this time.
It's our antagonist, and our first real contact with her no less.
You're the one behind what happened to the Eidolons!
The likes of you don't deserve to talk about the Eidolons and Crystals.
Who asked you!?
There is one who's far more worthy of the Crystals.
Calca and Brina, who have no dialogue up to now, decide to approach the Mysterious Girl on their accord.
Unfortunately, things don't go well for them.
Now, hand over the Crystal.
I won't let you have it!
Again, things don't go well.
Alright, seriously now. Who honestly didn't see this coming? The game almost outright tells us we're going to lose it here, because this is a sequel, and the best way to do a sequel is to re-use every single event from the previous game.
With this, all four Dark Crystals are back in our hands.
Seriously, Luca? Calca and Brina just got destroyed. Rydia just got knocked out. What do you think's going to happen here?
I'm sorry, Rydia.
We need to hurry...before they get their hands on the Overworld Crystals, too!
Thanks, you two. You were kinder to us than we ever deserved.
Uh, OK? That statement doesn't make sense, but whatever makes you feel better.
I'm going to repair you, I promise!
Even it means grinding for rare drops?
So we're down to Luca and Rydia for the remainder of the chapter. At least I had the foresight to strip them of their equipment! Would've been a shame to let those Dancing Daggers go to waste and all.
Another cutscene occurs on the airship, and an interesting one at that.
What can I even say anymore? It's like Rydia and Ceodore are competing for most useless contributions to a conversation.
And she didn't kill us when she had the chance...
Not even a passing thought in her mind, are we?
Doesn't look like it, no...
It's rare that you actually get explanations for stuff like "Well, why didn't the villain just shoot the protagonist in the head rather than go into some huge speech?" I mean, the explanation here isn't that impressive, but it's something, and in a way it also begins to demonstrate just how much of a different tier the villain is to our ragtag crew.
Once you go to the Overworld, there's no going back. I need to do one last thing first.
I turned that Battle Axe into a Tomahawk. The Tomahawk can actually be used for full damage in the back row, meaning you don't even need to bother with Big Throw.
It's really a choice of whether you want the Mythril Hammer or a Tomahawk. The hammer is stronger and is great against ghosts and machines, but it requires two hands. Tomahawk is weaker, but you don't have to deal with Big Throw's charge time to do damage from the back row, plus you get a shield.
In the end, it doesn't really matter. I beat the chapter before without using either. Just go with your preference.
Next time, we finally leave the Underworld and prepare for the last dungeon of the chapter.