The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

by Mega64

Part 25: Yang's Challenge Dungeon

Yang's Challenge Dungeon

This area takes place before we got on a ship that isn't adequately prepared for a situation where random mooks can damage our sail fuel. Basically, this means Ursula's still a Princess and not a Monk, and that we start off in Fabul.

Before we begin, I get four of each elemental claw. You can switch out weapons during battle, and the ability to hit extra-hard on whatever weakness you can is important.

You also want to max out on Hi-Potions if possible. I should've bought 99 here. It's not like you have anything else to spend money on. Having a good number of Phoenix Downs also doesn't hurt. Trying to solo this dungeon is insane.

Anyway, we're prepared, and we've got a moon that boosts our special attacks (i.e. boosted Chakra healing and more damage from Tenketsu), so let's do this.

I'll skip the dialogue. Basically, you go down several long corridors with a high encounter rate. Then you get to a room with a chest. There are two doors afterward, with the left leading out of the dungeon (after a gauntlet of more enemies), with the right leading further in, but this time with stronger enemies. There are essentially four stages of this dungeon, with the first two stages being complete jokes.

Of course, I glaze over this and idiotically leave during the first run of monsters. Oops.

Get used to seeing this. Most of these rooms are nothing but long corridors full of enemy encounters.

This run will pretty much just showcase all the enemies I run into.

You've got some toads and sea enemies.

Undead and Tiny Mages, too. Honestly, everything will die in one hit regardless of what element you have equipped. Still, it's nice to hit for 700+ damage.

Eventually, you'll end up at a chest.

They always have monsters in them, and are usually a bit different from what you've fought before.

In this case, they're Gargoyles. Still incredibly easy.

The treasure in the first few chests is crap. I don't think anything in this tale actually casts Mini.

The left door leads you out of the dungeon.

After following a few more paths, of course. They're not going to make things easy on you, after all.

There is absolutely no reason to leave at this point. Yet I do so anyway because I'm an idiot.

There's also these stronger toads that can be a threat if they don't die in one hit.

Suffice it to say, but they weren't a threat.

After the end of the corridor, you run into a monster guarding the exit. Again, they're usually a bit harder than the usual fare.

Harder being a relative term, of course.

Well, I just wasted my time. Let's try this again.

This time, my encounter for the first chest are these bombs. Yawn.

Chests respawn each time you enter the dungeon. Which is good, because there's only four of them.

Marginally better.

This time, I choose Door #2, which immediately leads into another corridor. This time, the enemies have been upgraded.

They're not much of an upgrade, however. This area is almost entirely undead. Make liberal use of Flame Claws, not that you really need them.

The only thing about this area is that these enemies can actually hit you for double-digit damage. You may actually have to heal at some point.

There goes my ability boosts. Doesn't change Attack, though, so no biggie.

Here's the formation for the second chest. Still easy.

If I have to get crap items, I could do worse. Free Haste is never bad.

I go right again. This is the stage of the dungeon where things get difficult.

Now we've got Ogres and Cave Nagas. Not big threats.

Now this formation can be scary. Soldieress and Black Knight hit hard. Very hard.

The biggest thing is that Sorceress always starts each battle with Slow.

As long as you can OHKO the two fighters, you're fine. Sorceress alone is no threat. It's especially important to OHKO Soldieress, since she counters all non-lethal attacks. Still, as long as you're healed up, this fight won't kill you.

This is also the area where you will start spamming Hi-Potions after every battle.

Cait Siths are here as well. Trust me, you'd rather deal with this formation than the earlier one.

Cave Bats are here, too. Ugh. They die in one hit to Fire Claws, though.

There's also Mors. I couldn't OHKO them even with Lightning Claws, so I just let them run away.

Up to the third chest. Had two Black Knights, which aren't a big threat when I can OHKO them.

Though they did kill Yang.


I take the left exit because though I've gained quite a few levels, I don't feel ready to take on the last sect of enemies and risk losing my progress.

Frostbeasts are nice, because it's one more enemy you're guaranteed to OHKO.

Preemptive strikes will save you Hi-Potions, as you'll almost always wipe out the enemies before they even get to move.

Can't forget Mindflayers.

Yay, more enemies weak to Flame Claws!

To cap things off are our old friends the Centaur Knights.

Finally, the exit!

And this is where I make a big mistake.

I go for a defensive strategy. The ol' Counter Cover/Chakra combo. This is dumb for several reasons.

1) Chakra has a charge time. Hi-Potion doesn't. Especially with the moon being neutral, Hi-Potion will heal more.
2) Despite Yang taking all physical hits, I'm healing Ursula. If Yang dies, it doesn't matter how much HP Ursula has. Four enemies dealing 300+ damage each will fuck me.

And, the most important one...

3) The best strategy for 99% of these battles is pure offense. I cannot stress this enough. These enemies will go down in one hit. The less enemies there are, the less that will be hitting you. Having enemies doing a total of ~1200 damage seems intimidating and may scare you to heal (like it did with me), but next turn you'd have two enemies dealing ~600 damage instead of healing between 1-2 hits worth of damage and still having 3-4 enemies dealing a ton of damage.

I could've won this fight if I just took these guys out head-on.

Instead, I died. And lost all those levels. Ugh.

Time to try again.

Liliths also pop up on Floor 2, just so you know.

My second run didn't fare much better.

To be fair, I was fucked no matter what. Starting off at 0 ATB with one character slowed is a huge hurdle to overcome, especially with three enemies wailing on you for big numbers.

I probably should have tried running, though. You can still run from any encounter that isn't from a box or protecting an exit. I don't think I bothered to here, and I might have still lived if I tried.

So while the first situation could've been easily avoided with better planning, this one was just plain bad luck.

This scared me into using a Full Moon. This is a bad idea because, again, offense is important. You won't be able to OHKO the enemies that are still going to do big damage on you, even if it lessens their damage as well.

Still crap, but at least I actually get to keep the crap this time.

Because of the moon, Ursula's only hitting the Soldieress for crap damage. That merits a counter-attack.

Definitely don't go with the attack-boosting phase, though. You should already be killing everything in one hit with a normal phase, so all you'd be doing is having your foes hit you harder.

Third chest is yet another fucking Cottage. Really?

Let's try this again.

This time, pure offense.

Yeah, the situation looks scary, but you have to keep attacking.

As long as you keep on the offense, you will win.


Now that I freed the exit, I spend a few minutes grinding my levels up so I can just skip to the fourth area my next run. The enemies aren't a big threat with attack down, and the levels I get help me hit hard enough to overcome the moon phase.

I also figure out that running from bad situations is a good idea.

Once the moon shifted to Attack +, I ended my grinding session. No point grinding any more when one bullshit surprise encounter could ruin my progress (and my sanity).

So I exit, restock, save, and rotate the moon.

Now is my final dungeon run.

Look at the difference a few levels make! Pretty sure Yang has an 8x attack multiplier at this point. Combined with hitting an elemental weakness, and the two monks are hitting over 1000 damage each.

Just plain awesome.

As far as garbage items go, free Reflect isn't bad at all.

This time, the third-tier chest nets us a Gaia Drum, which is a free Quake. Alright, I guess.

Time to do the final gauntlet of enemies.

Ice Claws are your best bet here. These enemies are pushovers.

Mad Ogres are a huge threat. They're fast, have high HP, and do huge damage. Lamias counter every attack with Entice, which inflicts confuse. Have fun!

Chimeras are a breath of fresh air. You can even OHKO one with the right claw combo.

Ah, the last chest. Let's hope it's something good! With all the bullshit I've been through, it better be good.

Two Mad Ogres in that chest. Rough, but manageable.


I didn't realize just how awesome these things were when I got them. Cat Claws can inflict Sleep, which is incredibly usefull and also give a nice 5 point speed boost. Yang actually goes slightly faster than Ursula with these babies.

Flamehounds are here. With Ice Claws, they're not nearly as scary as usual.

For some reason, I never hit Confuse/Poison with the Faerie/Hell Claws equipped. With the Cat Claw, though, I manage to inflict Confuse and Sleep simulatenously pretty often.

Must be something weird with how the game deals with status effects. I'm sure one of you guys knows what's going on here better than I. Or at least knows what goes on with the original, since this game probably just lifted the entire battle system straight from FF4 anyway.

Full-fledged Nagas here. They're still chumps.

Couerls would be scarier if Yang didn't OHKO them. I think they also drop Cat Claws as a rare drop, which is neat.

I figure this because I'm pretty sure I've got one from a drop back in Rydia's Tale. Once we hit the final chapter, I can have Yang or Ursula dual-wield them. Fun!

Storm Animas are back, and annoying as ever. Luckily I neuter one with Sleep before they can ruin my day.

Finally, after a few more corridors, we're at the end. What's the boss for this dungeon, you ask?

There isn't one. Just another random battle. Granted, this is a scary one, but nothing my two monks can't handle.

Nice bunch of EXP.

That said, I'm not going to bother with any grinding here. I've done my job, I managed to get a nice treasure, and I grinded up to the mid-30's. I probably missed covering a few enemies in that last section. Oh well!

So that's Yang's Dungeon.