The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

by Mega64

Part 30: Palom's Challenge Dungeon

Palom's Challenge Dungeon

We're teleported back to Troia after we finish this Tale. We do the usual stockpiling of Hi-Potions and Phoenix Downs. Leonora's magic isn't going to be enough for this dungeon.

We also go to Full Moon. It boosts Black Magic, which helps Palom destroy everything, and weakens Attack, which we never use but the enemies certainly do.

You should always be under a Full Moon for this dungeon.

Alright, time to do this! How hard can this be?

Every time you start, you end up here. You then go north to the first floor.

The floors you end up on are randomized. There are a bunch of different floors, and I won't be covering all of them, because I hate this dungeon and never want to play it again.

This is the Strength Floor. It focuses on strength.

However, I don't actually do this one, because I remembered that there's something in Troia that might come in handy for this dungeon. I reset, and get...

...the Psycho Spiral, which casts Confuse on an enemy. It comes in less handy than I was hoping, but that's more because I find a better way to completely nullify enemies. Still, Confuse works a lot, and it gives Leonora something to do when Palom isn't dominating everything.

Let's start again, shall we?

This time, the first floor is the Bridge Floor.


These guys are annoying, with their high magic resistance and all.

In desperation of not having to blow tons of MP on these nuisances, I try something different.

Break is an instant death spell. That targets everyone. That has a great success rate when coupled with Palom's insane Intellect.

This dungeon has suddenly become a lot less annoying.

Take a look at those numbers. Palom casting Fira split between two enemies with fire weakness does over 2500 damage. Very big overkill.

But not big enough!


The next floor is the Flan Floor.

There are flans.

There's a Bomb Crank hidden here. Why couldn't they have hidden something decent?

Anyway, flans go down with one Fira, no matter the element, and the weaker ones even Leonora can kill with the right element. Still, the Gil/EXP sucks, and they don't give much MP from Osmose, so it's probably better to just run away.

The next floor is the Strongarm Floor.

Ghost Knights suck. They cast Reflect to counter magic, which kind of fucks us over. They also hit hard, especially once that Ogre falls and they aren't in the back row. And they're fast.

Good EXP, though.

Then a Storm Anima comes up and ruins my day.

Let's try again.

This is the Magic Floor. The enemies here are pretty weak, and are of course mage-types.

There's a Mythril Staff here, which I believe will cast Esuna as an item. Hey, that saves a bit of MP and charge time.

I think this is on the Bridge Floor. Game Over #2.

This time, I start off on the Town Floor. Unfortunately, there are no NPCs here. Just enemies.

Medusas spam nothing but Stone Touch, which inflicts Gradual Petrify. They're pretty fast, but Stone Touch also misses a lot, so it balances out.

I love it when I do a monster's gimmick better than them. Too bad I don't have Reflect to make the reference more apt.

Game Over #3.

We start over yet again on the Mountain Floor.

The Gil Bird apparently drops some good cash if you kill it. You know, if you can actually get a turn in before it flies off.

Leonora learns Shell for the fourth time or so. She's also poisoned in this screenshot, inflicted by a Ricardo Mage. I think this is the first time I've been poisoned before the end game.

Troia doesn't sell Antidotes for some reason.

You have to go around a pretty long way to get this thing, but it's worth it. It gives Leonora big boosts to Intellect and Spirit.

I think I end up back in the Magic Floor or something.

Sometimes I just dick around.

The third floor this time is the Maze Floor.

These guys go down easily, but they still hit hard.

Not wanting to deal with yet another Game Over, I decide to Teleport out of the dungeon and regroup.

I start off on the Strength Floor again.

Confuse is awesome.

Teleport lets you instantly escape a battle. It really comes in handy for the many times that the game hates you too much to let you run away from a battle you will not win.

You know, when you have time to cast it.

Good news! We're on the last run!

Bridge Floor!

Even my tier-1 spells deal quad-digit damage. Nice.

Flan Floor!

There's a treasure chest behind that pillar that I missed. A shame.

Maze Floor!

There are some deadly enemies here, but a lot of them are pathetic. Just undead and Cave Bats.

Oh, Cave Bats.

I also learn Drain, which I've never seen a good use for in any game.

There's a restoration pot here, giving you a place to grind on weak enemies.


That was a close one. There's just so many encounters in this dungeon that will wipe you out in round 1, even in the floors with weaker enemies.

You're going to need quite a bit of luck for this one.

So you only need to complete three floors to get to the end. That's right, it took me five or six tries to get through three floors.


So we save at the save point, and do battle with this dungeon's boss.

Yeah, this is going to be fun.

The Blade Dragon is a pretty gimmicky battle.

First off, don't bother casting stuff like Bio (not that I have it yet ).

It will always counter non-elemental magic, even spells like Slow, with Venom Breath, which does significant damage and inflicts Sap, followed by Feast, which recovers a large amount of HP. Then the game warns you to attack with Fire/Blizzard/Thunder and try to find its weakness.

That's right, it's one of those barrier-changing bosses. Except Libra doesn't work and will trigger a counter attack that will wreck your shit.

So the next battle, I smack it with a Fira.

I had to read a FAQ to figure this out, but there is a way to discover this guy's weakness. It'll alternate between Fira, Blizzara, and Thundara, using two of those three spells. The spell it doesn't use is its weakness.

Of course, I fight it a few times before learning this.

If you hit it with the wrong element, it'll counter attack with that element.

You could still watch it do, say, Fira, have Leonora cast Blizzard, and if it counters have Palom cast Thundara quickly after, though it's a bit risky. You have a bit of time before the Blade Dragon barrier shifts, though not enough to cast a spell twice.

Even Bluff will cause the Blade Dragon to do its Venom Breath/Feast counter.

This is desperation, folks.

So after restarting/dying a few times, I come up with a new strategy.

Or rather, I steal one from a FAQ.

Since the boss's Black Magic is kicking my ass, let's make it weaker.

This also boosts our White Magic, which is important.

Much more manageable. A single Cure from Leonora will negate 75% of that damage.

You still want to inflict Slow on this guy. He will counter with Venom Breath/Feast, but you can heal from that, and Slow will give you a lot more breathing room.

Shell is also useful here. It doesn't usually negate that much damage, but it's useful when you're dealing with large numbers like we are here.

It's also not a bad idea to Bluff several times. Again, it triggers that nasty counter, but since this is a battle of attrition, and the moon hurts Palom's Black Magic too, you'll be wanting to do huge damage with each hit.

For instance, this is the damage after one Bluff.

This is the damage after three Bluffs.

Bluff usually isn't worth it since most things, including bosses, go down quickly. In a situation like this, though, it's invaluable.

So I finally take this guy down.

After all this bullshit, I hope the reward is worth it.


Fuck this game.