Part 37: Edge's Challenge DungeonEdge's Challenge Dungeon
Ugh. There's a good reason this took me three weeks to do. I really don't like this place. Let's get it over with.
Namingway's lurking at the inn over at Eblan Castle.
When you enter, this guy will explain the dungeon's gimmick.
So the faster you complete the dungeon, the better the chance you'll actually get a good item. Sounds simple, right?
Once we enter the dungeon proper, the timer starts counting up.
The chests here usually have crap, though each floor has two special items to get. You're not guaranteed to get them during a specific run, but it's not like you'll beat this in one run anyway, so chances are you'll get them soon enough anyway.
Now let's talk about the enemies. Oh, the fucking enemies. These guys don't mess around and will absolutely beat the everliving shit out of you. The enemies are much, much stronger than even the other challenge dungeon foes, due to the game expecting you to have five people. Of course, it didn't count on most of those people sucking.
As for the characters themselves, Edge of course is the most important person, as he deals the most damage and can actually take some hits, as well as evade them. Tsukinowa is also very useful, as his speed makes him hit often, his damage is decent, and he's got tricks like Mirage up his sleeve. Izayoi is rather useless, as Illusions never works and her damage sucks, so the most she can ever hope to do is paralyze an enemy with her whip. Gekkou is a non-entity, as he's so slow he'll usually be dead before he gets a turn, and even when he does he'll do the same as the other guys. But at least Gekkou will usually take two hits to kill, unlike Zangetsu, who is a complete joke.
Smoke ensures you run away. It is incredibly valuable in this dungeon, whether you're escaping a deadly fight or if you're making a treasure run.
Skuldiers hit incredibly hard. If you're lucky, after a few rounds they'll use a weak Thundara instead.
Something you should realize is that you'll always have at least one person dead at the end of every battle. Hell, even when you're trying to run away, there's a very good chance someone will be dead before you flee.
This is actually a blessing, because trying to level up five characters at once is a nightmare. In the other Tales, I've gotten my crew to mid-30's or so, but that's because those had two people to level. Good luck leveling all five, though to be fair, it's not like you'll actually use any of these people besides Edge in the end game anyway, and Edge will survive more battles than anyone else.
Wait, how did you two survive? They fought off another wave of Skuldiers.
Fortunately, you can exit any time using Emergency Exits. One of the item shops sells these, so it's a great idea to just grind a bit on the first floor and then use one of these to leave, restock and heal, and try again.
Also, those blue enemies don't actually attack you. They just get in your way when you're trying to make a run.
When you open a chest and there's a monster in the box, you know you've got one of the two good items in this floor.
In this case, we got a Killer Bow for Izayoi. It's useless because Izayoi can't deal damage worth crap anyway, so you might as well stick with a whip for a small chance of paralysis.
Oh fuck no.
Meet the Chimera Brain. You will learn to hate him. This guy is the most bullshit part of a dungeon made of bullshit.
This is his opening move. Every time you encounter this pecker, his very first attack will kill everyone besides Edge.
If you're surprised, you won't have time to do anything before he uses another physical attack. So any time you're surprise attacked by this guy, it's an instant game over with absolutely no way to survive.
Who's fucking idea was it to put this guy here? Seriously, as difficult as the rest of this part here, at least it's somewhat fair. There's no reason to include an enemy where you get a game over just for having the bad luck to run into him. It's just shitty game design. It's fucking insulting to the player to just have an enemy that goes "HAHA FUCK YOU HAVE A GAME OVER" without being able to do anything about it.
Seriously, how do you fucking rationalize something this ridiculous and spiteful?
These guys aren't too tough. They'll just attack, and they take a lot of hits, but aren't nightmares. Also, this is a best-case situation, as none of these other idiots deserve EXP. Unfortunately, you need these guys to take hits since Edge can't solo this dungeon.
The second item on this floor is the Ashura, which is a nice upgrade for whatever ninja blade Edge has equipped.
Of course, I end up getting killed on that run anyway, but eventually I get it again and actually keep it.
As bullshit as Chimera Brain is, if it's a front attack, at least Edge will get to move before the Chimera Brain attacks again. Obviously, you should use Smoke every single time. 75% of the time it will be a surprise attack, in which case you're fucked.
There's also this guy. I don't know how he's different from the other ones. He goes down just as easily, I guess. Tsukinowa's Mirage is useful, as it's self-Blink, meaning he evades two enemy attacks. Too bad Edge doesn't learn Mirage until later.
Lamias are annoying, as they'll counter any attack with Entice. So you don't want your weaker characters attacking them. As is, I just avoided a game over against them.
Make sure you have a lot of Phoenix Downs. You're going to need them.
Oh yeah, I finally made it to the second floor. This one is identical to that one giant room in the Baron Underground Waterway.
You know how the Blood Eye was the final boss in Porom's Tale? Two of them are a random encounter here. Two.
There's Nagajaras, who again hit hard and don't do much else.
Storm Animas, who hit hard and don't do much else.
Oh yeah, there's one more annoying aspect to this dungeon. In certain spots, you'll be forced to enter a battle you can't flee from. So if you're making a speed run, you actually want to go around the bottom through the long way. There'll be a lot more encounters, but at least you can flee them.
Our BFF's the Vampire Bats are here to waste our time.
The third floor is identical to the Mist Cave.
Say hello to Malboro. Bad Breath will stack a ton of status effects on one character, and he hits incredibly hard, harder than any of the enemies so far besides that god damn motherfucking Chimera Brain. Fortunately, Bad Breath misses a lot.
Seriously, I don't know why these weaklings are even on this floor.
But when Bad Breath does hit, it sucks. The only way you'll be curing it is to steal some Remedies from said Malboro, which requires not killing it. Joy.
This layout is the area where you meet FuSoYa. The left teleports you out of the dungeon, while the right will heal your characters, which is a godsend.
Of course, going north is the first of two spots that you cannot avoid at all.
I got unlucky here and got wiped out.
Going back to the third floor, we've got a bunch of these things. The Hellflappers will inflict Blind or something, I don't know because I always run away from these freaks.
If you actually manage to win a set battle area, you'll get this message.
Again, sometimes you get these weaker monsters that don't really belong here.
The second floor's two treasures include the Black Belt Gi, which outclasses all other armor and adds +5 to Strength and Stamina, and the Mythril Hammer, which is a nice upgrade for Gekkou, or at least it would be if he ever lived long enough to reach his turn.
The third floor, you can run into the Vampiress with the bats. She's rather dangerous, as her Thundara can deal around 700 damage.
Also, Vampire Bats are weak against projectiles. Edge alone can kill these assholes in one hit. Suck on that, bats!
One of the treasures of the third floor is the Crimson Cherry, a ninja blade weaker than the Ashura, but with the fire element. Nice against a couple of enemy types in this dungeon, and still an upgrade to what Tsukinowa has.
Alright, finally past that hurdle.
Another monster-in-the-box nets me a Chakram, which is again weaker than the ninja blades, but a nice upgrade to the Metal Boomerangs the dual-wielders have. Edge gets this one.
There's only one chest here, so you'll need to make several trips all the way here to get the other good item.
Alright, we're at the last floor. Chances are good we won't get something good, but we're just grinding anyway. There's one more unavoidable battle here, so all we need to do is heal up, beat it, and
Fuck this game.