Part 2: Bad Life Decisions
Since Cecil and friends do not encounter Leviathan, they don't get separated and Cecil ends up near Baron instead of Mysidia. We're just a short walk to Baron at this point.
That said, nothing is really different in Baron compared to when you return in the original. Cid's under arrest, and we still have to fight the guards to get the Baron Key to progress. The only difference is our party and the fact we don't have to fight a brainwashed Yang.
We only have to fight these two Guards. We're going to be a bit underleveled since normally Cecil has done Mysidia at this point, but we also have one less boss fight so it evens out.
The Key of Baron! Yeah! With this key, we can make it!
The equipment shops have some different gear, including this Healing Staff, which can do single or multi-target Cure. Multi-target is a weak 30ish HP, but single-target can do 150ish, which isn't too bad for this stage of the game, though enemies are already going to outscale that.
Edward's the only one that can use the knives that would actually want to, and even then he doesn't want to. The other stuff is irrelevant.
Shadow gear is nice but expensive. I hold off for now.
Anyway, we're railroaded to take the Baron Waterway.
Pretty much the same enemies here as in the original.
Of course, we have a weaker and smaller team. No dedicated healer, Cecil's still a Dark Knight, Edward's Edward, and we've got an entire dungeon worth of experience missing. I burn through most of my Phoenix Down stock since I'm not used to actually needing to buy items in this game.
At least Rydia's still awesome.
It gets hairy trying to reach the next save point, though.
Cecil's next non-Dark Blade. I assume it's the same lightning-elemental blade that Easy Mode gives you here. Same strength as the Ancient Blade.
Otherwise, business as usual.
We must find Cid to progress.
The same way we're getting you out!
Gotta use the Baron Key one more time...
...you and Kain. I didn't trust him after what he used my airships for so I hid the latest schematic.
We need to put an end to this right away.
Count me in! Let's take out that imposter!
Cid is a freaking tank. His HP nearly doubles that of Cecil's!
Anyway, now we can loot Baron. That's right, no Baigan fight here.
I'm sick of your lies. Because of you, the people of Mysidia had their crystal stolen and the summoners of Mist have been all but exterminated. You think you can just lock up or kill whoever opposes you? Whoever you are, you're not King Baron and I'm done being manipulated!
Ever wonder what would happen if Cecil didn't act like a sad sack and told the king to fuck off instead? There you go.
Oh, yes! And I took his place! Ha-hah-hah!
I knew it!!
Wanna see the King? Don't worry! You'll see him soon enough.
Who are you...
Our first fiend fight already! Without Tellah and Palom laying down the hurt with lightning magic, this fight is a wee bit more difficult.
The big difference here is even what feedble lightning damage we have won't dispel the waters. You're going to get hit with a tidal wave.
And it hurts. At least at the beginning it does. The damage scales based on Cagnazzo's current HP, so the best strategy is to rush him down until he enters his defensive stance.
Cid's got two special abilities. Dash deals damage equal to his current HP, but then lowers it to 1. It's basically the Explosion spell from other games in the series. Cid does have the massive reserves to make it hurt, but it's still very situational.
Rage simply inflicts Berserk on Cid. Honestly it's not a bad move for him in boss battles since he's got the HP and offense to keep chipping away while the rest of the party heals up.
And chip away I do, until Cagnazzo's Tidal Wave is no longer a threat.
At this point, Cagnazzo will heal 500HP and reduce incoming damage until he heals up enough to attack. Of course, you can get in a deadlock with him, and I take advantage of this to revive my party and heal them back to full before going on the offensive.
Don't forget that Cagnazzo is only weak to lightning if he has the water raised, otherwise his weakness is ice!
With Rydia more than offsetting Cagnazzo's healing, this fight finishes up rather quickly.
And we've recovered our first crystal.
...A monster. We dispatched it already.
Yes. I'm not proud of my actions, but what could I do alone against Golbez and all his and Baron's forces? I know I have dishonored the Knights of Baron and will do whatever it takes to make amends.
Oh yeah, Baigan's not evil this time. At least as far as I know...
What was that thing we just fought?
Golbez has four Fiends, each of which gets their power from one of the crystals. You defeated the Fiend of Water.
So that's why he was so desperate for Mysidia's Water crystal.
Yes, moreover, the crystals also act as keys of some sort. If Golbez can collect them all, he will be able to activate some kind of device. I'm not sure what it is or what it does, but it can't be good.
Then we have to stop him from getting Toroia's Earth crystal at all cost! Cid, you mentioned something about a new airship?
It's only a design... My assistants can start work on it, but it won't be done in time...
Are any of the sea ships usable?
I'm afraid not...
Then we'll have to go on foot...
There's a shortcut through the Misty Mountains! I'll show you the way!
Excellent! Let's go! Baigan, I trust you to take good care of Baron while we're gone!
I will. Good luck!
So our new goal is to go back to the Mist Cavern.
NPC dialogue is mostly unchanged from the original at this point.
But not entirely.
Actual King Baron is still in his secret throne room.
Cid can make equip heavy armor, so he gets Cecil's Mythril armor while Cecil gets some new threads.
Mist Cavern has new treastures and enemies.
Nothing too threatening.
Though one bad surprise attack can ruin your day.
Another dungeon, another spell I'll probably never use.
This has the same strength as Cid's Wooden hammer, but it only requires one hand, so now Cid can equip a shield while still doing the same amount of damage.
Which is handy because we also get a new shield here.
Otherwise, no boss here. On to Mist!
That is just morbid.
New gear. I don't buy anything since we can get a free copy of most of it from Rydia's house.
Another Serpent Trench entrance.
Wizard Gear, Rune Ring, Fire Rod, and this thing.
Head east from Mist, and we get a brand new dungeon! Gotta say, I like the aesthetics more than what The After Years went with for this mountain range.
Enemies are pretty tough, of the "Magnetic Cave" variety.
Not sure what status effect this one does.
Bats are even more obnoxious than ever, since their drain attack hurts a lot and actually drains. Still go down with little effort, though.
The enemies wear you down a bit, but it's also not a long dungeon and right next to an inn (though Mist doesn't sell any items, unfortunately).
Watch out! I sense something evil!
I'm glad... glad indeed... to slay you all...
Who is it!?
Now! Meal time for my monsters!
Scarmiglione is a bit more scary in this fight.
This time, he counters every attack with gradual petrification. Honestly, it's much less scary than his Lit-1 counter in the original, requiring an occasional Remedy (or Wooden Staff use if you still have one).
His Ghasts still drain, though a much larger amount.
Even worse, Rydia's summons don't do much to these guys. What to do?
Don't forget, Edward has a song that damages undead! And damage it does, instantly killing all but one of them, which is easily picked off with physicals.
This form of Scarmiglione isn't undead.
Once the Ghasts go down, Scarmiglione starts throwing out Bios, which are nasty.
Oh yeah, at some point Edward picked up an underwhelming healing song. So there's that.
Otherwise, Scarmiglione can't keep up with the damage focused on him and goes down rather easily.
But of course, this ain't all. After backtracking to heal up and notice an odd graphical glitch...
...Scarmiglione is back, and...honestly easier than the last battle.
Fall flat into the deep ravine!
He'll sometimes cast Quake, but it's really only mildly threatening for Edward.
He also knows Demi, a series staple new to this game.
And a full-on petrification attack. None of these are really as scary as mass drain or Bio spam, thankfully.
This sword swipe is weird. Just wanted to show that off.
This version of Scarmiglione is undead, so Dirge does solid damage. Just a shame it takes forever to go off.
Scarmiglione's attacks can also inflict Curse, so that's something else to look forward to!
Otherwise, his offense is more than manageable, and he doesn't have the HP to make it a drawn-out slugfest.
Two fiends down already!
Now I know what you're thinking. "Gee, I wonder what's happening in Mysidia!" Well, don't I have good news for you!
The attacks were not his fault, but a man named Golbez!
Truly!? ...We must investigate to verify the truth of this. Take a ship to Baron.
So Cecil's whole atoning for his sins thing? Don't worry about it, it wasn't actually his fault, it's all water under the bridge.
...such a young age. How could I forgive myself if something were to happen to you?
This is where I remind you that in the original, the Elder sent these two five-year-olds to spy on the Dark Knight that murdered his people and stole his crystal and thought so little of them he didn't even expect them to return alive. Some parts of FF4 are just straight morbid if you think about it long enough.
Also I'm so happy I can revisit FF4 now that I know how to make GIFs so I can do stuff like this:
But how much can we really learn, stuck here in a classroom? We need to go out now and then...
As rude as my twin brother is he does make a good point...and this is a diplomatic trip, correct?
What's the worst that could happen?
QUITE A LOT ACTUALLY
And so Palom and Porom go on a diplomatic mission to a nation Mysidia is currently at war with based on shaky intel that they may actually be good now?
I guess no matter the version, the Elder is really terrible at child care.
So this hack is basically the answer to the question, "What if Leviathan overslept the day he attacked Cecil's ship?"
Also the twins just can't catch a break. The universe really wants them dead.
Don't just stand there, Palom, do something!
I don't know, you're the one always calling himself a genius!
This really isn't the time, sis...
You know, you're mages. Why don't you just tele-
-oh. I'm surprised people don't do this more often.
Too bad for everyone else on that ship! They're dead! Diplomatic success!
Anyway Cid gets another weapon upgrade so that's nice.
And now we're within walking distance of Toroia!
Next time, we'll go to Toroia and probably experience more insanity.