Come on! Get up!
The black mages! Who are they!?
It's okay. You didn't do anything.
Vivi, aren't they your-
The king might be in danger! Come on!
So, Gizamaluke's Grotto. It's a dungeon with a bit of a gimmick.
It won't even budge.
We need a special way to unlock these doors.
For now, all we can do is go to the right.
...Black mages... Couldn't do anything.
We're here to help. We're on our way to Burmecia.
Ugh... I'm done for. Take this bell, and...go to Burmecia... The black mages...took our bells...
So to get through this dungeon, we need the bells of Gizamaluke.
You see, back in Final Fantasy II there's a castle that only royal family members could enter, and the last living one was a coward who ran away in a tizzy, so instead you had to go to some random cave in a snowfield, grab a bell, watch your guide get crushed to death by a boulder orphaning his child, and then ring your way in only to see said coward like ten feet from the entrance. Yeah, thanks for that, Gordon.
So this is like that except I don't hate everyone involved.
On the way back to the door, I run into some Hornets. These guys aren't very threatening. They can attack with their stingers, but the damage is pretty ho-hum.
That said, they can inflict Berserk on party members.
But the damage boost from Berserk tends to work out poorly for the bugs since we've got three powerful physical attackers.
Also, each bell breaks after opening a door. It's like if your key broke every time you unlocked your front door, except your keys are bells and thus probably more expensive.
I cannot comprehend Burmecian economics.
But this? This, I can comprehend.
These black mages can talk. They can only say one word, but still, progress.
Also our favorite comic relief villains are here.
That, I don't know.
I know I have seen him somewhere before.
Somewhere before? I have not seen him. I know.
I guess it is not important. Let's kill him.
We get into a forced battle with two black mages. Their names in-game are "Type A" so yeah, look forward to a lot of these guys in the future.
Anyway, they're black mages. They cast black magic.
The mages of course can handle the damage better. Otherwise, they only cast L1 elemental spells which aren't very damaging at this point of the game. Coincidentally, Vivi really starts to lag behind in this dungeon because he hasn't had any new spells in forever.
There's another Type A wandering around that gives you an encounter with two. Still no issue.
It does lead to another bell, which we need to proceed, I belieed.
There are three doors that this can open. You want to open the left one first so you don't miss any treasure.
This time there's a Skeleton. It can cast Thunder and has an attack that can do around ~100 but otherwise is pretty fragile due to being undead and all.
Quina gets berserk but it's OK because
Couldn't get a good screen of Quina's trance form but you can kind of see Quina's hat become some weird helmet. Quina becomes a literal iron chef.
When Quina goes into Trance, "Eat" becomes "Cook." This eases the requirement to eat an enemy from being at 25% of max HP to 50%. That's it. It's by far the worst Trance effect in the game. You're pretty much stuck with the damage boost and the admittedly-sweet threads Quina sports.
Also, if an enemy doesn't teach a blue magic spell, or it teaches one Quina already knows, then suddenly Quina becomes picky. The non-mage enemies teach blue magic but they're all stuff we already picked up earlier.
Going up here nets another Bronze Vest and another bell.
Next, this door.
This lovely creature is a Lamia, another series staple enemy. Though most aren't quite as ugly as this game's version.
Somehow, this hideous beast thinks it deserves love and can confuse people.
Confused people bounce around in a circle because it looks hilarious and that's the most important aspect that should go into battle animations.
It can also boost its offense a good bit so you may want to rush this thing down quickly.
The door leads to this long passage that results in a Magus Hat if you're paying attention.
The Magus Hat teaches Slow, and even in this game where status effects wear off, Slow is very, very useful to have. So yeah, it's a nice get.
At the end is a giant bell.
Can you hear me!? Darling!!! Please say something!
He's trapped! Kupo!!!
You poor thing...
We just held our wedding here. Then some scary clowns attacked us! I was so scared! Kupooo!!!
This bell's huge. I don't know if we can lift it.
Y-Yeah... I got one in Lindblum.
Really!? Really!? Really!? Really!? C-Can I have it?
Obviously you want to give the grieving widow bride a Kupo Nut.
Kupooo!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Welp. Alright, then.
Anyway there was a bell in that bell.
The right door leads to the newlywed couple.
Sure, why not.
I like you.
Now we can go on our honeymoon!
Mogmi will now act as a save moogle. We can also do Mognet stuff to get a letter.
There's a letter from Moodon! It's probably a letter of congratulations on our marriage! Let's read it! Kupo!
It wasn't a congratulation letter, but it was fun to read! Kupo!
There's also a vine we can climb outside.
Yeah yeah, what's the worst that-
So, this is a Grand Dragon. They're actually easy to cheese and serve as an easy way to grind early on, though we can't take advantage of that quite yet.
It can also vomit poison and death on Vivi, but fortunately Vivi has poison immunity.
Sadly, he's not immune to being clawed to death.
On the bright side, I finally have an excuse to link the "Game Over" music, so yeah.
Let's get back to the dungeon now.
Take this, kupo!
We need this bell to unlock the door to the final room of this place.
This is a side quest that we'll worry about later, but basically we can stuff this guy with more Kupo Nuts.
Seriously why does this door have a different bell lock. Who designed this fucking security system?
Next up, another empty room with another dying guard.
Freya... Please be careful... Master Gizamaluke has gone mad. He's being controlled by some strange clowns.
Peaceful creature driven mad? First thing that comes to mind is the Antlion in FF4, but that's probably something that happens in a lot of games.
Meet Gizamaluke. He's actually pretty challenging if you don't know how to cheese him. His attacks are brutal and he can easily nullify Vivi's offense completely.
It's hard to see, but that Crash attack did 169 damage to Freya, more than a single Potion will recover. Then keep in mind he has a semi-rare steal that you really want and this becomes a major pain.
Well, unless you know this one neat trick to inflict status ailments.
Unlike every other FF game, you can actually use Tents in battle.
They'll even restore the HP and MP of its target.
However, they do inflict some nasty status effects in exchange. But, wouldn't you know it, you can use Tents to inflict said status effects on bosses, and Gizamaluke is susceptible to Darkness and Silence! This is, of course, huge since it nullifies Gizzy's magic attacks and gives a lot more breathing room for its physicals.
The strategy is to have Vivi Focus with Quina and Freya either defending or healing while Zidane fishes for steals.
I try to stick Slow on Gizzy. It doesn't work, but it does trigger a counter.
Gizzy will counter magic with silence. Vivi can still Focus, but he can't cast magic now.
Got a second Magus Hat, no biggie.
But this. This is huge. This teaches Vivi Blizzara, giving him a much-needed offensive boost. He wouldn't get this until Disc 2 otherwise. It takes awhile to get this at a 1/16 shot, but after grabbing it we can now begin our offense.
First, use one of the twenty or so Echo Screens to get Vivi to casting form again. Oddly, Gizzy doesn't counter Vivi's spells with silence anymore.
500 is alright, but this is after a few Focus's and is hitting a weakness. Vivi really wants Blizzara now.
Meanwhile my physical characters have no issue burning through Gizzy's HP until it's split into a Giza, a Ma, and a Luke.
Rest in pieces.
You rarely see Freya's eyes but man does she look tired.
The rat man already said the mini-Kefkas brainwashed the giant floating stingray.
So next time we're going to ignore all that in favor of Steiner becoming a hobo.