Part 6: The Tower Power HourChapter 4: The Tower Power Hour
ehn ehn ehn, doot doot doot, deet deedledeedledee
If you play through FFL, this is one of two tunes that will be permanently burned into your brain.
Anyway, today we tackle the first set of tower floors. Not a lot of storyline here, but we can go over enemy and fight mechanics now that our sample pool is much wider.
Just a single staircase up, huh? Maybe all the floors are like this!
Nothing worth having ever comes easy.
Hostiles on your seven!
What, this thing? It's just a harmless little sn—
OW CRAP IT BIT ME
As you might expect, monster difficulty goes up considerably inside the tower. Some encounters are still fairly easy...
Prrrrretty sure that's a tiger.
Bah. What you know about beasts?
Enough that I know what stripes and whiskers mean!
Hmm. Fangs. It appears Trog may be right after all.
It's even howling!
It's a tiger! I'm looking right at it!
...some, not so much.
Remind Trog of friend puddle.
FOOD FOOD FOOD CONSUME DISSOLVE EAT
Yeah, I wouldn't recommend wrestling with these guys.
Are you kidding? We put down an elder god of destruction! We can totally take him!
Elly, I see a light. Should I go towards it?
Negative on that. Trog, grab Rez. We're engaging in a strategic pullback of armed forces.
Run you big clod
Ever since FFIV, my standard policy for RPGs has been simple: Never run from a fight. If you lose that frequently, you need to leave and grind elsewhere. Otherwise, suck it up and gain levels as you go. It's done me well in every game...
...except for Final Fantasy Legend.
You can't do it unless you're willing to spend a long time grinding money and mutant stats. You just can't. You're going to walk into fights where the degree of difficulty is way too high and luck is the main reason you live. Slimes are one of those fights. Melt (also called Dissolve in later games) is an elemental attack with a ridiculous damage spread. I've seen it do as little as 17 damage and as much as the above screenshot, plus some extra. And it recharges the slime's HP. It's bonkers, and the only saving grace is that the game only throws one slime at you at a time. (For now.)
However, the game is not unfair, and here's why. Unlike other RPGs where the "run" command is a coin flip, FFL will allow you back out of just about any non-boss fight. It's really rare that the command fails on the first try, let alone twice in a row. (Doubly so with the ridiculous amounts of agility Rezen already has.) You have to learn very quickly which fights you can handle and which fights to stay out of. Right now, unless your guys are super beefy, stick to snakes, wolves, and gargoyles. Stay away from slimes unless you're feeling lucky (or suicidal). And for god's sake, don't fight onis...
...because there's usually three of them, they all have Horn, and Horn is one of the most damaging physical attacks monsters can have.
You'll note there are some pretty hefty amounts of damage being thrown around here. I don't want to spoil anyone's ~immersion~, but I had to reset twice before I finally remembered which fights weren't worth getting into. I don't feel like spending a heart while I figure out how to play the game again.
Rez? Honey? You still with us?
The pain. The unimaginable pain.
Trog have just thing! Drink!
Oh hey! That's better.
Wait, what was that? What did you just do?
Drink is extra! Get from man in shop. Have one?
I... don't remember buying any items. Steroids, yes. Items, not so much.
Trog go meet friends. But first, what else have?
You don't have any more gold. I'm not giving you a thing.
Ok. Trog talk to friend guard instead! Is chatty.
Are... are you blackmailing me?
Trog not mailman. Is confused?
Shop man give Trog bag! Is generous.
I don't think I'll ever figure you out, Trog. You're an riddle wrapped in a enigma smothered in bad grammar.
Got anything besides potions?
Trog have this! Rezen smart. Read book?
Why does everyone automatically assume I'm a book nerd?
Well, yeah! But I wish they wouldn't assume. I can't read this, though, it's in a foreign language.
Hmm. It seems to be the ancient tongue of the old empire. I'm familiar with the phonetics, but I'm afraid I don't actually know what it means.
Wonder what this sentence says? Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.
At that exact moment...
WHY! WHY AM I ON FIRE! IS THIS PUNISHMENT FOR MY SCAMS?! I'M SORRY GOD, I'M SORRY
...well, whatever! I'll keep it handy, it's fun to say this stuff out loud if nothing else.
Tromping along to floor 3...
I still wanna know why I can't lead!
Rez, I admire your bravery, but one solid hit and you crumple like a tin can.
Brave Rezen! That spirit! *punches her shoulder*
OH NO MY ARM JUST FELL OFF
Just kidding! Well, if you don't mind getting punched for a while, I'm all for it.
Huh, weird. Guess it's a side room or something.
I... do believe you're mistaken.
It's pretty nice out here. Sunny, weather's good, no monsters in sight...
Is too quiet, ask Trog.
While I share your concerns, it's nevertheless a relief.
Hey hey! Time for gear and sleep!
Hot dang! Those are my second and third favorite times!
Oh? What's your favorite?
Seems as though your priorities are in order.
That's a whoooooole lot of trees.
And not a lot of buildings.
Maybe it's a nativism thing?
I don't know, this whole setup strikes me as pretty suspicious. Let's ask around.
Good idea. Hey, you with the face! Where do you buy swords around here?
We have everything we want! We don't want anything else. This is paradise. We don't need anything else. Paradise.
Yeeeeeah, that's not normal.
Hello, strangers. You must be new. Will you stay a while with us?
What's that military slang you keep using, Elly? "Negative?"
That'd be it.
Oh, you're travellers? How unusual.
Were you born here?
Oh my, no.
This is where we go to rest afterwards. It is paradise. We want for nothing. We need nothing.
Yeah, we've been over that part already.
Paradise. All we do is eat, sleep, and dream. Dream of what tomorrow brings. In Paradise.
Trog have creepings. We leave this place now.
That was messed up. Is this really Heaven?
I hope not. Otherwise, I might have to reconsider atheism.
I prefer a rational agnostic understanding of the universe, myself. Perhaps there is a spiritual world, perhaps not. What does it matter if we can't actively sense it? I prefer to enjoy my life while I'm still living it.
Trog not understand.
Hmm, how to put this... I "deal with it," as they say.
Hey, look over there! A spring!
Just in time, too. I'm parched from all this walking. Hope you guys don't mind slogging through a puddle to get there.
Is good. Water nice here.
The water tastes good. In paradise. I want to stay here. Just drink the waters. In paradise.
Crap, no one else touch the water! Rezen! Snap out of it!
...hee hee. Gotcha!
The tower has little sub-zones along the way, and they're a really nice touch. Here, we've found Heaven! Everyone's lazy and kind of creepy, and there's no inns or gear available. You do get your first healing spring, though. These are sprinkled throughout the tower in rather generous amounts. Using one restores all your HP! It doesn't, however, restore your abilities, which kind of makes sense.
Well, that was really terrible.
Friend Elly, Trog learn valued lesson.
Heaven lie. Is nothing trust but friend and self.
I suppose that's one way of—why are you throwing away your sword?!
From now on, Trog fight as nature intend.
Martial arts! Yeah, I quietly picked up Punch in an early update, so what.
Martial arts are a bit strange in FFL. First of all, they're really expensive compared to similar-tiered weapons. Also, when you first use them, the damage is a bit ... underwhelming. However! As the number of uses goes down, the damage output of the skill goes up. It makes sense; your party member is training in that attack, and they're doing more and more damage as they get better. Where it doesn't make sense is losing the technique after the last use. Maybe your guy's fist just falls off?
Not to spoil anything, but there is a mechanism in the game where you can keep the increased damage from trained manoeuvres. Basically, you grab a martial arts skill, run it into the ground until it has 1 use left, then leave that in your character's inventory and equip a brand set. You now have a full amount of that technique at the 1-use power. I honestly don't know if this is intentional. It could be a really clever mechanic ("You're a master now, all your attacks do elevated damage!"), or it could just be really sloppy coding ("Ehn, just throw in a min() statement and let's go get some sake.").
When Trog was voted in, the request was that he rely on martial arts skills only. I've been using a sword up until this point simply because we couldn't afford any techniques. Now that we have the ability to purchase them, I plan to honor the request. If it doesn't break the game, I will use the above (possible) exploit. If Trog is throwing down for like 300 damage a punch at max power, then I'll stop doing it. This is going to be a (mostly) clean run-through, no intentional game-shattering will be going on.
What, this again?
Perhaps they couldn't afford their architect's rates and had to re-use existing blueprints.
You know, I still don't get this book. It looks really old. Why would the shopkeeper just give it to Trog?
Trog have this affect on people!
I can't get over some of the sentences in it, either. It all sounds so hokey. Like, if you're talking to someone, why would you ever say...
Rezen! Behind you!
...Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem?
Did... did I do that?
Now it makes sense. Rezen, that's not a grammar book. It's a spellbook! This particular one appears to be filled with fire spells!
... Oh. Oh my goodness.
I do believe I've just gone mad with power.
Magic is kind of a big deal, especially early on. Once you've breached the tower, spellbooks are relatively inexpensive compared to what you'll be earning. Besides shelling out comparatively massive amounts of damage, it's also one of the few attacks at this point that will target groups. If things go real bad wrong, this is your bailout.
Hilariously, Rezen has somehow managed to rocket up in mana despite not casting a single spell before now. This confirms a suspicion I had about mutant abilities being luck of the draw rather than responsive to fight commands. For comparison's sake: Rezen currently has a mana of 35 or so. The maximum racial allotment is 99. We're not even to the second world yet.
So, yeah. Most of the toughest fights of the chapter look a lot like this:
Cantores te salutant!
TU ERES FUTUENDUS EST!
It really helps that ghouls are weak against fire, too. But enough about that! Let's see what the party's up to on floor 4.
We don't know which of these doors leads to the top—which means we have to check them all.
It couldn't be any worse than last time.
...What the hell?
It appears so.
Is bit warm. Trog not like.
Jesus H., this is awful. I don't care what they've done, you can't tell me anyone deserves this.
Hey. Hey, you.
I'm guessin' you don't belong here.
Well, I hope not.
Heh, so did I. But you ain't dead yet, so I'm guessin' the tower's open again.
Something you should know...
If you're here, you already took out Gen-Bu. That's pretty impressive.
Thank. Trog do best.
Your best still won't be good enough. There's three more, and they're only going to get worse from here. I've seen 'em come and go for I don't know how long. You ain't the first, and I doubt you'll be the last. If I were you, I'd just go home... but what do I know.
Is hot here friend. Come with?
Seriously, the tower's open now. We can get you out of here!
Haven't you figured it out, kid? The tower's right there. We could leave any time we want.
Whether or not we admit it... we want to be here.
I need a hug now.
As an extra bit of nastiness from that last zone, it turns out walking around in the fiery pits of Hades drops your HP. Who knew? There's no audio clue to it, and it won't kill your guys—just leave them at 1 HP, which is where you'll discover your entire party the next time you get into a fight. Rather than dash back to the spring on this level, I just reset. There's nothing but gargoyles in Hell, so it's not like we gained anything fighting in there anyway.
That was seriously the most awful thing in the history of awful. What is with this tower?!
If the legends are right, we're climbing past different worlds as we go. It was only a matter of time before we bumped into Heaven and Hell.
Yeah, but you'd think they'd put Hell... I don't know, somewhere in the basement.
Something about this bothers me.
No, not just that. Remember the rumors? This tower is supposed to lead to Paradise.
We've already seen Paradise, or so they claim.
Which begs the question: Where does this tower really go?
Trog not care.
Tower here. Tower now. Is climb. All can do.
I would have never figured you for a stoic.
Helloooooooooo. What do we have here?
A treasure chest!
Oh what is this crap! What are we supposed to do, throw it at someone?
Maybe come back like boomerang.
Actually, it's ... almost crossbow shaped. There's probably a lot of junk in here from alternate realities. I bet it's a mechanical bow of some kind.
Well, you're the one with the archery skill. It's all yours.
Thanks. I think.
Onwards and upwards!
Huh. Little more earthy up here.
Same old monsters, though.
I got the ghouls. Elly, why don't you try out the new thingy we just found?
I'm not really sure how it works. I guess you point this part at the monster, squeeze this thing here, and—
BLAM BLAM BLAM
HOLY CRAPPING CRAP
AUGH AUGH AAAAAAAH
And just like that, we have our first gun. Yes, you read that correctly. Our first gun.
Guns in FFL are a bit of a mixed bag. They probably have one of the lowest ratios of cash spent to damage dealt out of all the game's weapons. However, and as you might expect, their damage isn't affected by the stats of the user. Guns operate within a pretty fixed range, and while agility helps to hit the target, it won't add any modifiers like bows do. Early on, they're pretty good—especially since certain guns can add special effects and target multiple enemies. You won't scratch their real usefulness until the heavy ordinance comes out, but that's for later.
What happened, Elly?!
...I was right.
Hahahahaha! I was right!
Who's laughing now, sarge? Who's laughing now?!
*backs away slowly*
Just for the record, Elly is going to be specializing in guns and artillery from here on out. I may have to bail on this one later; my memory's fuzzy, and I can't remember when the next tier of single-target guns appears. I suppose the worst that could happen is Elly goes all Aeon Flux over everyone.
Oh man. Oh man. Can you imagine what else is out there? I bet there's one of these things that shoots fire spells! Fire spells!
Let's not get carried away, Elly.
Oh. Oh no. Let's.
Dente right. Is bit excitable, friend.
You guys really know how to spoil a party. Fine, I'll switch back to the bow. I have no idea if there's any more of these things, anyway. Might as well save it for emergencies.
Hey, another sealed door!
Does the sphere work on this one?
We need to look for another one, then.
Maybe hat man know?
Wait a minute. I know that guy!
It is indeed!
...oh. Oh my.
Rezen know hat man?
Yeah! He was at the Christmas part—
Ah-ah! We don't talk about that anymore.
Though since you brought it up, is that recruiter—
I suppose that's all we can ask for.
Anyway, what are you doing here?
Did you think you were the only ones climbing the tower?
I thought the door only appeared every 100 years!
Sure—until the seal's broken. Then all bets are off.
Well, you shouldn't be out here alone. It's dangerous! Right, Elly?
Um... hello? Earth to Elly?
Yes. He should join our party. Immediately.
Thank you, no. I'm stronger than I look. A word of advice...
...or so my sources tell me.
Hat man want to go to top first. Why tell?
As far as I'm concerned, this is a friendly competition. I want to see if you'll be the first to make it there. And, I hope you'll extend me the same courtesy.
Sure, why not. Take care of yourself!
I will. May the best party win!
Alright, this looks like another of those nutso world-teleport doors. Ready, Elly?
Oh man, that suit. It fits him like a glove.
What! Oh, right. Door. Go through. I'm fine with that.
Trog worried. Is bad places behind doors.
Well, we've been through Heaven and Hell. If I'm right, the next stop is Limbo. It probably won't be that bad.
You would be surprised. Simple inertia can be far worse than suffering or bliss.
You're... you're a fish.
Ah, yes. I was interested in trying some of the worms we had defeated earlier. After Rezen charred one with her spells, they smelt like they had potential.
Okay, that's great and all, but how are you breathing right now?
GASP CHOKE RETCH
Quick, get him to the spring!
Bah! Honestly, you three. We've seen other fish floating around up here. You're just now questioning it?
You still haven't answered the question, though. How are you breathing?
...with my lungs?
Fish with lungs. Is lungfish?
Tigers are really wolves. Fish breathe air and fly around. Everything I know about biology is a lie.
Meh, I was never any good at it anyway. In we go!
Well that wasn't what I expected at all.
Next Time: Thunder Dragons in Paradise!