Part 5: Wandering SpiritDue to the fact that this is the time in the game when difficulty starts to take a steep upward curve, the beginning of this update involved a certain amount of grinding to reach a point where I felt ready for the next boss.
I worked for a bit on the sea floor, where I got a chance to see this encounter. I find the giant anglerfish wonderfully creepy, especially as I know that in reality they're not as big as they appear here.
These are some of the ships full of sunken treasure that were referenced earlier by numerous small boys, but I won't be checking them out yet. I have a curiosity I'm satisfying on this playthrough.
After a while I moved to Ashura's tower for grinding, as it had some of the largest possible groups of enemies. I'd never actually seen a Fireball do this, and hadn't known it was really possible. I couldn't complain, though, as this fight ended up getting me around 100 experience.
Satisfied with our levels, it's time to move on to Chaos's castle. Unlike the South Tower, no key is required to enter. The aesthetic here is also a bit different than what wed expect. Rather than stone pillars and carved hallways we're instead given moving walkways and roving eyes.
Along with at least one or two new monsters. I really liked the DualMask design, even though they're annoying. It's one of those cases where the limits of the sprites actually worked for the artists instead of against them.
Quite often jumping is an alternative to using the walkways, often leading to treasure you'd miss otherwise.
I take an opportunity to turn Chrono into a beast as preparation for the boss fight, since this gives him a huge pool of MP and a boost in HP.
Treasure in the bottom floors is fairly disappointing. Relax is only useable in battle, and the Gold gauntlet has been obsolete for a while now.
Places like this require a bit of thinking. We need to cross the two pits to the right to continue, but there's no way to turn in place. However, if you try to head up the walkway to the right, you'll be turned around and facing south. This can be used in several places moving through this dungeon.
South of the dual pits and to the right is a hidden pathway with an earth crystal. These things are really starting to pile up.
Finally we get a chance to use our Chaos Key at this forbidding portal. Unfortunately there's no boss on the other side, just a walkway and a staircase.
The next floor returns to what we'd expect from a dungeon, making it a rather odd change. Is it some kind of attempt to disguise the technology that went in to this thing?
Off to the right is a staircase leading up to the Psi armor, which is going to be better than what we can buy for a little bit. It goes to Lucca as she's probably the least sturdy of us all.
Going forward there's also an opportunity to get a soft potion and a flame shield. Soft potions are at least moderately useful since petrification persists after battle. The Fire Shield is an improvement over what we've got now, but will soon be outclassed. It provides protection from Ice, but nothing around here really uses that enough to be a big deal.
On the top floor waits the big man himself, with two promising treasure chests. He looks rather like the Woodman from Ashura's tower in FFL2.
16 is about the level I've usually felt comfortable with this fight. Shortly before this Marle transformed. I didn't mean to end up with Marlthulu, but it worked out well enough. A slight miscalculation in the meat selection, don't you know.
He's got a good point, even though it's fairly standard villainous chatter, but I love it just for Chrono's response.
For that line alone the name Marty would have also been appropriate.
Not the worst enemy taunt to start a battle with either.
Boss Battle: Chaos
As one of the Four Water Entity Monsters Chaos is a fair step up from Ashura in terms of difficulty, despite not having any friends with him. He's got a fairly monstrous defense, so Lucca and Frog are going to be our main damage dealers. Chrono and Marle are here in the support role, but being transformed into beasts means that they've got plenty of mana to do that. Chaos likes to use single target attacks that can do upwards of 150 damage, but he adds something new with his ability to use Quake and cause damage to the entire group. Although he's got just over 4,000 HP, it's possible to chip away at him if you can keep healing.
Also, he looks like the Thing attending a toga party.
You might notice that Chrono gained a level and became a freaky fish guy. Going to have to fix that quickly. Our spoils for this victory are the Future and Hover units. Future is self explanatory, but Hover is a bit of a misnomer as it actually will allow the Talon to fly over anything except mountains. Once we get it airborne, that is.
Where we're going, we don't need roads.
Which is a good thing, as there's no room for them anyway. This place is pretty well flooded, although this brings up a point. If the Elder was looking for a place to build a town and the Water Entity had been around long enough to be a recognized problem, you'd think he'd have prioritized altitude above anything else.
With Dharm out of sight, it's time to head to a city that we know won't be too different since it's always been under the water.
This does not bode well.
Capitalism is dead! At any rate, this is the gimmick of Muu right now. Everybody in town will attack you, leading to fighting a group of 1-3 WaterHags. They're not really dangerous, just annoying. You can also find WaterHags in random encounters outside at this point.
Luckily before everyone succumbed to the plague they finished up their shed and stored their treasure inside of it.
On the way across the ocean we encounter some terrifying turtle-ankylosaurus hybrids, as if the sea wasnt frightening enough.
Well, at least Elan is still here. Let's see how they're doing.
I'm pretty sure this is the same kid who was always talking about Sol as a child.
Doesn't seem like Sol can even help himself, much less anybody else.
Elan has finally gotten around to upgrading their wares, but there's nothing here that won't soon be outclassed by gear we can buy before the next boss battle.
I have a funny feeling we'll be visiting there shortly...
Who would actually name a town Viper? That's not a friendly name to draw visitors and possible residents.
I have known you since you were quite literally a child and know that you've grown up with this Water Entity thing staring you in the face. It's taken you this long to decide that it's definitely a bad thing?
Just as a note, this entire town is full of old people. Do they not produce offspring or something? Where are the kids and adults?
A possible contact to look for in order to get to Floatland...they must have a trick somewhere.
Didn't we know a Faye?
Beats me. I just knew there were a bunch of short people running around Dharm.
Somebody new has taken over the Magic Shop, but they have at least one decent spell in their new inventory. Stone has always been surprisingly reliably for me, especially as compared to instant death and other attacks.
the same Master Sol who was kidnapped and taken to Pureland while he was taking a nap?
Yeah, we kind of missed the memo on that one...
to help the people there. And before that go see Granny in the Inn. She has not long to live, I'm afraid.
Grandma berates us for being late and then gets to the point. She really must be feeling time is short.
the WaterHags.... . Granny?
This'll come in handy in a couple of places.
Immediately afterwards she expires. Was there nobody else she could hand that off to?
Next time: Sunken treasure, paradox avoidance, and conversations with undersea monsters.